EDIT E OD RI’ T SO RC’ H SO ICC HE O ICE
SIG Sauer Whiskey5 GREAT BUY • 3–15x52 • $1,200 With its Whiskey5, SIG has a crossover hit on its hands. The company has correctly read the market, understanding that precision shooters require extremely tactile turrets tuned to reticles with abundant references, but that hunters want a second-plane reticle and a modest magnification range. The Whiskey5 delivers attributes for both groups, enabling a shooter to use their scope for hunting and for hunters to not feel disadvantaged at a long-range steel match. The turret adjustments are very good, and the zero stop, anti-cant indicator, and impressive 72 MOA of elevation adjustment inside the 30mm tube are features borrowed from the precision riflescope market. The oddball objective diameter (52mm) has a purpose. It allows the scope to be mounted close to the bore with medium-height rings, a benefit that’s not achievable with 56mm objective lenses, which generally require high rings. The compact dimensions—it’s only 12 inches long—make it a great choice for a carbine. The Moa-based Milling Hunter reticle is deceptively simple, featuring an illuminated stadia with 2-MOA hashes on both the windage and elevation axes, and numeric designations at each 10-MOA mark. You aren’t going to use this reticle for ranging or bracketing moving targets, but it’s quick, precise, and covers a wide range of shooting situations. If you prefer to dial, the exposed elevation turret locks at zero but gives two revolutions of adjustment; the windage knob is capped. SIG also provides the option to order a custom elevation turret that’s tuned to specific loads. We had only two gripes. The first is that the glass, while adequate, isn’t on par with other scopes in its price range. And we found that the tube dimensions are so stingy that we couldn’t mount the Whiskey5 to a standard full-length action with two-piece bases. With a long action, you’ll want to mount it to a rail to get the best out of this otherwise very versatile riflescope.
Nikon Prostaff 5 • 4–16x42 • $330 It’s been hard to keep track of Nikon’s updates to the capable Prostaff line the last few years, but the Prostaff 5 checks nearly all the boxes we’d expect for a crossover hunting and target scope. It keeps its heft down—it weighs 17.3 ounces but feels even lighter—by utilizing a slim 1-inch tube, and by eschewing reticle illumination, and the requisite weight and space considerations of a battery. The MOA hash reticle in the second focal plane is serviceable on its own, but to milk all the capability out of the basic reticle, either order a free custom turret or use Nikon’s excellent Spoton online ballistics calculator to establish holdover at any magnification for your specific load. While the Nikon’s reticle may limit some long-range precision, it’s uncluttered for fast aiming. The Prostaff 5 features capped turrets with a total of 40 MOA of internal adjustment. That’s adequate, but not on par with scopes built on a 30mm or 34mm tube. Testers also wanted a little more magnification at the high end. Image quality and low-light performance were in the upper half of the field, which was a win considering the extremely fair price of the scope. “This is a great value for a scope that I’d hunt with any day,” said editorin-chief Alex Robinson. That’s the idea of both our Versatile Riflescope category as well as our Great Buy award.
Zeiss Conquest V4
• 4–16x50 • $1,000 We’ve seen this scope before: The inaugural V4 was a runnerup to last year’s Great Buy award. But this new configuration improves on the platform. The illuminated MOA turret is useful for hunting or target shooting, the 4X–16X magnification range covers most uses, and the glass is bright and crisp. Plus, with 80 MOA of elevation adjustment inside the 30mm tube, you can dial the exposed turret to your heart’s content. Happily, the clicks are tighter than on last year’s V4.
• 2–10x38 • $550 It says a lot about a scope when testers use it as an excuse to buy new rifles to put it on. That was the case with this sweetheart of a backcountry optic. Weighing only 12.4 ounces, the RS.2 is a simple, functional gem. Our sample came with the good second-plane SHR holdover reticle; you can also choose a standard duplex. The magnification range suits most purposes, which testers insisted must include sheep hunting, if only to further justify their pending purchases of ultralight rifles on which to mount the Maven.
