The only thing I like more than rifles, is riflescopes. If I could I would probably have two or three scopes for every rifle, each of my different purposes would utilize a different optic. I often make the comparison to women’s shoe collections; this scope might go well for a sunny day and a pair of jeans, and this other scope might be better for a dimly lit walk on the cabin porch.
But to stay on topic, today I want to focus on another great little optic that scope addicts like myself will enjoy. And that scope is the SAI 1-6X24 from Armament Technology Inc. (ATI), the same people that bring you the Elcan Specter and Tangent Theta.
With a heritage like that, I expected the SAI 6 to be a home run optic for a battle rifle type sight.
The SAI 6 is a one to six low power variable optic (LVPO), the one power setting is to be used much like iron sights or a red dot sight. The six power maximum is designed to be utilized in a longer range engagement, with the rest of the power spectrum to be utilized at the shooter’s discretion as needed. The scope features a calibrated drop compensating reticle called the RAF (Rapid Aiming Feature), it is available with drop curves for both 5.56 and 7.62 ammunition. The reticle is mounted in the first focal plane of the riflescope, this allows the reticle values to stay constant regardless of magnification setting. All this is mounted inside the thirty-millimeter tube, and MRAD erector housing.
The SAI 6 has many features very similar to other LVPO riflescopes, such as an adjustable diopter on the eyepiece, and a twenty-four millimeter objective lens. But it also has some features that set it apart, such as an included anti-reflection device that threads to the front of the scope. And seeing as how Armament Technologies Inc. also owns Tenebraex scope flipcaps, they also include the highest quality flipcaps to protect the SAI 6 from getting damaged or dirty. Another very welcome add-on was the tethered scope caps, a soft rubber-like tether captures both the elevation and windage turret caps. This is very handy when zeroing the rifle, as the turret caps never leave the riflescope, avoiding loss or damage.
The SAI 6 has set parallax at one-hundred yards, which is a good compromise for up close as well as distant aiming. The left turret houses the rheostat and battery that controls the illumination settings for the illuminated reticle, with ten power settings with an off setting in between. The scope’s finish is a very tasteful shade of FDE, adding yet another shade of FDE to mismatch your already multicolored rifles.
As I lifted the scope from its box and straight to my eye, I was floored with how clean it looked. The apparent true 1X made looking through the scope completely effortless at one power, using both eyes open there was no aberration nor forcing the eyes to focus together. With the scope zoomed in to six power, the reticle detail became much more apparent, as did everything behind it. The clarity and quality of the image in this little scope is immaculate.
At six power I looked at the reticle to evaluate its utility. Off to the left of center is a range bracket series, which allows the shooter to quickly estimate the distance to a thirty-inch target or full-size IPSC target which silhouettes a human torso and head. Below the center of the reticle there is a familiar “Christmas Tree” type drop grid with accompanying windage holds that are progressively wider as distance increases. In addition to the windage marks on the horizontal posts there is a curious “X” shape surrounding the center of the reticle, I found this design to be very handy particularly with the reticle illuminated. The X tapers to the center of the reticle and reminds me of a twentieth century space sci-fi film heads up display, like the image of young Skywalker’s X-wing being targeted by a Tie-fighter. It does so without blocking out much of the target like some of the Chevron or horseshoe reticles do.
Mounting the SAI 6
Enough about the reticle for now, it was time to get this Canadian beauty into a set of rings so I could shoot with it. I chose an ADM 30mm scope mount for this scope, as it would easily facilitate rapid movement between the several rifles I intended on shooting. With the scope plumb and torqued, I mounted it up on my Desert Tech MDRX and headed to my Rocky Mountain hide.
I bore-sighted the rifle and fired a few shots. It was then that I first removed the tethered turrets from the scope, underneath I found some very clean a solid looking adjustments.
Shooting with the SAI 6
The turrets were easily adjusted using just my fingers, and after a few corrections I was zeroed. My MDRX was chambered in 223 that day, so I set to shooting with the SAI 6 to see how the drop corrections lined up. I’m not a huge fan of calibrated reticles, inasmuch as they are only calibrated for a specific ammunition and atmosphere. That said, they can be very close in many occasions, and even if they are not one need only figure out the true value of the drop points. For example the SAI 6 has drop points for three, five, seven, and eight hundred yards. While they may not be perfect, the three-hundred might actually be two-hundred and eighty yards. And the seven hundred may not be exactly seven-hundred, but more like seven-fifty. The important part is that you figure this out using the ammunition you use most frequently, and keep the atmosphere in mind.
The drop points on the RAF reticle were very useful, and not so thick as to obscure the target area. I was able to use them for engaging targets out to six-hundred yards, and the wind hold-off’s were also very handy to counter the effects of wind downrange.
I also mounted the scope on a typical AR-15 type rifle, where I was able to repeat the process of zeroing the scope, and engaging a bunch of different targets. One thing that stood out as I shot was the outstanding view through the SAI 6. Regardless of power setting it has a beautiful image that is very useful for identifying targets and seeing hits and misses. ATI manufactures at throw lever or “cat-tail” as many call them that gives the user more purchase for quickly adjusting the magnification setting of the scope. Also while speaking of accessories, the ARD shade that came with the scope is very handy at keeping sun out of your scope, and protecting the objective lens. But like most honeycomb type ARD’s, it also robs the scope of some light, and reduces the image somewhat. This is not a big deal, but something you should know if you plan on using it.
The SAI 6 has an MSRP of $1290.00 which sure seems like an easier sale than its closest two competitors. I have used both the Vortex Razor 1-6 and the Sig Sauer Tango 6, and I really like both of them. But the SAI 6 comes in at a lower price and for me the reticle seals the deal.
If you are looking for an LVPO or battle rifle sight like this, you would be foolish not to look into the SAI 6. The only thing I would change if I had a wish was to make it into a 1-8, as I like to have a few more X’s in case things get far away. Or even better, if ATI is listening, how about a 34mm version 1-10x? Then I would be happy to have both of them.