The T6Xi series are the latest scopes released from Steiner Optics. This line of tactical optics are a personal favorite of mine, the reticle choices, alpha tier glass, and large turrets make tactical optics very user friendly.
Looking at long distance tactical optics you no doubt have been comparing the T6Xi with its competitors such as the Nightforce ATACR and Schmidt & Bender PM II. The Steiner T6Xi is slightly cheaper than its competition so I was interested to see how it performed in comparison. I received this scope on loan from Beretta for a few months to test out and compare to some other high end optics.
|Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56||Schmidt & Bender PM II 5-25×56||Steiner T6Xi 5-30×56|
|Click Value||.1 MRAD||.1 MRAD||.1 MRAD|
|29 MRAD||26 MRAD||26MRAD|
The T6Xi includes features designed for fast paced competition shooting as well as military and police functions which are outlined below. First announced in May 2022, I have been keeping a close eye on this new series and was interested to see what has changed since the previous Steiner T5Xi series. A notable difference from the previous series is the completely new optical system, which is a welcomed change as a criticism of the previous T5Xi series was that some users experienced issues with chromatic aberration.
The T6Xi series are available in four different variants of 1-6×24, 2.5-15×50, 3-18×56 and 5-30×56, I picked up the 5-30×56 variant for my Sako TRG as the larger magnification range best suits my long distance shooting applications.
All the T6Xi variants are American made by Steiner Optics USA and include German glass. There is a lifetime warranty on these which is transferable between owners.
When handling the optic it does give me the same confidence as when I use my PM II or handle a ATACR. Its designed to perform in all conditions thrown at it, being waterproof, fogproof and shockproof. Designed as a tactically focused optic the finish is mat black, which I prefer to that of the slightly shiner finish on the PM II. This mat finish reduces any reflections and also adds to the tactical aesthetic. Mounted in a set of solid Spuhr ISMS scope rings it was a perfect match for the TRG.
The heavy hitting 34mm tube size packs in the huge magnification range and combined with the 56mm objective lens gives the T6Xi its attraction to the long distance shooter. The dioptre has a locking ring to prevent inadvertent movement once the reticle is focused for the individuals eye. This was another surprise feature but very handy on a tactical optic. Weighing in at 34.5oz / 978g its robust, however slightly lighter compared to the PM II and ATACR.
The Steiner T6xi came with a few extras that are welcomed at the price point. This includes an optional throw lever for faster magnification adjustments, Tenebraex scope caps and a sunshade. I chose to attach the throw lever as it does greatly aid in making quick magnification changes. Tenebraex caps are my favorite of all the scope caps on the market and much higher quality than the common Butler Creek caps.
At the range I was keen to see how the new optical system performed, especially against the competition. At the price point the T6Xi sits in and the use of Schott glass manufactured in Germany, I had very high expectations for performance. I was also very interested to see if the 5-30x magnification in the T6Xi had the glass to pull off the high magnification range. I brought my Schmidt & Bender PM II with me to make some direct comparisons. Of note is that the PM II is around 500USD more in price than the T6Xi, however its a great benchmark for judging high end optical quality.
The first thing I was looking for was any chromatic aberration (distortion around the edges) at all magnification levels, as this has been reported as a problem by some users of the T5Xi’s. Thankfully there was no problems with CA.
Colour was managed really well and all colours looked true to life. The image was fairly neutral and similar to that of the PM II. The T6Xi appears to be on par with the PM II for contrast also. My benchmark for high resolution is the PM II, putting them side by side the PM II edges out the T6Xi, however the PM II is an extra 500 USD so its expected to have slightly better glass and I think this is where spending the extra dollars stood out. At maximum magnification the eye box becomes a lot smaller however the T6Xi holds its colour and resolution well.
Changing magnifications down to the lower end to spot impacts was very easy utilising the uncrowded MSR2 reticle. The parallax adjustment was wide and not too picky. I was able to make my sight picture parallax free without issues.
With the inclusion of my favorite long distance shooting reticle, the Finish designed MSR2 in the line up I was very happy even with the limited choices. Steiner offer the 5-30×56 with the MSR2 Multipurpose Sniper Reticle or the Special Competition Reticle (SCR2) both long-range reticles in the first focal plane and in MRAD.
Illumination is controlled by the dial on the left hand side next to the parallax adjustment. There are 4 night and 7 day levels of illumination.
The low profile turrets have the tactile snap you expect for the price point. They are on par with the Nightforce ATACR but the Schmidt & Bender PM II does edge out the T6Xi and has more solid clicks. You wont often find capped turrets on a tactical optic as the user needs to make adjustments quickly without unscrewing a turret cap.
However they do come with a fairly unique locking system, with a dial located on top of the elevation and windage turrets that’s actuated by turning it clockwise which locks the turret for turning any further. This then visually shows what locking state the turret is in with a little locked or unlocked symbol.
There’s 12 MRAD per rotation with .1 MRAD click values and once you dial past 12 the numbers swap over to the second rotation values. Clicks are tactile and very precise.
Turret numbers are a good size and I didn’t find myself squinting to check what I was dialed to. The total elevation range is 26 MRAD and the windage range is 25 MRAD, in line with the competition. Parallax adjusts 25 yards out to infinity, compared to the PM II’s minimum at 11 yards its something minor to consider for the .22 shooters. Scope ‘zero’ changes are made the traditional way by unscrewing the two screws in the turret and moving the turret to the desired zero.
Steiner have made a robust scope with great optical performance and well though out turrets. Who can forget the extra points for having my favorite reticle, the MSR2 as an option. The T6Xi represents a refined example of what a tactical optic should be at a great price point. My only minor criticism is the slightly mushy turrets but overall its well worth the investment.