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Old November 15, 2011, 06:29 AM   #1
muncherndn
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Cost ratio for rifle : scope for beginner

Kind and learned readers of The Firing Line,

I am going to start out in semi-long range (home range max 400m possible new range max 1000m). I have picked out a DMPS LRT-SASS .308 as my weapon system.

I am interested in what cost ratio is generally followed in rifle/scope configuration. I will pay around $1800 for the weapon and am looking at scopes around $400 - $600 range. I would rather keep the cost closer to the $400 if possible, but at that price point, am I wasting money? I would like to eventually move into a nicer scope. I also have a S&W 640 pro and a Dan Wesson Valor on my wish list - Hence my wanting to save where possible.

I am currently in Afghan. and will make it home just in time for the Mar/Apr Wanenmacher show in Tulsa. I plan on hitting things hard and fast while my lovely wife is still deliriously happy having me home. I have been considering the following scopes:

Hawke Sidewinder 4.5 - 14X42 - $419
Bushnell 5 - 15X40 - $449
Millett 6 - 25X56 - $419

All scopes are Mil-Dot

I would appreciate any insight/advice provided.

As an aside, I recently purchased a Dillon RL550B, which of the many manuals is best? Thanks again for the help

- Jesse
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Old November 15, 2011, 08:44 AM   #2
stu925
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The old rule of thumb used to be spend 2x the cost of the rifle on the glass. I think that rule has kind of gone the way of the dodo with the glass that's out there now. I don't have a place where I can shoot the range you are talking about so I can't say how they'll perform at that range but I really like Leupold scopes. They hold their zero well, glass is excellent and their customer service should you need it repaired is very good from my experience.

For reloading manuals, I subscribe to the notion that you can never have too many of them. I have manuals that belonged to my father that date back to the mid 60's that are still useful on occasion. My favorite manuals are Lyman, Speer, and Sierra (I load sierra bullets in all my rifles). If you're just starting out reloading take it slow until you get the hang of it and read as much as you can on the subject. A lot of people recommend The ABCs of Reloading but I haven't read it.

Stu
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Old November 15, 2011, 11:31 PM   #3
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May i suggest a bunshnell elite 3200 tactical. Its a fixed 10x and you can get one for around $350 or so. I have one on my dpms lr308 and love it. If you want a variable power check out the vortex line of scopes.
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Old November 16, 2011, 08:17 AM   #4
kaylorinhi
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Little more money gets more glass

I have a Bushnell Elite 3200 Tactical 5-15x40! Glass is good, not swarovski but decent. The customer service on the Elites is excellent! Send it in after filling out the on line questionaire, two weeks later it showed back up at the house good as new. The scope holds zero and on my stock 700SPS shoots 3/4 MOA @ 100y.
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Old November 16, 2011, 08:45 AM   #5
Major Dave (retired)
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Have you had military sniper training?

If not (I think you would know the answer to your posted questions if you did), then find a sniper there in Afghan, and ask what glass they use.

Leupold is one, as well as Trijicon, I believe.

Good quality Leupolds are designated VX-3, and start at a little over $400, at the low power ranges, and going up into the $600-$700 range with the high power ranges, larger objectives, adjustable parallax, etc.

If you are going to emphasize 600 to 1,000 yard/meter ranges, you are going to need a quality spotting scope, too. Another $400-$500, I think.

Stay safe, and bring a wheelbarrow full of cash to Wannamacher!
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Old November 16, 2011, 09:22 AM   #6
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Stay away from Millet they look really cool, but are Chinise junk for the most part, although you will find a ocassinal good review on them. I owned one and it just didn't seem to track very well. I think Nikon makes some of the best scopes for the money. I have a Bushnell Elite 6500 on a 700 .308 and has performed flawlessy I got it for around $750.00, but SWFA I believe made a mistake on there price because after I ordered it the price went to $1000.00
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Old November 16, 2011, 10:57 AM   #7
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You might want to check out the SWFA SS 10X42 30mm scopes. They run from $300-800 but have great glass and overall high quality construction.

If you want a variable power scope check out the Bushnell 4200 elite 3-9x40 scope on sale for $180. It has 95% glass and an AL/TI tube for added strength.

Last edited by wnycollector; November 16, 2011 at 03:44 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old November 16, 2011, 11:31 AM   #8
Major Dave (retired)
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I checked out Leopold

and found that their Mark 4 series of scopes are especially designed for long range. The price range is $900 to $1900.

If you have access to internet there in Afghan, just Google Leopold, and research the features of the Mark 4 series of scopes.

