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Scope Research

Discussion in 'Scopes & Optics' started by etrain16, Feb 1, 2016.

  1. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    When it comes to shooting glass, I am out of my element. I've been a photographer for decades and know quite a bit about lenses for cameras, but scopes, I know very little.

    The last few years, I've been working on my FA collection, trying to stay ahead of the anti's attempts a taking our rights away. I'm getting to a point where my focus is shifting more to support those guns with other things - reloading equipment, a good safe (done) and, now, I'm looking at optics.

    I'm all for doing my own research - I enjoy searching and reading, and I'm kind of a nerd for technical specs, etc. But I'm running into a little problem in this respect. There are so many different scope options. I'm having a hard time knowing where to start. I'm wondering if some of you fine folks can help point me in a good direction to learn more about scopes? Even a good book on the subject you'd recommend?

    I'm not looking to scope a particular rifle just yet, but I want to start planning on setting some $$ aside and need to know what I'm looking for. I need to know what price ranges are realistic for my purposes. I need to better understand what types of objective lenses and zoom ranges I need based on the caliber, rifle and use. There is just so much going on, I'm not sure where to start.

    So, at this point, I'm not looking necessarily for a specific scope recommendation, just some ideas on how I can learn more. Bear in mind, I'm not a hunter and I don't plan (at this point) to shoot beyond maybe 200-300 yards tops, what should I be looking at? Can I expect to find decent scopes for between $100-$200? Or do I have to spend $600+?

    Just to give you an idea, I'll be looking to scope AR's in .223/5.56 and .308 as well as some others in .22lr, .22WMR and maybe 7.62x39.

    Anyway, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks!
     
  2. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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  3. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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  4. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    Yikes!! You do need some help, let's unwind this rats nest of random thoughts; make this reasonable to attack.
    1) Well... According to #6, yes you are.
    Either way is fine, but arguing with yourself isn't healthy.
    2) You never said your purpose, except #4 hinted at the distances. So what is your purpose, more importantly what is your skill level, and how good are your eyes? No specifics, no price ranges.
    3) Yes you do, but without telling us what they are, we can't answer.
    4)Yahtzee!!!! This is what we need!

    Hopefully you took the ribbing with a smile, was all in good fun.
    So here is a basic tutorial that should be helpful.
    1) Focal Plane.
    There are First Focal Plane(FFP) & Second Focal Plane(SFP) scopes. Unless they SPECIFICALLY tell you, then the default answer is SFP. A SFP scope has a reticle(crosshairs) that are ALWAYS a constant size. Zoom all you want, they don't change. A FFP reticle will grow and shrink with scope magnification. Here is the important bit people always phuck-up. The FFP scope only moves relative to you. Relative to the target, the size never changes with magnification. Now re-read this last part, maybe twice.
    This is key to know, when adjusting the scope. I'll get back to this after a few other key points you need to understand.
    2) Maintube diameter.
    Classically scopes in the US have 1" tubes, rings are found everywhere, perhaps even in the couch cushions. Then there are 30mm, 34mm, and 35mm. The larger diameter tubes are typically a bit stronger structurally speaking. And *TECHNICALLY* can allow for more light transmission, and adjustment range, technically. The main brands you know usually use this as bullbubblegum marketing, rather than exploit the virtues.
    3) Light transmission.
    The more light you pass, the brighter the image, kind of. ANYONE who says their scopes transmit X% of total light, are lying to your face. Those "total transmission" numbers are based upon a specific wavelength, not total visible light; ya know as in how the human eye actually works. Light transmission numbers that are more helpful, are PER lens surface. So when someone tells you their scope coatings transmit 98% light, that means 98%, per surface. MOST variable power scopes have 6-8 lenses. 6 lenses is 12 surfaces; meaning 24% light lost at the least, typically it's not that efficient in the real world. Lens coatings are critical to the total, but more importantly to the type of light you may or may not want to use (dusk, midday, etc). Unfortunately there is no standard, find someone who does testing with real equipment. Look-up Max Ordinate on YouTube to see what I mean.
    4) Reticle.
    "What kind" is completely individual, and irrelevant; PROVIDED you don't miss-match them. Like mil-dot? Great! Think MOA is the only way to fly? Perfect!
    There are two basic styles, and a third developed by professional salesmen.
    First is a pain crosshair, they come in various states of thick/thin; but are ultimately simple crosshairs. The turrets don't matter if you use a simple crosshair. The next type is some form of graduation. So that may be a mil-dot, or MOA graduated cross; this would be the same principal as a mil-dot, just different units. The third type is a BDC. Don't ever buy one. They are at best not terribly accurate, hunting big game only accurate. They are built around a specific set of conditions. A BC for A bullet, at A specific velocity, at A specific set of atmospheric conditions. ANY of that changes, the calibration is out the window. Beautiful from a sales standpoint, stupid from a practical use standpoint.
    5) Adjustment.
    This is where the important parts start to come together!
    Remember I said DON'T miss-match things? That is for calibrated reticles. If you buy a mil-dot reticle, God help you if the turret adjustments are MOA. The same applies for any other combination that doesn't match. Unless you like packing slide rules, gimmicky wheels, or a calculator to translate; stick with ONE system! MOA is great and Milrads are also. There is no better or worse, and no, your mind doesn't work better in one system versus the other.... Unless counting to 10 is really hard for you.
    I'm going to give examples in Mils, because that's what I shoot. There are some funny (stupid) other increments out there, so here is the system to understand the following info:
    I shoot a FFP, MIL-MIL scope, it has the standard 1/10(or .1mil) adjustments. What that means is the turret adjusts in 1/10 increments. Three clicks is 0.3 Mil. Easy-peazy.
    Since it is FFP, the reticle is a constant size RELATIVE to the target. Any magnification is irrelevant. So if I'm shooting paper at 100 yards, I shoot and see that I'm left by 1.5 mils on my reticle. So I can adjust 1.5 mils, or 15 clicks. Any power, any range, always constant.

