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Old January 21, 2010, 10:11 PM   #1
Palmetto-Pride
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100% US made rifle scope?

Well is there such an thing? I thought Leupold was, but I heard that Nikon makes there lens. Can't we make anything over here anymore? I thought Nightforce was, but then I learned they get there glass from Japan also. There is a difference between made in the USA and assembled in the USA.
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Old January 21, 2010, 10:18 PM   #2
geetarman
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Pal,

You will have to look very hard for glass better than Nikon. Did you know the multi-surface lenses Nikon uses in their cameras are "wrung" together and not cemented?

Nikons are made not only in Japan, but also the Philippines as well as China.

You can be sure that Nikon would NOT be contracting out to others if it meant a risk to the brand.

Nikon has been absolute world class optics for a very long time.
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Old January 21, 2010, 10:20 PM   #3
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beleive it or not, some countries are better at making some products than the US.
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Old January 21, 2010, 10:24 PM   #4
Big Bill
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Here's what Leupold says:

The Leupold Answer Guide

Do You Make Your Own Lenses?

The lenses in our scopes are about the only item we do not make in our plant in Oregon. We buy our lenses, which are designed entirely by Leupold engineers, from both domestic and international sources. We would like to buy all our lenses in the United States, but there is not currently a lens manufacturer who can meet our quality standards in the volume we require.

http://www2.leupold.com/resources/My...ndanswers.aspx
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Old January 22, 2010, 12:14 AM   #5
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Most people know Japan is a major producer of high-quality electronics. Not so many are aware that one of the other products manufactured to an extremely high standard in Japan is optic glass. Camera lenses, laser focusing lenses, telescope, binocular, and yes, riflescope lenses.
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Old January 22, 2010, 12:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Most people know Japan is a major producer of high-quality electronics. Not so many are aware that one of the other products manufactured to an extremely high standard in Japan is optic glass. Camera lenses, laser focusing lenses, telescope, binocular, and yes, riflescope lenses.
It figuers; all those people have cameras.
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Old January 22, 2010, 12:37 AM   #7
Bart B.
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Palmetto Pride asks:
Quote:
Can't we make anything over here anymore?
Yes. Some optics made in the USA are better than what comes from overseas companies. They are very, very expensive and mass marketing them in to the shooting sports or photography would be futile. They wouldn't sell enough to cover materials and labor costs; forgetting growth, warranty and improvements. Kodak, Bausch & Lomb and American Optical (USA companies) used to make lenses for rifle scope companies. Lyman, Unertl and Kollmorgan rifle scopes used them in bullet proof mechanics. But 999 out of 1000 rifle shooters got the same accuracy with Tasco, Simmons, and Bushnell scopes from overseas costing 1/3 the price so they quit buying the high priced scopes.

Some folks blame unions for getting the cost of labor way out of sight. It's easy to make good optics, but much more demanding to design, make and support the mechanics to keep them in place so great images always happen. When companies making top quality rifle scopes had to cut costs to stay in business, they cut labor costs; the biggest slice of the product's money pie. It's easy to tell how good image quality is; you don't even have to shoot at all.

Most folks demand superior images from their rifle scopes. They pay big bucks for them and usually get less than perfect mechanics. But the companies don't care because the vast majority of their customers don't shoot their rifles well enough nor know how to uncover the poor mechanics and non-repeatability they have from shot to shot; you don't test them very well by shooting groups with them.

Weaver's scopes with Microtrack adjustments have average optics, but probably the best mechanics around. Some tests made years ago on four .308 Win. match rifles with every scope on the market tested for the accuracy it would produce. A few did very good to start with, others average or not so good. Then each scope had 100 rounds fired under it while it was on an M1A. Finally, all scopes went back on the rifles to test. All of them shot worse than before; their mechanics had loosened up causing the target image to not rest at the same place on the reticule causing less accuracy. That is except for two scopes; a Weaver T16 and T20. Mounting the scopes on bench collimators then beating on them to substitute recoil had the same results. The plain average optics in the two Weaver Model T's were kept well in place. John Unertl, the old scope making man himself, told me about these tests. He said the only scopes that were as mechanically sound as the Weaver Model T's were his external adjustments used on Unertl target scopes as well as the Targetspots made by Lyman.

Even the power zoom ring and its two cam tubes moving two lens groups back and forth can cause errors. Put an optical collimator in your rifle's muzzle, adust the scope's reticule to center on the collimator, then make power changes while watching the reticule make a figure eight around the collimator's center. Worst I've ever seen was on a Leupold and two Nightforce scopes.

Last edited by Bart B.; January 22, 2010 at 12:53 AM.
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Old January 22, 2010, 02:55 AM   #8
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Sadly, Japan is where most of our glass is coming from.
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Old January 22, 2010, 05:58 AM   #9
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Why is it sad? Otherwise even a Leupold VX-1 or a Nikon Prostaff would cost $300-$400.
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Old January 22, 2010, 06:14 AM   #10
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Leupold getting lenses from Japan is a " win/ win " for shooters. We get glass that a great american company trusts enough to put in their tubes, and at a price better than if the glass was domestically manufactured. The majority of the sope is domestically manufactured so you can sleep easy at night knowing that you aren't shipping american jobs overseas.

The situation is a whole lot better than determining the country of origin of your favorite ford, chevy or dodge pickup.....a whole lot better...
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Old January 22, 2010, 07:18 AM   #11
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If anyone has every looked at the cost of Nikons.. and specifically

Nikon (Nikor) lens you will see where the money is/goes. A professional grade Nikon camera will cost between 1&2 grand.... the lens... usually 2-5 GRAND each. I really want a 20mm lens for my low end Nikon camera.... the problem is the damn thing ...no zoom just straight 20mm focal length cost in the neighborhood of $600.

