Has anyone actually had cheap scopes fail?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by hometheaterman, Oct 26, 2009.

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  1. PedalBiker

    PedalBiker Member

    Dec 19, 2006
    I had a tasco where the reticle came loose.

    I had a Simmons where the windage turret came loose (also part of a Savage package). I have a nearly identical Simmons that's still going strong after about 10 years.

    I had a Bushnell Sportsman that was mechanically sound, but the parallax was bad and the image clarity was horrible, it seemed to be always just a tad out of focus.

    I've had a couple of Leupolds for quite a while that are trouble free, and a Bushnell Legend that seems good quality.

    I generally treat expensive scopes a bit more carefully.
  2. pogy

    pogy Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    hidalgo co, tx
    I had a nc star 4x32 on an sks that never worked, it kept hitting low. I thought it was the rifle but then I installed it on a marlin 60 .22 and found out it would not elevate after a certain point so I never sighted it in. removed it and disposed of it.
  3. Heck

    Heck Member

    Sep 7, 2008
    NW Arkansas
    I had a Bushnell Banner fail on a 7mm Mag that I had. That gun kicked so stinkin hard I could hold up to it either and got rid of it. I can't handle a rifle that leaves a bruise after one shot. The replacement bushnell sent me is on my Dad's Tikka T3 with no issues whatsoever for two years now.

    I had a Bushnell Sportview on my .270 for 17 seasons without an issue. I replaced it with an Elite 3200 last year when the gun started throwing lead all over the place. I thought the scope went bad but it turns our I had damaged the crown. I honestly can't tell much difference between the Sportview and the Elite and wish I had saved my money.

    HGUNHNTR Member

    Nov 17, 2006
    There is definitely a wider quality gap in scopes than there are in firearms. Your scope is your eyes, and a $300 savage better have a $300 scope. i have had numerous sub $100 scope fail both in the field or a the range. Most recently it was a Tasco pronghorn on a Remington 7400 in .270/ That is my brother in laws rifle, and after blowing an opportunity at a really nice buck it now wears a Zeiss Conquest.

    Good hunters with lots of hours logged afield know that just about any old $350-400 rifle will shoot well enough for big game, where you really have to pay attention is with your optics.
  5. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    Texas, baby!
    oh yeah, and most were not bought, they were totally new and given to me under store credit, wrrty, that kind of thing. NC Star, and BSA, all had multiple failures, to include brand new out of the box product; even with a NC Star spotting scope- how do you screw up a spotting scope?
  6. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    Genesee, ID
    This describes my experience exactly.
  7. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I have bought a couple of inexpensive, fixed-power Simmons scopes to put on kids' .22s. They have held zero well, and are clear enough for the distance and shooting conditions they are used for. That said ...

    I have "inherited" some cheap scopes that were either given to me, or were on guns that I bought. I've had reticles break on Tasco and Bushnell scopes. Had an older Bushnell 3-9X that held up alright, but it was too dark for hunting at dawn and dusk; replaced it with a Leupold. Had a TruGlow red dot that had horrific parallax problems.

    My hunting/target rifles now mostly wear good Leupold or Nikon scopes. The quality of image is excellent, I trust their tracking, and the warranties are great; thus far, I've never had to return a good scope for warranty service. Also like Burris scopes as good for the money. Once you get used to good quality glass, it's hard to consider anything else.
  8. inherentical

    inherentical Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    I've got a Simmons 3-9 that won't hold zero, but my 5-year-old son thinks it's a great toy. I had some NcStar scope that looked like the reticle was spray painted on, it could have held zero if I'd have been able to see the target through it. I had a Bushnell scope with a canted reticle, sent it back and the next one had the same problem. I've been through a ton of cheap scopes. Now I stick with decent glass. The cheapest I've gone is a Nikon 4x32 fixed power scope for a 10/22. I currently use the following brands, which I've been pleased with in their applications so far.

    IOR Valdada
    US Optics
  9. dom1104

    dom1104 Member

    Aug 3, 2007
    Yep. Cheap scopes are cheap.

    however, the really good ones are WAY overpriced. Honestly.

    You gotta find a medium.

