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Old November 5, 2012, 11:11 AM   #1
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Any Way to Increase a Budget Optic's Ability to Hold Zero?

Hello community,

As the title indicates, I'm wondering what causes an optic to lose zero, and how one can improve the optic's ability to hold it.

For example, if the main reason for zero loss is vibration from recoil, causing minor movements in the dials, would it be a benefit to add some mild loctite to the dials?


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Old November 5, 2012, 12:42 PM   #2
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The habit of drifting zero indicates the scope is unreliable. You could send it back to the factory half a dozen times before you decide to replace it, or just go ahead and replace it now and save yourself the heartache and headache by not having to sight it in half a dozen times and wasting all that ammo. And there is no need to fret over the cost. Once it's done, it's done.
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Old November 5, 2012, 12:53 PM   #3
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Not sure if it is a valid way to pick optics but I tend to budget an extra 50 to 100 percent of the gun price for optics. I have had good results with this method, so far.

I worked with some budget scopes to the point of exasperation before I changed to this method of picking optics.
Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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Old November 5, 2012, 02:57 PM   #4
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would it be a benefit to add some mild loctite to the dials?
It isn't the dial on the outside that's moving - its the retical on the inside. Dump it and replace with something that will hold.
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Old November 5, 2012, 04:03 PM   #5
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Any Way to Increase a Budget Optic's Ability to Hold Zero?
The best way I know is to sell it to someone else.
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Old November 5, 2012, 06:14 PM   #6
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"Mushy"clicks, and those that are imprecise, are hallmarks of cheap optics.

But, you can have a "cheap" scope with those characteristics that wouldn't cut it for long range applications- but that "hold" zero in that once you've got the reticle positioned where you want it, it doesn't shift under recoil.

This can be "OK" for a hunting application, just "zero" it based on maximum point blank range, and you never have to touch the elevation turret- and you can hold for wind based on conditions.

But if it doesn't "hold" point of aim, you're SOL...
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Old November 5, 2012, 11:59 PM   #7
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What is the point of a scope you can not trust to do its job?

It throws a variable into the equation that you can not account for. With good glass on a good rifle, the bullets should generally end up exactly where you want them at 100-200 yards if the shooter is doing their job correctly.

As far as some good quality affordable glass... I am a repeat buyer of Redfield optics. Made in the USA, sister company to leupold, lifetime warranty, great light transmission, choice of reticles, and prices between 170 and 250 dollars. Their newest line has a range finding reticle.

It puts bullets exactly where I want them to be. If it doesn't, I consider it to be my fault and not my rifle or the scope mounted on it.
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Old November 6, 2012, 12:06 AM   #8
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The only thing I know of would be to put it on a rifle with very light recoil.

If it's not holding zero and the mounting has been done right, it's broken. Your only options, unless you're particularly handy at fixing things, are to discard it or return it to the manufacturer if they will stand behind it.
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Old November 6, 2012, 08:23 AM   #9
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Are you sure it's the scope that is the issue. Lots of times (more often than scopes losing zero in my experience) the RIFLE will change its point of impact over time due to stock changes because of changing moisture content. That's the main reason I free float barrels in hunting rifles.

I assume you also know that any change in the specific load you are using will require scope adjustment.

Before you throw it away, which is what I would do with a scope that doesn't work, make sure the scope is the real issue for you.
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Old November 6, 2012, 09:19 PM   #10
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Any Way to Increase a Budget Optic's Ability to Hold Zero?
Buy a better scope up front but if the one you have won't hold zero, it's time to replace it. There isn't a trick to fixing a broke scope assuming your mounting is solid.
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Old November 6, 2012, 11:25 PM   #11
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Chaz 88 and Alex0535 dredged up some old memories for me. There is something about getting old that makes a lot of folks (me) think of prices, relative to the “old days,” differently. For example, a decent .243 at $500-800 sounds very reasonable today, to me, but $350-600 for a scope for that rifle does not. Remembering back to 1974, though, a name-brand .243 was about $125 and a Redfield 3x9 was about $85-90. So the ratio is correct, but my reaction is faulty.

As for Alex’s comment about Redfield, I believe they hibernated for a number of years, but the 3x9 I have mounted on my grand old .270 BDL still performs as well as when I bought it. It might not have the light-gathering ability of the latest and greatest, and it has just the old thin crosshairs of its day, but it still functions perfectly and is enough for a pair of very old eyes.

This post was a good reminder to me that optics should not be “cheaped,” at least for hunting with centerfire weapons. Pretty much, only older folks and young preachers will recognize the analogy of how much to put in the basket at church, relative to people who are growing old.
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Old November 8, 2012, 06:05 AM   #12
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If it's not holding zero and the mounting has been done right, it's broken.
That's where I'd start, making sure the mounting is done correctly. It's amazing to me how many times I've seen scopes blamed when the problem was a loose base or ring. So start there, and a little blue Loctite can indeed help to ensure that rings and bases are secured correctly.
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