Schmidt and Bender's 4-16x42 PMII
With Generation Two Mildot reticle
Perfection At Last?

19 March 2006
By Mike Miller

If you have read much of anything I have written you will know I don't like big scopes and most of all I don't like big objective lenses on a rifle scope. I am big enough to be hard to hide. I don't need a mirror giving me away even more.


I have attempted, for years, to get a scope company to make a sniper riflescope that fit the following requirements:
  1. Objective no larger than 44mm
  2. Capable of 100 through 1000 yard shooting with 118 LR ammunition (.308 Winchester with 175grain SMK) in one single elevation turn.
  3. Elevation and windage adjustments .50 moa or smaller
  4. Generation Two Mildot reticle
  5. Front Focal Plane Reticle
  6. Lit reticle with in field adjustability to work with and without NVD's
  7. Glass as good or better than anything else in this field
  8. Tough as dirt construction ( Scopes are no good if they fail in the field)
  9. Accurate and repeatable adjustments that stay that way over the life of the scope

Now I have wanted that scope and asked many manufactures to make one, but until recently I always had to settle with something almost like it. Many scope manufactures heard my requests and said "The objective size is not large enough for the 16x power."

No manufactured seemed to hear my requests. That is until about six months ago when Schmidt and Bender came out with the PMII 4-16x42, with generation Two Mildot lit reticle. All in a 34mm tube with 1/10th mil clicks and the ability to get approximately 44moa adjustment in one turn. Far more than enough adjustment to get a 308 Win to 1000 yards. The scope was designed to take place in the USMC scope trials but never got a chance, as the 3-12x50 PMII was picked before this one could be tested. When I heard this scope was being made I broke out my credit card and ordered one right away. Apparently someone had heard my requests.

When the scope arrived I examined it closely. It showed all the quality and care of construction that my other two SxB PMII's have (both 4-16x50) The glass was exceptionally clear and sharp imaged to the extreme outer ends of the lenses. The 1/10th mil clicks were precise and firm, the way a scope should be. One note is that this scope, being designed for the USMC, has the elevation knob turn the same way as the old Unertl M40 scope (Counter clock wise is up) This was so no one previously trained on the Unertl screwed up under stress. A very nice feature and one I am happy to have. This is directly opposite the way the other SxB scopes turn so keep that in mind, when making purchases. This scope can be had in the same rotation direction as the other older SxB's. All you have to do is ask. The knobs are easy to zero. Simply loosen two setscrews and turn knob to zero. The knob does have a "Zero Stop" so if you need more down angle to zero, you simply pull the knob up and place on the other side of the zero stop to adjust. It is really far simpler than it sounds. If you have used a MK4 M3 Leupold you will find this to be pretty much the same procedure.


Basic features are:

Now the above all sounds good but how a scope works under field conditions is what counts. None of my scopes are museum pieces (I stole that line from a friend) so a-testing I went.


Mounted/tested on two GA Precision Built Tactical Intervention Rifle, in .308 Winchester, and a GA Precision Built .338 Lapua (12lbs and kicks like a mule with brake removed) with Badger 34mm rings the following tests were performed:

Optical quality

I tested this scope against every other scope I own. In day light the optics on this scope were second to none. Optical Quality is just plain exceptional. Now at night it was good but not as good as my 4-16x50 SxBs on 16x, but when I turned the power down to 6x which has the same exit pupil as the maximum an eye can handle it was the same as the 4-16x50 on that power. Frankly between eight and ten power I could not tell the difference in the SxB 50mm and 42 mm objective scopes. They just worked great. So the engineers have a point - the bigger objectives will allow more light at high power but here is a thought: Turn the power down at night. I have never seen a shot at night I would take where 8x was not enough power to shoot with. Face it at, night it's darn near impossible to read wind, and engagement range (because of wind) is generally limited to a few hundred yards anyway. Unless you have some pretty darn sophisticated and unavailable to general public NVD's, you won't be able to use more than eight power magnification, at night. So in short this 42mm objective is all anyone needs.

