Review: US Optics B-17
Those familiar with me and my adventures & proclivities know I’m an unabashed fan of U.S. Optics. Why? Well, simply enough, they haven’t let me down. There have been times when I was pissed at them for one thing or another and I wish they’d have kept the ERGO models as an offering instead of doing TPAL only but you get what you get and with USO, you get liquid awesome.
What I have always had zero worries about is that the glass clarity, color rendition and resolution are always flawless. Also, their turrets are as accurate as any in the world, bar none.
Turrets, turrets, turrets. USO has never had the world’s most tactile clicks. They’re just fine but they’re not super notchy like say, a Bushnell Elite Tactical scope. The EREK knob used to be a real bitch to use. It’s basically a zero stop setting mechanism much like you find in Vortex Razor 2’s and such. It messes with the erector position to give you back all of your scope’s elevation travel that it possibly can. Great for serious long range shooting.
The old EREK-1 turrets were a bitch but now they’re pretty epic. The parts you need a tool for you can use a case rim and almost don’t need the case head anyway. The parts that are tool-less are really tool-less. I was able to reset my zero in the middle of a stage at my last match (that’ll teach me to pull my scope off and re-position it before a match without zeroing properly). There’s now an elevation and windage turret lock which really helps with preventing sudden turret spins that you don’t notice. If you think it’s a non-issue you’re fooling yourself. Every match and every hunting trip someone is always finding out their elevation or windage turret has been spun and they miss critically important shots. All you do to slip the turrets is set the lock ring, loosen the top cap a turn or two, slip your turret, hand tighten top cap, unlock turret. All of that can be done behind the gun without tools. Super cool. The best part is the lock on the elevation is just a ring you lift or push down. It’s easy to get it cattywompus and not get it set but being that primitive it’s also easy as hell to use with gloved hands, cold hands (ask how I know) and in a hurry. It’s not stiff like a Vortex Razor 2 locking turret. You may like your lock rings stiff. I don’t need a workout myself every time I need to twist the knobs.
The thing they still haven’t corrected is the numbering position of the elevation turret and it’s indicator line. It’s really hard to read from behind the gun. Without lifting your head it’s impossible. On the upside, the turret is extremely low profile. These two things are interrelated and can’t really be decoupled if you’re to stay as low profile as the EREK knob is. This one, I’m calling a tit for tat game and I’m happy to deal with it.
Another really great feature of the B-series scopes as opposed to the older generation of US Optics (MR-10, LR-17, ER-25) is the size of the turret housing itself. It used to be really big which made the range of possible locations for rings to go kinda limited. Some rings were bordering on not being able to fit (really big rings though). The new turret housing is pretty compact and gives a ton more flexibility in mounting position. This was partially accomplished by moving the illumination controls into the parallax knob which removed the need to make the turret housing so huge. It’s a single button illumination control too. That can be annoying but it makes things compact. Illumination is, of course, completely devoid of bloom.
Weight is as you’d expect with great glass, a lot heavier than crap glass. The whole scope feels more lithe though. All the sharp edges from the previous generation have been tuned to non-painful radius’. Knurling is still very aggressive.
What’s the tracking like? Perfection. Sheer perfection. Here’s an example… I didn’t even qualify this optic in a tall target test or box test before taking it to the long gongs line. I had a decent zero though and really good ammo with known velocities. So going from a cold bore: First shot, hit 891yrds. Second shot, hit 790yrds. Third shot, hit 690yrds. Fourth shot, I jerked it and called the shot as shooter-pulled. 5th shot, hit 591yrds. 7th shot, hit 774yrds. 8th shot, hit 678. Then I had to reload my magazine. In all of that I had 3 clicks of windage dialed and held off for the changes to that as I came in. All I did was read my dope off of KAC Bullet Flight-M then dial what it said, aim and squeeze. The scope had to work perfectly. My data is always good (I’m really good at setting up ballistics apps as you might guess) and my rifle is a bug-hole shootin’ sum-bitch. All I needed was the scope to track. NAILED IT!
The MIL-GAP reticle on this one is not meant for PRS type shooting with rampant use of holdover and holdoff being combined. It’s meant to hold off for wind but to dial exactly for elevation so there’s no Christmas tree under the horizontal crosshair. There’s a little tunnelling at the lowest magnifications but otherwise they’ve improved on all of that kind of stuff progressively over the years. They don’t use a mask in their scopes so you get the full range of optical performance including tunnelling. At the top, it’s a non-issue. At the bottom, it’s plainly visible but not distracting.
What do I hate about it? Only two things. The design change to the windage turret means the cap is held on with multiple pinch screws instead of a single top-center screw. I’ve had those pinch screws fail already, at a training class and a second time in a competition. The old single screw design I never had a failure with. The other thing I hate is the internal bubble level (yes it has one, which is cool) isn’t level with the reticle and it’s impossible to see without the illumination running. At least on my scope. I run 2 other levels, a folding unit mounted to the outside of the scope and a fixed unit that sits on my BipodEXT bipod extender. The one on the outside of the scope is neat looking but honestly sucks to use. The one forward on my bipod extender is way more natural and easy to use.
These are still the best optics USO has ever put out that I’ve gotten to lay my grimy mitts on. One thing I really appreciate is they look more like a “normal” scope too. Older USO’s visual appearance was so different to the reset of the world of scopes that they really stuck out like a sore thumb. They really looked odd and got a lot of people bothering me at the range about what that weird scope was. Now, they more or less don’t even notice that it’s a very high end optic or that it’s a USO or that it’s not nearly as common as some others you might encounter. I don’t know about you, I don’t mind answering the odd query but I don’t get off on endless piles of people lining up to finger fuck my toys. It takes from my shooting time or adds to it. Either way, I don’t want it. What I do want is another of these B-Series scopes.
And, just to make things better a little video of me using the damned thing as well as my new Accu-Tac bipod and BipodExt Bipod Extender from Accuracy Solutions.