Written in February 2019
As I was ready to publish this, I noticed that Doug from CameralandNY just put this scope on sale for $849. If you call him and mention Dark Lord Of Optics, you will get an additional $50 gift certificate for anything else from Cameraland (rings, caps, etc). That brings the price of the P4Xi down to a hair under $800.
I have been looking at this scope for some time now and I found myself liking it a fair bit. It is a little bit of an oddball design in a sense that finding something similarly configured to compare it to. The only other 4-16×56 scopes I found are the much more expensive Hensoldt and S&B. Most of the 3-15x, 4-16x and 3-18x scopes out there use a smaller 50mm objective (kinda like Steiner’s own T5Xi 3-15×50). Meopta Optika6 will have a 3-18×56 design, but that is not here yet. In the end, I ended up looking at the Steiner P4Xi next to a couple of higher magnification scopes I have on hand with 56mm objective lenses to get an idea of how it stacks up.
Here is my conclusion in a nutshell: if you can find this scope for around $1K you should pick one up. At $1500, it would be a bit of a harder sell, but around a grand it is a superb option. It tracked true. The turret feel is very good and optical quality is very respectable. It especially shined in low light. There is enough magnification to get me pretty far out and the reticle is very well suited for precision shooting where you dial for elevation and hold for wind.
Here is my customary comparison table which is not really useful in this case because of the unusual configuration.
|Steiner P4Xi |
3-18×56 (not out yet)
|Eye Relief, in||3.5 – 4||3.15||3.54||3.9||3.9||3.2 – 3.8|
|27.5-6.9 11.04@ 10x||26.1-7.5 12 @ |
|28.2-6.9 11.04@10x||33.2 – 5.810.4@|
|a||9.5 – 3.1||8.8 – 1.9||8.8 – 1.9|
|Adj per |
|20.4||32 mrad||E: 30|
|Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes + Dichro||Yes||Yes|
|FFP||FFP||FFP||FFP or |
50 – inf
25 – inf
23 – inf
Looking at the numbers, nothing really sticks out. The scope is reasonably sized for the class and on the light weight side for a 56mm objective design.
There is plenty of internal elevation adjustment available, but the turret is a double turn design, wo you get 20 mrad with proper mounting. I had it mounted in a Aadmount with 20 MOA incline built in. With that configuration I go the two full turns.
In practical terms, since I do not shoot ELR (yet), I do not need that much adjustment, so most of my testing was over the first 9 mrad. I did not do a shooting test for the entirety of the 20 mrad adjustment, but I did test on a gun out to 16 mrad with very uneventful results.
The scope spent time on two guns: The Fix with a 24” Proof barrel chambered for 308 and large frame AR with Dracos 243Win barrel on it (below). Neither is a kicker, but I have spent some time shooting off the bench, prone and sitting with both guns to see how forgiving the scope is. The eye relief is fairly long and quite flexible. This scope is pretty easy to get behind. That is one of the advantages of a large objective. Even at 16x, the exit pupil is a rather generous 3.5mm
Another nice feature is that the elevation turret does not go up and down when you dial. It always stays the same height and there is a window at the bottom of the turret that serves as a revolution counter: white for the first turn and green for the second turn.
The numbers engraved on the turret are color coded to match the turn indicator. 0 through 9 are white and 10 through 19 are green.
Side focus adjust the image from 50 yards on out to infinity and infinity is actually infinity. I was able to focus on some trees a couple of miles out. Depth of field is fairly generous, but still, for shooting inside of 50 yards, lowering the magnification helped. On 4x, I could shoot quite comfortably and accurately don to 20 yards or so. There was some parallax, but it was manageable.
Reticle illumination control is a rotary knob integrated into the side focus turret. The illumination level is calibrated to be just about perfect for low light. Only a portion of the reticle is illuminated, making an illuminated “T”, of sorts. In the picture below, I set illumination on a rather bright level, so that the camera could focus on something. It looks much sharper when you look through the scope.
In general, the SCR reticle that Burris and Steiner use across a wide variety of different scopes is quite thin and well suited for precision shooting. I think it is a little too thin on 4x, especially as light goes down, but that is where reticle illumination really helps. Here is what the reticle looks like on 4x, 8x, 12x and 16x.
Optical quality was very good given the price. When I compared it next to the Delta Stryker which costs a fair bit more, Delta was the better scope during the day, with better resolution and better CA control. However, at night, they performed very similarly with Steiner having unusually good flare control for the price range. Compared to Ares ETR, P4Xi had a little more CA and little lower resolution, but the contrast on the Steiner was better. In the middle of the day Athlon Ares ETR looked a little better, but as the light went down P4Xi was the better scope. Its reticle illumination is also much better in low light than that on Ares ETR.
I think you are beginning to see the drift of my take on the P4Xi at this point: it is easy to get behind, seems solid mechanically and optically and it really shines in low light. Its only really notable optical flaw is some visible CA on high contrast targets, but I am kidna picking at it a little since there isn’t much else to complain about. It really reminds me of the original Steiner Military scopes a little in terms of the feel of the image. So many modern designs try to squeeze huge magnification range into a scope ro make it super compact and generally that is a good thing. However, with optics, everything is a compromise. If you are not ready to drop $3k+ for a modern ultrashort, I suggest looking at something with a design that is a bit more on the conservative side of things and this Steiner is exactly that. If you really want a 4-16×56 Hensoldt, but don’t have the budget for it, consider the P4Xi. No, it is not as good as the Hensoldt. It would be silly of me to claim it was, but it costs less than a third of the Hensoldt, stays zeroed, tracks true and is very good optically.