should scope equal rifle value?


March 10, 2011, 11:31 AM
I know this has been discussed before but I would like to hear new opinions with current economics in mind..

I NEVER owned a scope to be proud of. I have wanted a Nikon Monarch for many years but could not pry the wallet open. Sure there are many other choices but my question is:

How foolish is it to install a scope on a rifle of equal value ? THANKS fellas :)

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March 10, 2011, 11:34 AM
That question reminds me of the line jewelry store clerks lay on guys saying an engagement ring should cost 3 months salary....As long as the scope works and you are happy with it all that really counts, IMO.

March 10, 2011, 11:35 AM
very subjective question. really depends on what kind of rifle you're dealing with and what you wanna do with it.

for example, my first deer rifle was a $200 .30-06 from walmart. i put a $750 leupold on it because i knew that where i hunted i was gonna have a lot of "edge of dark" shot opportunities. the combo served me well and in low light, i could see better through the scope than with the naked eye.

now, my 10/22 cost me about $250 iirc and i put a $50 scope on it. there's no heavy recoil and no need for a $250+ scope on it for my plinking and squirrel hunting uses. that money is better spent on ammo.

just use some sense and put some forethought into your purchases and you'll be fine.

March 10, 2011, 11:41 AM
If you have to choose one, spend your money on the scope, not the rifle. You can only shoot as well as you can see. Good glass makes a difference and unfortunately costs money.

March 10, 2011, 11:42 AM
Get a scope that works for your intended use. If it is a cheap tasco, a nightforce or whatever in between as long as it works for you then what more do you need?

March 10, 2011, 11:42 AM
I think Colt Python Elite nailed it, but I've always heard you should spend 1/3rd of the rifle cost on optics. So, a rifle for 1k, you should spend at least 300 on optics.

Although with optics today you could spend significantly less and still do quite well.

March 10, 2011, 11:46 AM
So thinking the scope should be half the rifle's value might be flawed you say? For some reason I feel the rifle's value should be much higher than the scope's value. I really want a Monarch but the rifle is an inexpensive Marlin. Kinda like putting jewels on the dog's collar.

Art Eatman
March 10, 2011, 11:56 AM
The idea seems to be an Internet thing. If you really need the max performance of a high-end scope, all well and good. For 90+ percent of all use, however, the $150 to $200 range of scopes seems to work quite well.

Out to 400 yards on critters bigger than prairie dogs, and not considering first or last light (see Post #3), a Weaver K4 or equivalent will do as good as anything else on the market.

Example: I paid $150 for a good used Leupold Vari-X II 3x9x40. It's on top of a 700 Ti. Am I "under-scoped"? Me, I don't think so.

March 10, 2011, 12:03 PM
My scopes have to do the job i need done, i don't go by what the cost ratio is. I bought a Zeiss for my "go to gun", because it was the best low light level scope i could find that was still affordable, as i need that gun to work for me at low light levels. Yet, i have much cheaper scopes on 22's, because they do just fine for what i use that 22 for.

I have always been willing to pay for a good scope, as i have spent weeks at a time in the Alaskan bush, many times alone, sometimes in the winter in a tent, "depending on my firearm and scope" for food and safety. I'm just not willing to take cheapo unproven equipment into situations like that.


March 10, 2011, 12:03 PM
I certainly don't pick out a scope by what my gun cost. I pick out my gun and my scope based on
1) Intended use
2) Quality gleaned from reading many many reviews and first hand accounts
3) Reputation of manufacturer
4) If it is a rifle, the aesthetics
5) What I can fit in my budget.

March 10, 2011, 12:05 PM
sure Art, a used Leupold is still a great scope, I'm getting tired of buying cheap chinese scopes only to waste expensive ammo watching POI wander around the paper. Not bashing the fine people of china, just would like to own a scope made in Japan or USA for around $300

March 10, 2011, 12:15 PM
Dzelenka... Not wanting to start anything, but a cheap rifle with excelent glass with still shoot kike a cheap rifle. A $1000.00 scope will not make a $150.00 stevens 200 shoot like an $1000.00 savage palma rifle. Nor vice-versa. I like to spend my money on quality rifles, and if I need glass for them, ill use a cheaper scope untill I can afford a quality scope. So far though, every time I go to get that quality scope, I caome home with a new rifle, so... My way of thought dosent seem to pan out perfectly either ;) With redfield coming back on the scene, and the ecomomy in shambles, higher end scope manufaturers are starting to make good quality "low end" rifle scopes for the average american shooter. This I sgood news.right now, I have a tru-glo, $119.00 scope on my savage 110 308. It shoot tiny groups with factory and handloaded ammo. I think that scope is on par with other $120 scopes from nikon and leupold (if you can find em)

March 10, 2011, 12:21 PM
Well, in part it just comes down to the individual scope. It's like eye glasses. It needs to fit you and the work environment. If either is not right, you will have problems. Cost is not really relevant.

