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Schmidt & Bender; 6-36x56

Schmidt & Bender; 6-36x56

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I can’t decide whether you need to know the price before or after conjuring first impressions of this optic, but I was fortunate to have seen it almost a year ago at IWA, long before I ever knew the cost. Schmidt & Bender’s PMII line, especially the 5-25x56, essentially set the standard over a decade ago for serious multi-range dialling, and it had the reputation of satisfying the armed forces in significantly more arduous situations than we will ever experience. 5-25x56 is one of the few exact optical riflescope specifications shared across brands, and even 15 years on, it still holds its head high.

From 5x to 6x
The latest 6-36x56 carries the ‘High Performance’ name and shares similar external design hallmarks yet offers a 6x zoom range. The external finish of the 34mm tube is impeccably well-burnished and there is a matte hard anodised coating. Durable Tenebraex lens caps are supplied and the front 56mm objective lens focuses light into the internal optical assemblies, which carry a 90% light transmission rating. The scope is designed as a high magnification PRS or long-range item for daylight usage, so don’t confuse a ‘mere’ 90% as weak. 95%+ transmission ratios are for low magnification hunting optics.

Freeing up tube space
The scope is available with a single, double, or multiturn elevation turret to suit your needs. I had the double turn, with 0.1 MRAD clicks (1cm@100m). The central saddle carries the parallax to the left side, adjustable from 20m to infinity. The 11-stage illumination dial sits here too, as it has been moved away from the tube to free up space for scope rings and avoid any physical bolt interaction on left-handed rifles. There is a 6-hour automated off function to save battery life and the CR2032 on board resides below a finger-accessible knurled cap. The parallax adjustment is totally smooth, without any mechanical backlash, and enables a truly sharp image. The dial rotates almost a full 360º to enable greater detail control and is easily gripped with knurled segments making it equally accessible with gloved or bare hands.

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Optional functions
The scope is available with either clockwise or counterclockwise rotation directions to suit your preference, and this one was clockwise for ‘up’, with 150 clicks or 15 milliradians available per rotation. When you enter the second turn, a small yellow button pops up to indicate where you are in the mechanical range, both visually and by touch. The clicks are easily felt and heard, with strong sprung detents, so you won’t easily overrun when adjusting. There is a control lever on both turrets, and on the elevation turret, it offers three positions - forward to lock, central for adjustment with MTC (a More Tactile Click every ten clicks/full MRAD), or rearmost for non-MTC rotation. There is a small indicator window at the base of the turret which shows red for locked, green for MTC mode, or blank for free running. The windage turret works similarly, clockwise is ‘right’, and there are 6 MRAD (60 clicks) left or right of centre zero, which has a similar ‘deeper’ MTC. Here, the locking lever only has two positions - locked or free running.

Mount up
There is plenty of space on the main tube for the correct eye relief position, with 35mm ahead and 75mm behind the saddle for the rings. Eye relief is 90mm and doesn’t vary through the magnification range. The eye box remains large and crisp throughout. The magnification is set with the heavily ribbed collar on the ocular body and there is, as usual, no tactile perception of any internal mechanical movements through its perfectly smooth transit from 6-36x magnification. This collar is 52mm in diameter, wrapping the already 48mm ocular body, so it’s easy to access and you won’t have any issues gripping it with either fingertips or with your whole hand.

Focus
If you unclip the Tenebraex cap, there is a fast-focus eyepiece, and this unsurprisingly gives a razor-sharp reticle picture. There are two first focal plane reticles available - the GR2ID and the P5FL. The review scope that I had featured the GR2ID reticle, which is a bit too busy for my liking. It makes it difficult to spot bullet traces and strikes. Therefore, I would prefer the P5FL reticle, which is clearer and easier to use.

Diminishing returns
This is without doubt a deluxe optic and subject to the laws of diminishing returns of price vs capability at the high end. The image presented is stunning, as it is bright, with superb contrast and fine detail. The colour balance is very natural, with no weighting. Importantly, the image brightness and clarity are coincidental with applied magnification, there is no ‘step’ at any specific value that you notice milkiness and cloudy disruption appearing to limit zoom. There is no tunnelling and one fact I really appreciate is that the eye box is not critical. You can maintain a sight picture during recoil as the scope naturally pulses closer to your eyeball. The adjustment dials are large, measuring 39mm in diameter, for intuitive control, and they are simple to set up. Simply loosen the grub screws on the circumference to reset. The turrets still click while disengaged but a quick look through the scope assures you nothing is moving, and the zero stop allows four clicks below the zero position.

Conclusion
Optics like this only really start to prove their true worth after thousands of mechanical adjustments and years of use, where the durability of the internals is proven, and the reputation of the company agreed upon. The tracking was perfect and reassuringly tactile, yet where this scope really shows true value is as light weakens, as the contrast would begin to fade in a lesser optic. Partially obscured targets still ‘pop’ and with precise focal control from that full rotation turret, you can set the optic up for immediate acquisition at speed. Deluxe may be the buzzword but the minute details will justify the cost to the most discriminating of viewers because this scope really delivers a relaxed visual environment without sacrificing any long-range repetitive dialling capability.


Here is the video:
Watch it here!

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gun
features

  • Name: : Schmidt & Bender 6-36x56 DT II+ MTC LT / ST II ZC LT
  • Reticle::  GR2ID or P5FL
  • Weight::  975-grams
  • Eye Relief::  90mm
  • Click Values:: 0.1 MRAD
  • Field of View: : 7.3 - 1.25m@100m
  • Body Tube::  34mm
  • Length::  390mm
  • Elevation Adjustment Range::  30.5 MRAD
  • Windage Adjustment Range::  ±6 MRAD
  • Price::  £3659 (depending on model)
  • Contact: : Schmidt & Bender - www.schmidtundbender.de
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