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View Full Version : Leupold VX-1, Redfield Revolution, or Nikon Prostaff: Which 3x9?


Martowski
July 28, 2012, 07:24 PM
All are within $20 of each other (around $159). Nikon has bullet drop compensator, Redfield has accurange. Which is best on a .223 varmint bolt action and why?

Martowski
July 28, 2012, 07:40 PM
Or putting it another way is there really a dramatic difference in quality and clarity (and usability) between the three? Leaning toward he Nikon as I like the controls but don't want to pass up an obvious winner If there is one.

jmr40
July 28, 2012, 08:02 PM
The Leupold and Redfield are a notch above the Prostaff in quality. The Nikon Buckmaster would be a closer comparison.

I like both the Redfield and Leupold but the Leupold is a little better, and probably a little more expensive, especially if you want a BDC type reticle. The Leupold is already the more expensive scope and getting it with a long range reticle with dots is about $30 extra, I think. The Redfield with dots is I think only $10 more. But I do like the Leupold reticle much better than the Nikon or Redfield design.

You are probably looking at about $50 more for the VX-1, well worth it to me. Just depends on how tight your budget is. I don't think any of these are junk scopes by the way. Even the Prostaff is a decent scope. I just think the others are well worth the small price difference.

Martowski
July 28, 2012, 08:23 PM
Thanks. The Leupold has the standard duplex at the place I'm looking, and it's available for $169. The Redfield is $149, and the Nikon is $179. But Nikon will be having a $30 rebate on all BDC scopes starting Aug 3. And, I get an extra $20 off any of the scopes off the prices noted above. So in the end the Leupold would be $149 and the Redfield and Nikons both $129.

PawPaw
July 28, 2012, 08:35 PM
The one thing I don't like about the Leupold VX1 is that the turrets aren't click adjustable, but friction locked. I've got a VX1 on a Rem700 in .308 and while it's a nice scope, it just doesn't compare to some of the newer offerings out there.

My son has a Redfield 4-12 on his rifle and really likes it. He bought it last year and hasn't had a chance to hunt with it, but it has finger adjustable turrets, a nice reticle, and is really a nice scope for the money.

I spent several hours today looking at scopes and came home with a Nikon Pro-staff 3X9X40 BDC. Mounted it on my rifle this afternoon. The reticle is a little bit busy, but I think I'm going to like it.

Of all three scopes, I'd be hard-pressed to say which has more clarity. Scopes today are better than they were 20 years ago and I'm fairly impressed with most of the low end scopes. I picked the Nikon pretty much as an impulse and I don't think you could go wrong with either of the three. Another in that same price range is the Burris Fullfield II, which I understand is a nice entry-level scope.

Martowski
July 28, 2012, 08:55 PM
Thanks as well PawPaw.

In looking at prices, it seems that all three a pretty good deal when you factor in the promos. Looks like $179 is pretty much the average rate for the Nikon, and the Redfield usually goes for a little above $200 while the Leupold goes for more.

In looking at the three, I liked the larger, easier to grasp controls of the Nikon and the fact they were rubberized. Although the BDC is busy, I like the potential functionality. The Redfield was nice but I thought the finish seemed a little more scratchable and I'm still wondering what functionality the accu-range gives; it seems like it basically gives one dot below the actual crosshairs? The Leupold was okay; didn't seem to stand out to me either way. But it's hard to tell when you're looking across a store vs. being outside.

SSA
July 28, 2012, 09:53 PM
I'd go with the VX-1. But at that price, you're probably looking at the VX-I and not the VX-1. If it's the VX-I, I'd wait for the rebate and go with the Nikon. Just make sure the Nikon is the new model with fully-multicoated lenses.

RC20
July 28, 2012, 10:23 PM
I just picked up a Redfield 4-12 and was very impressed with the clarity.

My take is that while it has less bells and whistles and finish as the Leopold, the glass is the same.

Not going to hunt with it but it looks to be a great target scope which is not its market, but am seriously impressed that its that capable.

pabuckslayer08
July 28, 2012, 10:43 PM
Prostaff for sure, Im a big Nikon fan but it has come over years of trying Leupolds. About 10 years ago when I started getting more into rifles 150 bucks was alot to me for optics. So I laid out a VX1 Prostaff and Bushnell 3200. All were close in price, By far the Nikon had the best clarity and light transmission. The Leupold I think may be built better but my Prostaff has missed a beat and has a good warrenty. It really fits the 250 dollar price range scope. I have 5 of them now and 1 Buckmasters and Monarch and really I dont think the Buckmasters is any better

tahunua001
July 28, 2012, 11:14 PM
I have owned all three.
i have a redfield revolution on a springfield 1903A4 sniper and it is by far the best scope I own. great sight picture, decent eye relief and holds a good zero.

