How can you justify a 2-3000 dollar scope?


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ZDriver96
July 21, 2013, 10:12 AM
First off I'd like to say that I believe that you get what you pay for and that I can appreciate spending a couple hundred dollars more for a quality scope. I myself own a Minox ZA5, Gen 3 PVS14, Vanguard Spotting scopes, Aimpoints etc... I am willing to spend money for quality/rugged optics. I have looked through different scopes and in general the 700-1000 dollar scopes did not impress me any more than most of the 400-600 dollar scopes. In fairness some of those 1000 dollar scopes were more rugged and more shock resistant.

But I have never looked through a Nightforce, Kahles, Swarovski, Steiner, etc.. I was looking through gunbroker and several of these brands have scopes that enter that 2-3k price range and even beyond that.

Those of you who own or have experience with these brands.. do you feel they are worth the price? Or do you feel that the optical quality can be matched by less expensive scopes? Do you feel the build quality or ruggedness far exceeds that of less expensive optics.

I know these questions depend on your use and background as a sniper on the SWAT team will probably feel differently than an occasional shooter. I base my purchases on the simple question: Are these products currently used in harsh environments or do I feel that they could endure harsh environmental conditions.

I'd like to hear your opinions and experiences.

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taliv
July 21, 2013, 02:34 PM
first, a shocking percentage of snipers/swat guys have truly crappy equipment. they use what they are issued and depts are cheap. so i wouldn't use that as a guide. vast majority of their engagements are under 100 yards and on very large targets, so their requirements are really not that high.

to get reasonably impressive glass, you probably have to spend $1700+ these days. some of that glass is pretty awesome, but it's mostly not needed for almost any shooting application and you also really need some education to know what to look for or they will mostly look the same. there is a difference between clarity, resolution, light transmission, a couple types of distortion, color fidelity, and such things as the recent brouhaha over chromatic aberration.

maybe 4+ years ago, you had to spend that much money to get features you wanted, like FFP, and adjustments that tracked and knobs that didn't suck (e.g. single or double turn, zero stops, locking turrets, good detents, etc). but now, there are some cheap scopes with those features too. but they do make compromises. for example, their exit pupil often leaves a lot to be desired.

so paying $3k for a scope these days is something you should only do if you need all of the above: outstanding glass, good exit pupil and eye relief, and FFP, and knob features. and higher reliability.


if you really want to prove to yourself the differences, i'd strongly recommend NOT just going and looking through them side by side. Without knowing what to look for, you will just come away with the wrong impression.

instead go prepared with some charts. google them to get some examples to print out. to be honest, the birdwatchers are way better at this than gun people and way way more picky about their optics. so look around their binocular and spotter and camera forums a bit.

Get a resolution chart like this and look at it from a long way away through various scopes and see which ones you can make out the smaller lines on and which ones you can't. use it kind of like the chart at your eye doc.
http://accurateshooter.net/Blog/sightron2x200.png

get a similar chart like a color wheel and see how each scope renders colors.

look up instructions on how to perform a box test and try it.

move your eye forward/back/left/right and see how much room you have on each scope before the vignetting starts. AND see if you can dial the parallax out while you're doing that so that the crosshairs appear to not move at all relative to the target while you're moving your head.

etc etc etc

DeepSouth
July 21, 2013, 04:05 PM
If I had a 2-3000 dollar rifle.

My general rule of thumb is spend about as much on the scope as I did on the rifle. I am a big Leupold fan but I do have a Swarovski on an older Remington 700 that is probably worth over twice as much as the gun, but I got the scope for $400. :D

The Swarovski is a much better scope in every way than any of my Leupold's, but I doubt I'll ever have another one just due to price.

ZDriver96
July 21, 2013, 06:57 PM
That makes a lot of sense Taliv. Thanks for the advice on using a chart & technique to compare the different scopes. Taking my father scope shopping for his 22lr target rifle. Suppose it'd be a good time to get an optical chart and try though techniques.

I agree DeepSouth... Thats why I put the Minox ZA5 on my Mosin Nagant w/Archangel stock. I have about 500 dollars into the set up so might as well put a 400 dollar scope on it. I'd rather use iron sights than a garbage scope that will fail or lose zero.

taliv
July 21, 2013, 07:24 PM
for 22lr target shooting, you need to think about what scope features you really need.

1. you need contrast, not colors.
2. knobs that track perfectly are nice, but with those friggin tiny bullseyes, what you really need is for the zero to not shift at all. those close range bullseye are very unforgiving!
3. you need parallax either set at the distance you plan to shoot (and you test it, not just believe what the box says), or that is adjustable and comfortably covers the range you need to shoot. many $3000 scopes have parallax adjustments that only go down to 50 meters or so. small bore matches usually go from 50' to 50m. -ish.
4. you don't need a lot of eye relief, since 22lr recoil isn't going to give you scopeeye or break your nose :)
5. you don't need a large exit pupil since you will always put your head in the same position for those competitions. (or at least try to, and a small exit pupil will remind you if you're out of position)

(ignore that if he's using his target rifle for squirrel hunting or something)

ZDriver96
July 21, 2013, 11:01 PM
LOL I was gonna say he uses it to hit birds and chipmunks that attack his garden. I'm not gonna go into that great of detail with him as Im sure he doesnt care but I'll definitely use that advice when picking out one for me while he shops around

taliv
July 21, 2013, 11:16 PM
hah, well good. that's a whole lot more fun than smallbore :)

MaterDei
July 21, 2013, 11:57 PM
Some people want the best and cost either isn't an issue or they make the plans/sacrifices necessary to buy the best. They don't need to justify spending whatever they spend.

I'm not one of those people and I can't justify spending $2 - $3k for a scope.

