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Super Sniper Technical Information from SWFA Print
Product Reviews
Written by Chris from SWFA   

Super Sniper
Technical Information
from SWFA

  by Chris from SWFA
 
© 2004 Sniper's Paradise


would like to thank Snipers Paradise for providing SWFA the opportunity to send our Super Sniper scopes for evaluation. We appreciate the time spent in both testing and writing the reviews as well as posting the results on snipersparadise.com.

The hardest thing most reviewers face is forgetting the fact that the scope only cost $299., putting aside any predetermined prejudice, and forgetting that the scope they use cost over $1000. I think Snipers Paradise did a good job in all of these aspects.

We take these scopes very seriously and realize that U.S. troops lives depend on these scopes daily. This year we have shipped a record amount of Super Sniper scopes to various bases all over the U.S. for sniper platoons deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. Anything and everything we learn from these valuable reviews is considered in production.

I would like to add some technical information from the manufacturer's perspective that should aid readers in comprehending some of the results.


Light Gathering and Clarity

The Super Sniper scopes compare so well in the clarity department because they use high end fully multi-coated optics that must fall into a certain spec range mandated by the military contract.

Exit pupil and twilight performance are indicators of how well you will see an image at night combined with the glass and coatings.

Exit Pupil - The size of the column of light that leaves the eyepiece of a scope (usually measured in millimeters). The larger the exit pupil, the brighter the image, with 6-7mm considered to be prime for the average user. To determine the size of the exit pupil, divide the objective lens diameter by the power of the scope. IE; a 10x42 scope would have a 4.2mm exit pupil. 42/10=4.2. If you are determining the exit pupil of a variable scope you must go about the formula a little differently. IE; 4.5-14x50 will emit a different size exit pupil on every power (11.11mm - 3.5mm). Simply determine what size exit pupil you want and divide that number into the objective lens and the answer is what power you need to set it on to achieve that exit pupil. To compare a 4.5-14x50 to a 10x42 you would need to put the 4.5-14x50 on 11.9x (50/4.2=11.9).

Your eye gathers more or less light as conditions change. The pupil is controlled by the iris which allows it to change in size from 2mm - 8mm depending on the light. As we grow older the maximum diameter that our pupil will dilate decreases. Most eyes dilate to about 7mm or 8mm at age 20, but only to about 5mm at age 50. Since the light gathering ability of a variable riflescope is changeable and the light gathering ability of a fixed power scope is fixed, it is important to compare them while they are emitting the same size exit pupil. A 56mm NightForce set on 10x will produce a 5.6mm exit pupil, a 4.5-14x50 Leupold will produce a 5mm exit pupil on 10x and the Super Sniper 10x42 emits a 4.2mm exit pupil. 6-7mm is optimum for low light performance. A difference of .5mm is substantial. Comparing a 42mm, 50mm and 56mm scope all set on 10x will benefit the scope with the largest objective lens. Another major factor in low light performance is determined by the scope's twilight performance.


Twilight Performance - During daylight hours the magnification will be the principal factor in image resolution. At night, when your pupil is dilated, objective size is the controlling factor. In twilight conditions both of these factors affect resolution. The twilight performance compares scope performance under these conditions. A higher twilight performance indicates that the scope will resolve images better under dim light conditions.

Calculate the twilight performance of a scope this way:

  1. Multiply the magnification by the aperture
  2. Find the square root of this product


According to this indicator, a Leupold 4.5-14x50 set on 10x which would be a 10x50 (twilight performance of 22.4) would resolve better than a 10x42 Super Sniper (twilight performance of 20.5). Remember, however, that the twilight performance will primarily indicate performance at dawn or dusk without consideration of the light transmittance or glass quality of the scope.