    Mueller has been good to me, but I only scope 22s. so...yeah.
  10. wally

    wally Member

    Jan 2, 2004
    Houston, Tx
    I've had generally good results with cheap scopes & red dots, most issues were things shooting loose and were adequately fixed with a bit of Loc-Tite, but I don't have anything with more recoil than .30-06. But then I'm using them as I would iron sights, zero at 50 yards and forget about further adjustments, and adjust my hold or "sight picture" for various distances. Bad as cheap optics can be, it don't take much to help out 50+ year old eyes!

    Now that I've had Lasik (my issue was mostly astigmatism) and can use iron sights again I'm removing some of the cheap scopes and adding better scopes to a few guns as I can get more benefit from better optics now, but I'm thrilled to be able to use iron sights again!

  11. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

    Feb 11, 2009
    Past & Future Republic of Texas
    Yes, I have had cheap scopes fail. I have a new H&R .243 combo that I bought for my 8 year old son to grow into. It came with cheap rings & a Simmons 8 point 3X9X40. It WILL NOT hold zero, even after replacing the rings with a higher quality set up. First outing, I was able to shoot MOA with 100 gr soft points. Now that same load, in less wind, is shooting 12" groups from the bags. I cannot hunt with it until it has better optics.

    I have purchased this same scope for a Beeman spring piston AG, and while a normal scope is not designed for the reverse recoil produced by spring piston guns, (as well as way off parallax adjustment) It failed on the second shot with some catastrophic internal seperation. I am looking for a good retailer for a pro-staff 3X9; I am seeing them at most retailers for $130.00 or so; ditto gunbroker. FAR too good a deal to put up with low end, unreliable quality.
  12. pbrktrt

    pbrktrt Member

    Jan 15, 2008
    I think all of us with a few years of hunting & shooting under our belts have all been through the cheap scope scene. I've tried a few of the bargain brands only to be disappointed with their performance. My rifles now wear Leupolds & I've never had one fail. The oldest is a Vari-x II I bought in 1991. It has been a great optic through many hard hunting seasons & never had a problem. If you stick with a Leupold, Burris, Nikon, or Bushnell Elite I think you would be totally satisfied. There are better scopes available but for the average hunter/shooter any of these would serve you well. Spend the $200.00 to $400.00 on a quality scope & you only cry once.
  13. GunTech

    GunTech Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Helena MT
    I've had my Mini-14 break two scope in the space of one week: first a Nikon 1.5-4.5x followed by a Millet red dot.

    What's interesting is the Nikon rode atop a 458 WM Whitworth express rifle and survived several hundred rounds of 458.
  14. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Member

    Jun 16, 2007
    I killed a package-deal Simmons on my .243 Win. Wandering/rotating reticle and eyepiece threads stripped out (don't know how the heck that happened). Even given similar build quality, more money can get you better glass which makes a whole world of difference, especially in low light.
  15. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Tasco. Could not hold zero. Sent it away for a month. Got it back with a note saying there is nothing wrong with the scope.

    Sold it and bought a Leupold Vari-X-III for about 10 times the price ($500 vs. $50).

    Went to range. Shot once, moved crosshairs, shot again, crosshairs moved, shot again, moved crosshairs. Within 6 shots, the scope was sighted in, with about a 3/8" group at 100 yards. Every time after that, it was boring as there was no adjustment needed. 29 woodchucks died that summer.:eek:

    My philosophy is that you pay either way. If you buy junk, you will typically (not always) burn up more ammo and GET BURNED UP thinking about what crap you have just put on your beautiful rifle. The scopes are nice-looking in the store on the display shelf, and that is all they are good for. Display (or paper weight).
  16. Ranb

    Ranb Member

    Dec 15, 2003
    WA, USA
    Since 1990 I have broken several scopes.

    Redfield tracker on savage 308. Broken reticle
    Tasco rubber armored 3-9, fell off shooting bench.
    Redfield pistol scope broke on super Blackhawk 44 magnum.
    Tasco on AR-15 broken reticle.
    BSA broken internals on 44 mag contender
    Leapers 3-9 permanent out of focus on 458 socom ar-15.
    Simmons pistol scope bent tube on 375 jdj contender
    Super sniper scope broke erector tube on LAR 50 bmg (sent in for repair, lost in mail)
    Super sniper scope on 510 whisper broken erector tube. (repaired)
    Super sniper scope on 44 mag contender, loose rotating reticle. (awaiting repair)
    Leupold VX3 stuck mag adjustment.

    Price is no guarantee, but you get what you pay for.

