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GUNS Magazine July 2010 - Page 20
SWIFT SCOPES Value and quality combined. can get as moony as anyone about vintage Colts, Marlins, I Savages, Smith & Wessons and Winchesters. When the boys are sitting around crying in their beer about the good old days, I sob with the best of them. Sometimes I remind the crew we have mighty fine guns these days: Better steel alloys, improved heat treatments, and incredibly precise CNC tooling make for outstanding quality and more consistent accuracy, at prices (relative to incomes) providing tremendous value. All true, but about then one of the boys opens a gun case and shows off a gorgeous pre-war Savage 99, or a ’50s era S&W with its beautiful polish and bright blue finish, or a pre-’64 Winchester 70 with just the right amount of wear from 50 years of careful use, and I’m plotting how to trade him out of it. But optics… that’s a different story. We are living in the golden age of optics. Never before has such quality been available. Never before have your hardearned dollars bought so much quality. In the early 1960s, the best buy in scopes was the Weaver K4 at around $45. Fixed 4X scopes from Bausch & Lomb, Leupold, Lyman and Redfield were around $60. Relative to wages, comparable prices today would be around $450 to $600. Today, for a third of the money, you can buy a scope with more precisely ground optical glass, far superior lens coatings, better low-light performance, more precise and repeatable adjustments, superior and much more durable moisture seals. The Swift Premier 3.5-10x44mm scope shown here is a perfect example. When I began buying and using scopes 45+ years ago, scopes offering this level of performance were not available at any price. Today we take such performance for granted. The Premier (with 1" main tube) and Premier 30mm are Swift’s top of the line scopes and are certainly comparable 3.5-10x44 MAKER: SWIFT SPORT OPTICS 12105 W. CEDAR DRIVE LAKEWOOD, CO 80229 (877) 697-9438 WWW.SWIFT-SPORTOPTICS.COM OBjECTIVE: 44mm MAIN TUBE: 1" EYE RELIEF: 3.5" (3.5X), 3.2" (10X) OVERALL LENGTH: 12.8" WEIGHT: 13.5 ounces ADjUSTMENTS: 1/4 MOA RETICLE: Quadraplex RETAIL: $279.95 in quality to other makes and models in a similar price range. The sample on consignment is an attractive, wellmade scope which provided excellent performance. I especially like the long (5.75") main tube, which allows the scope to fit most popular short and long action rifles without the need for extension rings. After initial examination I submerged the scope in warm water (with lens and turret adjustment caps removed) for the better part of an hour, then left it in the freezer overnight. There was no moisture leakage or fogging. Eyepiece focusing is the quick-adjust type. It turns with enough firmness it’s not going to go out of adjustment by accident, but there’s no locking feature so keep it out of the hands of fidgety friends. On the other hand, if someone does fiddle with it, resetting to suit takes just seconds. Swift uses BaK7 Schott glass for the optics, fully coated with what they call Light Amplifying Optics Coating. Low-light performance was very good, certainly far more than needed for legal hunting hours. To check adjustment tracking, I fitted the scope to my Ruger 77/22 target model in .22 Magnum. Turrets are easily finger adjustable, no need to dig around for a coin. The target I used Torture Test Tracking SwiftPremierseries3.5-10Xisaquality,wellmaderiflescope.Thelongmaintubemakesiteasy tomountoneithershortactionssuchasthisruger77Compactoronalongaction.Theadjustment ringrotatessmoothlyandpositivelyandeyepiecefocusisthequickadjusttype. 20 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JULY 2010