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How can the best scopes cost more than the rifles they're put on?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mbpautz762, Mar 7, 2009.

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  1. mbpautz762

    mbpautz762 Member

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    Ok, this I'm SURE this is a stupid question, but I have no experience with rifle scopes at all. I've been using iron sights my whole life, but lately I've wanted to start getting down into 200yd territory and above, but I can't see anything at that distance with irons.

    I've heard people say "you get what you pay for with scopes", but what really makes a $1500 scope worth $1500?? It's obviously more than just magnification, but it seems to me that if a scope lets you see the target and the POI doesn't shift after shooting, it should be good enough. please don't think I'm bashing expensive scopes here - I know there's much more to it than I grasp, I just want to know what I'm missing. thanks!
     
  2. husker

    husker Member

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    i HEAR ya buddy. till of late my eyes were all i needed but i have a bad floaty in my right eye and now i need optics on my yoty rifles. after looking at a scope i liked i asked how much. well after they put their defibrillator away and i got back to my feet they asked if i was ok. i said no i aint ok. that scope is twice what the rifle is worth. KILLER prices, i went with the Mall mart high point scope. PS i can tell ya what your not missin= an empty piggy bank
     
  3. gga357

    gga357 Member

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  4. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger Member

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    Why do best quality scopes cost as much or more than a rifle?

    Because many of them are much more precise instruments than the rifle itself is. Precision costs.
     
  5. husker

    husker Member

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    that makes sense. my David white transit was about $800 10 years ago
     
  6. usmc1371

    usmc1371 Member

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    We did some comparing while elk hunting this year and I can tell you I won't be spending 1k+ on a scope any time soon. Compared leupold VXL3.5x10, bushnell 4200 2.5x10x40,bushnell 4x16x40, swarvorski 3x12x50? Set all scopes on 4x and took turns picking out a small object in the shadows in bright sunlight and again well after dark with a full moon. IMHO during leagle hunting hours "in oregon" I couldn't tell any REAL diffrance between the 1k+ scope and the 400$ bushnell. In the moon light the swarvorski is better. The VXL is also better in the dark. During Leagle hours the 2.5x10 bushnell is just as good as the other two costing twice and three times as much money. Now if you turn all of them up to their max X power you will see some diffrance and if its worth 3 times the money is up to you but I don't think so. I carry my scope on 4x and have never once needed to crank it up for any big game animal at any range.
    One more thing. Some cheap scopes fog up real easy if you breath on them and its cold out. Most expensive scopes do not. Bushnell 4200's that I have work great even with the lens coverd with rain drops.
     
  7. buttrap

    buttrap Member

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    But what does a 1200 buck scope do that at 150 buck scope wont if both are able to let you put 5 rounds in one hole at 100yds off a rest? A cheep 150 buck scope is a much better optic than what was used to aim 14 trough 16 inch naval guns at 15 miles in the past.
     
  8. husker

    husker Member

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    thats a good one
     
  9. nwilliams

    nwilliams Member

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    I've always wondered this myself......:rolleyes:

    Seems to me a lot more work and a lot more material would go into building a rifle than a scope.
     
  10. Hostile Amish

    Hostile Amish member

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    If you've ever used a Schmidt and Bender...

    ...You'd understand.
     
  11. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    buttrap, if you honestly have to ask you must have never looked through a $1200 scope.
     
  12. husker

    husker Member

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    i have and like i said i needed a defibrillator after they told me what it would coast to leave the store. but i was shopping for an old mini 14 not a long rang gun. im sure their worth every penny or people wouldn't lay down that kinda cash. i can see spending 200-300. $1200 to much for me
     
  13. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    Oh I'm not saying every rifle deserves $1200 glass, just that I understand why it costs what it does. The law of diminishing returns certainly is at work and to many the difference between a $400 scope and a $1200 scope may not be very noticeable. Still the difference is there and the difference is in precision and quality, as mentioned above. Look at what telescopes cost. Look at what microscopes cost. Now take the same optical demand, package it in a system that fits nicely on the top of a rifle, and make it withstand both the recoil/abuse the shooter puts it through as well as environmental issues like rain and mud and its amazing we get them for what we do. Making a system where you have repeatability in all adjustments without unwanted changes in poi is a big challenge. Add on the issue of making the glass transmit light extremely well along with being crystal clear. Then make it stand the abuse we can toss at it and there is no doubt that a top of the line scope had extreme demands through production. The difference between a $500 Leupold and a $1500 Zeiss may not be something a lot of us care to pay for. The Leupold may do 100% what we want without issue. In situations though where lives depend on it you want the absolute best made to the absolute best standards which is going to cost you.
     
