Sightron SIIB Big Sky Riflescopes
By Chuck Hawks
As mentioned in my review of the Sightron SIIB "Big Sky" 3-9x42mm scope (see the Product Review Page), the Big Sky riflescope line represents a massive addition to the Sightron line. Basically, these new and upgraded scopes are replacing at least most of the previous SII line. The SIIB scopes include target/competition, fixed power, variable power and compact riflescopes.
Before we go too far, following is a list of the SIIB Big Sky models available at this time. Finish is matte black unless otherwise noted. The standard reticle is the Sightron Duplex. "D" is for Dot reticle. "AO" indicates a focusing objective. For technical details about individual scopes, please see the Sightron web site (www.sightron.com).
Mil-Dot Riflescopes (Mil-Dot reticle)
Target/Competition Scopes (All feature target knobs and adjustable parallax focus)
Fixed Power Scopes
Variable Power Scopes
The new SIIB Big Sky line lies in between Sightron's top of the line SIII series and the standard SII scopes, taking on such well respected riflescopes as the Leupold VX-II/FX-II and Zeiss Conquest. Such MSRP based comparisons of brands and models are only approximate, of course.
All SIIB models feature Sightron's ExacTrack windage and elevation system for accurate and repeatable adjustments. The optics are fully multi-coated with enhanced ZACT-7 Revcoat lens coatings that reflect green, blue, purple and magenta colors depending on the angle of the light. Big Sky models come boxed as complete packages with a Sightron scope wrap, instruction booklet, warranty cards, a lens cleaning cloth and see through lens caps with double retaining straps that properly fit the scope's objective and ocular bells. And, of course, there is Sightron's no hassle Lifetime Replacement Warranty. Sightron has earned an enviable reputation for standing behind their products.
These Big Sky models are good looking scopes. They have a deep, matte black external finish with a modest bronze colored "S" (for Sightron) on the adjustment turret. The ribbed aluminum zoom ring has a large tactile lump. It is marked with bronze numbers from 3 to 9 representing the magnification setting and fine letters on a ring at the front of the ocular, also in bronze color, repeat "Sightron SII Big Sky" and the scope model (3-9x42 or whatever). All of this is done in a very classy and restrained fashion. The bronze markings look good and are subtle rather than flashy. These new Big Sky scopes should complement the appearance of practically any high quality hunting rifle.
The adjustment turret caps are aluminum. Underneath are fingertip windage and elevation adjustment dials that are easy to grasp and click in 1/4 MOA increments in a positive manner. Once the scope/rifle is sighted-in, just lift the adjustment dial to reset it to a zero setting. The top of the dials are clearly marked to indicate 1 click = 1/4", Pull Up to Reset, and the direction of rotation.
Focus to the shooter's eye is achieved by loosening a heavily knurled lock ring and turning the ocular bell on fine threads in the traditional fashion. Once the focus is correct, the lock ring is tightened to preserve the setting.
All SIIB scope adjustments, including focus, zoom, AO and the windage and elevation adjustments turn smoothly and with the correct amount of resistance. You don't have to fight to adjust them, but you are unlikely to change them accidentally.
The spacing between the adjustment turret and the ocular and objective bells appears to be adequate on the SIIB scopes. Scope mounting latitude is an area that some scope manufacturers disregard and buyers may not notice--until they try to mount a poorly designed scope on their rifle.
The optics of the new SIIB scopes are excellent. The target appears sharp and contrasty. Flare is well suppressed and sharpness is very good all the way to the edge of the field of view. Optical aberrations are well corrected, even at the edge of the field of view.
The standard Sightron Duplex reticle is properly proportioned for a big game hunting scope. Its fine center crosshairs allow precise aiming and its heavier outer posts are easy to see in dim light without blocking out too much of the view. This is one of the better Duplex reticles on the market.
After we finished reviewing our sample Big Sky 3-9x42 scope I earmarked the scope for permanent installation on my Accurate Innovations custom stocked Remington Model 798 rifle. This elegant .30-06 is one of my most beautiful rifles and the Sightron Big Sky looks right at home.
The new Sightron SIIB line looks great, works great, is built to last and is backed by a reputable manufacturer with a reputation for excellent customer service. Sightron is clearly holding a winning hand with these new scopes. Take a look at a Big Sky scope at your local Sightron dealer, I think that you will be as impressed as I am.
Copyright 2007, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.