Who makes the best Inexpensive Rifle Scope??


Harve Curry
June 20, 2009, 10:38 AM
With all the discussion of the high dollar scopes got me wondering who makes the best Rifle Scope for the money.
No matter what country of origin.
In your experience which was the cheapest, low budget rifle scope, make and model, that has given you good service?

The best service I had was from a K3 Weaver, it quit holdnig it's zero, something rattles in it.:(

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June 20, 2009, 11:17 AM
Simons is owned by Meade Instruments. They've also acquired Redfield facilities and machinery.

Simmons ProHunter 2X -7X is a tough scope with clear and bright optics. I've hunted in minus zero weather many times with this scoped rifle and it's never failed me. Natchez Shooting Supply often sells these for less than $70.

Simmons 44MAG series features a larger objective lens for even better low loght conditions.

Simmons AETEC in 2.8X - 10X has been fitted to my long range .243 rifle for many years. This is Simmons TOP scope. It's in the same class as scopes costing 3 or 4 times higher.

Simmons shotgun scope 2.5X has been on my slug gun for 4 seasons and no change in zero.

Hope this is helpful.


June 20, 2009, 11:22 AM
Simple. Leupold. I am a firm believer that they make the absolute best scope for the money. Any thing below a leupold in quality and you will most likley be dissapointed. plus you can probably get a used one for a decent price. And with a lifetime warranty a used leupold is just as good as a new one.

June 20, 2009, 11:34 AM
center point hands down much better than bsa bec simmons or tasco.

TX Hog Hunter
June 20, 2009, 11:41 AM
You have to define inexpensive???? What are you going to put it on?

Assuming you mean $150.-$200. street price and your gonna put it on a common deer rifle take a look at the followng:

Nikon Prostaff
Bushnell 3200
Simmons AETEC

Personally these are the least expensive scopes I'd put on a centerfire rifle of .243 caliber or larger.

June 20, 2009, 11:41 AM
Contrary to the opion of many I have had very good results with BSA in 8-32 x 40 or 50 or their 45 x 40. Ofcourse once I have them adjusted and sighted in I keep my hands off the adjustments.

Price is a huge factor for me as its between having a scope or non at all. Not everyone has the means to drive a R/R or an Italian sports car. Or for that matter a new car.

June 20, 2009, 12:04 PM
I have come to trust the two Centerpoints I own a 4-16x40mm scope and a 1x red dot scope. They hold zero and work very well for the small investment made. The 4-16x40mm is mounted on a 30-06 bolt rifle and the 1x34mm red dot sees duty on my LR-308 and is holding up very well. They both can be had at Wal-Mart for $69 and $49 respectively.


But the glass in the 4-16 is the biggest compromise (you do get a lot of neat features that are virtually useless for hunting). The best glass for the money are entry level Nikon Buckmasters, Bushnell 3200's, and Luepold's.

June 20, 2009, 12:16 PM
I have been very pleased with the Bushnell 3200 series, I have three of them and I do have Leupold and Schmidt & Bender so I admit I'm bit of a scope snob:rolleyes:

June 20, 2009, 12:36 PM
Probably Millett but I have good experience with Leupolds being a good value.

June 20, 2009, 01:06 PM
See, this is my idea of "inexpensive."


I just put this scope on my Marlin 981t, and it I love it! The suregrip click adjustable windage and elevation makes zeroing a snap, and I had no problems seeing where my shots were landing at 50 yards. The scope also has a very solid feel to it. It does NOT look and feel like a $25 scope, at least not to me.

But I am far from an expert and YMMV, but I really have to say that this scope is a steal, IMHO.

June 20, 2009, 01:06 PM
i bought 2 simmons 4x20x50 variable power scopes with the adjustable objective lens for 125 each. they were marked down from around 275 bux at midway.

i liked them so much i bought 3 more.

then again, the only scopes i had ever owned before were el-cheapo 35 dollar walmart scopes.

they are nice and bright, and i can see my 223 holes on target at 200 yards. they also hold zero very well.

i also like that they are mil-dot.

June 20, 2009, 01:10 PM
^^ Bryan, are those the "Whitetail Classic" scopes?

BTW the new Simmons 8-Point scopes work pretty well too...we mounted one to a Lee Enfield a year ago. It's been to the range 4 times and 100+ rounds per trip. It hits the bullseye every time 1st shot at 100yrds. Not bad for an $8 rifle, $25 scope and handloads. It's my father-in-laws rifle he purchase at Army Joe's in PA when he was a kid. The bore looks like a sewer pipe and headspace is just about at the limit. It amaizes me that this rifle still hits the target scope or no scope.

June 20, 2009, 01:13 PM
Nikon or pentax; for 150 bucks, you get a lot of scope, with Japanese glass, still very desirable.
Both have a no questions asked, lifetime return policy, just like Leupold.
Tasco Varmint series; I have had these now for about 5 years, they have never lost zero, and have been repeatable; the glass is pretty good, even at high
power; I usually keep them on 24x. I have had them on everything from 22's, to 308 superlights, and
they have never lost zero. I have one on a hunting/long range 243 right now.
They will be in the 100+ dollar range.
NOW FOR THE SLEEPER; Tasco makes a scope that is ADULT RATED,
AIR RIFLE RATED, SPRING PISTON RATED. Which means, it will have lots of
steel ,and should be double tough to take recoil. it is also a 3x9x32, which
means it is not very big and overpowering. it also has an ajustable AO, and
it goes down to about 10 ft., which is awesome!!!! anything that can get Prllax
free under 25 yds is good, especially if you squirrel hunt. I have used these
scopes on rimfires for years, but have no long term notes for it, on centerfires, though
I have had them on centerfires, and have a new one in the box, waiting on a new
home to ride upon, as soon as I decide what!!!
Be careful if you buy one, there is this model, and another model without the
adjustable AO, they are both called golden Antler series, though.
Best thing about it? it is 40 bucks or so...