I use old steel tube Weaver scopes on a number of my rifles. A stronger scope is hard to find. But, they were built before some of the modern lens coatings, so they will not transmit that last 2% of light as dusk falls. I also have some Bushnell Elites because rain and fog are issues on the north coast in Cali and Rainguard does work, they are aluminum tubes and the Weavers would rust :(

I also have some Nikon scopes and they are great - but so is an older Kassnar made in Japan. I don't own a US Optical or a Swarovski, Zeiss or Schmidt & Bender - but if there was a job that needed one I'm sure I would.

Would I put a Schmidt & Bender on a Marlin XS7S - sure if that what was needed to do the job. That's like a scope that costs 7X the rifle. So what - if you have to see into the dark on the edge of night you have to see. The cost of the rifle vs the sights is sort of a bogus argument?

Gen III night vision costs many thousands of dollars and it will work on a $100 Mosin. What job are you thinking this "nice" scope will have to do?

March 10, 2011, 12:25 PM
In my case the rifle is a good shooter so I want a good scope for it. I have seen cheap scopes that can do well provided you don't adjust the power or turn the elevation knob. Since reading these responses, I'm leaning towards a good scope in the $300 range. This is double what I normally spend on a scope. When I change rifles later, I can keep the scope. My tired old eyes can't see the irons anymore

March 10, 2011, 12:31 PM
The quality of the glass isn't the only factor that makes a good scope cost money.

Reliable and repeatable adjustments don't come cheaply.

If you just zero your scope and use some "hold-over" method, that consideration might not matter as much. But it does cost money to set up a scope that has turrents a shooter can use easily and rely upon.

Equal the value of a rifle? Not necessarily. Sometimes it will. It just depends on how much things like that matter to you.

March 10, 2011, 12:33 PM
would like to own a scope made in Japan or USA for around $300

Are there any scopes made in the US? Assembled maybe, but as far as I know the lenses are coming from Japan or the Philippines

March 10, 2011, 12:33 PM
IMO there is no reason the cost a rifle and the cost of the scope should have anything to do with each other. Doesn't make sense to me.
If you want a nice scope, get one.

Nikon Monarch 2-8 costs less than $300. Monarchs are made in the Philippines.
Bushnell 4200 is a direct competitor to the Monarch. Made in Japan. You can get one for less than $300.
Leupold VXII is $300.
Natchezss has a USA made Burris Signature Select for $300.
Natchezss also has the Nitrex TR-1, made in Japan, for $100.

March 10, 2011, 12:35 PM
I've had and seen very bad luck with the cheapest brands of scope. Such as people paying thousands for an Alaska hunt and sticking a Tasco or Bushnell or whatever on their rifle and having the seals blow out when transported in a bush plane due to the drop in air pressure. End of hunt, money wasted.

With that said, most people would be perfectly well served by a $200 fixed 4 power scope from Leupold or Burris or some other reputable maker.

You don't need $800 worth of 4x12 with mil-dots and illuminated whoozits and built in wind vanes and all that. Just get within 300 yards, put the fixed power scope crosshairs on the critter and pull the trigger.

March 10, 2011, 12:38 PM
Just get within 300 yards, put the fixed power scope crosshairs on the critter and pull the trigger.

KD, that method might work for larger game, but not so much for varmint hunting. Or for a competitive shooter in rifle matches.

March 10, 2011, 12:39 PM
Define your requirements:

1. What is is going on? (IE, Air rifle, .22 bolt action, magnum centerfire, . . . . very different scopes needed in each case)

2. How will I use it? (Punching paper in the sun, picking up a charging lion inside 20 yards, popping prairie dogs at extreme range)

The standard 3-9X price point scopes that flood the market are often far less (or more) than what you need for a specific application.

March 10, 2011, 12:44 PM
KD, that method might work for larger game, but not so much for varmint hunting. Or for a competitive shooter in rifle matches.

That's why I said "most people". Most people hunt deer.

March 10, 2011, 12:53 PM
most of my shooting is testing handloads. Always tweaking the recipe in search of the perfect one. Although my target can't turn and kill me, accuracy matters a great deal. I've been using a scope that holds zero as long as I don't touch it. Fine for producing tight groups but I would like a scope that is repeatable with changes in magnification and elevation/windage changes

March 10, 2011, 01:04 PM
OK, new equation. If you are going to punch paper for the foreseeable future, you need a good repeatable and adjustable scope. Won't be night vision. So turrets are at the top of your list.

This is not the same list as average hunter scopes. And, it is one you will move from rifle to rifle. I don't feel competent to answer your question as I adjust for zero and leave it alone mostly. But, I am interested in the list of recommended scopes :)

March 10, 2011, 01:22 PM
from what I have been reading in forums like THR, Nikon Monarch & Weaver Grand Slams are good for about $300

March 10, 2011, 01:47 PM
Quote; Art Eatman, Posted Today, 10:56 AM Administrator
The idea seems to be an Internet thing. If you really need the max performance of a high-end scope, all well and good. For 90+ percent of all use, however, the $150 to $200 range of scopes seems to work quite well.

Out to 400 yards on critters bigger than prairie dogs, and not considering first or last light (see Post #3), a Weaver K4 or equivalent will do as good as anything else on the market.

Example: I paid $150 for a good used Leupold Vari-X II 3x9x40. It's on top of a 700 Ti. Am I "under-scoped"? Me, I don't think so.

