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Review of the SWFA Super Sniper 1-4X24 HD

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 13:23
Hokie1850 View Drop Down
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Hi everyone, I'm new to Opticstalk but figured I'd jump in as the subject matter here is highly relevant to my interests!  I recently acquired the new Super Sniper 1-4X24 HD and was so impressed by it that I wrote a detailed review to share with a few online communities.  I've also posted this review at AR15.com and Snipershide.com  - I hope you like it:
 
"Technology is not evolving anymore, technology IS evolution!”

I was very enthusiastic to write this review.  I’ve long been a clap-happy fan of practical optics, versatile carbines, and industry savvy.  When SWFA announced the creation of a Super Sniper line of low power variable optics – I was immediately intrigued.  Why? For one – SWFA stocks, handles, and sells virtually every optic commercially available.  By trade SWFA has a finger on the pulse of the optics industry.  They know what works, what doesn’t, what sells, and what the end user wants in a comprehensive scope for the AR platform. 

SWFA ventured to assess, design, manufacture, and drop such an investment into the mosh pit of competing heavy duty optics. This maneuver is a true testament to their confidence over the Super Sniper line of products.  That’s definitely worth noting and inspires some legitimate curiosity as to what makes this scope worth your while.  This review is intended to help satisfy that craving.  It will also share my personal observations with regards to how this scope compares to others in its class.  Lord knows I’ve tried many an optic over the years.  So many incredible options, each with its own set of pros and cons.  For each scope I’ve tried, I’ve also found a reason to get rid of it.  There was always a technical compromise that prevented the low power variable from serving in the capacity of a general purpose optic. By "general purpose" I mean that which is best suited to hit typical silhouettes with no specific range limitations.

Before I get too far into this…let me come right out and state that from my perspective the SWFA Super Sniper 1-4 HD is the long overdue culmination of several proven and popular scope designs.  They’ve taken the best mojo from other capable scopes placed them all into one.  If you are in the market for a high quality do-it-all optic and mount combo under $1,000 for your AR15 – read on.

My range time (aka free time) has been very limited this month.  Consequently to date I have only fired 200 rounds of M855 behind this scope to establish a 50/200 yard zero and feel out the basics of what the Super Sniper offers.  To really dig into the details of its long range accuracy potential past 200 yards I’ll reference a great field review by contributor I have a great deal of respect for:

SWFA 1-4 HD Field Test (long w/photos)

The SWFA Super Sniper 1-4X24 HD:

What SWFA has essentially done here is create an exceptionally rugged and high quality 1-4X variable that caters to the standard 50 / 200 yard zero yet offers unparalleled advantages when dialing out to the limits of one’s abilities.  A great deal of innovation went into its design. 


For my review I elected the model with the CQB circle and capped turrets.  SWFA also offers this model with an open MIL crosshair and uncapped turrets.  My shooting efforts with the 5.56 cartridge rarely exceed 200 yards, so for my perceived shooting venues I wanted a zero that I could set and forget.  In the event I want to move to a bipod in the prone position and exercise my carbine’s accuracy potential beyond typical ranges – I could…and with great ease.  The way I see it, extended shots past 200 yards are the exception and not the norm.  If the opposite were true one would likely opt for a different caliber and / or higher powered scope.  To be able to cap the turrets all together is a great benefit.

When stacking up the important components of a low power variable optic – a short list of must haves come to mind:

1) Durability
2) Glass
3) Reticle Design
4) Turrets
5) Eye Relief and Exit Pupil
6) Weight
7) Illumination Potential
8) Battery Power
9) Customer Service
10) Affordability

These factors all contribute to a scope’s worthiness over a firearm. Those who have spent enough time behind an occular can certainly appreciate how very important such details are.  The Super Sniper 1-4 HD capitalizes on each of those factors by incorporating the best resolutions available.  To elaborate:

Its components are very Spartan and robust.  In my view it stands shoulder to shoulder with the level of quality standardized by Nightforce.  Rated -50 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, weather proof, etc – it’d serve under any condition one would consider shooting in.  Such parameters should be a given for any scope labeled “HD.” Turret caps are well secured.  Occular adjustments lock up tight.  The rheostat knob is well seated by threads and gaskets.  It rotates with a positive feel with off settings between illumination levels, inspired by Leupold’s MR/T perhaps.  The magnification dial rotates from 1X to 4X with a 180 degree rotation.  I can do this with two deliberate wrist moves.  Keep the cat tails…you won’t need it.  The body has a hard matte black finish.  In hand, to me, this scope feels very rugged.  It appears to be on par with Nightforce and S&B.  In short – it’s definitely heavy duty.  No issues here.  To speculate further would be unsubstantiated.  I don’t plan on using mine to pound roofing nails in order to make a point!




