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What is a good $80-100 scope (yes I know that is an oxymoron)?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by chaim, May 24, 2003.

  1. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    So I just got a Savage 110 without a scope and while I'll probably use the irons for a month or two I'd like to scope it. Right now I don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a scope (I'd rather be around $50 if I can but I doubt if that is realistic). I've been looking through the Natchez catalogue (the paper version) and I've seen several possibilities (well, I might need to go to $120-150, but I'd rather be around $100 or less if possible).

    Who makes decent starter/economy scopes? I like my Tasco rimfire scope but then again, I haven't had it that long nor do I really have anything better to compare.

    Can I get something decent for $100 or less (and if not, for $150 or less)?

    I'd like adjustable, but if I can get a far better scope in that price range in a fixed power scope I'd be willing to go fixed.

    I will mostly be shooting paper at 100yds, but once I get decent I'd like to move to the 200yd line and eventually join a local club that has access to a local military base's 600 yard range that I might get to as often as one Sunday a month.

    I'd prefer a scope that can handle all those possibilities, though I probably won't be trying my hand at 600yds for a while so a scope that is good to 100-200yds will be acceptable.

    Ideally, I'd like to be able to stick with this first scope for a couple years before I grow out of it though, and thus it would also need to last this long. Right now I don't get to the rifle range much, but that might be changing in the future (so it is possible that this might get significant use over those two or three years).

    If I go with a fixed scope should I get a scope in 4X power, 6X power or more? If adjustable what range (3-9, 4-12, up to 24)? I think I'd like more than a 4X (my rimfire scope is 4X and at greater than 100yds I think my eyes would need more magnification to see if I got a hit on paper). If I get a fixed 6X or 8X scope, would it still be ok at the shorter ranges (I'd still probably occasionally shoot at targets at the 50yd point for fun).

    OK, so between "what brand" and all the other questions I've given a lot to consider. I look forward to your responses.
  2. larryw

    larryw Well-Known Member

    A 3-9X variable is perfect for a 30-06.

    For $150 you can buy a decent scope with rings and bases. You can actually buy this setup for much less money, but optics are one area where you really get what you pay for.

    I suggest you spend some time browsing http://www.midwayusa.com/ or http://www.natchezss.com/ or http://www.cabelas.com/ or ask at your local shop.
  3. skippie

    skippie Well-Known Member

    You can get a Leupold VX1 (the old VX2) in a 2x7 for $179.99 and a VX1 3x9 for $199.99 both are goldring, full warranty, you would not need to get another. I did not include rings and bases, need hem for most scopes anyway...:p
  4. Sir Galahad

    Sir Galahad member

    Check out Kalinka Optics. These are Russian made and built like a tank. They come with illuminated rangefinding reticles (they're the same type of reticle used on the Dragunov sniper rifle.)
  5. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    The first think that came to mind were the Kalinkas. I don;t know if I could recommend their variables as the reticle on both the variables I've looked through and/or shot with have actually moved... that is to say if the horizontal is perfectly straight and you change the power up or down, the reticle may no longer be perfectly straight. Both the scopes in question were the otherwise excellent 2-10x52 with 30mm tube. Nice bright, very clear but that daggone moving reticle! The different scopes do have different reticles - many have the Dragunov reticle mentioned by Sir Galahad and some of the hunter scopes have either the standard duplux-type crosshairs or the German-style 3 post reticle which I like very much.

    If you could go with say a 6x fixed scope, I could easily recommend one. Plus they have a money back guarantee. The representative I spoke with from Kalinka recommended the PS 4x38 as their best looking scope and the PO 8x56 as a close second. For whatever that's worth.


    I was also very happy with my Simmons 44MAG 6.5-20x44 scope. Very clear and plenty bright. I had mine on a couple different Savage rifles, a 223, a 22-250 and a 7mm-08. I sold mine for about $120 on eBay and I think I only paid $140 or $150 brand new a couple years back. I can't imagine having a scope this large on a carry rifle but I'd imagine their lower powered scopes in this line would have similar optics.
  6. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    From what I saw at Natchez I was leaning towards a Simmons. They seem to be a good middle ground between the cheap scopes and those that are out of reach and it looks like I could get something decent for $80-110.