    Now if this same scope were suddenly a SFP. The adjustments would still adjust in 0.1 Mil increments, HOWEVER... Those adjustments would ONLY match the reticle, at ONE magnification. Typically that is max magnification. Because relative to the target, the reticle size changes, the adjustments only match at one setting.
     
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  5. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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  6. Lance Jacobs

    Lance Jacobs South Willamette Valley Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Well, if you don't plan to do any hunting or long range competitive shooting, and are just looking at something for informal target plinking, a good basic 3-9x, 2.5-10x, or 3-12x power variable scope would do very well.

    Some scopes that I like in this category would be the Nikon MONARCH 3 2.5-10x42, Nikon MONARCH 3 3-12x42, Leupold VX-R 3-9x40 ( if you would like to have an illuminated dot in the reticle ), and Leupold 3-9x33 VX-2 Ultralight.

    If you want to scope the AR's more for self-defense use, then going with a 2-7x, 2-10x, or even a 1-6x would be better.

    Some scopes that I like in this category include the Nikon MONARCH 3 2-8X32, Leupold VX-R 2-7x33 ( has illuminated dot in reticle ), Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24 ( this has an illuminated reticle too ).

    Do you not have any scopes on any of your rifles currently? Are you totally new to using scopes?

    .
     
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  7. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I've got a good sense of humor, so yeah, I can take it ;) And yeah, I did ramble a bit on this post, I hadn't expected to say quite as much as I did. I get an "F" for thought organization on this one :) Honestly though, when it comes to scopes, that's about where my mind is right now - kind of a jumbled mess of facts, figures and misc. knowledge, just out of sorts.

    You've got some good information there though. I skimmed it already, and I'll dig in deeper, including the link you posted. As long as I can start to collect my thoughts in some kind of organization, I can start to really learn this area of shooting.

    Thanks!
     
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  8. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    Here are the scopes I use, do whatever you'd like with it.

    Weaver Tactical 3-15X50 model# 800363
    I don't care about the illumination, but only this scope, has a real amount of adjustment. If you do a bit of shopping, this is a $750-ish dollar scope. This will run with/beat most any sub $1,000 scope in terms of optical quality. FFP, mil-mil

    Primary Arms 4-14X44. FFP, Mil-Mil. Plain Mil dot, NOT one of the drop reticles.
    This scope is $229, and honestly flat embarrassed the $700 SWFA 3-15.
    Is it as bright as the Weaver? Heavens no, but it doesn't yellow with magnification. This one is tough, stupid accurate (adjustments). Did I mention $229?. Dollar for dollar, this scope is a screaming buy. This scope I actually shoot the most currently.
    Some of my ramblings with pictures.
    https://www.shootersforum.com/rifle...24-primary-arms-ffp-mil-mil-4-14x-review.html
     
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  9. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Not completely new to scopes, in that I've shot some rimfire rifles with scopes. But I've never mounted one, or zeroed one myself. I have volunteered at Douglas Ridge during a sight-in event and learned some good pointers from folks there. The only scopes I currently have are inexpensive rimfire scopes and a couple cheapo scopes that came with airguns. On top of that I have 2 red/green dot sights, one of which is sitting on an AR and one on a 9mm carbine.

    At this point, I'm really an iron sights guy, which I like, but I've got astigmatism and my eyesight is going from better than 20/20 3 years ago to having a hard time getting glasses that will correct the issue, so I think I'm going to have to rely more on glass as time passes.

    For now, I'm probably going to focus on shooting at 100 yards or less - primarily paper targets. I'm not very accomplished at rifle shooting, as I've spent more time with pistols. But rifles are kind of where I'm going, and with that, learning to reach out further and further. I'm looking at this long term, hoping to improve and expand my skills as time passes.
     
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  10. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    If you are a pistol guy, you should be fine.
    Rifles aren't much different that pistols.
    Front sight, press
    Becomes
    Sight-heartbeat-press
     
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  11. gundog10

    gundog10 Member

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    One of your questions was can I spend 100-200 on scopes, yes you can and there are alot out there in that price range. But, in the long run price vs quality vs long term durability my money goes to the 300-600 dollar range of scopes. While you cannot hardly see the difference when picking them up, their construction and glass quality is far different. IMHO, Leopold is always a top choice for the money but other companies, Burris, Bushnell, Weaver, Nikon etc make some really good scopes also.
     
