Best value for a Tactical Scope?


March 10, 2005, 09:38 AM
I realize this is a popular question, but let's discuss here what YOU believe is the best value out there for a tactical scope.

My criteria:

1 - Scope will be used mostly for benchrest shooting at a range, under controlled conditions. It MIGHT be used for hunting, though I don't hunt (if I could find someone to go out with and teach me, I would do it - I live in E.Tenn, btw, if anyone out there is game to help me.)

Therefore, it doesn't have to be built like a tank - I will try very hard to "baby" it.

2 - I would like at least 3.5x mag on the low end. High end is a matter of subjective opinion. I've read different opinions on just how much mag you practically need. Is anything past 12x or 14.5x too much for a "tactical" scope? Interested in your opinions.

3 - Objective size - probably not over 44mm - I like to mount low, for cheekweld, and don't want some massive objective.

4 - Mildot reticle that WORKS and is easy to use

5 - Relatively lightweight and compact

6 - I would like CLEAR optics, but if the difference between one that is AWESOME vs. one that is NICE is hundreds or thousands of dollars, I'll take the NICE.

7 - Warranty is important

8 - Probably 1/4" click adjustments

9 - Eye relief - I wear glasses, and wonder what you think is the MINIMUM eye relief I should have. I don't like "crowding" the ocular lens, and would love a scope that even if I wasn't at the perfect distance for eye relief, that it is a little forgiving and gives me a decent margin of error.

Most shooting at under 500 yards, though I might try my hand some day at 1000 yards.

Again, I want, in your opinion, the best VALUE out there given these criteria.

I have been researching Burris, Leupold, Sightron, Mueller, Zeiss, Nikon, et. al.

So far, the Nikon, Zeiss, high-end Burris, and high-end Leupold are too pricey for me.

Thanks, guys!

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March 10, 2005, 11:16 AM
There are a good number of great scopes, but for best bang for the buck, I'd go with a Leupold MK IV. It is a little more expensive, but that extra buys you a tougher scope that will last a long time and not likely to fail you in the field. You can save some bucks and still get a good scope, but I'd personally save a little longer and get the higher end model.

March 10, 2005, 11:27 AM
Sounds like any Leupold with the specs you want will work for you.

Mike Hull
March 10, 2005, 11:35 AM
For a reasonable price, with great clarity, repeatability on the W/E, and ruggedness, all followed by a lifetime(of the scope)warranty, I would chose Sightron.
I have a couple of the SII416X42MD's on mine, but they have added some new mildot models with side focus this year too.

March 10, 2005, 11:37 AM
Well, you just described a Leupold. Check into that line. Don't skimp.

March 10, 2005, 04:35 PM
I think the key word in your post is "value". And I agree with most of the previous posters that Leupold gives the best value for the dollar. There are more expensive (and better) scopes and other less expensive (but now quite as good) scopes. But you literally can't go wrong with a Leupold. I recently purchased a Mark IV Tactical and a VX-III EFR and they were fairly expensive (for me). But, once mounted, the optics are crystal clear and the scopes are solid and I'm one happy camper.

March 10, 2005, 04:52 PM
sure sounds to me like you are describing a leupold vx-3... look at the 4.15-14 and 3.5-10.

also will have to explore the vx-2 line to determine for yourself if they would work. look at the 4-12, specifically.

if i could help ya hunt, i sure would. unfortunately, you're a long ways from me, and i have zero desire to hunt anywhere else.

March 10, 2005, 07:30 PM
I was unimpressed with the Mueller, Hakko, Sightron, Nikon, Redfield, etc....Good Scopes, not Great scopes.....
The best one for the value I say is the Zeiss Conquest, it was clear, bright, and optically perfect. For the money, you get a Zeiss scope, in one inch, for about half a German one......

