Best AR Optic under $500?


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Dirty Dawg
March 23, 2009, 12:56 AM
I'm looking for something around this price but could move a little if necessary. This AR will be used for punching paper and knocking down feral hogs, often in poor to no light. I'll add a surefire light at some point but for now I'm focused on optics (no pun intended.)

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gga357
March 23, 2009, 01:07 AM
Bushnell trophy red dot 730135

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 23, 2009, 01:12 AM
This one:

http://www.swfa.com/pc-10605-1514-sightron-4-16x42-sii-riflescope.aspx

cbrgator
March 23, 2009, 01:16 AM
Aimpoint CompML2

dscottw88
March 23, 2009, 01:18 AM
I'm no expert BUT....

You have a whole bunch of options. For one, there is the Millett Tactical scope/Red dot. Think of this as an adjustable ACOG that takes up a little more space. These can be had for around $250. http://www.millettsights.com/controller.php/cat09/dms_reddot

Second, this one is just your average red dot, but the Eotech 512 can be had almost everywhere for $399 and you dont have to worry about a mount. http://www.eotech-inc.com/product.php?id=9&cat=2

And just to throw in a third, the Aimpoint is arguably the best red dot site of the 3, offering thousands and thousands of hours of life on a single set of batteries. The Comp M4 is probably the best but will cost you around $700 or $800. The Comp M2 will cost around $400, but then you have to buy a quality mount, this will be another $100, grand totalling you at around $500. http://www.aimpoint.com/products/aimpoint_product_lines

Again, I'm not the expert. But those guys will be along shortly to correct me and give you better descriptions.

If you want my opinion, I like the Eotech best. For a guy on a budget (which most of us are), the Eotech provides the most bang for the buck IMO. Happy shopping, and dont forget to post pics when you finally make a decision.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 23, 2009, 01:25 AM
3 people mentioning an ESD for "target shooting" (horrible choice), and low light hunting (poor choice). Just my opinion. :p

gga357
March 23, 2009, 02:01 AM
Millet DMS is good.
Haven't tried this yet but it has been tempting:
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=214855

benzy2
March 23, 2009, 03:15 AM
Depends on what type of paper punching and how much hunting. If I were building a hunting rig that had to be fast I would use no more than 7x magnification variable from any of the decent manufacturers. If it was more a paper puncher I would push as much magnification as I could stand when hunting. At $500 you can get a lot of good high magnification scopes from any of the big names. The problem comes with finding a balance between what is too much for the hunting you want to do and what is too little for the paper punching. I would push for 20x on a paper puncher if possible. That makes hunting a bit of an issue. For a mixed use rifle something from 4ishx-14x is a good balance. All the big names make good scopes in that price range. Buy the brand you like the most.

gotime242
March 23, 2009, 08:43 AM
+1 Bushnell trophy MP

flyboy1788
March 23, 2009, 09:04 AM
the best for under 500?? Aimpoint hands down. They have a much lower failure rate then eotechs or bushnells. That being said, I use a bushnell :D. Only because I cant afford an aimpoint yet.

latisimusd
March 23, 2009, 09:16 AM
Bushnell Trophy MP +1
http://www.midwayusa.com/mediasvr.dll/image?saleitemid=859535

Coronach
March 23, 2009, 09:50 AM
Under $500, with low-light capability? If you want a magnified optic, I can't advise you- not because there isn't one, I just don't know the low to mid end magnified optics well enough to give advice. Your problem is going to be finding good low-light performance. If you're looking for a red dot, the Eotech and the Aimpoint CompML2 will be absolutely superb and fit the pricetag requirement.

Mike

atomd
March 23, 2009, 09:51 AM
3 people mentioning an ESD for "target shooting" (horrible choice), and low light hunting (poor choice). Just my opinion.

+1 to that. Although they are fun.

tacweapon
March 23, 2009, 11:59 AM
I am thinking that a magnified optic would better suit you and not a EoTech or Aimpoint, while they are nice they do not fit what you want.

I have owned the Millet DMS-1 and it was a great scope for the money but I got rid of because it did not have enough FOV.