Arkansas Paul
July 22, 2013, 11:22 AM
I don't understand it either, but there's nothing a $3k scope could do for me that a $500 scope wouldn't do. I'm not taking any shots past about 300 yds and legal shooting time ends 30 mins after sunset, so no low light conditions. A $300-$500 Leupold or Nikon is all I need. Some people's needs are different. I do believe that a scope that will hold zero is more important than astronomy grade glass.

fallout mike
July 22, 2013, 11:27 AM
30 minutes after sunset and no low light situations. How old did you turn today again?

Hanzo581
July 22, 2013, 11:30 AM
I can't justify a 2-3000 rifle let alone an optic.

mike.h
July 22, 2013, 11:53 AM
Hmmm, a couple years ago I might have agreed. But today... not so much. My AR (Colt, crp-18), is a solid 2. My new bolt gun is approaching that, custom work, tactical stock, trigger.... and glass...like I said a couple years ago, this would be crazy talk. not so much anymore.

Arkansas Paul
July 22, 2013, 12:08 PM
30 minutes after sunset and no low light situations. How old did you turn today again?

Ha. My Leupold Rifleman or the VX-1 I bought from you do just fine at that time of day. You don't need extreme light gathering optics for that.

taliv
July 22, 2013, 01:35 PM
I do believe that a scope that will hold zero is more important than astronomy grade glass.

even the guys paying $3k for glass would agree with that


My AR (Colt, crp-18), is a solid 2.

you should do a review of that. i'd love to hear what you think of that rifle

OpticsPlanet
July 22, 2013, 07:45 PM
A grand was my personal limit, on an $800 rifle.

I've always looked at it like stereo stuff (yes, I'm old and remember components): Better good speakers (riflescope) on a lesser stereo (rifle) than crappy speakers (riflescope) on a good stereo (rifle).

Hope that made sense. Hard to get the best the rifle (and myself) is capable of with a bad optic.

Mark H.

Cannelure
July 22, 2013, 09:12 PM
For my AR-15, I'm going to buy a Trijicon VCOG when it's available on the market. When you include the price of a QD mount, it will come out to around $2,000. I justify that price because I want an illuminated front focal plane ballistic reticle calibrated for 77 gr. 5.56mm, long battery life, true 1x magnification setting, 6x magnification setting, generous eye relief, extreme water resistance, extreme durability and good glass.

On the rimfire rifles for my wife and I, we're going with a Leupold VX-R. The VX-R has similar features of the VCOG, but costs much less. What we're giving up to save money is a front focal plane ballistic reticle, long battery life, true 1x magnification setting, extreme water resistance and extreme durability. For our needs, we don't need the features of the more expensive optic, so why pay more for what we don't need?

In other words, buy the optic that meets your needs and wants and don't spend more on stuff you don't need or want.

Coltdriver
July 22, 2013, 09:23 PM
It is an interesting question.

Schmidt and Bender, on their website, say that the very best any scope glass does today is pass 95% of the available light.

Most of the magic of clarity is in the coatings. If you get a chance to look into the objective end of a $2000 scope you are not likely to see your reflection. The coating on that lens lets 97 to 98 percent of the light thru and very little is reflected back. Also very little bounces around inside the scope which contributes to hazy images.

I have noticed that the German scopes also tend to preserve the blue wave length making some of them almost too bright in clear sunlight. Just my presumption, I could be all wrong but that ability to allow the brightest light (which is the first one to scatter or diffuse) preserves visibility way into low light conditions. A coating can only work with one wavelength of light. No coating I know of works with multiple wave lengths.

A coating can be anti reflective or scratch resistant or water repellant or phase correcting. Lenses can be single coated or multi coated. Applying the coating is done in a vacuum and the coatings absolutely constitute the trade secrets of the manufacturer.

Then when you toss in making all of this both rugged and precise and probably producing them in smaller numbers well the price gets right up there. I don't think the $2500 scopes are flying off the shelves.

So are you missing out by using a Leupold instead of some incredibly expensive unit? I don't know as I have never used a scope that cost over $1000. But in no way is a Leupold inadequate!

So I think its a matter of what you can afford and how you define your budget. I find the Leupold lifetime guarantee very hard to beat and they make a great product. I know a lot of Tasco scopes have taken a lot of game.

Your "get what you pay for" attitude is right on to me. The gains do get smaller as you approach the pinnacle of whats out there and having 95+% of the best you can get and still be under $1000 probably keeps 95+% of us perfectly happy.

Magnuumpwr
July 22, 2013, 09:30 PM
Personally own an IOR valdada 12-52x56mm with a 40mm main tube mounted on a Christensen Carbon custom 338 Lapua mag. Also have a Nightforce 8-32x56mm BR mounted on a Steyr SSG 69PIV 308. Price points for each are: $2500 on $4900 and $1700 on $2000. I am very pleased with both optics resolution and clarity. My wife believes in the optics costing 3/4 the cost of its intended rifle and I stand behind her decision! But inevitably this falls back to the adage: "to each his own".

jstein650
July 22, 2013, 10:00 PM
I'm glad the OP asked this question, and I appreciate the responses. I do believe, when it comes to glass, there is some truth to 'you get what you pay for'. But It seems there is a point of diminishing returns. If I made a mil' a year, I don't think would flinch at a $2-3k scope, but I don't, and won't. When it comes to shooting, I think we all live in our respective worlds. e.g., when people talk about 600 yd+ shots on prairie dogs & 'yotes, my head kind of spins, but to a lot of folks, that's the world they live in. I don't see the day that a good sub- $500 scope wouldn't do anything I can imagine. For now, most sub $300 scopes impress the heck out of me.

Eb1
July 22, 2013, 10:10 PM
I could never justify a $2k-$3k scope. Not even on a $3k rifle.

