Tactical scopes with an MSRP of $129.95 are as rare as Hawaiians on the pop charts, so I couldn't help singing "Tiny Bubbles" after I submerged the scope in warm water. About every 30 seconds a small air bubble would form on the magnification-adjustment ring. Finally, it would let loose and rise to the surface, but it sure didn't make me feel happy or fine.
This went on for about 30 minutes until I was convinced it had leaked. But I couldn't hear any water rattling around in the housing and the image remained clear.
Since water expands when it freezes, I put the scope into the freezer for an overnight chill. Much to my surprise, nothing had broken by the next morning and after the fog had cleared, it still functioned properly.
OK, I'll concede Sightmark's waterproof claim, but the scope's first introduction to the freezer was different in regard to being fogproof. After two hours atop a frozen pizza, the lenses remained fogged for more than 30 minutes when I took it out of the deep freeze. Ambient temperature was 70 degrees, with 46-percent humidity and I'll admit the majority was external fogging.
I still don't know where those tiny bubbles were coming from, although the loosely fitting, rubber power ring is the chief suspect. As you change settings, the rubber puckers and separates from the housing when you apply pressure to make it move. On the test riflescope, the 1.5-power setting also didn't quite line up with the indexing mark.
Neither flaw is fatal and the price is right. In fact, image clarity is pretty decent and in low-light it performed well. Diopter adjustment was easy and it stayed put once set. Fully adjusted for a pair of tired eyes like mine though, it added nearly 3⁄4 inch to the overall length.
Tactical-style turrets extend 1 inch from the tube. Windage and elevation adjustments are positive and each click moves point of impact 1⁄4 MOA. Under testing, the unusual Mil-Dot reticle-which is on the first focal plane, allowing for some rudimentary ranging-never shifted, despite some serious beating.
The turrets are another story. In the test scope the elevation knob turned positively until it reached its furthest adjustment point, then it would stop. On the windage side, it clicked through the range and instead of stopping kept turning-with no clicks. It turns out, two of the three Allen screws that should hold it tight were missing.
I didn't find an owners manual in the box, either. I went to the website to download a copy, but the only information was the same laundry list of specifications on the box.
The scope comes with a set of 30-mm rings for rail mounting, which is a nice touch. The set provided with the scope didn't quite align and the gap between top and bottom pieces was noticeable.
Both the rings and the scope are matte-black and match very well, so mounting this on your AR-15 won't look like a patch job.
The scope, which is manufactured in China, has recently received the National Tactical Officers Association Tested and Recommended rating. Its MSRP is $129.95, and that should make a lot of us happy in this economy.
Importer: Sightmark: (817) 225-0310; Sightmark.com
Model: Sightmark 1.5-5x30 mm Triple Duty Riflescope
Lens Diameter: 30 mm
Eyepiece Diameter: 32 mm
Tube Diameter: 30 mm
Field of View: 87 feet at 100 yards
Adjustment Range: 15 MOA, windage and elevation
Length: 10.3 inches
Weight: 1 pound, 1.8 ounces
Suggested Retail Price: $129.95