June 20, 2009, 01:17 PM
Simple. Leupold. I am a firm believer that they make the absolute best scope for the money. Any thing below a leupold in quality and you will most likley be dissapointed. plus you can probably get a used one for a decent price. And with a lifetime warranty a used leupold is just as good as a new one.


More words to make post long enough

June 20, 2009, 01:25 PM
Rangerruck, Neat Tasco...do you think it would hold up on a .223 AR or even .308 AR?

June 20, 2009, 11:15 PM
Centerpoints are made by Leapers and I've had good luck with Leapers scopes so far.

I've had a Simmons self-destruct on me, (don't remember the exact model but it was a 3-9x32). I have a BSA that changes zero as I increase magnification, (6-24x40 IR mildot). One of my Leupolds had the reticle shift so far it couldn't be zeroed, (3-9x40). I had the power adjustment lock up on a Tasco, (3-9x40).

The brands that have never given me trouble have been Bushnell, Springfield Armory, Leapers, Millett and Barska. Probably more the luck of the draw than anything else.

As I said earlier, so far I've liked the Leapers scopes for the money. The one major drawback I've found with them is that they are very prone to glare.

June 20, 2009, 11:17 PM
nothing made in China I assure you

The bushnell banners are a lot of scope for the $$$ Korea

as are the no discontinued Sightron s1's Japan

Harve Curry
June 20, 2009, 11:28 PM
Does anyone know what the Chinese Army uses for rifle scopes??

June 20, 2009, 11:44 PM
Knock off Leupolds I presume.:p

Harve Curry
June 20, 2009, 11:50 PM
Great, then I want a Chinese knockup of a Leopold to put on my sks:D

Thanks for all the input.:)

June 20, 2009, 11:51 PM
Knock off Leupolds I presume.:p

that use plain recycled bottles for lenses instead of optical quality glass. Lens coatings????what are those

June 21, 2009, 12:16 AM
I would lean towards the Bushnell for the cheapest that is worth buying IMO. Nikon isn't that expensive either. Bad luck with Simmons here. :)

June 21, 2009, 01:14 AM
See, this is my idea of "inexpensive."

egfan, thanks for the link. I just ordered one. I will try it out and report.

June 21, 2009, 01:32 AM
We've had good luck with Simmons of various models and magnifications. As I recall, one of the distributors had them on sale and my father bought several. The optics are clear and bright and they seem to hold zero.

June 21, 2009, 01:38 AM
Some of the Leupolds are being made in China! Can this be confirmed?

June 21, 2009, 02:49 AM
Some of the Leupolds are being made in China! Can this be confirmed?

No, they are not being made it china! Next time ask the question if you don't know the truth. Donít make inaccurate statements and then request if your own information holds truth.

June 21, 2009, 03:02 AM
There were (Still?) counterfeit Leupold Tactile scope reportly made in China ( hong kong?) which where being sold on Ebay for super super cheap. These are not REAL Leupolds, a shooting buddy got one and it look very much like the real thing. A gunshow Walter Mitty would not have been able to tell the differance.

June 21, 2009, 04:44 AM
Glad to hear it Five-O! I hope that you have as good of luck with yours as I have had with mine :D

June 21, 2009, 06:09 AM
I'm amazed how well the Center Point 4-16X40 scopes that I have on my .22 rimfire rifles work. You can buy them at WalMart for under $70.00. Read about them here. http://www.centerpointoptics.com/

June 21, 2009, 09:05 AM
I am a die-hard Leupold fan but, I have run across other less expensive scopes that have impressed me quite a lot. I have one Nikon Monarch that I absolutely love. While it is not cheap, it is certainly a whole lot of scope for the money. You might consider one of their less expensive models. The other one that comes to mind is a 2x10 Weaver Classic I picked up in a trade. The finish was very good and the glass crystal clear. I traded it off for something else only because I would have had to find new Ruger rings for the 77/22 that I was going to put it on.

June 21, 2009, 11:10 AM
Are we talkin cheap or CHEAP:) In another life I was a ski bum. The challenge was how good you could ski with the worstest pair of skis. The best could ski very well indeed.

I guess without knowing it I'm doing the same with scopes. My $50.00 gun show Bushnell aint cutting it. But the $69 Centerpoint 4-16 is. I bought one because of what I've read here. I don't know how they will hold up over the long haul. But I'm impressed with it so far.

I own four other cheap scopes. They don't come close.

June 21, 2009, 11:59 AM
Centerpoint scopes are built like tanks. They are heavy but do hold up well. Working well after a couple hundred rounds from my Mossberg ATR 30-06 budget build. This scope has too many useful features that work well to ignore for only $69. Again the only major drawback...weight. Crossman does claim the scopes are tested up to .416 Rigby and reverse recoil from airguns.

Mil-Dot, IR both red and green, Target Knobs resettable to zero with turret locking rings, Fast Focus Eyepiece, AO from below 10yrds to infinity, and fully coated optics.

Here's mine on my (newly painted) ATR

June 21, 2009, 12:14 PM
I have no doubt, that if you are putting the little air piston, break barrel rated tasco on an ar, or any other semi auto, you will have no probs; semi auto recoil is nothing for a piston air rifle rated scope to eat up. Plus it is not huge, so it will not overpower your ar. The only prob I have with centerpoint is, well.... it is Chinese. Now then, if it were made in china, but in a factory to american or japanese or euro standards, with the same as above mgmt, with parts not made in china, with trained chinese employees,that are regularly classed and schooled by mgmt, that may be a bit different. And there are a few scope companies over there, just like I described as above. and when you go to there websites, they will be proud to tell you this, very openly. that all they use Chinese-wise, is their labor; everything else, every part, every machine, every tool, all the training, all the mgmt, is non Chinese.

