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Old April 6, 2020, 08:26 PM   #1
AR-Rookie
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New to AR

Ok, folks, here it is. I am brand new to this whole new world of AR shooting and have just bought and built my first AR. I did it on a budget and I think I got a pretty nice and wallet friendly AR for my first time out. Now it's time to dress it up. I have already settled on a foregrip and it is on order. Now the optics which is the topic of my question to you all. To be honest, my vision sucks and I will need some sort of optics with some magnification. I am an avid hunter and know my way around a HUNTING scope, and would like to be in the 3-9 range. I would also like to stay in the compact range of 7-10"I have looked at a scope that I would like your opinion about. It is the NcStar MKIII 3-9x32. I know what you're all going to say. "you get what you pay for". I have seen the reviews on all the sites that carry this scope and have seen every thing from "best $100 paperweight on the market" to "don't pass this up". "2 rounds and the reticle broke" to "3000 rounds and still holding zero". The problem is I don't know which comments to take to heart and which to take with a grain of salt. Did I mention that I am on a budget? If this is the $100 paperweight, can any of you point me in the right direction? Thanks in advance for any and all assistance.

Last edited by AR-Rookie; April 6, 2020 at 10:08 PM.
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Old April 6, 2020, 08:35 PM   #2
zoomie
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Leupold and Vortex both have 3-9s under $200. I'd look there first.
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Old April 6, 2020, 11:13 PM   #3
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What's your budget?

That will give us a better idea of what to have you take a look at.

I'd say save your money and wait until you can get into the $500+ range. Practice with iron sights and getting used to shooting the rifle.

Once you know how everything works, then move up to getting a scope. Yeah, I know that you said that your vision isn't great but is it so bad that you can't use iron sights?

If so then buy a cheap scope, save up for better glass and then put a better scope on it.

I'd pass on the McStar, unless it falls into the cheap and I don't care what happens to it pile.
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Old April 6, 2020, 11:42 PM   #4
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Well, in response, I wouldn't say my vision is so bad that I CANT use iron sites, but lets just say it is very difficult. For example, I have a Golden Boy that I refuse to put a scope on because, well...................it's a Golden Boy. That being said, things are much easier for me with optics. As far as whether or not I am willing to buy a scope that might end up in the "I don't care what happens to it pile", I'm not willing to spend even .50 cents on something that won't work, or flat out fail on me. I guess I have my answer. Thanks for the guidance. Budget is around $200. I was honestly attracted to the NcStar because of the features and price point.
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Old April 6, 2020, 11:46 PM   #5
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Vortex will do just fine for you
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Old April 7, 2020, 12:23 AM   #6
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To keep you at $200 or less, look at the Vortex Diamondback and Vortex Crossfire II.

Couple of others, Leupold VX-Freedom and Nikon Buckmasters II.

Don't forget a rings and a rail to mount them on. If the AR has a flat top on it, then rings that will work with the rail.
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Old April 7, 2020, 12:31 AM   #7
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I was just looking at the Crossfire II scout, and that looks like a viable option for me. I will have a look at the Leupold and Nikon options as well. It does have a flat top and no front site (by design). I have fired AR's in the past that had optics with magnification as well as the front "A" post site, and found that they just distracted me.
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Old April 7, 2020, 04:33 AM   #8
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One thing to keep in mind with optic purchases is that the more reputable manufacturers are going to have a lifetime, no-questions-asked warranty. I bought some Vortex scopes right out of their showroom a few years back. The employee selling me the scopes told me in no uncertain terms that I could take those scopes out into the parking lot and drive over them with my truck, sweep up what's left and bring it back inside and they would warranty it. His only advice was that I not tell him how it happened.
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Old April 7, 2020, 08:21 AM   #9
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I think you would find that a Riton is a lot of scope for the money.

https://www.amazon.com/Riton-RT-S-Mo...265237&sr=8-15

They have a great no questions asked free replacement warranty.
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Old April 7, 2020, 09:22 AM   #10
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The cheap Vortex are no more durable than the NcStar. In my opinion, you are better off with a 1-4 on a .223 AR, maybe a 1-6, but that is going to be more coin.

First you have the Burris. The MTAC 1-4, which I recommended for a long time, and I have several of. Two of my LEA clients put them on all of their patrol rifles. But discontinued and the price has climbed near $400. It was replaced with the (~$350) RT6 that is a 1-6. The RT6 punches way above it's price point and is one of the best choices for a LPV on an AR.

Next I'd have to push you to Leupold. They have a few choices in the Hog and Patrol that are in the $250 to $350 range. Very good optics.

Athalon and Primary Arms both have a 1-4 in the $125 to $180 range that I would not hesitate to suggest if you need to stay under $200.

