Upon receipt of the SS10x42M Super Sniper Scope, I was happily surprised by my initial impression -- for the money, this scope really has a lot to offer. It appears quite sturdy and well constructed. It is configured similarly to the Leupold Mk4 M1, yet is offered for less than half the price. Of the tactical scopes I have examined at this price level, between $400 and $500 dollars, the SS10x42M offers some unique features the competition can not, or has not been willing to match. The scope, which I will refer to from this point on as the SS10x42M -- it just sounds too silly calling it the Super Sniper -- comes in a pebbled matte black finish and has a 30mm tube. It weighs approximately 21.4 ounces and is 14 inches long. The objective lens is 42mm and the ocular is 36mm. The scope, as the model number indicates, is a fixed 10-power unit. Due to the 30mm tube, the scope allows a whopping 120 minutes of angle (MOA) in travel for both elevation and windage. This is on par with the best scopes of this type.
The elevation and windage turrets are well marked and easily interpreted. The turrets are marked for 15 minutes of angle per revolution. The quarter minute clicks are fairly audible, but oddly, more so in one direction than the other. On the negative side, I found it easy to dial past the setting I wanted as the system almost seems infinitely variable as opposed to a solid click/stop/click design. I can not explain this precisely. You would have to spin the turrets to see what I mean. The knobs did not provide a firm "feel" to each click. This did not affect performance in any way as I could visually stop the turret at the proper position, but I would prefer a more precise stop per click. I have seen this effect in other scopes with 15-MOA dials. It could be the price one pays for the increased elevation per rotation, but that is a guess at best.
The inner turret is marked with a vertical line which is divided with alternating horizontal ticks. Using these the shooter can keep track of how many revolutions from zero he has dialed in. This is very similar to the B&L Tactical. Again, a nice touch. The literature states that it takes 60 clicks, or one full revolution, to go from one "tick" to the next.
The turret knobs are large and easy to grasp. When changing the permanent zero setting of the knob, the shooter must loosen three set screws and adjust the turret to zero, then lock the knob down again with the screws. This is a foolproof system and I was happy to see the manufacturer went to this length to assure a precise adjustment. The turrets are waterproofed and appear to be made out of aluminum. They are fit over the inner turret which should help keep water out of the internal workings. As the scope is rated for submersion in 60 feet of salt water, this should not be an issue anyway but I appreciate the thought behind putting the turrets on this way. I have seen other scopes where the knob went inside the turret ring and these have always bothered me. Waterproof or not, those systems seemed like a ready made water trap. Since a sniper scope has to perform whether wet, cruddy, or covered in goo, they are better served by having as few water/debris traps as possible. This is a small detail, but one I appreciate.
The SS10x42M has a third turret for parallax adjustments, similar to the twice expensive Leupold M3A. The movement is stiff, and at first takes some getting used to. This is good though as it is unlikely that the knob will move under recoil, causing your sight picture to go out of focus. In my opinion the parallax knob's layout is a little nicer than both the M3A and the B&L Tactical. On the Leupold model, the parallax knob has no markings beyond plain dots. This works fine -- you just "focus and forget." However, I prefer to read the distance (if available) and set the range (if I know it precisely.) The B&L Tactical only has two turrets and has the parallax adjustment in the place of a normal power ring as found on a standard variable type scope. This also works fine but I found one major flaw with that design. Please refer to Sniper Country's review of the B&L Tactical for more information.
The Super Sniper SS10x42M parallax turret is marked from 10m to 500m followed by the infinity symbol. This turret is designed in the same manner as the windage and elevation turrets, where the shooter can remove it and reset it to the 100 meter mark. This is a very good feature as over the years I have yet to see an adjustable objective align perfectly with the provided markings. With the SS10x42M, you sight in at 100 meters, check the focus, adjust the dial if necessary -- and that's it, you're "good to go."
The SS10x42M is equipped with a mil-dot reticle that is outstanding. The reticle is finer than the B&L Tactical, and about on par with the Leupold M3A. The dots are circular as opposed to the Leupold tendency to make them oval in shape. The dots are centered very nicely on the stadia. During the range test for this review, I checked the mil relationship out to 850 yards and the ranging ability of this reticle proved accurate. The dots are the standard .75 moa. The only negative comment on the choice of circular mil-dots is that it can sometimes be slightly more difficult to break the mils down when ranging a target. This has always seemed a little easier to me with the oval shaped dots and of course this observation is totally subjective. Once you learn to force yourself to see the dot as actually holding a few fractions of the mil, not just the center of the dot, you can easily overcome any questionable shortcoming. In the end, it all boils down to what you are used too. I had this same complaint with the B&L Tactical, so the Super Sniper scope is in good company!
The optical clarity of the Super Sniper SS10x42M is quite sufficient. The sight picture is bright and clear. Eye relief is roughly 3.75" which gives the average shooter plenty of clearance. Finding the proper eye relief is easy as there is little leeway when on the scope. You either have a clear picture, or you don't. The Literature that accompanied the scope claims that the lenses are fully coated for light transmission and that some internal lenses are five-layer coated to enhance contrast.
The scope tube is made of sturdy aircraft aluminum. I found myself tempted to drive a nail with the tube body as it appeared up to the challenge. I never could work up enough nerve to test this out though... but knowing what the Unertl 10-power went through during its trials for adoption by the U.S. Marine Corps, one can not help but think about such things. As it is, the unit appears quite strong and -- short of testing it to destruction -- there is no way to determine its resistance to abuse. As we did not do this with the other scopes we have reviewed, we'll just have to leave this one alone also.
My overall impression of this scope is very favorable, save for one glaring item. The objective lens is right at the end of the scope tube. There is no recessed area to speak of. This is a real negative as there is no provision for a screw in sun shade and the lens itself is only a millimeter from getting poked, soaked, or covered in mud. This leaves me with a concern about reflection also. It will be hard to hide that glass with out some tube-induced shadow to block the sun. This thing is a real candidate for Tenebraex Corporation's killFlash Anti-Reflection Device (ARD) mounted in a scope cap. Even then, the glass is uncomfortably close to the end of the tube. As long as the sniper stays conscious of this, there should be little problem and it would not stop me from buying this scope. Still, I wanted you to be aware. Just be prepared to install a killFlash filter. That alone will take care of two problems. Besides reducing reflection, it will also protect the lens to no little degree.
In all, the Super Sniper SS10x42M offers the sniper community with a mid-priced offering of viable performance. It is right in the middle of the current, tactically-oriented line of optics available from a number of manufacturers, and with regard to price it offers special features only found in far more expensive offerings. When compared to other scopes in the $450 range, this scope really shines.
Note: Since this review by Sniper Country the Super Sniper series scopes have been modified. One of the Marine Corps requirements was for the objective lens to be placed at the end of the scope instead of being recessed (supposably to make it easier to wipe of dirt and debris). This presented many unforeseen problems such as reflection and increased dirt and debris contacting the objective lens. The newest versions all have a recessed objective lens (") that also acts as a built in sun-shade.