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Old August 27, 2013, 10:30 PM   #1
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Help With Optics Please

Hey guys I am over my head a little with optics at this point. Perhaps someone could help break this down for me? I understand basic rifle scope 101. Windage, elevation, etc. However there are a ton of features I am not very familiar with. Some I understand like BDC, but others I am a little hazy on. Then there is determining the quality. I know Leupold has a good name as does Burris, and I guess Nikons are supposed to be pretty good as well. Of course the obvious answer to this problem is an EOTech or an Aimpoint PRO, but I want something with some magnification and one of the rifles I am considering is a .308 with 18" barrel. That said just a red dot on such a thing is a waste. I also plan to hunt with it. About the only things I really know I want is clarity, and a wide field of view, but I don't know how to make sure I get that. I would also like to stay in the $500 range.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old August 27, 2013, 10:36 PM   #2
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For your price range, I would look at Leupold and Vortex. Both are very good brands and have outstanding customer service. If you have a dealer close by, head over there and take a look through the different scopes.
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Old August 28, 2013, 11:53 AM   #3
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There have been a lot of posts about scope questions. My opinion is narrow your search to a couple, three, maybe more, scopes in you price range with the features you want, then LOOK THROUGH THEM. Everyone's eyes are different, you may not like what someone else does. Stores like Cabelas and Scheels carry pretty much all the brands you can think of. So do the Pepsi challenge, have the guy at the counter take out 2 or 3 and look through them, go back and forth, find the one you really like.
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Old August 28, 2013, 12:17 PM   #4
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Definitely look through a few at your local store. A big store like Cabelas has some actual range you can focus on (my Cabelas even had a couple "landmarks" ranged so you could get a good reference).

I got a Nikon for my .22 AR and am happy with it. I feel they're about in the same mid-range field you're probably looking at (not cheapos, but not top-of-the-line Nightforces or Zeiss). Nikon also has a cool phone/tablet app matched to their scopes, although there's other generic ones that would work for any scope (I have one called Strelok which I think is pretty decent).

I have a Weaver for my M4, but still waiting on the rings to mount it. It looks pretty solid, but is slightly out of your range. It has a couple extra features, though (illuminated reticle, etc), so I'm sure they have something more in your range. The glass looks good from my limited looking at the cars in the parking lot use, though.
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Old August 28, 2013, 02:06 PM   #5
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Vortex Vortex Vortex
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Old August 28, 2013, 03:10 PM   #6
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Thanks for the help guys. Any suggestions on what would be a practical level of magnification for a 223 or 308?

Also with mil-dot scopes. Are the dots designed to represent a specific distance so as to make adjusting your shot for windage easier?

My dad only had one rifle with a scope when I was growing up, so the only scope I ever used was whatever he had on there, and it was just a standard crosshair type.
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Old August 28, 2013, 03:46 PM   #7
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Think Weaver is redoing their Grand Slam line of prices on them have been reduced at May be other sellers that have reduced prices, but not aware of it. Depends on the reticle, but Natchez has a 4.5-14x40 AO Grand Slam for as low as $280 (maybe $15 shipping). Weaver Optics has various rebates on their scopes, so might be one on a Grand Slam.......just sent in a $100 rebate form for a Weaver Super Slam I recently purchased.

Grand Slams are very nice Japanese made scopes....good optics and any adjustments are quite good too. While I own several of the higher priced Weaver Super Slam scopes, don't own a Grand Slam. However, a few of my scope savvy shooting buddies do own Grand Slams and are quite happy with them.
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Old August 28, 2013, 06:08 PM   #8
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You don't have to spend $500 to get a good scope. I wouldn't spend less than $200 though.

Some people only consider glass quality when judging scopes. It is only 1 factor, and not the most important. Many good scopes with very good glass such as Nikon, Vortex, Bushnell have a tunnel vision effect. It looks like you are looking through a cardboard tube with a large band of black around the edges. Other scopes give a clear image with only a thin black ring at the edge. Look through some before you buy something online unseen.

Eye relief is often forgotten. You can get smacked in the eye easier with a short eye relief scope, but that is not the most important reason to avoid anything with much less than 4". Even short eye relief can be compensated for if you are shooting from a bench and have plenty of time to set up the shot. But in the field when shots have to be taken fast, and often from odd angles, you can find your target in the scope much easier if the eye relief is more forgiving. It also means you can see though the scope in August wearing a T-shirt and in December wearing everything you can put on.

You don't need or want anything with a front objecive over 40mm. Anything bigger is a waste of money and will never offer any advantages. Just disadvantages. Try to locate a chart showing a scopes light transmission rating. It is a better judge of how much light is getting through. Many mid priced 40mm scopes let more light through than most mid priced 50mm scopes because the quality of the glass is more important than the size. Even with high end 50mm scopes they only offer better light transmission than a comparable 40mm scope when set on 9X. Any more, or less magnification and a 40mm scope will equal a 50mm scope.

Look at the scopes weight. Many are 18-20 oz and can quickly ruin a quick pointing and handling carbine like you are considering when there are many 8-11 oz scopes that will do the same job.

Rugged dependability rates high with me. My rifles and scopes get used hard in rough country, rain and snow. Clear glass is worthless if it is fogged or reticles are broken.

I like Leupold or Zeiss. I can do anything I need to do with a $300 VX-2 from Leupold. If I won $100,000,000 in the lottery tomorrow I'd probably splurge on a few rifles, but I'd still put a $300-$400 Leupold on all of them.

In the $200-$300 range I like the Burris FF-II and Redfield Revolution. If you just want to spend $400-$500 the better Vortex scopes look pretty good, but not the cheaper versions. The Leupold VX-3's and if you can still find one of the $400 Zeiss Conquests they are good scopes.

The new Zeiss Terra sounds promising from what I've read, but I've not seen one in person yet.
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Old August 31, 2013, 11:31 AM   #9
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When I was in the market for a scope a few years back I know Bushnell Elite's were pretty good scopes for the money. Good glass, solid construction and they had a killer warranty.

Whats a practical level of magnification? How far do you plan on shooting?
I shoot 500 yds and only bump mine up to 9x and do ok with it.

This explains mil-dot scopes fairly well.
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