Sightron SII 4x32 Riflescope
By Chuck Hawks
I must confess that until Alan Orr of Sightron offered to send me a sample scope to review I had never used a Sightron optic. After all, 2004 is only Sightron's 10 Anniversary--to me they are newcomers! I had, however, heard many good comments about their scopes from friends and, of course, edited Randy Wakeman's articles that appear on Guns and Shooting Online, some of which dealt quite favorably with Sightron products.
All that has now changed. In response to Alan's generous offer I requested, and in due time received, a brand new SII 4x32 riflescope. Compared to variable power scopes, fixed power scopes usually offer compact size, lighter weight, superior optics and superior reliability. There is simply less to go wrong. I like that!
All SII scopes incorporate Sightron's proprietary ExacTrac drift free windage and elevation adjustment system, which they claim offers perfect point-of-impact at or off zero adjustment. Most SII scopes come standard with a Plex reticle, but some models are available with a plain crosshair, crosshair and dot, Mil Dot, Illuminated Mil Dot, Illuminated Plex, or crosshair and double diamond reticle. SII scopes are built on one-piece, 1" (25mm) aluminum alloy main tubes and the optics feature exclusive "ZACT-7 Revcoat" 7-layer multi-coatings. 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 product found to be defective due to workmanship or materials with a brand new product. There is no time limit, and the warrantee is not restricted to the original owner.
The following specifications pertain specifically to the Sightron SII 4x32 scope reviewed for this article: Magnification 4x; Objective diameter 32mm; Field of View 25' at 100 yards; Eye Relief 4.52"; Reticle Type Plex; Parallax Free at 100 yards; Click Value 1/4 MOA; Windage/Elevation Travel 120"; Weight 9.8 ounces; Length 9.69"; Finish Satin black.
When my sample SII arrived, I gleefully slit open the cardboard shipping container. Inside was an attractive black and gold Sightron box. And inside of that, protected by bubble wrap and a cloth pouch, was the SII 4x32 riflescope. Packaged with the scope was an instruction manual, warrantee registration card, and lens cleaning cloth.
My first impression of the Compact 4x32 was that it appeared to be a business like hunting scope of good quality. It 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. The tiny legend "SII 4x32 Made in Japan AO" is printed in black on the black ocular bell and is difficult to find, let alone read.
The windage and elevation dials are protected by conventional threaded caps with rubber seals to keep out moisture and dust. The adjustments themselves "click" softly and are designed to be turned by means of a coin or something similar. 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 4x32's optics appear sharp and clear from center to edge and flare is well suppressed. Distortion and other optical aberrations are minimized. The Plex reticle is typical of its type, with a fairly wide "thin" crosshair area. It is quite serviceable under a wide range of viewing conditions. The eye relief is, as specified, generous. It is a good scope to look through, an opinion seconded by several other shooters at the range where I tested the SII.
This would be a good scope to use on practically any all-around rifle from .264 (6.5mm) to .32 (8mm) caliber. It would also, due to its generous eye relief, be an excellent choice for a hard kicking rifle. It could, for example, serve nicely on my .350 Magnum caliber Remington Model 673 Guide Rifle.
Sightron scopes are shipped focused for 20/20 vision (0 diopters). Focus is adjusted 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. I must admit that I prefer the "European" fast focus system, similar to focusing the eyepiece on a monocular or binocular.
I chose to mount the Sightron 4x32 on a single shot NEF Stainless Handi-Rifle in .223 Remington caliber for testing. This rifle is equipped with a Weaver 1-piece base and rings. This was chosen as my scope test rifle because it is pleasant to shoot from a bench rest and it will accept practically any scope. No mounting difficulties were encountered. The rifle was boresighted using a Bushnell magnetic collimator.
At the range, the preliminary sighting-in of the SII 4x32 at 25 yards was a snap. It required only three careful shots to "walk" the final bullet into the "X" ring with the scope's windage and elevation adjustments.
At 100 yards, the first 3-shot group showed where the rifle was hitting (3" high and 1 1/4" left in this case). I dialed-in the appropriate corrections. It is a generally a good policy to adjust only one axis at a time, but in this case I wanted to see if the windage and elevation adjustments interacted with each other. They did not. A second three shot group was fired for confirmation; the result was a sub-1" group in the "10" ring, and the rifle was sighted-in at 100 yards.
Nothing could have been easier, which illustrates why quality scopes are worth the investment. The point was driven home by the experience of a fellow who was sighting-in his deer rifle a couple of benches down the firing line.
During a break to put up targets this fellow drifted over to my bench to see what I was doing. I showed him the Sightron SII and let him look through it. He commented on how sharp and clear the scope was, and asked me what it cost. I told him the MSRP and he seemed shocked, replying that he never spent more than $100 for a scope!
During the next break in the shooting, and after I had fired my total of 9 shots to sight in the SII (three at 25 yards and 6 at 100 yards), I wandered down to his bench to see how he was getting along. He had just finished shooting his second box of ammunition (40 rounds), chasing the impact point around the target with the imprecise adjustments of his $100 wonder scope, and he allowed as how his shoulder was getting a little sore. But his rifle was now "getting close" to being sighted-in! I left him to it.
With a whopping 120 MOA of adjustment available it is unlikely that anyone will have a problem sighting-in a properly mounted SII 4x32 scope. At the range the ExacTrak windage and elevation mechanism worked as advertised and the adjustments seemed to be accurate. When I experimentally dialed in 5" of elevation at 100 yards, that is what I got.
The Sightron SII 4x32 offers plenty of magnification for use at the range or in the field and an adequate field of view for most big game hunting situations. The long eye relief would be appreciated on a hard kicking rifle although it is not, strictly speaking, necessary on a .223.
I did not submerge the SII in hot water or drop it from a height because I do not treat any of my scopes that way. I am willing to accept Sightron's word that it is nitrogen filled, fog proof, and shock proof. Certainly it performs just fine in rainy Western Oregon, which is a far more practical test from my point of view.
The Sightron SII 4x32 represents good value in a telescopic sight. At a list price of $252 it falls somewhere between the Weaver K4 ($150) and Leupold M8-4x ($325). (All of these scopes are, of course, regularly sold at considerably discounted prices.) Having used the Weaver and Leupold scopes in years past--both have been around for decades--I believe that the Sightron SII is competitive in terms of both performance and price and delivers excellent value for the dollar. The Sightron SII has been added to my "short list" of recommended scopes. In fact, I like this 4x32 so well that I have decided to keep it; it will not be going back to Sightron! For more information, visit the Sightron web site: www.sightron.com
Copyright 2004, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.