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Old 02-02-2013, 10:25 PM
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Default Expensive rifle scopes - worth the money?

I've got a $40 Simmons 3 x 32 on my Ruger 10-22 that is pretty accurate. A twist here and there and it zeroes right in, even at 100 yards or more. Was wondering why anyone would pay big bucks for a Nikon or Leupold Mark 4 that costs almost 2 grand. Sure, resolution is better and so is build but are they really worth the money?

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Old 02-02-2013, 10:36 PM
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Why are you talking about a ''three grand'' scope and a Ruger 10-22?
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by litauer View Post
Why are you talking about a ''three grand'' scope and a Ruger 10-22?
Some folks customize their Rugers with hundreds of dollars of add-ons. Not uncommon for people to spend more on scopes than the rifle. Besides, was not limiting the question just to 10/22's but to long guns in general. Rechecking Mark 4 prices, they've come down a bit so changed OP to reflect that.

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Old 02-02-2013, 10:41 PM
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Many of my rifles wear scopes that cost more than the rifle...those last few minutes of light at season close are worth it!
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:42 PM
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I believe there is a point of diminishing returns on optics. You get what you pay for up to a point.

Your Simmons (or mine) will work and is fine for a 22. A $100-200 Nixon or Leupold as better optics and will hold up better in hard use. After around $400 to $500 I see no benefit for my purposes. So many brands and price points. Depends on what shooting and conditions. Until you have looked through and used a real quality scope it's hard to explain. There is a lot to perfect clarity.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:43 PM
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I believe that most rifles are accurate with today's manufacturing standards. With that said, I personally spend more on a scope than I do a rifle. I think a good scope that holds zero and has accurate adjustments is vital to making a good rifle a tack driver. I have always been told to spend equal money on rifle and scope, if not more on the scope.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:50 PM
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My first Scope was a Bushnell 10x and it was fine as far as I could tell. I then picked up a discontinued Leupold very reasonably. Night and Day; I have used Leupolds since and see no reason to change.

Buy Leupold; Made in the USA
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:54 PM
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There are some good scopes at an economy price such as Vortex. And you definitely get what you pay for in scopes.

On a 22 rifle, I wouldn't spend to much. For hunting with a larger caliber, you bet I would.

Leopold also has excellent service.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:02 PM
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My hunting rifles both have Redfield Golden 5-Star 4X scopes and my 22 has a Weaver 4X. They don't move. I haven't adjusted any of them since they were mounted. The Redfields also have rear illuminated crosshairs that are wonderful in low light or poor contrast.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sceva View Post
My first Scope was a Bushnell 10x and it was fine as far as I could tell. I then picked up a discontinues Leupold very reasonably. Night and Day; I have used Leupolds since and see no reason to change.

Buy Leupold; Made in the USA
This ^^^
I started out buying the cheap stuff Tasco etc. on my hunting
rifles. A buddy ran Leupold on his and talked me into my
first one. I bought my first 6X20 Leupold for a P-dog shooting
trip to Montana and have never regretted it. For the money
it is like night and day. I'll frequently spend more on my scope
than the rifle it sits on. But some will swear by their Burris,
Simmons, Nikon etc... The really upper end scopes are what
baffles me. The Nightforce, Swarovski, Leica, and such that
are way more than i spend on my Leupolds.
I just can't fathom how they could be "better" quality glass
than my Leupolds. But maybe they are. I am very happy with
my made in the USA Leupolds.

Chuck
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:10 PM
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I just today sighted in my brand new Leupold VX-2 3-9x33mm Ultralight EFR (includes Rimfire EFR) on my CZ453 American and I am ecstatic with it. I replaced a Burris fixed 6X Compact Signature scope that was very good, but honestly the Leupold blows the Burris away! The Leupold retails for $499 but I actually paid $391.99 which is only $150 less than the rifle. I do feel that the CZ with the single set trigger is comparable to $1500.00 rifles and the new scope makes it even easier to shoot than before. I look at as the TOTAL PACKAGE and if the scope makes the rifle perform better than IMHO it is worth the coin. IMHO the CZ shoots so well it is more than worthy of the Leupold regardless of the actual cost.

