Rifle Scopes  Schmidt & Bender 3-27 vs ZCO 5-27

Eaglehorn

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Did some looking around and didn't see any comparisons between the two. I've owned a 5-25 S&B and am looking at the 3-27 or a ZCO for my NRL22 setup. Obviously the 3-27 is more expensive but is it worth the extra $ compared to a ZCO? The two things that stuck out to me are the MT II turrets having a bit more adjustment and the 10-yard parallax vs the 25 on the ZCO. I wanted to open this up and get thoughts from those of you who have had time on these.
 
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GBMaryland

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    I had a 3 x 27, and the glass is outstanding. However I highly suspect that the ZCO is probably just as good a scope.

    The ZCO weights about 1/10 a kilo less...

    I think if you were comparing a Leupold Mk 4, that’d be another story. However, these scopes are close enough that its a question of features.
     
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    Eaglehorn

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    Yeah, it's a bit of a toss-up from what I've seen so far. I'm not a big fan of Schmidt's reticles and if I want the MT II turrets I'm even more limited, but I see some potential with the GRID reticle. Although, I really like ZCO's MPCT2.
     
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    jbailey

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    I was wondering the same thing...

    Anyone know the answers to these questions?

    • Does the 3-27 tunnel like the 5-25?
    • How are the SuB new turrets on the 3-27?
    • How much elevation come up does the 3-27 offer in real world (it looks like it has 34 mils on the 1/10 clicks and a monster 39.5 on the 0.5/10 clicks)?
    • If we are looking at ruggedness, which scope, SuB or ZCO, can take more of a beating? I guess the 3-27 is a freakin tank with lens, given its the USSCOM selection.
     

    diverdon

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    I was wondering the same thing...

    Anyone know the answers to these questions?

    • Does the 3-27 tunnel like the 5-25?
    • How are the SuB new turrets on the 3-27?
    • How much elevation come up does the 3-27 offer in real world (it looks like it has 34 mils on the 1/10 clicks and a monster 39.5 on the 0.5/10 clicks)?
    • If we are looking at ruggedness, which scope, SuB or ZCO, can take more of a beating? I guess the 3-27 is a freakin tank with lens, given its the USSCOM selection.
    It does not tunnel, very wide view at 3x. Love mine.
     
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    roamin

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    I was wondering the same thing...

    Anyone know the answers to these questions?

    • Does the 3-27 tunnel like the 5-25?
    • How are the SuB new turrets on the 3-27?
    • How much elevation come up does the 3-27 offer in real world (it looks like it has 34 mils on the 1/10 clicks and a monster 39.5 on the 0.5/10 clicks)?
    • If we are looking at ruggedness, which scope, SuB or ZCO, can take more of a beating? I guess the 3-27 is a freakin tank with lens, given its the USSCOM selection.

    In order;

    No zero tunneling

    They're standard DT MTC LT turrets have a detent every full mil

    I have the 34 mil and in a 25moa mount have 25mils of elevation available

    The 3-27 feels like a tank that was overbuilt with military use in mind the ZCO does not. One scope was built to obtain military contracts the other was built to compete in the PRS market segment. After a bad experience I had with a K624i (below) I stopped buying scopes that were built for the PRS market segment.

    P1000051-1-1.jpg
     
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    Eaglehorn

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    Hmm, I'm gonna give some of my thoughts (Take all of this with a grain of salt b/c I don't have personal experience these scopes)
    • One of the issues I had with the 5-25 was the spacing between clicks was too fine and it was sometimes hard to visually confirm where the turret was at. This seems to be the case with the 3-27 as well but the ZCO does not seem to have this problem (which is really more of a preference).
    • The 3-27 seems to have some more FOV on both the high and low end (someone correct me if I'm wrong on the high end).
    • From what I've read for optical clarity it seems the 3-27 does better on the lower end while the ZCO does better on the higher end.
    • With the MT II turrets, there are a few more mils available in the 3-27 (but I'm not a fan of how tight S&B's clicks are).
    • One of the few areas I think the ZCO definitely falls short (far?) in is parallax. This is mainly because I do NRL22, but I really like the option of the 10-yard parallax so I have plenty of adjustment for close targets. Is the 25-yard parallax going to work for 99% of the targets shot with a ZCO? Yes, but I do use a 22 or airgun (which this scope would be going onto) to shoot at closer than 25 yards at times. This does not influence competition since the minimal distance is going to be no less than 25 yards, but I just like having a parallax that can be adjusted down to 10-15 yards. I don't know much about the forgiveness of the parallax on the ZCO vs the S&B.
    • Reticles (again this is more of a preference), I personally think ZCO really outshines Schmidt & Bender here. I frankly don't like most of S&B's reticles except for maybe the GRID. I've used Horus reticles but wasn't a big fan of them and don't see myself ever using them for NRL22. The MPCT2 looks pretty damn close to perfect for me.
    I'm sure I've forgotten some things, but at the moment I'm having a hard time convincing myself that a 3-27 is worth an extra 2 grand when the ZCO has some features the S&B is lacking (illumination that can be used during daytime w/ auto-off, locking diopter, etc.).
     