I got the prices from the Cabela's web site. With Leopold, new prices (not used such as on Ebay), are pretty much the same, regardless of which seller you go to.
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Old November 16, 2011, 11:45 AM   #9
Te Anau
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I firmly believe that one can get a scope that will do what 99% of shooters need it to do 99% of the time for well under $200.00
Natchezss has smokin deals on scopes on a regular basis.
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Old November 16, 2011, 12:44 PM   #10
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I would second the Super Sniper (SWFA) scopes, their fixed power scopes are high quality for little $$. 10x, 16x, and 20X all for $299...
Variable power is nice to have, but can be an unnecessary "luxury" for some long range target shooting.
http://swfa.com/SWFA-SS-16x42-Tactic...cope-P501.aspx

My other choice would be a Vortex Viper.
http://swfa.com/Vortex-65-20x44-Vipe...pe-P13285.aspx

Personally, I wouldn't go less than 16x- but if you're "only" shooting to 400 then 10X is sufficient.
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Old November 16, 2011, 08:52 PM   #11
arizona98tj
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Vortex Viper is good glass for the money.

I've got Millet glass, Bushnell Elite 4200 glass, and Vortex. Without a doubt, the Vortex is better....much better than the Millet and a notable improvement over the Bushnell.

Do your homework.....and while you are at it, check out the Viper Vortex PST (the PST is their more recent line). It isn't $400....then again, it doesn't look like $400 glass either. But given you are dropping $1800 on the rifle, the PST should be well within your budget range and you won't be looking to get a "better" scope down the line.

Another thing you need to consider is how much elevation adjustment does the scope have? You were talking about shooting out to 1000 yards. Some scopes don't have enough adjustment to dial in 1000 yds. The Vortex Viper PST I recently put on my Savage 10 FCP HS-Precision doesn't have that issue.
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Old November 17, 2011, 05:46 AM   #12
muncherndn
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Thank you

Thank you all for the sound advice. I posed this question on a few sites, and the overwhelming opinion is to pony up for some decent glass, or regret it while doing so later.

I do feel that I could get by with a quality Bushnell (will find another rifle to put one on I love them so), I think if I'm going to spend so much on the rifle, I'd hate to have glass that gets me by. I decided to drop somewhere in the middle and chose a Vortex Viper PST 4 - 16X50.

I read a generous review on Snipercentral. I visited their site and their VIP warranty pushed me over the edge. I know that if I venture out to big boy distances, I may require a canted base and have eyed Aadmount. Thank you all again for your sage advice and for not berating a new guy.



Respectfully,



Jesse
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Old November 17, 2011, 11:47 PM   #13
arizona98tj
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Jesse, nice choice you made.

I put the Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 on my Savage a month or two back. Love it.....it is the scope I should have bought the first time around. Instead, I ended up with a Bushnell Elite 4200 FFP which has been relegated to my Remington 788 .223 bolt gun. At least I had a good place to recycle it.

Good luck and good shooting!
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Old April 4, 2013, 12:50 AM   #14
muncherndn
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A tardy, yet heartfelt reply

Kind Members of The Firing Line,

I apologize for the tardiness of my reply, but I was just cutting out the foam on my new Pelican 1750 and I finally remembered all the great advice I received from all of you. I am the proud owner of a Savage 10fcp W/ McMillan A5 stock. It is topped with a Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 FFP MOA on a 20 MOA rail.

I absolutely LOVE it. It is a great system, and I look forward to tailoring a round for it. I only wish I could shoot as great as this system allows. I think I'll have a hell of a good time trying to at least. I hope to one day be able to return the favor and help a new shooter after many more years of experience. Thank you all again for your learned advice and for taking the time to help out a beginner.



Respectfully,


Jesse A Murray

I attempted to upload photos, but my computer hates me. Trust me, it looks and performs much better than I.
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:12 AM   #15
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Tardy heck we thought you were dead . very nice choice of rifle and scope . I just bought a 308 FCP-K and it shoots sub 1/2 MOA @300yds . What caliber did you get 308 or 300 win mag ?
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Old April 6, 2013, 03:36 PM   #16
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I'd second the Vortex Vipers or the SWFA SS scopes. I have one of each and they are really good optics for the money. They are both tough as nails and track very well. The standard Vipers will run just a little over $400. Vortex's service is second to none. The SS 10x42 rear focus scope at around $300 may be the best value out there. The fact that it is a fixed power scope has never been a problem. Just one more knob I don't have to turn. I actually prefer the rear focus to the SF.
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Old April 7, 2013, 07:38 AM   #17
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OOOOOH, a Savage and a Vortex, very nice rig, now you need ammo, and a lot of practice...
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Old April 7, 2013, 10:20 AM   #18
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In the old days you had cheap junk scopes or expensive good scopes. Not many cheap good scopes.