June 21, 2009, 12:15 PM
jp; I think a few dabs of some darkbrown/rust coloring will look really good
on the mossy as well.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 21, 2009, 12:33 PM
That depends completely upon your definition of inexpensive. But without knowing more about the specifics of what you mean, the answer is probably Nikon. All Nikon lines, but especially the Omega & Slugmaster lines.

June 21, 2009, 12:35 PM
jp; I think a few dabs of some darkbrown/rust coloring will look really good
on the mossy as well.

I think I'm going to finish the job and paint the whole thing, scope, bi-pod and all.

June 21, 2009, 12:43 PM
For decades I bought cheap scopes. There are over a dozen broken cheap scopes in a box in the attic. One of those scopes went belly up at a most inopportune time: It cost me a 7x7 elk.

Years ago I started buying Leupolds: Mostly fixed power Leupolds. Several of my Leupold scopes are on guns that have a lot of recoil. Have never had a problem with a Leupold scope.

Last winter I had the pleasure of hog hunting in the US with three German guys. Imagine my surpirse when these dedicated hog hunters showed up with Leupold FXIII 6X42 scopes on their rifles.

Warning from E-Bay:

This is an ongoing problem with many high quality optic companies. Please educate yourself prior to purchasing any product over the internet not from the manufacturer, described as new or used. This will save you time and money.

Go to the Leupold website and scroll down to the bottom. This will give you descriptions and examples of how to determine if it is authentic or fake. ALL leupold Scopes are tracked by serial numbers. You can call Leupold direct with the serial number of the scope and they will confirm that it is an authentic Leupold.

How to identify a counterfeit MK 4 scope:


June 22, 2009, 02:55 AM
I recently was shopping for a laser rangefinder and while comparing various models at Cabela's, noticed this "warning label" on the Leupold box

Made in China :uhoh:

So...yeah. China is now making stuff for Leupold. I have no idea WHAT models are included here but REST ASSURED, Leupold has also sold out. :rolleyes:

So I ended up buying a Bushnell Scout 1000. last year's model, clearance priced @ $119. sumthing. figure if I'm gonna get Chinese glass, I will pay as little as necessary.;)

June 22, 2009, 04:16 AM
It's certainly not Tasco. Sure they have a lifetime warranty and sure they're cheap, but I've cashed in on that warranty enough.

Uncle Mike
June 22, 2009, 11:40 AM
Leupolds-China-Yup some stuff...

Leupold scopes are not made in china..... on certain select models the components are made in china, shipped to the U.S. and assembled here. :fire:

Does that make us feel better? Not I, if your going to chock the thing full of chinese made parts you might as well build the @#&* thing in china!

Anyway you cut it... it stinks! :cuss:


June 22, 2009, 12:44 PM
The Weavers I have really perform well. And some of the Bushnell line are very good, too.

June 22, 2009, 12:48 PM
I was going to say Pride-Fowler, Inc (www.rapidreticle.com), but they really increased their prices.

June 22, 2009, 02:25 PM
Because of "Blackops" reaction, I thought I would try to do some of my own research and this is what I tentatively found.
According to Gale McMillan's experience in the business, there are several major optics companies that buy their glass and tubes from Japan (who make the finest optics around) and assemble here in the U.S. and even the German companies have been doing so since the '90s.
Apparently the Leupold Rifleman series are off the shelf Chinese scopes that have been re-branded. The Japanese are the best followed by the Koreans and then the Chinese.
Apparently, the major makers can order their glass, coatings, and even tubes according to how much they want to spend and the QC can be as strict as they want it to be. Big debate about QC and other factors in control of manufacturing processes which if followed strictly - do not require QC!

June 22, 2009, 02:56 PM
from Japan (who make the finest optics around)Really...and all these years I thought European (Schott amongst others) glass was the best. :neener:

June 22, 2009, 03:02 PM
nothing made in China I assure you

The bushnell banners are a lot of scope for the $$$ Korea

as are the no discontinued Sightron s1's Japan



June 22, 2009, 03:12 PM
Hey Maverick223,
Read carefully! I said According to Gale McMillan....
That is what I got off the internet. I am not here for a pissing match as to who does the best glass grinding and polishing and whether or not there are industry established standards and formulae for glass coatings.
I am only repeating what I got from that gentleman who was actually in the industry. I have also spoken to others who have direct experience with the Japanese optics houses.
Is it not interesting that we expect all sorts of information on lenses and coatings and many other properties from the Camera companies but no one wants a no-bulls..t assessment of the optics in rifle telescopes - we go by what the manufacturers claim - no independent assessments by laboratories that can check on the claims made by the companies that market their products and make all sorts of outlandish claims.
Very few of these "purveyors" of optical products will tell where their stuff was made and where assembled. And we continue to bad mouth these countries that end up producing many of the products we use. Quite ironic.

June 22, 2009, 03:16 PM
I am not here for a pissing matchNor am I...the Japanese make great glass...I just don't think it is the best. :)

June 22, 2009, 03:29 PM
That may have been the case back in the 90s or he could have meant best used in the rifle scope business. Who knows? I wish someone could do a "tell all". Because anything else is a lot of non-scientific speculation which ends up upsetting people whose favorite brand was not what they thought to be the truth.
For example, what is the complete truth behind coating on glass? Is it to smooth out the pits in the glass caused by imperfections in the glass or the grinding and polishing processes?
Anyway, who do NASA go to when they want optics for projects like spy cameras or even the Hubble? Lowest bidder? Life is full of compromises.
I am in this for the sake of curiosity because I like to learn new facts or get to the truth. I am not interested in it for winning pissing contests and it doubtful whether or not I will be able to afford to buy rifle scopes in the $1000 range, more like $650-800 at the very most.