I have 3 nikon prostaffs. they are rugged, hold zero like no other and have a decent sight picture but the eye relief is a little lacking compared to others. it the sub $200 market however they are though to beat and until I bought my revolution was the number one scope I recommended.

I bought a leupold VX1 and that thing was a piece of dookie. regardless of the rifle it was mounted on it could not fire groups small enough to allow you to sight it in. I eventually gave it to my brother and he was able to sight it in on a 357 bolt action of his...but it took him over 100 rounds to do so. I will never buy another leupold again, I'll just stick to the "budget leupolds" and get redfields from now on.

Martowski
July 28, 2012, 11:16 PM
Great input everyone, thanks and pls. keep it coming.

Here's another thought: what about the Weaver 44/40? Reason I ask this is because while I was looking at 3-9x40 scopes, I'd really like a 4-12 variable power. The Weaver 44/40 comes in this magnification at around the same price as the others come in 3-9. Is the Weaver in the same class?

tahunua001
July 28, 2012, 11:19 PM
I don't know anything about the weaver but I have a nikon prostaff in 4x12 mounted on a 300 weatherby magnum. I'll tell you that if it can withstand that kind of recoil then there is nothing that they can't handle. I think you may be limited on reticle choices though. mine is a mildot(pointless because I never look up mildot ranges anyway) but I believe it's been discontinued.

codyb1991
July 28, 2012, 11:30 PM
Leupold and Nikon have great reputations and from my experience with them, they're both great scope brands... BUT, I'm a Redfield fan through and through, I have a redfield scope on every one of my hunting rifles and they've never done me wrong. Comparison between scope brands is just paying attention to detail.

oneoldsap
July 29, 2012, 07:49 AM
Bushnell

bman940
July 29, 2012, 09:56 AM
If you choose Nikon make sure you dial in your BDC scope with Nikon Spot On Program to further enhance the accuracy of your BDC reticles. I can see how some folks might call them busy when you are just used to seeing a crosshair only. Nikon's BDC scope's allow you to sync all your shooting data and get the most accuracy out of your scope. How well does it work ? I've watched guys brand new to our BDC scopes blow up 4 inch jars of Tannerite at 600 yards. These guys were all believers when we were finished.

As always, drop me a note with any question's and that is correct, big Promo on the horizon......

PawPaw
July 29, 2012, 12:01 PM
As always, drop me a note with any question's and that is correct, big Promo on the horizon......

Thanks, Bart. Now that I've bought one, you're going to run a sale! Ain't that the luck.

I was impressed with the SpotOn program, as it allowed me to enter my handload data to get a better ballistic printout. I'll verify it in the field, of course, but it's nice to have a starting point and I consider that printout a starting point.

bman940
July 29, 2012, 12:43 PM
That is what usually happens to me!

Sorry about that, shouldn't have told ya then you would't feel bad!
Bart

Martowski
July 29, 2012, 01:12 PM
Leaning more toward the Redfield or Nikon at this point. Also considering stepping up to a 4-12x40... but not sure.

willisp
July 29, 2012, 01:53 PM
i would go with nikon because the bdc&program on line work very well together. like leupold have had one for many years works like a dream

taylorce1
July 29, 2012, 04:08 PM
Just remember you're still guessing with BDC reticles unless you know the exact velocity of your bullet.

FiveInADime
July 29, 2012, 06:04 PM
Just remember you're still guessing with BDC reticles unless you know the exact velocity of your bullet.

How do you find that out? Unless you have a very expensive chronograph, it would be hard to know anywhere near your exact velocity. And then of course there's SD/ES to contend with. I would say some trial and error could get you on target pretty quick. There's been many folks without chronographs that have figured out how to use the BDC reticles effectively.


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tahunua001
July 29, 2012, 06:58 PM
How do you find that out? Unless you have a very expensive chronograph,
first of all, a chronograph is not an expensive item to get. a decent RCBS chrono can be had for little over $100, less than what some people spend a month on ammo. also if you mainly shoot factory ammo, companies like federal have ballistics information for all their loads on their website, it wont be exact but it will give you a good ball park estimate.

