opinion on best AR scopes


January 20, 2004, 08:58 PM
Just bought one and would like to have a scope with a few questions to add. Are there scopes out there for the AR that have compensators for bullet drop at different distances much like the open sights adjust for meters? When you take a scope off the rail and put it back on do they generally loose center? What scope do you prefer and why.


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Navy joe
January 20, 2004, 09:09 PM
Yes, I believe that is an option with Trijicon scopes in several models as well as Elcans. Or you could just mount a standard Mil-dot on it, Horus, Sheperd or whatever freaky reticle that floats your boat. Have to define best for what purpose.

Personally I have had a carry handle mounted compact ACOG in 2x with a red crosshair reticle for about 5 years. It is dirt simple, small, able to survive me, and allows use of my real sights as well. This suits my needs for an AR as it increases hit speed and probability out to 300 some yards which is about what you're going to effectively do with the thing. I need to sit down and do the math on what MOA the legs of the crosshair represent, then I'll have a pretty neat range estimation and drop compensator right there. When I have taken it off and replaced it on the same gun it was right on.

If you can stand the cost you can't loose with anything Trijicon makes.

Harry Tuttle
January 20, 2004, 09:59 PM
for the A2 with the carry handle the Colt 4x is very good
but its pretty much a chin weld with the glass that high above the bore

for a flattop theres alot of manufacturers to look at

heres a great overview:

January 20, 2004, 10:17 PM
If you check out AR15.com's optics forum there are a bunch of excellent stickied threads talking about the best optics choices. Trijicon ACOG (with BAC reticle), Aimpoint, and EOtech are the favored choices.

January 20, 2004, 10:21 PM
Check this out.

C-more scope for AR (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=60421)

Might be just what you're looking for and it's offered by one of our compadres here at THR.


January 21, 2004, 02:41 AM
thank you...posted and asked for pic....got an email back saying pics are on the way in about 5 minutes (1:30 a.m. central time) so I am quite impressed. I did a search on him at the trading post and he has a couple of A++'s to go with his name. seems reputable.....I am very interested in seeing this scope. Thanks again for the link.


January 21, 2004, 09:04 AM
If you have a flat top AR and want a traditional tube scope, I recommend the one piece scope mount by Armalite. I have one on a 20" flat top AR and I must remove it to tranport the gun to the range in it's case. The return to zero has been dead on for me. I believe you can get this mount in 1" or 30mm size. It's very well built and the tightening knobs are large and knurled for easy hand installation and removal. I haven't noticed mine coming loose from firing the gun as of yet.


Bartholomew Roberts
January 21, 2004, 09:15 AM
Are there scopes out there for the AR that have compensators for bullet drop at different distances much like the open sights adjust for meters?

Check out the Optics forum at AR15.com. There is enough information there to keep you reading for awhile and it is good info. Among other things, they have pictures through the various scopes that are most helpful.

When you take a scope off the rail and put it back on do they generally loose center?

This will depend more on your mount than the scope; but there are scope mounts available that will give you excellent return to zero qualities so that the scope is still on target after being removed and replaced. I use an ARMS #19S mount (which is specific to a certain brand of scope) and it has always returned to zero for me.

January 21, 2004, 11:50 AM
I need to add that this well be mounted on a flattop and I do not want to remove the front sight. Will a flattop scope mounting flush with the receiver require front sight removal?

Bartholomew Roberts
January 21, 2004, 02:40 PM
If you plan on using a magnified optic of greater than about 3x, you will not need to remove the front sight since it will be inside the focal length of the scope.

If you plan on using a lower magnification scope, the front sight tower will be visible to some degree; but shouldn't stop you from using the scope effectively.

If you plan on using an unmagnified red dot, the front sight tower will of course be visible; but will not stop you from using the red dot effectively.

January 21, 2004, 02:54 PM
If you want to have a backup iron sight setup in case your optic is damaged etc. having the front site is pretty handy. You can get flip up front sights, but I'd keep the stock one unless you try your optic and find the front sight is really bothering you.