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  12. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    Warrantees aren't free, remember that.
     
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  13. Boboclown

    Boboclown North Carolina Well-Known Member

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    What is your budget on scopes? What you get with a higher priced scope is 1) Better glass 2) Ruggedness 3) features. There's more to it than that too. You CAN find decent scopes for under $300, but you play a risky game at that point IMO.
     
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  14. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    New Vortex Razor AMG 6 - 24 x 50 mm Rifle Scope EBR 7 Reticle
    photo.jpg
    Long Range Shooters of Utah
    17,49817K






    Published on Jan 29, 2016
    Our interview with Ryan of Vortex Optics at Shot Show 2016 discussing the NEW FOR 2016 Vortex Razor AMG 5-24 x 50 mm riflescope.

    This highly anticipated new optic lived up to the hype for the most part. Is this the BEST SCOPE FOR LONG RANGE SHOOTING?

    I can't say without actually trying it myself but will it be ranked among the best...without a doubt it will be top rated. At $2700+ there are a lot of excellent options that it has to compete with in Nightforce, Kahles and even Schmidt & Bender.

    I do really like the EBR 7 Reticle. Almost as much as I like my horus reticles.

    RAZOR HD AMG 6-24X50 EBR-7 FFP (MOA) RIFLESCOPE
    Cutting-edge engineering and modern precision-machining techniques allow the Razor HD AMG to achieve optical and physical specifications normally reserved for heavier scopes with larger tube diameters.

    Optically, these scopes deliver unparalleled image quality. Our proprietary ALO automated laser optical alignment process forges a new paradigm in the sport optics industry, resulting in the most forgiving, comfortable, and highest quality images possible. The APO objective lens system uses index-matched lenses to correct color across the entire visual spectrum. HD premium extra-low dispersion glass delivers the ultimate in resolution and color fidelity, resulting in High Definition images. XR Plus premium fully multi-coated lenses increase light transmission for optimum brightness. ArmorTekĀ® protects exterior lenses from scratches, oil and dirt.

    Specs:
    Magnification 6-24 x
    Objective Lens Diameter 50 mm
    Eye Relief 3.6 inches
    Field of View 20.4-5.1 feet/100 yards
    Tube Size 30 mm
    Turret Style L-Tec
    Adjustment Graduation 1/4 MOA
    Travel per Rotation 25 MOA
    Max Elevation Adjustment 96 MOA
    Max Windage Adjustment 65 MOA
    Parallax Setting 25 to Infinity
    Length 15.2 inches
    Weight 28.8 oz
    Join our Facebook Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/longr...
     
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  15. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    No set budget yet, I'm kind of trying to get a feel for what my budget should be for decent, but not crazy expensive optics. Going back to the cameras I noted in my OP, it's easy to get lenses that out-price the camera body by hundreds or even thousands. But since I won't be, for now, either hunting or attempting super long range shots (400-1,000 yards, for example), I don't want to get crazy on price. If I can do it under $300, that's great, if under $200, well, that will give me options to scope more guns.
     
  16. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Look at Mueller scopes for your 22 and 22 Mag the APT and their other varmint scopes are very well though of among the guys on the rim fire forum. I own 3 of them and my son owns a 4th we have been very happen for the money.

    For anything that is going to have to put up with a lot of hard recoil you can hardly go wrong with Leupold's warranty and since they are here in Oregon it makes dealing with them easier.
     
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  17. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I've heard many good things about Leupold scopes, and the fact that they're right here in town is a big bonus. Do you know if they have a factory store at their location? Any thoughts on best places to buy them and get good deals?

    I'm not familiar with Mueller, but I'll certainly take a look.
     
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  18. Boboclown

    Boboclown North Carolina Well-Known Member

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    Higher priced scopes aren't necessarily for long range shooting and hunting only, just better for it. Another reason for them is durability. I've had cheap scopes break on me. On a .22 it won't matter. The cheapest I'd go for a .223/5.56 is $200. Cheapest for .308 is $600 IMO.

    But for cheaper scopes, as I said stick with known names. Don't get me wrong, I'll buy cheap scopes from time to time, but only from known companies. Like Vortex, Bushnell, Leupold, and Burris. Just a few examples.
     
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  19. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Joe Bob Outfitters http://www.joeboboutfitters.com/ is an excellent place to buy Mueller they have an extensive web site to look through we have now bought 4 scopes from then and gotten a better price then Midway each time.

    And just because someone doesn't know the name doesn't mean other people don't. Like I said if you were to go to the rimfire central forum http://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/index.php and ask about Mueller scopes you would hear many many supporters.

    As to Leupold I do not know of a company store but Midway carries them as do many LGS.
     
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  20. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Great info from everyone so far. I appreciate the links and the write-ups. I'm making notes and using your info to dig in deeper. This is very helpful, I really appreciate everyone's input.
     
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