SWFA SS 3-9×42 Scope Review
Using the SWFA SS 3-9×42 scope over the last few months, I have really come to love this scope. It is precise, quick to adjust and just a real smooth scope. Coming in at around $600 bucks you will be hard pressed to find a competing front focal plane scope. Sure you can find great rear focal plane scopes, but if you want true precision then front focal plane is where it’s at. In case you do not know the difference, front focal plane reticles change in size as you increase/decrease the magnification. Giving you a true relation to the reticle. Versus a rear focal plane where the reticle never moves, so you have to make sure when zeroing your rifle that whatever power the manufacture says where the reticle is true is where you start for your zeroing. Usually it is the highest magnification as is the case on my Vortex Viper PST 2.5-10 scope.
Construction The way this SWFA SS 3-9×42 scope is constructed is excellent. Nothing stands out as being out of place, or glue drips, screws not tight, glass not clear. Everything on this scope is in place and well constructed. The thing that stood out to me most was how smooth the focus and magnification was. I have had some scopes where you need to really crank on it to change magnification. This one is not loose, but it certainly is not difficult. Very fast to change magnifications, which is great for active environments where threats are in different ranges. It was the most impressive feature I came to love on this scope during my use. The one construction/design thing I was neutral on was the audibility of the turrets. This comes down to personal preference more than anything, but the turrets do not have an audible click to them as you go through the adjustments. But the turrets do have positive feel to the turrets. So although you get no audible click you get physical feedback that it has moved to the next position. It is not a positive or negative as it is personal preference so I was neutral on that finding. The focus adjustment has a locking nut, so get it to where you want it and you can lock it in if you feel inclined to do so.
The weight on this scope is decent at 19oz, just a tick over 1lb. On my test rifle I paired it with a ultra lightweight Aero Precision mount. This provided a decently lightweight scope solution that had robust performance. The SWFA SS 3-9×42 scope is certified for .50 cal use which speaks to the construction as well. The overall length is 13.1″, which is normal for this style scope. I tested out how waterproof the scope was by having it submerged in water for a little over an hour as well as testing it in cold weather by having it in the freezer for over an hour. No fog or water was present inside the scope afterward with both tests. In the end this scope like all scopes is glass. So baby it and it will be there for you when you need it. I do not recommend buying a scope and just not worrying about it and using it to drive nails into the wall. Do your part to protect all your scopes.
Performance I used this scope to test out a ton of ammunition over the last few months. Black Hills, Asym, Atlanta Arms, Cor Bon, Gorilla Ammunition, etc. What I found is this scope really allows you to zero in, no pun intended, and have the confidence to be as accurate as your are capable. When making adjustments, the amount needed versus the amount I dialed in always matched up. As did the performance in the box drill. So the scope performs and tracks very well. Clarity is where I could see the price point showing up. It is not the clearest glass in the world, but what do you expect for this price point? It certainly is manageable and is not horrible. Just do not expect HD picture quality with this scope and your expectations will be met. The reticle is precise and accurate. When using the reticle mils for adjustment they tracked true to what my adjustments were. The eye relief is around 4 inches, which is great for a SPR/AR rifle like my test rifle. So all in all this is a very precise scope that will give you pinpoint accuracy from precision rifles.
Conclusion If you are just getting into precision shooting, don’t want to spend tons of money, or want a very capable backup this SWFA SS 3-9×42 scope is the way to go. I use this currently as my main scope on my SPR/DMR precision rifle I built. It is more than capable for most any application.