The $1500 space for rifle scopes is particularly saturated right now. That is not a bad thing; it just means the end-user has more options to choose from, which from our perspective is great. Sightmark has entered this space with the 5-30x Pinnacle rifle scope.
The Sightmark Pinnacle 5-30x lands itself smack in the middle of the $1500 and is a worthy contender. When considering a new optic, it’s important to look at the features currently being offered. Do you need locking turrets, how about a zero stop? What kind of reticle do you like and what is your first impression of the ones out there now?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Pinnacle, but opening the box, I was pleasantly surprised. The Sightmark Pinnacle checks the most requested boxes a shooter wants today. It has plenty of travel, a good sight picture, holdoever reticle and a zero stop. The capped turrets I regard as a plus in this case and not a negative. In fact, I would rather companies cap the turrets than locking them off 8 out of 10 times.
Sightmark Pinnacle 5-30x
Mounting it up on a new Howa 1500 HCR rifle, I felt this was a perfect combination for the shooters on a budget. Better this platform than mounting the Pinnacle on top of $8000 rifle. I can just read the trolling comments now had I went in that direction.
But paired with the Howa, I found the scope really easy to get behind. It was a breeze to zero and to shoot. Seeing impacts on steel out to 1400 yards was no problem, and the Howa is definitely up to the challenge of placing rounds on steel. In short, the scope was comfortable to shoot.
I attribute the ease of use to the constant eye relief offered by the Sightmark. Most scopes have a wildly varying eye relief, the change from max power to the lower powers is noticable. The Sighmark only changes about 1mm as you turn the magnification down. It’s not just a consistent eye box; it’s a pleasing sight picture.
Front Focal Plane
The resolution on the 5-30x Pinnacle is excellent. Its parallax adjustment is very responsive. Focusing from 30 yards to infinity I found, with the rifle set up for me, the sight picture was very crisp and parallax free. Sometimes there is a bit of a struggle for that last little bit, but not here.
On white targets and steel, you do have some purple fringing and a bit of a yellow cast around the edges. However, I have seen this very same thing in much more popular scopes like the Bushnell. I don’t consider this a deal breaker, however, if you feel a $1500 scope should not exhibit this, you may want to move on. It’s there, but not in an obnoxious way.
Scopes are pretty personal, from the magnification range to the reticle choice. There is no magic bullet or do everything optic. It’s all a series of compromises, and the Sightmark compromises in the right places. It’s not trying to be something it is not. I respect that from a company.
Reticle wise, I like this offering, it’s giving you all the features without going directly to a Horus. The Pinnacle uses a TMD-HW which is a Mil Based reticle.
They also included the schematic for the reticle on their site, so be sure to check it out for more details.
Tall Target Testing
Timing it could not have been better. The Sightmark was here coming off the heels of my precision rifle classes. Thanks to Targets USA in Alaska I had my scope testing tool available. This helps lock the scope down in place so you can test the tracking and adjustments.
Using the ColdBore 1.0 Scope Truing Utility, I was able to test and repeat the tracking at 100 yards. I set up two targets, the Sniper’s Hide Target which is available at Mile High Shooting, featuring a 7 mil tall target, and my 4ft level.
The level is necessary for two reasons
1. I have to level the tall target to begin with
2. I can test using the level as it’s a guaranteed 48 inches of travel.
Placing both at 100 yards the scope is then lined up with the 27LBS Target USA Scope tool. The weight keeps everything from moving.
Next, dial the scope up until it reaches the bottom of the level. Remembering, dial the elevation up moves the reticle down. I was able to read 13 mils exactly of travel.
Placing the numbers in the ColdBore software we find the scope has a 2.5% error factor. That means in your ballistic software you need to change the mil adjustments from .100 to .103. Because the scope was repeatable, and returned to zero properly, your software will account for this variation and make the appropiate corrections.
Thinking out loud, as someone else recorded the same amount of error with another unit, I wonder if Japan used 6400 instead of 6283. This would not be the first time they did that to a company. But still, it’s right in line with most other scopes in this class.
This test is repeated several times and after a few hundred rounds as well. It’s important to test tracking more than once and never take for granted it will be perfect.
Return to Zero
This test has been proving difficult for a lot of scopes. And not just scopes, but rings. Going out to distance and then back to 100 yards is what helped identify the problem with vertically split rings.
For each review I do, whether it is a rifle or scope. I take the time to dope the system out to distance. That means recording my elevation every 100 yards. That information is recorded and then recalled later to make sure the scope is repeatable.
Going out to 1000 yards and then back to 100 tells me whether the scope is returning to zero? It’s becoming more common to see small, yet noticeable shifts in zero. Not a good thing.
The Sightmark Pinnacle passed this test, as we saw no issue with a wandering zero. Good rings, a proper torque applied, the scopes should repeat, if they do not, they need to go back. I can fix a slight error in movement, return to zero issues you cannot fix.
- Premium, high-definition optics
- Fully multi-coated optics
- Zero stop elevation dial=
- Scratch resistant lenses
- Constant eye relief
- 6:1 zoom ratio
- First focal plane reticle
- Capped or exposed turret option
- Red/green illuminated reticle
- Fast focus eyepiece
- Waterproof, fogproof and shockproof
- 34 mm single piece tube
- Precision machined
- Aircraft-grade aluminum
- Hard anodized finish
Reticle, Type TMD-HW
Reticle, Color Red/Green
Reticle, Illuminated Yes
Setting, Brightness 5
Finish/Color Matte black
Magnification 5 – 30 x
Diameter, Objective Lens 50 mm
Diameter, Eyepiece 32.9 mm
Diameter, Exit Pupil 8.8 – 1.7 mm
Eye Relief 97 – 96 mm
Field of View 6.7 – 1.1 m @100m
Field of View 3.4 – 2.2 ft @100yd
Field of View 3.86 – 0.64 degree
Diopter Adjustment +2 to -2
Diameter, Tube 34 mm
Parallax Setting 30 – ∞ yds
Windage Range of Adjustment 18 MRAD
Elevation Range of Adjustment 26 MRAD
MRAD Adjustment, 1 click 0.1 MRAD
Travel Per Rotation 10 MRAD
Maximum Recoil 800
Battery Type CR2032
Battery Life Red: (high) 50 – (low) 2000 / Green: (high) 30 – (high) 800 hours
Battery Voltage 3 V
Nitrogen Purged yes
Fog Proof yes
Focal Plane 1st
IP Standard IP67 (submergible to 1m)
Body Material Aluminum
Material, Lens glass
Lens Coating Fully multi-coated
Operating Temp, F/ C -20 to 160 / -29 to 71 F/C
Length 14 / 357 in/mm
Width 3.65 / 92.9 in/mm
Height 3.14 / 79.9 in/mm
Weight 34.5 oz
In my opinion the Sightmark Pinnacle holds its own alongside any scope in this price range. It has the right features to compete and the ease of use make it a solid optic. I found it easy to zero, easy to shoot, and the reticle has enough to satisfy a variety of uses.
This is a tough space to be in, there is a lot of competition here, and I feel the Pinnacle is deserving of a chance.