S&B 5-25 PMII Still a Good Choice?

danbar54

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Minuteman
Mar 9, 2019
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I’m in the market for a scope with a 25X top end, and am having a hard time deciding what to get. I have two USO LR17s, which I like a lot, but I am desiring a little more magnification on the top end for paper punching and load development. I don’t compete in Precision rifle, but I do enjoy shooting steel at distance which, for me, is out to 800 yards.

I considered another USO, but I don’t believe that they’re the same company that they were years ago when I bought my LR17s, and I don’t want to sink big dollars into something that may have quality issues. I’ve looked at the NF ATACRs, but don’t care for the reticle choices, and frankly, NFs don’t blow up my skirt for some reason. Don’t know why. I don’t want a Vortex or Khales either. That leads me to S&B. For years they have been considered Tier 1 optics with amazing glass. I honestly don’t know how they compare with other offerings in that department as I’ve never gotten behind one, but the legend lives and I have to believe that there is some truth to it.

I’m considering a 5-25 PMII, but I’m not sure which specific model would suite my shooting preferences. I primary dial for elevation and hold for windage, so I don’t need a Horus or similar reticle. FFP is a must. I tend to not trade or sell items once I’ve bought them if they are functional and the quality is high, so this purchase would likely last me the rest of my shooting lifetime. You only live once and I’d like to have at least one high end optic before I’m pushing up daisies. Is this scope that purchase?

Money
My first scope for my 6.5CM was a Kahles K525i. Then when S&B consolidated their distributorship, I got a new 5-25 PMII for about $2500 (for my .223). The Kahles ergonomics/fit and finish are head and shoulders above the S&B and the optical quality is somewhat better. (to my eyes) I would have gotten another Kahles, but the price was hard to turn down.
 

Nortex

Sergeant
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Most anyone shooting matches long enough has rolled a windage turret.

You can even hear the current NRL season champ on a podcast mention rolling his turrets several times.
Shot big matches for 4 years with tons of 1 days and haven't rolled one yet. I've heard guys say it happened but never seen it or experienced it.

Which podcast? I shot with Tate several times this year and he was running what seemed like a different scope each match.
 

CSTactical

Sniper's Hide Vendor
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Are there any good write-ups on these scopes? For me it all comes down to tracking, glass and reticle. I’d like to hear some opinions. The thing about the S&Bs is that they’ve been making these things for a long time, and one thing is certain in manufacturing, when you have done it year after year with high quality control, your product will work and it will be reliable. I don’t know anything about these guys.

Here's some hide threads on them, and also some reviews linked below:

I hope this helps...
 
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Dthomas3523

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Shot big matches for 4 years with tons of 1 days and haven't rolled one yet. I've heard guys say it happened but never seen it or experienced it.

Which podcast? I shot with Tate several times this year and he was running what seemed like a different scope each match.
I misremembered. It wasn’t on a podcast. It was on Spuhr’s website talking about the gray ops turret guards.

7B818AC2-ECB3-4583-8B82-9493F2BD505A.jpeg
 
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Gil P.

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Bp214......I’m in Nevada, so that’s a no go. I appreciate the offer though. If I were nearby I’d definitely take you up on your offer.

Thanks
I live in vegas. I have an M7Xi and ZP5. I've looked through some PM ii's, keep in mind the diopters on the PM ii's were not adjusted to my eyes, and I thought my ZP5 looked a bit better.

The glass on my M7XI and Minox are very similar. I get some minor CA on the Steiner when my head is off center. Low light resolution on the Steiner looked a little better than the Minox (both at 25x). The Steiner is very easy to get behind.

Turrets between the M7Xi and ZP5 are equally as good as the other, they both offer a different feel. M7Xi's turrets are slightly wider. I preferred both over the S&Bs turrets.

I'm no expert, just my opinion.

I think the best thing you could do is pick which reticle you like best and go with that scope.

Look at Ilya's videos on YouTube. It's under Dark Lord of Optics. He's done extensive reviews on all these scopes.
 
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Money Waster

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Here's some hide threads on them, and also some reviews linked below:

I hope this helps...
Great, thanks!
 
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psinclair

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5-25 PMII's have been around for what, fifteen years? That says a lot.

