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SWFA Super Sniper - A bargain basement optic that can hold its own against a top shelf scope. Print
Product Reviews
Written by SP Staff   

The SWFA Super Sniper

A bargain basement optic that can hold its own against a top shelf scope.

by SP Staff
© 2004 Sniper's Paradise


Over the years I can't tell you how many times we at Snipers Paradise have been approached by individuals who have a strong interest in building a tactical rifle, but soon abandon the idea after seeing just how expensive putting together “a stick” can be. While most people are prepared to invest the necessary cash into a rifle, the realization that a scope can cost more than the rifle can be a splash of cold water in the face. Then … We assume that you're going to want to mount the scope on top that rifle, meaning you'll need rings and a scope base, then a sling for position shooting, a swivel bipod with a KMW pod lock for stabilizing when prone, a Tank knob, a tactical stock upgrade, a trigger upgrade, and oh yeah.. peripheral equipment, laser range finder, binoculars, spotting scope, tripod for the spotting scope, lens pen, SAF correction card, dope book – then lets not forget that you need a ruck ( preferably with a hydration system ) to carry this all around with you…….. It all starts to add up fast; well beyond most budgets that are already pressing the spouse to make you sleep on the couch issue.

So, is there a way for a novice to have his cake and eat it too? - WITHOUT having to sleep out on the couch? Up until recently, not really. But it looks like SWFA www.riflescopes.com may have a solution.

I won't dwell too deep into the long distant past when Tasco introduced the Super Sniper line of scopes and impressed so many people, that even the US Navy provided them with a contract. Then, there was a crash in the quality, bringing the recurrent conversation of “They used to be good, but ...” While initially skeptical of SWFA's proposal for the Snipers Paradise staff to review the SWFA Super Sniper scope, we never pass up an opportunity for a first hand “hands on”. We at SP live for this stuff; the good, the bad and the ugly.

Super Sniper

When the Super Sniper 10x42 (model ss10x42) arrived, my first impression after I dug it out of the canyon of packing peanuts was its agreeable size and weight. Considering all the gear you pack on a competition or a call out, smaller and lighter is most definitely preferable. Further observations revealed a bead blasted mat black finish, a built in sunshade, approximant 1 inch deep, and well defined numbering on the turrets, that while visible, are a bit cluttered. Interestingly, instead of a single turret cap set screw like on most scopes, the Super Sniper has three on each turret.

Ok, enough gawking at it for now. It's been here for 15 minutes – Time to mount it and get it back to the range. Down to the workshop we go with scope in hand where I mounted it into a set of D.D. Ross Heavy Tactical Rings. Overkill for this application to be sure, but if I were to run into any unexplained difficulties or failures, I did not want to have to suspect anything but what I was here to test. That done, I selected “Big Bertha” from the arms vault, a 308 Winchester caliber Remington 700 short action upgraded to M40-A3 specs by the D. D. Ross company sporting a 10x Leupold Mark 4 M1 and headed to the back yard with my non scope partial daughters in tow. Since it is this type of scope that the Super Sniper will naturally be pitted against in all arguments and evaluations, I thought it to be an ideal test medium despite its price tag of $1289.99

Test phase one would be a Snellen eye chart downloaded and printed off the web, then set up against a target stand some 140 yards distant. With the sun well behind and to the right of the eye chart, I have my non discriminating evaluation crew assume the bipod and rear bag supported prone position and read off the chart with Big Bertha still wearing the Leupold MK4, with myself include in this mêlée. We then changed scopes over to the Super Sniper and repeated the test. (M1913 Picatinney rails are a great thing! ) The results were, to say the least, rather surprising:

 

 

Leupold MK4

Super Sniper

Emily

77%

 

83%

Julie

83%

100%

Evil Dad ( aka Big John )

72%

72%

Average:

77.3%

85%

 

So, here we have an average of a 7.7% increase in scores in favor of the Super Sniper! That's a $300 scope versus a $1300 dollar scope. Humnmm….

But before we all sell of our oils stocks, I should point out that this was not a truly scientific evaluation. But it does show that the Super Sniper is capable of great clarity in sunny clear skies. And those younger eyes are much sharper than Dads.