A big +1.
I've bought a many a USED Leupold and put them on rifles that cost 5 times or more than the scopes.

Art and I will never be "under-scoped" with our USED Leupolds.

March 10, 2011, 02:02 PM
How good a scope to buy depends on how I intend to use the rifle. I have several inexpensive scopes - on my range toys. If the scope goes belly up, I'll have to shoot a different gun that day.

OTOH, my hunting rifles get good scopes - Leupold, Burris, Bushnell Elite, etc. If my hunting rifle scope goes belly up, it could ruin a hunt that I've worked all year on, including transportation, tags, etc, etc. Worse yet it could cause me to wound an animal. Buy a good scope for your hunting rifle.

March 10, 2011, 02:24 PM
That's why I said "most people". Most people hunt deer.

I didn't see sansone mention using it for hunting deer.

I don't know what most people do anymore. But when I look at hunting license sales over the past 20 years, hunting is on the decline. Gun dealers are selling the crap out of rifles that are prohibited by law for hunting in my state.

I don't assume that people use a rifle for deer hunting anymore.

Figure out what sort of shooting you're going to be doing with your rifle, and get a scope to match. It might just be a fixed power is a good fit. I don't know.

March 10, 2011, 03:28 PM
For my money a decent scope starts at $300. I haven't found anything cheaper that did everything I needed a scope to do that would hold up long term. Anything over $500 and I'm paying for features and I simply don't need. Not that they are not better.

I have found several $300 rifles that work just fine, so I wouldn't have a problem with a $300-$400 scope on a $300-$400 rifle. I have rifles costing much more, that have features that I like and am willing to pay for. But many of the $300 guns shoot just as well as my more expensive guns. I think it is a better plan to pick the scope first, then the rifle to match.

March 10, 2011, 04:04 PM
The "ratio" is irrelevant and silly to say the least. Buy the scope you want, the best you can afford and one that fills your needs without regard for what the rifle cost. Don't scrimp on your mounts either.

March 10, 2011, 04:53 PM



March 10, 2011, 05:49 PM
OK Geno - but what scope can we recommend for a guy that wants to shoot tiny groups with hand loads and see his hits(?) and have really reliable adjustable turrets - all in the $300 range? Mueller sneaks into the back of my head, but I don't know how hard his biggest canon kicks?

March 10, 2011, 06:03 PM
I expect to pay good money for a good quality scope, usually as much as the rifle itself. Bought one rifle that came with a Simmons, I sold that scope after the first time out.

I now use nothing but Leupold and Weaver Target scopes.

March 10, 2011, 06:06 PM
OK Geno - but what scope can we recommend for a guy that wants to shoot tiny groups with hand loads and see his hits(?)
I'd suggest anybody who wants to see their hits to invest in an el cheapo spotting scope before outfitting their every rifle with an oversized scope that may be unfit for its "real" task.

March 10, 2011, 06:13 PM
It really depends on the application. If you're in competition you obviously should buy the best glass you can afford and not give your opponents any advantage you can control. For hunting it depends on the range and size of the animal. Ultimately a good shot with an accurate rifle can do just about anything with 12x.

March 10, 2011, 06:19 PM
sasone......I used to be the same way and all of the scopes I had in the past worked fairly well for a few years but they all either wore out or my aging eyes changed. Then I spent some money and got a Leupold. That scope made a big difference and kept on working until I sold it with the gun it was on. I got another Leupold later for another gun and my aging eyes work well with it. In other words, I don't buy CHEAP scopes anymore. No, Leupolds aren't the most expensive or the best but they are quite a step up from the ones I had in the past and they have always worked well and they last. I would like to get a Zeiss next. I looked through one at the range the other day and the clarity was great.

For a 22 lr you can buy down and get away with it but for a big game rifle, I bit the bullet and laid out the cash.

March 10, 2011, 07:34 PM
No, actual scope cost and actual rifle cost are ridiculous to compare. both need to do their jobs in the environment they're going to be used, and that leaves a lot of room for disagreement with the old rule of thumb.

The main point is to not be held back by cheap / poor quality sights on an high quality expensive gun.

With the modern internet and a good amount of comparative shopping, I generally spend 50% of the cost of the rifle on my optics. ($400 rimfire w/ $200 scope, or $1500 rifle with $800 glass).

