Sightron SII 4-16x42mm AO Target Riflescope
By Chuck Hawks
In just over 10 years, Sightron (www.sightron.com) has become a major player in riflescopes and sporting optics. The heart of their line is the SII series, which are deluxe scopes intended to compete with such other four-star lines as the Leupold VX-II, Weaver Grand Slam, and Bushnell Elite series.
The Sightron SII series included a wide range of Hunting scopes, Target/Competition scopes, and Compact/Fixed power scopes. I had previously reviewed an SII Compact hunting scope, the 4x32, for Guns and Shooting Online and I was impressed by its quality and performance. So, when I needed a scope for my Savage Model 12 Low Profile .223 Varmint rifle, I called Alan Orr, Sightron's Product Manager, and requested an SII 4-16x42mm Target scope.
Alan graciously consented to supply one of these fine optics for use on the Savage rifle, and also for a stand-alone review. You are now reading the latter.
The 4-16x42mm Target scope shares certain key features with other Sightron SII scopes. Among these are Sightron's proprietary ExacTrac drift free windage and elevation adjustment system, which they claim offers perfect point-of-impact at or off zero adjustment.
SII scopes are built on one-piece, 1" (25mm) aluminum alloy main tubes and the optics feature exclusive "ZACT-7 Revcoat," a 7-layer broadband multi-coating process. They are also nitrogen charged, waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof.
SII scopes are covered by Sightron's excellent written Lifetime Replacement Warrantee. This warrantee provides that Sightron will simply replace any scope found to be defective due to workmanship or materials with brand new product. There is no time limit, and the warrantee is not restricted to the original owner.
No warrantee, of course, is worth any more than the paper it is printed on if the company does not honor its commitment in a timely manner. The reports that I have received about Sightron's customer service have been excellent. The people at Sightron are among the good guys in the sports optics business, backing their high quality products with equally high quality customer service.
The SII 4-16x42mm Target model is available with a Plex or Dot reticle. I specified the latter, since the scope was to be used on an exceptionally accurate varmint rifle. I prefer a Duplex-style reticle for big game hunting, but a fine crosshair and dot for varmints and target shooting.
When I opened the black Sightron box in which SII scopes are packaged, I found a cloth pouch containing the big 4-16 power scope. Packaged with the scope was an instruction manual, warrantee registration card, scope wrap, and lens cleaning cloth.
The scope is finished entirely in an attractive, deep satin black. The only color is a red dot and the name Sightron in small gold letters on the left side of the adjustment turret, plus the parallax distance and zoom scales. The very inconspicuous "Made in Japan" legend is printed in black on the black ocular bell.
The tall windage and elevation dials are protected by conventional threaded caps with rubber seals to keep out moisture and dust. The fingertip target adjustments "click" in 1/8 MOA increments. There is a gold index mark to provide a reference point, and the concentric outer calibration scale is marked in inches at 100 yards. The latter feature can be turned independently should you wish to re-set it to "0" after your rifle is sighted-in.
The front objective is adjustable to correct for parallax, as you would expect on a target scope. Focus the front objective on the target or, if the range is known, simply be setting the appropriate distance opposite the reference mark. The front objective can be focused down to an exceptionally close 11 yards. This adjustable objective is based on a very fine thread that allows two complete turns of the objective ring from stop to stop.
Starting with the objective ring screwed all the way in (the infinity position) the distance scale numbers and index mark for the first 360 degrees of revolution are printed in bronze and allows parallax correction down to about 25 yards. The index mark and scale for the second revolution (below 25 yards) is printed in white, with 11 yards being the last white number.
Sightron scopes are shipped with the eyepiece set at 0 diopters. This is correct focus for 20/20 eyes. Focus the crosshair to your eye by loosening the knurled lock ring and rotating the ocular bell. Turn clockwise for nearsighted eyes or counter clockwise for farsighted eyes. Like most "American" style scopes, the ocular bell has fine threads and it may take a lot of turning to set the focus correctly for your eye.
Here are the basic specifications for the Sightron SII 4-16x42mm Target scope with dot reticle:
I mounted the Sightron 4-16x42 on a Savage Model 12 Low Profile Varmint rifle in .223 Remington caliber for this review. This rifle is equipped with a Weaver 2-piece base and Millet rings. This is the most accurate rifle available, and I expected the Sightron target scope to match its excellent performance. I was not disappointed.
No mounting difficulties were encountered. The rifle was boresighted using a Bushnell magnetic collimator.
Visually, the 4-16x42 Target scope's optics appear sharp and clear from center to edge at all power settings. Flare, distortion, and other optical aberrations are well controlled. It is a good scope to look through, an opinion seconded by the other members of the Guns and Shooting Online staff who used this scope.
We do most our scope and rifle testing at the Isaac Walton rifle range south of Eugene, Oregon, and the Sightron SII target scope was no exception. The weather was hot, about 95 F degrees with a variable 1-10 MPH breeze when I tested the SII Target scope. At the range I first verified that the distance scale marked on the adjustable front objective was accurate (to my eye, at least) at 25, 50, 100, and 200 yards--the available target distances--and it was.
At 100 yards it took only 3 single shots to "walk" the bullets to a point of impact about 1 3/8" above the point of aim. (One shot to establish the initial point of impact, a second to adjust elevation, and the third to adjust windage.) I then fired four shots, with all holes overlapping, to verify that final single shot. I shot that group at four different magnifications, 6x, 8x, 10x, and 12x to see if changing magnification would change the point of impact. Obviously, it did not. Due to heat mirage interference at the higher magnifications, I settled on 10x for the remainder of the shooting.
The final touch was to add 2 clicks (1/4") of elevation to put the group center exactly where I wanted it at 100 yards. I then fired a series of three, 3-shot groups to confirm the final adjustment, which they did. That speaks volumes about the accuracy of the Sightron's convenient target-style windage and elevation adjustments. Nothing could have been easier, which illustrates once again why quality scopes are a good investment.
I would like to have written more about my range experience sighting-in the SII 4-16x42AO Target scope, but it all went so smoothly that there was nothing else to do. The last 9 shots were unnecessary as it was. I actually had the rifle shooting where I wanted at 100 yards in only 7 shots, which must be some kind of personal record.
At the range the ExacTrak windage and elevation mechanism worked as advertised and the adjustments seemed to be exceptionally accurate. Most scopes will not deliver that degree of adjustment accuracy and repeatability.
4-16x offers all of the magnification a rational person could want for a .223 varmint rifle, and an adequate field of view for most varmint hunting or target shooting applications. The scope's 3.6" of eye relief make it relatively easy to position the eye behind the scope. And the fine crosshair/dot allows extremely precise aiming.
The Sightron SII 4-16x42mm is simply a fine telescopic sight. I believe that its performance is competitive with anything in its price class. If you are looking for a premium scope in this approximate magnification range you owe it to yourself to examine a Sightron SII. I predict that you, too, will be impressed. For additional information, visit the Sightron web site: www.sightron.com
Copyright 2005 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.