Uncle Mike
June 22, 2009, 09:29 PM
I am not here for a pissing match
Nor am I...the Japanese make great glass...I just don't think it is the best.

I agree... jap glass is ok... but it is far, a long way, many miles, distant, the next planet... whoops.. form being the best!


June 22, 2009, 10:30 PM
I have been most satisfied with a recent Vortex purchase:

Jefferson Herb
June 22, 2009, 11:03 PM
I love the old weavers,if you can find them used.I own leo's ,simmons ,1 tasco 3200,and Burris,oh and my first nikon.All will work,but for light gathering the nikon is very impressive.Burris has more adjustment than leo's .
If you want to test them,look thru them at night with a flashlight lighting the way[a stinger or something good for light]and see how much detail you can see.
We all pay our money and take our chances,I'm betting my next scope is nikon,unless there is a good sale.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 22, 2009, 11:15 PM
Just to be very clear - *I* AM here for a pissin match - and I intend to win (been drinking water all day gettin ready)! :p

I will say that I'm interested in learning more about this Centerpoint hubbub, due to all the good press on them!

I will stick with my Nikon recommendation: If I had to pick ONE brand encompassing multiple lines, to use on all my guns for now and the rest of my life, I'd go Nikon.

I've had very poor luck with BSA, *most* Simmons, Tasco, and *some* Weavers. :barf:

I've been generally pleased with Nikon (all lines), Leupold (all lines), Sightron (all lines), Burris (Fullfield II and Signature Select), and Bushnell Elite lines.

And also pretty happy value-wise with Swift Premier, Muellers, Bushnell Banner, Zeiss Conquest, and Trijicon Accupoint, though not AS happy as the first 5 listed. But those are broad generalizations, so it's also very line-dependent, and obviously I haven't tried them all - not even close.

I can take or leave Millett Buck Gold, Bushnell Trophy, & Bushnell Legend. They're not too bad for the $$.

June 22, 2009, 11:31 PM
^^^ It will only cost you $69 to see what the hubbub is all about. Save your receipt and return it when your experiment is over (you have 30days) or keep it if you dare.

June 23, 2009, 12:10 AM
Dr. Tad

These are my four 4-16X 40 Centerpoints...from left to right, Remington 740 in 30-06, Mauser 98 South African Sporter in 30-06, Marlin 336 in 30-30 and Weatherby Vanguard in 338 Winchester Magnum....not exactly pea shooters....

The 2 oldest scopes are more than 3 years old, not one hiccup, I took them hiking even in low temperatures (even sub-freezing), hold zero perfectly, repeatable zero between settings and no change in zero when you increase or decrease the magnification.

Clear optics...not fantastic but clear..no finishing defects, very sharp reticle (Illuminated Mil Dot Red/Green with variable intensity)

A bit heavy like someone else said already.

I heard couple of isolated cases of a "bad batch" few months ago, all of them replaced with no question to ask, lifetime warranty and they do cover the shipping cost to and from (if is a warranty issue).

Frankly I do not care what the scope snob says. for my needs they fit the bill perfectly, I do not participate in professional gold medal shooting competitions....I could easily have afforded more expensive scopes..I did give it a try and they are very good indeed for the price..I do not think you can ask for more...fast focus eyepiece, Parallax adjustment, zero locking rings, zero reset feature, fully coated lens.

A range buddy of mine does very well with one on his Rem 700 .308 during "friendly" competitions and other people I know use them for hunting and they are very happy..

I'm ready to buy a less powered one for my Ak and I can tell you that around here (Seattle) they literally fly off the shelves at Wal Mart...when i got the one for my Vanguard I had to go to 3 different stores before finding one.

Are there cheap scopes that I would not touch with a 10 feet pole?? Heck yes!! I witnessed a brand new BSA literally self destruct on a 22 LR rifle and I broke the erector tube of a Tasco which I just bought the day before...I did return it, got a new one and broke the erector tube again one week later...


Return Policy at Wal Mart is 90 days and I never did need it...


My expensive Leupold optical boresighter is made in China.....:rolleyes:


June 23, 2009, 12:25 AM
+1 for centerpoint, try one from wally world and if you are not happy return it. I believe walmart has a 90-day return policy, while the scope has a lifetime warranty from manufacturer..


June 23, 2009, 12:43 AM
millet scopes are good for the money. I believe you get what you pay for and I personally like Zeiss Scopes. To each their own. Millet made their scopes for the military at one time and recently started making their products for the public.

Sniper X
June 23, 2009, 11:11 AM
I must say that for a great scope under 100 clams, go with the Tasco 2.5~10x mil dot super varminter. I have three now and I also have two very high end scopes on my two SWS's and feel the Tasco Varmenter series is absolutely great for the money. About 70 clams at SWFA

June 23, 2009, 11:15 AM
I have a Simmons that's ok but the adjusters can be a joke.No offense intended...but that is the definition of a bad scope...and why I will not buy another Simmons. :)

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 23, 2009, 12:22 PM
Wow, a Centerpoint on a Sig - that's saying something about them- most Sig guys are scope snobs, and don't tolerate junk! :p

June 23, 2009, 12:35 PM
The Conquest line of Zeiss.They could use some improvement on the dial/knob markings on the non target turret models.

June 23, 2009, 03:21 PM
nothing made in China I assure you
I've been fairly impressed with the Pentax Lightseeker line. They're assembled in China to Pentax' specs, and have the same lifetime warranty as any other Pentax scope; with service done in the US by Burris (Pentax & Burris have a strong sport optics business alliance). Most models also sell for under $100.

Judah Ben-Hur
June 23, 2009, 03:35 PM
Yesterday, I was at Gander and they had a Conquest behind the counter with no price listed. It was a 4x14x44? something with all kinds of bells and whistles as far as the reticle goes. Z something. I was only looking for something el'cheapo and asked for the price, $970 something. I put that down in a hurry.

