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View Poll Results: Are they worth it?
yes 33 64.71%
no 18 35.29%
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Old October 13, 2012, 03:11 PM   #1
TheBear
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super expensive scopes, are they worth it?

Zeiss, Swarovski, Schmidt-Bender, Leupold...all those optics that are 10x more expensive then others, are they really worth it?
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Old October 13, 2012, 04:59 PM   #2
Double Naught Spy
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It isn't a simple yes-no question. They are worth it if you need a high quality glass. They are worth it if you enjoy looking through your scope or need to look through your scope for extended periods of time. Most folks probably don't shoot exceptionally long range or care too much about the difference in a function scope sight picture and a beautiful scope sight picture. I have a $1200 Leupold scope that still manages to impress me every time I use it, especially if I get a chance to look through a cheap scope during the same trip.

I also have a $300 Super Sniper scope that is functionally a great scope that I have used on several guns and shot well out to 1000 yards, but there is a marked difference in the quality of the image. Both are well built scopes, but the glass in the Leupold is superb compared to the SS.

It is easier to properly identify targets when looking for a specific target when the glass is better. Or, it is easier to place a shot more precisely on a busy patterned target when the glass is really good.

If you are hunting deer at 25-150 yards, you probably don't 'need' a scope that costs you a grand and can get by with a $100-200 scoope just fine. There is nothing wrong with that. However, if you are trying to count points at 300 yards, you might want the better scope.

As ever, each of the high end brands make some scopes that may not be fully amazing. It is best to do as much side-by-side comparison as you can when buying to find out which really looks best to you.
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:50 AM   #3
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glass should cost more than the gun.....
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:10 AM   #4
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It did, years ago when I bought my Remington 22-250 Model 700 Varment rifle the Leupold scope cost more than the rifle.

Was it worth it you betcha it was. When your shooing at PD's at 400 yards+ you want every advantage there is
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Old October 14, 2012, 07:46 PM   #5
jmr40
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Depends on your needs. Also you're lumping together some $200 scopes with $2000 scopes and calling all of them super expensive. Not sure of your definition of super expensive.

Here is my take. I cannot think of a single sub-$200 scope that is a good value. There are a few that are acceptable, but there are options costing only a little more that are significanlty better and I think it foolish to spend $150-$175 when only a few dollars more gets you a significantly better scope. At this price range $50 makes a huge difference.

The most scope for the money falls into the $300-$500 price range. Less expensive scopes may get the job done, but once you get up to the $300 range you get much clearer, sharper glass. Images that are in focus all the way to the edge, not just in the middle of the image. Better eye relief. Precise adjustments. Many cheaper scopes may move the POI in unreliable incements making zeroing the scope difficult. Better weatherproofness, more durability, especially on heavy recoiling rifles. And much better light transmission in low light.

As you go up in price the quality comes in smaller and smaller increments. If you need it, it is worth it. For my needs a $300-$400 scope will do everything I need a scope to do. I'd be perfecty happy with my $330 Leupold VX-2. But there are others who need, or want more performance. I have more expensive VX-3's and a couple of Zeiss scopes. Yes they are better, but not enough for me to spend the extra. Wouldn't do it again.

I have heard scope building compared to race car building. A mechanic can put together a 180 mph car for only few thousand dollars. To get one that will run over 200 mph might cost close to a million That last 20mph is extremely expensive. Same with scopes.
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Old October 14, 2012, 08:08 PM   #6
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Too vague a survey to really give any constructive feedback. For example the least expensive Swarovski from Midway is $750, least expensive Leupold is $183. Big difference! If your're comparing the higher end of Swarovski or Leupold to low end scopes then there's a big difference in clarity, light throughput and often eye relief. I think scopes, like so many things can often be graded on a curve. The difference between a $60 Simmons and a $150 Redfield is quite noticeable in clarity, eye relief and light gathering in low light. I will never again use Barska, BSA, Tasco or Simmons. At the same time I'm not likely to spend 10x the cost of Simmons ($600) on a scope.