This scope I have had personal experience with, and it rocks. It returns to zero, it shoots perfect squares. I am not a sales man, but for the average joe who needs an awesome scope on any rifle this one will do.

http://swfa.com/SWFA-SS-10x42-Tactical-30mm-Riflescope-P499.aspx

jack44
July 22, 2013, 11:40 PM
The most I pay is 400. for a scope and even that is to much.

Lloyd Smale
July 23, 2013, 08:10 AM
i cant afford a 2k scope. Are they worth the money? probably. But for my uses there sure not needed. If i was competeing in 1000 yard matches and it was my main hobby id probably have to come up with the money somehow but for what i do which is hunting out to 500 or maybe at the most 600 yards a 2-500 dollar scope will get it done. Id bet if people were honest about 3/4s of those high dollar scopes are bought to impress not to perform.

Magnuumpwr
July 23, 2013, 11:09 PM
I, for one, will admit my high end items are just for looks. Not a competition shooter, rifle or handgun. Typically, I see something that I like and I buy it. They do provide lots of fun during group shoots, by this I mean when I invite people over to shoot. With any of my guns I keep my shots 200 yards and under. And before anyone pipes up with "what a waste". They are mine and I really do enjoy them. This reply would conform to other threads better, but it is in reply to the statement Lloyd made in post #22.

ZDriver96
July 24, 2013, 10:29 AM
Magnuumpwr: Do you feel your $4900 scope offers clear advantages over your 2500 dollar scope? I see your running a 338 lapua cartridge that in my limited knowledge would benefit the most out of the high end scopes because of the range its capable of...

It seems like most of us agree on how we determine what glass we need. The Minox ZA5 I own is a pleasure to look through, clear & crisp... and the comfortable constant 4 inch eye relief is a noticeable benefit over others 100 dollars cheaper.
But as for my Gen III PVS14 optic... its a different animal but it offers noticeable clarity,resolution,low light visibility when compared to a Gen I or II. If I could see those types of gains in a scope I would be more likely to purchase a 2-3k scope. Of course thats if I could afford it :) ...

Arkansas Paul
July 24, 2013, 11:07 AM
Are they worth the money? probably. But for my uses there sure not needed.

This is my point as well. I'm sure they are better quality than lesser expensive models, however for my purposes they are not necessary. I doubt they would help shrink my groups at 200 yds in broad daylight.
I chuckle when I hear folks talking about there being little or no difference though. They're either ignorant, or just jealous that they can't afford them.
Heck I'll be the first to admit if I was loaded, I'd buy a high end hunting rifle and mount a Scmidt and Bender on it in a heartbeat.

Do you feel your $4900 scope offers clear advantages over your 2500 dollar scope?

He doesn't have a $4900 scope. He has a $2500 scope mounted on a $4900 rifle. The question would be does the $2500 scope offer clear advantages over the $1700 one.

Magnuumpwr
July 24, 2013, 09:20 PM
They are both clear as crystal, but in very low light conditions the IOR wins. Also the IOR has windage comp in the hold over area of the cross hairs. Here is the best pic I could get of it. You can Google it, it's the MP8 reticle.
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/magnuumpwr/IMG_20130724_185830.jpg

Walkalong
July 25, 2013, 08:48 AM
The general advise over the years has been to buy the best glass you can afford, even make it hurt a little for an important rifle. Another common theme is spend as much for the scope as the rifle. Makes sense. I have scopes ranging in cost from $150 to just under a grand. I simply cannot afford the 3K rifles and the 3K scopes, with the majority of my scopes being under the $600 mark. 90% of the scopes I have bought in the last two years have been 25% to 40% or 50% off closeouts or sales.

Thankfully a $400 scope can be quite nice and plenty good enough for most applications.

AKElroy
July 25, 2013, 05:59 PM
I do think we need to admit just a smidgen of status is built into the price of the really high-end stuff. For the typical hunter, in the type of woods I hunt, I don't see the need for some of the gear I see proudly displayed in camp. I like their stuff, don't get me wrong, but the last "butcher" we had in camp, the one setting records for maimed and lost game, had the nicest rig. Nosler rifle, S&B glass, could not hit crap with it. He also had the nicest truck, all decked out with a lift, armor on everything, noisy swampers, never left the road with it. Put down plastic bags to keep from getting blood on the BEDLINER.

He also face-painted with camo. To sit in a blind.

centurion20000
July 25, 2013, 07:03 PM
Can't really justify that kind of $$$ on a scope. Friends rave about a SWFA scope and it's not too expensive.

I have a couple of other ideas on that too. If it's a meat/game animal, I'll just keep engagement within a few hundred yards. If it's two legged? (God forbid) I'll just take extra shots.

But that's just me.

jstein650
July 25, 2013, 07:10 PM
AKElroy: "Put down plastic bags to keep from getting blood on the BEDLINER...."

Yeah, I've seen the same kind of stuff. Kinda funny!

AKElroy
July 25, 2013, 07:37 PM
The good thing is, the guy didn't take himself to serious so we could have some fun with it. As for the purpose of the thread, I have four rifles wearing Leupold glass, two wearing Nikon glass. I have complete confidence in these optics. Never had one break or lose zero., so I guess I'm in the $300-$500 range being good enough. Less than $200 for the Nikons, actually.

As far as clarity goes, the best optics I have in the safe, at least to my eye, is a Bushnell Elite 3200 5x15x50. Super bright, super clear. I think it was $300-$400, can't remember. Folks discount the Bushnell name, but the elite series is made in Japan, very high quality. I have no issue comparing it to Leupold. Of course, it is comparable in cost, so it should be decent quality.