I just bought 2 CenterPoints today from Wally World. The blister packs says Made in China. My first blister pack scope purchase. I hate opening those damn things. lol I picked out the 4x16's. They seem to have a following on this site so we will see how it goes. It doesn't look too bad but time will tell. I just wanted something to put on a AR15 that could be used for 100-200 yard playing. It is a $19 upgrade :) from the Barska that currently is being tried out. That one is not too clear and has acted up on me. I got it used.

If it was a big hunt on the line, then I'd spring for something pricey. For screwing around plinking at cans and things, the cheapies might fit the bill.

June 23, 2009, 05:15 PM
Easy. Weaver K Series.

June 23, 2009, 09:24 PM
Pentax Gameseeker. Good optics, good adjustments that repeat, one piece tube, nitrogen filled, mill dot reticle, lifetime warranty against anything, made in the most advanced optical factory in the world (so I've been told), very reasonable price. Just my opinion but based on owning three and comparing to Nikon Prostaff and Leupold VXII that I also have.

Harve Curry
June 24, 2009, 09:29 AM
After reading these posts I went to Walmart and bought two Center Point scopes. One of each the AR 3x9 and a 4x24 Adventure model. At 200 to 600 yard distances I looked through the 4x14 just before dark, looking carefully at the outer circle of the lens. It all looked good, no shadow or loss of image at low and 14 power.
I never gave these scopes much attention as they are in bubble packs hanging on the wall and the Nikon and others are in the showcase. I don't like the mounts on the AR scope as they only use single allen screws and the larger scope uses double allen screws. May not be an issue, just me. It even comes with the allen wrench. I'll try one an a rifle and report back one of these days.

June 24, 2009, 11:59 AM
Bushnell, Ive tried multiple other brands, up and down in price, I always go back to Bushnell.
Great glass, great scopes, good prices.

June 24, 2009, 02:12 PM
Great glass, great scopes, good prices.I don't know about all that...but they are about the most economical scope that I have had good luck with...so great glass...not really...great for the money...hell yes! :)

June 24, 2009, 02:48 PM
Bushnell, Ive tried multiple other brands, up and down in price, I always go back to Bushnell.
Great glass, great scopes, good prices.

I'm very happy with the 2 Bushnell 3200 scopes i bought. 1 for the AR and the other for my K31.

January 5, 2011, 02:08 PM
I have about 30 odd scopes - Weaver (steel tube & aluminum), Bushnell Elite, Nikon, Tasco, Cabelas house brand, Tiagga (Russian), BSA (.22 & LER), Univex, and Kassnar. I also have some no-name chinese imports that broke as I looked at them.

I have had very little trouble with scopes made in Japan. Brand does not seem to matter, if they were/are made in Japan, they work. All my Weavers work fine - same for the Kassnar and the Tascos (again, made in Japan). These have been on 06's down to .22's and never shaken apart to failed internally.

The only scopes that have ever failed are the no-name chinese scopes I bought for $25 on clearance. A few 06 rounds they were not pointing the way the barrel was :(

But, like all chinese made goods, they seem to be on steep and fast learning curve. I would not buy any of their stuff that was made before 2009, but stuff made after that seems to be OK? I'm going to buy a CenterPoint 4-16AO to see if I'm right? I'll put some skin in this cheap-scope game and we'll see what we see :confused:

I also think the Simmons AETEC Master series is a very interesting design. I'm inclined to see one of those in action some day too?

January 5, 2011, 04:42 PM
burris timberline.

got a 3-9x32 for 150. clear, fog free, lifetime warranty. works very well.

January 5, 2011, 05:15 PM
I'll put in another vote for the Bushnell Banner line. Cheap, durable, decent glass. Hard to beat at that price point.

Pat M
January 5, 2011, 08:33 PM
Just ordered a Bushnell Elite 3200 10X mildot from Natchez for $149.95.....we'll see how it goes.

January 5, 2011, 10:12 PM
The least expensive scope I own is a Mueller. It resides on my 17HMR so as to its performance on a centerfire I couldn't say. The glass is good enough for rodent hunting and I've had no issues in the two years I've been using it.

January 6, 2011, 01:28 PM
I have the Bushnell Elite in 4-16x and it's a killer fine scope. But in that range, it's not a budget scope on the same order as BSA, Leapers, or CenterPoint by about a factor of 3x.

I just went out last night and bought a Center Point 4-16/40AO - model CPA416AORG. Got back and cut it out of the bubble wrap (PIA) and checked all the bits and pieces. Initial impressions are it's well made, good fit & finish, adjustable objective, accessory flip-up lens hoods, treated wipe rag, 2 batteries, resettable W&E knobs with included allen wrench, good clicks, and the glass is OK. I tried looking into the deepening winter shadows around the office, and the image was OK, I was surprised. The lighted reticule is a bit gimmicky, but might prove useful? The supplied Weaver rings are 4-screw caps and use the same allen wrench to tighten. It has the feel of a husky build.

The downside(s) - the exit pupil is smallish and that constrains you to a very narrow for-aft placement for your eye, so cheek weld will be set pretty much for one person and it won't be forgiving :( The scope (with rings) weighs 1#10oz - that's 26oz, or about 10oz more then my Elite 3200 in the same range. Not all this weight can be attributed to the lighting circuit and CR2032 battery. A bunch of it is in the metal tube and other fittings. So I guess they didn't skimp on metal and that makes for strong, but I would not want to install one on a field rifle that was going to be on my back for 8 hours in tough country :(

On the other hand, it makes a fine scope to help tame a rifle with some serious recoil. And it'll help tame a range gun by adding mass. I was going to put it on my 06 for testing, but I think it'll go on the 22-250 instead. The Mil-Dot reticule will help with distant shots and that rifle already weighs over 10 lbs, so another won't matter - it gets shot mostly off a rest :)

Should you buy one? Seems like a good deal to me :) IF, you can deal with the weight and bulk?