FiveInADime
July 29, 2012, 07:28 PM
first of all, a chronograph is not an expensive item to get. a decent RCBS chrono can be had for little over $100, less than what some people spend a month on ammo. also if you mainly shoot factory ammo, companies like federal have ballistics information for all their loads on their website, it wont be exact but it will give you a good ball park estimate.

I'm sorry. I didn't make it clear that I was being a little tongue-in-cheek because the poster said you need to know your "exact" velocity.

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Pond, James Pond
July 30, 2012, 02:13 AM
I have the Prostaff. I like it. It is crystal clear and well made. It was easy to set up and zero despite being a noob.

But here is my take.
If you had all three to compare and play with, you'd probably find you had a favourite.

If you buy one of them, without the luxury of a comparison, you'll no doubt be perfectly satisified with your choice, even if it would have been in 3rd place in that direct comparison!

I'd let the little details decide for you, such as the Spot-On program or the friction-locked turrets as mentioned, etc.

the jigger
July 30, 2012, 10:38 AM
Which is better:
Ford f-150
Chevy Silverado
Dodge Ram??????????????????

bman940
July 30, 2012, 03:10 PM
Jigger, that is about right! I tell folks to test drive as many scopes as they can and then pick the one that fit's their requirements the best. I'll help them wade through what we have to make the choice easier, but it's best to leave the final decision up to the guy or gal who is going to use it!

By the way, F-250 all the way!

FiveInADime
July 30, 2012, 03:19 PM
Which is better:
Ford f-150
Chevy Silverado
Dodge Ram??????????????????

Which scope correlates to which truck? I could then easily determine the best scope. We are talking half-ton trucks only, right? Shouldn't the Nikon be equated with the Tundra or Titan?

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math teacher
July 30, 2012, 04:49 PM
For those who are not aware, Leupold owns and makes Redfield in its plant in Beaverton, OR. Most of the components and engineering are bound to be the same. Redfield offers less options.

tahunua001
July 30, 2012, 05:22 PM
Which is better:
Ford f-150
Chevy Silverado
Dodge Ram??????????????????

well asuming that
Ford F-150=redfield revolution
Chevy Silverado= leupold VX1 and
Dodge Ram=Nikon Prostaff that's a pretty good comparison
F150 is best
Ram is second
chevy is last...
I would say those are a decent analogy.

taylorce1
July 30, 2012, 05:52 PM
How do you find that out? Unless you have a very expensive chronograph, it would be hard to know anywhere near your exact velocity. And then of course there's SD/ES to contend with. I would say some trial and error could get you on target pretty quick. There's been many folks without chronographs that have figured out how to use the BDC reticles effectively.

Yes you do need to know the velocity of your ammunition. Exact velocity in my experience is the average of a 5-10 shot string. SD is nice to know but not necessary if you arent loading your own ammunition. As long as your ES isn't huge you know you have pretty good quality factory ammunition.

Sure you can figure it out "pretty quick" just shooting at a known ranges but will you figure it out in 10 rounds or less? If you know your velocity you can go to Nikon's web site and know exactly what ranges the subtensions of the reticle are calibrated for, and know exactly how much wiggle room you might have. Personally I don't like BDC reticles I just prefer a standard plex reticle and to turn knobs.


first of all, a chronograph is not an expensive item to get. a decent RCBS chrono can be had for little over $100, less than what some people spend a month on ammo. also if you mainly shoot factory ammo, companies like federal have ballistics information for all their loads on their website, it wont be exact but it will give you a good ball park estimate.

Yes there not expensive at all for a chronograph. If you look around you can find great deals. I picked up a new Shooting Chrony Beta Master for $75 at a gun shop that was closing their doors.

As far as the ballistics info given on manufacturers web sites I don't really trust it. Take .223 OP's rifle, it is easy to find rifles in 16.5" to 26" barrels. Who knows if the velocity of the factory test barrel falls in line with your rifle?

FiveInADime
July 30, 2012, 09:08 PM
Exact velocity in my experience is the average of a 5-10 shot string.

I was just ribbing
you for how you phrase this. Obviously you can't know your exact velocity. All I was getting at is that if you have a rough idea of your average velocity you can shoot to find out how close you are. With some quick math you can get a rough idea of your velocity by shooting a couple groups at say 200 yards (zero) then 300 yards.


