Introduction

Schmidt & Bender PM II 5-25×56 LP vs US Optics ER-25 5-25×58

In this comparative review, we are going to compare some of the best rifle scopes from either side of the Pond. The US Optics ER-25 5-25×58 representing the American side and Schmidt & Bender 5-25×56 PM II/LP standing for Europe. Both products are top of the line tactical MIL/MIL long range rifle scopes and are one of the best available on the market.

While Schmidt & Bender is amongst the trendsetters in the field of rifle scopes and as such is well known across the globe, the US Optics has a special appeal here in Europe as it is one of the last remaining rifle scopes manufacturers in the USA and not so widely spread in Europe. For this reason, it has a special i-want-that cool factor. Both scopes are available in a lot of different configurations and are as such, to some extent, close to being custom made. Your personal preferences will shape and mold the finished product.

Size and weight:

 

Schmidt & Bender 5-25×56 PM II/LP

US Optics ER-25 5-25×58
Weight: 1080 g 1130 g
Length: 416 mm 457 mm
Tube diameter: 34 mm 34 mm
Diopter setting: -3 / +2 dpt -3 / +2 dpt
Parallax adjustment: 10 m – inf. 70 m – inf.
Mounting with rail:
Number of Colors: 3 (Black, RAL8000, Pantone) 9

Both Schmidt & Bender and US Optics scopes are heavy and long, with ER-25 being one of the longest we’ve tested. The ER-25 rifle scope has a slightly bigger, 58 mm objective lens, thus it’s a little bit more powerful and a bit better in low-light situations, since it draws in more light.

Both scopes offer many configurations for wide range of uses, such as the color of armoring and types of reticles. PM II/LP offers three colors of armoring: Black, RAL8000 and Pantone. ER-25 offers nine different colors, which is really fantastic. Both provide 12 types of reticles, so any shooter will find his favorite.

The parallax turret on both models is located on the left side of the rifle scope, and are easily reachable. The design on both is similar, just that the diameter of the turret on the Schmidt & Bender is bigger. The parallax adjustment on the US Optic goes from 75 yards (68 meters) to infinity, and on the Schmidt & Bender from 10 meters to infinity. So theoretically, you could shoot on 10 meters with 25 times magnification.

Schmidt & Bender PM II 5-25×56 LP vs US Optics ER-25 5-25×58

Optical properties:

 

Schmidt & Bender 5-25×56 PM II/LP

US Optics ER-25 5-25×58
Minimal magnification: 5 x 5x
Maximal magnification: 25x 25x
Zoom factor: 5 5
Maximal Field of View: 5.3 m/100m 5.5 m/100m
Minimal Field of View: 1.5 m/100m 1.8 m/100m
Minimal eye relief: 90 mm 90 mm
Light transmission – declared: >90%
Central sharpness – subjective impression at 15x (7 total): 2/6 5/6
Edge sharpness – subjective impression at 15x (7 total): 4/6 3/6
Eye-box – subjective impression at 15x (7 total): 5/6 2/6
Tunneling effect at low magnifications: Yes, 5x-7.5x Yes, 5x-7x but not as strong

Schmidt & Bender is the benchmark when optics standards are considered. They have a lot of history behind them and as such have big wishes to fulfill. The S&B-PMII has a stronger tunnel effect than the US Optics ER-25 at low magnification, but at this price range, we expected it to be a lot less significant in both of the two scopes. When we evaluated the field of view we saw that also here the US Optics product had a small advantage over its S&B counterpart.

But when we subjectively tested both products side by side we came to the conclusion that S&B is a bit better in terms of resolution. Similarly applies for the so-called “eye-box” (sensitivity to eye position), where S&B is a bit better and it’s more forgiving about your eye position. Don’t be confused though, both of these two scopes are among the best money can buy in terms of optical performance. Differences are small and very hard to notice at all.

By the eye relief we come to a conclusion, that on the smallest magnification by the US Optics the distance to the rifle scope is approximately 9 cm, but on the 25 times magnification only 7.5 centimeters. So you have to be a little bit more careful when shooting some big caliber rifles. On the S&B we didn’t recognize any differences in the eye relief when we changed the magnification from the lowest setting to the maximal.

