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SWFA Scopes - Any good?? - What about availability in the UK?


chaz
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I'm contemplating trying to source an SWFA 10 x 42 scope. The main reason being i'm lead to believe they will focus down to 20 (ish) yards. The fixed 10 magnification, and 20 yards focus, along with very good glass clarity are the first most important things to me for my purposes.

I'm first after any opinions from any people out there that own one, and where they sources it. Or from people who have used it quite a bit. And their opinions....

Or maybe peoples experiences on SWFA as a whole and, if their specifications given on a scope have lived up to that spec.

I've put a link, to what i'm after.

Cheers

Chaz.

https://swfa.com/swfa-ss-10x42-tactical-30mm-riflescope.html

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From what I understand they are excellent scopes and good value for money..... in the US. Haven't seen or looked through one to verify though. From what I understand no one brings them in and are not available in the UK. If anyone did, with things as they are with the pound they might not be such great value and other options might be more appropriate.

 

Hopefully someone will chirp in with some more first hand advice but I've always thought I would try and find one in the states when I'm next over. Next day delivery on amazon.com for example.

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They are Japanese made by a very reputable optics company, therefore very good. They used to be available here in both 10X42 and 20X42 forms under Edgar Brothers in-house Opti-Mate brand name with a box made for the company showing its old Macclesfield premises on the lid. In the days before Sightron, Vortex etc, they filled the gap between Tasco / Nikko Stirling prices and Leupold / S&B / Nightforce, albeit being fixed power models closer to the former than the latters' expensive variables.

 

The 20X suffered from being a bit 'dark' on dull days with the small exit pupil from 20X allied to the modest 42mm objective lens, but the 10X was and believe still is a superb poor man's Leupold Mark 4. They are used by 50-cal shooters, so have to be pretty robust internally.

 

I bought a couple of scopes from SWFA some years back when ITAR was much less restrictive. It's a good outfit. The last time I looked, they will not sell any scope to anybody outside of the USA, no doubt to avoid ITAR infringements. If you look for Opti-Mate 10X42 target scope online, you might find a secondhand example around. They are sometimes seriously underpriced, dealers and others assuming from the importer's name being on the product and box that they are cheap and nasty early Chinese manufactures.

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As Laurie implies, these are solid scopes with good mechanicals. The optics are reasonably good and certainly good value.

 

Here's a 16X example my (now deceased) gunsmith modified to display left windage. They used to test all their fullbore builds with these scopes and they proved to be rock solid. It's not a scope I'd choose for the very last minutes of twilight but they're fine in reasonable light. The parallax adjustment is a ring just ahead of the ocular housing.

 

turrets_zps3kliijpg.jpg

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Thanks for the advice folks. So, as i see it then Laurie, there's no point trying to find a dealer in the US who will ship over, as they're aren't any?

I like the wind adaption your once gunsmith made for you.

Were the Opti-Mate versions identical in every way, as in 30mm tube, and focus coming down to around to 20 yards?

A friend of mine visits various parts of Europe, and the US regularly. Would it be confiscated, or worse still, leave him in the muck if he tried to bring one back with him??

How would the 10x42 Opi-mate 30mm tube scope compare to the Hawke Sidewinder 30 10x42 SF, or theOptisan EVX 10X44i. Anyone out there using the Sidewinder 10x42, or Optisan 10x44i? Which would you folks say is the better of the 2? One of my concerns being return to zero.. Is the Sidewinder wirth the extra £100?

As i know nothing of either any help would be appreciated?

 

Cheers both.

Chaz.

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Hi Chaz,

 

I just sold a 20x and bought a 10x. As said above, the 20x was a bit dark on dull days, but the 10x is excellent. Very solid scope, tracks very well. Both of these were/are Edgar Brothers optimate models. My 10x is side parallax.

 

If you scour ebay or google them you can still find them around, sometimes even old new ones.

 

For the money - I paid 250 for mine - I'd recommend one.

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Chaz, yes they're 30mm body scopes. I can comment on the minimum focus distance as I never used my 10X and 20X examples at anything under 100 yards. There were also Opti-Mate 24X and 36X44 one-inch AO models, benchrest type scopes for the same jobs as the Weaver T24 and T26 series and a similar variable IIRC.

