SWFA SS 5-20×50 HD Scope SSHD520X50MQ Initial Impressions

I received my SWFA SS 5-20×50 HD rifle scope a few weeks back, and have mounted it to a Savage 11 Long Range Hunter with a 20 MOA base. After sending about 100 rounds downrange (100~600 yards), I’ve had enough time to make my initial impression.

Lens glass: it’s very clear and light is efficiently used at every power. I was able to clearly read small text on a small sign at 300 yards. As a side note, however, I purchased a $300 Nikko Sterling Targetmaster (SFP) scope that arrived around the same time, and it’s Japanese A+ glass with ETE Mirolux coating exactly matches the clarity.

Turrets: adjustments are not very crisp and feel a bit mushy. They’re also somewhat quiet with each movement; with a faint click sound (may not be an issue for some shooters). The big downside: the painted center placement hash does not match up to the painted turret hashes. On the scope I received, the turret hashes fall about 2/5 between each mark, which is very frustrating.

SWFA SS 5-20x50 HD Elevation Turret

SWFA SS 5-20x50 HD Windage Turret

Lens caps: the SWFA SS 5-20×50 HD does not come with lens caps (or sunshade), so I ordered my scope with the Butler Creek lens cap option. The ocular bell cap stays put, but the objective bell cap fits loosely and pulls off before the cap can be opened. This could be a Butler Creek QC issue, but SWFA really should include some type of lens cap for $1500.

Durability: while I think that this area is best left to .50 BMG shooters, the SWFA SS 5-20×50 HD has stood up to 100 rounds of 260 Remington with repeatable adjustments. I feel confident that my 1st round will match my 1000th round, with adjustments in-between.

Overall I’m satisfied, but not completely thrilled, by the SWFA SS 5-20×50 HD scope. It’s very possible that because there was huge amount of hype generated with the group buy that I raised my expectations, but the scope delivered lacked the polish I expected. I’ve got the Nikko Sterling Targetmaster and Leopold Mark IV to compare against, and there’s clearly something left to be desired from this SWFA model. If I had to do it again would I spend $1500 on a SWFA SS 5-20×50 HD scope? I think it would be very difficult after my initial impressions.

Your mileage may vary.

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