TrueGlow, Sightmark, BSA, etc. (as well as the cheap Vortex) are not good uses of your money for anything you want to be more than an unreliable toy.
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Old April 7, 2020, 12:23 PM   #11
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I am very pleased with the two Vortex optics I have. First was a Spark II red dot I put on a Ruger Charger Takedown pistol. Very clear, and quality far above NcStar.
Second is a Vortex Crossfire II 1-4 Power on a 450 Bushmaster build. Again, very good quality,crystal clear optics, and an added advantage of a lighted center dot in the reticle. Fully controllable with a turret knob on top. Where it doesn't fit your magnification criteria, it is within your desired length.
https://vortexoptics.com/vortex-cros...ex_reticle=990

(PM sent about your Golden Boy)
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Old April 7, 2020, 01:01 PM   #12
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FWIW... a lot of Bushnell scopes are on clearance / sale ( Bushnell and Nikon are both leaving the scope market )

https://www.midwayusa.com/rifle-scop...ctedSort=False
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Old April 7, 2020, 03:23 PM   #13
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With a $200 budget you got options. I like my $25 Simmons 4x32. I switch back and forth between irons and that scope. It maintains zero even though I mount and dismount it, frequently.
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Old April 7, 2020, 05:11 PM   #14
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I have a Mueller that seems to be good... but I haven’t used it enough to comment on its longevity.
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Old April 9, 2020, 02:55 PM   #15
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Seriously, this...
https://www.eurooptic.com/Nikon-Rifl...Closeouts.aspx
The P3 3-9x40 is $99.
The P3 4-12x40 is $129.

More hunters kill more deer looking through a Nikon Prostaff than any other scope I can think of. I bet half the guys on this forum have, and a good percentage killed their first deer looking through one.

The only reason to stick with a scope as small as that NCStar is for the "looks"... so gotta decide if you want a known pile of garbage that resembles a big ACOG or a decent base model hunting-style scope from a decades proven tried and true company.

If you've got $200, the Leupold VX-Freedom brand is where I'd go next for an AR because they're very light and still 100% Made in the USA. The Freedom 2-7x33 is only 11oz compared to the 3-9xProstaff at 15oz if weight is a big factor. The Freedom 3-9x and 2-7x are $200 shipped on Amazon.
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Old April 9, 2020, 03:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
More hunters kill more deer looking through a Nikon Prostaff than any other scope I can think of. I bet half the guys on this forum have, and a good percentage killed their first deer looking through one.
I'd like to see the statistics on that one
If it's true, it's probably only for those under 40 years old.
It would be much more believable to say Weaver, Tasco, or even Leupold.
As aside, this hunter has no Nikon scopes, and never has. Out of 5 scoped centerfire hunting rifles, 5 scoped rimfires, and 6 out of my 10 TC Contender barrels, none wear a Nikon. Nothing against the brand, just nothing that other brands like Leupold, Bushnel, Vortex,Tasco, BSA, and others havent done as well.


Quote:
The only reason to stick with a scope as small as that NCStar is for the "looks"... so gotta decide if you want a known pile of garbage that resembles a big ACOG or a decent base model hunting-style scope from a decades proven tried and true company.
Or, a good quality, reasonably priced scope that is more size appropriate to the AR15 platform.
With today's manufacturing methods a reasonably pricedscope, in the $100-$200 range is every bit as good as the expensive brands were a couple decades ago. While the expensive "approved name" brands are as good as they ever were. The quality gap has been closed greatly.

Quote:
Seriously, this...
https://www.eurooptic.com/Nikon-Rifl...Closeouts.aspx
The P3 3-9x40 is $99.
The P3 4-12x40 is $129.
Yes, very good prices, but the "why" is also a consideration....
Nikon is going out of the rifle scope business. Not saying it would stop me, in fact I might order one just to put on the shelf for future use. But some people may be concerned about customer support.
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Old April 9, 2020, 06:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
More hunters kill more deer looking through a Nikon Prostaff than any other scope I can think of. I bet half the guys on this forum have, and a good percentage killed their first deer looking through one.
I sure hope that was all sarcasm. Redfield Simmons and Leupold are going to be well ahead of Nikon in terms of shear numbers over the years.
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Old April 9, 2020, 08:54 PM   #18
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I have a Redfield Revolution 2-7x33 with Accu-Range reticle mounted on my 16” barrel AR carbine and really like it. It is clear, sharp and lightweight (11.1 oz.) and is only 11 inches long. It still provides enough magnification to shoot decent groups at 100 yards and also provides an excellent wide field of view for larger targets at closer range. Best of all, it is made by Leupold in Beaverton, OR, and is backed by their lifetime warranty and excellent customer service. They are a little tougher to find now, and have gone up in price, but are well worth it, in my opinion.
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Old April 10, 2020, 06:20 PM   #19
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Different people have different standards for scopes. For me, very few scopes under $100 or so are worth buying. My sweet spot is usually around $200 and you can get various budget models of Leupold, Nikon, Burris, and Vortex scopes in that price range.

I'd personally recommend Leupold (last time I bought one their intro model was the VX-1 - I believe it's a bit different now), but I also typically don't do traditional optical scopes on an AR. I typically use scopes for hunting, and I don't hunt with AR's. I much prefer a good red dot on an AR.
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Old April 10, 2020, 11:26 PM   #20
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PSA has a deal on this Sig Sauer Whiskey 3 scope with mount for $170.

https://palmettostatearmory.com/sig-...ing-mount.html

It's included in this scope review video.

https://youtu.be/1TpagmXG3xM
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Old April 12, 2020, 02:05 AM   #21
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NcStar is about as low as you can go and still have a brand name. I would not buy that...not even for airsoft.

Vortex and Leupold budget lines would be my recommendation.
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Old April 12, 2020, 02:11 AM   #22
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Quote:
look at the Vortex Diamondback and Vortex Crossfire II
I don't like those scopes (have em both) and would take a budget Leupold or primary arms far sooner than those.
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