Barska Scopes Any Good?


June 19, 2009, 12:06 PM
I have a new Savage in .17HMR and I am looking at a Barska optic in 4-16X range at $189 from SWFA. Barksa users, how would you rate the quality? Is there another better quality optic out there in the same power and price range?


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Max C.
June 19, 2009, 12:15 PM
For the money, you're better off getting a Nikon.

One Example:

Usually Midway doesn't have the best pricing so I'm sure you could find it cheaper elsewhere. Barska is a brand I'd recommend if you need an inexpensive scope for light duty. I've used a 4x20 scope they made and it's adequate for a rimfire.

June 19, 2009, 12:21 PM
Quality only hurts the wallet once.


June 19, 2009, 12:23 PM
The only Barska I would think about are the FFP models with target turrets and mil dot reticle. If I was thinking about getting into FFP scopes but wanted to get an idea if I liked them or not I would try a Barska. Still at $200 it is an expensive experiment.

June 19, 2009, 12:46 PM
I have two of them... One is a PLinker 22 4x and the other is the Varmint 4-16x50 model... both seem to be holding up well... the Varmint model is on a 30-06, while the plinker is on a semi-auto Remington 597... I've had them both for 3+ years without any issues...

Also, the Center-Point scopes from WalMart aren't a bad deal either.

Now, for the record... there are better optics out there. If you're just plinking or hobby shooting, or just getting rid of critters around the barn... those will be fine.

If you're doing something a little more serious... I'd look at something in a Nikon or some of the Higher end Bushnells, and of course Leupolds... or better...

June 19, 2009, 01:05 PM
I put a Barska 6X/30MM on a Savage M40/22 Hornet. Great rifle/cartridge/scope combination. I'm not a fan of high magnification for relatively short range cartridges and I prefer lower power fixed scopes for general use.
All that said----The Barska does what I ask of it.

June 19, 2009, 01:36 PM
Are they better than NcStar or BSA?

Cust700 308
June 19, 2009, 02:40 PM
I put one on my 308 just as a cheap starter scope, and it has worked well so far. Yeah you get what you pay for with the glass, but I really have no complaints. I do plan on upgrading in the near future, but my friend and brother in law who have shot the rifle both want to buy the scope when I do replace it.

June 19, 2009, 02:43 PM
Schleprok62, Cust700 308,

How is the glass? Is it good as a low end Bushnell? I plan on shootin the .17hmr out to 200 yards.

June 19, 2009, 02:43 PM
Are they better than NcStar or BSA?

Definitely a step up from those. I have a 6-24x44 with SFP mildot that I bought with a year end bonus on a whim for a Savage MK2jtv (and before I really thought about it well). The build quality is OK- in that the scope has not gone to pieces after 2 years. The glass is 'fair.' Repeatability of zero is questionable, but I have crappy rings on it, so it could be the rings. Eye relief at high magnification is critical and the exit pupil is tiny (1.8mm), which is hard to work with unless you are using a rest or bipod. If you're looking at the 'tactical' model, the exit pupil at 16x is 3.1mm, which is smaller than the entry pupil of the average human eye in daylight (about 4mm). This will cause vignetting of the image (dark ring at the outside of the field of view). This effect will get worse at dusk and dawn, as the entry pupil of your eye gets bigger.

That said, my Barska is sitting on a shelf in the rack and I have a different optic on the MKII now. If I had it to do over, I'd have bought a fixed 10x optic, such as the Bushnell Elite 3200 ( The exit pupil is 4.0mm on the 10x model.

June 19, 2009, 02:59 PM
I would not spend nearly $200 on a Barska. There are Weaver and Leupold (Rifleman line) scopes in or near that price range. I'd seriously consider going down in magnification before going down in quality.

And I have a Barska 4x32mm rimfire scope that is great - for the $20 or $25 that I paid for it. No complaints for being a cheapie scope. But no reason to go with them at the $200 price point.

June 19, 2009, 04:52 PM
in my mind for 200$ you would be better off to spend it on a better scope for your money. Nicon,Bushnell,Burris or Wever I think you get the picture (you pay for what you get)

June 19, 2009, 05:02 PM
I shoot the '06 out to 200 yards with no ill effects and clear as day... even around dusk, it seems to do ok...

June 19, 2009, 05:39 PM
I would agree with some of the other members. I would go with a nikon buckmasters SF 4.5-14x40 before a barska. Just my 2 cents.

June 19, 2009, 06:07 PM
have a new Savage in .17HMR and I am looking at a Barska optic in 4-16X range at $189 from SWFA.

I'll say right up front I'm not familiar with Barska's scopes. But I've shopped binoculars and wasn't favorably impressed. For what you're looking at spending I think you can do much better.