Eb1
July 26, 2013, 03:27 AM
I still say a SWFA distributed Super Sniper fixed 10x will do what ever you need a scope to do for $300. Kick it, drop it, beat it, heat it, rain on it, snow on it, let it freeze and thaw. I It will not fog, and it will go back to zero, and will repeat your firing solutions.

I am impressed by super glass, but I am a working man. I shoot a Marlin XL7 with a Boyd replacement stock and a Bushnell 4200. That will be going on my Marlin Model 60 very soon, and I will be buying a SWFA Super Sniper 10x. It is govt tested and approved. I have buddies that shoot 1000 yards with them on anything from .243 to .300 Win Mag.
It is just an awesome scope, and it will be going on my .25-06 very soon after I get my rifle conversion completed.

I have a Bushnell 3200 1.5-4.5x32 on a 30-30 that is repeatable, and the 4200 is a great scope. I think it will be an awesome addition to my Marlin Model 60. That rifle is so accurate to 100 yards it is a money maker for sure, and that is with a $30 Simmons. The addition of the Bushnell 4200 will just make it all the more easy to shoot.

I'll never buy a scope over $500.00. I just can't justify the cost knowing what I know works for a 1/4 of the cost.

zorro45
July 27, 2013, 10:48 PM
If I could get the gov't to pay for a $3000 scope I would like one,
otherwise not so much.

buckhorn_cortez
July 28, 2013, 01:50 PM
Good optics cost a lot of money, it doesn't matter if it's a camera lens, binoculars, spotting scope, or rifle scope. What you are buying with an expensive scope are features, materials, and construction. If you want an illuminated, first focal plane, MIL reticle - there's a cost associated with that. If you want high light transmission - that's a combination of: glass type, coatings, and objective size which, in turn, requires a larger tube size. All of that costs money. Then you get into finer points like zoom range, amount of adjustment available, tube rigidity, mechanical construction, etc.

Does every rifle need a $3K scope? No. I have an AR15 with a $900 scope. I have a 30-338 with a $700 scope, and a 6mm with a $600 scope. I also have an AR style .308 with a $3200 scope.

You pick the scope by what you're going to do with the rifle and the optics required to accomplish the task. In the case of the .308, I shoot precision tactical rifle at ranges to 800+ meters. That's difficult to do without a scope that has: wide zoom range, large objective, high contrast, FFP MIL reticle, precision rapid adjusting elevation control that's repeatable, good eye relief, good off-axis sighting capability, etc. - you end up paying for all of those features as there are no inexpensive scopes with that kind of performance.

If you don't need those features - you don't pay for them. If you do, then you suck it up and pay for it.

Eb1
July 28, 2013, 02:41 PM
I shoot precision tactical rifle at ranges to 800+ meters.

Would not a SWFA 10x Super Sniper not do the same for $299? I think it would, and has been proven to be a very nice scope. Durable always goes to zero, and easily dials in a repeatable firing solution.

Just sayin'. Everybody spend your money the way you want. Please!

BoilerUP
July 28, 2013, 03:05 PM
You don't know what you are missing until you get behind good glass. And you'll never regret buying the best optics you can afford...never.

I have two Vortex Viper HS 5-15x44 scopes on a 223AI and 260. They primarily are used for paper & steel inside 650yd, but both have been shot to 100yd and both are used to hunt a hardwoods river bottom for whitetail. As such, this optic suits my needs perfectly, giving repeatable mil/mil adjustments and good clarity even on MOA-sized targets at 1000yd. For the <$450 I paid for each, I'm stoked.

But then I got behind a Bushnell HDMR 3.5-21x50. 34mm tube, FFP, 50% heavier, very rugged, ~$1300 but substantially brighter & clearer than my Vortexes with a much better reticle for unknown distance shooting (G2DMR). No zero stop and only 5mil/rev turrets, both of which were "resolved" with the Gen2 ERS.

Is it worth the extra $$$ beyond the Vortex? IMO yes, if you desire those features. But do I own one? No...because I don't need FFP or "Tier One" ruggedness on a range toy. If i were competing in PRS, I'd absolutely get it or something similar. The March 3-24x FFP has caught my eye of late...

For most, a VX3 or Nikon Monarch is the nicest optic they'll ever use; for some, a VX1 or ProStaff. All are fine but all have various limitations...and only an end user can decide if a high end optic is worth the $$$.

For "the rest of us" its all about value...and I find Vortex & Bushnell Elite to both provide a fantastic value.

4v50 Gary
July 28, 2013, 03:44 PM
If I had the ducats, which I don't, I'd get thermal imaging.

Eb1
July 28, 2013, 03:55 PM
I keep bringing this scope up in the conversation. The SWFA 10x SS. Has anyone on this thread besides me been behind this scope and used one? Has anyone read the the tests the military put these scopes through?

BoilerUP
July 28, 2013, 04:11 PM
I keep bringing this scope up in the conversation. The SWFA 10x SS. Has anyone on this thread besides me been behind this scope and used one? Has anyone read the the tests the military put these scopes through?

Its a good scope...at its price point. Which is why it gets recommended so much as a good intro budget tactical optic.

Rugged, repeatable, lots o' elevation.

Its also fixed power scope with optical clarity that lags other optics that are a bit more money, but offer more features. And until last year they were mil/MOA only but now offer the mil-quad reticle with 1/10 mil adjustments.

On a range shooting MOA or larger targets, a fixed 10x is fine. In the field (especially hunting woods), shooting groups or competing in tactical/practical competitions, give me a variable that has more field of view on the low end, and more magnification on the high end.