January 21, 2004, 03:24 PM
BTW Bartholomew I did look at the thread on ar15.com along with a ton of other threads, but the thread that caught my attention there was the scope view's where the pictures were taken.....only problem being I cant afford a single one of those scopes :( I guess I should say I would like to keep it around 250$ if I can.


January 21, 2004, 04:39 PM
best magnified optic for the AR is the ACOG/compact ACOG by far......non-magnified or reflex are the EOTech and Aimpoint

January 21, 2004, 08:55 PM
Sorry Absolut but you are wrong.

The best optic for an AR rifle depends on the rifle configuration and the intended use.

An ACOG might be great for a rifle configured for CQB with a 16" barrel but if the rifle has a 20" barrel and is meant for patrol or perimeter work something like a 3.5X10 M3 Leupold would be far better.

January 21, 2004, 09:01 PM
define CQB and also......MOA.....I see MOA all the time. I am relatively new to message boards when it comes to shooting compared to automobile message boards. That has puzzled me from day 1. The ACOG's look very very nice but man they are damn pricey. The scope themselves with mounts would run me more than the rifle cost me. If I could find a used one with 4x magnification for 500ish I might consider it, but I cant afford 800$ for one new.


Harry Tuttle
January 21, 2004, 09:54 PM
Close Quarters Battle
room clearing, house cleaning

Minute of angle
~1 inch at 100 yards

a 1 MOA gun puts all the rounds in a half dollar at 100 yards

to stop a man, a softball sized group is close enough

with optics you get what you pay for

the ACOGs and Aimpoints and other high speed low drag toys are run by the pros
My Aimpoint and its Swan mounts are 1/2 the cost of my rifle

www.SWFA.com has reasonable pricing

January 22, 2004, 12:15 AM
ACOG/Compact ACOG! Nothing else even comes close, IMNSHO!

I use the compact ACOG on my Bushy Dissapator and wouldn't trade it for anything made.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 22, 2004, 09:20 AM
I guess I should say I would like to keep it around 250$ if I can.

Well, I'll warn you in advance that optics is an area where you often get what you pay for. Having said that, Colt used to sell a 4x scope that mounted in the carry handle and had bullet drop markings for 5.56mm. You could probably find one of those or one of the several knock-offs made somewhere else and imported here for that price. I've seen them as low as $49.

Grab a CDNN Investments (http://www.cdnninvestments.com/) catalog or check out SWFA (http://www.swfa.com/) and take a look at those offerings. CDNN in particular has lots of scopes designed for the AR15 at less than $100; but these are not quality pieces of glass by any stretch of the imagination. However, they may serve your needs quite well.

Harry Tuttle already explained CQB and MOA. I'd just elaborate that the one MOA that = ~1" @ 100yds, will = ~2" @ 200yds etc. Think of it as a cone. It is usually used to describe what a rifle is capable of with the right shooter, ammo etc.

The ACOGs are expensive pieces of gear. It took me about two years from the time I had decided I want one until the point I could afford one (and even then "afford" was a very debateable term). For a long time, I tried the budget route with guns and I have boxes full of crap that I have barely used and will never use again as a result. One day, I bit the bullet and bought a top of the line, high-grade holster. Not only did iI finally find a holster to work really well for me; but I realized I had spent about $50 more than the "too expensive" holster buying utter junk.

Since that time, I have made a conscious decision to just buy the high-end gear. It isn't cheap and I often buy a lot more capability than I ever need to use on a day-day basis; but it has reduced my gear frustrations substantially. For that alone, I consider it a worthwhile investment. I've also found that it is easier (in my household anyway) to buy one insanely expensive but good piece of gear than it is to repeatedly buy the same piece of gear at a less expensive price. One high priced scope doesn't seem to bug her half as much as me buying three or four cheap scopes for the same rifle within a few months. :)

January 22, 2004, 11:05 AM
Bartholomew you have been more than a big help so far with me on the new AR stuff, explaining things in great detail even more so than I would expect anyone to do. I would be posting this stuff on ar15.com but I have a problem with my email as not being a valid address for them to register me. I too am biting the bullet. I have 2 milk jugs full of change that I have always wanted to spend on something that i WANTED just I have never got around to it. I would assume there is 600$ or so in there. I believe I am gonna put that towards an ACOG compact with rail grabber mounts here really shortly....possibly Sunday if I dont find any at the gun show here this weekend. I have checked out swfa's web site a few times now and my only question would be on their compacts....they do not include mounts...correct? Is 799.00 about the bottom line that I will be looking at for a compact wherever I look?

