If you are like me you try most everything that comes out for sniping. I did this when the Super Sniper scope came out from Tasco over ten years ago. This scope was purposely designed to compete in the military market as a real world sniper scope. I purchased a 10X power side focus model. This is the model the Navy had purchased as possible less expensive replacements for the Leupold Ultra series of scopes. After testing the Navy stayed with Leupold and the Super Snipers found their way to the US shooting market. Rumor is the Tasco's worked well but the Ultra's where better.
Like I said before I bought one back then, mostly as a lark, because lets face it, no one would have used a Tasco for sniping. Well let me tell you, that first scope I had was fantastic. Frankly it was only slightly less than my Leupold Ultra was in quality. I mean slightly. Well I liked that scope so much I competed in several shooting events with it. It never failed me. It saw its share of good finishes and lived on one of my rifles for many years. Then the unthinkable happened, a friend who was moving away came over and fell in love with it. I gave it to him, knowing I could buy another . I went out and bought another. Little did I know Tasco had fallen on tough times and the Super Snipers of that time where in short CRAP! Four scopes later I gave up and said I would never use one again. It went on that way for several years and I made it clear to everyone I saw not to buy the Tasco and used the term Trashco often.
Then I met up with Chris Farris of SWFA and was told they had bought the rights to the Super Snipers and under their supervision the scopes where being made to the original specifications again. Chris Farris told me the scopes where just like the originals I had used before. He asked I test and write about one. I was torn between my good and bad experiences in the past, but all my dealings with SWFA had been great, so on Chris's word I said I would test one. A few days later a 10x42 side focus, with 30mm tube arrived. First impressions where great. The glass was very clear. The clicks where crisp. It was too nice for a 399.00 scope. I put it aside wondering if I got a hand picked scope. A few days later I called and ordered a 16x42 rear focus 30mm tube (retail 299.00) and asked for overnight shipment knowing it would be impossible to hand pick that scope. It arrived as promised. It was also perfect looking out of the box.
Well enough of fondling the scope. I took them out and ran some tests. Lets face it this series of scopes is either loved or hated so I knew my tests had better be just plain harsh before I said anything about the scopes. People would talk either way. It was going to be a dammed if you do and dammed if you don't article, so once again test, test and more tests were done. I wanted to be so clean on this anyone questioning would have no ammunition to send my way. Either good or bad my article would be backed with hard data!
The box test was standard. 20 moa in all directions, for a 40 moa by 40 moa square. Both scopes worked perfectly so I ran the test six times with the same perfect results. Then I cranked each knob for about an hour each, constantly going all the way in one direction and then in the other. That is thousands of clicks. Then I ran the box tests twice more. All results where the same, perfect. I cranked in 20 moa and the change made was 20 moa. The clicks are truly .25 moa each . Both scopes had over 100 moa of actual travel, so they wont run out of elevation adjustment on you. Under most any condition or range. Heck lets face it you have enough travel to send a 338 Lapua over 1500 yards. One thing often overlooked when we talk click value is how many MOA's per turn of the elevation knob. Some manufactures of .25 moa per click scopes, have 8 moa, some 10 moa, some 12 moa and lastly 15 moa per turn. Leupold and the Super Sniper share, what I think is the best, that's 15 moa per turn. It is harder to multiply, under stress in eights and twelve's. Ten's are easiest but take 1.5 times the amount of turns a 15 moa per turn scope does. I like the 15 moa per turn knob because on my flatter shooting calibers I can get to 1000 yards with less than two full turns, and just slightly over two turns with a 308. The less the number of turns the less likely you will forget under stress and be off one or more turns.
The optics where not as clear as US Optics, Nightforce, Nikon Tactical or Leupold MK4's but not bad. Remember these are 300-400.00 scopes not 1250.00 plus! The optics where better than anything similar I have used under 600.00. I would have no problem taking this out for "F Class" shooting at 1000 yards.
The toughness will not be an issue. I subjected both of these scope to the following recoil tests:
Just plain abuse test. I just treated these scope like crap, dragging when I should have carried. Not cleaning the dirt off. Just field testing like I did not own them. What can I say they stood up to the test of a guy wanting to see if they could take it.
Reticle accuracy: Lets face it, more and more companies are having trouble with scopes who's reticles are not right. The Super Sniper has .25mil dots spaced 1 mil apart. Hey someone got it right and did it in a 300.00 scope!
When SWFA brought these back, they came out with a Tenebrex Kill Flash/ARD that screws into the objective and keeps the bells size the same. This was one nice little tool. Same with the sunshade it does not change the size of the objective. Now that may not mean much to you, but I for one only carry one flip up objective cover in the field and if it does not fit the sunshade the sunshade gets tossed! Frankly with the Tenebrex Kill Flash/ARD you don't need the sunshade any way. I have to tell you before this Tenebrex I used the Butler Creek version and the Tenebrex is so much better I am changing all my scopes over.
Now the question I kept asking and you will probably ask also is "How does SWFA keep the price down"? Chris explained they own the rights and have them shipped direct to them. No middle men to add on a percentage for saying hello and sending them to you. As explained, if put into a normal retail channel these scopes would retail for 800.00
I put the SWFA Super Snipers in a class of scopes for the guy who wants to shoot a bunch for fun, does not have to have the absolute best, but wants equipment that will work great for as little money as possible. The scopes work well and are the best deal going in the price range. I am keeping the two I have. The 16X will ride the old bull .338 Lapua and the 10X is working dandy on a nice little NorCal Precision Built .308.
I am back to saying Hell yes get one and have fun!