    gebhardt02

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    The 3-27 feels like a tank that was overbuilt with military use in mind the ZCO does not. One scope was built to obtain military contracts the other was built to compete in the PRS market segment. After a bad experience I had with a K624i (below) I stopped buying scopes that were built for the PRS market segment.

    I get where you are coming from, been there myself. But nothing about ZCO was built specifically for the PRS market segment. In fact, our products have been engineered to exceed any other product for durability and robustness. We also wanted our products to have a feature set that is highly attractive to the competition shooting community, but our emphasis has been and will be on overall durability and performance.
     

    charnicus

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    In order;

    No zero tunneling

    They're standard DT MTC LT turrets have a detent every full mil

    I have the 34 mil and in a 25moa mount have 25mils of elevation available

    The 3-27 feels like a tank that was overbuilt with military use in mind the ZCO does not. One scope was built to obtain military contracts the other was built to compete in the PRS market segment. After a bad experience I had with a K624i (below) I stopped buying scopes that were built for the PRS market segment.

    View attachment 7404616
    Perhaps I should’ve saved this one for myself but as far as the 624i being only PRS minded... Don’t know who’s contract is filled by the attached but yeah. I guess the point I’m getting at is scopes in this price range are built to be scopes in this price range regardless of use. The QC department fucking off is why we have issues like what you’ve posted.
     

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    roamin

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    Perhaps I should’ve saved this one for myself but as far as the 624i being only PRS minded... Don’t know who’s contract is filled by the attached but yeah. I guess the point I’m getting at is scopes in this price range are built to be scopes in this price range regardless of use. The QC department fucking off is why we have issues like what you’ve posted.

    To be fair S&B scopes have a long lineage of military service and I'm sure the higher durability needs of those mil customers are thought of in their scopes designs. Not every manufacturers scope is going to handle the exact same impact resistance, operating temps, and overall durability those things have to do with design not just QC.
     

    charnicus

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    To be fair S&B scopes have a long lineage of military service and I'm sure the higher durability needs of those mil customers are thought of in their scopes designs. Not every manufacturers scope is going to handle the exact same impact resistance, operating temps, and overall durability those things have to do with design not just QC.
    Totally and no argument there whatsoever with regards to S&B or the later. Is there a standard that would classify one scope as “x” and one as “y”? Not trying to sound like a smartass.
     

    pucker

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    [*]One of the issues I had with the 5-25 was the spacing between clicks was too fine and it was sometimes hard to visually confirm where the turret was at. This seems to be the case with the 3-27 as well but the ZCO does not seem to have this problem (which is really more of a preference).
    [*]With the MT II turrets, there are a few more mils available in the 3-27 (but I'm not a fan of how tight S&B's clicks are).
    [*]One of the few areas I think the ZCO definitely falls short (far?) in is parallax. This is mainly because I do NRL22, but I really like the option of the 10-yard parallax so I have plenty of adjustment for close targets. Is the 25-yard parallax going to work for 99% of the targets shot with a ZCO? Yes, but I do use a 22 or airgun (which this scope would be going onto) to shoot at closer than 25 yards at times. This does not influence competition since the minimal distance is going to be no less than 25 yards, but I just like having a parallax that can be adjusted down to 10-15 yards. I don't know much about the forgiveness of the parallax on the ZCO vs the S&B.
    [*]Reticles (again this is more of a preference), I personally think ZCO really outshines Schmidt & Bender here. I frankly don't like most of S&B's reticles except for maybe the GRID. I've used Horus reticles but wasn't a big fan of them and don't see myself ever using them for NRL22. The MPCT2 looks pretty damn close to perfect for me.
    [/LIST]
    I'm sure I've forgotten some things, but at the moment I'm having a hard time convincing myself that a 3-27 is worth an extra 2 grand when the ZCO has some features the S&B is lacking (illumination that can be used during daytime w/ auto-off, locking diopter, etc.).