Sunray
July 28, 2013, 04:47 PM
"...justify a 2-3000 dollar scope..." If you have the bucks for a scope of that value, you don't need to justify it. Mind you, high cost doesn't always equate with high quality.
"...use what they are issued and Depts are cheap..." Yep. And the cop bosses know little or nothing about firearms either. Lowest bidder gets the contract. Used to be(and may well still be) that the ETF(SWAT) guys in Toronto had one scoped rifle for three shooters. Apparently, individuals needing to sight in never occured to the bosses.

Eb1
July 28, 2013, 05:27 PM
@ BoilerUP

Good response. I rarely shoot past 600 yards. I have a .25-06 that has killed at 300 yards with a Bushnell 4200 3-9x40.
But for my mid-long range shooting I just use the A2 sights on my AR-15. I am going to be putting the 4200 on my Marlin Model 60, and buying a SWFA 10x SS for my .25-06 which is used for open field hunts mostly anyway.

I'd sure like to have a 338 Lapua that could utilize one of those $2000 scopes. I'd like to be able to try it out that way if it wasn't the Beeznez then I could return it.

Magnuumpwr
July 28, 2013, 08:16 PM
EB1, where are you located? Would be more than happy to let you try out a 338 Lapua mag with an IOR mounted on it!

Kerf
July 29, 2013, 12:18 AM
I have a fixed 8x50 scope that you can clearly see .22 cal holes in the target at 200 yds with; see clearly, not just make out. I think they call that resolution. And, it didnít cost anywhere in the world near $3000. I sure hope those 3k scopes can do that. At that price they should. I always use that as a standard when looking through a scope.

B&L used their scopes to hammer nails into boards with. There was very little marring of the tube, and the optics remained perfect. I think you could call that rugged. (Much like Buck Knives hammering their blades through a bolt) Ready to multi-task and hammer some 16d with any particular brand of 3k scope? I doubt there will be many takers there. And, in your heart of hearts, you know why.

Keep in mind shooters, that the same people who brought you the 3k+ scope also brought you the $850 toilet seat and the $200 claw hammer. Having used one of those toilet seats quite extensively, I can say that it is in every way just as good as the one I have at home.

kerf

mike.h
July 29, 2013, 12:58 PM
You guys can bash the high end scopes all you want. I've spent years behind low grade grass and and have seen failures of all types; poor focus, won't hold zero, cross hairs falling out of 'em, fogged glass, poor sight picture at critical (low light) times.

As for me these old eyes enjoy the clarity and dependability of nice glass. And the function of such features as zero stop, audible, positive turret clicks and side focus is something that I find very desirable. How about the Burris units that have the built in lazer range finders, pretty sweet.

And before you start on "you don't need these features", I didn't need the last rifle that I bought and I bet neither did you.

There is a very real reason why a Cadillac cost more then a Ford, (with no offense to ford owners). If you are happy with your glass, then good for you. If not, step up your game, pretty sure you'll be glad you did.

smalltruck
July 29, 2013, 11:13 PM
From Kerf- "I have a fixed 8x50 scope that you can clearly see .22 cal holes in the target at 200 yds with; see clearly, not just make out. I think they call that resolution. And, it didnít cost anywhere in the world near $3000. I sure hope those 3k scopes can do that. At that price they should. I always use that as a standard when looking through a scope."

If you go to the accurateshooter.com web forum and read what people are posting about how well the new nightforce scope works, many owners are saying on good days that they can see 6mm holes at 600 yards. Thats resolution!

Anyone buying a new scope really, yes you really, need to take a chart to the store and post it a known distance from the door and then take the scope outside and look at that chart. Resolution is not magnifying a largeish animal into a better view, ie magnifying a deer broad side at 200 yards is pointless. Any scope should handle that task. Read quarter inch high letters at 200 yards while changing the angle the sun is at to the scope. And check that ability to handle sunlight up and down as well as left to right.

What I've found is that a sunshade may not be the whole answer for the scope going blind in bright conditions. By blind I mean that it transmits enough light that any image you see is like looking at a snowstorm white. I've started to add a polarizer filter for a camera to my scopes. Last one cost me $33 at a high end camera store. That filter is stackable, meaning I can add more than 1 filter to it or I can screw my sunshade on as well

Tuskaroy
July 30, 2013, 08:59 AM
I would have disagreed with all the supporters of $2,000 plus scopes before i had the privlege of using one. If the scope Im using is powerful enough to reduce 300 yards to 5, I'd like my view to be like Im sitting 5 yards away, not a blurry, hazy image that only offers a pathetic attempt at hitting the spot I'm aiming at and a larger investment gives me that. The clarity, focus and consistent zero is what you pay for and I'm certainly willing.

taliv
July 30, 2013, 10:58 AM
Would not a SWFA 10x Super Sniper not do the same for $299? I think it would, and has been proven to be a very nice scope. Durable always goes to zero, and easily dials in a repeatable firing solution.

Just sayin'. Everybody spend your money the way you want. Please!

eb1, it is a good scope, but there is a lot it doesn't do as well as other scopes. obviously, if I can dial down to 5 power to hit large moving targets fast, and dial up to 25x power to hit really small targets (or more importantly, positively identify my target) i have an advantage that is worth the price of a variable scope.

in the match I shot (horribly) this weekend, we had a lot of paper stages. they included things like a rack of pool balls where you had a few seconds to shoot exactly 5 balls and the numbers had to add up to 17. in other matches you sometimes have to pick your target out of a group of cartoon faces that all look alike except for small details like mustache or smile/frown. in these cases, extra power helps a lot.

the other things to think about are the knobs. in the match this weekend, we had a lot of stages where we had to shoot 6 targets in 60 seconds, and the yardages would be something like 50, 212, 387, 580, 971, 538. So you have to dial 6 times up and back down very quickly. the knobs on $3000 scopes like S&B, USO, hensoldt, premier, steiner, etc are usually able to go the full revolution in 2 turns, so you don't get lost. the clicks are crisp and easy to not get lost in. and there are usually several other niceties that just make it a little more ergonomic and to make it less likely for you to make human errors when dialing quickly.

just a couple examples

lightman
July 31, 2013, 11:22 PM
I can justify expensive scopes because my children are grown and out of school. My debts are paid, and I'm nearing the end of my career. I can finally afford a rifle (rifles) that shoot good enough that you can see a 1/4 inch click move the group 1/4 inch. I have not always been able to do this. There were not very many expensive rifles or scopes in my safe when I was paying for college, apartments, cars, ect. If you can, treat yourself to a really nice scope! The first one is the hardest!

