May 13, 2016
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. With those German hands come some pretty stiff labor rates and all the import/export taxes associated with regulating international commerce, hence the price. However, the Steiner T5Xi line changes that.
Steiner has been selling excellent optics for a long time, but it 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 Steiner T5Xi scopes here in America using the same German glass from its previous models.
This cut all of the fat that was paying German taxes; well, almost. However, the continued use of the same German glass means Steiner T5Xi scopes have essentially identical optical performance as the older ones. For a greatly reduced price, the finished product is largely the same from a performance perspective.
The changes in the Steiner T5Xi scopes 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 we're on our first revolution and 13 through 24 when we're on our second. The setup on the Steiner T5Xi eliminates guessing and double-checking, which slow things down when we're in a hurry. The windage turret has 5½ mils of adjustment in either direction once the turret is zeroed. There are a total of 15 mils of windage adjustment in the scope.
The SCR reticle in the Steiner T5Xi 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 our target.
The horizontal stadia subtends in .2-mil increments except for two sections where it subtends in .1-mil increments (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.
The Steiner T5Xi line consists of three scopes: a 1-5x24mm, a 3-15x50mm and a 5-25x56mm. The 1-5X has a 30mm maintube and a ballistic reticle, and the other two sport 34mm maintubes and my beloved SCR reticle. The scope I tested was the Steiner T5Xi 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.
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