    Not all S&B turrets have same spacing, and the MTII have a completely different feel to them. You can turn off MTC, and you’ll never have issue getting to (and knowing) the click you’re on. They’re stellar.

    No locking diopter....because it’s not needed. They’ve settled on the perfect amount of resistance to keep it where you set it.

    Reticles.... extremely subjective. And really, in the $3.5k and up scopes, is what should truly steer you. The scope will be excellent regardless of brand...pick the reticle that speaks to you.

    Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Pagani....
     
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    The pm2 3-27x56 has a great mag range (3-27) and really good fov at 3x. perhaps useful in some operations. At 3x the p4f turret at least was unusable. This design also makes it suffer optically at max mag. There is always give and take? The parrallax is also a little more touchy. I opened a pm2 dtmtc turret and it is nothing magical. The caps are o ring sealed and like every other turret. I don’t know what should make the pm2 turrets tougher... the scopes are divable, not sure if ZCO is... the Steiner M is also marketed as made for military use, same with a lot of the brands, that does not make them inherently tougher. . All of these scopes are tanks though.. are you sure you are not confounding “made for military use” with “having large military contracts?”..it is not the same..that is as much about production volume, military tradition and contact networks as quality and features..perhaps most of all what existing nv equipment etc they have that’s are plug and play compatible with the scopes.. like a lot of snipers still use .308 in spite of it performing sub par... logistically it is the best... With all this said, I have had hd2, kahles 525, various pm2s, and now ZCO. The pm2s, especially the 3-20x50 are a good second for me. I like the locking turret system on the pm2 better than the one one ZCO but that is minor, everywhere else ZCO wins... for me.
     
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    beetroot

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    In order;

    No zero tunneling

    They're standard DT MTC LT turrets have a detent every full mil

    I have the 34 mil and in a 25moa mount have 25mils of elevation available

    The 3-27 feels like a tank that was overbuilt with military use in mind the ZCO does not. One scope was built to obtain military contracts the other was built to compete in the PRS market segment. After a bad experience I had with a K624i (below) I stopped buying scopes that were built for the PRS market segment.

    View attachment 7404616
    But is S&B 3-27 as robust the NiGhTfOrCe?
     

    ACard

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    Another point to consider, especially given the troubles with shipping in todays world. Warranty service if needed, warranty verbage, and over all customer service. Personally I have had both brands of optic but currently only own ZCO
     
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    sharfshutz762

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    The pm2 3-27x56 has a great mag range (3-27) and really good fov at 3x. perhaps useful in some operations. At 3x the p4f turret at least was unusable. This design also makes it suffer optically at max mag. There is always give and take? The parrallax is also a little more touchy. I opened a pm2 dtmtc turret and it is nothing magical. The caps are o ring sealed and like every other turret. I don’t know what should make the pm2 turrets tougher... the scopes are divable, not sure if ZCO is... the Steiner M is also marketed as made for military use, same with a lot of the brands, that does not make them inherently tougher. . All of these scopes are tanks though.. are you sure you are not confounding “made for military use” with “having large military contracts?”..it is not the same..that is as much about production volume, military tradition and contact networks as quality and features..perhaps most of all what existing nv equipment etc they have that’s are plug and play compatible with the scopes.. like a lot of snipers still use .308 in spite of it performing sub par... logistically it is the best... With all this said, I have had hd2, kahles 525, various pm2s, and now ZCO. The pm2s, especially the 3-20x50 are a good second for me. I like the locking turret system on the pm2 better than the one one ZCO but that is minor, everywhere else ZCO wins... for me.

    Made for Military use as in certified MIL-STD 810G/H and Socom specifications including water integrity to 33M under various conditions including salt. Extreme low temp operation. Extreme high altitude mission egress. Ect Ect.
    The mil contract 3-27s and Bund Steiners pass all of these and standard issue for many years by the Unit, SAS, KSK, ect ect. so yes these scopes have substantial military contracts with excellent track records including with most SMUs.

    Not saying the ZCO will or will not do what the other scopes will do as physically and optically its very impressive. But testing and certifying optics especially by an independant lab cost a substantional amount of money and some of these scopes are tested per every single one not random batch as required by the end users.
     