FWIW, I have and use all three of mine. Mine are all the older ones from 2006 circa....
 
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Huskydriver

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Guns&WhiteWater

Shall not be infringed
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Feb 21, 2017
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Guns and WhiteWater, what do you like about each?
What I like about each scope, as compared to the other, is entirely subjective and might not be 100% consistent with the same scope coming off the line a year or two later. Also I need to preface this by saying that I absolutely love both scopes but no scope or feature is perfect for everybody.

The good - My PMII DT turret model has smoother controls, most noticeably the parallax dial. It just oozes quality. The turning resistance is even from 10 yds to infinity and it has a “fluid” feeling with a hard stop on each end of the range. Hard to describe but it’s one of the small joys of using an alpha class scope. It speaks of a high level of engineering. In use it makes getting to the proper setting quick and easy. I also appreciate that the distance markings on the dial actually line up pretty close to actual distances. In comparison, the same dial on the ZP5 I have does not feel as fluid. On the lower end for closer ranges there is a noticeable hitch that takes a different amount of resistance to overcome. Not a big deal but it is something that I mentally downgraded my Minox for in comparison from an engineering standpoint.

The finish on the PMII is also done very well. This facet is entirely outside the main purpose of the scope but I appreciate it nonetheless. I also appreciate the fact that it has a long history of being “battle tested” although I have zero plans to test my PMII’s durability by purposely abusing it. But it does give me confidence. And confidence in your equipment is a good foundation to build upon. Mine has the P4F reticle which I love due to its simplicity but have recently begun to find I prefer a little more data in my scope reticle. But the reticle itself is very well done. It is crisp and even as is the total IQ. It’s what I call stunning. Fun to just gaze through sometimes. No CA, edge-to-edge clarity, easy to read mirage, etc. Passed the tall target test with flying colors. Incredible resolution. I like that I can see my bullet holes in cardboard at 500 yards. Also, when on the max power I don’t strain nearly as much as I do with a lot of my other lower cost scopes. I’m on max power a lot because I enjoy working up loads with different bullets and I shoot paper fairly often, probably about a third of the time. Maybe the correct way to say it is that the sweet spot of the mag range extends further into the higher powers.

Lastly, the turrets on my PMII are great. Spacing is tight but absolute. They don’t click, they clunk into place, and there is no play in between clunks. The windage and elevation turrets feel very similar and the elevation zero stop is very well done with a constant 0.6 mils below zero available. When you hit the built-in zero stop you know it.

All in all from top to bottom I feel like the PMII is a bit more refined than the ZP5, albeit an older design with some well known attributes that get brought up in reviews as being negative, including tunneling below 7 power and the illumination dial that is separate from the parallax dial and without off settings between intensity levels.

The tunneling is a non issue for me. I like to think of it as a trade off for a piece of gear that is time tested, but it’s not a selling point to be sure. But I actually prefer the separate illumination dial because I shoot a right handed rifle, I almost never use it, and it doesn’t get in the way of the parallax dial.

Now for the weaknesses. The format of the markings on the PMII windage turret is awful. Very confusing to me, and intuitively backwards. In the beginning my brain saw the R with an arrow and I dialed backwards because all I saw was the R printed on the L side. So I fixed that by applying a fine label to the turret that shows 1R, 2R, 3R, 1L, 2L, etc. I also painted a very fine line on the side of the windage turret to align with 1.0 mils to the right so I could see it without having to crane my neck around the stock to verify the actual zero setting, which is marked in a relief notch but gets partially obstructed by the scope ring. I also wish there was a diopter lock but since I run scope caps it’s not a big deal they give me a visual indication by the caps vertical alignment.

I would compare the 5-25 PMII to a classic car that had more parts made by hand and where a greater attention to internal design, robustness, and smoothness of feel was given to the things under the hood, but where driver comfort was not necessarily in the top three of design priorities. Times and personal preferences change, and classic cars may seem sub-standard in some areas compared to newer cars, but from a pure driving standpoint a classic is a classic for a reason, and there’s is a certain joy in knowing this.