Already surprised, I head back to the 100 yard range for a live fire evaluation. After a simple bore sighting and establishing the zero, I zeroed the windage and elevation knobs which sports three cap screws over the Leupold's one and reset them to the zero. With a few rounds down range to verify the zero, I began to verify the increments of the of the elevation turret. Often referred to as a “box” test, I adjusted the elevation knob up five MOA with each shot. Now, we all know that 1 Minute of Angle (MOA) subtends to 1.047 inches at 100 yards. With 5 minutes up dialed in elevation knob, should mean that I should find that all bullet impact holes 5.235” above the zero strike, with an allowance of ½ inch for the 175 gr bthp's trajectory, I was quite pleased to see that all impacts were within specification all the way up and again back down the ladder of the 45 MOA of elevation I opted to try, thus proving that the Super Sniper does have 1000 yard capability. This is a test that historically has proven many scopes, costing well over eight times the retail price of this scope, impotent. When the same was test was done with the left and right windage, all was found to still hold true to form. However, it was during this test that I encountered a deficiency that I did not expect. The protrusion of the ring base; where the ring cap screws down into place, blocked the view of the windage knob while in the shooter ready position with my cheek atop the stocks comb. Making it so in order to view where the windage dial was set, I had to remove my head from the stock to confirm its setting. Personally, I'm from the school of thought that all adjustments are made from the shooter ready position, and the added length of the Leupold's turret facilitates this, where the Super Sniper does not. But all one has to do to see it is move his head off the stock. So I'll let you decide if I'm being over finicky.

Super Sniper

With that done, I ran both knobs back and forth through their full range of movement and returned to zero. Loaded one round and fired. It cut the hole made by the first shot.

Not Bad, Not bad at all.

The Super Sniper afforded 152 MOA extreme range of travel available of elevation and 147.25 MOA total travel of windage, with the zeros comfortably away from the ends of the range of travel, which should protect against compression of the internal moving parts over a period of time, keeping them in a more central, even pressure position. For when a scopes turret is compacted in an extreme end for any given time, the effects of time and pressure win out against the regulating mechanism. Just like in the Grand Canyon .

By this time, evening was fast approaching and I decided to grab this opportunity to examine the Super Snipers twilight performance. Throwing all the gear into a well worn F250 4x4, I truck up to my local Appalachian hilltops to watch the surrounds as the sun goes down through a Super Sniper and a Leupold Mark 4. The weather seemed to desire to facilitate a variety of conditions perfect for putting these scopes through their paces a muggy late summer evening with pockets of mist forming in the valley lowlands between the hills. It was in these tests that the reasons for the $1000.00 price difference began to emerge. While the Super Sniper did not lose the targeted image in the scope, the same item was much clearer through the MK 4 in the on setting mist. When turned westward into the setting sun, the Super Sniper was prone to sun glare that the MK 4 seemed almost magically to filter out. And when turned horizontally southward into a non-mist affected, deciduous, hardwoods tree line in the waning light, the fine details of the forest lost their sharpness in contrast with the surrounds when compared with the Leupold. The reticle, despite its being “thinner” than that on the Mark 4, stayed clear and was easily seen until darkness and a waiting dinner demanded a conclusion to the tests.

The following day when I compared the Super Sniper side by side to the Leupold MK 4 with some informal shooting, ringing the steel gongs 300 and 400 yards distant, a few other observations caught my notice. The turrets clicks are somewhat mushy and not as positive as on the Leupold. That coupled with the lack of checkering on the knob makes it so that the shooter has to pay close attention to making these adjustments, a problem compounded by the ¼ - ½ - ¾ MOA hash marks being thick and all of the same length producing a cluttered appearance. But I did like very much the 15 MOA Stadia lines on the inner portion of the tower – indicating one full revolution of the turret, this would at a glance display if the zero setting sown on the dial is correctly set for the 100 yard zero or 15 or 30 ( etcetera ) above zero. Lastly, my final nit pick would be that the rear parallax and fine tune focus features; while capable of providing great clarity, takes time to fine tune in correctly.

But overall, while the cheap Big Lots “Skeeter dope” ( insect repellant ) didn't work during the test, the affordable Super Sniper preformed phenomenally well for a scope with a bargain basement price tag of $299.95 Many times we have warned people against inexpensive scopes, and with first hand good experiences as to why! But with the Super Sniper, I feel we now have a cost effective scope that can perform up to the expectations necessary in an accuracy rifle system.

While I'd have to admit that the Super Sniper is not going to knock the MK4 off its rightful place on the top shelf of the scope world, it does offer a viable alternative to newcomers or those who just can not afford the big ticket items.

Specifications:

  • Fixed 10x Magnification

  • 30mm Main tube

  • Aluminum construction

  • Black matt finished

  • Laser etched glass Mil Dot reticle

  • 42mm Objective is recessed approximately 1 inch inside the bell housing

  • 4 inch eye relief

  • Turrets have audible and physical click adjustments

  • Weight = 21 ounces

Available trajectory adjustments:

  • Elevation - 152 MOA Extreme range of travel available, bottom to top.
  • After mounted on 30 MOA tapered base, the Scope still had 90 MOA available above zero.
  • Windage - 147.25 MOA total travel of windage

After zeroed on 30 MOA tapered base; 72.25 MOA Available for adjustment Right. 75.0 MOA Available for adjustment Left

$299.99