    JustSendit

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    There have been a lot of pretty crummy scopes that the military has used. I could point to a certain tan S&B PMII scope issued to the military with the Tremor2 that is widely known as a untrustworthy scope... I am just saying because the military, be it SOCOM or otherwise, embraces scope X, I don't think that means much.
     

    sharfshutz762

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    There have been a lot of pretty crummy scopes that the military has used. I could point to a certain tan S&B PMII scope issued to the military with the Tremor2 that is widely known as a untrustworthy scope... I am just saying because the military, be it SOCOM or otherwise, embraces scope X, I don't think that means much.
    If you're so in the know tell us what the issue was and what and if it was rectified.
     
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    JustSendit

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    If you're so in the know tell us what the issue was and what and if it was rectified.
    The turrets are unreliable. Many did not hold zero over time. I’ve fucked around with several over the last 9 years, I’m not the only one who encountered issues. Rectified?
    Haven’t seen SB get another contract lately. Doesn’t mean they haven’t just haven’t seen new SBs issued out where I work.
     

    sharfshutz762

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    We know it was unreliable at one point due to a single little part..I asked if you knew what the fucking issue was because I do first hand and my input helped rectify the fucking issue. Like them or not S&B recently got awarded another huge contract.
     
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    JustSendit

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    We know it was unreliable at one point due to a single little part..I asked if you knew what the fucking issue was because I do first hand and my input helped rectify the fucking issue. Like them or not S&B recently got awarded another huge contract.
    Look pal, I don’t know what your issue is. But I just told you I used the scope for 9 years, on teams and elsewhere. They are unreliable and that is known so they sit on a lot of shelves. So whatever you did to “fix” them did not trickle down.
     

    Bakwa

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    But is S&B 3-27 as robust the NiGhTfOrCe?
    One of my buds is still working for the man, and he's been snipin' for a while now and been through three DOD sniper schools [for whatever that's worth]. He's told me a number of times how even S&B's haven't impressed him like NF with being durability under extreme conditions. He's said he's seen S&B's sit on the shelf over other options. Cough, NF...
    Then, considering Jeff has been a quintessential part of NF for all these years while NF has made it's reputation, I believe him when he says that ZCO's are darn durable.
    How much do I believe him? I'm getting one in two weeks from now...
     
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    Bakwa

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    And the 5-25 S&B PSR is being phased out for the Nightforce ATACR for good reason.
    As a fairly casual oberver of this conversation, I'm curious based on a few of your posts... Are you for S&B or NF in this particular instance?
     

    sharfshutz762

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    S&B is very very slow to implement changes even if its defective. IMO they are not the company they once were and there are better scopes to be had for less money.
     

    sharfshutz762

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    Look pal, I don’t know what your issue is. But I just told you I used the scope for 9 years, on teams and elsewhere. They are unreliable and that is known so they sit on a lot of shelves. So whatever you did to “fix” them did not trickle down.

    FYI I respect your firsthand experience on this particular scope and I know the frustration you speak of.
    No ill will intended.
     

    sharfshutz762

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    So... what was the issue?

    They couldnt meet the submersion requirement so they stuck a fat O ring in the knob assembly that caused the the knob assembly to "float" as opposed to sitting flush metal on metal like the USMC style MTC knob does. During this there smart head engineer left and the stupid engineer took over.
     
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    reubenski

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    Buddy it’s a small community if you worked at USASOC G8 there’s a good chance we know a lot of the same people. @reubenski do you know this person?
    Nope. But I do know that he doesn't have any proficiency in the German language based on his spelling. And he doesn't like it when I spell Marine Corp ...Corpse.

    I'm going to guess he's a Marine. Just don't know why he'd choose 95% of the German word for sniper as his screen name.
     
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    craigos

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    Have 4 SBs (5-25, 5-20 (I think it is) and the ZCO 5-27 and the other ... i am liking the zco more. reticle, turret feel, finish - just overall like em. Am i yearned and saved for a long time before i bought my first SB (back when they were $4600 ).
     

    reubenski

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    I've all but switched over to NF since the ATACRs.

    I bought my first Schmidt in 2008. I am a huge Schmidt fan. I used to own 4 or 5. They were the only game in town for years. No one else made a tactical scope worth a fuck back then. They set the bar. For sure. NF was for 2nd focal plane, MOA lovers, like seals. The NXS was not great,, at all.. Jeff Huber and NF took forever to change. I remember talking to him at SHOT in 2009 about why they weren't incorporating locking turrets, better reticles, single or double turn turrets. We had 4x16 Schmidts back then that had all that. And Horus H25's. He said they wouldn't do it until their scopes were ready to do that
    It took until...what? ....2015? Whenever the ATACR came out. He didn't want to compromise.....(see what I did there?).

