Steiner H4Xi Rifle Scope

(Photo courtesy of Steiner)

With incredible light gathering potential, a versatile reticle and precision-ground German glass, the Steiner H4Xi should be on the top of every hunter's wish list this year

Very few corners of the hunting market have advanced as quickly as optics. Features like illumination, custom turrets, first focal plane reticles and 30mm main tubes where once limited to very pricy, high-end scopes that were rarely seen on hunting rifles but today hunters rely on all of these advancements to help them shoot more accurately and at greater distances in a wide range of light conditions.

Steiner has been at the forefront of the hunting optics revolution, and this year the company is releasing one of their most exciting hunting scopes in years – the H4Xi. Two new versions of this scope debuted this year, a 3-12 and 4-14 both of with come equipped with large 56 mm objective lenses. The one-piece main tube measures 30mm in diameter, and that combined with the large objective lens makes this one of the best scopes available for hunting in dim light. Old, mature animals oftentimes don't break cover until the last light of day, and in those conditions having a the right optic might make the difference between filling a tag and going home empty-handed. The Steiner offers class-leading 96% light transmission, and that means you'll be able to see more clearly at first and last light.

Steiner H4Xi Rifle Scope
(Photo courtesy of Steiner)

Technology might have changed the scope market, but there are some constants regarding optics. One of those is that you can't get a crisp, clear image without good lenses and premium coatings, and the H4Xi offers both of those. The lenses are made of precision-ground German glass and the lens coatings repel dirt, dust, moisture and debris so you'll be able to see clearly each time you climb behind your rifle regardless of the weather or conditions. Steiner uses superb components that provide edge-to-edge clarity in the field.

Both H4Xi scope models are equipped with illuminated Plex S1 reticles with stadia lines for holdover as well as 10 mile per hour windage dots. The reticle provides basic holdover and windage adjustments without being extremely cluttered, which is a nice touch on a premium scope. There's an illumination adjustment dial on the left side of the scope, and the illuminated reticle is powered by a single 3-volt Cr 2032 battery that can be replaced by simply unscrewing the cap. The H4Xi offers no less than 11 different illumination settings with an intermediate off position between each brightness level. This is a particularly important feature for hunters since you may be waiting to take a shot at an animal in low light and, while waiting for it to take a few more steps, you can turn off the illumination and rest your eyes. When the shot presents itself you simply turn the illumination knob to the next position and the reticle automatically turns red. The Steiner's illumination dial also doubles as a parallax adjustment knob on the 4-16x56 model.

Steiner H4Xi Rifle Scope close-up” width=
(Photo courtesy of Steiner)

Other Steiner controls include low-profile, capped windage and elevation adjustment turrets and a diopter adjustment dial. The durable aluminum body tube has a matte finish that won't alert game and stands up well to the elements. Despite all the options these scopes offer and their durable design they aren't extremely large or heavy. The 3-12x56 that I tested weighed in at 25 ounces, and it measured just 13.2-inches long. The 4-16x56 weighs the same as the 3-12 but is 1.3-inches longer. That's still considerably lighter than many heavy high-magnification tactical-style hunting scopes that start at 30 ounces and climb from there. The Steiner also offers 3.8-inches of eye relief, plenty of room to prevent the scope from bashing into your brow if your face is in the proper position. The scope is also nitrogen filled so internal fogging won't be an issue.

I mounted the test scope on one of my favorite hunting weapons, my Montana Rifle Company bolt gun in .270 Winchester. I was planning to mount the optic with a set of 30mm high rings from Weaver, but the objective still bumped against the barrel of the rifle when I tried to mount the optic. There's a good chance you'll need extra-high rings with this optic.

Steiner H4Xi Rifle Scope” width=
(Photo courtesy of Steiner)

Once the scope was in place I boresighted the scope/rifle combo and set out for the range. There were no issues with dim light that day and the sun was white hot in the summer sky. Much is made about the low light capabilities of rifle scopes, but very bright light can also make accurate shooting difficult. The Steiner's light transmission capabilities would be of little use if that flood of light wasn't properly managed to create a clear image, and the H4Xi's lenses and coatings manage to sort that flood of white light into a clear image in full sun. The ¼ MOA click adjustments proved to be accurate, and it's possible to walk the point of impact into alignment with the scope very quickly using this optic.

I shot a half-dozen three-shot groups from the rifle at 100 yards and then backed off and fired three more groups at a range of 200 yards. The best three-shot group at 100 yards went well under an inch, which is what I would expect from that rifle and load, and at 200 yards the image was crisp and clear. I had to make an adjustment at that distance to put the shots in the center of the target since the groups were low and left. Two clicks up and three to the right brought the Sierra bullets into the center of the kill zone.

Steiner H4Xi Rifle Scope” width=
(Photo courtesy of Steiner)

After heading home and removing the optic from the rifle I spent time evaluating the Steiner's low light performance. A distant grain bin serves as my litmus test for low-light optics: I compared the low-light clarity of the Steiner to another premium scope and found that the two were on-par, with the Steiner actually providing enough clarity that I could clearly distinguish individual rungs on a ladder on that grain bin. That massive objective lens serves a functional purpose – allowing the shooter to squeeze out every minute at the range or in the field.

A very accomplished hunter once told me that he frequently spends as much or more on his optic as the rifle that wears it, and I've heard similar philosophies from other hunters around the globe. You simply can't hit what you can't see, and if you're hunting you have to trust that your optic will provide you with the best opportunity to make an accurate shot on game. At $1,249.99 the Steiner isn't exactly cheap, but for an optic of this quality that's a good price. And while Steiner's glass may come from Germany this is, in fact, and American-made scope. Regardless of the game or the conditions, Steiner's H4Xi is a solid option for your next hunting scope.

Shooting the Steiner H4Xi Rifle Scope” width=
(Photo courtesy of Steiner)

Specifications: Steiner H4Xi



Length (in)



Weight (oz)



Tube Diameter



Focal Plane




Plex S1

Plex S1

Illumination Levels




Fixed 100 Yards

56 Yards-Infinity

Eye Relief (in)



Waterproof (ft.)






Contact: Steiner Optics, (888) 550-6255,

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