Another major difference when we come to optical characteristics we noticed, that if you turn the turrets to the end of the elevation or windage a part of the picture is cut off (becomes black) in the US Optics ER rifle scope. This is because the inner tube gets pushed to the external tube, so you see a small part of it. This is noticeable only on the smallest magnification, because with bigger magnifications you zoom the edge away. On the Schmidt & Bender, on the other hand, we didn’t notice this phenomenon in any setting.

Reticle properties:

 

Schmidt & Bender 5-25×56 PM II/LP

US Optics ER-25 5-25×58
Focal plane: FFP or SFP FFP
Reticle illumination: Yes Yes
Daylight strong illumination: No No
Illumination intensity tuning: 6/10 9/10
Illuminated dot coverage: / /
Minimal reticle thickness: 4 mm 4 mm
Motion sensor: No No
Auto turn-off: Yes Yes
Reticle styles: 12 12


Both rifle scopes offer first focal plane reticles, that are the most important for tactical shooting, distance evaluations, and bullet drop compensations. PM II/LP also provides a Second focal plane reticles, the type that is a bit strange in tactical scopes but goes in hand with Schmidt & Bender legacy of providing all possible configurations of their scopes.

Both models provide reticle illumination that helps you in low light situations. The ER-25 from US Optics has more powerful illumination, ideal even for daylight observations, while the PM II/LP performs less good and we would rate its intensity 6/10. Illumination intensity adjustment as we said is much better with the ER-25 and we would give it a 9/10 score.

The S&B has an additional turret for the illumination with 11 intensity settings, that are only usable during the night. This turret is easily reachable and usable even with gloves. By US Optics the illumination control is also on an additional turret, but located further away, on the right side behind the windage turret. This makes the illumination harder to reach, and you have to adjust the illumination with the right hand, so you always take the hand away from the trigger. Consequently, you can hardly stay on the target.

The design is also different, since you change the brightness with a push of a button. With gloves, it is much harder, because the three buttons are in a small cavity and quite together. If you want to change the battery, you can’t do anything wrong on the S&B, but the design from US Optics is quite different. When you take the turret apart, you have 2 parts plus the battery. After putting everything back together, you have to be careful that you assemble it the correct way, or the illumination won’t work.

Personally, I like the solution from S&B more, because it is easier to use in all conditions.

Reticle thickness of both scopes is 4mm/100m at the thinnest section. You can also choose between many types of reticles such as modified Mil-Dot and Mil-hash reticles. The differences among reticles are negligible except the illumination which is much better with US Optics model, since it offers more versatile intensity adjustment possibilities.

Turret properties:

 

Schmidt & Bender 5-25×56 PM II/LP

US Optics ER-25 5-25×58
Turret Style: Tactical: 3 types available Tactical: 2 types available
Click value: 1 cm / 100 m – 0.1 mrad – ¼ MOA 1 cm / 100 m – 0.1 mrad – ¼ MOA
MTC function: Optional No
Number of turns: Double turn Multi turn
Turn indication: Yes No
Zero stop: Yes No
Position locking: Optional No
Elevation in one turn: 14 mrad per turn 11 mrad per turn
Total travel of turret: 26 mrad 24 mrad in 3 turns
BDC turret type: / /
BDC turret accuracy: / /
BDC turret flexibility: / /
Elevation range: 26 mrad 24 mrad
Windage range: -6 / +6 -8.5 / +8.5
Turret size: 6/10 7/10
Click sound: 8/10 6/10
Click feeling: 6/10 8/10
Ease of zeroing: 9/10 6/10

The turrets made by S&B are more elongated in their shape, while the ones on US Optics are more flattened. Both are made exceptionally well, as one would expect from a product in this price range. They differ substantially in the options they provide. The PM/II has crispier, firmer clicks, which sound almost perfect but with the ER-25 turret it is easier to know at what click you are, since the space between the clicks is bigger. By the feeling of the clicks, you could compare them with some IOR Tactical turrets.

One thing that really bothers us with the US Optics ER-25 is that it doesn’t have a zero stop, neither does it have some sort of turn indication. For these reasons, turret zeroing is so much easier with the S&B PM/II and later also use in the field. Both scopes offer turret options with 0.1 mrad (1cm/100m) and ¼ MOA clicks.

