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Old October 27, 2013, 06:13 PM   #1
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Considering variable vs. fixed power scope


I've been eyeing 1X-4X and 2X-7X scopes for an AR. Fixed power scopes have recently got my attention, though. My curiosity is at a given price point how much better are the optics of fixed power scope of say 3 or 4 power over the variable scopes.

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Old October 27, 2013, 07:14 PM   #2
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I prefer the 1-4X on an AR. In my experince 3X is more power than I want for close work. The 1-4X has enough power for ranges up to at least 300 yards when on 4X. I just think they are more versatile.

Modern variables are every bit as rugged as fixed power scopes.
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Old October 29, 2013, 09:22 AM   #3
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I have a Nikon 1-4X 20mm on my AR. It is a great scope, and I recommend it highly at the $250 - $300 price point.

I recently put a Leupold FX-II ultralight 2.5X fixed power scope on a Marlin 336. I think this would be a good AR scope as well, and it is seriously lightweight. If a person were building a lightwieght AR and and wanted a magnified optic, this 7 oz Leupold would be a good choice.
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Old November 7, 2013, 12:03 AM   #4
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Modern variables are every bit as rugged as fixed power scopes.
This may be, but I've must discovered (to my dismay) that variable power scopes change their POA to various degrees when the power is changed.

This is probably not an issue for an AR and 1-4 power range but it's a big deal to me in my quest for the best accuracy.
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Old November 10, 2013, 08:05 AM   #5
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To the OP: What are you going to use it for? Hunting? Targets? Defense? Competition?

Variables may change zero over the zoom, but usually if you want best accuracy, you are zoomed to max power, so zero there.

At the same price, a fixed power scope will be "better" but "better" is subjective and may mean different things to different people. I use a 1-4 Vortex Razor and love it more than the IOR 1-4 I used before because I can hit targets faster, and faster is better in 3-gun.
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Old November 10, 2013, 10:17 AM   #6
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I too have been looking at going to a fix power scope although I have no experience as to their quality ( brightness and clarity ). After giving it some thought it seems to me that if a fixed power scope is constructed with the same glass as the variable power scope then the fixed power scope would be clearer and brighter ( fewer lenses ). They might also have a longer eye relief, but perhaps not, as I said before I have no experience with fixed power scopes.
You posted that you were concerned with the POA changing with magnification. With this I do have some experience, I have a Nikon with a BDC reticle and it requires a cheat sheet just to keep up with the changes in POA. As a result I have learned the aim points of only one power setting (6X). With that I will close with this, I will more than likely purchase a fixed power scope in the future and it will be a 6X.

Edited for *
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Old November 10, 2013, 10:36 AM   #7
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Look at the Burris MTAC 1-4 and the Vortex 1-4. Sure there are others, but none with the quality, value and reliability of those two.

I prefer the MTAC line as the illumination is daylight visible and the larger center dot is faster for close in work. I've run drills from 50 to 500 on all powers and there is no shift due to magnification change.

Heck, I just sold a Vortex PST off my AICS .260 to go to a Burris MTAC 6.5-20.
Good Shooting, MarkCO
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Old November 27, 2013, 08:33 PM   #8
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The actual optics quality (good lens, sturdy build) is more dependent on the manufacturer. So for a given price point you may want to look into quality name brands, like Nikon.

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Old November 27, 2013, 09:09 PM   #9
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With all due respect Bob, have you considered reviewing any quality scopes? You seem to have the cheap scopes well covered.
Good Shooting, MarkCO
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Old November 28, 2013, 02:34 AM   #10
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I have a friend who has the Burris MTAC and it seems to be a decent optic. I like a 1-4 on an AR as it really enhances the usefulness of the platform. I chose a Horus Vision Talon because of the clarity and the reticle, which allows for really precise shooting out to 500 yds. IMHO, the H-50 reticle is the best out there as far as a 1-4 optic is concerned. The only negative is the price as compared to the Burris/Vortex PST's, from $600-650. As to the fixed power scopes, they do have their place. I have an SWFA SS 10x42 on an M1A and it is a great match. The scope is simple, effective, and rugged. That being said, such an optic on an AR platform would render it useless in CQB situations without canted irons or a small red-dot, which adds more weight. The 1-4 is the best solution to the problem and effectively extends the range of a good AR.
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