March 10, 2011, 07:53 PM
There's a lot of hoopla about scopes and low light situations. Most deer I have ever seen have been in good light. In fact if it's too dark to see with your Nikon Prostaff or Leupold Rifleman, maybe you are hunting past legal shooting time. I have two Leupold VX-1s, One 3-9x40 and one 4-12x40, a Leupold 3-9X40 Vari X II (Which btw is the same thing as a VX-1, just renamed a few years back) a Leupold 3-9x40 Rifleman, a Nikon 3x9x40 Prostaff, an old made in El Paso Steel Weaver K-6, an old 1966 model Redfield 4x and now a Nikon Buckmaster side focus 6-18X40 BDC Reticle. If I can't see it and hit it with those optics I need to go home. Then there's a lot of talk about, well you hunt hogs at night. Yes I do and it is legal to use a spotlight here for feral hogs. They are a pest. So I have gotten by with cheaper optics for a long time without any handicap. You don't have to spend $300 and up on a scope. There are plenty with a bit lesser optics that will work in a hunting situation. Now I'll be the first to say long range target shooting is a different story. But if you're involved in that sport you will be spending bigger bucks than most hunters on equipment. It goes with the territory.
Saying all that, I am getting a Leupold VX-3L 4.5-14X56 with 30mm tube installed on my build that is now in progress. This is the most expensive scope I have ever ordered and I just wanted one on this particular classic build, which is a Yugo Mauser Action, barreled in .257 Roberts Ackley Improved, with a Model 70 style 3 position swing safety, Timney Trigger, in a Boyd's laminant stock. I just wanted one really custom job so I went all out. Will it kill anybetter than my 45 year old push feed Model 70 .270? No. Will I use it more than my other rifles? Maybe for the first couple of years. But my .270 always tags along and once I bloody a new rifle I revert back to using it. Anyway, I hope that settled your mind on scopes a little.

March 10, 2011, 07:57 PM
In our global market scopes are a mixed bag from month to month, outsourcing,various brands in one factory, not positive price guarantees a quality scope while certainly it lowers the odds of a total junker. All I do is buy with a lifetime warranty and hope for the best.:D

March 10, 2011, 08:05 PM
Ultimately a good shot with an accurate rifle can do just about anything with 12x.
Huh??? A 12x for big game hunting???

March 10, 2011, 08:12 PM
I've seen people buy a rifle just for the scope. So it depends. I really like hunting with iron sights when I'm walking and scope for when I'm sitting. The real question is how, the big name brands entry level scope compares to the lower brands top of the line scope. But in the end, it has to work for you. If it doesn't then its worthless.

March 10, 2011, 08:53 PM
I am not sure what the "rifle to scope price-ratio" is all about, as some people have said here. So if I get a $1000 rifle, I get a $333 scope and if I get a $300 rifle, I get a $100 scope? :scrutiny: I'm not sure where people get this stuff, but do yourself a favor and don't listen to it.

Much more is involved with a good scope than a little extra light gathering. Actually, that doesn't really have anything to do with the quality of the scope. A variable scope has a set of lenses that move when the zoom is adjusted. Furthermore, that set of lenses move in a manner that requires extreme precision to keep the reticle "zeroed" when zooming in and out. For example, if I zero a poor scope at 2X, at 7X, the reticle may move slightly. The impact of this is obvious and it's something a good scope will not do.

A good scope will generally be a 1-piece design, thus maximizing the strength of the scope. Reticle strength is another attribute a good scope will have. For obvious reasons, you don't what anything to happen to the reticle. Clarity (which a good scope will have) will help with accuracy. It may be difficult to determine something like reticle strength (and various other "good-scope attributes), but trust me, a $50 scope won't cut it.

The point I am getting at is that you really have to do some research to understand what a quality scope is, what it does, and why you should choose one over an inferior one. There are always going to be those who say things like, "There is no difference between a $50 scope and $500 scope...all you're paying for is a name." My advice: don't listen to those people because they are not knowledable. Poor marksman are not affected as much with a poor scope, but they won't get much better with one either. Furthermore, any semi-serious hunter should know what a good scope is worth to them in the field when compared to a poor one.

Personally, I think one should get the best scope one can afford, no matter what rifle it is to be put on. If $300 is too much, then save a little longer. It will be worth it versus settling with a cheap Tasco or something like that. Just keep in mind that "light-gathering" is inherant by design not quality (besides lense clarity). With that in mind, go do some scope-research. Scopes are complex and you should really get to know what to look for. Once you know what to look for, besides the price tag, you will be able to find a pretty good scope. Furthermore, you will understand why you are paying what you are paying. Price ratio does not matter at all. What matters is having a strong, reliable, and accurate scope that will maximize your marksmanship, not limit it.

March 10, 2011, 08:56 PM

I tired of paying $1,350.00 to $1,850.00 for Nightforce scope by the time I had three of them. I even found the Leupolds at $599.00 to be too much. My next varmint scope was the SWFA 10X for $299.00 Link follows:

The SWFA also is available in 16X and 20X. I still like my three Nightforce scopes. Also, do not overlook the Weavers for very accurate adjustments. JMHO.


March 10, 2011, 08:59 PM
if your rifle can only shoot 1.5 inches from a mechanical rest, is there a point in getting a scope that has 1/8 moa adjustments?

that said, if you are shooting for group size and or score... Get the best you can afford.

March 10, 2011, 09:09 PM
I think the big name scopes entry level products help make or break their reputation as much as their top of the line products because more people are buying them.

I've had great luck with both Leupold and Nikon entry level scopes. Up until very recently I used them both exclusively for reasons I noted in my other post here.

