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Old June 7, 2010, 10:16 PM   #1
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Tactical Scope for AR-10: Variable versus Fixed Power

Hello Everyone,

Of you have seen my other recent post, you know that I have been shopping for my first tactical scope for my AR-10 long range riflery. I have been leaning toward a variable power Leupold or U.S. Optics model with it's reticle in the first focal plane. All I can say is WOW to the price point. Now don't get me wrong as I do not mind spending money on good equipment, but this will be my first scope purchase and I want to do it right the first time.

While I was talking with a gentleman over at U.S Optics about my needs and the discussion turned toward the price of variables he asked if I had ever considered a fixed power scope. I had not and asked what the price difference was for comparable fixed power model. It was about $1000 less!

So I would really like to hear from some experienced riflemen who prefer a top quality fixed power scope over a variable. Some argue that the high power (e.g. 17x) fixed model is more difficult to use at close range or hold steady in the offhand position while some highly respected rifle instructors like Dave Lauck are on the record saying that while it is more difficult it is nothing that cannot be solved with adequate training and practice.

I would love hear from some dyed in the wool fixed power users to get the other side of the story.

Thank you for your input.

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Old June 7, 2010, 10:33 PM   #2
maestro pistolero
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I have benn considering a fixed 10X for my new AR10T, but not unless I also do this for CQB: then go to this 9th frame and click on CTR-02
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Old June 7, 2010, 10:49 PM   #3
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What's the intended use/niche of the rifle?
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Old June 7, 2010, 10:51 PM   #4
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For big game at long range I would opt for a 6x.
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Old June 8, 2010, 12:24 AM   #5
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While I respect the Leupold name, it is no longer the sole competitor in quality long-range optics.

The Vortex Viper PST FFP line is worth looking into IMO...
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." -Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.
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Old June 8, 2010, 12:35 AM   #6
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The only quality scope I own is a Leupold fixed FX-II 4x33. I'm predominantly an iron-sight shooter.

This scope goes on my M14 when I get drawn for elk/deer/antelope, not because I need it to hit at increased distances... but because I need it for enhanced sight picture at dawn or dusk light conditions.

Otherwise it stays off.

The reason I went with the fixed power was the glass felt much clearer for the price point than any other comparable scope with variable magnification.

Considering the fact that you didn't mention an elevated scope base to get an additional 20 or 30 MOA for 1000 yard shooting, I'd assume you're looking at sub-800 yard shooting? Predominantly inside 400 yards most of the time, with some horsing around or experimentation at longer distances when you can find the time?

As such, a 4x or 6x scope's reticle cross-point is going to cover less than a quarter MOA on target. A 4x is plenty of magnification and reticle precision to hit a 20 inch bullseye with a perfect dead-center hold at 500 yards. The cross hairs of the reticle will cover an inch or less on the target. Chances are, your groups will be much larger than that... and it won't be the fault of a lack of magnification. Velocity deviation and wind estimation errors will open your groups up much more than increased magnification can possibly fix.
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Old June 8, 2010, 03:05 AM   #7
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I've been wondering the same thing for my 308 bolt gun. I'll be shooting 100-300yds on the range.
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Old June 8, 2010, 03:18 AM   #8
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besides less moving parts and perhaps price, what advantages do fixed offer?
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Old June 8, 2010, 08:08 AM   #9
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less weight
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Old June 8, 2010, 10:00 AM   #10
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This may come as a shock to you. It certainly did for me.

I have an LR308 with an Eotech red dot sight. I can ring the 300 yard gong with it at will.

I put a Timney trigger in the rifle and took the scope off my M1A and mounted it on the LR308. I was expecting the rifle to really come together with the new trigger and a scope with which to actually see detail.

Shooting the same loads ( WWB ) through the rifle, it was awful. I really don't understand why the groups should open up so much. The scope is a Nikon Monarch 4.5-16X50.

I put the scope back on the M1A and put the Eotech back on the LR308.

With that red dot on the .308, I am able to put 10 shots in the center diamond of a ShootnC target at 100 yards. The red dot has no magnification and the Nikon does and to see that much difference is disturbing.

I realize the aforementioned group is not earthshaking but is certainly COM at 100 yards.

I need to get to the bottom of it

You guys have any ideas?


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Old June 8, 2010, 10:15 AM   #11
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field of view
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Old June 8, 2010, 10:28 AM   #12
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Can you elaborate?

I am not understanding. I would think you should be able to hold to point of aim MUCH better with a scope than with a red dot. I can't imagine holding closer with a red dot.

That would almost be akin to shooting much better with iron sights than with scopes. I know some prefer iron sights and shoot 1000 yards with them but it seems counter intuitive to think there should be so much difference in favor of the red dot sights.

I need some input from you iron sighters, please.

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Old June 15, 2010, 10:18 AM   #13
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Anthony - if cost is an issue - have you ever looked at Hawke line of riflescopes? Most of them are made in Japan and the glass is very good. This is no Leupold, but it could be a great scope for the money.

Take a look at the HAWKE SIDEWINDER 30 TACTICAL SIDE FOCUS RIFLE SCOPES. While the brand may not be well known in the US - it's been around in Europe for over 30 years.

If you need flexibility between going short and long with the same rifle scope - consider either an EoTech with a flip to side magnifier or a Trij AccuPoint.

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