Super Sniper 10x42
10x42 = 420
20.493901531919196 x 20.493901531919196 = 420
Twilight Performance of 20.5
Exit Pupil of 4.2mm

Leupold 4.5-14x50 set on 10x
10x50 = 500
22.360679774997898 x 22.360679774997898 = 500
Twilight Performance of 22.4
Exit Pupil of 5mm


Here is where it gets tricky. You can resolve better in low light with a 3.5-10x40 set on 10x than you can with a 3.5-10x50 set on 6x even though the 3.5-10x50 set on 6x has a twice the exit pupil of the 3.5-10x40 set on 10x (8.3mm vs. 4.0mm). This is also why deer hunters prefer a 10x42 to a 7x50. Exit pupil is not the only determining factor in low light performance.

Leupold 3.5-10x40 set on 10x
10x40 = 400
20 x 20 = 400
Twilight Performance of 20
Exit Pupil of 4mm

Leupold 3.5-10x50 set on 6
6x50 = 300
17.320508075688774 x 17.320508075688774 = 300
Twilight Performance of 17.3
Exit Pupil of 8.3mm


In other words it is difficult to compare scopes with different size objective lenses fairly in a low light test.

Turrets

The Super Sniper Turrets have a concentrated amount of special salt water resistant grease that can make the knobs difficult to turn when new. We recommend “lapping” the adjustments by turning each knob until it stops in both directions for a minimum of 50 times prior to mounting. This does two things; spreads the grease out evenly and breaks in the adjustments by removing any sharp or high points. Same procedure is often required for Leupold's M1 style turrets (a by-product of being built to mil-spec).

It is actually nice to hear Allen complain about the turrets being hard to turn as it was not too long ago when people complained about them being too easy to turn. Corrections in production tolerances now have them more tactile and audible than they have ever been.

Repeatability and Ruggedness

The mil-spec requirements make the Super Sniper scopes almost bullet proof. They are built to with stand continuous heavy recoil in the most harsh conditions (-50 degrees to +130 degrees Fahrenheit, and altitudes of 30,000 feet to depths of 15 feet in salt water), in other words they are soldier proof.

Parallax Adjustment

There are three ways to adjust the effects of parallax in a riflescope, each has it pros and cons. The Super Sniper 10x42 is offered in either Side or Rear.

1. Front - This method moves the objective lens in and out hence the term "adjustable objective". Its the first way manufacturers figured out how to adjust parallax and it is probably still the best way to do it. The scope maker can display more yardage markings because of the increased circumference of the adjustment and they can use slow or fast pitched threads.

2. Side - This method is a side mounted third knob on the center saddle section of a scope. Easily viewed and adjusted (for right hand shooters).
This method uses very fast threads to achieve major adjustments in a short movement because of the limited circumference, making it difficult to fine tune. This method also adds to the cost of the scope because it is very expensive to manufacturer. Susceptible to damage because it is the farthest protruding object on the left side of the rifle.

3. Rear - Located directly in front of the eye piece where you would normally change the power on a variable scope. Not widely used because it can only be implemented on a fixed power scope. Easy to access and read for right or left hand shooters. Quite a bit less expensive to make when compared to front or side. This method is the most durable.

 

Affordability

By far the best and worst thing about the Super Sniper. Its low retail price often hinders its ability to be taken seriously. Original contract price was pushing $1,000.00. when we bought a large number from the original contract over run at a close-out price. When we decided to have the Super Sniper scopes made exclusively for us we had already established a market value and knew that we would have to be able to buy them at the same close out price in order to offer them to the public at the same close out price from the original deal. This was only possible for the following reasons; cost of production was greatly reduced because of the number of units made, scopes are not sold from factory to designer to distributor to dealer to public, and we did not have the overhead associated with designing and building this scope (Taco did).

You would be surprised if you knew what a $1000.00 Leupold cost once you stripped away the over head, four levels of mark up, reps commission, catalog/advertising, r&d, etc. Basically that is why the Super Sniper scopes are so affordable and compare favorably to $1000. scopes because they really are $1000. scopes in disguise.

Thanks again to Snipers Paradise for an excellent review,
CF
SWFA, Inc.