If it breaks, I'll get to try their limited lifetime warranty?

Old Time Hunter
January 6, 2011, 01:56 PM
I'm very happy with the 2 Bushnell 3200 scopes i bought. 1 for the AR and the other for my K31.
+2 have had extremely good experiences with the Banner Dusk & Dawm series, especially the 1.75 X 4 X 32 w/6" eye relief.

Have a very expensive Leupold on one of my bolt guns, takes forever to clarify the sight picture.....no snap to my shoulder an shoot with both eyes open for that one and makes terrible gun handle.

Redneck with a 40
January 6, 2011, 02:52 PM
For $200-225, Burris fullfield II hands down.

January 6, 2011, 03:54 PM
My vote, Redfield in the low price range. Made by Leopold. I have a few bushnells but while most are ok for the money one has completely failed, will not hold zero at all, only used on a .22lr for a 200 rounds. I have a Simmons on a .22 and it's ok but not Leopold class. I had a cheap china made scope for a day. Adjustments failed comepletely.

January 6, 2011, 05:26 PM
T.R. the EPA shut the Redfield facility on Jewel Ave. in Denver CO. years ago due to dumping toxic chemicals into the ground soil and fined them 5 million dollars. I know, my house was in the contamination zone 2 blocks away. All the equipment was sold off at auction and that facility is now a tile company.

BTW ............. quit buying chinese products :cuss:

January 6, 2011, 07:21 PM
Best low price scope? Simple answer: The Redfields now being made in US by Leupold. Or look at it another way, the Leupolds with Redfield labels.

January 6, 2011, 07:44 PM

scopes were compaired

January 6, 2011, 08:10 PM
Nice write-up Sky :)

But I don't know if they all fit the word "Inexpensive" ? Not saying we are talking big $$ here, just <$100, $100~$250, $250~$600 and $600 and above all seem to be sort of normal price ranges? I think (could be wrong) we are discussing scopes in the <$100 range? If I'm wrong, please correct me :)

I think to make this a bit more meaningful, we should collect up some of these and do another side-by-side? I'll supply my new CenterPoint and see what else I might have? I'd be really interested in how it stacks up against a Mueller and some others?

January 7, 2011, 06:40 AM
BSA makes a good decent scope.

Double Vision
January 7, 2011, 06:50 AM
Another vote for Redfields.

Midway was running a closeout/blemish sale on Leupolds recently and I got a great deal on a VXI. The thing was marked blemish in perfect condition.


January 7, 2011, 07:15 AM
I worked in a gun shop part time for several years. Cheap scopes (BSA, Chinese Tasco, Swift, etc.) would have maybe 3 to 5 of 10 sold come back for warranty.

As the price increases, the warranty problems decreased. Brand didn't seem to matter much. If you think a $50 scope is just as good as a $300 scope, you're an idiot.

Also, it's hard to impossible to label quality by brand. Price is more of an indicator. That said, I bought a Traditions muzzle loader scope for a friend to mount on his 12 gauge. Works great so far, and it was maybe $100 on clearance.

I wouldn't take a Simmons free. Have a friend that uses them on all his guns and loves them.

If you're looking for a deal, see if your local shop will take a scope off a rifle on the rack. Most buyers look at the gun and consider the scope a freebee. Sometimes the dealer can make more by splitting them up. As noted, higher end scopes like (the real) Leupold have lifetime warranty.

Also, manufacturers tend to go through cycles of good and bad. What was true ten years ago may not be true now. Weaver used to make some of the best scopes, then starting building crap to hit price points. I have a new Weaver 2.5x8 on a .357 Herrett Contender pistol. To say the recoil is brutal is an understatement, and it's held up fine.

January 7, 2011, 08:12 AM
Mueller, I have 4 and they are more clear then my Nikon Monarch. The Mueller is made in China(most everything is )I purchased one for a 10/22 and could not believe the clarity and from that point purchased 8-32x44 target dot for my Savage 12 223. Leupold is now making a low cost Redfield at there plant I have a 2x7 which is an excellent scope has an outside finish I'm not crazy about but that is a minor issue.

January 7, 2011, 12:23 PM
I really like the Nikon Prostaff.


January 7, 2011, 12:25 PM
simmons Aetec is great but $200 new so I do not know if it can be considered "cheap"

January 7, 2011, 01:10 PM
I've had B&L, Bushnell 3200, Simmons ATV 4.5-14, Leupold VXII, Nikon Monarch 3-10x, Weaver K2.5 & T-36 (2), and others. Tasco 8.5-32x

So far the clearest and best has been the Leupold. Unlike the Nikon Monarch, the image is full to the edges. Comparing them very closely, the Leupold image is a bit sharper.

The Bushnell had terrible edge distortion. Moving the scope horizontally in the woods made all the trees at the edges bend, giving me a queasy feeling.

The Simmons scopes have a clear and very bright image, but I've had to return one because the adjustments wouldn't hold zero after a couple of years of intensive 10-22 shooting. The 4.5-14 ATV is no longer available. Too bad, I loved that scope and have them on several rifles.

The Tasco 8.5-32x (japan) is a great scope; not as bright or clear as the Simmons, but very accurate. It doesn't focus to 50 feet...bummer!

My B&L scopes are great, but after about 50 years, one eyepiece couple has apparently delaminated.

January 7, 2011, 04:37 PM
For the passed several years, whenever I bought a new scope, it's been a Leupold. They have clear optics, are tough, lightweight and good looking, and have a great warranty.

