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Review: SWFA SS 3-15x42 at '13 Sniper Challenge

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by jawbone, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. jawbone

    jawbone Western Washington Member

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    This summer I competed in the 2013 Sniper Adventure Challenge organized by Competition Dynamics out of Denver, CO. The event was held in the rugged high desert of New Mexico over the Fourth of July weekend.

    I was shooting a custom-built AR-15 mounted with an SWFA SS 3-15x42 scope. I had heard lots of good things about SWFA from the shooting community, but this was my first hands-on experience with one of their scopes.

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    Due to the rules of the match, bipods were now allowed for the carbine shooter. Therefore my shooting position for the fist stage was sitting cross-legged with my rifle supported on my pack between my legs. I scored a first round hit on an 8" target at 295 yards. I hit 2 more targets at 415 yards with 2 shots each and one more at 375 yards. Needless to say after that experience, I was impressed, and I trust my SWFA scope.

    The folks at SWFA have produced a workhorse scope. It performed flawlessly under pretty harsh conditions. It survived both the rugged high-desert and being transported in my Eberlestock Gunslinger II pack (which is no easy task).

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    The scope came with SWFA's first focal plane Mil-Quad reticle. Having the reticle situated on the first focal plane made it convenient to hold for wind regardless of the power setting. After shooting with the scope I appreciate the thought processes that went into the design of the reticle. The Mil-Quad made holding for wind very straightforward; it was easy to keep track of where I was in relation to the world. The image was bright, clear, and comparable to my teammate's Nightforce.

    The dope on the SS scope was spot on. The 0.10 mil clicks were crisp and solid. It never felt like I was going to bump them off setting. The turrets felt good in my hand and were easy to operate. Setting zero on the scope was easy as well. After getting dialed in, all I had to do was manipulate a couple of set screws. The only thing I would've liked to have seen in regards to this was a zero stop.

    G7oYlUp.jpg

    Having a side parallax knob was very convenient, as was the gradated markings (6m to infinity). It made it easy to set the distance in a tactical situation without having to mess around trying to "focus" on the fly. The throw knob on the power adjustment was also really handy. It's one of those seemingly minor details that I didn't even know I wanted, but once I had it, I didn't want to shoot without it.

    Summing up, the SS 3-15x42 is an extremely rugged, easy-to-use scope. The price tag is also icing on the cake. I would not hesitate to take this scope into a real-world tactical situation.

    2gIUvHJ.jpg

    Review by J. Russell
     
  2. TapRackNGo

    TapRackNGo PNW Well-Known Member

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    Good little write up, thx.
     
  3. Tim K

    Tim K Colorado Member

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    I'm the teammate mentioned in the review. As you can see from my profile, I live in Colorado. Jawbone and I only had 18 hours before the event to be together in person and sort through all the issues that needed to be addressed before we hit the trail. During that time we did have a few minutes to jump down behind both or our rifles (mine has a NF 5.5-22 X 56 on it) and quickly compare them. I was especially interested since I'd never looked through one of these before.

    We put the NF on 15X and spent a little time trying to see how they looked. I'm an avid tester of scopes, to the point where I've built jigs to test tracking and reticle accuracy. That said, I'm neither very skilled at discerning differences in glass quality nor do I care too much. For the kind of shooting I do, glass clarity is nice to have, not essential. With that background in mind, I thought the image of the SWFA stood up well to my NF. Was is as crisp? No, of course not. It was, however, pretty damn good.

    Frankly, I was impressed with the whole package. I'd rather it had an illuminated reticle, but that's a quibble. The lack of a zero stop is the fatal flaw to me, but I'm guessing the aftermarket is going to take care of that problem. I was impressed enough with it that I've purchased three SWFA scopes since that time. Sadly, none were this exact model but that's a function of me not having the bank to spend that much. Had the budget existed to have these instead of fixed power scopes, I'd have done it.

    At some point, I'd like to wrestle this scope away from him for a couple of days and put it through my test regime. That would confirm the tracking and reticle accuracy, both of which appeared to be good based on our limited experience.

    Here we are getting ready to shoot. Jawbone (seated) killed it, hitting his targets pretty quickly and leaving me time to get off four shots. That performance was good enough to put us in 2nd place for that stage. (Unofficially, since we forgot to turn in our score card when he got injured).
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    HarryHaller and (deleted member) like this.
  4. Sstrand

    Sstrand La Grande OR Well-Known Member

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    Question: Were you able to bring these "illegal" weapons back into Colorado???

    Sheldon
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  5. Tim K

    Tim K Colorado Member

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    We have a new magazine restriction here in Colorado. We are not allowed to purchase new magazines with a capacity in excess of 15 rounds. There is no problem with mags already in possession before the law went into effect on July 1st.

    None of that makes a lick of difference in this situation since Jawbone lives in Washington and the match was held in New Mexico. He never even passed through the state. As the bolt gunner, I was shooting with 5 round magazines.
     
  6. Sstrand

    Sstrand La Grande OR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Tim.

    Sheldon
     
  7. parallax

    parallax eugene, or-gun Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Hiya Tim, just curious, until the law gets repealed ( fingers crossed). do they make you register your mags?. How do they know you are not bringing in mags from out of state?. do they have check points at the border?.'sarcasm"
     
  8. Tim K

    Tim K Colorado Member

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    The law is un-enforceable. There are none of the things you mention. Vendors, however, will no longer ship here so it is effective.
     
  9. Tim K

    Tim K Colorado Member

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