I am looking at either the

Burris Signature Select 1.5-6x40
http://www.burrisoptics.com/sigselect1.html#15x6x
they are around $380.00

or

Burris Euro-Diamond 1.5-6x40
http://www.burrisoptics.com/eurodiamond1.html#15X6X
they are around $450.00

I am thinking they would be good scopes for a fighting rifle and with the 40mm objective they would be better then most other scopes for light gathering, both of them have an illumitated reticle as an option

I hope that helps

bonedust
March 23, 2009, 12:24 PM
the Leupold Prismatic has quickly made its way onto my favorite tactical sight list.

atomd
March 23, 2009, 01:14 PM
You could go and get a 3-9x40 Zeiss MC Conquest for well under $500. Meopta makes good stuff and also offers some in the $500 range. The Zeiss has a MAP so you won't really see it advertised under $499...but in the stores you can find it for quite a bit less. It will perform decently in lower light conditions also.

IOR has some stuff to choose from in that price range too and they are heavy duty for sure. I think Nikon Monarch is good stuff for the $ too. I am considering putting something from IOR on my AR later this year.

jaybr
March 23, 2009, 01:43 PM
My new AR is sitting in the safe waiting for this to ship http://www.burrisoptics.com/ar332.html

Should be out in the next couple weeks, and I'll probably wait a few days for some reviews to post.

FMF
March 23, 2009, 05:52 PM
Millett DMS-1...for only $230 at most online retailers it's a bargain. 1-4x magnification, red dot and illuminated too. You can get the LaRue LT-104 QD mount for another $215 and you have a nice little rig.

bratch
March 23, 2009, 05:57 PM
Why not a normal variable scope?

I have this on my 6.8 I hunt with and really like it.

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=714449

Dirty Dawg
March 23, 2009, 06:32 PM
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I found an EOTech 557.AR223, Night Vision compatible, 5.56 ballistic matching reticle, like new (mounted once, never fired) with paperwork for $450 and am thinking I'll go that route. I like that the controls are on the side so my BUIS won't interfere. I don't have a range that's longer than 100 yards at this time so I don't feel like I have a great need for a magnified optic. Also, most of the hog shots will be well under 50 yards-- some much closer -- and often in heavy cover so the ability to acquire the target quickly is a handy feature. All in all I think the 557 will do the trick.

What do you think?

http://img161.imageshack.us/img161/8955/eotech557.jpg

pgeleven
March 23, 2009, 07:03 PM
+1 on aimpoint. you can get a x2 magnification on some of the models and you really dont have to worry about accidentally leaving it turned on, they will make the most out of your battery by a longshot. plus you can beat the bejesus out of them and they will keep on going

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 23, 2009, 07:17 PM
What do you think?

As I implied pretty clearly above, I think you'll be horribly disappointed using it for your STATED USES of Target Shooting and Low Light Hunting. Scrap the CQB/3-gun/rough-n-dirty fighting optic, and get something that suits your NEEDS - which means a variable optic (or a fixed 4 or fixed 6). Or did your uses change? I am confused. A magnified optic with a large objective bell will gather much more light and allow you to produce nice groups. I recommend a minimum of 42mm objective, and preferably a 44-50mm for low-light hunting. Get a 3-9x magnif, or maybe a 4-16x or 4.5-14x. Do you want to see the pigs or do you want to practice TEOTWAWKI scenarios? There is a major disconnect between your choice and your stated needs. In fact, in low light, you are actually disadvantaged relative to an "analog" fiber optic sights, having to look through an ESD. You'll see your dot, but you won't see the pigs. :confused:

Ed Ames
March 23, 2009, 07:21 PM
The 557s go for $550 new so $450 is a pretty good price.

Several 557 owners report a problem with night vision mode showing reticle smearing. It is possible that this EO is for sale because it has that problem... or the owner doesn't want something that might have problems (s)he can't test for. Night vision is a multi-thousand-dollar investment most people don't need.

I'd buy it, but that's me....

Ed Ames
March 23, 2009, 07:24 PM
Double post so I'll edit in more content...

The EO reticle adjusts down to "can't see it in daylight" (well, the NV compatible ones are more "can't see it with the naked eye") and from what I can tell should be just fine for any condition you can see in with both eyes open.

To me, non hunter that I am, I would think that "too dark to see with the naked eye" is "too dark to hunt" just in the "know your target and what is behind it" sense. Yeah a properly balanced (magnification to objective size) conventional scope will give you a brighter image... but it doesn't seem ideal to take those shots. Maybe I'm off base but the EO dot hovering in your natural view seems fine for hunting.

There was someone near me with an EOtech yesterday at the range and he was doing better at 100 yards than I was with iron sights. Seemed OK for target practice though I wasn't looking through the device.

