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Good, Better, and Best AR-15 scopes

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by sprice, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. sprice

    sprice Well-Known Member

    I want an ar-15 scope like a leupold mk 4 mr/t 1.5-5x20 illuminated (http://leupold.com/tactical/product...copes/mark-4-1-5-5x20mm-mrt-m2-illum-reticle/). I know this scope is good, but are there better (or worse) scopes like these of any and all price ranges? Please show me them and educate me. Which one do you think I should get?

    I'm thinking first focal plane reticals are in order?

    Ok, well this is for a do all ar-15 carbine. 16" midlength bcm, stainless steel barrel.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  2. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    imho, in the low-power variable market, the swaro z6i 1-6 EE is perfect except for 2 things: no graduated reticle, and no target knobs. which are two pretty big things. but it's fantastic from arms-length to as far as you can guess at holdovers, which for me, is about 400 yrds.
  3. climbnjump

    climbnjump Well-Known Member

  4. sprice

    sprice Well-Known Member

    Forgive my ignorance but what is a graduated retical? And would I want target knobs? I don't really know how to use them...
  5. Wickens

    Wickens Member

    Check out NightforceOptics.com They sell a lot of scopes to the elite special forces worldwide.Thier 1-4X24 NXS is top of the line at around $1200 + or -
  6. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    For a low magnification optic like you are looking for...you're thinking wrong. It doesn't have any advantages without a ballistic reticle ("graduated reticle") like a mil-dot, and won't really begin to help you until you are looking at some pretty decent drops, so in other words farther than you can effectively employ a 5x scope. All you need to do on a SFP scope it crank it to the highest power for accurate readings (on most scopes, though some specify a different magnification), this is where you need it for the longer shots anyway, so it is a moot point. Furthermore it adds quite a bit of unnecessary cost to the package.

    IMO a good optic that is comparable to the Leupold Mk. IV is the Vortex Viper PST 1-4x24mm, it has all the features of the Leupold (save for a slightly lower magnification) adds a better reticle and matched reticle/adjustment pair (available in Mil/Mil or MOA/MOA) as well as being available at significantly lesser cost. Oh yeah, and it has just as good of a warranty.

  7. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    No, he's not thinking wrong. A FFP reticle will allow the shooter to use any power he wants for target engagements beyond the rifle's point blank distance, using the reticle for holdover, provided the reticle has virtually any useful marks below the center of the reticle. How far do you think a 5x scope can be effectively used? Even if most longer shots are done at the maximum magnification, an error in actuating the magnification ring such as leaving it at around 4.2 instead of 5 will not cause misses.

    You do make some decent points about the ambivalence to FFP reticles on Type I-II optics, and this is why the SFP Short Dot came out; however, there are plenty of people, myself included, who think a FFP optic is the way to go in this application.

    For reference

    article | Fighting Carbine Optics [​IMG]

    The article lacks some information on the latest models, but the qualitative breakdown is what is most useful.
  8. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    I don't really agree, but you make valid arguments. I can honestly say that I love my FFP PRH on my LRPR, I just don't find it necessary on a short to medium range optic.

    IMO about 400-500yds maximum dependent upon the target size and equipment, but that is assuming that you have it cranked up all the way. If you leave it on the low to moderate end, targets within 300yds are closer to the effective range (IMO of course), and out of a .223Rem. carbine that is only a few inches of drop, so the ballistic reticle is of little use, thus making FFP of little value.

  9. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    You are well into the BDC at 300+ yards, which is somewhere around half or less the distance one can see some reasonable targets with even a 3.5-4x optic. (For grins once, I dialed my S&B 3-12 down to 3 and shot a target at approx 1300.) For comparison, on smallish targets (say a LaRue at 425 yards, or 10-12 plates at 300-400 yards), you are well into the BDC features of the reticle of a 3.5x TA11 at 350 yards.

  10. 230therapy

    230therapy Well-Known Member

    I just went through all this.

    The first action is to define your requirements. What are you going to do with the gun? Is the scope for defense? Long range shooting? Competition such as 3-Gun?

    I found the 1-4 variable power scopes (as they existed in May 2010) to be...expensive and lacking in the reticle I wanted. I want BDC's with wind hold overs like the PFI RR800-1 (the reticle is convenient and very fast).

    I did give the IOR Valdada 4x Tactical scopes a hard look. They had the reticle I wanted for around $525. This may be a great alternative to the very expensive optics. Reviews have been good and one source I trust used his for approximately two years exclusively in rifle training and self-defense role. It held up.


    I ended up choosing Aimpoint simply because the vast majority of my shooting will be at 150 yards or less. The Micros will fit on AR's and AK's (with UltimAK rails). This is a good compromise for the shooting I will do. You may wish to consider the ranges where you live. I walked around with a laser range finder for a day and discovered that 120 yards was about the longest distance I would encounter in my area. You may wish to do the same if this fits your requirements.

    For general defense and range shooting, the Trijicon ACOG 4x32 RCO is a great choice. It's exceptionally durable and proven in combat.

    If you don't know what to get, just get an ACOG and be done with it. You can always acquire another scope later if you identify additional requirements.


    www.swfa.com has many different scopes and it's a good resource to see what's available in an easy way. Obviously, shop around for the best price using Google Shopping and other sites (including Amazon).
  11. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    I still don't really agree, but I do respect and value your opinion, Zak. That is a heck of a shot at 3x from 1300yds, but I think we can both agree that is well beyond the practical range for that level of magnification. I am curious what you think of the new Vortex Viper PST series, if you have any experience with them, IMO they look to be great optics if they are as good as the standard Vipers.

  12. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Well-Known Member

    What sort of AR is this going on? What's the barrel length? I went through this whole, low magnification scope thing a little while back and found it to be fruitless.

    First, lots of guys make a big deal of a scope having a true 1X. It's not a big deal. I had a 3X ACOG and shooting it with both eyes open wasn't an issue. Even so, going with a scope that has a 1X (or something similar) isn't going to make it as fast as a red dot or low mag ACOG.

    In any case, you'll have to decide what you need in a scope. For me, glass quality is always the first priority. Do you NEED an illuminated reticle?

    Well, in terms of glass quality in conjunction with bells and whistles at a "reasonable" price, I'd have to say that the Nightforce NXS line is hard to beat and you really can't appreciate the quality of the glass unless you've shot one. If you want to move into the sub $1K range, the options really open up. I like Nikon. The Leupold's eye relief tends to shift more than other makes when dialing in on the magnification.

    Exposed turrets or not is up to you and a matter of preference. There are valid arguments for and not having them.
  13. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    While I agree that a true 1x isn't a big deal, I disagree that a very low magnification scope (less than 1.5x) cannot be as fast as a red-dot...in fact I find it to be faster. That may not be the case for some folks, but it certainly is for myself.

  14. sprice

    sprice Well-Known Member

    the rifle is a 16" midlength bcm, with stainless barrel.
  15. sprice

    sprice Well-Known Member


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