TFB Review: Schmidt & Bender 3-12×50 PMII Scope with Spuhr QD Mount

    This riflescope was my first entry into the world of Schmidt & Bender, and I bought it second hand from a friend for a fair price. The box says 3-12×50 PMII LP P4F DT 1 cm, which means that it has an illuminated P4F reticle with 1 cm clicks. What makes the 3-12×50 PMII interesting is that it’s probably one of the most proven and tested scopes ever, and is or has been used by a long list of Military or Police units around the globe. The scope is used on everything from .308 to .50 caliber weapons.

    “The dog has a gun and refuses to take his medication”

    The optical performance is excellent and the mechanics are proven. The version under review is equipped with a separate side focus adjustment allowing to set the parallax from 50 meters until infinity. The P4F (Fine) illuminated reticle is located in the first focal plane (FFP), which allows you to do distance evaluations in all levels of magnification. The overall length is 342,5 mm or 13.47″ and it weighs 860 grams (0,82 kg). The surface finishing is typical of S&B’s products and very even.

    Below: Illumination control and parallax settings on the left side of the scope. The magnification ring goes from 3 to 12 and is rubberized.

    The eye box is very generous and forgiving. There is no feeling from the mechanics inside as you change the magnification and the friction is fine. The scope is made in Germany.

    Below: At the shooting range, mounted on a Ruger Precision Rifle Gen 1. Magpul bipod.

    The parallax only goes down to 50 meters, which may be an issue for some precision rifle shooting, if the targets are really close.

    This turret has no locking mechanism.

    The spacing on the parallax remains the same whether it is between 200 meters and 400 meters or 1,000 meters.

    The P4F Reticle is fairly simple, but don’t underestimate it. For more reticle choices and detailed information S&B has a webpage where you can study and download this.

    This riflescope would be great for a beginner. It’s easy and very forgiving yet has most if not all the features that you need.

    S&B P4L reticle

     

    Here’s what it looks like through the reticle. Please excuse the quality, as these pictures were taken off-hand with an iPhone 7 which means a loss in quality versus what you as the spotter or shooter would experience.

    This image was taken at 12x from a distance of approximately 1,400 yards. In reality, the image quality is as spotless as anyone could wish for.

    Schmidt & Bender 3-12×50 PMII

     

    Schmidt & Bender 3-12×50 PMII

    The mount is a Spuhr QDP-4002 Ø34 H38mm 0MIL QDP with a list price of €388. Bubble level included.

    Quick detachable mount featuring side clamp and dual levers on the left side of the mount, with tensioning screws on opposite side of the mount body.

    0 MIL/0 MOA
    Height: 38 mm/1.5”
    Length: 121 mm/4.76” (mount body only)
    Weight: 267 g/9.4 oz

    10-degree wedge included

    Finnaccuracy has made this video to prove the zero repeatability with a Schmidt & Bender PMII on a Sako TRG M10. I never had any issues with repeatability, but I have not taken the scope on or off a lot either, simply because I had no need.

    Here you can see the QD (Quick Detach) side of the scope, attached to the Picatinny rail of my testing platform.

    S&B 3-12x50 PMII

    The mount is very solid, even when there’s just one arm holding it like below. I’m pretty sure it would still be able to hold the zero, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

    The top turret is rather high, this was before S&B came out with their new generation of low-profile turrets. The clicks feel great, but this scope does not have the “More Tactile Clicks” (MTC) which is a modern feature. I have dialed up and down from 100 to 1,000 meters countless times, and the feeling and tracking are always spot on.

    Here’s what the Spuhr design looks like from underneath.

    And above.

    A QD mount is nice if you take on and off your scope often, otherwise, there aren’t many reasons to get the QD version of a traditional mount with screws.

    Technical Specifications (from S&B)

    Field of  view m/100 m 11,1 – 3,4
    Exit pupil mm 14,3 – 4,3
    Eye  relief  distance mm 90
    Twilight factor 8,5 – 24,5
    Transmission 90 %
    Optical data dptr. -3/+2
    Parallax adjustment 50 m – ∞
    Weight g 860

    At the ShoOting Range – from 300 to 900 meters

    I tested the Ruger Precision Rifle in .308 Win at 300 meters on the electronic Kongsberg targets. The P4F reticle on 12x power works great on these targets, and it was easy to put great 5-shot groups down with GGG ammo loaded with 168 gr HPBT Sierra Match King bullets.

    I’d say that’s pretty accurate. The shooting was done prone without bipod, but with support in the front and bag in the rear. Each ring on the target is 5 centimeters.

    Below: Same “target”, different daylight.

    Below: The sun, which is going down on a late summer evening, is coming in from behind.

    Below: The sun has just set. In reality the picture is much better than the camera can capture, but I wanted to show the illuminated reticle as well.

    Shooting Steel at 900 meters.

    I have also shot the 3-12×50 PMII out to 900 meters, with several hits on 45×45 cm (0.5 MIL size) steel targets on several occasions. Last time the wind correction was over 2.5 Mil to the side. At 1,000 meters, I was close but it started getting much more difficult as I ran out of clicks and had to compensate both for wind and height. If I wanted to pursue this I had to change the mount to one with some more tilt, but I feel that for a .308 Win it’s doing just fine. My point here is that you don’t need 25 power scopes or more for this kind of work, although it can be nice.

    Below: The S&B 3-12×50 PMII beside the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x.

    It is worth mentioning that Team Sweden used the S&B 3-12×50 PMII on their .308 Win Accuracy Internationals, and managed to win Europe Best Sniper Team Competition in 2018. Considering that many of the other teams had far better (on paper) optics, ballistics and firearms that is quite a feature. You can see what their rifle looks like here.

    Price

    According to the European Pricelist, the net price is €2,479. There is also an Ultra Bright version with a 54 mm exit for about €500 more. To compare the 5-25×56 PMII with P4F is €2,840, which would be a more sensible choice if you keep to the S&B brand.

    Conclusion:

    There is not much to complain about, and I can understand why this scope has become a favorite among militaries and police forces. The U.S. Marines knew what they did when they specified it. I’ve had mine for many years, and it still looks like new. There’s just a minimal scratch on the left side, and my optics are not safe queens.

    Today there are probably better choices for a similar (or less) amount of money, even from Schmidt & Bender themselves. For instance their 5-25×56 PMII. But don’t be surprised if David beats Goliath, because it’s easy to forget how good this riflescope is. This scope is seldom mentioned nowadays when 25 power has become the new 12 power. It’s a great choice for beginners but works for the experienced shooter as well.

    Here’s a direct link to Schmidt & Bender and their 3-12×50 PMII.

    TFB has reviewed several of Schmidt & Bender’s PMII riflescopes, for a list check here.



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    Eric B

    Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics and sound suppressors. TCCC Certified medic.


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