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Best of the "cheap" scopes

erslll

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I agree that the Sightron SIII scopes are pretty darn good for the money. Maybe not all the bells and whistles but good glass and solid turrets/tracking.

I have also been fairly impressed with the PST Gen II scopes. I think the 3-15 is really good all around and the 5-25 is not bad for what you pay. I know it is not cool to like Vortex because it seems to be the bandwagon brand at the moment but there doesn't seem to be a lot of down side at this point. It is not cool to have to use a warrantee but if you do, it is nice to know they will help you out. I haven't had to use it yet and I have a few of their products.
 
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Just thought I'd get some opinions from people here about what the best options for cheaper scopes are. For cheaper we'll say sub $1k. Doesn't matter where it's made only measuring the value you get for your money.
Where is the point of diminishing returns?
It looks like Vortex has become the most popular, probably in part because of their no questions asked warranty. They also seems to have good turrets and glass for the money.
Any others?
Utg/Leapers bug buster 3-9x. Very clear optic. Adjustable objective. Mil-dot reticle. Red/green illumination. Small size. Have had one for around 12 years and it has been on many lower recoil guns like 9mm pcc 556 22 (also springer airguns which have both forwards and backwards recoil and beat the crap out of scopes). Has been josteled around in cars etc., not super careful treatment, and has never lost zero. About $90 new or as low as $57 sometimes on sale.
0BB73159-A349-4D30-AF44-9435F681D50D.jpeg
 
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Primary Arms ACSS scopes - the money goes into the optics and reticle. With ACIS you don't need precision turrets so no money is "wasted" there.

Rex Tibor (TyberasaurusRex) taught a pair of shooters new to long distance to hit the thousand yard gong using ACIS scopes on a Savage 308 in something like a half hour.

 
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I'm no expert on scopes and my eyesight sucks anyway but I have a Tract Toric 3-15x scope that works nicely for me and a base model Meopta 3-9x I use on a bolt action .22 that I like a lot (except for the turrets -- I need a magnifying glass to figure out the markings on those turrets, but once set, I leave 'em alone). I borrowed a Nikon ____ some years ago before I bought a scope and while I liked the picture it gave me, it seemed very fussy about eye relief. I also have a couple low end Vortex scopes and a Burris which are fine for the purposes I got them for, but the Tract and Meopta I like the best.
 
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I know everybody loves their Vortex scopes, but I've personally seen more than a few fail. From not tracking right, to having horrible glass and one that you could see the internal wall when you moved your head from left to right. The guy that brought that one to me said, "I paid $900.00 for this scope, it looks funny on the inside". I didn't believe him, until I looked into it myself. I said, "send the damn thing back and get your money back if you can". I've also seen and had Leupolds fail on me. So much in fact that I don't buy them anymore. My bosses' fancy Leupold VX6 super scope has tracking issues and I believe it is approaching $2,000.00 in price. But since you are asking about sub $1,000.00 rifle scopes, I'd look into the Nightforce SHV. You can find some of those for less than your price point. That or the SWFA SS line of rifle scopes. They are very good. The fixed powers track well and are only $300.00. The glass on some of the SWFA SS scopes are not excellent, until you step up into the higher priced variables with HD in their name. Still, you can buy a damn good SS for less than a grand. The glass on those are supposed to be on par with Nighforce. Tracking is as good too. Anyway, you can not beat SWFA's warranty..... OP, you don't say what power range you are looking for or what your use will be. Are you wanting a scope you can dial and reach way out there with, or are you looking for a good hunting scope that you can set and forget? If the latter, I'd choose a good ol Burris FFII 3-9x40 with ballistic plex reticle. Those are tough as nails and they are on top of many of my hunting rifles. Are you looking for a good scope for your AR? Threads like these need more infor from the OP IMHO.... I have Burris AR scopes on all of my AR's that are sub $400.00 and work very well. Those are the Burris AR556 and AR762 4.5-14x42. They hold zero very well, return to zero perfectly, and track good enough for me.... A little more info as to what you are looking for and maybe we could suggest just the perfect scope for you...;)
Great insight, BSA..!
 
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For under $1000 I've tried a lot of them and here are my thoughts on each.

Vortex: I currently have a Crossfire 2 2-7 on a 22wmr ($129 scope) and its been a solid performer with reasonable glass for the 50ish yard shots I take with the rifle. I have 2 different Vortex Vipers, a 2.5-10 on a 308 hunting rifle and a 6-24 on a 6.5 creedmore longer range type set up and I'm a much bigger fan of the 2.5-10 then I am the 6-24. I did have an older 3-9x40 viper that was destroyed when my rifle and myself took a tumble down the mountain side and I will say Vortex's warranty is excellent.

Leupold: I currently do not own any Leupold scopes but the vx1, Vx2, and vx3 have all been great to me in the past. The vx freedom left a little to be desired in terms of glass clarity. The older riflemen series was hot garbage and wouldn't hold zero after about 40 rounds of 300 win mag.