March 10, 2011, 09:19 PM
FWIW, if you can't see it, you can't hit it. Light gathering capability is huge at the edge of the legal time for beginning and ending your hunt. When it is legal to hunt, there may be lots of light left in the sky, but there will likely be much less in a wooded area where most people hunt. If you hunt open fields, that is unlikely to be important to you. Also, if your reticle moves when adjusting the magnification, your POI moves also. When trying to shoot tight groups this is a big deal. When hunting, this may make the difference between a clean kill and tracking a wounded animal for god knows how far. That doesn't even address the sick feeling you will have in your gut because you made the animal suffer. I have no moral objection to hunting, but it is unnecessary to make an animal suffer to put food on the table. The Zeiss scope on my Weatherby Mark V Deluxe was more than the rifle. If I get that once in a lifetime elk shot, I have confidence that I have the best possible optics. Most of my varmint rifles have Leupold VXIII 6x24x40s on them. I can see long distances and the scopes are more than adequate for my purposes, including target shooting. They cost about the same as or a little more than most of the rifles on which they are mounted. My primary hunting rifle has a Nikon Prostaff 3x9x40 that was much cheaper than my rifle. I have purchased one cheap Chinese scope and have nothing but regrets. Buy the best you can afford appropriate for your purposes and you will never regret it. Buy cheap and you are likely to regret the decision and spend money later replacing an inadequate scope. If there was no difference between a $50 scope and a $500 scope, Leupold would have gone out of business decades ago and we would all be mounting Simmons or Tasco or whatever other inexpensive brand that everyone swears by. If I have one shot on a once in a lifetime hunt and I miss, it will be my error. I will never have to ask myself what if I had had a better scope. My $.02. Good luck in deciding what works for you.

March 10, 2011, 09:23 PM
JMR, what is it you are looking for in a scope that costs $300 and up? Clarity, Quality? Ruggedness? I have a Nikon Prostaff that cost me $160 and some change after tax. It has 90% light transmission, BDC Reticle (Which I happen to like very much) and it handles the recoil of my Rem. 700 SPS 30-06 with a hot 200 grain bullet with no sweat. I can see plenty good with it too. I'm just curious.

March 10, 2011, 09:32 PM
I would strongly suggest you take a jaunt over to the optics talk forums and read this:

and this:

and this:

also... there is no such thing as "light gathering" It is all a function of the magnification of the optic in relation to the objective lens. The human eye can only discern so much... Everyone has their "pet" brands and wants to think that their optic is the best thing since sliced bread. I am a photographer by trade and I can tell you that 10 people can look through the same optic and have 10 different opinions on everything from the color of the image even down to the resolution they can discern from the lenses. Its a matter of preference once you get to a certain level of quality.

March 10, 2011, 09:35 PM
Dzelenka... Not wanting to start anything, but a cheap rifle with excelent glass with still shoot kike a cheap rifle. A $1000.00 scope will not make a $150.00 stevens 200 shoot like an $1000.00 savage palma rifle. Nor vice-versa.

Stick a Ncstar or BSA on that palma gun and see what size your groups are.

As for the OP's question buy the scope according to the intended use. And stay away from Chinese junk that includes Mueller.

March 10, 2011, 10:39 PM
most of my shooting is testing handloads. Always tweaking the recipe in search of the perfect one. Although my target can't turn and kill me, accuracy matters a great deal. I've been using a scope that holds zero as long as I don't touch it. Fine for producing tight groups but I would like a scope that is repeatable with changes in magnification and elevation/windage changes
This is a pretty well stated set of parameters and the only scope I've ever owned that would meet your requirements is a Weaver steel tube T (target) model. I've also owned and used Weaver steel tube K-8 and K-10 scopes with adjustable objective lenses. Both were outstanding for repeatability and reliability. Over the years, I had both of them serviced by the Weaver Scope Service and they trucked along for 20 plus years.

My current Bushnell Elite seems to be very reliable (about 6 years old), but I can't say it will hold up as well as those old Weavers. All the Weavers I have sold have gone for more than $100, so return on investment makes them quite affordable. The same should hold true for Leupold. I suspect that Burris will fall into the same category.

Can I get $100 bucks back on my used Nikons? No- I don't think so? I'm just not sure anymore on where the best price/performance ratio is for repeatability and longest turret life? I know that if I were in your shoes, I'd be buying a used Weaver T model with Micro-Trac and sending it in for service. I have faith in those old scopes and there is a reason they bring big bucks used. But if you don't have experience with them, I'm sure more modern glass will be appealing :)

March 10, 2011, 10:45 PM
Huh??? A 12x for big game hunting???

Yeah, what's the problem with that?

March 10, 2011, 11:28 PM
Yeah, you have a problem with it?
I thought we were here to have "discussions". How old are you?

March 11, 2011, 08:19 AM
Buy the scope you want, the best you can afford and one that fills your needs without regard for what the rifle cost. Don't scrimp on your mounts either. Very good advice CraigC.

March 11, 2011, 12:13 PM
My optics comfort level is Vari-X II/III Leupold series scope. For the quality, value, and warranty I’m satisfied. It’s fair to say there is better optics in the market place but at substantial cost differential.

As for the cost differential between the firearm and the optics that is dependent on the application. I’m of the opinion that in the market place of optics there is a substantial mark up/profit margin for the manufactures/distributors/retailers.

March 11, 2011, 01:54 PM
There are some things in life that defy wearing tennis shoes with a tux, putting black wall retread tires on a Rolls Royce, and ketchup on prime rib. Cheap scopes should be reserved for cheap's how nature intended it to be.