Its hard to express the feeling that you get when you give your scope a couple of clicks and know for sure that that is what it will move. And what it will move back to.

I'm not trying to come across as a snob. Just trying to honestly answer the original posters question. Lightman

Lloyd Smale
August 5, 2013, 08:46 AM
I do think we need to admit just a smidgen of status is built into the price of the really high-end stuff. For the typical hunter, in the type of woods I hunt, I don't see the need for some of the gear I see proudly displayed in camp. I like their stuff, don't get me wrong, but the last "butcher" we had in camp, the one setting records for maimed and lost game, had the nicest rig. Nosler rifle, S&B glass, could not hit crap with it. He also had the nicest truck, all decked out with a lift, armor on everything, noisy swampers, never left the road with it. Put down plastic bags to keep from getting blood on the BEDLINER.

kind of reminds me of the guys on ar forums that stick there nose up in the air unless you paid 2k for an ar15 or 400 dollars for a forearm for one. Who are they trying to kid. You learn accuracy you dont buy it.

spectralman
August 28, 2013, 03:25 AM
When I owned my single shot 50BMG, I put a Nightforce on it. It cost about half of what the rifle did. That was far and away the clearest scope I've ever looked through but I also bought it to take the pounding of that caliber.

I have bought my share of $700-900 scopes for LR shooting up to 600 yards, but am out of that game now. For hunting at shorter distances (under 200 yards), I don't find the need to spend more than $300 on a scope anymore. I'm only hunting in relatively decent light. You can get a darn good scope for that amount of money now compared to even as little as 10 years ago.

BigN
August 28, 2013, 06:01 AM
I shoot coyotes at less than a hundred yards. Any $50 scope I find at a yard sale is plenty good for me, I have many of those and they serve me just fine. Shooting 1000 yard matches? Maybe you need a $1000 scope. I don't know since I've never shot that far. Buying what you need is frugal. Buying what you want is indulgence. My point is, NEED is a highly individual compulsion. Spend your money on what you think you need, if it's shooting 1000 yard matches, plinking out behind your house with a 22lr, or just trying to impress folks on a shooting forum. It's your money.

Officers'Wife
August 28, 2013, 07:29 AM
First off, if you are an adult with reasonably good judgment you shouldn't have to justify how you chose to spend your money.

That said, if I had the discretionary cash available and thought for a moment such a scope would aid in reducing the suffering of my targets I wouldn't need justification even to myself.

Zeke/PA
August 28, 2013, 10:21 AM
First off, if you are an adult with reasonably good judgment you shouldn't have to justify how you chose to spend your money.

That said, if I had the discretionary cash available and thought for a moment such a scope would aid in reducing the suffering of my targets I wouldn't need justification even to myself.
I agree ! I've been having excellent success with the Nikon scope offerings and I now own several on a variety of rifles one being a 4X Prostaff on my T/C Omega.
Very accutate deer hunting combo!
P.S. I like the "turnip truck" reference and I hope that you don't mind if I use it in future verbal battles.

thegiff
August 31, 2013, 12:32 PM
I (and I think a lot of other people also) match the scope to the rifle and the intended use. I have a $40 scope on a .22, a $250 scope on a hunting rifle, a $1000 scope on my competition training rifle, and a $1200 (bushnell hdmr as someone mentioned earlier) on my tactical comp gun.

The choices come down to repeatability, expected reliability and warranty, features and so on. A 10X fixed power scope is not useful in tactical comps, too high for close shots and way to low for some of the far shots, and the need to dial quickly under time pressure is important.

But for a 22 that on a good day with a great scope will only hold a 3" group, why put a $1000 optic on it, it's pointless.

The $2K+ scopes add some image clarity and brightness, I'm seriously considering one for my next comp gun.

taliv
August 31, 2013, 12:53 PM
heh yeah the scope on my 22lr is prob not even $40.

snakeman
August 31, 2013, 03:20 PM
i don't. I have a truck that cost less than that

Torian
August 31, 2013, 03:38 PM
First off I'd like to say that I believe that you get what you pay for and that I can appreciate spending a couple hundred dollars more for a quality scope. I myself own a Minox ZA5, Gen 3 PVS14, Vanguard Spotting scopes, Aimpoints etc... I am willing to spend money for quality/rugged optics. I have looked through different scopes and in general the 700-1000 dollar scopes did not impress me any more than most of the 400-600 dollar scopes. In fairness some of those 1000 dollar scopes were more rugged and more shock resistant.

But I have never looked through a Nightforce, Kahles, Swarovski, Steiner, etc.. I was looking through gunbroker and several of these brands have scopes that enter that 2-3k price range and even beyond that.

Those of you who own or have experience with these brands.. do you feel they are worth the price? Or do you feel that the optical quality can be matched by less expensive scopes? Do you feel the build quality or ruggedness far exceeds that of less expensive optics.

I know these questions depend on your use and background as a sniper on the SWAT team will probably feel differently than an occasional shooter. I base my purchases on the simple question: Are these products currently used in harsh environments or do I feel that they could endure harsh environmental conditions.