Chief38

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Old 02-02-2013, 11:12 PM
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I actually started with Leupold Vari x 3's, we called them "gold rings" back in the day. I went from there to Swarovskis. Night and day difference. Have 6 of them. Also have 6 Ziess Diavaris...bout the same as the Swarovskis. I believe they help these old eyes in low light. Great optics do make a difference. I still have one Leupold Vari x 3..its mounted on a Belgian Browning 270....I wanted to keep it period correct.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chud333 View Post
This ^^^
I started out buying the cheap stuff Tasco etc. on my hunting
rifles. A buddy ran Leupold on his and talked me into my
first one. I bought my first 6X20 Leupold for a P-dog shooting
trip to Montana and have never regretted it. For the money
it is like night and day. I'll frequently spend more on my scope
than the rifle it sits on. But some will swear by their Burris,
Simmons, Nikon etc... The really upper end scopes are what
baffles me. The Nightforce, Swarovski, Leica, and such that
are way more than i spend on my Leupolds.
I just can't fathom how they could be "better" quality glass
than my Leupolds. But maybe they are. I am very happy with
my made in the USA Leupolds.

Chuck
Chuck, agree with your thoughts on upper-end optics. A pair of Leica binocs are real pricey but see little difference from, say, a Pentax, which costs hundreds less. Then again, why do some people spend 100 grand on a shotgun? 'Cause they can I guess.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:22 PM
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Joe,
Back in the mid-80's when my huntin' pardner and I we're planning
our very first trip west to do a Prairie dog shoot we decided we just
"had" to have a pair of rangefinders. Now back then there was'nt
the choices we have today. We both pitched in about 1300 bucks
apiece and bought a brand new set of Leica Geovid range finders
that measure in meters or yards. We bought the set that uses
yards for obvious reasons. They we're and still are some of the best
glass i've ever looked through. Of course nowadays you can buy a
set of range finders that are palm sized and cost just over a hundred bucks.
We use these pair of over sized Leica Geovids to this day
and i am amazed at the quality/clarity of the glass.

Chuck
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:24 PM
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You know. +
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:40 PM
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I do believe there is a point of diminishing returns. Age would have something to do with that. I don't believe you reach that point at the 500 to 700 dollar range. I think you have to go a bit higher in price to get the best quality optics no matter what the marketing director tells us.. I do, however, doubt that my 60 year old eyes can tell the difference between a say, 1500 dollar glass and 3000 dollar glass.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:43 PM
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Just today I put a $200 Bushnell Legend HD scope on my AR. I am very impressed with the brightness, clarity and the side focus adjustment. I did not want to spend almost as much or more for a scope than I paid for my AR, so I set my budget to $250, did a lot of comparissons and shopping and settled on the Bushnell Legend 3-9x40

I think It is a very good value.

Just my .02c
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:45 PM
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I agree that there is a point that there is diminishing return, that being said when it comes to optics you get what you pay for. My two varmint/target rigs wear a Nikon BuckMaster 6x18x40 and a Bushnell Elite 3200 5x15x50. My hunting guns all wear Leupold or Zeiss. I learned a long time ago that if you spend the money on quality once and get a lifetime warranty you will never have to spend money on it again. Can't say that for a $40 Trashco or Simmons.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:03 AM
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I gave up on "cheap" optics a long time ago. They're just not worth the money. I've seen too many that won't hold a zero; have windage/elevation adjustments that are mushy and don't work well; that have awful parallax, and won't focus properly.

I also do a fair amount of photography, and the same rules apply - You get what you pay for.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:22 AM
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Just a note of interest regarding optics............

I had a pair of Zeiss binoculars that cost me well over a grand, but sold them when I bought my Canon IS (image stabilized) binoculars for about 1/3 the cost. The Canon's are much better IMHO, and to me performance is what counts.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:28 AM
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I have mostly Leupold and Nikon. I did, however, put a 3-9 Bushnell with stadia lines on my AR and have been very pleased.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:53 AM
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As has been said above good optics make the difference of hitting or not at long range with heavy recoiling calibers as well as extending the daylight. If you have never used great optics at distance ,there is no way that I could convince you that the cheaper lesser cost optics that may work at 100yds. will be found wanting at a 1000yds or farther and will come apart with 300 win or 338 lapua recoil let alone firing 50BMG. I realize cost is a factor for many of us but if youcan afford the better optics you will never be sorry you bought quality.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:01 AM
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I've structured my life to get what I want, within reason. My #1 scope choice for a hunting rifle or .22 is a Zeiss Conquest. For $400, it is very hard to beat. I'm single with no kids and no wife. Pretty much sums it up. A $40 scope may work and work fine. Just not my cup of tea. I'd just as soon spend good money one time.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:09 AM
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Default Depends on how much

Depends on how much you want to limit problems like parallax and maximize factors like durability, brightness, sharpness and fine adjustments measured in minutes of angles. Another factor is how much you depend on it and what you use it for. Most any scope will do a good job in fine conditions and close up, but you may end up in a situation that's not so fine or close up.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:33 AM
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I have done quite a lot of photography and my wallet will tell you that decent glass can cost a lot of money. When it comes to rifle scopes the game is a little different for these reasons.