Personally I don't like BDC reticles I just prefer a standard plex reticle and to turn knobs.


That's great that you have nice Scopes with target turrets but this thread is about 3 sub-$200 Scopes. Do you have a recommendation for the OP as to what scope you can buy for ~$200 that has target turrets and repeatable adjustments?

BDC reticles do work if you figure out how to use them. A chronograph is nice but not necessary to figuring them out.

BTW, I handload and I do use a Chrono but it's not something I would die without.


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taylorce1
July 30, 2012, 10:59 PM
That's great that you have nice Scopes with target turrets but this thread is about 3 sub-$200 Scopes. Do you have a recommendation for the OP as to what scope you can buy for ~$200 that has target turrets and repeatable adjustments?


I only own two scopes with what I would consider target turrets a Bushnell Elite 4200 and Weaver GS Tactical. I bought the Bushnell 4-16X40 AO for $180 used and the Weaver 3.5-10X40 for $299. The rest and the scopes I hunt/shoot with the most are scopes with finger adjustable turrets. I don't know about the Pro-Staff scope I have never owned one, but the Redfield has finger adjustable turrets.

For less than $30 you can buy a Stoney Point target knob for the Leupold if it is the new VX-1 and not the VX-I. The new version of the VX-1 has the coin slot turret like the VX-II used to have. I have found the VX-II scopes to have very repeatable adjustments and if the VX-1 has been upgraded to that tech then the OP shouldn't have a problem with it not being repeatable like the friction adjustments were.

I've had four of the Redfield scopes and still own two, and have found the adjustments to be repeatable. I usually have to turn a few clicks past where I want to be and then back up to it to make sure the reticle moves properly. Real easy to do, simple and it works without using target turrets which are nice but not necessary to make adjustments to a scope in the field.

The Vortex Viper 2-7X32 (http://www.cameralandny.com/optics/vortex.pl?page=vortexviper2-7x32) while not the 3-9X40 has very repeatable adjustments and can be had for $199 from Cameral Land NY. Probably the closest thing to a target turret in the $200 price range. I have two of these scopes and have taken them out to 500 yards with a .300 Savage and believe it or not a .204 Ruger.


BTW, I handload and I do use a Chrono but it's not something I would die without.


I wouldn't die without mine either and I don't use it all the time as there are certain rifles I just will never take past 300 yards. However, if a person is ever going to be serious about long range shooting it is something that should be used. IMO opinion if you are going to try for anything beyond point blank yardage of your rifle a chronograph and ballistics program is a necessary tool to have and use.

Martowski
July 31, 2012, 01:07 PM
The short story: just picked up a Nikon Prostaff 4-12x40 BDC, new in box, for $109 (or $99... depending on how you look at it).

The long story: I've been scouring for a good deal and have been wanting something with a little higher magnification than a 3-9. The Prostaff 4-12 was intriguing to me, and I know Nikon is running a BDC promo for $30 off any BDC scope starting Aug 3 (the local Dick's put the rebate forms out early, that's how I know). Anyway, figured I'd get in on that deal once it was out but yesterday I decided to call the Dick's in the town where I work just to see if they had anything different than my hometown Dick's. The guy rattled off a few scopes then mentioned he had a Nikon Prostaff 4-12x40 BDC for $129.97. Of course, I asked him to repeat and verify some information on the scope as I couldn't believe it was that cheap. He indicated it was and that it was on clearance. I asked him to hold it for me to see, and went over during my lunch today. On the drive over I was still thinking it was probably a mistake or, at best, some old model from 2010 that somehow hadn't sold. Low and behold, when I got there it was in fact the recent Prostaff, Model #6729, made in the Philippines. I mentioned that the Nikon rebate is starting Friday and that I'd like to be able to get in on that as well, and in the meantime the guy behind the counter indicated that this scope is now ringing up for $219... apparently they have price changes for whatever reason and the scope was now coming off clearance. He indicated he could give it to me for $129 right now but if I walk away it's going back up to $219 as soon as I leave. Needless to say, I grabbed it along with the special note he wrote for the cashier to discount the price to $129 from the $219 that it was ringing at. I also had a $20 off $100 Dick's coupon, bringing my final total to $109. And, I had a 200 Dick's bonus points coupon that, with the $109 I spent on the scope, will qualify for a $10 Dick's certificate. So, in the end I guess you could say I got it for $99.