Trijicon: I use a lot of trijicon stuff (red dots, night sights) and my Trijicon Accupower 3-9x40 is probably the clearest and most useful hunting rifle optic I currently own. Crystal clear, solid controls, holds zero well, and accounted for my blacktail buck this year in dim timber while pouring down rain. Big fan, will buy more down the road.

Primary arms: I've bought 2 primary arms optics so far, a 4-14x44 ffp with the mil dot reticle that lives on an 18 inch ar in 5.56 and its survived a fair amount of abuse. Glass is pretty clear for a $250 scope and the reticle is easy to use. The turrets are exposed and kinda mushy which I don't love but it works. The other was one of their advanced red dots or whatever and it jumped a round on a bunch of stuff and got pretty beat up and always worked well. Big fan.

Burris: I use a Burris fullfield 2 3-9x40 on a bolt action .223 and its ok. Glass isn't bad, controls and magnification ring is stiff but it feels solid and has performed as expected.

Nightforce: I finally bit the bullet and invested in a SHV 3-10 moar and its unreal clear. The reticle seems very user friendly and every control is rock solid. Haven't mounted it on the rifle or shot it yet but it sure looks good looking at stuff around my neighborhood through it
 

Ura-Ki

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Sightron still does a very good scope for a reasonable price with plenty of good features and they are very well made.
UTG/Leapers do a great job equal to better name brands
Leatherwood/Hi-Lux are still available and are pretty damn good, but some of their line can be complicated if you don't take the time to learn how to use them correctly
Millit also do a fantastic scope with lots of really good features and awesome glass!
 
OP
Jcon268
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For under $1000 I've tried a lot of them and here are my thoughts on each.

Vortex: I currently have a Crossfire 2 2-7 on a 22wmr ($129 scope) and its been a solid performer with reasonable glass for the 50ish yard shots I take with the rifle. I have 2 different Vortex Vipers, a 2.5-10 on a 308 hunting rifle and a 6-24 on a 6.5 creedmore longer range type set up and I'm a much bigger fan of the 2.5-10 then I am the 6-24. I did have an older 3-9x40 viper that was destroyed when my rifle and myself took a tumble down the mountain side and I will say Vortex's warranty is excellent.

Leupold: I currently do not own any Leupold scopes but the vx1, Vx2, and vx3 have all been great to me in the past. The vx freedom left a little to be desired in terms of glass clarity. The older riflemen series was hot garbage and wouldn't hold zero after about 40 rounds of 300 win mag.

Trijicon: I use a lot of trijicon stuff (red dots, night sights) and my Trijicon Accupower 3-9x40 is probably the clearest and most useful hunting rifle optic I currently own. Crystal clear, solid controls, holds zero well, and accounted for my blacktail buck this year in dim timber while pouring down rain. Big fan, will buy more down the road.

Primary arms: I've bought 2 primary arms optics so far, a 4-14x44 ffp with the mil dot reticle that lives on an 18 inch ar in 5.56 and its survived a fair amount of abuse. Glass is pretty clear for a $250 scope and the reticle is easy to use. The turrets are exposed and kinda mushy which I don't love but it works. The other was one of their advanced red dots or whatever and it jumped a round on a bunch of stuff and got pretty beat up and always worked well. Big fan.

Burris: I use a Burris fullfield 2 3-9x40 on a bolt action .223 and its ok. Glass isn't bad, controls and magnification ring is stiff but it feels solid and has performed as expected.

Nightforce: I finally bit the bullet and invested in a SHV 3-10 moar and its unreal clear. The reticle seems very user friendly and every control is rock solid. Haven't mounted it on the rifle or shot it yet but it sure looks good looking at stuff around my neighborhood through it
I guess I've never looked through a truly clear piece of glass. I know that when you get into higher power magnification, it makes the biggest difference because any lack of clarity or imperfections are now getting magnified as well. There are different things that make up the cost of a scope but glass seems to be the dominant factor that affects price. Seems like you want at least Japanese glass or German glass ideally which I've never looked through. I guess I don't know what I'm missing out on.
 
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Jcon268
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You wanna see good glass, have a look through a Zeiss or a Night Force, or a Khals!
I've heard Schmidt & Bender is the top of the heap but then I guess there's still some relativity even in the highest priced optics. I would never pay that much for glass unless I knew it was built like a tank and was going to last me through my life. That's a full paycheck going into a scope.
 

osprey

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I have been looking for a higher powered scope for a heavy barrel AR rig I built and pulled the trigger on a Riton mod 7 4-20x. I received it yesterday and mounted it. So far I am impressed all japanese hd ed glass and assembled in japan. I will do a mini review after I put it through it's paces. If I don’t miss my guess Riton is going to be like Sightron offering a lot of bang for the buck.
 

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