I will start posting this stuff on ar15.com soon as I can get registered instead of using all THR's bandwidth on ar-15 related material lol. Thanks.


Bartholomew Roberts
January 22, 2004, 01:30 PM
Brett, glad I could be of assistance. ARs are one of the few areas that I have played around in consistently enough to have some knowledge. However, there are a lot of different opinions on any firearm-related matter so always take them with a grain-of-salt.

Before you buy the compact ACOG, I'd stop and consider what you want to do with the optic and what you want out of it. Are you looking to shoot groups at the range? Plink tin cans from 0-200yds? Hunt? Defensive use? Several of these with differing priority? What is the maximum and minimum range you have in mind? The ACOGs are definitely top-notch optics; but it is a lot of money to pay if all you want to do is punch paper. Once you have a good idea of what you want out of the sight, it will be easier to figure out where your budget is.

For example, I just caught a thread where somebody had just worn out the hog population of east Texas with a Tasco Propoint (a sight that would fit into your $250 budget). Now the Tasco isn't going to survive the same kind of abuse that an ACOG will, it doesn't offer magnification and it isn't built to the same demanding standards; but that particular unit has held up to quite a bit of rough field use that most range guns will never see.

If you decide you want to go the compact ACOG route, you will need a mount for it (assuming you don't want to mount it in the detachable carry handle).

January 22, 2004, 02:40 PM
Far as mounting a scope, I would like to mount it to the flat top with probably a grabber style mount. I believe I looked at one that set the scope on a 1/2" mount.....primarily what I am looking for. As for what I want out of the optic? Definately a clear view....no distortion much like my Swarovski scope on my deer rifle. From what I hear you cant beat the optics on these acog scopes. The gun would be used for plinking at many different ranges, possibly varmint hunting, definately shooting groups (I am wanting a 3x at minimum), and I would really love to get into competition with the rifle but I can't find anything in my area as of right now. I plan on keeping the rifle....more than likely for life. I shoot usually twice a month so the scope would get its use for sure. I figure if I am going to buy a scope that will fit most of my needs (after considering what you said about quality and swapping out "cheaper" scopes for a nice setup) I might as well get it over with and save the hassles as you stated you had.


Bartholomew Roberts
January 22, 2004, 04:00 PM
What type of competition? Benchrest or IPSC-style?

I've got to shoot a Swarovski and ACOG side by side before, and the ACOG can definitely compete with the Swarovski on clarity.

If you are looking at groups and at varmint hunting, the ACOG may still serve you OK depending on the reticle. The ACOG is designed primarily with hitting larger size E-type (19" silhouette) targets in mind, so some of the reticles would probably obscure a small animal like a prarie dog completely at a distance.

Heck if the deer rifle has a Weaver-style base you might be able to use the same Swarovski scope on both rifles.

The Tourist
January 22, 2004, 05:29 PM
I use a 3x9 Leupold VarX with turret knobs. Very clear, very repeatable and so far, very rugged. One of my friends is a Burris man, and I think my scopes ar as crystal clear as his.

January 22, 2004, 06:18 PM
Would not be benchrest....the gun probably isnt real ideal for shooting tights groups from a rest being its a 16" carbine. The mounts on the deer rifle I have wont work on the Swarovski. The mounts are on a Remington model 700 where there are 2 allen screws on each mount. I will have to look at the flat top again but I am pretty sure they do not accomodate that type of mount.


Bartholomew Roberts
January 22, 2004, 07:19 PM
Well, I don't know a thing about benchrest shooting; but I have managed a 4-shot 0.25" group at 100yds with my 16" carbine (stock trigger, stock barrel, no free float), so you'd be surprised what they can do on occasion.