1) It must be able to maintain zero despite recoil.

2) It must have the minimum of parallax.

3) If it has a self contained/quick release mount, it must be able to cope with recoil.

Unless those conditions are met, the best glass in the world is no good to you. How do I know? I got a cheap 6x42 from CDNN some years ago with simply wonderful optics but it acted like it had a bent tube and would not zero. I kept the scope thinking I would get brave one day and take it apart just in case there is something dumb gone wrong inside. Broke my heat to look through it because the image was like seeing HD TV for the first time when compared with other cheap scopes. I think I chucked it eventually.

Once the points above are nailed down the glass requirement is set by:-

1) How far do you want to shoot? If the optic cannot focus properly you will find it frustrating to use at distance. Bad distortion across the view with high magnification scopes is off-putting, too.

2) What time of day are you going to shoot? You don't need a "bucket of light" type scope if you only target shoot in good light. If you regularly hunt deer in the deep woods, you need all the light and contrast you can get.
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:38 AM
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I shoot a couple of Nightforce scopes at long range. A 8x32x56BR and an 5.5x22x56 NFX. At the October shoot there were 3 guys shooting big Schmidt & Bender scopes. Mine are in the the $1700-$2200 range, pretty much the next real step up is around is around 4 grand give or take $500. At 1000 to 1200Yards a black or cammo target in the weeds and srubs plus the shadows of a tree line, 2 grand scopes pretty much the are minimum and the 4 grand scopes give the compident shooter an advantage. The companies selling scopes are the ones charging MSRP on high end scopes and discounting the lower end scopes, I have friends who do group purchases and get about 1/3 off the big dollar stuff. The Russian and German snipers at Stalingrad (as seen in "Enemy at the Gates") were only shooting 80 to 150 Meters. In Vietnam, Carlos Hethcock was normally shooting 400-800 yards. In the current war, snipers are needing 800 yards all the time and are engageing the enemy at as far as 2200yards (with the bigger guns). It takes better scopes at those distances! By the way, I have a 1956 Bushnell 3x9x32 on a deer rifle. The quality of the glass from the 50's is surprisingly good, but they make $40 scopes of that quality anymore. I have a Unirtel 15x Varmint (2" glass, 1" tube) from late 60's or early 70's, this is the same family of scope used by Hethcock for his famous 2500 yard shot (he used 20x) these are in the $800 range in good condition now. They are great scopes, but don't hold a candel to the modern long range scopes. When top of the line, after improvments for several genorations, cost $$$; the next genoration is going to cost alot more & the improvment won't be that big. Sorry to say it but, first class costs, and sad to say won't be the first class for long. It costs alot to keep up with the Jones, it is impossible to keep upwith Uncle Sam(he print his own money). Ivan
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:32 AM
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If you can't see it, you can't place an accurate shot, no matter how good the rifle and ammo is. Most of my scopes cost much more than my rifles.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:27 AM
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Leupold scopes have met my needs pretty well for many years the vx3 models in particular.You can spend two to three times as much on better scopes but the gains in clarity, brightness, durability, etc. are minimal in my opinion.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:40 AM
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Only the individual shooter knows why that expensive scope sits on top of that quality firearm..

I'm not included, Marlin 60, scope Bushnell 4 X 32 ($39.99)
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hofstet View Post
If you can't see it, you can't place an accurate shot, no matter how good the rifle and ammo is. Most of my scopes cost much more than my rifles.
I agree with this-you have to be able to see it. I bought a Nightforce NXS 3.5-15x50 HS Zero Stop F1 for a Remington 5R .308 several months ago. (Yes, Phil, it has a threaded barrel) As with many higher end items this scope is way better than am I. The hope is that my skills will improve to match that of the scope.

The first thing I figured out is that dropping a little dirt to check the wind does not work as well as it does in the movies. The skill involved in long range shooting may be beyond my capabilities but there is improvement most every time out.

The real point is that the $59 Walmart scopes will not work for long range shooting but they do have their place. And, no, I didn't spend that much money to punch holes in a B27 at 25 yards. Is it "worth" the extra money? It is to me.

By the way, I've flown helicopters w/ fewer dials, numbers, etc., than this scope has! And you have to count the "gee whiz" factor, too.
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