Glass quality is superb.  The sight picture is crystal clear from edge to edge and boasts a generous FOV regardless of magnification level.  Light transmission is incredible.  I have no means to gauge it but it's akin to looking through a clean glass window.  The view contains three high contrasting black posts that taper into the SS’s simple and efficient CQB circle. Reminiscent of the Nightforce FC-2 the circle truly dominates your sight alignment by naturally drawing your eye to the center.  Inside the circle is an innovative FFP Mil / Mil crosshair.  At 1X magnification the crosshairs becomes a ghosted center point which perfectly compliments the speed and accuracy potential of the reticle when shooting with both eyes open.  Crank it up to 4X for incredible clarity and a precise aiming point.  The circle is large enough to center on a silhouette but small enough to stay out of the way at higher magnification.  The dimensions are right where they need to be.  In a way, the Super Sniper gives you two reticles to work from – one at 1X, and the other at 4X.

The treeline past the snowfield is 150 yards away:


<

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 13:34
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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Welcome to the OT!

I take it your final impression is:  The 1-4SS is awesome.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 13:39
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Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 13:58
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Welcome to the OT!

I take it your final impression is:  The 1-4SS is awesome.
 
 
lol...if I were to publish cliff notes...that's all book would say! Big Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 14:03
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Nice write-up!

You have the exact version I am thinking about.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 14:16
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Welcome to the OT!
 
As for your reviewExcellentHope you  will B be sticking around.


Edited by stickbow46 - February/21/2011 at 14:18
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 14:57
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Very nicely done... 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 17:11
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Nice review, Hokie!  Thanks for posting it, and welcome to OT!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 22:13
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Excellent Very nice right up.  I now need one of those scopes for my AR!!  Would be a perfect match.  Love the great pics of the reticle.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 22:29
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Welcome


Excellent write up and review. "Nice rig there also"

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2011 at 18:23
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Excellent write up and thank you! 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2011 at 18:32
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Thanks for the excellent review!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/11/2011 at 18:34
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"I LOVE THE SMELL OF ANOTHER SUPER SNIPER REVIEW IN THE MORNING!!"
"IT SMELLS LIKE...LIKE...VICTORY!!"

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2011 at 13:03
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I am in the market for a scope to mount on an 18" barreled AR15 that will be used for short and 100-200 yard shooting with some fast transitions between distances.

I had pretty much decided on the Burris Tac30.  Today I came across the SWFA Super Sniper 1-4x24HD and noted several positive reviews on them.

I'd appreciate some help from someone who can provide a solid description of what advantages or disadvantages, features and options each of these scopes would to offer compared to the other.

If you guys can fill me in, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks for the help.
Wes

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/10/2011 at 13:24
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Well,

The advantages:  The reticle is First Focal Plane (FFP).  It functions like a red dot at 1x and a mildot at 4x.  It is just about perfect for what you are describing.  Then there is the quality of build, excellent customer service, etc. etc.

The disadvantages for what you want:  Zero.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/11/2011 at 09:24
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There are a bunch of reviews on this site.  Also on snipers hide there are several.  I would point you to look for those.  They should answer all your questions.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/11/2011 at 21:39
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Alright folks, here is a blue collar comparison of seven low power variable scopes.  These are just my personal observations with regards to glass quality, construction, reticle design, illumination, price, etc. I didn’t put any rounds downrange with these scopes.  Everything is simply based on my handling and comparing them to each other.  Moreover, this is a review of how they stack up to the SS 1-4 HD. 

 

I'm of the opinion that a performance at 1X is extremely important, otherwise, why go with a 1X-4X at all? I'm also of the opinion that an AR15's usefulness is best served below a few hundred yards.  Reticle design is paramount.  That said, I think an accurized carbine is certainly capable beyond that range.  Again, reticle design is paramount as is glass quality. To be able to do it all through a low power variable - that scope needs to cater to CQB type applications at 1X magnification yet boast some real legitimate benefits at 4X.   Having the chance to weigh several scopes against each other I am absolutely in favor of the SS 1-4 HD.  I'll do my best to explain why.  For a general purpose low power variable scope, the SS exceeds every option I’d want to ride my carbines.

 

First - the comparisons.  Cut and pasted specs from each company’s page.  Mind you these are just my opinions, nothing more.

 

I believe the following five scopes all machine their tubes from solid bar stock 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum alloy.  So let’s assume construction is on par.  All adjustments and moving components on the following optics are also comparable and do not offer a real advantage over the other.  Not that I can tell anyway.  There may be some stark differences internally – but everything works as advertised.  The real differences between the following are in the glass quality and reticle design. 

 

Nightforce NXS 1-4 NXS Compact Mil Dot:

 Magnification:                                                    1-4x

 Objective Diameter:                                           24mm

 Exit Pupil Diameter:                                           16mm @ 1x  6mm @ 4x

 Field Of View:                                                   100ft @ 1x  25ft @4x

 Eye Relief:                                                         3.5in (90mm)

 Internal

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/11/2011 at 21:40
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Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

"I LOVE THE SMELL OF ANOTHER SUPER SNIPER REVIEW IN THE MORNING!!"
"IT SMELLS LIKE...LIKE...VICTORY!!"

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F'in Savages!!! Cool
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2011 at 07:21
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Excellent nice write up
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/12/2011 at 08:05
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Man oh man what a nice "backyard" that is a beautiful scene and then to be able to look at them through those selections of glass...

