Brand-new from Steiner is a scope called the Nighthunter Xtreme. To test the scope an equivalent quality Contessa Professional mount was used on the rifle's top rib. While the outfit looked a little "over-scoped," there's no denying that the Nighthunter Xtreme is a superb optical and mechanical instrument.
The Nighthunter Xtreme is specially designed for low-light hunting. The main tube has a diameter of 30mm, and the objective diameter is a full 24mm.
This, and the low power range of 1X to 5X, gives the Nighthunter Xtreme terrific brightness and a huge field of view. In fact, the 1X magnification is a true 1X, and the scope can be used with both eyes open for ultrafast close-range shooting.
The turret caps and the power ring are rubber armored to reduce noise and make for easy adjustments, and there are acres of eye relief. That's handy on a rifle of considerable recoil, like the 9.3x74R. The scope's innards are top notch, too.
The lenses have Steiner's proprietary "Diamond Night" coatings that deliver excellent light transmission and superior clarity and contrast at dawn and dusk.
The lenses also have "Nano-Protection," which is a hydrophobic molecular coating so smooth that water literally sheets off, and dust, dirt, and other crud, even fingerprints, are effectively repelled. The scope is dry-nitrogen filled to lock out moisture and is rated waterproof to a depth of 6 feet.
Hunting at night is common in Europe and in many areas in the United States, such as in Texas for feral hogs and other exotics. For these situations, the Nighthunter Xtreme has a 4A-1 crosshair reticle with three thick posts at the bottom and sides. At the center is an adjustable red dot that subtends 1.95 inches at 100 yards.
Steiner calls this system "Smart Illumination," and smart it is. On the left-side turret there is a convenient switch that turns the red center dot on or off and a rheostat that controls the brightness of the dot: dim for daylight and progressively dimmer for low light. Here's the neat part. If you forget to turn off the dot, the scope will do it for you.
If the rifle is pointed up (e.g., slung on your shoulder, put in a safe, etc.), the dot goes off. But as soon as you bring the rifle back toward level, the dot instantly comes on at the last set intensity level. This is one of the slickest illuminated reticle setups I've ever used.
The image quality is just what you'd expect for high-end German glass: superb edge-to-edge clarity, great brightness, and click adjustments that work solidly and that are perfectly calibrated. I accidentally "checked" this feature.
Once I wanted to move the point of impact 3.5 inches to the left. I miscalculated and instead moved the crosshair 7 inches left. Realizing my mistake, I cranked the crosshair back to the right one-half of my previous adjustment, and the group then landed exactly 3.5 inches right of the previous group.
Overall, I am impressed with the performance of this medium-sized European scope. Yes, the Nighthunter Xtreme is a bit pricey (MSRP: $2,587.49), but it always costs more to go first class.