 

If you see any secondhand Opti-Too brand scopes advertised, these were also Edgar Brothers, but one inch bodies and the budget range, which I think were made in China, so don't confuse them.

 

So far as getting a friend to bring an ITAR affected item out of the USA, this is a frequent question on this and other forums. The chances of being picked up at the airport must be slight, but this is not regarded as a minor matter by officialdom. It's a Federal offence and if picked up, your friend would undoubtedly miss his flight, have a few nasty hours with unamused officials, and the scope would be confiscated.

 

Who knows? The Donald has said he is going to abolish vast amounts of Obama era red tape and regulations, and although ITAR predates Obama by many years, it was his administrations that expanded its content to bring in almost every part of a firearm and encompass pretty low tech shooting optics for instance. I'd not hold your breath though on this matter.

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Thanks again both for your imput.

Just to add, i obviously won't be asking a friend to bring me one back home...

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Just to add, i obviously won't be asking a friend to bring me one back home...

Why not?, apart from a few (mainly Leupold) scopes specifically designated for military use or those with some form of electronic image enhancement sporting rifle scopes are not restricted under ITAR.

 

USA suppliers are so frightened of running afoul of ITAR and the potential for massive fines they refuse to ship a whole lot of things that aren't even covered by it.

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USA suppliers are so frightened of running afoul of ITAR and the potential for massive fines they refuse to ship a whole lot of things that aren't even covered by it.

 

Now let's see. They're US companies dealing with US laws and regulations. They get 'advice' from the US State Department as to what is or isn't covered by the regulations. But ... they won't ship things that are apparently not covered by the ITAR regulations. Doesn't that say something to you? Like some of the federal officials involved are so officious, and this cat's cradle of regulations are so opaque that quite legitimate transactions see respectable businesses risk being harassed by Federal investigators, handed heavy spot fines for alleged 'transgressions', and if they wish to defend themselves from what may be unfair penalties forced to spend money on lawyers and put themselves up against an overbearing state armed with limitless powers and resources? .... and so on?

 

As long as I've been dealing with American companies on optics, they've said that any riflescope above a certain magnification with any 'military style' reticle - which most definitely includes the Mil-Dot which the SWFA 'Snipers' have - are restricted items.

 

Now, you know their regulations better than the suppliers - and maybe you are correct - but would you put your freedom, ability to catch an expensive flight etc on the line based on that knowledge to save a couple of hundred quid? I think it was Max Hastings who once wrote that you don't know what really bl**dy awkward officialdom is until you find yourself on a Swiss Federal Railways train with the wrong ticket and face to face with an SBB ticket inspector. Some believe, rightly or wrongly that American Homeland Security and other Federal officers to be found on US international airports have taken that particular accolade off Swiss Railways officials in the 21st century.

 

So, you'd argue that a high-power 30mm body scope with tactical turrets and a Mil-Dot reticle - identical spec to the Leupold Mark 4 scope long used by many US military units and law enforcement special teams - and .... wait for it, wait for it .... is branded in great big bl**dy letters SNIPER isn't a military item and isn't ITAR affected? And, you'll happily stand on your rights and judgment in a foreign airport with your flight due off the ground within a few hours? Up against an official who goes home to his wife, tea and television at the end of his or her shift no matter whether your position is sorted or not? Really?

 

You might do it, I wouldn't. And I'd even less put a friend or relative doing me a favour in this position unless I had it in 100% black and white that the item concerned is not covered by these onerous regulations.

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Laurie,

You're dealing with someone who openly and regularly brags about filling his suitcases up with as much stuff as he can to bring back from the US, and then gloats about not getting caught

 

Make of that what you will.....I already have

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Laurie,

You're dealing with someone who openly and regularly brags about filling his suitcases up with as much stuff as he can to bring back from the US, and then gloats about not getting caught

 

Make of that what you will.....I already have

 

 

:wacko::wacko: Yes, that sums it up well Mark, I reckon.

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You do now want to fall foul of The Feds as my good US buddy found out.

