Scoping an AR


March 24, 2003, 12:27 AM
What's ur opinion on scoping an AR ? It's it worth it or is it better with just iron sight's ? Thanks fellow THR'rs

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March 24, 2003, 06:55 AM
I have an original Colt scope (80%) and an SP1, the low powered scope doesn't do much except make the rifle more fragile and add looks. The scope was made in Japan and is a collectors' item (I am not a collector) like the SP1 rifle. Get one of those $39 AR15 scopes, it will do just as well and can be had with higher magnification.

Double Naught Spy
March 24, 2003, 08:16 AM
Scoping an AR, worth it or better with iron sights?

Worth what or better than what with iron sights for what intended purpose?

There are several brands of ARs, some of which are not too great and so they would not be useful to scope at all. Scopes cost all sorts of money from very cheap to very expensive and so you can find just about anything. Iron sights are fine once you learn to use them properly, especially for closer shooting. For me, that is 100 yards or less. For somebody with a lot more experience, 200 yards isn't a big deal.

March 24, 2003, 09:11 AM
I've got a question right along those lines myself. I'm planning on getting an AR as my next, or right after next, firearm purchase. I love scopes, mostly because my eyes suck, but I like the durability of iron sights. Do flatop (A4?) uppers with detachable carry handles work as well as plain jane A2 uppers? That way I could just use the carry handle for the iron sight, and then have a good scope mount when I get around to purchasing one.

March 24, 2003, 09:50 AM
I have a nice DPMS profile AR.

I put a very nice fixed power scope on it. I'm really not that crazy about it.

1. If you're going to scope an AR it better be a flat top. Mounts that fix to the carry handle do not stay zeroed very well.

2. You're going to want to raise the comb. They make a piece to do this but if you take the scope off, you must also remove it to see open sights.

3. A scope AR may look cool but is not an effective battle rifle. (Traditional scope implied)

4. Cheap scopes may not stand up to semi auto rifles.

I primarily punch paper with mine, but do occasionally shoot varmints or feral hogs with it. Scope is nice for those applications but don't care for it outside of that.

My $.02

Steve Smith
March 24, 2003, 10:23 AM
Trying to use a scope on a fixed carry handle AR is a pain. If you plan to use a scope, for sure get the flattop model.

As far as zero drifting on a carry handle mounted scope, there are ways to fix that.

Johnny Guest
March 24, 2003, 12:20 PM
- - -My experience has been somewhat different.

I'd tried two different Colt 3X scopes on my old SP1 years back but was very unimpressed with the optics and repeatability.

Some years later, I got a short Colt with removeable carry handle, just so I could have the options later on. while in the Cheaper Than Dirt store, I made an impulse buy--One of the Chinese made 4X compacts with integral carry handle mount. The 4X seemed clearer than the 3X. All I wanted was something to help with load development, but I ended up being quite impressed with the rig. My rifle needed trigger work, but after that was done, the combination was amazingly efficient. Yes, you really do need the snap-on cheek rest, but it snaps right off then reverting to the aperture sights.

I don't like the great large scopes on this type rifle. The little Chinese scope "looks right" in the black carbine, and it really speeds up my target acquisition, out beyond 25 yards. Scope has the range adjustment up to 400 yards. I've zeroed it at 100 and then tried at 200, and it works very well. I'll go longer later, maybe. The scope cost a whole $39.99 plus tax. The rig has ridden in a padded soft case in the trunk of my car for over three years, and scope has held adjustment.

Perhaps I just got lucky?:cool:


March 24, 2003, 02:15 PM
see that's the thing i like my rifle to look like a battle rifle, but when i add a scope (i meant those long scopes) it just tends to look more "delicate." btw i have a colt AR with a fixed handle. maybe when i get another AR with an A3 profile i'll scope it out. well thanks for ur info.

March 24, 2003, 02:45 PM
STEVE! Please don't tease me like that.....

Tell me how to cure the drift!

Steve Smith
March 24, 2003, 03:39 PM
Spray the mount with brake cleaner to degrease it. Put release agent (Pam spray or sizing wax works well) all over the carry handle, the hole, and the screw and nut of the mount (all threads!). Also put it on the non-interfacing parts of the mount. Put Acra-glass bedding compound on the bottom and sides of the mount and push it into the carry handle. The parts you glass should be perfectly clean from the brake cleaner so it sticks well. Wipe all excess and tighten with a pair of pliers. Wait. Pray that you got release agent on everything. The next day pull it will be tough, but it should come out if you did a good job with the release agent. now you have a custom fitted mount that will not move in the carry handle. ta-da.