Now the Minox is newer to me so everything on it gets compared to the Schmidt. Surprisingly, it’s betterment over the PMII does not extend appreciably to the IQ, which is the primary reason I wanted to try one. They are so close to a tie optically that if one is better, you would be hard pressed to tell unless you were purposely trying to make a side by side comparison. I tried and when I was honest with myself, it had maybe a 2% edge over the PMII. Maybe. So now I chuckle when folks say that such and such “blows away” a PMII. I guess just plain stunning IQ is good enough for me. I don’t need super stunning. I will say that getting the diopter set just right on each scope has a bigger impact on IQ than what each one carries for coatings and whatnot. I do think that the field of view is very slightly larger on the ZP5 on all powers.

Where the ZP5 rocks is in the MR4 reticle, the feel and sound of the elevation turret, and the small comforts like the turret markings, the locking diopter, and the lower profile form factor.

It has a slightly shallower turret belly, so can fit lower (if needed) on a non-prone/ more hunting style rifle stock, which would make it just a little more versatile. This may or may not ever matter to most people who are PRS oriented. It mattered to me because it ultimately determined the rifle that the PMII ended up being mounted on, and the scope rings I used. The locking diopter of the ZP5 is just a nice touch, as is the wider and lower height elevation turret from a purely personal aesthetic viewpoint.

I guess I got lucky, but the elevation turret on my ZP5 is extremely nice. It has a very clicky audible response that I can feel is transmitted back through to my fingers with a sharpness that is pleasing to me. Both scopes have excellent elevation turrets, but when behind the rifle I prefer the feel of the ZP5’s elevation turret to the PMII’s. It takes a little more initial resistance to begin turning the Minox turrets which I like when it’s cold outside because I nearly always shoot with thin gloves in the cold. The three or so clicks when going to the second rev do take more resistance to overcome but not as much as I was led to believe from reading other Minox reviews. In fact I like it. I can land my turret on the correct setting without overshooting during this increased resistance by squeezing the turret with a bit more force. And I’m not dialing into the second rev very often.

However, my ZP5 windage turret is more difficult to turn than the elevation turret. I am not sure if it is by design and at first I noted this as an engineering flaw. You can feel the resistance drag of what seems to be intentionally designed into it. However, in actual use I realized this turns out to be a positive since I don’t spin my windage nearly as much as my elevation and I feel it won’t move inadvertently. When I am turning my windage I have to be more focused on it but it’s not a big deal, just different. The illumination dial detents are also weak. I feel this is the single biggest shortcoming of the ZP5 controls. Even if I don’t need illumination, I do fear that I will accidentally turn it on, so I’m careful to check it when I’m done for the day. But it’s does have an automatic illumination shutoff feature so this somewhat negates my criticism of this “design flaw”.

The reticle is where I find the ZP5 to really shine. The MR4 is the first reticle that I have used that I find is nearly perfect. If I was to find any fault, I guess I would say the center dot is hard to see below 10 power. But in use I don’t need the center dot at low powers, because I use the dot gap to bracket my target on lower power. And since the wind is nearly always blowing I use the reference lines in the reticle more than the center dot anyway. This is something that newer shooters should realize, because I remember trying to judge a reticle by a picture too. Actual use changes initial perceptions.

There is one final thing that initially bothered me about the ZP5 but I’ve kind of put it behind me now after 2 months of use. My MR4 reticle is off center by about 0.2 mils. I would not be able to tell this if the reticle wasn’t finely graduated, so it is by no means a distraction. I can’t even tell unless I am comparing the reticle marks left and right to the edge of the field of view. And the scope passed the tall target tracking test as well as my PMII did, which is to say I couldn’t hold the error difference if there is one. I haven’t observed any reticle shift during magnification changes either. What it has left me with is the impression that perhaps the PMII might be better engineered, or at least it comes with a higher level of QC. But at the end of the day I know that nothing is perfect and these two scopes are by far and away the best that I’ve had the pleasure to own. They might be the best I’ll ever own too, because I just can’t justify spending more than $2500 on any single scope for what to me is just a passionate hobby. They both have brought me immensely more enjoyment while shooting.

Long winded but I hope this helps.
 

koshkin

Dark Lord Of Optics
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Feb 22, 2006
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The same guy who designed and built the S&B 5-25x is the guy behind the Minox

Andi worked for S&B and then moved to Minox / GPO and was also behind the Premier and TT scopes.