    Ya, Schmidt has gone downhill a little. My last remaining Schmidt I've had to send back twice. For the same issue. It appears to be fixed now. 12 months no breakage. Just taking one day at a time. Just got its 12 month coin. Everyday is a challenge.

    Whatever. If I had to buy a scope today it would be another ATACR. I would consider a ZCO if their reticles were better. I could be pursueaded to buy a Schmidt but in the back of my head I would know I might have to send it back. Luckily their CS is still pretty good.
     

    sharfshutz762

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    Nope. But I do know that he doesn't have any proficiency in the German language based on his spelling. And he doesn't like it when I spell Marine Corp ...Corpse.

    I'm going to guess he's a Marine. Just don't know why he'd choose 95% of the German word for sniper as his screen name.

    As for my screen name havent figured out how to fix it the first time.

    And you guessed correct on the other.
     

    Eaglehorn

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    I've considered an ATACR but the general consensus seems to be that the ZCO is a step up from it. The 7-35 has some features I like (especially the 10-yard parallax), but I've heard reports of some tunneling. I like their Mil-XT reticle a lot and they've got a good reputation, but the ZCO seems to have an edge everywhere minus the parallax.
     
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    reubenski

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    Parallax function means more to me than tunneling at 5-7x. I never use those magnifications and modern reticles aren't easily seen at 5X. The lowest I go, on a rare day, is 8-9x. Parallax down to 25 yds is required if you're using the scope on a rimfire. Between 25 and 10 is just bonus. Comes in handy when leveling the scope
     

    120inBull

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    I don’t have a ZC but with my S&B 3-27 I can see my suppressor at 3-5x which is annoying4E3E3858-B38C-4C86-8EF0-DC04DD2F9E33.jpeg
     
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    M4guru

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    Oh no, a large field of view! They should have their glass grinder taken away.
     
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    db2000

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    My ZC 527 is clearer than my 525 PMII, especially at higher mag. The parallax brings small holes at 300 yards much clearer at high mag for sure.
    *Edit
    T3 reticle on PMII and maybe the difference I saw was from 25x-27x for clarification. It was significant though. 1630 EST sun from west looking east into very shaded woods target.
     
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    Olddognewtrix

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    Did some looking around and didn't see any comparisons between the two. I've owned a 5-25 S&B and am looking at the 3-27 or a ZCO for my NRL22 setup. Obviously the 3-27 is more expensive but is it worth the extra $ compared to a ZCO? The two things that stuck out to me are the MT II turrets having a bit more adjustment and the 10-yard parallax vs the 25 on the ZCO. I wanted to open this up and get thoughts from those of you who have had time on these.
    Thx for this post
     

    TheHorta

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    NO AL
    I have three 3-27 SB’s. Two Pantone (H59, H37) and one black (T3). They’re just the most versatile scope out there, which is why they became the standard in certain USSOCOM groups. Zero tunneling at 3x, acceptably crisp and clear all the way to 27x. That said, I see optical performance variations between them. The latest T3 has noticeably better optical performance at the long end than the other two — resolution and color are both improved. I would wager the ZCO performs better than my first two, and probably similar to my newest unit.

    I don’t get the “reticle choices” complaint against SB. They literally have more reticle choices than any other scope MFG on the face of the planet. Sure, I get having wood for a highly specific, proprietary reticle, which makes your choice easy, but SB’s lineup of reticle variations is downright confusing.
     

    diverdon

    Constitutionalist, by choice
    PX Member
    Minuteman
  • Dec 21, 2011
    5,216
    5,516
    WNY
    We know it was unreliable at one point due to a single little part..I asked if you knew what the fucking issue was because I do first hand and my input helped rectify the fucking issue. Like them or not S&B recently got awarded another huge contract.

    Logic seems flawed. When you buy something you buy all the "single little parts" and if they don't work it don't work.
     

    918v

    A force in your life
    PX Member
    Minuteman
    Jul 15, 2007
    4,336
    1,593
    Miserable CA
    If you buy all the parts and they all work well together, but for one, then you would condemn all the rest? S&B has 5 turret choices on that scope. If one is problematic you have 4 others that aren’t.