Dirty Dawg
March 23, 2009, 08:20 PM
Forgive me Dr. Winslow, I clearly did not state my intended uses well enough. I guess, rather than low light I should say no light. We often hunt these hogs in dense terrain well after dark when they become active. We'll set up on a pig trail or pond and wait for activity, using surefire lights when they come into range. As I stated in an earlier post, this is generally at very close range. As you can imagine, anything outside the reach of the light is out of range. Occasionally we'll track them through heavy cover (grass, brush, woodland) where a magnified scope makes it difficult to acquire the hogs -- this from past trips where my 3x9-40 was just a little too much. As for punching paper, I should have said plinking, because while I will be on a range I won't be competing and will be tickled pink with pie pan sized groups at 100 yards. TEOTWAWKI? Now that I think of it...could be. Considering all this, I'm thinking the EOTech is a good fit. I guess in the worst case scenario I could use the EOTech a while and trade it, plus cash, for something more suitable.

Of the optics mentioned, the Leupold Prismatic really caught my eye though all are no doubt great choices.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 24, 2009, 08:29 AM
Nevermind.

Ed Ames
March 24, 2009, 09:00 AM
I have a question.

So you set up your ambush and wait for the game to come through.... relying on moonlight and hearing I assume. A group of pigs wander into view..or maybe you just hear them and know they are there. You then illuminate them with your surefires so you can aim.

How do they react when you turn on your flashlights?

I'm envisioning a scene with a bunch of startled pigs running around or bolting for cover. Is that about what happens?

Honestly, I think a lot of experienced hunters would find that alien. Most areas seem to have game laws barring true night hunting... so the hunter with that experience chooses optics optimized for the time (s)he's allowed to hunt. Dawn to dusk. On top of that, most hunters in the US take pains to go after stationary game simply because it increases the odds of a successful one-shot kill.

A well chosen magnified optic will allow you to use less illumination or to see farther with the light you have. OTOH, it will be harder to use on fast moving targets if the game is running around. The red dot/EOtech precludes the use of a red filter on your flashlights.... but that may or may not be of any benefit in this scenario anyway.

Lucky
March 24, 2009, 10:18 AM
Hold out a couple months. Trijicon RMR weighs 1.2 oz.

Look at resale values of anything that's not Aimpoint. You buy it, and it becomes worthless. You might as well throw your money away. People sell used Aimpoints for almost what a new one costs. That's telling you something about quality. Trijicons likewise, but a trijicon does deteriorate over time, so used isn't as good a deal.

http://www.trijicon.com/user/parts/parts_new.cfm?categoryID=13

From $400 (+mount).
http://www.swfa.com/c-2766-trijicon-rmr-ruggedized-miniature-reflex-sights.aspx

http://www.trijicon.com/parts/rmr_family_sm.jpg

Dirty Dawg
March 24, 2009, 11:06 AM
So you set up your ambush and wait for the game to come through.... relying on moonlight and hearing I assume. A group of pigs wander into view..or maybe you just hear them and know they are there. You then illuminate them with your surefires so you can aim.

How do they react when you turn on your flashlights?

I'm envisioning a scene with a bunch of startled pigs running around or bolting for cover. Is that about what happens?

That's about the size of it. Though we've always had enough moonlight to see them but not enough to take good aim. So, you draw a bead, hit the light and fire. It's a one shot deal generally. And yes, it's completely alien but interesting. On this particular property, it's about the only way to get them as they've been hunted hard and are very cautious.

In Texas it is estimated that 1.5 million wild hogs cause an estimated $52 million in property and crop damage annually. Due to their destructive nature and increasing numbers, feral hogs are not a regulated game animal in Texas. In fact Republican Rep. Sid Miller of Stephenville has introduced a bill that would legalize hunting feral hogs from a helicopter. And while it sounds crazy, it does point out how serious the issue has become for Texas ranchers and land owners.

All this aside, I'm not married to the EOTech. And I have to admit, the Trijicon RMR looks like an improvement over the EOTech.

Dirty Dawg
March 24, 2009, 11:08 AM
Double post...

Lucky
March 24, 2009, 11:12 AM
1.2 ounces, dawg.

:D
seriously they already got prices lined up and retailers are all saying 'soon' when asked.

H2O MAN
March 24, 2009, 11:13 AM
EOTech.

Coronach
March 24, 2009, 11:26 AM
The Eotech will be fine for this sort of thing. The one thing you will want to do is get your reticle brightness set properly before the hogs show up. Aimpoints have a very fast adjustment (knob), but the Eotech has a push button adjustment that's just not as good/fast. Get that set properly and it shoudl be perfect for your uses.