• 5–25x52 • $4,500 We were skeptical of the merits of this extravagantly expensive rangefinding riflescope. Then we tested it. It is a functional, capable confluence of optical and electronic engineering. Once you feed the specifics of your load into a mobile app and then into the scope’s brain, hitting targets out to 1,000 yards is as simple as pushing the rangefinding button, placing the illuminated holdover on your target, and shooting. On the downside, the scope has a bulky 40mm tube and requires maddeningly tiny tools for zeroing.
• 4–16x44 • $600 A test-team favorite for its do-everything capability, the 30mm Nitro has a first-plane Moa-based Christmas-treestyle reticle that makes holding for distance and wind a breeze. Or you can remove the turret caps and dial the shooting solution with sharp, positive adjustments. While the glass is only average and field of view seemed narrow, testers noted that the Nitro splits its capabilities evenly between hunting and target shooting, the very essence of a versatile riflescope.
Konus Konuspro EL-30
• 4–16x44 • $400 We’re featuring the Konus not for its image clarity (disappointing) or its design (clunky), but rather for its ingenious reticle system. The heart of the 30mm Konuspro is a second-plane reticle that has 10 iterations, ranging from duplex to milling reticles to variations on the center dot that you select by toggling through a menu. The liquid-crystal reticles share a single center aiming point; bullet drop references depend on magnification. We hope the glass matches the technology in future iterations of this smart idea.
Leupold Mark 5HD
• 3.6–18x44 • $2,340 Leupold introduced the Mark 5HD line last year and took the precision-shooting world by storm. This new iteration continues the low-profile push-to-turn (and re-zeroable) elevation turret and capped windage controls, but in an appeal to hunters as well as steel-ringers, this is an Moabased scope. The excellent first-plane PR1 non-illuminated reticle pairs well with very positive turrets, which deliver a whopping 100 MOA of elevation adjustment in the 35mm tube. We loved the weight—26 ounces—and the 12-inch length for mounting on a variety of platforms.
• 4–28x56 • $3,900 If the price is a turnoff, consider that Steiner didn’t really build this powerful, smart 34mm riflescope for you. It’s a military sniper’s optic with a few nods to civilian shooters. This is evidenced by the excellent first-plane reticle: the MSR2, or Multipurpose Sniper Reticle, with a bonus reticle in the image plane that’s used to range distant targets. But the turrets are among the best in the test, the center-cross illumination is perfect, and the light weight (33 ounces) boosts the Steiner’s versatility rating.
Burris XTR III
• 3.3–18x50 • $2,040 The third generation in Burris’ venerable XTR line, this model would have competed well in our Versatile category. It has generous mounting dimensions along its 34mm tube, a very tactile elevation turret (our sample had the excellent SCR2 MRAD reticle) with .1 MRAD clicks, and an ample 35 mils (120 MOA) of elevation adjustment. We wanted more visible indexing on the controls, and the “dragon scale” knobs are uncomfortably sharp. But the optics are crisp, and the price is competitive.
Riton RT-S Mod7
• 4–32x56 • $1,300 Once we came to terms with the bulbous off-axis turret arrangement, this big 34mm scope from a relative newcomer to the optics trade performed well. The guts are purposebuilt for long-distance shooting: an illuminated first-plane Christmas-tree-style reticle with milliradian references, exposed low-profile turrets with adequate zero stops, and a power lever to assist quick magnification changes. The glass is good, it has a lifetime guarantee, and the price should appeal to Production Class PRS shooters.
Sightmark Latitude PRS
• 6.25–25x56 • $700 The most encouraging trend in precision scopes this year is the emergence of affordable optics. This Sightmark, along with the Meopta Optika6 and a decent effort from Crimson Trace, retail for well under $1,000. The Latitude PRS brings very good oversize controls, an illuminated first-plane PRS reticle with generous windage references, and abundant windage and elevation adjustment, but only passable glass. It’s a serviceable choice for shooters looking to break into precision-shooting matches.