SWFA Super Sniper 5-20X50HD

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by Jon A, May 2, 2011.

  1. Jon A

    Jon A Well-Known Member

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    OK folks, here are some pics and first impressions of the SWFA SS 5-20X50HD. This is just a prototype but it's very close to the final version. Enjoy:

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    And to the reticle.

    5X

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    10X

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    20X

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    Closup:

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    I've only had it a short time but have made it to the range once:

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    At 100 yds:

    5X

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    10X

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    20X

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    At 300 Yds:

    5X

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    10X

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    20X

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    After a few shots at 100 I moved to 300 and these were the groups:

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    A couple 2"ers, 8 of my last 10 shots went into the 2" center of the bull which is pretty good for a gas gun. The scope gets it done very easily.

    Here's the illumination:

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    Reticle checked for straightness and click value measured right on as accurately as I can measure. About 33.5 Mils (115 MOA)of total elevation adjustment. In the 20 MOA AADMOUNT I've got 22.5 Mils (over 77 MOA) of "up" adjustment left from my 100 yd zero.

    Glass is OUTSTANDING!

    A couple specs people have been asking about: It's about 14.6" long, 31.5 oz, 30mm tube, very similar to the F1 in size/overall envelope. This prototype has no zero stop but they are working on one.

    The clicks feel as good as I've felt on anything. Very positive, snappy with a very loud metallic clicking sound on each one.

    The eyebox is as good or better than any of the ~20X scopes I have around, certainly no problems there. The eye relief is quite long, especially on 20X at around 4". It's eye relief doesn't stay perfectly constant but doesn't change as much as some brands throughout the power range. Since it actually gets a little bit longer on high powers it's not something you notice in a negative way.

    I don't yet have any info on price/availability. This is a much bigger more expensive scope to make than the fixed 10XHD which goes for $800. It isn't meant to compete in the PST price range, but in the F1/Razor/Light Tacital, etc range. I hope it will come in significantly cheaper than those because I'd like to buy at least a couple but I don't expect them to give them away. This is a high dollar scope.

    Glass quality in low light, etc...... I have done some comparing:

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    Of those the one that compares is the IOR. It's noticably better than the Weaver 4-20 and PST 6-24.

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    For those who have the 3.5-18, you know how good it is. I found it very close in most measures to my Premier in the past:

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    Between the IOR and the SS, they're so close I can't really declare a winner. Resolution wise I can't tell which one is better. Staring at a chart through one I'll think it's better, then staring at the chart through the other I'll think it's better. They're that close. The IOR seems to have more of a contrasty "pop" to the image which might give it more of a "warm fuzzy to the eyeball" view in good light. But the more neutral colors of the SS make it nicer to look through in low light.

    In short, good freaking glass.

    Here are a couple pics I tried to show the low light/illumination in action. This was a good 30 minutes after official sundown so it's pretty darn dark. The camera makes it look lighter than it really is. The pole is around 300 yds away:

    IOR on 10X:

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    SS on 10X:

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    IOR on 18X:

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    SS on 20X:

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    Keep in mind you can't judge the optical quality via the pics as they're both better than my picture taking makes them look. However, you can't take a good pic through a bad scope and every time I look at that last pic of the SS it's just amazing to me the detail it picks up at 300 yds in the dark! A lot of higher powered scopes that look OK in the day time really take a crap when you crank the power up in low light, there's no hint of that with this one.

    Some more questions:

    If PD's is all you want to do, of course a SFP scope with a thinner reticle is the natural choice. However this scope's reticle is pretty thin as FFP goes, covering less than 1" at 500 yds so it should do well. If that PD is really little and really far away, you can crank the turrets 1 mil in any direction and use the little dot inside one of the diamonds. At .03 Mil diameter it's tiny.

    It's marked down to 35 yds and that seems pretty accurate.

    About 33.5 Mils (115 MOA or so).
     

  2. BenY 2013

    BenY 2013 Well-Known Member

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    Cool I am planning on buying one of their 10x models. Wish I had the money and patience for this scope:D
     

  3. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    Well, I am impressed so far. Based on the other pics you have posted from other scopes, I am assuming the same camera was used on all of them, the glass is very good. Durability, ruggedness, and repeatability are paramount for me though but I have no doubt that it will perform based on the 10xHD, 3x9, and the 1-4 which I am really impressed with. Chris won't let it out the door unless it is up to the highest standards.

    Interesting use of diamonds in the reticle. Any story behind the use of these? Do you know how they subtend? They look like .25 Mil maybe? It may be simply a way to get around patent issues. I can deal with the diamonds especially with the dot inside which should provide very precise placement on high power.

    I would like to see a floating dot in the center. I would like to see some .1 or .2 ranging lines near the edges. I would also suggest they get rid of the thick reticle post in the uppper portion of the reticle and leave the top portion of the glass open for unobstructed viewing. Then change the thin reticle post at the bottom to a thicker post like on the sides.

    Any idea if a zero stop will be part of the final product?

    Not sure on price, it is a larger and heavier scope than I was expecting from SS, but it should compete well.

    I have heard availability for later this month?

    Thanks for the post Jon!
     
  4. SidTheKidd

    SidTheKidd Well-Known Member

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    Jon,
    Any idea if that scope will be offered with MOA reticle, plus a matching turret system? That scope looks really really nice.
     
  5. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    I doubt it. All of SWFA's SS line is Mil/Mil.
     
  6. SidTheKidd

    SidTheKidd Well-Known Member

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    Didnt know that. Looks nice
     
  7. Jon A

    Jon A Well-Known Member

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    I think I probably answer most of your questions in the cut 'n paste below.

