Sightron SII 2.5-10x32

By Randy Wakeman

Sightron SII 2.5-10x32
Illustration courtesy of Sightron

The best is an over used word when referring to any product. Objectively, it just can't be, as it is our subjective perceptions that make a specific product the "best" for us. When it comes to boots, movies, cars, or a pair of gloves, the elusive "best" can only be a personal pet favorite, something we find meets our needs better than other things we've tried.

One of my personal favorite scopes over the years is a model by the defunct Colorado based Redfield Company, that now exists only as a brand name owned by Meade Instruments. When I grew up, hunting with a Redfield was considered flying first class, much as Leupold has been more recently. It is the Redfield "Tracker" 2-7 x 32mm, an inexpensive friction adjustment model that was never cataloged by Redfield, but produced specifically for the chain store market.

Far from the brightest scope available then or now, the 2X allows a wide field of view and resultant quick target acquisition. It allows me to shoot at moving game the way I normally shoot, keeping both eyes open. The diminutive Redfield looks good on many guns, where larger objective scopes appear garish by comparison. It has accounted for its fair share of big game animals over the years, including a running bull moose taken at nearly 300 yards while its power ring remained on "two."

In fact, I've still never taken an animal with a scope cranked past 5X. More than a few people have questioned that, asking if I don't crank up the magnification when shooting at paper? The answer is, "Of course." Then, why not on big game animals? The answer is that when attempting to incapacitate paper, my bull's eye is about an inch. When hunting, my bull's eye is at least eight inches and perhaps much more. Locating an animal is done with binoculars, my naked eyes, or perhaps a spotter, but not my riflescope.

Many of the scope "issues" we like to obsess about become barely discernable at lower magnifications. Parallax, glare, field of view, eye relief, brightness all become less discernible when the power ring is turned down. Parallax is not much of an issue until we get past 8X or so, and the lack of adjustable objectives on hunting scopes in the popular 3-9x area reflect that fact.

Though few of us have measured our own eye pupils, the average adult eyeball can only dilate to a maximum of 7mm, and even that is in extreme low-light or nighttime conditions. As we age, our eyes loose their dilation ability. Though only your optician can tell you with exactitude, middle-aged eyes rarely can use more than 4.5 mm or so of exit pupil. The University of Houston College of Optometry research (William J. Donnelly III and Austin Roorda) showed that 4.3mm of pupil size is "the optimal pupil size for axial resolution."

Consider that a 7 x 42mm set of binoculars is considered both full size and of medium magnification; yet a 6mm exit pupil is all that is available. Exit pupil alone does not reveal all there is about image brightness, of course, as higher quality glass gives us an image that appears crisper and brighter even though the exit pupil of our scope is identical.

If I asked most shooters if they could hit something with their iron sights at 30 yards, they not only would answer "yes," they might take that as an insult. Yet, a 7X scope gives us that same apparent object distance at 210 yards, along with the very important advantage of a single sighting plane.

That's why I happen to feel that many of us are really handicapping ourselves with scopes that are too powerful, offering us dimmer sight pictures and the correspondingly small fields of view. All of this is just to suggest that much more than 4mm of scope exit pupil is not of great benefit. When it comes to riflescope magnification, less can really mean more.

The once very popular 2-7 x 32mm scope has fallen from favor, displaced by the 3-9 x 40mm as the nominal "standard," if there is such a thing anymore. The Sightron SII 2.5-10 x 32mm is unfortunately listed in their compact/fixed/shotgun scope category, a great pity.

"Compact" scopes can often mean compromises in adjustment range and field of view, and the label "compact" often conveys these negative attributes. The Sightron SII 2.5-10 x 32mm has no limitations in muzzleloading hunting use (or any hunting use) that I can see; the sole consideration is the maximum ring spacing of 5.31 inches that may not allow its use on all long-action guns. It is perfect for the Encore, Omega, Contender, Handi-Rifle, BAR, and Marlin 336 styles of rifles.

The Sightron SII 2.5-10 x 32mm is only 10.9 inches long, and weighs just 11.6 ounces. It features generous eye relief of 3.8 to 3.5 inches, and has a field of view on low power of 41 feet at 100 yards. F.O.V. is 10.5 feet at 10X. Perhaps the most startling specification is the combined windage and elevation range of 120 inches, allowing it use on any muzzleloader I can fathom, a range few scopes can touch.

Like all Sightron scopes, it has the Sightron "ExacTrack" drift proof erector tube adjustment system that has been highly acclaimed, outstanding glass, crisp metal-on-metal adjustments in one quarter inch increments, an outstanding lifetime warranty that never leaves the customer waiting for a repair, and an affordable price. The latter seems unbelievable in light of its remarkable image quality. I've been universally thrilled with the Sightron SII scopes. I've long felt that Sightron is one of the best kept secrets in scopeland, and the SII 2.5-10 x 32 is perhaps the best kept Sightron scope secret of them all. It is a fabulous scope, and one of the best hunting scopes I've ever used, if not the best. For more information, visit the Sightron web site:

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Copyright 2004 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.