Sightron’s SI-Hunter 3-9×32 riflescope was specifically designed and engineered for the .22 LR and is a serious aiming device for hunters looking to be more accurate on varmints or small game. It’s also affordable.
There is still some confusion about the differences between .22-specific scopes and centrefire scopes, and about which type of scope is most appropriate for a .22 rimfire rifle.
The Sightron SI-Hunter 3-9×32 fulfils all the criteria I consider necessary in a rimfire scope to be used solely for small game hunting.
For a start, it is scaled. Many manufacturers have no sense of proportion. The scopes aren’t matched to the slim, trim lines of the average rimfire sporter used for plinking, casual target shooting and small game hunting.
The Sightron SIH is perfectly scaled to suit a rimfire rifle, with a length of 28cm and a weight of 330 grams.
It has a generous 91mm of eye relief. Its field of view at 100m of around 11m on 3x down to 4m on 9x.
It is waterproof, fogproof, shockproof and has fully multi-coated lenses. The crosswire reticle is in the second plane.
The Sightron has a one-inch main tube with 32mm objective lens. On the lowest power (3x) it has an exit pupil of 10.66mm, reducing to 3.5mm at 9x.
A scope with an exit pupil of about 3.0mm provides adequate brightness when used in full sunlight on an open target range, but if used for hunting in dim conditions or at dawn or dusk, its image would be dimmer than what your eye would be seeing.
This is because the pupil of your eye would have expanded to let in more light than the scope is capable of transmitting.
However, Sightron’s Zact-7 Revcoat lens coatings maximise light transmission for premium low-light performance.
A scope designed for use on a rimfire rifle should be set to be free of parallax at 50yd (46m), which is what the Sightron SI rimfire 3-9×32 conforms to.
With the typical centrefire riflescope, parallax is not a problem. For example, a typical 4x scope set to be parallax free at 150 metres has a maximum parallax error of 5mm at 200m, 14mm at 300, and 32mm at 500. This poses no problem for the hunter making a 300m shot at a deer.
If the same scope were mounted on a .22 LR sporter for small game hunting, its maximum parallax error at 50m would be 10mm, and 12mm at 25m (probably the average distance for .22 shots fired at rabbits). Put simply, the smaller the target and the closer you shoot, the more of a problem parallax focal error and focal zero can become, particularly if you choose a centrefire scope for your .22 rimfire.
The Sightron has ¼ MOA click adjustments, so one click will shift point of impact by close to 3.5mm at 50m. One revolution of the windage and elevation dials covers 15 MOA and full travel is 70 MOA.
To keep it affordable, the Sightron lacks an illuminated reticle, zero-reset turrets or BDC, all of which would add to the price. But does the average small game hunter need these refinements? I think not.
However, I’d have liked a fast-focus eyepiece, like other SI-H scopes.
The point blank range for the standard-velocity .22 LR is approximately 70m, the high-velocity round about 80m. The Sightron 3-9×32 allows the shooter to see small targets more clearly and aim precisely enough to score kills out at 150yd using a little holdover.
After working with the Sightron SIH 3-9×32 I am impressed with its robust design, overall quality and optical clarity.
The Sightron SI-Hunter series is available in seven different models with different reticles including a duplex-type. All except the 3-9×32 are parallax-corrected at 100yd.
They’re made in the Philippines and I’d have to rate Sightron’s SIH series higher than entry level — maybe second or middle tier.
With a price tag of around $395 the new 3-9×32 is one of the soundest values in the rimfire scope world.
Sightron is distributed by Herron Security & Sport.