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Let’s discuss the SWFA ss hd 3-9x42

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    Posted: August/07/2018 at 11:29
Hello, just registered and first time posting.

I am very interested in this optic for a precision ar15 used for 200-600 yard steel from a bench 75% of the time.

I have done a lot of searching and found conflicting information...

Do the newer swfa ss hd 3-9x42’s have HD glass or not? It seems the older ones do not but then it seems speculated that the newer ones do.

How detrimental is not having a parallax adjustment for the range/type of shooting I’ll be doing?

And finally how does the glass compare to something like the Vortex Viper pst gen II 2-10x32?
Unfortunately I have been unable to source any of the SWFA SS line locally so will be stuck ordering online and hoping for the best.

Thank you very much for any information.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rancid Coolaid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2018 at 12:57
 First, I have no experience with that specific Vortex, so won't be addressing that.

Next, I have significant experience with the 3-9SS and with the 3-15 (which you did not mention but might want to consider. Maybe.)

On the 3-9, I think it has always been HD glass, but I could be wrong.  I have one of the very first and it was said then to be HD, though I don't have a way to verify if the glass is high dispersion glass or is not.

With a lack of parallax adjustment, it could be an issue, someone else will post the math to give you the greatest parallax error at 600 yards, I won't.  That said, comparing it to the 3-15, the glass resolution is a bit better (but not a huge bit better) and I always say get better resolution rather than more magnification, but some disagree with me on that.

Next, the turrets on the 3-9 are superior in feel and in mechanism of reset.  Both are at/near perfect in terms of precision and accuracy, else the scope would not be as well regarded as it is.

I have an AR set up much as you describe but with the addition of an offset RMR for close up stuff, and it wears a 3-9.  I like the glass more, and I like the turret feel MUCH more.  But mine is not a bench gun, it is a "take into the field and beat the hell out of" gun, so the 3-9 fit my bill better than the 3-15 would.

For an almost exclusively bench shooter, I would seriously consider the 3-15.

Regarding SWFA and Vortex, both are dependable companies, both stand behind their products.  What often makes the difference for me is this: Vortex's low-end stuff is not held in high regard usually, whereas SWFA's low end stuff (their original 10X fixed SS) is the gold standard for not expensive and still very, very good.  If I need something that I really, really want to not break, it is often an SWFA if they make something that fits the category.

And I don't think anyone other than SWFA sells their scopes, so you won't find one in retail locally in GA.  That said, if you have a range nearby with any serious shooters, someone will have heard of SWFA and might have one on the range to show.

Lastly, welcome.  There are knowledgeable people here, and there are a few wingnuts, but they entertain.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BeltFed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2018 at 13:26
Welcome aboard Subtraction.

I have 3-9 and the 3-15 SWFA SS scopes. I like the 3-9 a tad bit more than the 3-15, but I use it more since it's on a 223 that is much cheaper to shoot than a 308. I bust rocks and steel plates from 250 to 400 yards with a couple of friends of mine, and the 3-9 SS has never given me an issue. In fact, one morning about a month ago there was a heavy fog on the range, and I was the only one who could see the steel plate at 300yds. One of the guys had a Nikon 3-9 223 scope and the other had a 10x Leupold VX III, and neither could see the target when I could.
Oh yeah, I have one of the older scopes with Mil-dot reticle instead of Mil-quad, and I'm pretty sure it has HD glass.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Subtraction Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2018 at 15:12
Thanks for detailed replies!

If it’s on par with the Vortex glass I would be satisfied. I don’t really need an illuminated reticle and while situationally useful is just something else to go wrong not to mention paying for something I don’t really need. That’s what led me to this optic.

I’ve looked at the 3-15 but it’s just too much magnification for 5.56 in my opinion. I’d also much prefer the turrets that the HD line comes with.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tahqua Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2018 at 15:32
Another vote here for the 3-9. I can't say anything other than what has been said.
I do like the older Mil-dot for use in low light, though. I hunted for coyote and it was quite usable. Not sure on the Mil-quad.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2018 at 17:50
Between the two you mentioned, the SS 3-9x42 is a better option.