The reason the Minox appears to be an upgraded S&B 5-25x is because it is... same guy building on his work
Andi is independent now and he consults for a bunch of people, but some of the best scopes in the world have mechanicals designed or influenced by Andi and optics designed or influenced by Lothar. These two are really responsible or some of the best riflescopes we have seen to date.

TT also had input from a few other optics people though so there are some internal differences.

One of the reasons Minox and TT are able to extract a little more performance at distance is that they are not trying to focus down to 10meters like S&B. Keeping the focus adjustment range at 50 yards and beyond helps optimization a little.

S&B PMII 5-25x56 stil goes down to 10 meters, which makes it kinda unique on the high end. I think it is just S&B and March that do this, but I have not checked for a bit.

Honestly, I have looked at a bunch of Schmidts over the years and always liked them optomechanically, but these new developments with GR2ID reticle and the new turret where you can switch MTC on and off are making me want to pick one up.

ILya
 

Money Waster

Private
Belligerents
Minuteman
Dec 20, 2017
147
45
34
What I like about each scope, as compared to the other, is entirely subjective and might not be 100% consistent with the same scope coming off the line a year or two later. Also I need to preface this by saying that I absolutely love both scopes but no scope or feature is perfect for everybody.

The good - My PMII DT turret model has smoother controls, most noticeably the parallax dial. It just oozes quality. The turning resistance is even from 10 yds to infinity and it has a “fluid” feeling with a hard stop on each end of the range. Hard to describe but it’s one of the small joys of using an alpha class scope. It speaks of a high level of engineering. In use it makes getting to the proper setting quick and easy. I also appreciate that the distance markings on the dial actually line up pretty close to actual distances. In comparison, the same dial on the ZP5 I have does not feel as fluid. On the lower end for closer ranges there is a noticeable hitch that takes a different amount of resistance to overcome. Not a big deal but it is something that I mentally downgraded my Minox for in comparison from an engineering standpoint.

The finish on the PMII is also done very well. This facet is entirely outside the main purpose of the scope but I appreciate it nonetheless. I also appreciate the fact that it has a long history of being “battle tested” although I have zero plans to test my PMII’s durability by purposely abusing it. But it does give me confidence. And confidence in your equipment is a good foundation to build upon. Mine has the P4F reticle which I love due to its simplicity but have recently begun to find I prefer a little more data in my scope reticle. But the reticle itself is very well done. It is crisp and even as is the total IQ. It’s what I call stunning. Fun to just gaze through sometimes. No CA, edge-to-edge clarity, easy to read mirage, etc. Passed the tall target test with flying colors. Incredible resolution. I like that I can see my bullet holes in cardboard at 500 yards. Also, when on the max power I don’t strain nearly as much as I do with a lot of my other lower cost scopes. I’m on max power a lot because I enjoy working up loads with different bullets and I shoot paper fairly often, probably about a third of the time. Maybe the correct way to say it is that the sweet spot of the mag range extends further into the higher powers.

Lastly, the turrets on my PMII are great. Spacing is tight but absolute. They don’t click, they clunk into place, and there is no play in between clunks. The windage and elevation turrets feel very similar and the elevation zero stop is very well done with a constant 0.6 mils below zero available. When you hit the built-in zero stop you know it.

All in all from top to bottom I feel like the PMII is a bit more refined than the ZP5, albeit an older design with some well known attributes that get brought up in reviews as being negative, including tunneling below 7 power and the illumination dial that is separate from the parallax dial and without off settings between intensity levels.

The tunneling is a non issue for me. I like to think of it as a trade off for a piece of gear that is time tested, but it’s not a selling point to be sure. But I actually prefer the separate illumination dial because I shoot a right handed rifle, I almost never use it, and it doesn’t get in the way of the parallax dial.

Now for the weaknesses. The format of the markings on the PMII windage turret is awful. Very confusing to me, and intuitively backwards. In the beginning my brain saw the R with an arrow and I dialed backwards because all I saw was the R printed on the L side. So I fixed that by applying a fine label to the turret that shows 1R, 2R, 3R, 1L, 2L, etc. I also painted a very fine line on the side of the windage turret to align with 1.0 mils to the right so I could see it without having to crane my neck around the stock to verify the actual zero setting, which is marked in a relief notch but gets partially obstructed by the scope ring. I also wish there was a diopter lock but since I run scope caps it’s not a big deal they give me a visual indication by the caps vertical alignment.