Tracking, precision and repeatability

We did the usual "Box Test". I cranked all the useable elevation up, right, left etc and shot groups. No matter what I dialed the scope made perfect adjustments and was repeatable. Not one error in this area. Adjustments were perfect in many series of tests that went on for several months. 1/10th mil is one 1/10th mil in this scope. 13mils adjustment is 13mils. It is today and it will be in six months. With roughly 21 moa (6 mils) adjustment right and 21 moa (6mils) adjustment left you have more windage adjustment than you should ever need. The scope did not get "knocked off" set adjustments or experience any tracking problems, even though as most things I own, it was dropped more than a few times. Clicks where positive, firm and easy to both see and feel.

Parallax Adjustment

This worked very well and I was able to quickly adjust parallax, from 25 yards to 1000 yards. One note here is like all scopes. The Parallax numbers on the wheel mean nothing. Just focus this until the target is perfectly clear. Too many get hung up on what the numbers say. The numbers are just a guide line and mean little compared to the actual image.

Lit Reticle

Well this adjustment goes to eleven and has settings from NVD use to you must be night blind. No idea how long the battery will run (everyday camera battery type and easy to get) but mine is original and has been left on for a few days at a time. It is still working fine. The lit feature lights the center and dots. It's easy to use and not blinding like some.

Generation Two Mildot Reticle

The Generation Two Mildot Reticle has been my favorite for a couple of years. I have written several articles on it and its use. This site and others carry the full article if you need further details. The reticle in this scope was perfectly spaced as confirmed on a "Barber Pole"

Front Focal Plane

This scope, unlike some others places the reticle in the Front Focal Plane. That will do several things. First the spaces between the reticle marks will always subtend the same distance at any power setting. What that means in shooter terms is. No matter what power you have the scope on you can mil, hold over, hold off or do anything that requires an accurate measurement without worry about scope power setting. That my friends is the way to go for a long-range field shooter. On a rear focal plane reticle if you dial off the power because of low light or moving targets, your reticle is no longer accurate for hold offs and that will cause misses under stress. Certainly you can mess with a Rear Focal Plane Reticle and determine what values are at what power setting but as soon as lights go down or stress goes up you are destined to screw up. Front Focal Plane is the way to go for a sniper rifle. It's simple and works on all power settings.

Image Color

Some scopes will change the perceived color of an object you are viewing under certain light conditions. This scope did not change the true color of any images viewed.

Impact

Between being dropped on two rifles more than six times, in field, 500 rounds of .308 and 200 rounds of .338 Lapua ammunition testing (50 without a brake on) it showed no signs of impact damage or zero shifting. I can't say the same about me. 50 rounds of unbraked .338 Lapua (12lbs weapon) were enough for me. I may stop doing that test on scopes.

Durability

Well since it shares the same heritage, and bomb proof type construction as my other SxB scopes, I am betting this will last me many thousands of rounds. This one is just a few months of hard use old but has already shown it will stand up to my ham handed use.

Fogging of lenses test

Well I tried the old put scope in refrigerator for ten minutes and then take to warm outside and shoot test several times. No fogging was noticed. This test will again be performed after a year to see if it continues to perform well after a great deal of use and time.

Reticle being closely centered upon delivery test

Well this has become an issue with some purchasers of scopes lately, so I did it out of the box before mounting, in a "V Box" set up. It appeared to be no more than 1moa out of being perfect from factory. So the lazy purchaser won't have to play much in initial zeroing.


Ammunition used in this test was Black Hills 175 Grain .308 Match and Black Hills .338 Lapua with 300 grain SMKs. Both loads are fantastically accurate and my choices for testing over the last five years. Black Hills is also a family run business by shooters for shooters.


Complaints? Well only two:
  1. At about $2500.00 USD it's not cheap but then again when was perfection cheap?
  2. It would be nice to see factory BDC's available for various calibers for this scope.
Final thoughts

This is an exceptional scope. I would recommend it to anyone serious into long range shooting. I am saving for more of these scopes to add to my collection.


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