View Full Version : Springfield Armory Scopes

Rich Lucibella
April 17, 1999, 10:19 AM
I'm in the process of putting together a "long range" rifle (not quoted euphemism) and am looking for info on the Springfield Armory scopes. (Specifically, the 4-14X52 MilDot). These were mentioned in another thread and I went to their site to take a look. Sexy stuff.

Question: Can anyone speak to the issue of leans quality and durability?

Mike A
April 17, 1999, 12:00 PM

I personally don't have one, but I can say I've been looking into one for the same reasons you are. Two of my co-workers (both of whom are qualified snipers and are SOTIC graduates) have Springfield Armory optics on their Model 700's. One of the guns is a .308 and the other is a .300 Win Mag. They've never had a single problem with them as far as repeatable accuracy, holding zero, etc. I've considered the SA, Leupold, and Shephard as my choices, and for the money the SA seems hard to beat. The Generation 2/3 versions are loaded with features that just beg to be used: lit reticles for low light/dark background, anti-cant level, simple 3/4 Mil-dot reticle, etc.

I'm in the same boat you're in, and when I can afford the right sight, I'm heavily leaning towards the SA first, with the Leupold being my second choice.


"There's gunpowder and there's pu**y. Live by one, die by the other, and love the smell of both."

Rich Lucibella
April 17, 1999, 01:29 PM
Mad Dog McClung informs me that the 3rd Generation SA scopes run int the 2lb range! (32oz). Compared to the Leupold equivalent scope at 17.5oz, this is *heavy*.

I note that the weight of the SA's jumped with the development of Gen II...these have the adjustable objective. There was no further weight gain with the illuminated reticle provided in Gen III. All styles are constructed of the same materials.

Scott Evans
April 17, 1999, 05:21 PM
I can’t help you with the SA scope as I haven’t had opportunity to do any more then look through them at the Shot Show. However, the scope I have been most impressed with recently is a J. Unertl. Very bright fast focus and quick “click” adjustable for windage and elevation.

David Schmidbauer
April 17, 1999, 06:15 PM

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 :D ) 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"

Rich Lucibella
April 17, 1999, 06:39 PM
Thanks very much for the additional info. I ordered a Gen III today. Though I can cancel or change the order on Monday, I think I really need to handle this toy!

Now for the next question. I know your background is with the MilDot system. My experience with anything but Leupold's rangefinder rifle scopes is *very* limited. That said, are you opposed to SA's proprietary ranging system? It seems a bit complicated at first, but as you said, look at the purpose of the rifle.

Whether shooting prairie dogs or human size silhouettes, it would seem that you'll quickly learn to use one scale or another (10", 18" or 24"). And, unless you're using lots of different ammo types, it seems to free you from having to reference the card.

[This message has been edited by Rich Lucibella (edited April 17, 1999).]

David Schmidbauer
April 17, 1999, 11:57 PM
>are you opposed to SA's proprietary ranging system?

In theory no. In practice yes. You have to remember that I’m a Retired Marine and Marines are not known for their intelligence. We like the “KISS” principle. Keep It Simple Stupid. That said here is my thoughts on proprietary systems. I’ve never shot a SA proprietary system but I did do a work up with a Shepherd (DON’T even get me started on THAT scope!)

First off… there is, IMO, WAYYYYY too much happening in the scope. All those lines and +s or circles all over the sight picture. Additionally, you have multiple ranging areas that are suppose to subtend 18” (or whatever) at a given yardage (usually in multiples of 100). Now in theory what you are suppose to do is find one of the ranging areas that line up with an 18” part of your target. Fine… in principle. But what do you do if none of them line up? You know what you do… you guess. When you guess you stand a chance of being wrong on the range.

With a MilDot the reticle is “clean” and uncluttered. All you need to know is the approximate size of your target in yards and you can get your range. Also, a MilDot retcicle can be broken down to 1/8th Mils (that’s 4.5” @ 1000 yds). You can get more accurate ranging when you use fractions of Mils in the formula.

Secondly with a MilDot not only can you range with it but also you can use the dots themselves as aiming points for hold overs/hold unders/leads/windage. Good example… my deer stand sits at the bottom of a field that is shaped like a V. The right leg goes out to about 110 yards, the left 290. I have my scope zeroed for 200 yards. With the trajectory of my hunting round I use the bottom of the first mildot above the cross hair for any deer that shows up to my right (hold under). I use the first mildot below the cross hair for any deer that shows up at the far end on the left (hold over). I know where 200 years are on my left so I hold dead on. No knobs to turn, no anything… just use the correct aiming point and shot. Took a few deer this year this way.

The same can be used for leads/windage. Say your target is 300 yards out and you got a strong wind. Yeah Yeah you could “dial” it all in but you may not have time. OK so you use the MilDots for your hold over and Kentucky windage. Nope… you won’t have a “aiming” point but your eye will be able to draw intersecting lines down/over from the correct dots. It is kind of hard to explain, but in practice it is fairly easy.

I’m sure the proprietary systems work well (or might they just be a Sales Gimmick?). But think about it for a minute. What recticle do the people who make a living at precision shooting, have a real need for accurate ranging, might need to make quick shots w/o adjusting their knobs and whos life may depend entirely on weather or not they make “this one shot” usually use. 10 to 1 it isn’t a Proprietary system… it’s a MilDot.

After you understand the MilDot you'll be saying to yourself... "How friggen simple... how friggen versatile". If it were at all possible I'd have a MilDot recticle in every scope I owned. I'm going to check with Leupold to see if they could put a MilDot in their Scout Scope (though I doubt it because of the low power of that scope and there is probably not that much demand for it)

As I said in a previous post had the Gen III SAs been available when I was in the market for a Precision Scope I probably would have gotten one. But with a full MilDot recticle, not their proprietary system nor the bastard combination proprietary/MilDot.

A great write-up on MilDots can be found in Maj. J Plaster (sp?) "Ultimate Sniper".

Disclaimer... the above is the rantings of a hard-headed, brain washed former Marine who is, in fact, in love with MilDots. :D

Schmit, GySgt, USMC(Ret)
NRA Life, Lodge 1201-UOSSS
"Si vis Pacem Para Bellum"

Rich Lucibella
April 18, 1999, 12:26 AM
I, for one, am getting a bit tired of you beating around the bush. I just wish you'd come out and tell us how you really feel! :)

Seriously, thanks for the examples and the education.

April 18, 1999, 02:18 AM
Nice scope. I have one with the range finding reticle on a Steyr SSG Match (Pre-PII). Made by Haako in Japan. I was always impressed with the Haako line but they do not sell directly in this country, just do OEM stuff. Much less expensive than the Leupold.

April 18, 1999, 07:41 PM
Had both M4 Leupold, and SA. I would rather have the SA and put the $ difference in ammo to help learn the SA system. GLV

chris in mo
April 18, 1999, 09:44 PM
Rich and David...Just to muddy the issue further I thought I would tell you about a thrid reticle pattern that Springfield has just started advertising. It is called the "Pattented Mil Dot" if I remember correctly. It seems to combine the best of both reticles. The horizontal cross hair and the top portion of the vertical cross hair are standard mill dots. The lower portion of the vertical cross hair are small cross hairs instead of the mil dots. These small cross hairs are set to compensate for bullet drop at 200, 300, 400 yards etc... The ranging is done with the mil dots, then the correct cross hair is used. These additional cross hairs appear to be only slightly larger than the mill dots and do not have the brackets for range estimation. It leaves the reticle looking very precise and uncluttered.

Chris in MO

[This message has been edited by chris in mo (edited April 18, 1999).]