I'm not sure where anyone got the idea that Eotechs and Aimpoints aren't useful in low light. Used properly, they excel in low light. They're certainly better than irons.

Mike

H2O MAN
March 24, 2009, 11:30 AM
+1 Coronach :)

jaybr
March 24, 2009, 11:59 AM
Also, most of the hog shots will be well under 50 yards-- some much closer -- and often in heavy cover so the ability to acquire the target quickly is a handy feature

I think your choice of Eotech is fine, not sure I'd agree with choice of weapon for the given task.

Your above statement screams 12 guage loaded with buckshot to me.

Dirty Dawg
March 24, 2009, 01:24 PM
Thanks again for all your input guys.

I realized today while walking the dog that I neglected to include one very important bit of information in my OP. I invested a fair amount of money in good flip-up front and rear BUIS and want an optic that will co-witness if needed with this setup or allow me to use the BUIS if the optic fails. Probably explains my inclination toward EOTech or Trijicon. Speaking of... 1.2 oz. Wow. I don't know enough about Trijicon to compare it to EOTech but that's a mighty convincing argument.

Coronach
March 24, 2009, 01:41 PM
I think your choice of Eotech is fine, not sure I'd agree with choice of weapon for the given task.

Your above statement screams 12 guage loaded with buckshot to me.I'm a shotgun fanboy at contact range, but in this scenario (feral hogs, 0-50yds), I'll take a rifle with a 30 round magazine and some good quality ammo (Hornady 75gr TAP or comparable loadings with SMKs).

As far as weight goes, lighter is always better, but if the weight is near the balance point (which a sight on an AR will be), the weight matters a lot less. When it starts to really be a PITA is when it is out on the nose in a scout-mount configuration.

Mike

jaybr
March 24, 2009, 02:21 PM
I'm a shotgun fanboy at contact range, but in this scenario (feral hogs, 0-50yds), I'll take a rifle with a 30 round magazine and some good quality ammo (Hornady 75gr TAP or comparable loadings with SMKs).


My thought are:

1. .223 is on the small side for feral hogs
2. .223 is on the small side for thick brush

I know a .223 will kill a hog, but shot placement is more critical with the smaller round. Given the thick brush, moving target, and hunting in the dark I think a shotgun makes more sense.

I'm forced to hunt deer with shotgun, no rifles allowed where I hunt. We run deer with dogs, so most shots the deer are running full blast. We hunt in very thick brush, so 9 times out of 10 you hear the deer before you see it (just like described for the hogs). Given these circumstances, I'd continue to use a shotgun even if rifles where allowed.

Over the years I've taken +/- 100 deer this way, so I know it works.

I also hunt predators at night, mostly calling in fields. I carry a rifle for longer shots, and a shotgun for < 50 yds.

Texpatriate
March 24, 2009, 02:31 PM
Aimpoint CompML3 can be had for under $500 including tax if you look in the right places. I'm assuming you don't want/need night vision compatability, otherwise you'll have to pay more for the CompM3. You can get a lot of optic for your money with a CompM3 or CompML3. If battery life is a not a concern, you can get a CompM2 or CompML2 (up to 10,000 hrs. vs. the CompM3/CompML3's 50,000 hrs.).

I am not personally a fan of EOTech's, though others love them and I'm sure they have good reason to. I have owned both, and I will stick with my Aimpoints.

I have a CompM3 on my 5.56 rifle, and an older CompM (which works great) on my 6.8 rifle. Both are set up to co-witness.

burk
March 24, 2009, 03:26 PM
As someone who use to supply LE including local ATF and DEA, the Aimpoint and EOS are both fine units. The EOS is a bit more accurate (1" MOA dot verse 3" MOA dot) and a bit easier to sight up quickly. Entry teams love the EOS. The Aimpoint has a better reputation for reliability and battery life though. EOS had some recalls for failure during the Iraq conflict. For a SHTF gun I would chose the Aimpoint or look for the new Trijicon (availability may be an issue). I run a Trijicon 3X on my M4 and love it, no on-off switch and the use of fiber optics in day time makes for a versatile piece. As far as night shooting, a forearm mounted Surefire handles those needs.

For Hunting, you are talking totally different optics requirements. AR's are very popular here for Coyotes, etc. but those are long range shots at small targets. I would go with a Leopuld or Nikon 3-10X for that application. Both are a lot cheaper then 500$ for good glass. But the requirements for a low use hunting scope verses a high use fast target acquisition optic are totally different beasts.

OTOH, I would never pursue feral hogs with a .223. The need for super critical shot placement is far to high.

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