Which scope for the uber-tactical prima dona super sniper rig?


April 4, 2003, 12:30 AM
I'm having a hard time deciding on a ninjafied scope for my new FN Special Police Rifle. I have a pretty good list of requirements, but I'm not sure which scopes fit the bill.

First, I don't wanna spend much more than ~ $1000...preferrably much less. Excellent optics are a must, and good target turrets are a plus. I've decided that it's gotta have a glass-etched reticle....etched reticles just make sense to me...simple, precise, and fool-proof. I'd prefer a fixed 10x for simplicity, but a good 3.5x-10x would be fine. The objective must not be larger than 42mm, and the tube must be 30mm.

The Leupold 3.5x-10x LR M1 with Gen. II reticle from Premier Reticles looks like a good candidate. If I understand it right, they remove the wire reticle and etch their mil-dot into the glass. Is that right? Also, the mils supposedly work at all magnification levels with their reticle.

What about the Mark 4? Does it come from the factory with an etched reticle? I've read yes and no. I called Bear Basin, and they're pretty sure theirs have wire reticles. I'm sure Premier's Gen. II version is nice, but it's also $1200.

And then there's IOR. I've read good things about them, but they're still made in Romania. The turrets look kinda flimsy, but I've never handled one.

Your comments are appreciated.

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Bruce H
April 4, 2003, 07:29 AM
Have a look at Shepherd scopes. www.shepherdscopes.com

April 4, 2003, 09:35 AM
Go here (http://www.riflescopes.com)

Check out the Super Sniper Scopes. (They're under the Tasco link)

Most bang for the buck.

April 4, 2003, 10:02 AM
If you want the best sniper scope on the market and you're willing to pop the bucks for it, the Schmidt & Bender 10x42 is it. This thing is so bright, it hurts to catch a light in it at night. 34mm main tube, Mil Dot to make the tactical set happy, S&B's beyond-reproach optics.

The couple of Tasco Super Snipers I've looked through, certainly impressed me - just something about that name Tasco. I don't need to make that decision because I don't have a need or want for any more tactical scopes.

I'd really be looking for a fixed 10x scope. Stronger than variables, money goes to optics and strength instead of useless parts to vary power. A sniper doesn't need that. If you're making a true sniper rifle, you don't need a variable.

April 4, 2003, 11:15 AM
I would say that 3.5x-10x LR M1 with Gen. II reticle from Premier is a very good choice. You are correct, they remove the wire reticle and etch the mils into the glass.

April 4, 2003, 01:23 PM

I had the same problem with the "tasco Complex". BUt after deciding to purchase one to see what it was all about I was sold on it. I think they are great. Holds zero very well. Strong, clear, durable and all for $300.00

The are a little clunky looking to put on a nice high end hunting rifle. And I don't care for the name. I'm not a SUper Sniper, I'm a target shooter. But I love the scope.

Chris Rhines
April 4, 2003, 01:39 PM
It's a matter of opinion who makes the best rifle telescopes in the world, but U.S. Optics is at least in the top three (IMO, they're #1 by a mile, but others may differ.)

They cast and grind their own lenses, and build their scopes from the ground up. Any custom feature you can imagine, U.S. Optics can do. If you have the money, that is. Expect to pay $2000+ for one.

- Chris

April 4, 2003, 02:11 PM
I've never had the chance to use a US Optics scope, but I will say that it's well worth spending ten bucks to get their catalog. It's an education.

April 4, 2003, 02:29 PM
U.S. Optics scopes are the best quality scopes I've tried. However, the owner of U.S. Optics has not been known for his good customer service or people skills. They are also very expensive. If you want the next best in quality, I'd say Schmidt & Bender has it, but also pricey.

Leupold Mark 4 scopes are not quite as good as the first two in optical quality (though not bad by any means), and generally more affordable. The ones with the Gen 2 reticles are very good and if I wanted to get a good value, they'd be my choice.

Nightforce makes very good scopes as well, but again expensive, and much bulkier than I prefer, but the large objective gives it very good low light visibility.

April 4, 2003, 06:46 PM
My 2 cents:

I have a USO ST-10, std knobs, AO, no other bells or whistles. The basic ST-10 is around $900. Resolution is excellent, with no abberations or distortions to my eye, windage and elevation adjustments are consistant, repeatable, and distinct, and the adjustable objective (ERGO objective) is dead nuts on. This is their semi-massed produced scope with several additional features at an extra cost. Almost all of their other scopes are produced one at a time to the customer's specifications and desired features, and the price reflects it. Their line of scopes is worthy of interest if you're looking at higher optics.

HOWEVER, John Williams SR., the company's president, has made some ...interesting... claims and statements that are suspect at best, outright lies in many cases. John Jr. is a good guy, and seems to be pretty customer oriented. It's a shame and hopefully Jr will sever the ties to dad and try to rebuild the company's reputation. Unfortunately, the people involved in real world high speed / low drag ops have a strict code of ethics and a very long memory and many who rose to USO's defense in previous battles have turned their backs on the company. I wouldn't be surprised if USO folded within the next few years.

And while S&B makes remarkable scopes, I'm of the opinion that the Leupold M1 or Mark 4 series scopes with PR's Gen II reticle is the best all around choice for a working rig. The ST-10 is an outsanding scope and a serious contender, but the company is going through some tough times and an 80 year warranty should actually last for 80 years. S&B, Horus, and Nightforce all make equally exceptional optics as well and have strong followings.