March 11, 2011, 03:08 PM
sansone, the only answer you need to read is Post #2, from ColtPythonElite. If it works for you and you are happy with it, that's all that counts.

March 11, 2011, 04:23 PM
I find Nikon buckmasters to be a good value. Esp when you find a clean used one.
have had several, should have never let of the 6-18 I had... oh well.
Have a Weaver GS on the way, used. looking forward to using it.

March 11, 2011, 04:43 PM
I have read nearly all the responses to this thread and one thing I'm seeing is some seem to be missing MY point. For one thing. I don't buy any what call CHEAP scopes, such as $40-$100 Simmons and similar junk for centerfire rifles. I have a Simmons 3-9x40 8 Point on my 10/22 and am happy with it. But there's no recoil and I'm not shooting at 300+yards with a 22LR.

What I consider my bottom line cheap scopes that I will buy and put on centerfire rifles are the entry level scopes from companies like Leupold and Nikon. They are solid, well built, quality scopes. The reason these are cheap is not because of mechanical construction, but rather they don't have as expensive optics as their higher level brothers. Like I have said, I have a Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 on my 30-06 and it has a pretty good whollup to it when shooting some of the heavier bullets. I also own 4 entry level Leupolds that are also well built. The only problem with these Leupolds is they don't have click adjustments like the VX-2s and VX-3s. But they hold their zero just the same. And besides, the clicks are mainly useful when target shooting when you need a good repeatable zero change of a certain degree. It should give it to you where the friction adjustment may not. But for hunting that's a moot point. Once I sight a hunting rifle in I don't usually mess with the settings unless I drop the rifle which is rare for me because I concentrate on NOT doing those things. Anyway, that's my take on it and my idea of a CHEAP scope. That's as far down the ladder I'll go.

Welding Rod
March 11, 2011, 08:50 PM
VX II is generally my minimum comfort level.

March 11, 2011, 09:49 PM
Took me some time to talk myself into some good glass,,Then,,,

Remington 700 in .243,, $570.00 NIB
Leupold VX3, 4 1/2x14 50mm bell,, $795.00 NIB
Coyotes,,100+ yds out at dusk, dropped like hot rocks,, PRICELESS!

March 12, 2011, 12:06 AM
I think it's a good idea to buy the scope first that way you buy the best you can afford and then buy a rifle, most rifles today will out shoot their owners but all glass is not made equal.

March 12, 2011, 01:09 AM
Sniderman, I got one of those coming on a new build. But it's the 56 MM Obj. and 30mm Tube. WHY??? I have no idea, I just flipped out. I usually don't spend near that much on glass. So far $309 on a Nikon 6x18 Buckmaster has been the most I've ever spent. Usually I don't spend over about $230-$250, you know, VX-1s, Prostaffs, stuff like that. This Leupold VX-3L SF 4.5 -14X56 with 30mm tube is the most expensive scope I've ever bought. But, on the other hand, I won't put a $100 or less scope on a decent centerfire rifle either. I do NOT like scope OR rifle failure.

March 12, 2011, 01:26 AM
Craig C, I agree about buying a spotting scope. Also, here's an old Hunter Safety point about scopes. Some people rant about needing high end optics for low light. I know that they think they need them to identify game correctly. Only one problem here. It's unsafe if you want to really get down to it, to use a rifle and scope to look for and identify game, even more especially in low light. A rifle scope is a sighting sistem, not a binocular. Get some good binoculars to look for and identify game. Once you've identified the game animal you want to shoot, then put the scope on it and pull the trigger.
But when you are looking through your rifle's scope you are pointing a gun at things you may not intend to shoot. This is one of the 10 commandments of Hunter Education. and one of the big three of gun safety rules; never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot. So therefore some of the argument for expensive first class optics is going against safety. I would rather buy a medium priced scope from one of the better scope companies and invest bigger money in a good set of binoculars. JMHO. But it's all about safety. And once you've identified the game, a lesser optic can be used as a sight.

March 12, 2011, 02:08 AM
A lot of the scopes I own see different rifles depending on the time of year and my interests. There really isn't a set rule or anything similar for me. I personally have topped out in the $300-$400 range as the use I put a scope through typically won't benefit from a more rugged design and I have troubles justifying nicer glass than what comes on most scopes in the $300-$400 range as well. I don't own any rifles worth multiple thousands of dollars that are intended to be abused in a way that would require a similarly priced scope.

Find your point of diminishing returns and enjoy the scopes you end up with at that point. For me it is the VXII, Elite 3200, Buckmaster range that seem to be the best value.

March 12, 2011, 02:36 AM
Rifles are replaced, scopes stick around for a while. (Unless we are talking all around cheap stuff.)

March 12, 2011, 02:39 AM
There is a point at which it seems foolish, to put together a sub-MOA varmint rifle, and then top it with a junk scope. You went to the expense to make a tack-driving rifle, and then put on a scope that isn't capable of the same accuracy. You might as well have just used a basic Walmart rifle.

