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Tell me about rifle scopes....

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by dolphin77, Dec 30, 2009.

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  1. dolphin77

    dolphin77 Member

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    There are so MANY brands of scopes that it is confusing. Why would someone pay $7-900 and more for a scope? What about Simmons, Weaver, Burris, etc...are they just trash? I am looking for a good solid varible scope for a 30-06, that will reach out to 350-400 yrds, but also just wanting to get informed about rifle scopes......Thanks WC
     
  2. wpairishshot

    wpairishshot Member

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    I had an uncle who was very knowledgable about a lot of things having to with rifles and scopes, and he had a Unertl 4 power scope on his pre-64 Winchester Model 70 30-06. I have only run into one other guy who has the same set-up with the Unertl scope. I remember once he told me a story of the same Unertl who he visited in the Pittsurgh area once because the scope prior to the one he had wouldn't zero for him. He said he took it to Mr. Unertl himself who said a few choice words in his native language, and then promptly handed him a brand new scope with apologies for having caused him to drive there to exchange it. They seem to be very hard to locate, if you can find one in a civilian version, it seems the Marines swear by their optics now but they appear to be only available to military and government. The guy who has the one I knew from work is a precise machinist type of guy who has everything very well in order all the time. If its good enough for him, its good enough for me too. I will keep looking for the Unertl!

    Have a Happy New Year!

    Kevin McIlwain
     
  3. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    WC, it is not uncommon for a good scope to cost as much as the rifle on which it is mounted. Remember the old trapshoting adage - to break the target, you first have to see it? It applies to rifles in spades.

    You can get crazy and drop thousands on a European import but for hunting, a better-grade Leupold will serve you well. I own almost all Leupolds - 19 of them - and the VX-3 in 4.5-14x with an parallax-adjustable objective lens would probably be perfect for your intended use. I see them selling for $799 at places like Bass Pro Shop.

    The top of the line Bushnells aren't bad either. I have two Bausch & Lomb scopes, which were Bushnell 4200s with B&L glass in them, and they are as clear as my Leupolds. But when Bushnell found another (cheaper?) source for optics, the Bausch & Lomb name came off those scopes and I haven't handled a newer one recently. Pricewise, they are comparable to Leupolds.

    The important part is that the scope not shoot its reticle loose or fog up. Not many fogging problems exist any more, even in entry level scopes, but reticle looseness can raise hell with accuracy and it's something that is hard for the shooter to identify. I'm assuming by the range you're talking about that you will be using heavier bullets, which deliver higher recoil - if so, reticle looseness is a very real potential problem.

    Buy the better scope - you'll never be sorry you did.

    Ed
     
  4. riflegunbuilder

    riflegunbuilder Member

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    Before I had my twins to fill my time I worked with a friend of mine that builds rifles for a living. I built a number of benchrest and varmint rifles along with hunting guns. My finding, which due to a thrifty nature I resisted for a long time, is you get what you pay for even more so in optics.

    In your opening you lump Simmons, weaver, Burris into a pile. Not that simple. Can you get a good scope at a reasonable price? Yes. I believe the most bang for the $$ is in Sightron scopes, Nikon Monarchs, mid range of Burris. If I was buying a scope for myself today it would be one of these or a Ziess Conquest, or a Meopta. You could spend more money but you are making smaller steps up in quality vs the $ outlay above this to me. Before someone is offended I think Leupold scopes in Varix III and above are fine products and you won't go wrong there either.

    If I wanted a "deal" on a scope I would look used for an older Redfield steel tube 3x9 or 4x12. They are fine scopes and can be bought at good prices at gunshows,etc. In older scopes like these or older varix II you are giving up some lense coatings, etc. newer scopes. You can buy a economy scope and may do fine with it, but to me it is like guns are you going to buy useable on the front end or keep making steps because you are not satisfied with "Oh I can do fine with this???"
     
  5. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    I shoot prairie dogs several times a year whenever I can. I use Nikon, Leupold, Zeiss, Burris.

    I don't use binoculars, and spend most of the day looking through the scope(s).

    I threw out the cheapies because they gave me a headache. My best one is a Zeiss Conquest.

    If you want to know how good a scope is at light gathering, look in the business end, the front. The amount of your reflection you see will tell you the light gathering squality of the scope.

    If you can make out your reflection, put it down and try another. The one that makes you the Invisible Man is the one you want for low light conditions.

    When you get good scopes, you don't let them go when you sell the rifle. You keep them to use on your next one.

