Rifle Scopes  US Optics SN-3 SSDS or S&B PMII 3-12x50 LP?

Zion4

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I'm getting an M40A5 and I've ironed out every single detail except for the scope. I want to make it as true to Mil Spec as possible but am torn between the US Optics SN-3 3.5-17x SSDS and the Schmidt and Bender PMII 3-12x50 LP. Has anyone out here used these scopes (and maybe even both), and if so, what is your preference? I'd like my money to stay in the US, but if the S&B is a better scope, I'd happily get it.

Note: The subject specifically states the scopes and not just "US Optics or S&B". I'm not looking for a heated fight over which brand is better (I've read the other threads discussing the brands themselves), rather information from people who have actual experience with the optics.

Thanks in advance.

----Edit----
Also, if anyone knows why US Optics lost the bid for the USMC M40 optics, I'm curious about that as well.
 

hamstur

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Re: US Optics SN-3 SSDS or S&B PMII 3-12x50 LP?

I just picked up a PR Heritage from a Quantico project manager who was involved in some of the testing. This is what I understood from our conversations--no mud slinging intended, just passing what he told me:

- There were several QA issues (e.g., the USO submissions failed water leak test)
- USO pricing ended up being on par or higher than S&B
- Personality conflicts arose between USO and Quantico
- The last one aside, USO did not meet the "best product / best price / best value" criteria

Anyhow, the Crusader I bought a while back came with a USO SSDS, and will provide you a comparison rundown between the USO SSDS and PR after the weekend. As a note, the USMC contract is actually for both the S&B PMII 3-12 and PR Heritage 3-15 in case the 3rd scope option matters ... you can Google contract details.

As far as my USO SSDS notes:
- The M118LR heavy detents are novel (and work well) but if you want to keep them perfectly aligned with your 175gr load, you cannot set any adjustment under zero. My 168gr target load is about 0.5" below my 175gr zero.
- 3.5 vs 3.2 is too nominal to matter
- From what I understand, you can only get USO SDSS in 1/2 MOA single-turn elevation, with windage only in 0.25 MOA -- this caused me to under-adjust wind more than once. Another point to consider if you go Mil reticle cause Mil/MOA may be your only option with USO. if you want MOA/MOA, USO reticle options are a plus.
- If you've used a USO EREK before and loved the streamlined design, be aware the SSDS EREK is taller. I just measured the standard EREK at 0.7", SSDS EREK at 1.04" and PR Heritage turret at 1.1"
- You cannot get the USO SSDS with TPAL if side parallax matters
- As with other SN3 3.2-17x, extreme near field vision sort of sucks. At 3.2/3.5x and minimum parallax, the closest my eyes can focus an object is ~8 yards. The PR Heritage is ~2 yards.
- The USO is fairly long at 16"
- If low-light shooting is an issue, the USO only comes in 30mm tube and 44mm objective, whereas the others are 34mm tube and 50mm objective. However, a 30mm tube means you have the option to mount the scope lower.

I have no complaints about the USO SSDS, but my personal opinion -- if it you are intent on buying new, the critical items above may not amount what folks consider $3000 MSRP.
 

7mmRM

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Re: US Optics SN-3 SSDS or S&B PMII 3-12x50 LP?

If youre getting a M40A5, you just as well go with the right scope which is the S&B. There is one in the for sale section...
 

Zion4

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Re: US Optics SN-3 SSDS or S&B PMII 3-12x50 LP?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Hamstur</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I just picked up a PR Heritage from a Quantico project manager who was involved in some of the testing. This is what I understood from our conversations--no mud slinging intended, just passing what he told me:

- There were several QA issues (e.g., the USO submissions failed water leak test)
- USO pricing ended up being on par or higher than S&B
- Personality conflicts arose between USO and Quantico
- The last one aside, USO did not meet the "best product / best price / best value" criteria

Anyhow, the Crusader I bought a while back came with a USO SSDS, and will provide you a comparison rundown between the USO SSDS and PR after the weekend. As a note, the USMC contract is actually for both the S&B PMII 3-12 and PR Heritage 3-15 in case the 3rd scope option matters ... you can Google contract details.

