Testing PFI Scopes in Military & Long Range Scenarios

The following is a testimonial as submitted by SGT Major Thomas E Campbell. He first used our scopes with his platoon’s Marksmen and then went on to use them on his personal weapons.

Designing Training Programs for Platoon Designated Marksmen

Before I get into the scope itself, I want to share how I got involved with John Pride and PFI. It started in 2005 when I was assigned to the 1-501st Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Richardson, Alaska. I was tasked with developing a training program for our Platoon Designated Marksmen (PDM). 

These Marksmen would serve as a counter sniper asset at the Platoon level.  With the PDMs not being sniper trained, I wanted to find an optic that would make it easy for them to transition to multiple distances quickly. 

I tested many scope brands. In my hunt, I was told about a small company that made optics using the Rapid Reticle concept.  I saw one of the scopes in person and gave PFI a call. 

John Pride answered the phone, and I explained what I was looking for.  He sent me four test scopes to try out. We mounted the scopes on some of our rifles and headed to the range. 

Testing the Scopes at the Range with Control Groups

I had two control groups out there. 

One group had taken my PDM course and understood ballistics well; the other group consisted of just riflemen from the platoons.

The outcome was that all, including the riflemen, could easily engage targets transitioning from 100 meters out to 800 meters and hit within the lethal zone of targets without having to adjust anything on the scopes. 

The trained PDMs could use their Data from Prior Engagements (DOPE) and only had to make minor adjustments to dial the rifles in to hit center shots. 

Testing the Scope’s Durability in Military Scenarios

We put those scopes through the ringer.  We jumped them a few times out of aircraft and shot them in extreme cold weather conditions, and the scopes never lost zero. 

We also discovered that they repeat very well when we dial in a shot. 

We got PFI scopes to outfit our PDMs, then deployed to Iraq and later to Afghanistan, where we put the scopes to use in real time. 

My Personal Guns All Have PFI Scopes

Over the years, John and I have become great friends. I like the PFI scopes so much that just about every gun I have has one. 

The clarity in the PFI scopes that I have used is the best.  I have yet to have a PFI scope fog up. I only had one scope that had an issue and made a phone call to PFI. There was one on the way before I could get the broken scope in the mail to send back.  

The Innovative Rapid Reticle Concept Makes the Difference

I have found that if you shoot a bullet caliber and weight at the recommended velocities, the data in the scopes will be close to dead on. 

Now, saying that every gun shoots differently than the next. You can have two identical rifles with one number different in the serial number, and they will shoot differently. To compensate for that, if you are trying to drive tacks at a distance, you only have to make small adjustments vs. bold adjustments, as with crosshair scopes. 

Since I load my own ammo and strive to find the best recipe for each gun, sometimes my ballistics do not match exactly the data in the scopes. But dialing in ½ MOA at 800 yards is a lot easier than dialing in 12 MOA. 

Accurate Target Acquisition at 50 Yards & 185 Yards with No Adjustments

I have been experimenting with PFI scopes on my muzzleloaders and deer slug guns to find a scope with data similar to the velocity and weight I am shooting. 

This last deer season, I shot a deer at 50 yards with my Savage 220 slug gun with a 17HMR PFI scope mounted on it. Then, I chambered another round and shot a 2nd deer at 195 yards without touching the dials on the scope.

My Experience with the Rapid Reticle Evolution 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle Scope

As for their 6.5 Creedmoor 5-25×50 scope, I mounted it on my .338 ultra mag., which has very similar ballistics to the 6.5 Creedmoor.  I first mounted it using a one-piece scope mount that sat pretty high off the rifle. 

When I tried to zero the scope, it bottomed out before I could get the bullet strike on target. I remounted the scope with a set of 2-piece low rings and then was able to zero the rifle.

I zeroed the rifle at 100 yards with three shots to walk it in and then fired three more to confirm that I was in the center. 

Getting Accustomed to Different Stadia Lines

It does take some getting used to at first with the 100-yard stadia line at the top of the scope vs. in the center of the scope, but you get accustomed to it quickly. 

Unfortunately, the range I was on only went out to 100 yards. So, I had to schedule a trip to a range with a longer distance to shoot. I headed to Quantico USMC base to shoot their 1,000-yard range.

Testing It At 1,000 Yards

When I arrived at the range, I confirmed my 100-yard zero and then started working down the range.  For 200-400 yards, my shots were right in the center.  At 500-1,000 yards, I only had to make minor adjustments to put my bullets in the center. 

Now, that can be chalked up to me shooting the recipe I found was most accurate for that rifle, not what PFI listed as the recommended load. 

The rifle was stacking bullets out to 800 yards, with the largest adjustment I had to make being 2¼ MOA, which was much easier than having a crosshair scope and making an 18 MOA adjustment.

1/8 MOA Ensures Accuracy & Speed

The 1/8MOA on a Rapid Reticle scope is very nice and I really liked that the turret adjustments lock in till you pull them out to adjust them.  Now, a lot of guys shooting long distances prefer 1/2MOA so they can dial in shots with fewer counts of clicks, but those are guys shooting crosshair scopes. 

With the Rapid Reticle scopes, shooting off the stadia lines with 1/8MOA adjustments, you can still dial in shots with fewer clicks and faster than a 1/2 MOA crosshair scope.

Reticle Design & Clarity

The scope’s clarity is the same as all their other scopes. It has the clarity that Zeiss scopes are known for but at a much lower price. 

The reticle looks busy but is not overwhelming when you look through it.  To see all the scope’s data, you can only zoom out to 16×50, but your 100-yard line is at the very top of the scope. 

I zeroed the scope at 10×50, and then when I got out to the 700-yard targets, I zoomed all the way into 25×50 and shot out 1,000 yards.  I did not have the space to shoot past 1,000 yards. To use the stadia lines for 1,100 and 1,200 yards, you would have to back out of the zoom to 16×50.  

Highly Recommend PFI’s 6.5 Creedmoor

Overall, I think the 6.5 Creedmoor 5-25×50 scope is great, as are all of PFI’s scopes.  The only thing I can say on the negative side is that it requires some getting used to with the data filling the reticle, but like I said earlier, a few shots through it, and you are used to it. 

I am itching to find a place to shoot out the 1,200-yard line and get a full appreciation of the scope, so I cannot comment on whether there are any negatives to zooming back out to shoot the 1,100 and 1,200.

PFI Customer Service Is Outstanding

John Pride and the team at PFI are fantastic, and they provide the best customer service. I appreciate all they have done for our armed forces and have enjoyed their scopes for almost twenty years. 

Whenever I have questions about ballistics, what scope would work best for what I am shooting, or anything else, the team is happy to assist and knows what they are doing.

After they see my scopes and their capabilities, most of my friends also shoot PFI scopes.  

Signed, Thomas E. Campbell, SGM, U.S. Army

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