Scope lab test


Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2002
Scope lab test
Swedish magazine Vapentidningen no 6/2004 has printed a consumer lab test for riflescopes suitable for hunting at dusk/dawn.
Their conclusion is that the German/Austrian scopes are by far the best, but the leap from the cheaper US scopes are smaller today than it was at the last test 7 years ago.
Aerotech Telub lab did the scientific testing using spektrofotometers, broad spectral lamps and kolliminators.

The scopes were tested for field of sight, eye relief, "tube effect", ergonomy, click adjustment accuracy, impact change with change of magnification, sharpness and contrast, light transmission, reflexes, twilight performance.

A short summary of the results below.
Test result (some of it)
Scope name
B resolution (max 10)
C colour & contrast (max 10)
D anti-reflex (max 5+5)
E light transmission (max 10)
F twilight performance (max 10)
G overall test result (including all test results, not just the ones I've printed. Max possible 78)

Remember, this is a lab test, not some testers subjective opinion.

BSA Big cat 3,5-10x: B3 C3 D5 E6 F3 G44
BURRIS FULLFIELD II 3,5-10X: B10 C7 D6 E9 F7 G58
DOCTER 3-12X: B7 C8 D8 E8 F7 G60
KAHLES CB 3-12: B6 C8 D8 E9 F8 G62
LEUPOLD VXIII 3,5-10X:B7 C7 D8 E8 F6 G60
MEOPTA ARTEMIS 3000 3-12X: B7 C7 D7 E7 F7 G57
MEOPTA ARTEMIS 2000 3-12X: B6 C7 D7 E7 F6 G55
MICRO DOT 2,3-10X: B7 C6 D7 E8 F7 G58
NIGHTFORCE NP1 3,5-15X: B9 C6 D9 E8 F7 G60
OXO ONTARIO 3-9X: B3 C3 D4 E6 F2 G39
PECAR 4-10X: B5 C6 D6 E8 F5 G46
SCHMIDT UND BENDER 2,5-10X: B9 C8 D8 E9 F9 G66
SHIRSTONE GOLD 4-12X: B5 C5 D5 E7 F5 G47
TASCO TITAN 3-12X: B5 C6 D6 E7 F4 G49
ZEISS DIAVARI Z T 3-12X: B10 C10 D10 E9 F10 G72
ZEISS VARIPOINT V 3-12X: B9 C10 D10 E9 F9 G70
ZEISS DIAVARI V 3-12X: B10 C10 D10 E9 F10 G73
Pity that this test did not include any better Japanese glass.

I am impressed with the results of the Burris. It does agree with what I have seen with this inexpensive scope. You get a lot for your money. The scope performs where it matters: resolutions, and light transmission. Not sure how you can a 9 in light transmission then a 7 in twilight performance????

This test again highlights that Luppies are really behind the curve. The VXIII is considered high end. Not so according to these results.

Pretty easy to conclude that German/Austrian glass is tops when only moderate to low NA scopes were compared, no Japanese products, and almost all the scopes are German/Austrian/Swiss.

Were there more scopes in this survey?

Sort of like saying that a pushrod V8 won the Nextel cup. Really...

Sorry, the 23 scopes listed are those tested.

I guess they borrowed their scopes from the engros dealers, and the scopes tested are those the dealers want to sell.

I sure would've liked to see more Leo series, Nikons, Leicas and the Zeiss Conquests tested.

And I'm GUESSING that light transmission and twilight performance is different because the wavelenght of the light changes as you get a slightly different spectrum in low light. Again, I'm GUESSING, any correction is welcome.

The same magazine did a test of about 6-24x scopes about half a year ago, but they didn't use a science lab for that test. However, the brands stocked up basically the same way as in this test with the Swaros and Zeiss' at the top.

[ 11-22-2004: Message edited by: sierra22 ]

[ 11-22-2004: Message edited by: sierra22 ]
Without knowing what they measured and how, the twilight factor is not relevant.

Many scope and binocular manufacturers use a twilight factor that is a mathematical measure of objective lense ratio to magnification. Basically, a worthless measurement as any optic with the same obj and mag has the same twilight factor.

Doesn't take into account coatings, lense quality, etc. Unless you can say for sure, that may be where this is coming from.

Light transmission is a measure of all wavelengths in normal 'white' light. With the right meter, you are comparing the difference between entry and exit light.

If an optical device has near 100% light transmission, it will have better low light performance then an optical device with lower light transmission. We don't see in the infra red, so that is of little interest.

Look at the S&B Zenith. Rated with a 7 for light transmission (assume that is measured) but a 9 for twilight factor. My guess is this is a large objective scope.

The burris has a 10 for light tranmission but only a 7 for twilight factor. Doesn't make any sense.

The only results that have any value to me are the resolution (how you measure that is beyond me), anti-reflection (assume a measure of flare), and light tranmission.

Colour and contrast don't really matter as we are not 'glassing' with a scope and really don't care of our deer looks perfectly grey brown or just brown. We just need to be able to see it.

The twilight factor is probably not a measured rating so subjective thus worthless.

The overall test result is also worthless without knowing what else was being tested and how they were weighted in the final result.

Without the test parameters, levels of error and methodology of the tests, we could be still reading a subjective study of products most likey to sell in someone's store.

Sorry, to come across as a poison pill but I feel that any review or comparison posted here should give all reading accurate info.