As far as my USO SSDS notes:
- The M118LR heavy detents are novel (and work well) but if you want to keep them perfectly aligned with your 175gr load, you cannot set any adjustment under zero. My 168gr target load is about 0.5" below my 175gr zero.
- 3.5 vs 3.2 is too nominal to matter
- From what I understand, you can only get USO SDSS in 1/2 MOA single-turn elevation, with windage only in 0.25 MOA -- this caused me to under-adjust wind more than once. Another point to consider if you go Mil reticle cause Mil/MOA may be your only option with USO. if you want MOA/MOA, USO reticle options are a plus.
- If you've used a USO EREK before and loved the streamlined design, be aware the SSDS EREK is taller. I just measured the standard EREK at 0.7", SSDS EREK at 1.04" and PR Heritage turret at 1.1"
- You cannot get the USO SSDS with TPAL if side parallax matters
- As with other SN3 3.2-17x, extreme near field vision sort of sucks. At 3.2/3.5x and minimum parallax, the closest my eyes can focus an object is ~8 yards. The PR Heritage is ~2 yards.
- The USO is fairly long at 16"
- If low-light shooting is an issue, the USO only comes in 30mm tube and 44mm objective, whereas the others are 34mm tube and 50mm objective. However, a 30mm tube means you have the option to mount the scope lower.

I have no complaints about the USO SSDS, but my personal opinion -- if it you are intent on buying new, the critical items above may not amount what folks consider $3000 MSRP.</div></div>

Wow! I don't even know how to thank you for such an informative post. This is definitely extremely helpful post. I think I will go with an S&B. Once again, thank you.
 

Slickrick0999

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Re: US Optics SN-3 SSDS or S&B PMII 3-12x50 LP?

Hmmm, well, to each his own.
When I had my custom build done, I changed things based on a M40A3 as a starting point. I went with an A5 stock instead of A4 and did a Surgeon action with Krieger barrel @ 22".
Anyway, I had the same problem with deciding on scope as you are. I was going to buy a high end scope and was left with the same 2 options you came down to.
If you are wanting a "spec" build, the answer is easy with the S&B.
I personally ended up going with the USO SSDS. I have been happy with my choice. One thing about the USO is that it is tailored to a .308 running a 175gr @ approx 2650fps from a 24" barrel. Now, will the hard detents always match up 100%, no. Are they very close, in my experience, YES. I love it. Even tho my setup is a little different, I can quickly get on targets at different ranges. I record my dope differently in my data book, I use the 100 yard increments as a base and then note how much to come up from that. An example would be for 750 yards my dope may be 7 + 4. The zero stop works and is a huge plus if you are going to be shooting in comps. The .25moa clicks on the windage is a non-issue for me as I seldom dial wind (just hold it). I actually like the .25moa windage as it helps me to dial in my silencer zero closer.
Downside to the USO SSDS is that while it will work as any 1/2MOA adjustable elevation scope, the 100 yard double detents will not match up to other calibers.
I just recently got to participate in a comparison against an actual contract S&B scope with Sniperworx.com. While I will not give away the upcoming article, I will say this....
When you start comparing $3000 scopes, the differences are minor in my opinion. Some scopes are better in some areas and others in others.\
In conclusion, spec build = S&B. Not spec build = what you are happy with using. I am happy with my choice and will keep using my USO SSDS.
Again, to each his own.
 

Zion4

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Re: US Optics SN-3 SSDS or S&B PMII 3-12x50 LP?

Thanks for the input. I appreciate the real-life experience comparisons. Do you know how soon the article will be available because that would definitely be something I want to read and take into consideration?
 

hamstur

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Re: US Optics SN-3 SSDS or S&B PMII 3-12x50 LP?

Slickrick gives great feedback.

The best I can add as a 2nd is below, and these are preference questions you have to answer to know what to pick:

1. If long range precision is a must, USO 17x > S&B 12x
2. Fast range correction, USO SSDS EREK will be faster
3. What tint/hue do you prefer? USO glass has a warm tint, S&B glass has a cool tint
4. If compactness matter, S&B is smaller
5. If reticle options matter, USO will deliver
6. If resale value matter, S&B will retain more value. If you are waiting for a used deal, you won't find a USO SSDS.
7. If MOA/MOA is your preference, USO is the one
8. I'm not a tall guy, so ERGO parallax kills me in prone -- if you're also short, the side knob offered by S&B is nice.