    The pros will tell you to spend as much on the scope as you do on the rifle. (this can get a little painful).

    Good luck.

    HM
     
  6. smsnyder

    smsnyder Well-Known Member

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    Leupold 4.5x14x50 30mm tube is the way to go for big game and predators at night. I own Schmidt and Bender, Swarovski, Nikon, Nightforce, Zeiss etc. I still say the leupold 4.5x14 is the best all around scope for the money.
     
  7. skeeljc

    skeeljc Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    Some of the medium priced scopes are pretty darn good for the money. I have seen a number of positive reviews of the current Weaver scopes.

    I have always been very happy with Leupold scopes.

    Now if they would just make the tube a little longer I would be happier.

    Jim Skeel
     
  8. edthearcher

    edthearcher Member

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    scopes can cost more than a riffle, question do you need to spend all that money. I have over 30 riffles most with scopes. could not afford to spend 400 dollars for a scope. most of mine come from sportsman guide check them out
     
  9. handlepuller

    handlepuller Well-Known Member

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    I pretty much just use a scope for deer hunting and for me it boils down to low light performance.

    Invariably your best shots at deer seem to be when the sun is just coming up or going down so you want to be able to see well in low light.

    Better, i.e. more expensive scopes perform better in low light it seems.

    I have Vari-X IIIs and I like them!
     
  10. Remstar311

    Remstar311 Member

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    Most of your money spent on a high dollar scope goes for the better glass and precision. A good scope will move 1/4 moa or as marked. It will perform the box test. 10 clicks up, shoot, 10 clicks right, shoot, 10 clicks down, shoot, and ten clicks left, shoot. Your first and last shot should be the same on the big money scopes.
     
  11. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

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    Leupold VX-III, do not buy the Rifleman scope. Stay with the VX-III grade scope,

    Zeiss is also a great scope if you can afford it.

    Shephard I have heard is also a good scope but I have yet to get my hands on one.

    Redfield don't even think about it. I will never buy another Redfield scope ever. Their rings and bases are good but not their scopes.

    Weaver in the past have been good but I don't know now.

    Unertl is a great scope and still is.

    Tasco is a fair scope.

    Leupold will back their scopes 100% no if ands or buts. I have yet to be charged by Leupold

    Redfield will give you a credit of $80.00 to buy another Redfield scope. Thats all.

    Tasco will back their scopes 100%

    I think Zeiss will back theirs 100% but I will have to check on that.

    The others I don't know.

    For the best light gathering the Leupold and Zeiss are the best in the market for early morning and late evening shots.

    Don't be cheap on your scopes or you will pay for it big time. Buy a good scope and it will out last you in time.
     
  12. dolphin77

    dolphin77 Member

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    OK...Great info...Thanks What about medium/low priced scopes....Leupold Rifleman series, Burris Full Field II, Leupold VM II, etc...Again, Thanks for input, WC
     
  13. TinMan88

    TinMan88 TS Member

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    It was reccommended to me to go shopping and use you own eye to compare clarity and brightness in low light. Choose difficult far-away items to determine focus and 'resolution'. Read license plates at 5-6 hundred yds. read text as far away as possible. Choose two items, sight them. save the better one and select another. Repeat. Select a high dollar model and see what bux can buy, use that as a benchmark. There is NOTHING that is better than you learning for yourself by serious comparison.

    There are some select models by various brands not costing a ransom that will reach high levels of performance. Different models within a certain brand can be stinkers. Just because it says Leupold does not mean its the equal of another model Leupold. (example: compare a Leupold 4.5X14 40mm vs 4.5X14 50mm. After seeing what the 50mm brings to the game, you'll put the 40mm back.)

    Optics is a wonderland you must SEE for yourself, and judge by seeing. It does make sense to get relly good glass if you have a really good rifle. That said, I like the Leupold 4.5X14 50mm for clarity and brightness. Ziess conquest. Ziess makes lab quality instruments (microscopes)and excellent camera lenses as well. An inexpensive 10X with mildot is by bushnell. (lot of performance for under $400). Bear Basin Outfitters on the web. Shop till ya drop! Regards, The TinMan
     
  14. handlepuller

    handlepuller Well-Known Member

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    The Leupold VX-I is cheaper than the VX-III and still a decent scope. I can't comment much on others.
     