I would compare the 5-25 PMII to a classic car that had more parts made by hand and where a greater attention to internal design, robustness, and smoothness of feel was given to the things under the hood, but where driver comfort was not necessarily in the top three of design priorities. Times and personal preferences change, and classic cars may seem sub-standard in some areas compared to newer cars, but from a pure driving standpoint a classic is a classic for a reason, and there’s is a certain joy in knowing this.

Now the Minox is newer to me so everything on it gets compared to the Schmidt. Surprisingly, it’s betterment over the PMII does not extend appreciably to the IQ, which is the primary reason I wanted to try one. They are so close to a tie optically that if one is better, you would be hard pressed to tell unless you were purposely trying to make a side by side comparison. I tried and when I was honest with myself, it had maybe a 2% edge over the PMII. Maybe. So now I chuckle when folks say that such and such “blows away” a PMII. I guess just plain stunning IQ is good enough for me. I don’t need super stunning. I will say that getting the diopter set just right on each scope has a bigger impact on IQ than what each one carries for coatings and whatnot. I do think that the field of view is very slightly larger on the ZP5 on all powers.

Where the ZP5 rocks is in the MR4 reticle, the feel and sound of the elevation turret, and the small comforts like the turret markings, the locking diopter, and the lower profile form factor.

It has a slightly shallower turret belly, so can fit lower (if needed) on a non-prone/ more hunting style rifle stock, which would make it just a little more versatile. This may or may not ever matter to most people who are PRS oriented. It mattered to me because it ultimately determined the rifle that the PMII ended up being mounted on, and the scope rings I used. The locking diopter of the ZP5 is just a nice touch, as is the wider and lower height elevation turret from a purely personal aesthetic viewpoint.

I guess I got lucky, but the elevation turret on my ZP5 is extremely nice. It has a very clicky audible response that I can feel is transmitted back through to my fingers with a sharpness that is pleasing to me. Both scopes have excellent elevation turrets, but when behind the rifle I prefer the feel of the ZP5’s elevation turret to the PMII’s. It takes a little more initial resistance to begin turning the Minox turrets which I like when it’s cold outside because I nearly always shoot with thin gloves in the cold. The three or so clicks when going to the second rev do take more resistance to overcome but not as much as I was led to believe from reading other Minox reviews. In fact I like it. I can land my turret on the correct setting without overshooting during this increased resistance by squeezing the turret with a bit more force. And I’m not dialing into the second rev very often.

However, my ZP5 windage turret is more difficult to turn than the elevation turret. I am not sure if it is by design and at first I noted this as an engineering flaw. You can feel the resistance drag of what seems to be intentionally designed into it. However, in actual use I realized this turns out to be a positive since I don’t spin my windage nearly as much as my elevation and I feel it won’t move inadvertently. When I am turning my windage I have to be more focused on it but it’s not a big deal, just different. The illumination dial detents are also weak. I feel this is the single biggest shortcoming of the ZP5 controls. Even if I don’t need illumination, I do fear that I will accidentally turn it on, so I’m careful to check it when I’m done for the day. But it’s does have an automatic illumination shutoff feature so this somewhat negates my criticism of this “design flaw”.

The reticle is where I find the ZP5 to really shine. The MR4 is the first reticle that I have used that I find is nearly perfect. If I was to find any fault, I guess I would say the center dot is hard to see below 10 power. But in use I don’t need the center dot at low powers, because I use the dot gap to bracket my target on lower power. And since the wind is nearly always blowing I use the reference lines in the reticle more than the center dot anyway. This is something that newer shooters should realize, because I remember trying to judge a reticle by a picture too. Actual use changes initial perceptions.