I re-read my post above, and it did sort of sound negative re: the USO, so I'll actually say zoom matters enough to me that I would take the USO SSDS over the S&B 3-12x.

Something to consider is unless you shell out major $, you will be getting a S&B without "USMC M8541" markings. Likewise, the USO does not have any sort of distinctive marking different than a regular SN3--it's just the knob and 3.5x bottom end.

If you're willing to go out-of-spec for the USO, I would also recommend considering fully optioned to-your-taste SN3 3.2-17x vs S&B PMII 4-16.

A note re: the S&B 4-16x42 -- that was the model S&B intended to submit for the SSDS contract, but they didn't get it out fast enough so the S&B 3-12 was selected.

Slickrick says it perfectly with "to each their own."
 

Zion4

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Re: US Optics SN-3 SSDS or S&B PMII 3-12x50 LP?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Hamstur</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Slickrick gives great feedback.

The best I can add as a 2nd is below, and these are preference questions you have to answer to know what to pick:

1. If long range precision is a must, USO 17x > S&B 12x
2. Fast range correction, USO SSDS EREK will be faster
3. What tint/hue do you prefer? USO glass has a warm tint, S&B glass has a cool tint
4. If compactness matter, S&B is smaller
5. If reticle options matter, USO will deliver
6. If resale value matter, S&B will retain more value. If you are waiting for a used deal, you won't find a USO SSDS.
7. If MOA/MOA is your preference, USO is the one
8. I'm not a tall guy, so ERGO parallax kills me in prone -- if you're also short, the side knob offered by S&B is nice.

I re-read my post above, and it did sort of sound negative re: the USO, so I'll actually say zoom matters enough to me that I would take the USO SSDS over the S&B 3-12x.

Something to consider is unless you shell out major $, you will be getting a S&B without "USMC M8541" markings. Likewise, the USO does not have any sort of distinctive marking different than a regular SN3--it's just the knob and 3.5x bottom end.

If you're willing to go out-of-spec for the USO, I would also recommend considering fully optioned to-your-taste SN3 3.2-17x vs S&B PMII 4-16.

A note re: the S&B 4-16x42 -- that was the model S&B intended to submit for the SSDS contract, but they didn't get it out fast enough so the S&B 3-12 was selected.

Slickrick says it perfectly with "to each their own."</div></div>

I see. So many options! And I've already called US Optics and the closest "store" (its actually EuroOptics's warehouse) is 4 hours in the car (I live right outside New York City) so I guess I am gonna have to do as much research as possible and hope I get the right one.
 

Slickrick0999

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Re: US Optics SN-3 SSDS or S&B PMII 3-12x50 LP?

spaceman,
A big part of the testing came out in the last issue of sniperworx.com.

Another thing I forgot to mention was about the comment made concerning side focus (T-PAL in USO scopes) vs Adjustable Objective (AO). This was bothering me before getting my USO SSDS as it only comes in AO. I had a Lupy Mark IV 8.5x25 with side focus before I got the USO. I talked to John at USO (highly recommend calling the guys @ USO as they are great at helping you decide what you need/want). During my talks with them, they said that the AO was very forgiving and I would end up liking it. That is exactly what ended up happening.
While I can fine tune the parallax with my AO, it is very forgiving. I can easily make shots from 100yds out to 500 and more without adjusting much if any. Often in comps, I set it @ 200 and run it all day like that.
Anyway, like I said, lots of good scopes out there. USO, S&B, Vortex, Nightforce, Leupold, and others. Lots of choices and lots of great products. You will not have to look far for people that love or hate any certain brand.
 

Zion4

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Re: US Optics SN-3 SSDS or S&B PMII 3-12x50 LP?

I did put a call out over to California a couple days ago. Jeff was extremely helpful and also very honest. He explained a couple things with me, talked about a couple of differences between USO and Schmidt and Bender (I was straight forward, said I was doing an M40A5 build, and was considering both scopes), but also pointed out that if I wanted to stay true to Mil-Spec that I should go with the S&B. Now that's what I call fantastic integrity and honesty and I will always respect USO for that.