Posts Tagged ‘sweet 22’

Jun
6

BSA “Sweet 22″ 6-18×40 Scope

It was finally time to get around to replacing the Redfield scope I had on my Savage Mark II BTVS in .22LR. The Redfield was a spare scope I had, and I mounted it on the Savage when I first brought it home, and I had no intention of keeping it dedicated to that rifle.

I looked at a number of possible scopes to put on the Savage. The MKII BTVS is an accurate rifle, and I wanted something that would complement its accuracy. My list of desired features was short but demanding:

  • High, variable magnification (at least 14x)
  • Clear glass
  • Adjustable objective
  • A BDC of some sort would be nice
  • Under $400

Unfortunately, the price spec ruled out contenders like Leupold and Zeiss. The Nikon Monarch was an option, but didn’t have a BDC for rimfire cartridges. I had heard a lot of good things about the BSA Sweet 22 6-18×40, so I thought I’d check one out.

BSA Sweet 22 6-18x40 on Savage Mark II BTVS

BSA Sweet 22 6-18x40 on Savage Mark II BTVS

I usually avoid Chinese glass like the plague, but I was really having a hard time finding exactly what I wanted, even at higher prices. The BSA had very good reviews, and was only $154 from SWFA. I was skeptical, but went ahead and ordered one.

I must admit, I was pretty impressed when the scope arrived. The scope was solid, the reticle was clean (I’ve seen too many cheap Asian scopes with fat or sloppy reticles), and it even had nice aluminum, fine-threaded lens covers and a sunshade. Instructions were very basic, but clear. The glass on this scope is fairly clear, on par with Simmons, or perhaps cheaper Nikons, like the pro-staff line.

The Sweet 22 scope has a bullet drop compensator built into the turret. Much like the Leupold Mark AR, you zero in the scope, then adjust the sleeve that encircles the turret to the correct mark. Unlike the Leupold, this BSA has triple markings on the elevation turret for 36, 38 and 40 grain 22lr rounds.

I mounted the scope on the Burris Xtreme rings I already had on the MKII, did a quick bore-sight and headed to the back yard.

Sweet 22 mounted on the Savage and ready to zero in.

Sweet 22 mounted on the Savage and ready to zero in.

According to the instructions, you zero at 100 yards, then adjust the sleeve on the turret to the 100 yard mark for your bullet weight, tighten it down and you’re done. After that, if you want to shoot at 50 yards, turn the turret to 50 and shoot. 300 yards? Turn it to 300 and you’re ready to go.

Now, that’s great in theory, but the BDC is calibrated to standard Remington loads. Most match 22LR cartridges are subsonic, so the BDC isn’t going to work for them.

Fortunately for me, I primarily shoot two types of ammo out of this rifle: Lapua Center-x, which is a 40 grain subsonic solid lead match bullet, and SK Hi-Velocity HP ammo. The Lapua Center-X has a slight edge in the accuracy department, but only at 50 yards or less.

So, just to see how the BDC would pan out, I zeroed at 100 yards with the SK, and adjusted the turret sleeve accordingly.

I then moved my target stand to 50 yards and turned the elevation turret to the 50 yard mark. It was close – an inch or so off. Since I rarely shoot at 100 yards, I re-zeroed at 50 yards and readjusted the turret sleeve to read “50″ in the 40 grain row. Then I shot a pretty nice 5-shot group.

5 shots of SK Hi-Velocity at 50 yards with Savage MKII BTVS

5 shots of SK Hi-Velocity at 50 yards with Savage MKII BTVS

Now that the scope was zeroed for the SK at 50 yards, I switched to the Lapua and went for a re-zero. This is where I lucked out: After I zeroed with the Lapua at 50 yards, the BDC marking in the 38 grain column on the turret was at exactly 100 yards. Then I shot a nice 10-shot group.

10 shots of Lapua Center-X at 50 yards

10 shots of Lapua Center-X at 50 yards

Pleased with that, I decided to play for a bit:

So now, if I want to shoot the SK at 50 yards, I turn the turret to the “50″ mark in the 40gr column. If I want to shoot the Lapua at 50 yards, I turn the turret to the “100″ mark in the 38gr column. This is not really what it was meant for, but then again, the BDC doesn’t really do a great job in its intended use. At least I’ll be able to put it to a good use with my special circumstances.

All in all, this isn’t a bad scope. The glass is decent, the reticle is clear, and the eye relief is reasonable. The BDC sorta-kinda works, but isn’t precise enough to rely on. It’s a lot of scope for $150, but if I were to do it all over again, I’d spend the extra money on a Nikon Monarch with a mil-dot reticle and forego the BDC.