Since the last couple of years, there were always speculations circling around at every Shot Show and IWA if Schmidt & Bender will present new version of their most popular tactical scope in the PM II line. We are talking about the S&B 5-25×56 PM II scope which has been around for a while but it is still a benchmark on which all other tactical scopes are measured by and compared with. Even though 5-25×56 PM II is still one of the best scopes available on the market, some critics don’t like the new MTC/LT turret design (I personally don’t share this opinion) and majority of people with me included doesn’t like the tunneling effect at magnification 5x to 7x. There are also some people that think tactical scopes should be upgraded every 2 years like iPhones and other smartphone.
Schmidt & Bender does have a fashion of presenting new scopes almost every year and after presenting almost 20 new models in the last 3 years, it was somehow natural that 5-25×56 will get some in-house competition in the S&B model lineup. In a way this already happened with the introduction of 3-27×56 PM II High Power two years ago. Majority of 5-25×56 PM II users however very rarely use their scopes on magnification settings below 8x. This meant that gaining 27x instead of 25x on the upper end of the magnification spectrum was not convincing enough for many users to choose 3-27×56 over the 5-25×56.
Now in 2016 S&B presented the third PM II High Power scope, the 5-45×56 PM II High Power. The specs are impressive and the scope is not any bigger than current 5-25×56 model. It also doesn’t weight much more, but with 45x magnification at the maximum is does offer noticeable advantage for any user.
Based on the crowds at the S&B stand at Shot Show 2016 it was obvious that this scope did stand out and all people I talked to at Shot Show had noticed then new High Power. Due to enormous success of the 5-25×56 PM II model, I am sure big expectations lie ahead of the new 5-45×56 PM II High Power.
First thing I somehow found strange on the new scope is the use of the low profile turrets previously found on very compact Ultra Short scopes. A cap covers windage turret in this configuration and S&B calls this turret a Germany Turret. Reason behind this name in the color scheme of the turret with black, red, gold colors on the turret. The choice of using this type of turrets on Ultra Short scope is logical, since they go well together with red dot sights installed on top of the scope. On a long range scope like this I do however find this choice less logical.
Looking through the scope, I was most curious if they solved the problem of the tunnel effect at lower part of the magnification range. They did. There is no tunnel effect what so ever and the field of view at 5x is really good, even better than I expected. Even though these scopes were still marked as prototypes at the show, there were no noticeable optical problems. I believe that they will perform as expected also at the field but we will have to wait for the production examples to hit the market.
9x time zoom and first focal plane reticle is a combination that not all people like. On the 5-45×56 PM II High Power this means that reticle is nice and useable from 5x to about 30x, from 30x onwards to 45x many will however object that the reticle subtension are thick. I personally don’t see a bit problem in that since this scope will be used at 45x mostly for observation of bullet impacts and for distance estimations with the use of the reticle. It would however be smart if S&B would design a new reticle or more of them that would be more tailored to a 9x zoom that their new High Power scopes have.
Last but not least I need to write couple of more words about the turrets. They look the same way as those on the Ultra Short scopes, however when you look closely you can see that they were redesigned. Now they don’t offer 35 mrad of travel in DT – Double Turn fashion but only 27 mrad. That means that there is less elevation available but at the same time the clicks are more crisp and cleaner. When properly mounted on a canted mount this scope with 27 mrad of elevation will still offer enough elevation for any distance you can imagine.
In the same fashion as other new S&B scope magnification ring on this model is also made fully out of metal. This is particularly nice and I hope other scope producers will follow this example.
Technical specifications are presented in the following table:
The new S&B 5-45×56 PM II High Power scope is definitely one of the biggest news in this industry for 2016. With its 9time zoom, exceptionally high build and finish quality and good selection of the magnification range I am sure this model will be a commercial success. The rate at which S&B is presenting new models in the last couple of years is admirable and I do however think that the 5-45×56 will become one of the most important model in their line up very soon. My only wish for a change would be that in the future this model would be equipped with normal MTC/LT turrets found on 5-25×56 PM II and that S&B would designed some new reticles tailored for High Power scopes with 9time zoom. You can read more about S&B scopes here.