A few years back while hunting mule deer in Wyoming, I took a bad fall on a mountain and completely separated my shoulder. Back at camp the next morning I noticed the scope had a definite bend to it. A year or so later I donated a couple of scopes I tested to our church auction. For some reason I had kept the bent scope, and it gave the auctioneer an idea. When he came to the scopes he picked it up and started pounding on the table with it. That auctioneer had the undivided attention of every hunter in the room.
I didn't put the Sightron Big Sky 4.5X-14X-44 MD scope through quite as much torture, but it did get a water dunking, then the freezer, then a sit in my truck in 90-degree Missouri heat and a number of drop tests. Other than a couple of scratches, the Sightron came through the tests with flying colors. I found that Sightron scopes are completely waterproof and very durable.
Then I mounted the scope for some shooting tests. Sight-in was quick and easy with the tool-free windage and elevation knobs. The knurled target knobs are easy to grip, and clicks are audible and positive. Once the scope was sighted in I removed it, repeated the "hazard tests" and then re-mounted it-again, no problems. I spun the knobs randomly, and then sighted-in yet again. Still no problems, just a quick and easy sight-in.
Sightron's unique ExacTrack system provides extremely precise, no-drift windage and elevation adjustments. This patented windage and elevation system utilizes an exclusive erector tube design to maintain a positive, flush point of contact of the tube and adjustment knob. Basically, instead of using a pointed metal rod that keeps the erector tube in position within the main tube, it utilizes a metal rod with a flat end that can impart more surface area on the erector tube, and therefore minimize its chance of moving inadvertently.
The Big Sky's adjustments are also resettable after sighting-in. Simply loosen the Allen screws and remove the adjusting knob by pulling it up and out. Align the zero mark on the knob with the index line on the Revolution scale beneath and retighten the Allen screws.
Sightron's new SII variable-power target scopes are available with a choice of dot, mil-dot or duplex reticle to match a shooter's requirements. The scope tested featured a mil-dot reticle. One feature I liked was the side-focus knob to compensate for parallax, or the apparent displacement of an object caused by the change in the position from which it is viewed.
In order to be parallax-free, the target or animal image must be focused onto the reticle. Most riflescopes, including Sightron models, are set parallax-free at 100 yards. Objects at distances less than or greater than 100 yards will show some small movement in relation to the crosshairs. If most of your shots are at whitetails around 100 yards, give or take 50 yards, parallax isn't a problem.
If, however, you're hunting Southern beanfields, Midwest corn or wheat fields or the mountains of the West, shots can be greater than 100, sometimes more than 350 yards. In this case parallax can become a problem. Parallax is definitely a problem when target shooting at long range. The problem, however, is quickly and easily solved with the side-focusing parallax adjustment knob. My tests for this involved setting up a decoy at 400 yards, and then turning the focusing knob until the image was clear. I found that the scope will focus from 10 yards to infinity.
Incidentally, drop in inches and correction in MOA and/or clicks is available from the Sightron website. Just pick your favorite ammo, and the chart illustrates the proper correction needed at 200, 300 and 400 yards. Adjustment of magnification is easy with a large, knurled knob with a finger extension. Even at 14X, visibility was sharp.
The SII scope is extremely well made; it's constructed of a one-piece, aircraft-quality aluminum tube with a brushed, satin-matte finish. The fully multi-coated lenses feature Sightron's ZACT-7 Revcoat seven-layer coating to provide extremely high light transmission. A matching, detachable sunshade for shooting in bright conditions, as well as quality lens caps, come standard.
Regardless of whether you're hunting whitetails, elk, long-range antelope or merely shooting on the target range, the Sightron SII Big Sky 4.5X-14X-44mm target scope is extremely versatile, and it's a quality product. For the ultimate torture test, however, I'm headed back to the mountains this fall.