There is one final thing that initially bothered me about the ZP5 but I’ve kind of put it behind me now after 2 months of use. My MR4 reticle is off center by about 0.2 mils. I would not be able to tell this if the reticle wasn’t finely graduated, so it is by no means a distraction. I can’t even tell unless I am comparing the reticle marks left and right to the edge of the field of view. And the scope passed the tall target tracking test as well as my PMII did, which is to say I couldn’t hold the error difference if there is one. I haven’t observed any reticle shift during magnification changes either. What it has left me with is the impression that perhaps the PMII might be better engineered, or at least it comes with a higher level of QC. But at the end of the day I know that nothing is perfect and these two scopes are by far and away the best that I’ve had the pleasure to own. They might be the best I’ll ever own too, because I just can’t justify spending more than $2500 on any single scope for what to me is just a passionate hobby. They both have brought me immensely more enjoyment while shooting.

Long winded but I hope this helps.
Excellent info. Thank you for taking the time to share all of that. It was informative.
 

Guns&WhiteWater

Shall not be infringed
Belligerents
Feb 21, 2017
103
79
34
Ooltewah, TN
Andi is independent now and he consults for a bunch of people, but some of the best scopes in the world have mechanicals designed or influenced by Andi and optics designed or influenced by Lothar. These two are really responsible or some of the best riflescopes we have seen to date.

TT also had input from a few other optics people though so there are some internal differences.

One of the reasons Minox and TT are able to extract a little more performance at distance is that they are not trying to focus down to 10meters like S&B. Keeping the focus adjustment range at 50 yards and beyond helps optimization a little.

S&B PMII 5-25x56 stil goes down to 10 meters, which makes it kinda unique on the high end. I think it is just S&B and March that do this, but I have not checked for a bit.

Honestly, I have looked at a bunch of Schmidts over the years and always liked them optomechanically, but these new developments with GR2ID reticle and the new turret where you can switch MTC on and off are making me want to pick one up.

ILya
That is interesting info. I always like to know the back stories on companies in the firearm industry.
 
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CuTm

SHjr
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jul 17, 2018
282
243
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WA
Andi is independent now and he consults for a bunch of people, but some of the best scopes in the world have mechanicals designed or influenced by Andi and optics designed or influenced by Lothar. These two are really responsible or some of the best riflescopes we have seen to date.

TT also had input from a few other optics people though so there are some internal differences.

One of the reasons Minox and TT are able to extract a little more performance at distance is that they are not trying to focus down to 10meters like S&B. Keeping the focus adjustment range at 50 yards and beyond helps optimization a little.

S&B PMII 5-25x56 stil goes down to 10 meters, which makes it kinda unique on the high end. I think it is just S&B and March that do this, but I have not checked for a bit.

Honestly, I have looked at a bunch of Schmidts over the years and always liked them optomechanically, but these new developments with GR2ID reticle and the new turret where you can switch MTC on and off are making me want to pick one up.

ILya
I appreciate you. Thank you.
 

jwrabbit123

Private
Minuteman
Mar 29, 2020
40
13
12
I have 2 pmii scopes and 1 USO B-25 and a IOR and a Steiner , all good glass all tract well , However service to me is important , both of my last 2 scopes I bought NEW had to go in for service , the PM2 5-45 , I was dialing and something got onto reticle , it looked like a bugs leg , I contacted SB got a label and I had scope back in 10 days perfect
The other scope I bought was USO B-25 , I was dialing with it first time out and , I went to look threw scope when a black mass blocked half of the entire Reticle , I called USO had to pay for label and geeze It took 45 Months to get it back , I had called and wrote , I really thought it was unacceptable , and worse off they had put a small scratch in it and the turret would not turn when I got it back I took off turret cap and it had been assembled wrong
I my self had no issues with IOR but noticed many here have had issues or heard of them prior

So My choice would be SB as great service , LOU
 

chevy_man

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jan 25, 2019
893
611
99
Superbe optic. Read the reviews!

They are an amazing optic.

With only 1 reticle choice, why would anyone go there when you could have a ZCO or TT for damn near half the money and get a better reticle?
 

hunter1959

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jan 16, 2020
105
42
34
I screwed around with Leupold Tacticals for years... was never satisfied... the dials had very little tactile feel... made the jump to S&B PMII with the new GR2D reticle... hands down best I have ever shot through... never going to anything else... regardless of the money
 

lowlight

HMFIC of this Shit
Staff member
Online Training Access
Apr 12, 2001
30,851
16,715
219
Base of the Rockies
www.snipershide.com
I have the 3-26x it’s a very nice optic, you don’t want to like it, but it’s solid.

that said, it’s not worth the money they want for it, at this price it should have had something else with it, like a BT hud, the features don’t warrant the cost.
 