    Here are some thoughts on the reticle as it seems to have generated quite a few questions. Keep in mind the below is simply my opinion, reticle preferences are highly personal. No reticle in the world will be liked by everybody, nearly everybody has some idea of something they’d like to change on any given reticle.

    For me the primary question is will the reticle get the job done? That can’t be answered without what job and under what conditions? Those may be different for different users. A scope like this should have a reticle that answers “yes” for a large range of jobs and conditions. It should be fast to pick up on low powers, easy to use for holdoffs medium or high powers and not cover the target too much at long range.

    I feel the reticle does well at covering those bases. It’s really a pleasure to use, simple, clean and uncluttered, easy to see on all powers yet still pretty thin on high power. The thicknesses seem to be a good compromise for low power visibility, all around usability and long range precision. If you’ve ever used a mildot you should transition over to this easily with no training required. Of course that can be said for quite a few reticles which is where personal preference comes in.

    I like hash reticles as much as the next guy and generally prefer them to dot reticles for most of the time. For bench-type shooting on paper with the scope cranked all the way up they’re hard to beat. But when I’m not doing that, I have noticed some advantages to dot type reticles over the years, at least to my eye.

    Generally they’re easier to see and use on lower powers for a given line thickness. To make lines as visible on low powers they need to be thick enough they may look excessively thick on higher powers.

    My brain sort of processes the difference between a full mil and a half mil a little more automatically with dots instead of having to identify the correct hash. If I’m doing hold offs on medium power at medium ranges and time is an issue the dots just seem a bit faster to me.

    Of course the biggest disadvantage to most of them is that they cover more of the target than you’d like at long range. Hollowing them out solves that problem.

    The dot in the center allows you to still use them as a precise aiming point. It also gives you a direct reticle measurement of 0.1 mils for ranging. The diamonds are 0.2 mils wide, the hash marks on the ends are .2 mils apart. So you can very easily measure anything directly to the 0.1 mil with the in-betweens being 0.05 mil. It’s a nice, simple way to do it without making a portion of the reticle look like a pincushion.

    The diamonds work just like dots, after a couple minutes you won’t even notice their shape anymore. The biggest difference between them and dots (or circles that are hollow) is that they are easier to see on low power because they can be “taller” without taking up more space on the reticle with a larger diameter (staying 0.2 mils wide). They also seem to help a little to my eye at least with vertical and horizontal alignment when holding both elevation and windage.

    On the bottom post—I don’t miss it. It’s very natural and fast to use, just like an upside down 4a. Very familiar for users of the MP-8, P4, P4f, etc. The problem with a bottom post is with 5 mils of space on three sides and 10 on the bottom, the “duplex” you get at low power has a lopsided opening. I’d rather do without than have it lopsided. It got added back to the MP-8 for the IOR 3-18 and I always felt it was unnecessary. Just my opinion.

    Those are my thoughts. Of course everybody isn’t going to like it (or any other reticle), but as I said the important thing is if it will get the job done. For pretty much any use I can think of, this one will.
     
  8. lsm62

    lsm62 Well-Known Member

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    Any idea on what kind of recoil these can handle? Lets say a 300 Weatherby. I would assume it would be good up to a 338 since that seems to be the normal comparison.
     
  9. Jon A

    Jon A Well-Known Member

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    It should easily handle anything you can throw at it. It's built to be 50 cal proof and there's no reason to think they won't be exactly that. Even their cheap scopes have developed a remarkable reputation for durability, and in costing five times as much no expense was spared in the internal construction of this scope.
     
  10. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    This scope and the general direction they are taking this line really excites me.

    I wish this scope would have been closer to the 20-24 oz range.

    I hope they add a 3-12 or 4-16 soon with less weight and maybe even think about slightly smaller obj. I think the long range hunting community would eat it up! EVen a 50 mm obj that weighed around 24 oz would go on about every big game gun I owned.

    KEEP IT UP SWFA!
     
  11. Jon A

    Jon A Well-Known Member

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  12. davewilson

    davewilson Well-Known Member

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    with the brutally solid reputation Nightforce has, why would you get one of these rather than a 5-22 Nightforce? Jon, did you check the tracking? i'd like to know if it tracks the distance it should. that's been one of my pet peeves lately!
     
  13. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    Not going off this model but off other SWFA models- they track beautifully!
     
  14. Jon A

    Jon A Well-Known Member

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    Yes, as mentioned in the first post it's dead on as accurately as I can measure--well within 1% click value and 1 degree reticle straightness.
    The biggest reason is FFP, which NF doesn't offer on the 5-22. If you want FFP, the NF that compares is the F1 3-15. Comparing those, the biggest differences the SS offers would be:

    Price ~$700 less (maybe close to $1000 less in the big SH group buy).
    More magnification.
    More eye relief.
    More elevation adjustment.
    Adjustable illumination when in use.

    I'll wait until I can do a side-by-side with an F1 to say anything definitive on glass quality as it has been said the F1's are a little better than the SFP's. I've seen a fair number of 5.5-22 SFP's though, and they're a step back from this.

    The other differences between the scopes are mainly personal preference things. Some like the ocular turning with power changes, some don't. Some may like the knobs on one better, some may like the other better, etc.

    Until recently I would have said the SS has a much better reticle as the MLR and Mildot of the F1 left much to be desired, but the new reticles NF has introduced in the last couple months look very nice and usable so that's pretty much a matter of preference now too.

    Don't get me wrong, the NF is a very nice scope. It's just so is the SS and it's being offered at a price well below what it could be so it's going to make for some stiff competition.

    Competition is good.