Not so today. There are plenty of low cost great scopes out there. I have a preference for Weaver.

I've been shooting my Weaver T-10 for over 35 years in long range matches (1000 yard matches) worked great and still works great. It was pricy when I got it (in 1970 dollars).

Weaver is back to making good scopes again. Midway sells a 3-10 Mil/Mil scope for $299. It comes with a life time guarantee.

I put one on my Model 70 308 target rifle and its an excellent scope. Tracks well, and is quite clear.

For hunting I still like the Weaver K-4. Again not a high price scope but is an excellent scope.

I've wen the other way too. I have some target rifles where the sights cost more then the rifle.

But good shooting doesn't have to be a rich man's sport. There are a lot of quality optics and sights out there that work quite well.
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Old April 7, 2013, 11:35 AM   #19
FrosSsT
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Quote:
The old rule of thumb used to be spend 2x the cost of the rifle on the glass.
With the prices of rifles these days that is hard to do! haha
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Old April 7, 2013, 11:51 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stu925
The old rule of thumb used to be spend 2x the cost of the rifle on the glass.
That's the first I've ever heard that rule. The "rule" I usually hear is 1:1, which I find silly. Only half as silly as spending 2x as much but still silly.

No one has ever been able to explain to me why the $400 scope that's perfectly adequate on the $400 Savage is suddenly dismally inadequate on the $700 Savage, or Remington, or why the $800 scope that would be fabulous on the $400 Savage is insufficient on the $2,700 Cooper.

The cost of the two is completely unrelated. Buy the best scope you can afford or that matches your requirements. Comparing it to the cost of the rifle is like saying a guy with a $50 hat should pay twice as much for a haircut as a guy with a $25 hat.
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Old April 7, 2013, 09:36 PM   #21
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I never buy cheap scopes, so that "rule" doesn't bother me. Mainly because a good scope will stay with you for life, it can move from rifle to rifle, and then to the next owner. I still use Zeiss scopes my dad bought. OTOH, $400 now buys you a Zeiss Conquest 3-9, and that's a good starting scope that will live on a 30-30 for years to come after you upgraded your current gun to a Nightforce, then sold the gun to get something worthy of a Nightforce etc.
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Old April 8, 2013, 02:18 AM   #22
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Quote:
That's the first I've ever heard that rule. The "rule" I usually hear is 1:1, which I find silly. Only half as silly as spending 2x as much but still silly.

No one has ever been able to explain to me why the $400 scope that's perfectly adequate on the $400 Savage is suddenly dismally inadequate on the $700 Savage, or Remington, or why the $800 scope that would be fabulous on the $400 Savage is insufficient on the $2,700 Cooper.

The cost of the two is completely unrelated. Buy the best scope you can afford or that matches your requirements. Comparing it to the cost of the rifle is like saying a guy with a $50 hat should pay twice as much for a haircut as a guy with a $25 hat.
I 100% agree with you,

but I feel like the 'old rule of thumb', came from a time when rifles were a lot cheaper and making proper glass was more expensive (relatively). The technology of optics has excelled far more than the technology in firearms recently.
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Old April 8, 2013, 08:42 AM   #23
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Quote:
I will pay around $1800 for the weapon and am looking at scopes around $400 - $600 range.
My first choice would be a Vortex Viper, several models in that price range. The SWFA and Bushnell fixed 10X are both very nice. The Bushnell is mil/mil, a very nice option. Another good low cost scope is the Alpen Apex XP. I rate mine right with my Vortex and it's 40% less money.
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Old April 10, 2013, 08:03 AM   #24
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There's a lot of sound advice here. The 2x rifle rule you usually hear tacticool elitists. There are many options under 600 that will perform well. Just remember its all diminishing returns (same goes for the rifle).

I own Hensoldts, S&B, and Nightforce. While *some* are indeed very nice, most of them don't deliver that much over a good less expensive FFP scope
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Old April 12, 2013, 09:54 PM   #25
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I don't think I've ever paid more than $100 for any scope, and I've never been disappointed. Just like today's entry-level rifles costing under $400 deliver accuracy and reliability once found only in rifles costing many times that amount, today's entry-level (low cost) optics are also better than ever. Any scope that reliably and repeatedly gives me the accuracy I want is a good scope, regardless of its price.
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