  17. TEDDY

    TEDDY Member

    Jan 2, 2007

    I bought a few scopes for 22 and SKS and AR 15.$14 norincos.they work for me but I dont shoot magnums,and I dont shoot beyond 150 yrds.Where I am 50 yds will get a deer.so I set the scope and leave it set.I am not spending 200 for a $60 marlin 60.or $75 sks and my AR 15 is a parts gun cost about $100.I do have a V1 thanks to a gererous person.it is a very good scope.and works well.for some one to shoot 500 yds I could not see an animal that far.
  18. HB

    HB Member

    Dec 18, 2007
    St. Louis, MO
    I've had multiple cheap BSA's and a Centerpoint fail horribly. My Simmons however, is great!
  19. ECVMatt

    ECVMatt Member

    Jan 7, 2004

    It was a Cabelas Pine Ridge. The reticle spun around and around inside the scope. It was funny, it did not loose zero, but the reticle spinning around was really annoying.

    I don't by anything like them anymore.

    Simmons Atec is about as low as I go.
  20. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

    Jan 14, 2009
    Heart of Dixie
    I have had more Leupolds than I have fingers and I have only had one problem but it was a 30+ year old scope.

    The first Tasco I bought had a broken rectile in it, The replacement they sent me had what appeared to be fly's wing stuck in the bottom. The next one held zero almost a year. I have never bought another Tasco. But I will say I currently have a 10/22 borrowed from my dad and the quality seems better than the three I had 15 years ago.

    I have had 2 Simmons scopes and not had a problem out of them, but they are both on .22's, one of which I'm currently having problems with BIG groups and I'm starting to think "scope?" but not ready to jump to conclusions yet.

    I have 1 Swarovski and the only problem I have with it is the price, But I bought it used and got it at a steal, it is by far the best scope I have.

    Conclusion: I believe you get what you pay for.
  21. jcwit

    jcwit member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Great state of Indiana
    Not putting down expensive scopes that are guaranteed forever, but guess who pays for that warrenty. It factered into the selling price when you purchase it.
  22. Runningman

    Runningman Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    YES I just threw away a whole drawer full or junk scopes about a year ago. What I've learned is there is nothing more expensive than a good cheap scope.

    1. Weaver 4 X cross hair split, about 20 years old at the time.
    2. Bushnell power ring locked up when almost new. Tracking was bad also
    3. Tasco 3-9 x tacking was very bad right out of the box. 2nd worst I have ever seen outside BSA.
    4. Tasco can't remember the power, but at just under 50 rounds on a 223 something inside broke. Started shooting 2 foot groups.
    5. Bought 2 BSA China scopes in one day for 22s. A new low in cheap scopes. Beside the fact that tracing was bad on both. Accuracy was extremely poor. The 22s shot about 6" groups at 50 yards with both scopes. With better scopes accuracy was under 1 1/2" at 50 yards with no other changes. Chinese scope suck.
    6. Bausch & Lomb 4000,not a cheap scope. Fogged up on a guided Moose hunt. Had to borrow the guide's rifle to shot my Moose.
    7. Had a Burris on 2 different rifles and could never get it to zero out.

    Had very good luck with Leupolds and Sightron scopes. Two Leupolds I have were made in the 70s and still going. Four were made in the 80s still going with no issues.
  23. Rancho Relaxo

    Rancho Relaxo Member

    Nov 15, 2008
    Very rural NV
    I haven't had any cheap scopes fail, just have a wandering zero. My Nikons and Leupolds have never lost a zero or failed on me. I hate sighting in, you only have to pay once for quality.
  24. wcoats

    wcoats Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    maybe i'm just lucky, i put a cheap $35 Tasco 3-9X40 on my 30-06 about a year ago, and haven't had any problems with it. i sighted it in the first time i took it to the range, and have shot a little over 200 rounds since then and it still holds zero fine. i know there are plenty of "better scopes" out there, but for $35 i see nothing wrong with it. i mean it cost less then a few boxes of ammo, and i would consider the extra money to get more range time more valuable than a better scope.
  25. gunmn74

    gunmn74 Member

    Jan 16, 2007
    Central Kansas
    I have few nicer Tascos that are great.
    I put a new Bushnell 35 dollar walmart scope on a mini-14 and it rattled the cross hairs out in 10 shots.
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