I am fibbing a little. This is not my first look at this scope, since I spent a couple of days with a prototype. However, this the first time I see the production reticle.
I mounted the scope on my light-ish AR chambered for 5.56×45. This gun has very light stock and handguard, but the barrel is not a pencil weight and the receivers and BCG are of standard weight. With the new 2.5-10×32 SS Ultralight in a light Aerotech mount, the whole rifle, with the sling, weighs in at around 7.6lbs. The fact that the scope itself weighs in at less than 10 ounces is kinda cool.
With dedicated light weighted receivers, lighter weight barrel and lighter BCG, I can probably make a nice hunting AR chambered for the Blackout or something similar, weighing in right around 6lbs with the scope. That is an appealing thought right there…
I will spend more time working out the turrets, but my initial impressions are that the tracking is accurate and the feel is surprisingly good for something with covered turrets.
One of the things I check first is if the turrets match the reticle and that is what I did with this scope briefly after sight in. The reticle is a basic plex design with 12MOA opening between the thick lines. I did a quick test of 6MOA adjustment and 12 MOA adjustment with the elevation turret and so far so good.
The reticle is roughly the same thickness as other standard plex reticles out there. Thick line is 0.8MOA and thin line is 0.2MOA at 10x. That is very close to similar reticles from Leupold, Sightron, etc.
I’ll take better reticle pictures when I have the scope on a tripod. These are sorta handheld with a cellphone, so the quality is not great. However, this give you an idea of line thicknesses.
While we are on the subject of reticles, after some harassment, SWFA fessed up that they will add a second reticle to this line-up in a few months, designed to work with 223Rem at 10x. Here is what the reticle will look like:
I’ll run some basic ballistics and see how the BDC works with common AR cartridges. I checked how it does with 223 and it should be spot on with typical 55-60 grain bullets. I will tabulate what I come up with for other AR cartridges. One thing I really like about this design is that the holdover lines are thinner than the primary aiming point. That is a very good compromise between holdover tree and low light visibility. The primary aiming dot is 0.4MOA, the lines to its side and above are 0.3MOA thick and the lines in the holdover tree are 0.2MOA thick. Thick bars are 1.6MOA thick which should make for excellent low light visibility. It looks like a clever enough design and I will spend some time working up how it fits different calibers.
The turrets are capped and resettable with 0.25MOA clickls. Sighting in was very uneventful, which is always a good sign.
One outstanding feature of this scope is the slim eyepiece. Eye relief is a bit on a short side which works well for ARs and micro action bolt guns, but I would not put it on a boomer. Despite comparatively short eye relief (which you need to maintain good FOV with a slim eyepiece), eye relief flexibility is quite good and the scope is rather easy to get behind. I spent some time shooting offhand and sitting and had no problems getting the right sight picture. Generally, the market is not awash in 2.5-10x ultralight scope, so finding comparables was not easy:
|SWFA SS Ultralight 2.5-10×32||Sightron S-Tac 2-10×32||Leupold VX-3i 2.5-8×36 (2.6-7.8x actual)||Vortex Razor HD LH 1.5-8×32||Sig Whiskey3 2-7×32|
|Main Tube Diameter||1”||30mm||1”||1”||1”|
|Eye Relief, in||3.35 – 2.56||4.2 – 3.6||4.5 -3.6||3.8||3.5|
|FOV, ft@1000yards||41.2 – 10.5
21 @ 5x
|38.4 – 9.1
18.4 @ 5x
|37.5 – 13.7
21.4 @ 5x
|72.2 – 13.2
21.1 @ 5x
|45.4 – 13.1
18.34 @ 5x
|Click Value||0.25 MOA||0.25 MOA||0.25 MOA||0.25 MOA||0.5 MOA|
|Adjustment per turn||15 MOA||15 MOA||15 MOA|
|Adjustment range||70 MOA||100 MOA||67 MOA||110 MOA||110 MOA|
|Parallax||100 yards||100 yards||100 yards||No||No|
Of the scopes in this table, I have the ultralight SS and Razor HD LH on hand, although the most direct competition is Sightron S-Tac and Leupold VX-3i. The new SS is definitely the lightest of the bunch.
Side by side with the Razor HD LH, the Vortex is a better scope optically (as it should be given the price difference), but SSUL is no slouch and resolves well. There is less color pop with it though. The only other 32mm scope I currently have on hand is an older Bushnell Elite 6500 1.25-8×32. The SSUL seems similar to that scope in terms of optics. I’ll do some more testing and see how it all works out.
From a usability standpoint, there is no tunneling of any sort and the scope is easy to get behind, so offhand shooting at 2.5x works quite nicely for me.
Here are the Razor HD LH and SWFA SS UL side-by-side:
Note the difference in eyepiece diameters. Another thing to note is that with the SS, I can use two separate rings instead of a single piece mount. With Razor HD LH on an AR, I have to use a single piece mount since it has to be positioned fairly far forward. While in principle it shouldn’t matter much whether you use a since piece mount or two rings, there are a couple of advantages (and disadvantages) to using separate rings. The disadvantage is that the picatinny rail better be machined well. The advantage is that with two separate rings, I can use the scope as a carry handle which is quite convenient. It also frees up a lot of rail space if I want to add a red dot sight at 45 degrees (which I might) or any other accessories.
So far, I like the little scope. Obviously, it being a new design, durability is not yet known, so I will keep track of how these do and beat this one up a little.