Schmidt & Bender 12.5-50x56 PMII
- By Chris Parkin
- 3 Comments
- Last updated: 15/12/2016
On opening the box, the first thing that strikes you is the size and weight of the scope. Although large and certainly of borderline suitability for a stalking or foxing gun, it has varmint or target written all over it. The build quality immediately strikes you with that `made in Germany` feel. The 34mm, one-piece, aluminium body tube is hard-anodised in matt black and is tough enough. The large eyepiece has a non-slip rubber gripping that offers precise control and is factory fitted with Butler Creek, flip-up lens covers. The fast focus eyepiece dials quickly to offer a pin sharp image and once adjusted, is effectively locked solid by the Butler Creek cap.
This model had a P3 Mil-Dot reticule in the 2nd focal plane and a multi-turn elevation turret calibrated in minutes of angle (MOA) with 1/8th minute clicks. The windage was a double turn unit with the same calibration. Both feature small windows, which in the case of elevation indicate 1-5 as you rotate the turret, meaning you can’t get `lost` in the range of adjustment. Each rotation has 15 minutes of travel so after zero; a full 75 MOA of elevation is on offer. The windows on the windage turret go yellow when winding on right and white when dialling left. Again 15 minutes per turn with 1/8th MOA clicks.
After fitting and zeroing the scope, I reset the turrets back to their zero stops as I expected to do a lot of dialling to test the mechanical accuracy of this model. With Mil-Dot reticules, it was easy to dial in or `measure` targets as although a Mil is not an MOA, it is easy enough to work on the MOA to 1 Miliradian conversion. The overall weight of the scope precludes it from some of the more restrictive competition-types as it is hefty but when you look through one, WOW.
It is unrealistic to expect that x50 magnification will be used constantly, only when the air is correct, cool and clear as, at full mag, mirage becomes excessive. However at x50 in perfect conditions the image is crystal clear edge to edge and the colour balance and definition is good. The brightness is superb, even as the sun goes down at the end of the day although lowering the magnification does increase the colour in fading light.
No zero shift occurred between magnification settings and the majority of my precision shooting was done at x35-40. I have shot McQueens, F-Class and a little bit of vermin with the Schmidt and not once did it let me down although as expected, full magnification was only used when conditions allowed. Once criticism is that although the side parallax adjustment was solid and repeatable with no backlash, the markings on the dial were several hundred metres out.
At a 400 yard shoot, at x50, the parallax turret was set beyond Infinity? Having said that, at this power, the correct parallax free setting agreed with the focus and it snapped in and out with crisp precision. This was mandatory when using the scope to spot bullet holes at 400 yards. When shooting McQueens, field of view (FOV) is critical as you need to pick up the target quickly in any of 10 windows and one outstanding feature of the PMII is the FOV regardless of magnification setting.
I was able to set my magnification at between x15 and x18 where I had used x12 before when shooting at 200 yards and between x20 and x23 at 300 yards where I had before used around x18 on other scopes. Coupled with the image quality this gives the impression of more time and precision when the shot happened. Shooting like this can be tiring on the eyes as you spend long seconds staring at the target between shots, a blink at the wrong moment can mean missing an exposure. I found a more relaxed visual environment with the S&B.
The eye relief is a little bit short on a heavily recoiling rifle and when fitted to a 300 win mag, it was easy to feel a little brush from the Butler Creek’s release button but I just trimmed it off, problem solved. Eye relief did not vary with magnification, a pet hate of mine as it causes positional compromise. Even at full magnification the exit pupil was large enough to be forgiving with head position but don’t forget; try not to move that head, and set your parallax. Dialling was simple from the shooting position; all turrets were within easy reach, get hold of and clicked positively between settings. The markings are visible to the shooter with minimal head movement.
To Sum Up
For target use on my .260 Rem, I found exceptional results in use combined with precise, repeatable dialling at any distance (above 100 yard zero, I still had 75 MOA elevation left to play with). Weight is always an issue for either personal comfort or rule books, the size is also a factor and I of course don’t see this as a stalking scope for those reasons. Smaller, lower magnification PMII models are available with many of the above features, not forgetting that superb, bright, last light image quality.
Overall a faultless scope with a price tag to prove it, it is large and heavy but nothing this good mechanically or optically comes without a compromise.
For: Exceptional optical and mechanical build quality
Against: Price and size might not suit your pocket or application
Verdict; First class tactical/precision scope with few equals
• Schmidt & Bender 12.5-50x56
• Body tube 34mm
• Weight 34.4oz
• Length 16.5”
• Eye relief 3”
• FOV @ 100 yards 13.79-3.6 ft
• Parallax adjustment Y
• Click values 1/8 MOA
• 15 MOA per turn
• Five full rotations
• Reticule P3 Mil-Dot
• Price £2148.96 for either focal plane option
• Contact York Guns, 01904 487180www.yorkguns.co.uk