Tac Beard

Privy
Belligerents
Mar 9, 2014
89
56
24
50
What I like about each scope, as compared to the other, is entirely subjective and might not be 100% consistent with the same scope coming off the line a year or two later. Also I need to preface this by saying that I absolutely love both scopes but no scope or feature is perfect for everybody.

The good - My PMII DT turret model has smoother controls, most noticeably the parallax dial. It just oozes quality. The turning resistance is even from 10 yds to infinity and it has a “fluid” feeling with a hard stop on each end of the range. Hard to describe but it’s one of the small joys of using an alpha class scope. It speaks of a high level of engineering. In use it makes getting to the proper setting quick and easy. I also appreciate that the distance markings on the dial actually line up pretty close to actual distances. In comparison, the same dial on the ZP5 I have does not feel as fluid. On the lower end for closer ranges there is a noticeable hitch that takes a different amount of resistance to overcome. Not a big deal but it is something that I mentally downgraded my Minox for in comparison from an engineering standpoint.

The finish on the PMII is also done very well. This facet is entirely outside the main purpose of the scope but I appreciate it nonetheless. I also appreciate the fact that it has a long history of being “battle tested” although I have zero plans to test my PMII’s durability by purposely abusing it. But it does give me confidence. And confidence in your equipment is a good foundation to build upon. Mine has the P4F reticle which I love due to its simplicity but have recently begun to find I prefer a little more data in my scope reticle. But the reticle itself is very well done. It is crisp and even as is the total IQ. It’s what I call stunning. Fun to just gaze through sometimes. No CA, edge-to-edge clarity, easy to read mirage, etc. Passed the tall target test with flying colors. Incredible resolution. I like that I can see my bullet holes in cardboard at 500 yards. Also, when on the max power I don’t strain nearly as much as I do with a lot of my other lower cost scopes. I’m on max power a lot because I enjoy working up loads with different bullets and I shoot paper fairly often, probably about a third of the time. Maybe the correct way to say it is that the sweet spot of the mag range extends further into the higher powers.

Lastly, the turrets on my PMII are great. Spacing is tight but absolute. They don’t click, they clunk into place, and there is no play in between clunks. The windage and elevation turrets feel very similar and the elevation zero stop is very well done with a constant 0.6 mils below zero available. When you hit the built-in zero stop you know it.

All in all from top to bottom I feel like the PMII is a bit more refined than the ZP5, albeit an older design with some well known attributes that get brought up in reviews as being negative, including tunneling below 7 power and the illumination dial that is separate from the parallax dial and without off settings between intensity levels.

The tunneling is a non issue for me. I like to think of it as a trade off for a piece of gear that is time tested, but it’s not a selling point to be sure. But I actually prefer the separate illumination dial because I shoot a right handed rifle, I almost never use it, and it doesn’t get in the way of the parallax dial.

Now for the weaknesses. The format of the markings on the PMII windage turret is awful. Very confusing to me, and intuitively backwards. In the beginning my brain saw the R with an arrow and I dialed backwards because all I saw was the R printed on the L side. So I fixed that by applying a fine label to the turret that shows 1R, 2R, 3R, 1L, 2L, etc. I also painted a very fine line on the side of the windage turret to align with 1.0 mils to the right so I could see it without having to crane my neck around the stock to verify the actual zero setting, which is marked in a relief notch but gets partially obstructed by the scope ring. I also wish there was a diopter lock but since I run scope caps it’s not a big deal they give me a visual indication by the caps vertical alignment.

I would compare the 5-25 PMII to a classic car that had more parts made by hand and where a greater attention to internal design, robustness, and smoothness of feel was given to the things under the hood, but where driver comfort was not necessarily in the top three of design priorities. Times and personal preferences change, and classic cars may seem sub-standard in some areas compared to newer cars, but from a pure driving standpoint a classic is a classic for a reason, and there’s is a certain joy in knowing this.