I am starting to sin looking at this post "ENVY"...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/13/2011 at 04:02
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Originally posted by Hokie1850 Hokie1850 wrote:

Originally posted by cheaptrick cheaptrick wrote:

"I LOVE THE SMELL OF ANOTHER SUPER SNIPER REVIEW IN THE MORNING!!"
"IT SMELLS LIKE...LIKE...VICTORY!!"

Avatar
 
F'in Savages!!! Cool

"Charlie Don't Surf".............Excellent

Excellent use of photos! 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/13/2011 at 07:21
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What a "Hokie" review... (get it ... Hokie1850,  Hokie review... nevermind)
 
Excellent.  Your comparisons are just outstanding.  You didn't wishy-wash anything, showed the advantages and disadvantages of all in your comparison set and used personal experience as a "deciding factor".  Great stuff and thank you...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/13/2011 at 19:25
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That review is truly awesome.

Really great.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/13/2011 at 21:18
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Great review! thanks! Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/13/2011 at 21:51
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It's truly my pleasure guys.  Here are a few other scope comparisons I did with the review but didn't originally include in this thread:
 
BSA Catseye:


*I wrote the specs on this one…
Weight (oz): fat hamster
Length (in): skid mark
Eye Relief (in): not far enough
Field of View @ 100yds (ft): thumb’s width
Exit Pupil (mm): wtf does it even matter, really
MOA: 1 click = 16” oak tree
Lens Coating: Lard
Warranty: Couldn’t pay me to mail it in.
 
This rubberized paper towel roll sucks so bad; I had a hard time taking pictures of it.  The illumination broke, the reticle is canted, and the glass is speckled with toenail grit from the floor of a low budget Chinese factory.  The glare off the ocular requires you to wear sunglasses. It never made it back inside the house.  It's 20 something feet into the treeline.  Hit an oak and careened off into a hemlock.  It will probably stay there unless it offends the wildlife and gets thrown back through my kitchen window.  Priced at $75 or something....it's the perfect scope for a pellet rifle or spitball straw.  Compared to the SS, this scope should be crushed, melted, and recycled into Butler Creek flip up scope covers.
 
Leatherwood CMR:


Weight (oz):16.5
Length (in):10.2
Eye Relief (in):3
Field of View @ 100yds (ft):94.8 - 26.2
Exit Pupil (mm):11.1 - 6
MOA:1/2
Lens Coating: Diamond TuFF14
Warranty: Limited Lifetime
 
I don’t feel like writing too much on this one.  The value is primarily with its cost.  It’s made in China.  Unmistakably feels less quality compared to some of the other optics in the line up.  Most of my hesitation lies with the fit and finish.  Pretty sure it wouldn’t take much to mar the coating on this optic.  The reticle is overly complicated in my opinion. The illumination is green and isn’t consistently bright across the horseshoe.  Not daytime visible.  Worth it?  For an affordable entry level “tactical” scope under $300? Absolutely. As for how the CMR compares to the SS, it really doesn’t on any level.  It’s a fraction of the SS at a fraction of the price.  Still, I think the CMR has its place although for the money I’d probably want a reputable traditional scope over a budget tactical option. That’s just me though.  YMMV.
 
Trijicon Accupoint TR24-3G:


Magnification  1x-4x
Objective Size  24
Bullet Drop Compensator No
Length (In) 10.3
Weight (oz) 14.4
Illumination Source Fiber Optics & Tritium
Reticle Pattern German #4 Crosshair
Day Reticle Color Green
Night Reticle Color Green
Eye Relief 3.2
Exit Pupil 17.5 to 5.1
Field of View @ 100 yards (ft) 97.5 to 24.2
Adjustment @ 100 yards (clicks/in) 4
Tube Size 30mm
 
Who doesn’t have some love for the Accupoint?  It’s a great scope, great glass, with great incorporation of fiber optics to boast constant illumination regardless of ambient light.  I will say that should one want a TR24, the triangle version is the only way to roll.  At 1X, where reticle design matters most…the TR24’s primary advantage is its fiber optic.  Otherwise, the scope has no substantial mojo over other scopes on the market.  The triangle, mind you, is truly an incredible option for daytime shooting below 200/300 yards.  Some use it well out to 400.  Beyond point blank range, the reticle usefulness nosedives unless you know the range and want to mess with the turrets.  Some do some don’t.  Once the night falls, I don’t think the tritium does much for you outside of adding some contrast to the reticle.  Once you touch off a weapon light – the reticle goes black.  Manual illumination matters and Trijicon doesn’t employ the technology.  Whereas the TR24 is certainly daytime savvy, the SS is night and daytime savvy.  Where its daylight illumination level (setting #11) may not gleam like the Accupoint, the black reticle jumps right out and contrasts extremely well.  At night, the SS is the obvious choice.  Compared to the TR24, the SS has equal or better glass.  The TR24 is a great choice, but I think the SS is a better option in a general 1X-4X.  It’s simply more versatile.  On an AR15, I feel the TR24 isn’t the 24/7 optic everyone wants it to be.  I feel the SS is.  No disrespect to the Accupoint though.  I love that optic.  I have a 3-9 on my deer rifle.  That fiber optic reticle is such a bonus for a deer hunter.
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