    Another question. If I was to wait until I had $150-250 to spend on a scope would I be better off with one of the cheaper scopes from the top of the line manufacturers like Leupold or would I be better off with a top of the line offering from the the cheap and middle ground makers like Bushnell or Simmons. It seems that for $150-200 there are one or two "entry level" options from Nikon, Leupold and Burris that I could get or I could get the top offerings (or nearly the top offerings) from Simmons or Bushnell. Which would be a better deal?
  7. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    In all honesty, for a carry weight rifle, I see the progression as:
    • Under $100: A used Weaver, K3, K4, or even a V10 or CV10 2-10x
    • $100 - $200: A used Leupold VXI or VXII
    • $200 - $300: Weaver Grand Slam baby! Nikon Monarchs are just as good but usually considerably more than the Grand Slams.
    • $300 - $500: Pretty much whatever you want. They should all be good in this range. Leupold VariX III is probably the standard but I think a bit over priced. I don't see the VariX IIIs being twice as good as the VariX IIs.
    • Over $500: In my opinion, the Schmidt & Benders are the cream of the crop, many Swarovskis are super beautiful and the Kahles are nearly as good for quite a bit less money. The Zeiss vary a lot from line to line but the 'V' Series and 'Z' Series are both great. I haven't quite made my mind up on the Conquest scopes yet.
  8. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    No argument with cratz2, for sure.

    I have a Simmons 44Mag 3x10, 1997 vintage, on a .30-'06. It has done quite well for me, surviving many bumps and bounces in a 4WD on jeep trails. The drawback is lack of repeatability, but I very rarely change the setting after I sight in my rifle. It was $99 from CTD.

    Last edited: May 25, 2003
  9. tango3065

    tango3065 Well-Known Member

    I have had nothing but luck with cheap simmons I have a simmons 8 point on a 243 and have one also on my cva 45 cal fire bolt and that thing has terrible recoil, and the 8 points are always on 0.
  10. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    Actually, for a while, I had an 8 Point on my first 10/22... used it for about a year, maybe a bit more. Of course, I almost always had it set to 3x or 4x. Never had a problem with it other than its less than stellar optics. But I don't think I ever re-zeroed it and I shot that gun a lot! :p

    Make no doubt, I am in no way recommending the 8 Point. It is only an option for the very slimest of budgets. And I think I only paid $20 for mine.
  11. nextjoe

    nextjoe Well-Known Member

    I'd look for a used Leupold, it will still have the lifetime warranty. If you MUST have a new scope and can't afford a Leupold, then I guess a Weaver would be my choice. Actually, I'd just skip lunches until I could afford the Leupold :D

  12. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Well-Known Member


    Don't forget the used market. I have had good experiences with buying used scopes. One of my favorites, a Redfield 5 Star 2x7 20mm scope was purchased for $25.
  13. CB900F

    CB900F Well-Known Member


    I've had a Simmons Whitetail Classic for years. It's knocked around on my .22lr Ruger 77/22, in the pickup & on the ground. I've never had a problem with it, but it's on a .22 with virtually no recoil. I saw Natchez or Midway had the Whitetail Expedition with rings & bases for $150.00, not a bad deal.

    If you really want to keep it cheap, try the Tasco (we're Bushnell now, so trust us) 2.5 X 10 A/O mil-dot. I just bought one & put it on another .22. It's made in China, the PRC, rather than the one Clinton stabbed in the back. Midway didn't see fit to announce that little detail in their catalogue. I reviewed it on another site, PM me if you want to read it, I'll give you the URL.
  14. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    You didn't have to edit your post just to spell my name right, Art. :p
  15. Powderman

    Powderman Well-Known Member

    Second vote for the Simmons, folks!

    I purchased a 6.5-20x50 Whitetail Expedition, and mounted in on a .300 Win Mag!!!

    Zeroed the rifle, and put about 300 rounds through the rifle. No problems.

    So, I got a 8-32 Simmons, put that on the .300, and mounted the 20 power on my AR 15. Works just fine! ;)

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