All in all Schmidt and Bender did an amazing job with their turrets, as they have a lot more options on offer. The 5-25×56 PM II is also available with MTC (More Tactile Clicks) turrets and even MTC/LT (More Tactile Clicks, Locking Turret) turrets.

 

 

General properties:

 

Schmidt & Bender 5-25×56 PM II/LP

US Optics ER-25 5-25×58
Made in: Germany USA
Introduced in: / /
Available original accessories: 2/10 2/10
Warranty period: 2 years 10 years
MRSP Price: 2979 € 3599 €

Both S&B and US Optics models don’t provide many original accessories which you could purchase, so this is quite a drawback if you take their price into consideration. The main accessory being sunshade, while the problem already starts with the flip-up covers which are usually not available from the factory. Butler Creek covers which come included are just not the right match for such an expensive scopes. We would give it a 2/10 rate, to both of them in this regard. They are however very well made scopes, using top-quality materials. PM II/LP is made in Germany and ER-25 in the USA, which gives them both a big value and consolidates the trust.

S&B provides only 2 years of warranty, which is not such a loss since they have a very good service. Services done after two years aren’t expensive and you only pay for the work that has been done and not the material used for repairing. US Optics give a 10 years warranty for their scopes and 2 years for reticle illumination. ER-25 is much more expensive with the price of 3599€ compared to the price of PM II/LP which is 2979€.

Conclusion

Both rifle scopes are amazing pieces of craftsmanship and engineering. The S&B model is a bit stiffer, firmer and made for stronger hands. Especially the magnification adjustment ring requires a lot of power to turn. Maybe this is a sign of good build quality. The US Optics ER-25 is equal when compared with S&B-PMII in terms of optical properties, but Schmidt and Bender is superior when it comes to turret options and possibilities.

Also, one thing that should be mentioned is the very long construction of the ER-25. It is also quite heavy with well more than one kg in weight. The one aspect where it clearly stands out is the superb illumination capabilities, as its illumination is strong enough for daytime use, and weak enough for use with a night vision device.

Last but not least, as mentioned before, because of its scarcity in Europe, the US Optics ER-25 5-25×58 has almost a mythical status at any shooting range, while S&B is considered best tactical scope all in all, by many.

 

Disclaimer

We would like to thank Optics Trade for letting us use and test the above-mentioned products. We also thank them for letting us use their videos.

This featured test is impartial and we always try our best not to prejudice and favor one product over the other. Our team of enthusiasts who tests these products and writes these articles is doing it from dedication, as rifle scopes are our big passion. We also feel a great amount of joy and satisfaction when we know that we have contributed and shared with you our experiences. We try not to be biased and try to be as accurate as possible when interpreting our sightings. We will do our best to described things as they really are.

How the testing is done:

Our team comprises of two enthusiasts who write the articles for hobby and our very helpful unbiased friends who help us make the evaluations, such as the optical characteristics. As we are volunteers/enthusiasts we are not always present in the same numbers. Our ranks can fluctuate from 5 to around 8 people at the time of a test. Other than the two of us who are responsible for writing the articles our friends have almost zero experience in rifle scopes. They have no prejudice and are as such perfect for our objective observations. None-the-less we always try our best to hide all the labels that can give away the products ID. For that reason, e mount the rifle scopes in parallel on a special stand and cover them so the brand names are not visible.

We accurately fine tune the parallax on all the testing products for observing trees and buildings at 350 m and each person sets the diopter for their specific needs.

After we are sure that the test can be done without preferations we ask our volunteers to test the following parameters:

  • Central sharpness – subjective impression at 10x,
  • Edge sharpness – subjective impression at 10x,
  • Eye-box,
  • Tunneling effect at low magnifications,
  • FOV – subjective impression at 10x.

In this article, e tested optical properties with 6 volunteers, which have no experiences with tactical scopes and have no bias towards any of these two brands. To be exact none of the volunteers even knew any of these two brands before the test. Both scopes were mounted in parallel and people observed trees and buildings about 350 meters away. Parallax was fine tunned before the test and each person also adjusted the diopter setting for himself. From 5 volunteers 3 were women and 2 were men.

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