 

My gunsmith mates were getting him to send out barrels and various other stuff. One apparently innocuous consignment included a Boyd's lam stock and a Jewel trigger. For some unknown reason, some faceless "officer" decided these contravened regs and impounded the lot. In the end, he had to pay their total value to have them returned to the supplier and thus wrote them off. That was annoying enough but more seriously, he got an official written warning specifically stating that if he was caught again doing such evil acts, the full force of the Fed Gov't would come down on him. We would half laugh at that in NZ but believe me, you don't wanna mess with those dudes.

 

I keep a stash of cash over there but it's only useful for trinkets and general items now.

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I had one on my .22 AR it was too much scope at 20x , as has been stated lacking a bit at dawn / dusk but daylight very good . It's just waiting for the right application to turn up now .;¬))

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Let's be clear, nothing I've brought back has been illegal to do so and I've never bragged about not "getting caught" how can someone "get caught" for not doing anything illegal?. Bringing back thousands of Nosler and other bullets wasn't illegal back in 2011/12, nowadays I import them from Germany for much the same price as they are in the US anyway.

 

The only shooting items we brought back on our last trip were a Hornady LnL auto powder dispenser, some Lee spares and dies and a few bags of cleaning patches.

 

The last Sightron I brought back, 8-32x56 MOA Hash retical and "tactical" turrets, I bought from Optics Planet who as I'm sure you'd agree know ITAR and the other relevant US regulations inside out. The only things needed to do so (fully legally) was to have it shipped to a US address and complete an Export Administration Regulations (EAR) Compliance Certification form.

 

As the Sightron is a sporting rifle scope, isn't designated for military use and doesn't have any image enhancement it isn't restricted under ITAR.

 

 

Response from the US Department of Commerce's Regulatory Section (link http://www.bis.doc.gov/about/reslinks.htm)

"Scopes that are subject to the Export Administration Regulations are in Export Control Classification Number 0A987 (optical sighting devices for firearms) and generally do not require a license from the Department of Commerce for export to the United Kingdom regardless of whether you send it there directly or sell it to a UK citizen in the United States who takes it home with him."

The instances in which such scopes would require a license to go to the United Kingdom are those in which almost anything in the U.S. economy would require a license. A license requirement could be triggered if the item will be used in certain proliferation uses relating to certain nuclear uses, unmanned aerial vehicles, rocket systems, or chemical or biological weapons. A license requirement could also be triggered if a party to the transaction is on the Bureau of Industry and Security's Entity List. The transaction might be prohibited if a party to the transaction is on the Denied Persons List or the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. You can find links to all three lists at http://www.bis.doc.gov/complianceandenf ... ocheck.htm

 

 

Here is the link from the US Government printing office, : eCFR Code of Federal Regulations (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?rgn=div5&node=22:1.0.1.13.58#22:1.0.1.13.58.0.31.1)

Go to 121.1, Category I, Section (f):

(f) Riflescopes manufactured to military specifications (See category XII© for controls on night sighting devices.)

There is no definition of which scopes are "manufactured to military specifications", which is why so many US companies will refuse to export rifle scopes full stop.

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When all is said and done, i wouldn't want to put a friend through the risk, no matter who is right or wrong.

It may be only TV, but I've seen enough of it to make me wary enough of 'Home Land Security', to lose my money to them dweebs.

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Hi Chaz why not email Swfa direct to see what scopes they can and can't export to the UK as the UK is listed as exportable to in their export policy

Fair point Stillair1. I should of thought of that! :blush:

Cheers

Chaz

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just a heads up on this SWFA now have an export licence for these scopes to the UK.

 

They will ship the scope direct to the UK, or if you have a friend coming back send them the paperwork to bring it back officially.

Thanks Spencer, much appreciated.

Chaz.

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  • 9 months later...

Pheadra1106uk

Not sure where you get the ‘ not illegal in 2011/2012’ re importing bullets without and export permit??

I was stopped with some bullets and brass in 2001, I had no export permit, they were confiscated and I ended up paying a fine plus cost of storage until they were ‘assessed’.

Do not think US customs prosecute in error, not with the US justice system on their back.

T

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