Most scopes I have are around $300-350 such as the Leupold VX-II, Nikon Monarch. I have a couple $150 Redfields which work quite well and are great for the money; that being said to me the difference with the Monarch is huge. Eye relief is better, range of eye relief and low light clarity.
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:08 PM   #7
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As I wrote on a similar thread recently:
Quote:
Optics is one category of products in which quality generally corresponds very well with price. Try looking through a Nightforce scope. (Not that many can afford several, or even one.)
In my opinion a hunter should spend what he/she is willing to spend on a scope while realizing higher prices get higher quality optics. And has been noted, higher quality tends to offset the perceived need/desire for higher magnification. In my case, that means Leupold VX-III 2.5 X 8 scopes on my .270 Win, 7mm Rem Mag, and .300 Win Mag are fine for shots to 400 yards and somewhat longer.
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:12 PM   #8
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im a huge fan of vortex. has everything that leupold has, and a better warranty to boot.
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:24 PM   #9
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I think a guy should spend all his change purse will allow. I have 4 rifles that have scopes which cost more than the rifle on them. A rifle is only as good as the sights that are on it. If you can't hit anything with it you might as well have a club.
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:29 PM   #10
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Vortex was not an option when I bought those Leupold scopes - Vortex did not exist then. I have no experience with Vortex optics.
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:37 PM   #11
lefteye
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Quote:
A rifle is only as good as the sights that are on it.
I agree a shooter should spend as much as he/she can afford on a scope, but a scope costing $1,000 to $2,000 cannot convert a bad rifle into a very accurate rifle.
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:41 PM   #12
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If you have the $$$ it is worth it to get the best.
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:46 PM   #13
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This old hillbilly in the mountains sees it a little differently. I consider my rifles and scopes more as tools than expensive toys. I see no reason to buy a tool more expensive than one that will do the job properly. Groundhogs, squirrels, coyotes, skunks and other pests drop dead just as well with my Marlin 60 or Marlin 25 magnum with a Barska scope(on both). I don't have high powered rifles because of the rough terrain and undergrowth. 00 buckshot in a shotgun works well for deer.
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:55 PM   #14
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No argument from me....regarding quality glass. Depending on the use, it tends to be worth the investment. However, one thing to keep in mind. Like other products in this day and age, much depends on marketing. Some expensive scopes are not quite what they seem. Not necessarily junk masquerading as diamonds....I don't mean that. I just mean that everyone should take the various claims made by scope manufacturers with a grain of salt.

An excellent example of this are the Leupold scopes. Leupold, FYI, does NOT manufacture their own glass. They also don't make many other parts that go into their scopes. The glass they get from NIKON - (the Nikkor division, which makes all of Nikon's glass). So, a Leupold scope, despite their extravagant claims, has no better glass in it than a Nikon Monarch. It's the SAME glass.

My only point to make is - don't take everything at face value. Look carefully at the scope/ brand you are considering. Consider all aspects, the clarity, the solidness of construction, the warranty, etc. It is best to ignore most of the advertising hype.
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Old October 14, 2012, 09:58 PM   #15
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Not for me, and not for the majority of people out there: the difference between a $1,500 scope and a $500 scope can not be appreciated by someone that spends less than $1000 on ammo for that gun in a year.

I'll go further out on that limb: the difference in accuracy between a $1.5K scope and a $35 used Deerfield won't put your average one-boxer on target on a milk jug at 300 yards from a sitting position ..... "it's the man, not the machine". Without a bipod/sandbags and a bench, most of the guys that talk the "Spend more on your glass than your gun" stuff, can't hit an 8x10 target past 300.

"Spend more on glass than the gun"? How 'bout spend more on gun fodder than both of 'em together?
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:32 PM   #16
lefteye
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^ Yes

A scope, regardless of price, quality or magnification, is not a substitute for shooting skill (and experience, both target practice and hunting.)
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:45 PM   #17
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My 2 cents worth. I was ( and you can check ) one of those guys that said BS on a high dollar scope for years. I now own one and i can tell you one thing for sure. It is only worth it depending on what your going to do with it.
The main difference you get is tracking ability. Clarity and Glass ( hog wash)
If you buy a low power scope,even the cheap ones are as crisp as a whistle on low power,so don't buy into that hype. If you sight your rifle in at say 200 yards and use hold over from there,go with a cheap scope as it will serve you more than good enough. Tracking is the main difference in scopes. Take your cheap scope ,zeroed at say 200 yards,count the clicks to say 400 yards and chances are you will be way to the left or right,then when you click back it will probebly need to be re-zeroed again. A good scope. click up,you go up click back and your right back to zero again. My 223 ( Yote rifle) has been sporting a cheap NCStar scope for 4 years now and has never failed me yet. Never have had to re zero it,never have to do any thing with it. It is zeroed at 200 yards ( And never gets Moved ) and i use hold over from there. My 6MMBR ( 8-32 x 56 Sightron ) zeroed at 300 and 32 clicks,dead on at 600 back 32 clicks and dead on at 300 again.
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Old October 15, 2012, 07:22 AM   #18
Double Naught Spy
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Quote:
"Spend more on glass than the gun"? How 'bout spend more on gun fodder than both of 'em together?
I have heard that you should spend more on the scope than the rifle for years, but never figured out why this was said. It just doesn't make sense as it presupposes that there is some sort of direct and real relationship between what you spend (not value, but actually spend) relative to the performance of the two components and the wants or needs of the shooter. There is no such relationship.
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Old October 15, 2012, 08:24 AM   #19
Rifleman1776
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I don't do long range shooting so cannot comment on that aspect.
But, I shot competitively for years, and won consistently, using a $3.00 garage sale discard. I think it was a Tasco.
I bought a Simmons new (only scope I have ever bought new) for my wife's .243. Excellent, I can't see why more than $100.00 should be spent on a scope.
My first hunting trip ever with a scoped rifle, the sling swivel broke and the scope smashed on rocks. That can happen to a $50.00 scope or a $5,000.00 one.
My current scopes are all garage sale discards and they suit me just fine.
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Old October 15, 2012, 08:25 AM   #20
Jim Watson
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I remember the old gunzine article about The Upside Down Rifle, a .35 Marlin lever action with Zeiss scope. The owner said its brightness got him shots very early and very late in the hunting day.

