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Old August 1, 2019, 04:52 PM   #1
waddy
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Suggestions on optic for AR-15

I have have an old Bushmaster AR-15 with the removable handle. I currently have a standard scope mounted on top of the handle, and obviously it is too high to be comfortable. I would like to put a good optic on the flat top of the receiver. I have thought about a red dot, but I think I would like a little more precision than the dot offers, for shooting coyotes and varmints, etc. I would sure appreciate any and all suggestions, including red dots. Thanks!
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Old August 1, 2019, 08:14 PM   #2
Targa
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I have this Vortex 3x prism scope https://www.amazon.com/Vortex-Optics...gateway&sr=8-2 that works well.

There are better options by Burris, Primary Arms, etc that offer better magnification and battery life but the Vortex is what I have experience with.

Below is what the Vortex looks like on my AR
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Last edited by Targa; August 1, 2019 at 08:41 PM.
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Old August 1, 2019, 08:57 PM   #3
jmr40
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The best all around optic for an AR is a conventional scope with 1X or 1.5X on the low end. Something like a 1-4X or 1-6X is faster than irons or dot sights up close when on 1X, and 4X is enough magnification for at LEAST 300 yards. 6X will get you out to 500-600 yards.

They make them with illuminated reticles that perform the same function as a dot sight. I have one, but will probably NEVER turn on the dot. In low light you can see the dot, but it makes it harder to see the target. Without the dot turned on I have plenty of light. I killed a deer last season 5 minutes into legal shooting time. And could have done so 10-15 minutes before that.

The sky is the limit depending on your budget. Leupold makes a 1" tube 1.5-4X20 scope that sells for about $200. Or you could spend $1000+.

I like a 30mm tube for this, and have this one in addition to the Leupold and a couple of Nikons.

https://www.swfa.com/vortex-1-6x24-s....html?___SID=U

The Nikon

https://www.swfa.com/nikon-1-4x24-m-....html?___SID=U

I've tried the straight up dot sights, don't like 'em.
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Old August 1, 2019, 10:56 PM   #4
5whiskey
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I happen to be a fan of fixed low power prism sights at the moment. Vortex makes a decent one. I have a primary arms 2.5x. I like it, I personally think you get a lot of optic for the money. The acss reticle is... well it’s busy. I don’t mind it so much as the large outer ring works great with the bindon aiming concept. It’s when I’m trying to hit small targets at 300 yards that the reticle becomes somewhat of a cumberance.
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Old August 2, 2019, 12:30 AM   #5
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My next such purchase will probably be the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4 X 24. 30mm tube with illuminated V-brite reticle. Around $200. Check it out.

Last edited by jmhyer; August 2, 2019 at 11:01 AM.
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Old August 2, 2019, 03:51 PM   #6
waddy
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Thanks for all the suggestions, I really appreciate them. I was going to remove the handle and just use the flattop receiver, but then I realized the front sight is in the way and it is not readily removable. I can use the iron sights through my present mounts, and the scope is a pretty fair scope with just a duplex cross hair. I may just leave well enough alone for the present. Still keeping your suggestions firmly in mind though!!
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Old August 2, 2019, 07:59 PM   #7
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I am in the Vortex line of sight-I also have the 3xSpitfire on my AR-I have shot at 100 yards and it does pretty well-300 would be whole different story-standing in the back of our living room I can place the Patio size door completely in the sight-would make it a little hard to miss someone coming thru.
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Old August 3, 2019, 10:56 PM   #8
bamaranger
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what works for me

Though the red dot and all its guises is still quite the rage for an AR pattern rifle, I prefer a low power, variable like 1-4x, or 1.5-5x size, with a standard duplex reticle. Additionally, though 30mm tubes are all the in thing as well, I like a 1" tube, as they are generally a bit more compact and lighter.

Let me add right now that you not need concern yourself with the front sight tower on your rifle. Simple mount your conventional scope with one of the various ring sets or mounts that raise the scope off the rail a bit. An example of this mount is the Burris PEPR mount, or the Nikon (paired) P-series rings. Additionally, if your scope is tidy enough (another reason for 1" tubes) you can mount a simple BUIS rear under the ocular (rear) bell. In the odd event your tidy low powered variable fails, you can remove it with either the quick detach system for your base, or in the case of the P-series, with a hex key. I keep the correct hex key taped to my rifle. You may see a wee bit of the sight tower in your field of view on the lowest power setting of the scope, but not enough to distract or disturb aim. On the top end, the tower will likely not be visible at all.