January 7, 2011, 05:18 PM
For the passed several years, whenever I bought a new scope, it's been a Leupold. They have clear optics, are tough, lightweight and good looking, and have a great warranty.

And a mega price, I wouldn't classify them as inexpensive as the title of this thread is asking about.

January 7, 2011, 07:51 PM
Yeah, I think maybe "inexpensive" is below $100? Or, would that be bargain basement, and inexpensive be below$200?

January 7, 2011, 10:15 PM
I used to own a Swift Premier scope and was very happy with it. I've heard some bad things about Swift, but they do make a lower end line and I'm guessing that's where the problems came from. Mine was pretty clear (not as nice as a Leupold but still good), repeatable, and held zero.

January 8, 2011, 09:46 AM
First, I am a Leupold fan. All but a couple of my rifles wear Leupolds. I have an old Redfield widefield illuminator on a 700 ADL, Excellent scope, but no longer available. I have one of the Redfields that were produced when Weaver/Blount was the holding company, but the optices are not extremely clear. Aside from this, the scope works fine. I have a Nikon Monarch 4-12 which is very good, but not as good as a comparable Luepold. I have a Burris 4-16 Fulfield II which worked very well and the optices were good for the money. Replaced it with a VXIII 4.5-14 when I found a deal. I just finished bedding a model 700 with a Zeiss Conquest. It's ok, but I like Luepold's crosshair better. I will proably replace it.

I've owned more scope than I ever should have. What I find is that I end up getting a Luepold to replace anything else.

Strictly considering price combined with quality, I have to cast a vote for the Bushnell Elite 3200 scopes. I just couldn't bring myself to part with these scopes after using them. I have a 3-9 that I use for a backup. I also have a couple of 2-7s. One on a model 7 and one on a slug gun. These scopes are unbeatable considering price and quality.

January 8, 2011, 10:52 AM
Cheap and good don't go together. Most cheap brands can all be lumped together into one big pile of risky business. That includes everything made by Tasco, Simmons, Barska, BSA, Centerpoint, etc. Some brands like Bushnell have good and bad. I wouldnt' consider any of their scopes that were not part of the "Elite" series, the old Bausch & Lomb line. I learned the hard way, which seems to be the way most shooters have to learn. By getting cheap scopes and having them fail and the most inopportune time.

Buy the best optics you can afford. Don't be afraid to save your money. You're far better off with lower end scopes from Burris, Leupold, Redfield, Nikon, etc. than anything from a lesser brand. Skimp on features before skimping on quality. A $150 Burris 2-7x will serve you far better than a $150 Tasco 6-24x, regardless of use.

January 8, 2011, 11:07 AM
I have one Tasco World Class scope mounted on a Howa 1500 in 223. Scope has been on there for years w/o any problems. Never had much luck with Simmons.

Welding Rod
January 8, 2011, 01:04 PM
One rule I follow is any optic I would consider must be manufactured in the US, Japan, or western europe.

For cheap, I would go for a new Redfield (USA) or a Nitrex (Japan) on blowout from Natchez. The Nitrex also have a nice rebate. You can get a 1.5 - 5 or 3-9 for under $100 after rebate, then add shipping. Honestly as much as I hate to say it, the Nitrex strikes me as a little better scope for the money due to the marked down prices and rebates.

January 8, 2011, 03:30 PM
least to most expensive bargain scopes.....simmons, new redfields, nikon

click clack
January 8, 2011, 10:21 PM
+1 for Redfield

Joe Jackson
January 8, 2011, 10:43 PM
I would have to stand behind almost all the scope mfg. But everyone has a friday even the guys at leupold

January 8, 2011, 11:29 PM
Just reading these threads has given me an insight.....no one wants anything to do with "chinese" made....which may well be the future for us all. does makes me wonder...after the second world war...how many distained the idea of "japanese" glass..swearing only to buy american...I do remember back in the day when most things stamped "made in japan" was considered junk......look where we are now

January 8, 2011, 11:54 PM
depends on how cheap.

i have a tasco world class on my 243 that has the television screen view in it that works very well. hard to beat for 90 bucks.

i also have a redfield revolution 4-12x40 that is a pleasure in the 175 dollar range.

January 9, 2011, 03:48 AM
I do remember back in the day when most things stamped "made in japan" was considered junk.
Completely different circumstances. With Japan, for the most part, it was propaganda. With China, it is true, most of what is manufacturered in China is the cheapest garbage known to man and 99% of it is sold at Walmart.

Dallas Jack
January 9, 2011, 07:05 AM
This would be my choice for a low priced scope.http://swfa.com/Weaver-3-9x38-Classic-V-Rifle-Scope-P2852.aspx

Made in Japan, nice glass, tracks well. And seems to be sturdy. I have 5 Weavers Classics, a V3, V9, and 3 V24's. I get good service from them all.
Dallas Jack

January 9, 2011, 11:00 AM
I got a Barska 6-24x 50mm on sale at Gander Mountain for $99.00 I put it on a 7mm Rem Mag with souped up handloads and it really takes a beating. Hasn't loosened up or failed yet, nor has it lost its zero. Now that's a great scope for a cheap price.

January 9, 2011, 02:53 PM
PS, all my Tasco's that failed were made in Japan.

January 9, 2011, 08:25 PM
Sorry to hear that - you seem to be the anomaly :( Maybe Tasco just does not like you?

I just sold a 702TR to another member here who now has two and was very happy to get another. I think there are TASCO's and then there are tasco's?

January 9, 2011, 08:45 PM
Or maybe cheap scopes are just a big, fat, steaming gamble. They don't seem like much of a bargain when you have to replace several of them.

January 9, 2011, 10:23 PM
Completely different circumstances. With Japan, for the most part, it was propaganda. With China, it is true, most of what is manufacturered in China is the cheapest garbage known to man and 99% of it is sold at Walmart.