If you are looking for an IPSC-style gun, then the compact ACOG is pretty useful for that type of shooting along with the full-size ACOGs, Aimpoints, Eotechs, OKOs, and Leupold variables.

Really, I couldn't begin to get into all the different optics options for the AR. Your best bet is to read the tacked posts at AR15.com and then lurk and read about the ones that interest you. Keep in mind though that there is a decided bias towards military and law enforcement applications there. Brian Enos has a forum (http://brianenos.ibforums.com/) for three-gun shooting that can give you a more competition oriented look at optics.

However, don't feel like you have to leave here to talk about ARs, and whatever you learn or decide - hang around here and share it with the rest of us so we can learn from your mistakes :)

January 22, 2004, 08:52 PM
I am getting frustrated now. Am I not seeing the whole picture here?? I have been searching EVERYWHERE local as well as on the net for the ACOG compact in 3x24 with a chevron sight and I can not find it anywhere. I see a ton of the regular ACOG's with chevron but not a single compact. I cant afford the regular ACOG but the compact I can squeeze into my budget. Where on earth can I find the scope with the chevron sight? Chevron sight with line under it....not chevron inside of a circle.


January 22, 2004, 10:29 PM
Any time someone asks about AR optics, the ACOG and Aimpoint come first, last, and most often. BUT, bBefore you sink all that money into what is without a doubt an EXCELLENT combat optic.... Let me make a less expensive, quality suggestion...

Burris Fullfield II 3-9x40 with Ballistic Plex ($200) or illuminated Ballistic Plex($300), and an Armalite 1 piece scope mount ($75).

Burris at SWFA (http://www.riflescopes.com/store/departments.asp?dept=203)

Given your intended uses, you're not going to neccessarily need a scope that will survive a "5 meter drop onto concrete". Also, some of those uses (varmint hunting for instances) might actually be a compromise with the ACOG. And while you may get what you pay for, there comes a point where every extra $100 does not continue to give the same percentage increase in extra quality. In other words, a $500 scope may be 10x better than a $100 scope, but a $1000 scope is NOT 10x better than a $500 scope.

I've done a lot of research, and the Burris is a quality optic.

Another suggestion might be the IOR Bucuresti illuminated 4x24 M2 in one of the several reticles they offer.

IOR at SWFA (http://www.riflescopes.com/store/departments.asp?dept=292)

For plinking and non life-or-death situations, unless you just have $700 laying around to spend on a scope, there are plenty other options that would absolutely serve you just as well.

Good luck.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 23, 2004, 12:12 AM
Also, you aren't going to find the chevron reticle in a compact. The chevron is only available in full size. In compact ACOGs, you may choose from a crosshair, dot or triangle. In the compacts the dot and triangle are larger than the 4 MOA reticle in the full size ACOGs.

January 23, 2004, 01:11 PM
Weaver style rings will bolt up to the flat-top rail but its really worth the extra cost of the Armalite mount previously discussed. It will last forever and accomadate any scope of the same diameter in the future. Having tried a variety of optics on an AR, my recommendation for an all around scope is a 1-4 variable. This gives a very wide field of view for close range work @1 power and enough magnification to hit targets @ 300 yds @ 4 power.

January 23, 2004, 02:24 PM
I'll throw in a newbie point of view. My first AR15 is a flat top with a 20" free floating HBAR barrel, with no front sight. Not the sort of rifle you'd put a red dot scope on. Still, I knew the most distance I'd probably shoot it at was out to 200 yards. After reading the forums here and on AR15.com, and drooling over all the ACOGs and Aimpoints, I settled on a Leupold fixed 6X 42mm (matte black, of course). And, I followed the repeated advice to buy the Armalite one piece scope mount, and am glad I did.

I went with the 6X fixed power scope after trying several magnifications, and finding that to be the best all around for for me. I personally prefer a fixed power, to help me judge distances. I learn what size an item will be in my scope at a specific distance.


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