I'd like to hear your opinions and experiences.
In a combat zone / LEO role for precision work at extended distances...yes. In every other area, absolutely not. My Leupold VX-R Firedot (600 from Leupold) is about as much as I need to spend to have a scope I can rely on.

Magnuumpwr
August 31, 2013, 10:25 PM
Let me clarify myself, I only have 5 "high" dollar scopes. They are not on 22's or such, (2) on 50 BMG rifles, (2) on 308's, and (1) on a 338 Lapua Mag. The rest of my scopes/optics are $1300 and below.

Lapman
September 12, 2013, 03:10 PM
hi guys, new member just reading some threads. I recently just bought a new rifle to add to my collection and heard many of the same things. if you want to shoot really accurate an at long ranges (which i do) then you need a really good quality GLASS. you can buy a 150 dollar BSA that looks tacticool but with less quality glass than better brands. And i can say i was very very close to buying a 2k+ dollar nightforce. but talked to a few more dealers and a friend of mine which sells nightforce AND sightron pointed me toward a sightron for 1k+ cheaper and same quality scope i took both of them and looked through them dialed, different temps, times etc. (played with them) and found no difference except the label on the knob cover.


Rifle is a : Weatherby mark v TRR 338 lapua ($2500)
scope is a : Sightron 8-32x56 ($1200) not nightforce 2300

back40
September 12, 2013, 09:18 PM
i have a couple (what i would consider) mid range scopes. i have not regretted buying any of them, and can agree with those that say you don't know what you are missing until you have a chance to use the the better stuff. not just look through it at the store, but actually use it.

i recently upgraded my binos too. i've been using the same pair for about ten years and decided to step up to something nicer. people that say 'spend as much as you can, and even make it hurt a bit' are correct in my mind. once it's paid for you just don't regret buying high dollar optics and you likely won't go back to anything less.

i have the swfa ss 10x42 sf on my .22. i took some ribbing from a couple buddies about putting a $400 scope on a .22. that was, until they got behind it. i use that gun as something of a trainer and have shot it out to 315 yds. i don't regret for one second buying it, and actually use it to accuracy test other rifles at 100yds. it's easily swapped between rifles all the time and i don't have to worry about it getting beat up, or wonder if it's tracking true.

my take on all of this is to buy the best you can afford that will do what you want it to do. spend a little more than you think you should without buying features that you don't need.

Carl N. Brown
September 12, 2013, 09:43 PM
How can you justify a 2-3000 dollar scope?

How can you justify betting a once in a lifetime hunting trip, maybe thousands of dollers, on a $39.95 scope?

CharlieDeltaJuliet
September 12, 2013, 11:22 PM
My favorite scope I own is a NightForce ATACR. The difference in it and my second favorite , a Bushnell Elite Tactical 4305, is phenomenal. I have over 130 true MOA of adjustment. The best optical glass that NightForce has ever used. It hurt to buy it, but at long ranges the difference is worth more than I paid.

Black Butte
September 13, 2013, 12:33 AM
Cha ching!

http://ads.midwayusa.com/product/578242/us-optics-er-25-t-pal-rifle-scope-34mm-tube-5-25x-58mm-side-focus-first-focal-illuminated-mdmoa-reticle-matte

witchhunter
September 13, 2013, 10:40 PM
A friend of mine recently bought an 80 thousand dollar Corvette, does he need it? No but it sure is a sweet ride...I think the guys that own those 3 thousand dollar scopes feel the same way.

CountGlockulla
September 13, 2013, 11:20 PM
I'm justifying it because I need a mixture of features and robustness that you cannot get on a less expensive scope. I am putting together a tactical match rifle. The cost of consumables, travel, and fees will surpass even $3K pretty quickly. In my situation a less expensive scope would be a matter of false economy.

taliv
September 15, 2013, 12:41 AM
The cost of consumables, travel, and fees will surpass even $3K pretty quickly.

this is true. in my case, i just added them up last week and by the end of this month I'll have shot or directed 33 tactical/sniper rifle matches in the past 33 months. while many are $300, if I said conservatively the average match fee is $200, that's more than twice the cost of a Schmidt & Bender just in match fees. and 80% of them are out of state for me, so travel is significant.

shiftyer1
September 15, 2013, 01:38 AM
My citizen watch keeps more accurate time than a rolex will:) I couldn't justify it at all.

dubbleA
September 17, 2013, 12:24 PM
Tracking and repeatability are often overlooked by most hunters/recreational shooters. It's a very important feature to some.

Here is a good example of tracking. Was shooting this rifle at 600yds one weekend and at the end of the day I put it up. A couple of weeks later I decided to take the barreled action out of the stock and make some trigger adjustments. After doing so I wanted to confirm my zero. I remembered to crank my turrets back to 100yds before shooting it.

This is the resulting 5 shot group confirmation at 100yds. The scope in question is a Nightforce.

http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f268/dubbleA/Targets/243target.jpg

As far as being built like a tank and being rugged a lot of folks don't have a clue as what that translates into with scopes.

Notice the wall thickness of a USO.....

http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f268/dubbleA/Scopes%20and%20Things/USOObjective.jpg

Is everyone going to need an optic that can withstand grueling punishment as the one above? Of course not but having that option is there for someone willing to pay for it.


We all are going to have different wants and needs with anything. With that said the law of diminishing returns pops up. Some small things/added features/quality can wind up costing you much more. Only the end user has to justify what he or she spends.
If you lay down your hard earned $250 and buy scope X and are happy with it filling your needs it should be no different than someone laying down $2500 for scope Y.

brue182
September 30, 2013, 12:04 PM
I justified a scope that cost that much by buying a rifle that cost 6x that. I can't buy a Barrett and put a $150 scope on it.

