Being an absolute precision rifle junkie, there are a few things that get my excitement up. Besides precision rifles themselves, riflescopes are probably my biggest affinity. Today we are looking at the Steiner Optics T6Xi 5-30X56 riflescope, an American-made riflescope by the international optics giant.
Steiner started mid-last century on the American side of post-war Germany, and has since been working on making the highest quality riflescopes and other optics they can. I have long been a fan of Steiner’s optics, though I have only recently been able to take one home for my own use. I was excited for the chance to shoot behind one of these scopes that I had fawned over for so long.
The Steiner T6Xi 5-30×56
The T6Xi is a variable scope based on a thirty-four millimeter tube, and up front is the industry standard fifty-six millimeter objective lens. The power of six-times magnification is where the T6 gets it five to thirty power range, which is no insignificant thing. The all important erector housing carries a great deal of additional features, twelve MRAD per revolution turrets with an intuitive turret lock. The elevation turret also incorporates a very interesting rotating number scroll to prevent you from ever being off a revolution on the turret. A typical side parallax adjustment knob, with the illumination rheostat stacked on top. Inside the erector itself sits the MSR2 MRAD reticle, after just a few trips I was quite pleased with this reticle and its subtensions. At the back of the scope there is the magnification ring to adjust the zoom from five to thirty power. In addition to the great features of this scope, it also came with a few extras I wasn’t expecting. Including a factory made throw-lever (or cattail) to make adjusting the magnification faster to execute, as well as a sun-shade, and Tenebraex scope-caps.
-6x Zoom Range
-Locking windage and elevation turrets
-Low-profile never-lost turrets
-Second rotation indicator
-Locking diopter ring
-Optional throw lever
-Illumination – 4 night / 7 day levels
-Waterproof / Fogproof / Shockproof
Mounting the T6Xi
I planned on installing the Steiner on my Desert Tech SRS M2, wherein I do most of my precision shooting. I have used a plethora of excellent riflescopes on this rifle, so I figured it would be a great match to see how it compared to the others I’ve used.
I mounted the T6Xi into a 40 MOA canted scope base, and leveled in on the rifle. My very first impressions were regarding the size of the scope, I prefer scopes that don’t come across as “dainty”. The Steiner was in my opinion just the right size, smaller than some but big and robust enough to stand beside most competitors.
With the scope mounted to the rifle, I set it on a bench and put myself to bore-sighting the scope. I grabbed the hex-key wrenches from the box to zero the turret once I had the rifle zeroed properly, all that remained was grabbing the rest of my kit and ammunition and heading into the hills.
On the range
In a short time, I found myself in my fortress of solitude. The silent and vacant white canyons of the Rocky Mountains are where I spend my free time, and this time of year the blanket of sound soaking snow are spectacular for shooting.
I had brought two barrels for my SRS, the first was a .223 Remington match barrel I planned on zeroing the scope with. Even though I get paid to shoot, I still try to save money where I can. Once the rifle was zeroed with the .223 barrel, I would switch over to my 7mm SAUM barrel for shooting at more significant distances that would actually test this Steiner’s abilities.
I was immediately enamored with the view through this scope, it was crystal clear and a beautiful image to behold. I typically avoid running scopes at maximum magnification due to the fact that many of them seem to darken or lose clarity, but the T6Xi was still an excellent view even at 30X. The MSR2 reticle was an instant hit for me, I love the tiny center dot. It made perfect aim-point definition easy, and in just a few shots I had confirmed a good zero, after shooting a quick five-shot group to ensure I hadn’t lost my touch.
After zeroing the turrets on the T6, it was time to run both rifle and scope out to some distance. In less than a minute I’d switched barrels to the 7mm SAUM, and I turned my attention to the distant ridge across the canyon from me. Snow had covered most of my targets, but I could still pick out what I needed to see.
My density altitude and the cartridges I shoot typically keep me from needing the second rotation of most scopes. Many of the cartridges I shoot will reach beyond 3/4 of a mile without even cracking the second rotation, and my 7 SAUM was certainly in that group. I was going to have to shoot beyond fifteen-hundred yards to dial past the 12MRAD mark on the turret.
But before I did that, I wanted to see how the turret values lined up with the known dope for this rifle. I tried a few shots at targets from five-hundred to seven-hundred yards, with very predictable impacts. Spotting impacts at those distances is important, which is why I typically use lower power settings on my rifle scopes when shooting long range. With the power set at about half I was easily watching the 150 grain Cayuga solid bullets impact, and they were hitting with good authority as well.
Increasing the distance to the target made spotting impacts even easier, giving me additional time to get settled back on target before my bullet got there. Watching through the Steiner I was also able to see the trace of the bullet as it arched up over the target one it’s way there. The MSR2 reticle was very useful at measuring and holding corrections, in my opinion it is a perfect hybrid of substantial subtensions, but thin enough not to become cumbersome. Continue Reading Here…
I have other scopes in the same price bracket as this one, and it performs optically better than some and as well as others. The scope’s mechanical function was flawless, which should be expected at this level of the game. Optically, the scope is fantastic, and my eyes always felt comfortable and in charge when looking through the T6Xi. Even in low-light conditions, it had a great light transmission producing a clean image.
- MSR2 reticle
- Great precision-shooting reticle
- Flawless mechanical function
- Excellent optical performance
- Solid optics brand name
- Quality machined aluminum throw lever
- Good price compared to the competition
- Tenebraex scope caps
- Made in the USA
- It’s not cheap, but comparable to its competition
I do love the well-known quality that comes from European optics companies like Steiner, but the fact that this one is made right here in the U.S. almost makes it a slam dunk for me. The little things like the quality scope caps and throw lever are also very nice additions.
When you get to this price point in the optics market, it’s more about preference than a direct comparison. What I mean by that is most comparable riflescopes have very similar features and performance, which basically leaves you to choose the one that has the features you prefer the most.
The precision-rifle junkie in me is more than satisfied with this little scope. I often judge products based on their ability to sustain my addiction for the duration of my shooting career. I’m quite confident – even if the Steiner T6Xi 5-30×56 was the very last scope I ever bought – I could rock it for the rest of my time in these mountains. While that’s not the case, I still look forward to every outing with it.