The scope was in the display case but it was new in box and is in perfect condition. Needless to say, I'm a happy camper as I have the scope I wanted for an amazing price.

Thanks everyone for the insight and advice!

FiveInADime
July 31, 2012, 01:40 PM
The short story: just picked up a Nikon Prostaff 4-12x40 BDC, new in box, for $109 (or $99... depending on how you look at it).

The long story: I've been scouring for a good deal and have been wanting something with a little higher magnification than a 3-9. The Prostaff 4-12 was intriguing to me, and I know Nikon is running a BDC promo for $30 off any BDC scope starting Aug 3 (the local Dick's put the rebate forms out early, that's how I know). Anyway, figured I'd get in on that deal once it was out but yesterday I decided to call the Dick's in the town where I work just to see if they had anything different than my hometown Dick's. The guy rattled off a few scopes then mentioned he had a Nikon Prostaff 4-12x40 BDC for $129.97. Of course, I asked him to repeat and verify some information on the scope as I couldn't believe it was that cheap. He indicated it was and that it was on clearance. I asked him to hold it for me to see, and went over during my lunch today. On the drive over I was still thinking it was probably a mistake or, at best, some old model from 2010 that somehow hadn't sold. Low and behold, when I got there it was in fact the recent Prostaff, Model #6729, made in the Philippines. I mentioned that the Nikon rebate is starting Friday and that I'd like to be able to get in on that as well, and in the meantime the guy behind the counter indicated that this scope is now ringing up for $219... apparently they have price changes for whatever reason and the scope was now coming off clearance. He indicated he could give it to me for $129 right now but if I walk away it's going back up to $219 as soon as I leave. Needless to say, I grabbed it along with the special note he wrote for the cashier to discount the price to $129 from the $219 that it was ringing at. I also had a $20 off $100 Dick's coupon, bringing my final total to $109. And, I had a 200 Dick's bonus points coupon that, with the $109 I spent on the scope, will qualify for a $10 Dick's certificate. So, in the end I guess you could say I got it for $99.

The scope was in the display case but it was new in box and is in perfect condition. Needless to say, I'm a happy camper as I have the scope I wanted for an amazing price.

Thanks everyone for the insight and advice!

Good job man! What a deal. You got a great scope for a blister-pack price.

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jmr40
July 31, 2012, 02:01 PM
Just remember you're still guessing with BDC reticles unless you know the exact velocity of your bullet.


Not really, just go to the range and see where the bullets impact at different ranges with each reticle. There is darn little difference between any of the standard rounds trajectory anyway. Zero at 100 yards. Shoot at 200,300, 400 and just note where your bullet impacts in relation to the scope. I've found it to be pretty close with any of the common rounds such as 30-06, 308, or 270.

You may find that the dot for 200 yards is actually zeroed at 210 yards for a 30-06, 190 yards for a 308 or or 220 for a 270. Same issue at longer ranges. It is so close you are talking about roughly the same distance as the crosshairs cover at those ranges. Not good enough to win a target match, but close enough for big game hunting and much more accurate than relying on a 200 yard zero and counting on the bullet not being more than a few inches above or below the line of sight out to 300 yards.

While a chronograph is an inexpensive and very needed tool for reloading, an accurate rangefinder is the key tool to making a BDC reticle work.

And I'll add, the Leupolds made starting in 2012 are much better than previous models. The older lower end Leupolds had some shortcomings, but the new ones blow all the other budget priced scopes out of the water at the same price. They are click adjustable now. Don't make a decision based on old outdated information.

Martowski
July 31, 2012, 09:41 PM
I don't have this scoPe mounted yet but did have a chance to look through it at dusk and am very imPressed with how bright and crisp It is!

Martowski
July 31, 2012, 09:43 PM
Btw, saw Weaver brand two piece mints for $7 and Leupold for around $20. I have Leupolds on my Win 70 but what do you all think about the Weaver mounts and rings?

FiveInADime
August 1, 2012, 01:04 AM
Btw, saw Weaver brand two piece mints for $7 and Leupold for around $20. I have Leupolds on my Win 70 but what do you all think about the Weaver mounts and rings?

Don't mess around with the aluminum bases and rings. Weaver makes good steel bases and rings but I have never seen them for $7.

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