CharlieDeltaJuliet
September 30, 2013, 12:58 PM
My 300WM cost me almost $4k to have built the cheapest scope I would consider for it was the NightForce ATACR. Don't get me wrong I have a $600 Vortex on my RRA 24" AR but the difference in quality is the money difference. It just depends on the rifle and the job you want it to do. I am a believer in buy once cry once as far as scope go. The ED glass on the NightForce and it's build quality is a world of difference even to my Bushnell Elite Tactical.

This rifle was made to shoot at long ranges and I just couldn't see myself skimping on the scope.

jrdolall
September 30, 2013, 02:10 PM
I can afford to buy just about any scope you will see in a Cabela's or Bass Pro so it doesn't really come down to the "can I afford it" questions for me. My needs regarding scopes are pretty simple as I don't shoot at 350 yards and I don't crawl through the mud on a regular basis. I think a $79 Walmart scope will work for everything I do.
I generally put Leupold or Nikon scopes on my rifles. $3-500 is about all I am willing to spend for my needs. If I were hunting griz in Alaska or doing some safaris then I would probably be willing to spend more on an even "better" scope.
I drive a Ford pickup rather than a Mercedes. I could buy a Mercedes if I wanted it. I do have air conditioning in the F150 as well as leather, power windows and seats. I could do without them(okay not the AC) but I enjoy having them. They cost more but are worth it for MY application. $2k scopes not so much.

JoeMal
September 30, 2013, 02:43 PM
I couldn't justify a 3k scope. No way. Even if I could afford it I would never see the need for it.

Of course I don't shoot out to 500 yards or hunt elk in the mountains. If I did my impression may change but today, no way.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 4

Plastikosmd
October 6, 2013, 03:41 PM
For me it was easy, I bought a cute little 10/22 for the wife to shoot, sans scope. We then went scope shopping and she tried all they had (swarovski dealer). She picked what she thought was the clearest and that is why a 3 k scope sits on a 350$ rifle!
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j5/plastikosmd/ca0ea51790800db2d5c1e29443c91357_zps85c7fa15.jpg

ZDriver96
October 7, 2013, 09:48 AM
Lol have to make the wife happy! I think thats the best reason yet!

Good info guys...

DubbleA thanks for the review on the NightForce.. Those features are definitely something to consider depending on the users application.

MtnCreek
October 7, 2013, 05:17 PM
Here is a good example of tracking. Was shooting this rifle at 600yds one weekend and at the end of the day I put it up. A couple of weeks later I decided to take the barreled action out of the stock and make some trigger adjustments. After doing so I wanted to confirm my zero. I remembered to crank my turrets back to 100yds before shooting it.

I'm more impressed with the bedding job than the scope!

Plastikosmd
October 7, 2013, 08:47 PM
Ya, my secret, wife picks, both win

bobinoregon
October 7, 2013, 09:59 PM
I justified a $2000 Nightforce by buying a $4600 Bushmaster .50 BMG to put under it. I wanted all the scope I could ever need.

CharlieDeltaJuliet
October 8, 2013, 12:38 AM
I put a Bushnell Elite Tactical on my BA-50, it was about a grand. After having my 300WM built I wanted to shoot as far as possible. I put a NightForce ATACR on it. But most rifles my Vortex or so on is plenty good enough. Don't get me wrong the NF has more adjustment and is clearer than any other scope I own. I get by with far less expensive scopes on most rifles. I have a friend that has nothing but 6 Premiers, a Leupold MkIV, 2 S&B and now a NF ATACR. He will not buy a scope that isn't thousands, but to each their own. He is a Master gunsmith by trade and a competition shooter in his past time.

Do I think a $3k scope is what everyone needs?,No. But there is a difference for the price in most. I do not hunt, I target shoot, and built my 300WM to test my limits. I didn't have the heart to skimp on it.

bobinoregon
October 8, 2013, 01:34 AM
All my other scoped rifles have sub $300 scopes on them that work fine for my general shooting. Nikon and Bushnell both make good scopes that do the job without costing an arm and a leg. The Nightforce is great and amazingly clear but I couldnt justify spending that much for anything but the .50 , it's one of those grail gun things for me

FSJeeper
October 15, 2013, 09:30 PM
For me the transition to Top Shelf scopes was finally being to afford guided hunts in nice places. When you invest this much into a hunt, having a $400 scope fail and ruin a lifetime shot or even the whole trip is poor risk management.

When I was finally able to afford a bucket list Safari in South Africa, I bought the highest quality scopes I could afford and that performed the best for my eyes.

For me buying the best glass I can afford is one thing you can control to protect the investment you have in a very expensive hunting trip and also give you the best chance at success for those once in a lifetime shots.

Defc0n
October 16, 2013, 02:13 AM
Justified my scope by hanging out at the semi-local range where I could take advantage of their 1000yard rifle range. A cheaper scope could probably get me out that far with few problems as well, but after looking through some cheaper scopes at that distance the more expensive ones started to look better. That and I wanted something that I could possibly put on top of a custom build to shoot even further.

Teachu2
October 16, 2013, 03:54 AM
Same way I justify a $25000 motorcycle or a $38000 pickup - I work for what I own, I never short my family or other obligations, and life's too short to feel guilty spending discretionary income on what I enjoy. Otherwise, I can't justify all the extra work I do!

B!ngo
October 19, 2013, 11:06 PM
I can't justify a 2-3000 rifle let alone an optic.
I, even less than most, could not justify a $3K rifle. But I still someday hope to buy one nonetheless. Unless you are a professional, few of us really 'NEED' a long gun but we buy them. Once you take that step, like the old joke goes, 'now you're just talking terms'!
B

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