  15. Post  2

    Post 2 TS Member

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    I have shot Redfield scopes (both fixed and variable)on many guns used for various game. Never had a problem. Bought a used variable that some kid tried to zero in with a large screw driver. Sent it back to Redfield when they were still in business and they sent me a new one and only charged for shipping. Post-2
     
  16. W.R.Buchanan

    W.R.Buchanan Member

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    I personally think a Scopes quality level should be commensurate with the quality of the rifle it is hooked onto.

    I wouldn't put a $100 scope on a $3000 rifle, but would and have put an inexpensive scope on a Rifle that will get banged around, because I 'm just not going to ruin a nice scope while the gun is riding everyday in a pick up truck.

    I just put a $75 dollar Leapers 1-4 variable with an illuminated reticle on my new Mini 14 $600. The gun will go to Front Sight and get the hell shot out of it, and that scope is good enough for what the gun is being used for.. If it was going to Iraq it would have a Leupold on it, as my life might depend on it. But at F/S it won't. Plus if that scope is crap I'll send it back for a refund. The better made (or lets just say more expensive) 1-4 variables run from $200-1200. At $75 I can't go wrong, and if it does what I need it to, then I'm money ahead. Even if they won't refund I haven't lost that much.

    It is very difficult to see the difference in optics unless you know exactly what to look for, and quite frankly there isn't much difference anyway. The new stuff is all being made in China by the Japanese. They do good work and like I said to begin with, it's hard to tell the differences between really good optics, pretty good optics, and OK optics. I have a pair of Tasco 12X25 mini binos$17.00 at Walmart, that see better than my 8x30 Steiners $300 that are 20 years old, and I do know what to look for. Good optics cut thru haze better than mediocre ones do, also the cheaper stuff tends to amplify the haze more. If you are shooting on open ground at well defined targets you won't really see the difference. also just about anything made in the last 2-3 years is going to be better than just about anything from 20 years ago. This is just because of the better machinery being used nowadays, and the better testing equipment that goes along with it. In other words it is much easier to make good stuff today than it was 20 years ago.. Why do you think the Chinese are making so much stuff, We sold them the machinery to do it!! Once a machine is set up it doesn't take a real brainiac to push the green button and stand there and watch the part run. I've seen aluminum flash lights for sale for $2 that I couldn't make for less than $20-30 in my shop! Same goes for lenses.

    Bushnell makes some good $2-300 Scopes that would suit your purposes and not break the bank. But for the best quality American made hunting type scope I think Leupold pretty much has it wrapped up. That's what all the guys on TV use. Burris also makes some really good stuff. That being said, I have a Weaver KV 2-5 variable made in the 60's on my 1951 Husqvarna 30-06, because I would no more put a new scope on that old rifle than I would put a $100 scope on a $3000 rifle. they just don't go together.

    Just match the quality of the scope to the quality of the gun and it will be OK

    A lower grade Leupold or Bushnell or Nikon on a new Win M70 or Rem 700, good. A high end Leupold, on a New Custom Rifle, good.... High end Leupold on a 30 year old Sears 30-30,,, dumb.

    Hope this helps

    Randy
     
  17. rrrocketman

    rrrocketman Member

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    All you guys that are running newer Leupolds -- are they marked anywhere "made in USA"? Either on the scope body or anywhere on the box? Heard that most of 'em don't have enough US-made parts in 'em to be able to stamp "Made in USA" on them. All my Leupolds are old(er) models and all are stamped "Made in USA" on the scope body. Haven't seen any new ones lately so was just wondering.

    Thanks!
     
  18. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

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    The VX-I, VX-II, VX-III are grade 1 grade 2 grade 3 on clearaty(sp). The VX-I is a so so clearaty. The VX-III is the clearest of them all and it will gather light when it starts to get dark. I had a Redfield one day and I had to go in from the stand at 5:30pm. The next day I grabbed another rifle that had a Leupold on it. I stayed 15 min long on the stand. That was a VX-III Leupold.

    Post-2, a friend some how cracked a lens on his Redfield and all they did was send him a credit of $80.00 for a new scope. Another time a rifle was stolen and was found in the water off a bridge. The scope was full of water. The gunsmith sent the Redfield scope back to the factory and all they did was send him a credit of $80.00 for a new scope. When did you send your scope back for repair?
     
  19. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

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    I always have had good luck with the upper end Bausch & Lomb and Bushnells
     
  20. Post  2

    Post 2 TS Member

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    Auctioneer. I really don't remember for sure but it was along time ago. I think probably in the early 70's or late sixties when I sent the scope back for repair. My newer scope is a Leupold.
    Post-2
     
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