My $.02 FWIW. A little back ground first.
I’ve got a Leupold Mark-4 M-1 on my “precision” rifle. In regard to the cost of the rifle the price of the scope was not a consideration. I wanted the best scope possible for the application at the time. The requirements were as follows
1 – MilDot Rectical
2 – Target Knobs
3 – Adjustable Objective
4 – Great Optics
It really came down to either the M-1 or M-3. I settled on the Mark-4 M-1 for the following reasons. The M-3 was a vari-power but it had to be set on 10X for the MilDots to subtend correctly for ranging. Also, the M-3 has a bullet cam that is designed move POI for a specific projectile (.308 Match). I wanted the versatility of being able to change rounds... from say Match Ammo to rounds taken off a MG belt to soft points for hunting to those “Magnum” .308s that deliver 30-06 ballistics.
With the M-1 it was a fixed 10X and the MilDots always subtend correctly. With the Target Knobs (vice cam) I could make up different Trajectory Cards for each round I may shoot (which I’ve done for the three I’ve shot so far).
Now as far as the Springfield is concerned. Had the current generation of SA Scopes been on the market I’d have probably gotten one of those. I like a variable scope (and a 10X is a little hard to use to pick up a moving target (ohhhh… say the size of a chicken that is in a full “get out of Dodge” run
) at < 100 yards.
The biggest selling point of the current SA IMO is that the MilDot recticle is on the focal plain that allows it to always subtend correctly at every power. There are two focal plains that variable power recticles can be placed on. Americans are use to the plain on which the recticle does NOT change in size when the power is increased or decreased. Europeans use the other one where the recticle changes size in relation to the power setting. This takes some getting use to but IMO is much better. While the recticle may LOOK bigger as you increase power it really does not get bigger… you are only making the entire field of view (target) larger.
This is how the SA is set up. The MilDots still subtend correctly (i.e. 3.6” @ 100 yds) no matter what the power. They look bigger as you increase power because you are looking at the target “closer”… but they still subtend only 3.6”s.
I didn’t have a chance to shoot with the SA my friend was testing as it was already off the rifle to be returned to SA. But just playing with it out his window into his back yard I was impressed. The scope was clear and bright. And as I said the recticle is set on the correct focal plain.
I also like the lighted recticle. I could have used this a few times during hunts. Leupold, BTW, now has a lighted recticle… but theirs only illuminates the center + and not the entire recticle like the SA (i.e. you can only aim with the Leupold… with the SA you can also range in low light).
The SA also has a little bubble level located in the scope. Whether or not this is an “important” feature is debatable. I understand the concept but unless you are shooting WAAAAY canted I don’t think you POI will change to any great extent (it may at long range (>500 yd.)). BUT on the other hand ANYTHING that helps you to repeatedly hit your target…
The only thing I dislike about the SA is the location of the AO. It is in the “normal” location. The Mark-4 has an extra knob on the left side of the scope that is used for the AO (on the SA this knob housed the battery & illumination brightness switch)…. This has just spoiled me. I think SA should change to this set-up and put the battery housing/switch in another location… say another knob in front of the AO knob on the left side.
As for the weight of the scope. Does that REALLY matter with the kind of rifle you are setting up? Are you going to be using you rifle to stalk game? Or are you going to be set-up some where overlooking a large area waiting for game. Same Same with targets… you going to be stalking them or set-up shooting @ long yardage. If you have a problem with carrying you rifle/scope combo to say a camp… well… Eagle Industries makes a GREAT Drag Bag. I keep mind loaded down with 40 extra rounds, cleaning gear (including a full-length rod), my spotting scope/tripod, a few targets, along with the rifle. The EI Drag Bag has straps that turn it into a “Rifle Back Pack.
Schmit, GySgt, USMC(Ret)
NRA Life, Lodge 1201-UOSSS
"Si vis Pacem Para Bellum"