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Posted: 11/28/2016 11:19:05 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/29/2016 12:11:15 AM EST by wcoats]
I started wanting to buy a scope better suited for long range after competing in a 3 Gun Nation LR rifle match at VIR 2 weeks ago. I competed using my 5.56 AR set up for 3 gun with a 1-6 Vortex Strike Eagle which left a lot to be desired when attempting to shoot at targets out to 750 yards. I've been shooting 3 gun competitions for about a year but this was my first taste of long range. It sounds like there are going to be regular long range competitions hosted at VIR in 2017 and it seems like it would be fun if I practiced and had a rifle and scope better set up for it. My dad has a DPMS LR-308 with a 24" barrel that I can borrow whenever I want and I'm thinking about using this for future competitions at VIR and maybe a few DMR competitions. I live fairly close to Woody's Hunt and Rifle club that host a lot of DMR competitions. The only issue is that my dads DPMS LR-308 currently has a cheap $100ish scope that I wouldn't trust to us for long range. At this point I have almost no experience with long range shooting so I'm wanting a starter scope that will track consistently and repetably and have good enough glass. I've done some reading and have read good things about both of these scopes(other than the fact that the glass isn't quite as good as scopes costing 2x to 3x as much). I've decided I want to go for milrad instead of MOA and I'm leaning towards sfp instead of ffp. I know the hold over marks on a sfp scope aren't usable with out doing math on anything less than the highest magnification but I figure the hold over marks on a ffp scope would probably be hard to use on low magnification anyway because the reticle would be small and hard to see. I could be totally wrong on this as I have pretty much no experience with ffp scopes and long range shooting, so please let me know. My price range is to stay $600 or less which can be done for either of these scopes.

I had about decided on the Vortex Viper HS-T 4-16 with the VMR-1 MRAD reticle. But I've come across a lot of post online saying that the SWFA SS 3-15 is by far the best scope in the sub $700 price range. Is that really the case, is it noticeably better than the Viper HS-T? Here is a link to the Viper HS-T 4-16 I'm talking about.
http://www.vortexoptics.com/product/vortex-viper-hs-t-4-16x44-riflescope-with-vmr-1-mrad-reticle/reticle

I noticed that SWFA came out with a SFP version of the SS 3-15 and it's currently on sale for only $400. Any thoughts on this scope?
http://swfa.com/SWFA-SS-3-15x42-Tactical-Rifle-Scope-P87716.aspx

The ffp version sells for about $160 more
http://swfa.com/SWFA-SS-3-15x42-Tactical-Rifle-Scope-P62238.aspx
Link Posted: 11/30/2016 9:28:19 PM EST
I've used the Vortex PST, which inst the HS-T, and I've also used the SWFA 3-15. I never had a chance to use the Vortex past 200 yards, but I did use the SWFA out to 500. I like the SWFA. The reticle was nice, it tracked well and was a solid scope. Not too heavy too. I also liked my vortex. The glass was great, the reticle was very useful, just a tad thick, and it also tracked well. I would say go with the SWFA if you dont need illumination.
Link Posted: 12/1/2016 7:36:15 AM EST
I'd say go with the SWFA. They got some great sales right now.
Link Posted: 12/1/2016 8:47:12 AM EST
Another recommendation on the SWFA. Great prices right now and the scopes are good quality. Good value for the money
Link Posted: 12/1/2016 8:52:24 AM EST
I have that HST and use it a lot.

Great scope and the clicks are very precise and consistent.
Link Posted: 12/1/2016 9:49:05 AM EST
They are both solid scopes with great warranties.. The Vortex does have a zero stop. I prefer the reticle on the Vortex.
Link Posted: 12/1/2016 8:49:55 PM EST
Thanks for the input and responses. It looks like the thanksgiving/cyber Monday sales on the SWFA website have ended so I missed those. Do they normally run any other sales throughout the year?

Now I need to decide between 1st or 2nd focal plane. I hear a lot about 1st focal plane for long range but I'm concerned about the reticle looking to small on low power and wondering if I would actually have any times that I'd need to use the reticle hold overs at less than full power. I haven't gotten a chance to look through a 1st focal plane scope yet, so all my experience with scopes so far has been with inexpensive 2nd focal plane scopes.
Link Posted: 12/2/2016 12:47:16 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By wcoats:
Thanks for the input and responses. It looks like the thanksgiving/cyber Monday sales on the SWFA website have ended so I missed those. Do they normally run any other sales throughout the year?
View Quote


I think they run a tax refund sale in April. It's normally in line with their Black Friday sale if my memory is correct.
Link Posted: 12/3/2016 9:25:02 AM EST
Now I need to decide between 1st or 2nd focal plane. I hear a lot about 1st focal plane for long range but I'm concerned about the reticle looking to small on low power and wondering if I would actually have any times that I'd need to use the reticle hold overs at less than full power. I haven't gotten a chance to look through a 1st focal plane scope yet, so all my experience with scopes so far has been with inexpensive 2nd focal plane scopes.
View Quote


I have a Vortex Viper PST 4-16 2nd focal plane with the MOA reticle, and a US Optics SN3 3.2-17x that is 1st focal plane. Honestly, I am not sure I am tactical enough for an FFP scope. I don't usually shoot it at lower powers, same with the Viper, so accommodating for the power setting is really a moot point (for me). That being said, I can see where it would come into play, especially if you are having to process a cluttered environment (where the lower powers will be helpful).

Personally, I would have been fine with the 2nd plane on the USO, but like I said, my shooting isn't technical enough to really appreciate the benefits of an FFP. That being said, I believe it really depends on how you train and the type of shooting you want to get into.
Link Posted: 12/18/2016 8:39:08 PM EST
I recently went through this same decision. I've been slowly transitioning over to FFP in all of my precision scopes and I had the exact HS-T the OP was considering. The Vortex is a nice scope, glass is ok for the money and the turrets are very nice and tracked well for me. I bought it when they first introduced the HS-T line and used it for a few years on a couple of different platforms and never had an issue out of it at all. I just wanted to go to first focal plane across the board. I'll never go back to second focal after starting to shoot precision matches and using FFP for holds. I find that I love using lower power and still being able to hold and the holds being consistent and not having to worry about it. If second focal doesn't bother you, the Vortex is a great scope.

Figuring that SWFA would do a Black Friday sale, I sold my Vortex after reading a ton of reviews on the SWFA prior to the sale and picked one up. In playing with it I like it and feel satisfied with the trade. The glass is good, fairly clear and bright. The reticle is good, maaaaaybe a touch thick on the top end but thats just me knit picking. The turrets are pretty good, I'd give the edge to feel to the Vortex but the turrets feel solid and tracked really well. There is a dude on Snipers Hide that sells a nifty zero stop setup for the SWFA I'll be picking up soon and then it is just like the Vortex with the shims. I finally got to use it last weekend and I feel it is the better of the two scopes IMO. I went out to 750yds with the SPR I was shooting it on and it all distances in between and it tracked very well and focused well. I feel like it was a bargain at the $560 they were for Black Friday. For the $700 they normally are I'd struggle between it and a Bushnell for that price point but I'm a Bushnell fan. It does feel rock solid and in seeing so many people having good experiences with the SS scopes over the years I kinda wanted to try one. Hope this helps OP.

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