A friend says the difference Leupold to Nightforce to March is discernable.
The price nearly doubles at each step. He says the Nightforce is worth it to him, a Long Range competitor, but while the March is very nice, it is not worth $2800 to him. It was to his neighbor on the firing line, though.

I am only now going through the stuff salvaged from my burned house after The Incident. The Leupolds are sooty and stained outside, clear inside. Other makes, mostly not. So you do get what you pay for, to some extent at least.

That said, my next scope will likely be a Sightron III or Vortex Viper. That is where the current prices balance out against my expectations.
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Old October 15, 2012, 08:51 AM   #21
Nathan
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Depends on what you are doing with the scope.
- twilight performance
- tracking to zero quickly(1 shot zero techniques)
- tracking to get on target at extreme range
- FFP which is clear and usable for ranging or holding off
- high magnification which is clear and doesn't shift POI
- hunting(picking a brownish gray deer out from a brownish gray background)
- Advanced turret features - 0 - 1000yds in one turn
- Use it as a hammer durability
- Brand which will fix your scope(some brands just give you another low spec scope when you break your low spec scope)

If any of the features above sound useful to you, you need to pay some serious money($700+) for your scope.

If you just want to zero at some point blank range zero, shoot some high recoil 300 Rem Ultra Mag out to like 400 yards max, hunt during normal lighting(accept lower performance at dawn and dusk), a $200 - $300 scope will work fine. Actually, if still made a 6x fixed scope would be ideal.

BTW
My hunting rifle is a $650 scope on a $600 rifle with a $150 scope mount.

My AR is a $200 scope on a $200 mount on a $1200 AR. As you can see, I devalued the scope because it is a point and shoot scope. If it breaks, I can discard and go to back up sights quick.
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Old October 15, 2012, 08:53 AM   #22
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Reading comments from a lot of guys on this forum about optics are pretty humorous and it's obvious that they don't do any long range shooting. That said, there are also lots of guys on here that know what they are talking about, but you have to wade through the bs.

Now, it all depends on what you are doing with a scope. If you are going to go sight your gun in, and go hunting and shoot a deer or other animal from 0-300 yards, and you just need a scope with good glass, that is durable, etc., you can get plenty of scopes in the $2-400 range that will do more than you ever need. Heck, many cheaper Simmons will probably do what most people ask of them as well, but I'd prefer to have the piece of mind and slightly better glass of the $2-400 scopes.

People on here seem to argue quite often that low light performance is a reason to spend extra. I don't know where they hunt, but where I hunt, while some scopes may be better than others, even cheapo Simmons and Tasco's will let me see well past legal hunting hours. Scopes like the Burris FFII, Zeiss Conquest, Nikon Monarch, etc will all also let me see well past the legal hunting hours. In a hunting situation there is no reason that you have to spend more on the scope than the gun, unless your gun is a $75 gun.

Where you start gaining performance past those scopes is in the accuracy and repeatability of the tracking. It's obvious from most of the posts that 98% of the guys on here that tout Leupold scopes, 3-9 power scopes, etc., don't shoot long range, and don't adjust their scope very often. If you are shooting long range you need a scope that tracks accurately and this is what you pay for. So if you are looking for a scope for a long range rifle, it is definitely worth the extra money. As mentioned before, keep in mind that just because you have a $2,000 scope doesn't give you skill to shoot 1,000 yards.
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Old October 15, 2012, 09:29 AM   #23
Jim Watson
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I DO shoot Long Range, a little.
I bought Leupold 8.5-25X before I read the Internet Criticism on them.
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Old October 15, 2012, 11:22 AM   #24
wogpotter
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I voted "yes" but its more complex than that, so a simple yes/no isn't really telling the tale.

If you only shoot in nice weather on a 100yd target range then no.
If you're never going to shoot in adverse conditions, no.
If you're never going to shoot after banging the setup around humping through brush & over rough country, no.

However, if you might depend on the scope to give you a great image, remaining precisely on target, after dragging up hill & down dale, & clambering through tree branches at sunset, into the setting sun when it's been blowing rain all day then yes.
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Old October 15, 2012, 04:59 PM   #25
jmr40
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Quote:
im a huge fan of vortex. has everything that leupold has, and a better warranty to boot.
I have a great pair of Vortex binoculars. Bought a couple of their scopes because of the great binoculars. Quickly sold them. A few things to remember. Vortex has some of the clearest glass for the money, but.... A Vortex Diamondback is comparable to a Leupold VX-1 and only $10 cheaper. The Vortex Vipers are comparable to the VX-3's and about the same price.

I'll take the Leupold any day over the Vortex. The Leupold is 4-6 oz lighter and up to 2" shorter depending on the model. The Leupold has almost 5" of eye relief compared to only 3-3.5" on the Vortex scopes.

And the deal killer. The Vortex scopes had a thick black ring around the outside edge of the scope obstructing a large part of the image. Leupolds have only a tiny thin black ring that is barely noticeable when viewing through them.

I don't know howmuch better Vortex's warranty could be. Send any Leupold back, no matter how old, no matter who originally bought it and they'll fix it. No questions asked.
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