I am glad that the Burris rated higher then just about all the scopes in light transmission and resolution. Goes to show that you don't need to spend enormous amounts of funds to get a good quality product.

Interesting results between Burris and the Leupold.

The Burris scope out scored or was even with the Leupold in all categories except anti-relex (burris 6, leuy 8). The burris scope scoped a perfect 10 on resolution and Leupold scored a 7. But the overall score for the Leuopld was 60 and Burris got a 58.

I'd like to know how the scoring is done. Burris had 39 points and Leupold 36 not including the over all score.

But it agrees with what I've said. Leupold's best is just mediocre now.

I would have liked to have seen IOR's results.
I'm sorry but this is laughable,what do you expect the EURO's to say that something made in the U.S.A. is better than a euro product,not going to happen. It would be like John Kerry doing a review of the Democrats VS Republicans you allready know who wins just by the author.
Hi sierra2s, I know I'm pushing my luck here ....., I'm very interested in this scope testing ....any chance you could post the entire test result? some of the fundamentals are missing and are probably of great importance.
More information required. Results are pretty worthless as presented.

I.E. Objective size.
I.E. Eye Relief
I.E. Year of scope production
Too bad the data isn't complete.

[ 11-24-2004: Message edited by: JP ]
Incredible that such a post can generate such hostility. If I were trying to pushing my own products I would understand it, but when providing general reference????

The test and description of the test criterias runs over 10 typed pages, so there's a bit too much work to translate all of that and post them on this forum (sorry herbeapuce,jeffintx and bigg270). However, I will post the scoring scales. Any further questions regarding the test can be adressed Vapentidningen as I have no interest defending it. Swedes are bi-langual, sp english emails will be understood.

Field of view at 100m
0-5m 0 points
5-6m 1 point
6-7m 2 points
7m+ 3 points
Eye relief
0-6cm 0 points
6-8cm 1 point
8-10 2 points
10+ 3 points
Tube effect
Sight picture severly disturbed by tube effect at all magnifications: 0 points
Sight picture severly disturbed at lowest magnification, disturbed at highest: 1 point
Sight picture distusturbed at all magnifications: 2 points
Sight picture disturbed only at lowest magnification: 3 points
Sight picture not disturbed: 4 points
Magnification ring turns smooth and even: 1 point
Possible to read magnification marking in the dark: 1 point
Quick and smooth focusing: 1 point
Possible to click scope without tools: 1 point
Click adjustment easy to feel: 1 point
Good markings on all adjustments: 1 point
Indication of scope center: 1 point
Sight adjustment
Click adjustment deviation in percent
100-50% 0 points
50-20% 1 point
20-5% 2 points
5-1% 3 points
0% 4 points

Adjustment range at 100m
0-50cm 0 points
50-100cm 1 point
100-200cm 2 points
200-300cm 3 points
300cm+ 4 points
Change of impact with magnification at 100m
5cm+ 0 points
5-1cm 1 point
1cm- 2points
Nil 3points
Resolution and contrast
Field testing, can/cannot see various targets, details and colours under equal conditions and settings
Resolution 0-10 points
Contrast 0-10 points
Anti reflex
Under equal conditions and settings with light source facing the objective

Not able to see through scope: 0 points
Sight picture is white, difficult to aim: 1 point
Sight picture is white, but aiming possible: 2 points
Sight picture a little white: 3 points
Sight picture good, but without contrast or colour: 4 points
Sight picture not affected: 5 points

Not able to use the reticule: 0 points
Severe shadows and reflexes on it: 1 point
Shadows and reflexes on it: 2 points
A little shiny: 3 points
Sharp but mis-coloured: 4 points
Sharp and black: 5 points
Light transmission at 500-550 nm (twilight light)
Please note that scopes can transmit other wavelengt light better

0-10% 0 points
10-30% 1 point
30-40% 2 points
40-50% 3 points
50-60% 4 points
60-70% 5 points
70-80% 6 points
80-85% 7 points
85-90% 8 points
90-95% 9 points
95-100% 10 points
Twilight performance
Light were progressively reduced and scopes where excluded when it was no longer possible to determine target/crosshairs. Lighted reticules were not used. Scopes where used at all magnifications. Scopes where scored 0 to 10 points according to how little light it was possible to use it in.
Scopes tested:
BSA big cat 3,5-10x42
Burris fullfield II 3,5-10x50
Bushnell elite 4200 2,5-10x40
Docter 3-12x56
Kahles cb 3-12x56
Leupold XIII 3.5-10x50
Meopta artemis 2000 3-12x50
Meopta artemis 3000 3-12x56
Micro Dot 2.5-10x56
Nickel gerhardt 3-12x56
Nightforce np1 3.5-15x56
OXO ontario 3-9x56
Pecar 4-10x56
S&B Zenith 2.5-10x56
S&B 2.5-10x56
Shirstone Gold 4-12x58
Shirstone Gold 3-10x56
Swarovski Habict 2.5-10x56
Tasco Titan 3-12x52
Trijicon accupoint 2.5-10x56
Zeiss diavari z 3-12x56
Zeiss varipoint v 3-12x56
Zeiss diavari v 3-12x56

[ 11-25-2004: Message edited by: sierra22 ]

[ 11-25-2004: Message edited by: sierra22 ]

Thanks for your effort!

My mother's maiden name is Quale and her grandfather's name was Finsnes (sp?). I understand there is a town in Norway with that name?
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