Personally, I've been VERY pleased with Weaver rimfire classic scopes on my 22LR and 22WMR rifles. And they're less than what you've said the Barska is.

June 19, 2009, 06:09 PM
I had 2 Barska scopes I would not recommend to anyone to buy one. Nikon is a much better option.

Cust700 308
June 19, 2009, 06:10 PM
I purchased the scope because it had lots of bells and whistles for the price (illuminated reticle, paralax adjustment, etc.), and it had good reviews on midwayusa. I have realized that I don't need all that crap, and would like to get a nice(r) optic come hunting season. But for throwing lead at a target it does a pretty good job. Shooting with my buddy who has a leupold mkII 4-12, I was able to see the bullets in the targets and he could not at 100 and 200 yrds. Maybe I just have better vision, but to me that says something.

June 19, 2009, 06:12 PM
My problem with scope manufacturers in general is the fact that they make and market so few fixed power scopes. I have fixed power scopes from 1949 DOB on up and I take a chance and try a new name when it hits the market. Barska offered and I am satisfied.

Arkansas Paul
June 19, 2009, 06:54 PM
I paid $200 for a Leupold Rifleman and couldn't be happier. I would definately go with that or Nikon for the money. You can get a Nikon Prostaff 3x9x50 for two bills.

June 19, 2009, 09:37 PM
I've had two, about 5 years apart and as far as model i'm pretty sure that they were identical (6-24x42 AO). bought both for the same reason, hit a pinch in the "project budget" and could either afford the scope i wanted and little to no ammo, or some ammo + the Barska scope, and i like to shoot, not have my guns sit in the safe.

First one i never had any trouble with, clear, tracked well, plenty of adjustment (i used it to shoot my first 600yrd match) etc. So if you'd asked me about them back in January, before i bought #2, i'd have said to go ahead adn try one.

the second one barely lasted long enough to use up my inital batch of 200rds of ammo!:cuss: at about 140rds it would no longer focus below 20x and then the last time i took it out something broke loose/went wrong with the Elevation adjustment. I ran out of available elevation trying to dial in a 4" correction at 100yrds!:banghead:

so no i will no longer be telling anyone they should try Barska, b/c i don't want anyone to run the risk of having the experience i did with my second one.

June 19, 2009, 11:39 PM
Wow, a barska scope actually cost that much, most of them go from $15-$75 at most.
I looked at some, but then decided better of the waste of my money.

June 20, 2009, 12:52 AM
I've seen gunwrighters actually picked the Barska for their swat/tactical scopes for centerfires.
The swat/tac line is supposed to be pretty good, though I have no personal evidence. other than those, I wouldn't trust their scopes on anything other than rimfires.
And I have 3 of their scopes!!! they are 6x24's, and they are basically Tasco Varmint Series clones...

June 20, 2009, 08:19 AM
Barska makes a 6-18 X 40 that is bullet-drop-compensated for the 17HMR. It works like a champ, out to 300 yds. Sportsman's Guide has 'em for $105. Cabela's also has a BDC scope for the 17 HMR. It's also a 6-18, but has side-focus, and lists for $150. If you've got $189 already budgeted, I'd go for the "side-focus" from Cabela's, but the Barska (dedicated 17 HMR scope) will work fine (better than fine) on your Savage.

June 20, 2009, 08:34 AM
I have a 3-9 rimfire scope that works ok for a .22. I had a 6-24 that I bought because I needed a scope and was low on funds. It wasn't very clear at higher magnifications, and didn't hold zero very well. My group sizes shrunk significantly after buying a quality scope.

June 20, 2009, 08:46 AM
I put one on my Tikka .243 after falling on my rifle during a coyote hunt and screwing up the reticle on the scope I had. A Barska Ridgeline was the best available for the money on that particular hunting trip, and it's been okay. The brand doesn't hold a candle to the higher end scopes, but if you're not paying an arm and a leg for it, it will get the job done. Yeah, there's better out there, but on the other hand, mine has never failed to take a white tail or coyote, and groups are ~MOA if I do my part.

June 20, 2009, 01:36 PM
Oh , one more thing, you need at least 18 power to see a 17 cal hole at 100 yds, on paper. you need at least a 32x to see holes on paper at 200.
If you are going to hunt with that scope, that will be fine, or target shoot at 50 yards.

And unless that is an unusually good Barska scope, there is no way I would pay 190 bucks for one,
since you can get a top of the line Nikon or Pentax for that money, or a little bit more, and they will be far superior. You can get nikon's starter scope for 150 bucks all day, at Wallyworld or Academy, and Pentax' entry level is even less.

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