I didn't know that Leupold used Nikon lens, but in the end I guess that is cool.
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Old January 22, 2010, 08:30 AM   #12
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I do not mind buying quality products from overseas. That being said, I prefer to purchase it when it is made here in the US. I see tooooo many people who get quality and price mixed up.

However, when it comes down to nit picking (The price/quality is almost equal) I prefer to buy American.

I laugh when I hear someone complain that their cheap $35.00 scope broke. Then they go on and on about "Made in China" and such. You get what you pay for and if you are paying for quality, then you have a right to complain.
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Old January 22, 2010, 09:41 AM   #13
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I just got my first Nightforce scope, and was very surprised about the "made in Japan" lettering. I should be been more careful reading the website, it only says "all of our scopes are assembled in Idaho", not that they actually made from US parts. But, as people said before, it's not a negative in the quality department, it's still a very impressive scope.
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Old January 22, 2010, 12:15 PM   #14
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wow factor

The most impressive case of "wow" when I looked through it was a Nikon tactical 4-16, the recent model. I wanted more than 16x and wasn't impressed with 50 MOA of adjustment, and didn't buy it, and still regret same. The clicks seemed very solid as well.

I have had minimal exposure to leu mark 4's and a friends Nightforce, but nothing jumped out like that experience with Nikons best
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Old January 22, 2010, 12:31 PM   #15
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US Optics says "Made in America" but not whether that extends to grinding their own lenses or buying them here.
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Old January 22, 2010, 05:06 PM   #16
Big Bill
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Jim - "made in america" can mean that we bought all the parts from wherever we could get them for the cheapest price available.
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Old January 22, 2010, 05:44 PM   #17
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According to the Swift site, "all their rifle scopes are made with....American made glass" and their scopes are "made in America." Don't know if they buy parts overseas and assemble them here. Swift is a company that has made optics products since the 1920s.
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Old January 22, 2010, 06:14 PM   #18
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I had a Swift on my Ruger 06 that I paid about $350 for. I gave the rifle to my SIL last year for his birthday. I had never shot it; but, that glass sure was sweet.
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Old January 22, 2010, 06:18 PM   #19
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I do agree with you but it is very hard for anything. Radios, T.V.'s, Micor's etc. Just about eveything. Even the cars half the stuff in the ones made here came from somewhere else. Even the computers we are using right now. Lots of it is very good, and lots of it is garbage. What do you do to stop it, and get what you need?
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Old January 24, 2010, 09:45 PM   #20
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I don't care where it comes from as long as it is as reliable as possible. The US is makeing the final dollar on it and I'm Ok with that.
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Old January 24, 2010, 09:50 PM   #21
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Quote:
The most impressive case of "wow" when I looked through it was a Nikon tactical 4-16
I ordered a Nikon 4-16 30 mm tube and I was quite disappointed, sent it back. Not nearly the clarity of my 2.5 - 10. It was a hunting version but I think more than likely they are the same scope, just a little different packaging.

One of the biggest reasons the US is less competitive in manufacturing is our high rate of corporate taxation and very complex tax code. To make matters worse, the "activist" Federal Government makes businesses nervous when the take over banks, take over car companies, set corporate salaries, tell companies "now is not the time for profits" and the like. The US is moving down, down, down the list of economically free companies. An oil exec recently said he had a lot less trouble doing business in Ghana than the US.
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Old January 24, 2010, 10:19 PM   #22
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We're in a global economy now and it's going to become harder and harder to find a product that is 100% US made. If I own a riflescope company, am I going to make my own lenses if I can purchase exactly what I specify for less money than I can build a facility and staff it to make the same product? Of course not. I'm going to focus on what my company does best and leave the rest to others.
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Old January 25, 2010, 06:51 AM   #23
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S&B doesn't even make they're own lenses they find the makers around the world that offer the quality of glass they want used in their optics and that is what they buy.

I am all for buying american but the last few Made in America products I have purchased have let me down.

My car has had 3 times the amount of problems as my wifes car. Mine Chevy hers Toyota. What will I buy next time Toyota. They make a better product at a better price huh and no one has had to bail them out because they make **** poor business choices.

I had a Leupold and it was one of the worst scopes I had looked threw. The eye relief would change so much so that I had to press my nose to the bolt on one end and hang off the cheek piece on the other. I put a Nikon on it and OMG from 6.5-20x eye relief changes very little. It is clearer and brighter than my leupold ever way. Hell my Bushnell Elite 4200 6-24x40 was much more bright than my leupold.

So now I buy nikon not leupold. I have snobby shooting buddies that think I am wasting my money on nikons. But this guy makes $100k plus a year. I don't. I buy the best I can afford and right now that is a nikon.

Just like when you get into the $1500+ scopes Leupold and Nightforce are your bottom rung for that price range. S&B, March, US Optics, Ziess, IOR are all much better scopes US OPtics are 100% made in the USA and you pay lots of money for that. But, March are Made in Japan and hand assembled they are winning bench rest matches all the time offer much higher quality glass at the same price as other.

It is not so much price as VALUE. If you can buy a scope that does exactly what you want for $500 or $1500 why are you going to spend $1000 more for something to do exactly the same thing.

I do believe Burris makes all of Pentax's scopes.
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Old January 25, 2010, 07:03 AM   #24
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maybe its the Japanese lenses that make their scope so great in the first place.
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Old January 25, 2010, 09:07 PM   #25
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I find it very hard to believe that a US based company couldn't make a quality scope 100% in-house and still make a good profit. If you just look at the raw material it takes to make a scope it doesn't seem like that much, some aluminum, glass, rubber, nitrogen gas....I know there is more, but it seems like once the first one is out the way the rest would be pretty profitable.......,but what the hell do I know I am just speculating. Anyone with some manufacturing experience please chime in.
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