Jim Watson
March 10, 2005, 08:41 PM
A friend got me to try F-class and I sent my old Vari-X III 3.5-10 in to Leupold for target knobs and click adjustments. They notified me that the tube was bent, "restricting the range of adjustment" and were sending me a new scope, but no longer made a 3.5-10 AO, what did I want in the same price range? So I picked a VX II 4-12 AO with the addition of target knobs already paid for and they sent it right along.

So I might buy something cheaper for a lesser application (see the Super Sniper thread), but Leupold is my first choice for quality and service.

If you think you will get to 1000 yards, you need a LOT of elevation adjustment or will have to go to a "tapered" scope base as I did. Look at the Leupold Precision Rifle line in a 30mm tube. I think they have about 75 minutes of adjustment and are less expensive than the real deal Mk IVs.

Pat S
March 10, 2005, 09:26 PM
This would/will be my choice.

Pat S.

March 11, 2005, 10:55 AM
The cheapest choice , for a optically clear, good warranty scope VERY usable to 1000 yards (with an angle pic mount) is the Bushnell 3200 fixed 10x mildot . $170 at Midway. This scope even has Rainguard ! Mine is VERY close to my $800 Leupold MK 4 10x in optical clarity and brightness!

Essex County
March 11, 2005, 12:57 PM
bang for the buck. It's easy to get carried away with " the ultimate ", but the real world sometimes comes home to rest. I own a bunch of guns I shoot a lot. I have a few Loopies and that would be my choice if dollars where of no conssquence. That being said I have 3200's, 4200's and yes some Weaver 3X9's. Nothing gives more for the dollar than Weaver and I've never dissapointed with any. This is coming from someone who lives on a meger Social Security pension. The important thing is Get Out and Shoot and let the Optics Snobs be dammed! Does anyone else share my feelings? thanks for putting up with my rantings........Essex County

March 12, 2005, 07:18 PM
I second Gordon's recommendation. I have the Bushnell 3200 10 x 42 on an LTR and beat quite a few experienced snipers in my first try at the Carlos Hathcock match.

March 12, 2005, 07:45 PM
I just bought one of these ( and absolutely could not be happier. I have no experience with Leupold or Zeiss, but I've looked through a few Nikons and own a couple Burris scopes, and this one is easily as bright and clear as any of them.

I think for 300 bucks, with 1/4 MOA adjustments, and the clarity, durability, and (according to my practicing with it) accurate mildot reticle, this scope is a great bargain. I don't think of it as cheap, I think of it as less expensive. I'm seriously considering getting another one for my M1A.

March 12, 2005, 10:37 PM
Tactical? Odds are it'll already be black.

If you're going to be primarily shooting on a bench, at known distances, why the mildot stuff?

I mean, you'll be best served if you take some time, with a piece of card stock you can later laminate, and write down your ballistic corrections (because your load/rifle is gonna be different from any scope, and unless you can range with something of known size, mildots are basically guestimation), and spend the extra cash on a good rangefinder.

I'd buy a Weaver varmint scope myself, altho I just bought a 36x Sightron that I'm very impressed with.

Oh yeah - if you have the choice between 1/4 and 1/8 adjustments, 1/8 wins every time.

March 12, 2005, 11:06 PM
Leupold Vari-X II or III, also, IOR Valdada makes nice ones for low cost (Romanian made on German machinery with Swiss glass). Friend of mine's got a 10X Fixed on his countersniper rifle, does fine out to unbelievable distances.

March 13, 2005, 03:53 AM
Sightron has repeatable precision adjustments, great glass and a transferable lifetime warranty. they are hands down the best value.
The early IORs had cheap adjustment design but good glass. They are good if you buy new production. I don't know about their warranty.

March 13, 2005, 11:03 AM
Hmm...How much do those Leupolds cost?

The Bushnell Legend 5-15x40AO mildot is 1/2th the quality of a Leupold MK 4 at only 1/4th the price. That would make it the better value right?

I think many of use believe the point of deminishing returns is a lot higher than it really is.

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