If you want PST Gen2, step up to the 3-15x44 model.  It is excellent.  However, it is a lot more money than the SS, so decide how much you are willing to spend.

For $600, SS 3-9x42 is just superb.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Subtraction Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2018 at 19:53
I really would just feel silly putting more than 10x on a 5.56. Any more magnification that that and I’m just not the biggest fan. Why do you suggest the 3-15x44 over the 2-10x32 gen II viper pst?

I hadn’t even considered it because of the excess magnification, size, and looks like it’s about $100 more than the 2-10.

If you’ve looked through both the SWFA and Vortex ss hd line how do they compare?

I really wish the SWFA had an adjustable objective. That’s my biggest reason I’d go with the Vortex..

Thanks for the input.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2018 at 20:07
With the PST Gen 2 line-up the 3-15x44 turned out the best out of them all.  2-10x32 is serviceable, but not as good.  It is also way too heavy for this configuration.

As far as excess magnification goes, I am not sure that is a good argument give that you still have 3x on the low end.  It is a larger and more expensive scope, so there is that to consider.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SVT_Tactical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2018 at 09:10

 Depending on what part of Georgia you are in we have a rather friendly member here by the handle BigDaddy... he might be able to let you take a gander through his SS scopes....I think he has a couple. 

 

The 3-9 would be more than sufficient IMO for what you want. 

 

Another options or consideration is if you buy the 3-9, get it and DO NOT mount it and just decide against it SWFA has a good return policy but you'll eat the shipping sometimes.... Talk to Skylar or Christopher up there.  The folks at SWFA are top notch. 

 

SWFA also has www.samplelist.com  and some used 3-9s show up on occasion.... for good deals

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Subtraction Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2018 at 22:57
Thanks again for all the info.

I am doing more research and feel like I may benefit greatly from having an adjustable parallax and the slightly lower and higher mag range is nice.

I’ve had my hands on the pst gen 2 2-10x32 and liked it. Build quality wasn’t amazing but for my purposes it wouldn’t have any troubles. But I have a feeling the SWFA would possibly have slightly better glass and build quality.

Appreciate the heads up one the sample list.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Subtraction Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2018 at 09:40
I’ve now found out about the Burris XTR II line.

Between the XTR II 2-10x42 and the Vortex Viper PST 2-10x32... that’s what I’m deciding between now. Burris looks to be available around $750 and the Vortex is $800. Any input?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote supertool73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2018 at 09:43
I own the SS 3-9x, the XTR 2 2-10x and a PST 2-10x32. 

IMO it goes SS then XTR, then the PST.

They are all great scopes, the optically I think the SS is slightly better.  Mechanical wise, they have all be sound for me.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Subtraction Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2018 at 10:59
Originally posted by supertool73 supertool73 wrote:

I own the SS 3-9x, the XTR 2 2-10x and a PST 2-10x32. 

IMO it goes SS then XTR, then the PST.

They are all great scopes, the optically I think the SS is slightly better.  Mechanical wise, they have all be sound for me.   


The only reason I’ve migrated away from the ss is lack of parallax adjustment.

Between the Vortex and Burris, why do you prefer the xtr II? Thank you, really appreciate your input as you own both!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote supertool73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2018 at 11:16
Exit pupil.  The Vortex has a smaller objective so on 8-10x it is not as bright.  IMO the optics in the XTR are slightly brighter.  Or at least my eyes agree with it better.  One downside to the XTR is the 34mm tube, it makes for a large scope.  Also the adjustments are pretty stiff, which can be good or bad.  I used to own two of them, but got rid of one.  Both had stiff adjustments. 

Don't get to caught up on the parallax adjustment.  If you are getting behind the scope and reticle the same every time it will not cause you an issue.  The SS 3-9x It was designed as a 0 to 600 yard designated marksman scope.  Meant to be fast on target without having to mess with stuff.  It does what it was designed for well.   