Leupold's have been benchmark scopes for a long while, with reason. They display consistant quality and an uncomplicated lifetime warranty. PR's Gen II reticle is probably the best thing that could happen to the Mil-dot system and it's hard to find a bad comment about their customer service. Probably the way I'd go if I was looking for another scope.


And I've got a Tasco-phobia too. Don't know why.

Harold Mayo
April 4, 2003, 07:17 PM
Everyone seems to be correct from my experience.

The USO scopes are probably the absolute best out there but expect to pay for them. Also, the company IS a small one and there HAVE been some issues recently that might bring them down.

The S&B are fantastic but, as with the USO, expect to pay. Customer service is ok.

Tasco...don't like them a lot. While there is normally nothing wrong with the scopes, there ARE some of the SS series that had ISSUES. Also, the scopes are no longer made and service, while available, might not be the best, though I don't actually know. I just think that it's a bad sign when a supposedly great scope is no longer made in any form.

I like the Leupolds. Many other brands have better glass but the Leupolds are the standard by which all others are measured. Everyone uses them as a benchmark, citing other scopes and service as being better or worse. When you are a benchmark, it means consistency. Also, they are an American company and have been around for decades, so they have some longevity. Their scopes have a lot of options, they have a "custom shop" that will modify the scopes in many ways for a reasonable price, and Premier Reticles stands by to do some other custom work on them. Leupolds tend to hold their value fairly well (as scopes go, anyway).

There ARE several brands that are better than the Leupolds but I don't think that you will find a better one in ALL categories (glass, controls, service, etc.) in the sub-$1000 price range that you are talking about.

April 4, 2003, 07:23 PM

Maybe I misunderstood the role for the scope, but if not, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Trijicon's ACOG line.

Combat-hardened, battle tested, average 4x, and if you get one with their BAC design, fulfill the role of both magnified for distance work, and reflex "red dot" types for CQB. The internal tritium illumination means you'll never have to worry about batteries, and supposedly, its self-adjusting nature means that the reticle will always be visible in all lighting scenarios, especially those awkward transitional times like dusk and dawn.

April 4, 2003, 08:45 PM
The role of the scope will be to make my new rifle look really tactical. Ruggedness, good optics, and good warranty are just fluff. It also needs to be capable of 10x magnification.

Seriously though, thanks for the responses. US Optics are definitely intriguing but a little too exotic (and expensive) for me. I've never even seen one in person.

I do keep reading great things about Schmidt&Bender. What are the chances they're as tough as a Mark 4? I just hesitate to mail order something so expensive when I've never even handled one. At least I've fondled the high-end Leupolds.

So far, I'm still leaning towards the offerings from Premier Reticles...the Mark 4 M1 being ideal in all respects, and the 3.5x-10x LR being the more economical. What I really need to do is wait til I have a chance to attend another big gunshow in Houston, and handle as many scopes as I can get my hands on.

April 4, 2003, 08:52 PM
Go with your feelings on that Leupold! I use one of the MK-4s on a Barrett .50 with no problemos. Also others on my 'Tactical' rifles.

April 4, 2003, 09:41 PM
To get going shooting sooner :) you might get the scopes in stages, working your way up the price point scale.

2. IOR

That would probably indicate quality and performance of the optics, too. Leupold is darn hard to beat, though!
Good Luck.

April 4, 2003, 10:44 PM
Get the Vari-X III 3.5-10x40mm Long Range M3 Illuminated Mildot Reticle. It's about $900, give or take.

Get the M3 turrets for faster response. You didn't mention the caliber of the rifle, but if it's .223, .308, .300, or .30-06, the M3 is the way to go. The M1 turrets are more of a target-type turret that doesn't allow you to respond as fast to different distance shots. If you don't have one of the calibers I mentioned, you'll need the M1, anyway. The M1 turrets are for Mall Ninja rifles.

The Mark 4 scopes are awesome, but you're looking at exceeding your $1000 pricetag, and it's a fixed power scope.

If you're going to blow your budget, get a NightForce.

April 5, 2003, 08:28 PM
The IORs are great looking scopes.

Having said that, the only two scopes in the last two or three years I've seen go bad were both IORs. One a 6x 1" hunter, the other was a 2.5-10x 30mm tactical.

The 2.5-10 was repaired and back in about 40 days. When I called about the 6x, I was told that they were no longer making the 1" 6x scope and it would be at least three months before they could even get around to trying to fix it. The importer lives in California (have their home phone number if you need it... wife sleeps in late in Saturdays :uhoh: ) And the outsourced repair facility is in Colorado.

I must say, the optical quality is excellent. Very, very good. But two bad scopes in a couple months is enough that I won't consider one for several years, if ever.

April 5, 2003, 08:43 PM
I had no idea they could be so much trouble. Thanks for the heads up.

April 5, 2003, 08:55 PM
Another reason to go with the Leupold is the warranty. NO ONE has as good a warranty and service as Leupold. The average turnaround for the few Leupolds that we've had to warranty out of our shop was 10 days.

April 5, 2003, 10:48 PM
True... Others may prefer the Eurpoean optics, lord know I like 'em. And I usually recommend Weaver Grand Slams over the VariX Is and IIx but no one without some hidden agenda will fault Leupold's customer service.

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