It doesn't always need to be the very best you can buy, but it doesn't help you much to go with the rock bottom cheapest either. My dad has a Remington 700 VSSF in 22-250, he splurged and bought it from a pawn shop. Then he topped it with the rock bottom cheapest Simmons scope he could find. We were out shooting it at targets 100 yards away one afternoon, and it was putting them in the dirt at about 50 yards. We gave it a closer look, and the tube had bent. We don't know if it was from rough handling or the rings had been torqued too tight, but he grumbled and decided to worry about it later. He eventually went and bought......the same scope. I bit it off and didn't say anything.

A couple of years later, we went out to the desert to look for coyotes, and we lined up a shot, that song dog just sat there 100 yards away, my dad took all the time in the world, squeezed one with the safety still on, clicked it off, it still didn't move, he shot and missed. I ran out to look for fur or blood, there was nothing. We were driving away, and I asked him the last time he had shot and zeroed that rifle, he said it had been a couple of years. Some scopes I would expect to hold a zero for a couple of years or much longer. Not that one I guess.

March 12, 2011, 04:35 AM
My guns are primarily for deer hunting. I do not have a ton of money for high end guns and scopes. My two favorite rifles are a Winchester model 70 in 7mm rem mag and a Remington model 700 in .243. Both guns where purchased at Wal-Mart. Both are topped with a 55 dollar Simmons cheapo scope.
I practice with these guns as often as I can and as often as my budget allows me to buy ammo. Both guns shoot half inch groups.
I have shot plenty of times with friends who are shooting scopes and guns that cost 5 to 10 times what I paid for mine that are not shooting the groups that my Wal-mart guns with my store bought ammo are shooting. Maybe I just got lucky. Maybe I am fortunate enough to be able to walk out my back door and shoot my rifles. All I am saying is a thousand dollar scope is never going to take the place of a lot of practice.

March 12, 2011, 06:52 AM
A $1,000 scope probably won't help you shoot any better but when those $50 scopes crap out on you again, and again, and again you will eventually figure out it would have been less expensive in the long run to have bought a decent $200-$300 scope.

March 12, 2011, 11:13 AM
Lots of justification for some really weak reasoning.

It's about balance, and getting the utility for money spent.

Specifying the quality of parts for the job needing done, the caliber and barrel come first. How the optic mounts is very much a part of the upper receiver design - then the optic has to complement the actual accuracy intended.

Sure, a $3,500 16x36 sniper scope is a bit overkill on a 10/22, the same could be said of an Aimpoint on it, too. There's no balance between the barrels accuracy and intended target, and the price.

60-75 million hunters in America buy game licenses every year, since it's without doubt a major use of optics, I'll use hunting live game as an example. If it's prairie dogs, a 1/2 MOA barrel is desireable to get hits out to 500m, just because the target is so small. Something with 4X12 variable power, easily adjustable turrets, and bullet drop compensation would fill the bill. Price? $250 up.

The question is, would a scope costing $1,200 do the job, sure, but how much better per dollar? You get diminishing returns on every extra dollar you spend, guaranteed and a rule of thumb in life, much less rifle scopes. Jump up to a $450 scope, there will be some obvious visible improvement in glass and performance. Double that again to a $900 scope, and it's going to take optical instruments and a crate of ammo to see any significant difference. It will be there, but honestly, the average guy planning a trip to Western Kansas once a year could save the money for gas and get the same results.

Bluntly, cost no object spending for optics is marketing blather. Please note the phrasing in ads, with wingless flies crawling on barn siding, and heavy emphasis on "you deserve" and hunters attired in expensive custom fitted clothing. What part of selling status and lifestyle is really being done?

Spend the extra money on shooting, dope out the bullet drop, get reloading equipment and make the effort to find the most accurate load. You will get more return on that in actual hits than blowing the difference on a higher price scope.

It's the fine tuning that makes it work, not the Edelbrock sticker on the fender.

March 12, 2011, 11:50 AM
I have used expensive scopes and have used cheap scopes. In the end I have used more cheap ones.

On my $900 AR sits a $70 KonusPro 1.4-5x32. I fell in love with the reticle on my 20ga and it put up with all the abuse I have heaped on it so far. The same sits on the 20ga, My daughter's .223 and my .257Roberts. It's pros? Super fast target aquisition, just center a close surprise target in the diamond and squeeze. For distance it is the super fine crosshairs that don't block out targets. For anything out to 300yds or but beyond it is all I need.

For my past shooting I loved the Swift line. For under $400 I had about has good a scope as I will ever need. Once my 7x57Ackley is done it will wear one of them.

More expensive scopes? I am sure if my shooting demanded the modest increase in quality (as compared to the price increases), I would use them. I just have never needed them. I am betting 95% of shooters fall into that catagory.

Art Eatman
March 12, 2011, 12:45 PM
Why is anybody even mentioning scopes which are "cheap" or "junk"? They have no bearing on the subject of the thread.

The issue is the apparent belief on the part of some people that if you buy a $500 rifle, you NEED a $500 scope. $1,000 rifle? $1,000 scope. Based on a bunch of years of experience with all sorts of scopes and many different purposes, my opinion of that idea is that it's just plain silly.