HaHa, you must be forgetting the Japanese tools, optics, toys, ect that was shipped here in the early & mid 50's. Might not have been sold by a WalMart as there were non but the goods were alot more like junk than what we get from China now. Take a good look at a Cannon camera, or check the bottom of your laptop. Sure would like to know just who is producing all the glass for Leupold & their division Redfield.

January 10, 2011, 03:32 AM
For under $250 I would look at bushnell 3200 or nikon buckmaser (they are 1" tubes, however).

Bushnell is having a 4200 closeout (Natchez, Midway, etc)for just over $500 Mil/Mil FFP scope w/ 30mm tube - that is a bargain, got two inbound for my 10/22 plinkers.

January 10, 2011, 06:49 AM
Anything Nikon -- As a photographer who shoots Nikon I can attest to their quality glass and durability. A Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 can be had for $169 before tax.

March 10, 2011, 09:46 PM
We've been testing a CenterPoint from Wally World and it has held up to some mean 45/70's and 300 WinMag hand loads just fine. Check with TMan65 and see what he thinks :)

Discussion going on here: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=326711&page=4

That's about the cheapest scope you can buy with any hope of being able to return it if it breaks. So far, so good :)

March 10, 2011, 11:24 PM
Check the price of some Nitrex TR1 & 2 scopes at Natchez, on clearance with a $50 - $100 rebate. Those are very nice scopes!

March 10, 2011, 11:44 PM
As BrocLuno said, we have been testing the centerpoint and from what I can tell so far, for under 100.00, you would be hard pressed to beat the centerpoint!

March 11, 2011, 12:02 AM
Cheapest that worked well for me would be between a Cabela's Alaskan guide I got on clearance for $100 that normally ran for $350 and a Nikon Buckmaster for around $350, though the Alaskan Guide is a 6.5-20x and the Buckmaster is 6-18x, both towards the top of the magnification range for those lines. I would be willing to use similar scopes in lower powers.

I have had ok performance with a Mueller APV. Not outstanding, but ok and usable. Not sure I would really buy another.

I've tried the cheap Simmons, Barska, BSA, Bushnell, Tasco, and a few others and all have failed or had major issues, typically sooner than later.

I know you are trying to ignore country of origin, but personally, with the results I have seen, if you get out of China your odds of a good scope go up quite a bit. Mueller, Vortex, and Pentax seem to be three brands with at least some China made scopes that are made fairly well. If I had to spend as little money as possible I would go with a scope from one of them. If I could afford a slightly higher budget to pay for something from a different country, a lot of scopes come to mind that I would trust.

March 11, 2011, 02:43 AM
There's a bunch of em out there. I have a few myself. The cheapest i have on a center fire rifle is the Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 with BDC reticle that I paid right at $160 total for. It's clear with 90% light transmission, and I like the BDC system. Also I have this scope on a Rem. 700 SPS 30-06 and I shoot a 200 grain Sierra Game King over 56 grains IMR 4831 at about 2650 FPS MV, and it knocks you back pretty seriously when shooting those. But the Prostaff takes it like the pro it is. I love this scope. It's clear, It's tough, and it's cheap. What is there not to like?

I also have some Leupolds. I have a Rifleman 3-9x40 on a .270 Winchester that is a great scope for the money and I have two VX-1 Leupolds, one 3-9x40 and one 4-12x40. The 3-9x40 is on my custom build Mauser with a 26 inch E.R.Shaw Barrel in .280 Remington. The 4-12x40 is on my Remington ADL Synthetic 22-250. Then I have an older Vary X II Leaupold 3-9x40 on a Custom built Howa 1500 action with a Krieger 26 inch heavy sporter SS barrel in a real classic caliber, a .250 Savage. It's a really clear scope but it is nothing but a VX-1. When Leupold changed their lineup a few years back, the Vari X 2 became the VX-1. Anyway, all these Leupolds are nice. They are clear enough for my hunting needs and quite a bit cheaper than their high end scopes. And they all hold zero well.

Also, there is the new Redfield Revolution scope made by Leupold which are I've heard excellent for the money. And they have an average 92% light transmission, the same as a Leupold VX-2. You can get a Redfield 3-9x40 Revolution for about $150.00. Now that's a deal, seeing that it has the same percentage light transmission as the Leupold VX-2 which costs about $150 more. Anyway that's just a few I know about. There's more deals out there and good products.

True Grit
March 11, 2011, 07:28 AM

March 11, 2011, 07:32 AM
Last year I would have leaned towards a Bushnell Elite or a Nikon Buckmasters but now I going to say the new Redfield Revolution has got the best glass I've seen in lower end scopes without an Adjustable objective. I base this on being able to see .22 cal. bullet holes at 100 yards. I'm in my late 50's so there are a lot of scopes that look good to me under hunting conditions, but at the range it's a different story. Just my observations.

March 11, 2011, 07:57 AM
Weavers from the 60’s and early 70’s are still running fine on my .308 and .358 winchesters

I shot out (destroyed with recoil) a couple of Tascos from the 60’s and 70’s

I have a couple of Bushnell banners on .222 and .223 Contender carbine barrels and they are not that clear.

I have one Zeiss that was purchased used and is a great scope.

I have three Nikon Prostaff scopes on a .280, .35 Whelen and a .300 RSAM. they are taking the recoil and are very clear.

My favorite, but not the cheapest are Leupolds VX-2 and VX-3 which are on my primary hunting rifles.

March 11, 2011, 09:33 AM
just got my Vortex crossfire 6-24x50mm scope.... this thing is massive!! Seems to be built well... glass is pretty good definitely NOT Leupold quality but still very good for 100 bucks!!

I will hopefully have it sighted in this weekend on the ole 25-06 Stevens 200... now if I can just get a good thumbhole stock I will be set!!

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