They are all good scopes.  Optically they are all good, mechanically they are all good.  Just pick the one that has the features that are most important to you.  If parallax is a big deal for you then the XTR or PST might be a better choice the the SS. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rancid Coolaid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2018 at 11:41
 I was hoping not to have to do this, but here goes:  the formula for parallax error in millimeters is
( 0.5 x D x ( Abs ( R - P ) ) / P
where
  • D = Objective diameter in millimeters
  • R = range to target
  • P = fixed parallax setting of scope

With the SS3-9's objective at 42mm, parallax set to 100 meters, and maximum range set to 600 meters, the maximum parallax error at 600 meters is 105mm, or about 4 inches.  I know the parallax on the SS is actually 100 yards (or think I know anyway), but you get the idea: worrying about parallax near the usable edge of the round (in most cases) seems a bit superfluous, considering what the wind is doing to that round at 600 yards, and a bad trigger pull could move you off target completely.

Yes, in precision long range, parallax is important; however, there are many, MANY far more consequential factors that will keep you out of the bullseye at that range.  Considering a good AR is a 1MOA gun anyway, and that is an max error of about 0.65MOA, I'd put other factors far, far above concern for parallax.  Like a match trigger.  And good ammo.  And lots of range time.  And lots of dry fire time.  And a comfortable pair of shoes.  And maybe a decent bur coffee grinder.  And some soap.  And maybe medium buffalo wings, but not with blue cheese, I hate clue cheese. Cheese should not be blue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Subtraction Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2018 at 12:11
Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

 I was hoping not to have to do this, but here goes:  the formula for parallax error in millimeters is
<span style="display: inline !imant; : none; : transparent; color: rgb0, 0, 0; font-family: ArialRounded,Arial,Helvetica,SunSans-Regular,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-trans: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;"> </span><strong style=": transparent; color: rgb0, 0, 0; font-family: ArialRounded,Arial,Helvetica,SunSans-Regular,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 700; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-trans: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;">( 0.5 x D x ( Abs ( R - P ) ) / P<span style="display: inline !imant; : none; : transparent; color: rgb0, 0, 0; font-family: ArialRounded,Arial,Helvetica,SunSans-Regular,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-trans: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;"> </span><br style=": transparent; color: rgb0, 0, 0; font-family: ArialRounded,Arial,Helvetica,SunSans-Regular,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-trans: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;"><span style="display: inline !imant; : none; : transparent; color: rgb0, 0, 0; font-family: ArialRounded,Arial,Helvetica,SunSans-Regular,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-trans: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;">
               where </span><br style=": transparent; color: rgb0, 0, 0; font-family: ArialRounded,Arial,Helvetica,SunSans-Regular,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-trans: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;"><span style="display: inline !imant; : none; : transparent; color: rgb0, 0, 0; font-family: ArialRounded,Arial,Helvetica,SunSans-Regular,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-trans: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;">
               </span><ul style=": transparent; color: rgb0, 0, 0; font-family: ArialRounded,Arial,Helvetica,SunSans-Regular,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-trans: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;">
                    <li style="font-size: 14px;"><strong style="font-weight: 700;">D = Objective diameter in millimeters
                    <li style="font-size: 14px;"><strong style="font-weight: 700;">R = range to target
                    <li style="font-size: 14px;"><strong style="font-weight: 700;">P = fixed parallax setting of scope
With the SS3-9's objective at 42mm, parallax set to 100 meters, and maximum range set to 600 meters, the maximum parallax error at 600 meters is 105mm, or about 4 inches.  I know the parallax on the SS is actually 100 yards (or think I know anyway), but you get the idea: worrying about parallax near the usable edge of the round (in most cases) seems a bit superfluous, considering what the wind is doing to that round at 600 yards, and a bad trigger pull could move you off target completely.

Yes, in precision long range, parallax is important; however, there are many, MANY far more consequential factors that will keep you out of the bullseye at that range.  Considering a good AR is a 1MOA gun anyway, and that is an max error of about 0.65MOA, I'd put other factors far, far above concern for parallax.  Like a match trigger.  And good ammo.  And lots of range time.  And lots of dry fire time.  And a comfortable pair of shoes.  And maybe a decent bur coffee grinder.  And some soap.  And maybe medium buffalo wings, but not with blue cheese, I hate clue cheese. Cheese should not be blue.


Thank you for that!

I found that formula doing a search here and came up with something wildly different than you which made me believe there would potentially be a few feet worth of error. My math was wildly flawed to say the least!