But "cheap" or "junk" has nothing to do with much of anything other than a different sort of silliness: Once noted as "penny wise, pound foolish".

March 12, 2011, 01:32 PM
This is one of those questions each must answer for himself I guess.

As a trade in, rifle scopes are a poor investment, no matter what the initial price. So the way I see it, I've tried to determine the best choice in my price bracket. I only buy new, especially with optics, as if something goes haywire, a warranty is a nice thing. Then if I decide to trade of the rifle, I keep the glass for installation on my new purchase.

Good glass isn't something that typically wears out, and if it is good today, it will remain good for a lifetime.

So figure your price point, and figure the features that you will use, and buy the best available to you. For my money, I've determined that the IOR line of scopes presents probably the best value for the uses I have for it.

YMMV. :)

March 12, 2011, 01:43 PM
if it is good today, it will remain good for a lifetime. Not true! Everything has a breaking point regardless of initial cost. Even high dollar scopes/guns are subject to breakage at any time. Too many people are confusing "value" with "price". I have many lesser priced scopes that represent good to great value for the money spent. I don't choose a scope based on how much I paid for the rifle (that would be silly indeed) but on the intended use and recoil potential of the rifle.

Art Eatman
March 12, 2011, 02:02 PM
Breaking point? From falling off a mountain, maybe? So far, all my Leupold scopes of more than thirty years of age seem to do fine. And a couple have bounced off floors or fallen down mountains. Never had a K4 break, nor the Vari-X IIs, either.

The world seems to be full of problems beyond my understanding...


March 12, 2011, 02:02 PM
sooner, have you done much long rang shooting with peep sights. At 1k yards, you can't see the bull, but I'll bet there are people out the that can hit it fairly consistently. I can't se the heart of a deer, but I know where it is in relation to the rest od it's body and can hit it without seeing much more than the outline of the deer. If I can't see the deer, true that I can't hit it. But there is no scope with 100% light transmission, so shooting with myy naked eye is better in that regard.

March 12, 2011, 02:13 PM
Breaking point? Yes,a breaking point. All products are subject to having weaknesses that can present themselves at ANY time. I bought a Browning A bolt because it had "lost it's accuracy" after all it had a Leupold VX-111 on it so it couldn't possibly be the scope. The leupold was several years old and had ALWAYS performed well. It wasn't dropped or abused in any way. The owner condemned the Browning and sold it to me for $300 but sent the VX-111 to the factory "just in case". I put a Bushnell Banner on the A bolt and got 1"-1.5" groups consistantly. Leupold,on the other hand,made up the VX-111 at no cost.

March 12, 2011, 02:16 PM
Never had a K4 break I have a Weaver K-4 bought new in 1972. It still holds zero even though the objective lense mysteriously has lost part of the external seal. This scope cost me less than $40 when new.

March 14, 2011, 01:14 PM
Now I'm more of a true irons myself, but i do know many shooters who adore their optics. It definitely depends upon the POU of the rifle. I have seen several competition shooters who will place a scope costing 5 grand atop a rifle that costs less than a thousand!:what:

Better to heft out a little more for a good optic that could outperform its rifle partner than to have your rifle's performance be held back due to a lousy scope.
Just my .02$

March 14, 2011, 02:08 PM
I have a Weaver K-4 bought new in 1972. It still holds zero even though the objective lense mysteriously has lost part of the external seal. This scope cost me less than $40 when new.

My dad has a Bushnell 4X with a German post reticle. He was driving along a road with a steep cant, his gun fell out of the gunrack, out the open window, windage turret first onto a rock, hard enough to leave a huge dent. This was back in the 70's. Still holds a zero today.

March 14, 2011, 03:13 PM
I really don't believe that this rifle to scope cost ratio is valid. The biggest reason is that I've seen plenty of sub $500 rifles shoot sub MOA with good ammunition; like the Remington SPS models and the Steven 200 models. On the other hand, when it comes to scopes, you usually get what you pay for.

It's already been said many times in this thread, don't buy according to a ratio, buy what you want/need. There are many decent scopes out there, but it's a real matter of what you need it to do.

You can get a crap scope for under $100. It will allow you to see through it and zero it in (hopefully). You could spend around $300, get some decent glass, but you're not going to get the resolution that you will get with better glass and you are going to see a good bit of distortion, especially under recoil. You will also have to worry about how well it will fare in a fall. You could spend around $600 and start moving into some good glass that has good resolution and low distortion, but how repeatable are the settings and how robust is the build. You could spend $1000 and get very good glass with very good resolution and very low distortion. At this price point, you'll likely get turrets with very repeatable settings as well. Now, spend $1500 and you will have all of the above, plus the robust build. Spend more and you get more, although the law of diminishing returns will strike.

Personally, the Nightforce line is a favorite of mine, because at that price point I can get all that is important to me. I like good glass. I don't need the best, but it has to be good. I like good resolution with a sharp image and don't like to see distortion under recoil. I like being able to see my hits. I also like the fact that I don't have to worry about losing my zero because one of my rifles got banged around.

As has been said, it's all about what you want/need; but to say that you should only spend X on a scope because the rifle only cost Y is foolish.

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