Steiner's T5Xi line offers German quality at an affordable price
It used to be that if you wanted Steiner's top-of-the-line scope, you paid north of $3,000 for some sweet German-made glass assembled by German hands. However, with those German hands came some pretty stiff labor rates. Added to the labor costs were all the import/export taxes associated with regulating international commerce, hence the price for these scopes was high.
Steiner has been selling excellent optics for a long time, but the company recently decided to make some strategic moves to give American consumers an updated and improved flagship scope at a reduced cost. The first move was to build these new scopes here in America using the same German glass from its previous models. This cut out most of the fat that was paying German taxes to reduce pricing. Even better news is that Steiner has continued use of the same German glass, which means the new scopes have essentially identical optical performance as the older ones. So, for a greatly reduced price, the finished product is largely the same from a performance perspective.
A New Design
The 3-15x50mm T5Xi is much smaller than its predecessor. This new line of scopes is manufactured in the U.S., so Steiner saved a ton of money. It kept the sweet German glass, though.
The changes came in the form of redesigned turrets, weight and length reductions, and the best general-use reticle available on the market, the SCR. The turrets adjust in .1-mil increments, essential for effective use of the mil-based SCR reticle.
The elevation turret has a zero-stop feature, meaning you can quickly return to the scope's zero. It makes two revolutions, providing a generous 24 mils of upward movement. There are approximately 34 total mils of elevation travel in the scope I tested, so judicious use of biased mounts can get more than just the 24 mils seen upon initial inspection.
The new turrets are also much lower profile than the older ones. The elevation turret has viewing windows that display the numbers 1 through 12 when you're on your first revolution and 13 through 24 when you're on our second. This setup eliminates guessing and double-checking, which slow things down when you're in a hurry. The windage turret has 5½ mils of adjustment in either direction once the turret is zeroed. The T5Xi offers a total of 15 mils of windage adjustment in the scope.
An Amazing Reticle
The SCR reticle is my favorite new feature because it gives the shooter the most capability in the cleanest, least cluttered format possible. The vertical crosshair subtends in .5-mil increments, and the center crosshair is a small, interrupted "+" measuring .2 mil x .2 mil. The interrupted center facilitates precision by not obscuring too much of the target.
The horizontal stadia subtends in .2-mil increments except for two sections where it subtends in .1-mil increments. The 50mm objective on the 3-15X provides plenty of exit pupil for this excellent general-use/precision riflescope. The scallops around the outer edge are to hold the Tenebraex scope caps in place.
The ocular lens has a quick-adjust reticle focus ring as well as a diopter locking ring. The scallops make adjustment easy and also accommodate Tenebraex scope caps.
Turrets have a much lower profile on the new T5Xi, and the viewing windows make misreading the setting far less likely. (between the 5- and 7-mil marks in either direction). The .2-mil increments make accurate wind holds much more probable than the usual .5-mil marks. (The .1-mil marks are for accurately "milling" or measuring an object to calculate the distance between the shooter and the target.)
Most scope users will dial to accommodate elevation changes except when in a hurry, so .5-mil increments work on the vertical stadia. Most shooters will also just hold for wind corrections because they often change frequently and at a rate faster than we can dial. It's tough to continuously dial wind changes and shoot at the same time. The .2-mil increments along the horizontal stadia make the process of continuously compensating for wind changes more accurate by giving us more reference marks.
Steiner's new line, called the T5Xi, consists of three scopes: a 1-5x24mm, a 3-15x50mm and a 5-25x56mm. The 1-5X has a 30mm main tube and a ballistic reticle, and the other two sport 34mm main tubes and my beloved SCR reticle.
The scope I tested was the 3-15x50mm, and I'm a huge fan of the work that Steiner put in on the project. These scopes offer all the performance we're used to from Steiner but at about half the price.
Steiner T5Xi 3-15x50mm
Tube Diameter: 34mm
Elevation Adjustment: .1 mil per click
Windage Adjustment: .1 mil per click
Reticle: SCR reticle: medium magnification
Length: 13.1 in.
Weight: 29.8 oz.
Eye Relief: 3.5 to 4 in.
Manufacturer: Steiner Optics, steiner-optics.com