And those are all good points and I could definitely use all the help I can get which led me to figuring... why not get an adjustable parallax and completely negate one of the variables? Knowing I could at most experience roughly 4” of error at the range I’ll be shooting I can live with that.

I’m taking yalls advice and ordering the swfa ss he 3-9. Any suggestions on rings and what height? Thank you so much for your help.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote supertool73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2018 at 12:25
Get a Bobro or america defense specific AR-15 mount. The seekins permanant mount is very nice as well
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Subtraction Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2018 at 12:35
Originally posted by supertool73 supertool73 wrote:

Get a Bobro or america defense specific AR-15 mount. The seekins permanant mount is very nice as well


I’ve had both of those, think I liked the ADM better. The Bobro just seemed complex and was quite a bit more expensive. I also saw Daniel Defense has a new 1 piece mount, doesn’t appear to be qd priced around $140.

Guess I’ll probably go with ADM.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rancid Coolaid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2018 at 12:52
 I think all my AR15 variants ride in AD Recon mounts when possible.  AR10s usually get an Aadmount, but that is overkill for your gun.

Next comes ammo and trigger.  Don't start with the cheapest ammo and stick with it, get a few variants and see what the gun likes - and run that.  Next, the difference between a stock trigger and a match like a Geiselle or Timney is remarkable.  A crappy mil-spec 2-stage trigger will turn a 1 MOA shooter into a 2 MOA shooter, no problem.  Get a good trigger, and spend time with it at home and on the range (at home, always be sure the gun is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction.  

If you don't like the 3-9, I can comfortably say you would like the other 2 far less.

But let us know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2018 at 13:04
Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

 I was hoping not to have to do this, but here goes:  the formula for parallax error in millimeters is
( 0.5 x D x ( Abs ( R - P ) ) / P
where
  • D = Objective diameter in millimeters
  • R = range to target
  • P = fixed parallax setting of scope

With the SS3-9's objective at 42mm, parallax set to 100 meters, and maximum range set to 600 meters, the maximum parallax error at 600 meters is 105mm, or about 4 inches.  I know the parallax on the SS is actually 100 yards (or think I know anyway), but you get the idea: worrying about parallax near the usable edge of the round (in most cases) seems a bit superfluous, considering what the wind is doing to that round at 600 yards, and a bad trigger pull could move you off target completely.

Yes, in precision long range, parallax is important; however, there are many, MANY far more consequential factors that will keep you out of the bullseye at that range.  Considering a good AR is a 1MOA gun anyway, and that is an max error of about 0.65MOA, I'd put other factors far, far above concern for parallax.  Like a match trigger.  And good ammo.  And lots of range time.  And lots of dry fire time.  And a comfortable pair of shoes.  And maybe a decent bur coffee grinder.  And some soap.  And maybe medium buffalo wings, but not with blue cheese, I hate clue cheese. Cheese should not be blue.

That is not strictly speaking correct.  You have to account for the size of the eye pupil with respect to he exit pupil.

ILya
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Subtraction Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2018 at 13:26
Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

 I think all my AR15 variants ride in AD Recon mounts when possible.  AR10s usually get an Aadmount, but that is overkill for your gun.

Next comes ammo and trigger.  Don't start with the cheapest ammo and stick with it, get a few variants and see what the gun likes - and run that.  Next, the difference between a stock trigger and a match like a Geiselle or Timney is remarkable.  A crappy mil-spec 2-stage trigger will turn a 1 MOA shooter into a 2 MOA shooter, no problem.  Get a good trigger, and spend time with it at home and on the range (at home, always be sure the gun is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction.  

If you don't like the 3-9, I can comfortably say you would like the other 2 far less.

But let us know.


Appreciate the suggestions! I already have a Larue mbt trigger in it, I can’t really notice a difference between it and the ssa-e I used to have. Thats just going off memory as I’ve never had them side by side to compare.

And I’ve had good luck with Magtech 62 grain and some MEN m193 can’t recall the name off the top of my head. I rarely if ever shoot anything more expensive than that. I’ve had not too bad of results for the price with the Barnaul 62 grain soft points for just plinking when 2.5-3moa is acceptable.

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