Note, if you DON'T get the release agent everywhere on the mating surfaces, the two will be almost permanently stuck together.

BTW, I wasn't trying to tease you. I have tried to help fols before and after typing a long and detailed post, I was panned. Now I just give a hint until the other party shows interest.

March 24, 2003, 04:06 PM
So my question still stands.. Is a flattop with a detachable carry handle equal, while using the handle, to normal A2 iron sights? Or am i sacrificing strength/accuracy/mojo in using a detachable handle?

If I can get a flattop with a detach. handle on it, without sacrificing something else.. Why would I get an A2 upper?

March 24, 2003, 04:34 PM
What's the intended purpose of the rifle? You should be able to stay on a paper plate at 300 yards with iron sights so that covers most battle rifle purposes or SHTF guns. If you're looking to shoot at 600 yards in benchrest competition, your rifle isn't going to be taking too many hard knocks.

My personal experience is in having a 3-9 Nikon Monarch scope in a Leupold handle mount with Weaver rings. It held its zero perfectly well while I had it on there. I later replaced it with a BSA Contender 3-12x that worked just fine considering the price but certainly didn't look quite as clear as the Nikon. I didn't do anything special when mounting it, just made very sure all the screws were amply tight, including cranking the screw that goes through the handle with vice grips.

I certainly wouldn't take a scoped AR into the hills without any way of removing it should the scope fail. If shooting to 200 or 300 yards, I'd rather just have clear access to peep sights.

March 24, 2003, 04:45 PM
Well, SHTF is always a consideration, even if its a remote one :p.

Mostly I'm interested in target practice. I think 100yrds is the max limit for my vision in iron sights though, hence the need to do both. Iron sights for SHTF/sight practice/<100yrd shooting & scope for >100yrd/SHTF/extra money sink.

March 24, 2003, 04:48 PM
Just thought of something else. How would a red dot sight mounted on the fore grip ala DF work with a flat top?

Marko Kloos
March 24, 2003, 04:51 PM
I'm quite pleased with my setup, a DPMS carbine with a red dot perched on top of the non-removable A2 handle. I boresighted the red dot at 70 yards, and it's minute of beer can accurate at that range. For quick target acquisition out to 100-150 yards, the zero-magnification red dot is unbeatable. If I need to take a longer shot, I can always use the iron sights through the carry handle mount.

March 24, 2003, 08:06 PM
The irons on the removable carry handle work fine, and just like the A2. The handle part doesn't work as well, the hole where your hand goes is smaller, but then you really shouldn't use it to carry your rifle anyway.

I have a Trijicon TA01NSN model scope on the carry handle of my A2 type colt. The mount included is nice and tight in the handle but my cantilever mount for my aimpoint red-dot was not. Steve's recomendation for fixing that is right on the money. My TA01NSN mount provides a tunnel for using the irons as a backup, it also has some abominations on top that are supposed to be backups as well.

I also have a big leupy on a flattop as well. Although my TAO1 works fine i get a much better check weld on my flattop. Don't mount anything on your removable carry handle.

March 24, 2003, 08:16 PM
I have resisted putting optics on any of my 'social' rifles. So far, I have been able to shoot well enough to get by without one. I just picked up an Armalite AR180B. I may well put an Alcan or Trijicon on this one.

March 24, 2003, 09:45 PM
I think optics spoil the user...I know it did that to me...

I started with iron sights, and finally bought a 5x Ukrainian made scope designed with a drop compensator for a .223 round...

WHAT a difference! I found I was never went back to the iron sights. Since I had an A3 flattop, I sold the iron sights on ebay. Only use the scope now. Fantastic!

So I recommend the optics. More fun, more accurate.

I notice a lot of servicemen in Iraq have optic equipped M16's now...still a lot of iron sight models, but more and more optics are showing up on military rifles around the world...

March 24, 2003, 11:40 PM
I just recently bought a bought a locking thumbnut. It seems to be holding quite well.
that is 100 yards or less. For somebody with a lot more experience, 200 yards isn't a big deal.
and some of us made a career out of doing it from 500yards;)

I just like to have the scope on because I can't see long distance without my contacts and I'm usually too damn lazy to put them in.

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