Now the Minox is newer to me so everything on it gets compared to the Schmidt. Surprisingly, it’s betterment over the PMII does not extend appreciably to the IQ, which is the primary reason I wanted to try one. They are so close to a tie optically that if one is better, you would be hard pressed to tell unless you were purposely trying to make a side by side comparison. I tried and when I was honest with myself, it had maybe a 2% edge over the PMII. Maybe. So now I chuckle when folks say that such and such “blows away” a PMII. I guess just plain stunning IQ is good enough for me. I don’t need super stunning. I will say that getting the diopter set just right on each scope has a bigger impact on IQ than what each one carries for coatings and whatnot. I do think that the field of view is very slightly larger on the ZP5 on all powers.

Where the ZP5 rocks is in the MR4 reticle, the feel and sound of the elevation turret, and the small comforts like the turret markings, the locking diopter, and the lower profile form factor.

It has a slightly shallower turret belly, so can fit lower (if needed) on a non-prone/ more hunting style rifle stock, which would make it just a little more versatile. This may or may not ever matter to most people who are PRS oriented. It mattered to me because it ultimately determined the rifle that the PMII ended up being mounted on, and the scope rings I used. The locking diopter of the ZP5 is just a nice touch, as is the wider and lower height elevation turret from a purely personal aesthetic viewpoint.

I guess I got lucky, but the elevation turret on my ZP5 is extremely nice. It has a very clicky audible response that I can feel is transmitted back through to my fingers with a sharpness that is pleasing to me. Both scopes have excellent elevation turrets, but when behind the rifle I prefer the feel of the ZP5’s elevation turret to the PMII’s. It takes a little more initial resistance to begin turning the Minox turrets which I like when it’s cold outside because I nearly always shoot with thin gloves in the cold. The three or so clicks when going to the second rev do take more resistance to overcome but not as much as I was led to believe from reading other Minox reviews. In fact I like it. I can land my turret on the correct setting without overshooting during this increased resistance by squeezing the turret with a bit more force. And I’m not dialing into the second rev very often.

However, my ZP5 windage turret is more difficult to turn than the elevation turret. I am not sure if it is by design and at first I noted this as an engineering flaw. You can feel the resistance drag of what seems to be intentionally designed into it. However, in actual use I realized this turns out to be a positive since I don’t spin my windage nearly as much as my elevation and I feel it won’t move inadvertently. When I am turning my windage I have to be more focused on it but it’s not a big deal, just different. The illumination dial detents are also weak. I feel this is the single biggest shortcoming of the ZP5 controls. Even if I don’t need illumination, I do fear that I will accidentally turn it on, so I’m careful to check it when I’m done for the day. But it’s does have an automatic illumination shutoff feature so this somewhat negates my criticism of this “design flaw”.

The reticle is where I find the ZP5 to really shine. The MR4 is the first reticle that I have used that I find is nearly perfect. If I was to find any fault, I guess I would say the center dot is hard to see below 10 power. But in use I don’t need the center dot at low powers, because I use the dot gap to bracket my target on lower power. And since the wind is nearly always blowing I use the reference lines in the reticle more than the center dot anyway. This is something that newer shooters should realize, because I remember trying to judge a reticle by a picture too. Actual use changes initial perceptions.

There is one final thing that initially bothered me about the ZP5 but I’ve kind of put it behind me now after 2 months of use. My MR4 reticle is off center by about 0.2 mils. I would not be able to tell this if the reticle wasn’t finely graduated, so it is by no means a distraction. I can’t even tell unless I am comparing the reticle marks left and right to the edge of the field of view. And the scope passed the tall target tracking test as well as my PMII did, which is to say I couldn’t hold the error difference if there is one. I haven’t observed any reticle shift during magnification changes either. What it has left me with is the impression that perhaps the PMII might be better engineered, or at least it comes with a higher level of QC. But at the end of the day I know that nothing is perfect and these two scopes are by far and away the best that I’ve had the pleasure to own. They might be the best I’ll ever own too, because I just can’t justify spending more than $2500 on any single scope for what to me is just a passionate hobby. They both have brought me immensely more enjoyment while shooting.

Long winded but I hope this helps.
Just wanted to compliment you on this write up. Well done!