A dot is very fast at close range, but I feel I do not give up much speed with a low power conventional scope. As I am not doing entries in dim light, the extra speed and visibility of a dot really holds little advantage for me. The precision offered with 4x or 5x at ranges beyond 100 yds on smaller targets is a decided plus over dots. Yes, I can hit larger targets with a dot at 100 yds, and beyond, but on a smaller target, say a varmints noggin or a coke can, the magnification offered on a variable is attractive.

Finally, let me mention cost. I can get a perfectly satisfactory, tough as nails low powered variable for $225 or so, and it will not need batteries, ever. I do not believe I can get a dot of similar durability for that price. And it will need batteries, some day.
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Old August 4, 2019, 03:56 PM   #9
waddy
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Bamaranger, thanks for the comments, especially concerning the front sight post. My old Bushmaster is the Model X15-E2s, and the front sight post contains the gasport, and is non-removable, for practical purposes. It sticks right up there proudly!! The rear sight is in the handle, and I can use the stock iron sights through the handle mount. I would like to put on one of the Leupold FX-II's on, but I want to keep the ability to have BUIS's. I may just have to learn to love the present mounting system. I really appreciate yours and everyone's comments and suggestions.
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Old August 4, 2019, 05:12 PM   #10
bamaranger
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front sight tower

Yes, my sole AR has a fixed front sight tower with gas block , just like yours. The upper receiver also has the standard slotted rail, to which a carry handle containing irons could be attached.

What I am suggesting you try is ditch the carry handle, mount a low power variable as described earlier, and assemble so that an affordable BUIS could be fitted at the same time. The BUIS is used if the scope/mount system were removed due to failure of same.

Mounting a scope on top of a carry is not a recommended practice these days, though it was the only option before rails. Yeah, I guess it could work, but it would look goofy, and you'd need some arrangement for a high cheek weld as well, more goofiness.

Try it, you'll not be sorry.
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Old August 4, 2019, 05:14 PM   #11
bamaranger
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clarification

Just to be clear, a back up REAR sight only.

And a scope on top of the carry handle.....verbotten.
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Old August 5, 2019, 11:35 AM   #12
spacemanspiff
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There are optic options that can cowitness the iron sights.
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Old August 5, 2019, 04:04 PM   #13
bamaranger
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co witness

Yes, of course there are. But NOT through the lenses of a low power variable conventional rifle scope, which is what I was suggesting to the OP.
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Old August 6, 2019, 04:21 PM   #14
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I will give another plus for the prizm scopes. I had the 3x ACSS from Primary Arms and I still have a 5x from them. I liked both, but the 3x is really nice for closer shots using both eyes and still gives enough magnification to make 100+yd shots much easier. The 5x is too much magnification to use with both eyes open, at least for me. Though it does very well shooting at 400+yds. Both nice scopes for their respective uses.
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Old August 19, 2019, 05:34 PM   #15
jfruser
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More than likely the front sight block will not cause any problems.

The correct height bases/rings (suggest Warne one-piece base/ring) will set it up high enough to use.

Scope depends on what you want to spend. I will leave high end to others. Low end, I can help.

I am a leupold guy. If you want a little range, their VX-Freedom 2-7x33 is nice. If you want lower power and lighter, VX-Freedom 1.5-5x20.

Good luck.
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Old August 19, 2019, 08:10 PM   #16
Goosby
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Maybe you can try Arken Optics FFP rifle scope SH-4 4-14X44.
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Old August 19, 2019, 10:36 PM   #17
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I prefer scopes for AR in the 1-4X range. I can't find one though that is less than 8" long. If anyone knows of one a link would be handy.
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Old August 23, 2019, 11:36 PM   #18
Lamebrain
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This is what I have on my DPMS Oracle. I really like this little unit!

LUCID OPTICS P7 4X Weapons Optic
https://www.lucidoptics.com/p74x.php
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Old August 24, 2019, 07:25 AM   #19
zukiphile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT TL
I prefer scopes for AR in the 1-4X range. I can't find one though that is less than 8" long. If anyone knows of one a link would be handy.
Does it need to be variable, or is a fixed power within that range acceptable?

I have several 2.5x20 shotgun scopes that are less than 8 inches, but not by a lot. They have great depth of field and eye relief. Barska makes one. https://www.opticsplanet.com/barska-...cle-scope.html

I don't have a Primary Arms 2.5 prismatic, but it seems like a similar idea in a smaller package. https://www.primaryarms.com/primary-...eticle-pac2-5x

The Bushnell Lil P is small, but is billed as a true 1x. A small amount of magnification plus excellent clarity adds more range for me than the magnification alone would suggest. A TA44 is small, but costs more than my first car.

Last edited by zukiphile; August 24, 2019 at 08:08 AM.
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Old August 24, 2019, 03:56 PM   #20
MTT TL
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Quote:
Does it need to be variable, or is a fixed power within that range acceptable?
For my purpose it needs to be variable down to 1X. This has less to do with desire and more to do with an arbitrary requirement that must be met.

I actually have one of those Barska's on my 11/87 slug gun and it works way better than it's price tag would indicate.

My previous solution was an EO Tech with flip aside magnifier but it is now too large.
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Old August 25, 2019, 07:36 PM   #21
zukiphile
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Quote:
My previous solution was an EO Tech with flip aside magnifier but it is now too large.
Some people say that a magnifier can be used with a 1x prismatic. I like prismatic scopes, but I don't know anything about magnifiers.
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Old September 4, 2019, 12:24 PM   #22
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Just finished reading a couple of scope guides and a popular one is the Primary Arms 1-6x. https://www.primaryarms.com/primary-...-62x39-reticle

Maybe you should give that one a shot? I sourced it from here: https://scopesfield.com/best-scope-for-ar-15/
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Old September 4, 2019, 04:47 PM   #23
pblanc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zukiphile View Post
Some people say that a magnifier can be used with a 1x prismatic. I like prismatic scopes, but I don't know anything about magnifiers.
I have used a 3X Burris magnifier behind a Vortex 1X Spitfire prismatic optic and it works fine.

I have used fixed magnification rifle scopes, variable low-power rifle scopes, red dot sights, and red dots (or 1X prism scopes) with magnifiers on ARs. They all have their pluses and minuses.

If you want a nice, compact, 3X fixed power scope, the Nikon P-Tactical 223 3x32 BDC is a good option.

I find that red dots are still allow me to acquire a sight picture more quickly than anything else, including LVPOs with a true 1X low power. I have a reasonably decent Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6X24 LVPO but even at 1X power the eye relief is much less forgiving than a red dot sight or prism optic. But it is obviously better for precise shots at 100 yards and much better for shots at ranges greater than 100 yards.

I find that a quality red dot sight can be had for considerably less than a decent LVPO with a true 1X low power. The SIG Romeo 5 and a variety of Holosun models are good examples. These have motion-detection, shake-awake technology and a very long battery life.

The iron sight radius on most ARs is set at 1.41" above the top of the Picatinny rail. Many red dot sights and prismatics come with risers that provide for either an exact co-witness or a lower third co-witness. A lower 1/3 riser will position the center of the optic tube about 1.64-1.65" above the top of the Picatinny rail. Most one-piece mounts and scope rings made for ARs will place the center of the scope 1.5-1.6" above the top of the Picatinny rail.

You probably won't see the front sight tower at 3X magnification, and you won't see it at all at higher magnifications. If you see it, it won't interfere with the use of your scope so long as the cross hairs are positioned 1.5" or more above the top of the rail. With a red dot sight and a fixed front sight tower, some prefer an exact co-witness riser, which will position your red dot, when centered in the field of view of the optic, right at the top of your front sight post. With a lower 1/3 co-witness, the red dot when centered will be above the top of the front sight post. The back up sights will still be visible and usable in the lower 1/3 of the field of view of the optic.

I find that with a decent red dot sight with a dot size no greater than 2 MOA and a 3X magnifier, I can shoot with about the same accuracy at 100 yards as I can with a fixed power 3X rifle scope, or a LVPO set to 3X. Beyond 100 yards I need more magnification for precise shooting and even a 2 MOA dot covers too much of the target.

Last edited by pblanc; September 5, 2019 at 08:32 AM.
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Old September 4, 2019, 06:50 PM   #24
zukiphile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pblanc
I have used a 3X Burris magnifier behind a Vortex 1X Spitfire prismatic optic and it works fine.
I found the Spitfire to reduce the image size. I thought the Bushnell Lil P so small that one might lots of room for a magnifier.
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