  14. MAX100

    MAX100 Member

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    If you just plan to punch paper or do a little hunting out to 200 yards and very rarely work the adjustments then a $150 scope will be just fine. If you plan to use it for something like sniper competition where you will do a lot of tracking & shooting at different ranges that requires you to work the turrets, adjusting for windage & elevation over a wide range, you will need a scope that is accurate and can handle it still return to zero. Higher end scopes transmit more light in lower light conditions and on higher magnifications. This is needed when shooting at very long ranges.

    Mount a $150 scope or even some $600 scopes and go to the range and zero it @ 100 yards. Then work the turrets up and down for 30 mins and return it to zero and see if it will put a shot in the same place on the target. Try this twice week for a year and see what happens. Lower cost scope have a very high failure rate because of cheaper lower cost parts and very little if any QC.

    Higher priced scopes cost more because:

    *Better quality control and it cost $ - Some scopes like US Optics are assembled by one person from start to finish to insure the best QC.
    *Nicer glass - that means ground to the exact curvature and polish & coated to a very tight specs.
    *Better more durable tube body & better internal body design, some are patent
    *Better more durable finish
    *Nicer and more durable turrets
    *Durable more precise internal parts, some are patent
    *Nicer and more durable features that work and last
    *Precise and Patent reticles
    *Usually better customer service
    *Ongoing Government Contracts


    Companies that product higher quality scopes produce less and have higher production cost. Lower cost scopes are just spit out on a assembly line, so to speak.

    Most of the higher end scopes, are way over priced. Many are because of government contract drive prices up.

    I feel to get a nice tactical scope you need to spend $800 & up To get a nice hunting scope or paper puncher you need to spend $400 & up.


    GC
     
  15. woof

    woof Member

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    I say it's hokum. The law of diminishing returns gone wild. Maybe there is a tiny differential in quality control and ruggedness and reliability. Even that is far from certain. I don't think four digit price scopes say about their owners what their owners want to think they say. PS- yes I've looked through them

    PPS - Ongoing government contracts??? Maybe "that's" the reason they cost so much. Remember the $700 dollar toilet seats!
     
  16. Kind of Blued

    Kind of Blued Member

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    The law of the point of diminishing returns certainly applies here, but you have to ogle some of the pieces.

    As a camera buff, I found it interesting when I dicovered that one of the greatest (Swiss) lensmakers had, in their books, hundreds and hundreds of different types and formulas for glass (as in the material).

    Something like a Leica with a 50mm f/1 lens may not be the "best" piece of glass, but some people absolutely marvel at the clarity, consistency, and perfection, and to them it is worth it.

    I really don't know what makes a good diamond, and couldn't tell a cubic zirconia from a real one, but there's a reason that one costs 100x more than the other in some instances.
     
  17. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    woof, perhaps you should read this ...

    http://nightforceoptics.com/MILITARY___LE/military___le.html

    Looking through a scope for a couple of minutes at a gun shop or the range and claiming to know what it's like to own and use one day in and day out is like driving a Porsche around a parking lot at 5mph and kidding yourself that you know all there is to know about how it would handle on a track.

    :)
     
  18. woof

    woof Member

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    The people who have a Porsche are exactly the people I would expect to spend that kind of money on a scope. They probably also have a thousand dollar putter, $300 ties, and a $50k audio system. They probably can't drive well, shoot well, putt well or know good music - and deep down, they still don't feel good about themselves.

    This is getting to the basic psychology behind most advertising and why so many people buy things. People often don't buy what "they" need, they buy what they "wish" they were the kind of people who needed. Sure there are snipers who need scopes like that but how many of them are on this forum? The fact is, the people who truly need a scope like that have someone else to pay for it. But I see novices and deer hunters being told they need to spend twice the rifle cost on a scope. Hokum.
     
  19. Afy

    Afy Member

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    I dont know if you need a thousand dollar scope for deer hunting.
    On my rifles I have everything from a baraska through to a Nightforce.
    I just shoot targets, and I can tell the difference between them. That much is for sure.
     
  20. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    A $200 Nikon scope will do anything most people need done with a scope in this country. A $400 Leupold has optics that are about the same as the Nikon, but in a smaller, lighter package with better eye relief. To me and some others it is worth the extra $200, others don't think it is worth it.

    Most of the really high dollar scopes are made are made in Europe for the type of hunting they do there. Remember they basically hunt until well after dark, way past legal shooting times here. They can benefit from the better optics that wouild be a waste of money here. Few people in Europe hunt, only the very wealthy can afford it. A $1500 scope to most of these guys probably cost less than their rifle.
     
  21. DRYHUMOR

    DRYHUMOR Member

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    Through the years, I've run Tasco, Simmons, Springfield, Leupold, Kahles, and Ziess. The whole range quality and price wise.

    I recall my first Leupold vari3 with 50mm objective. As dusk got there, I looked through the scope and thought "holy crap, I can see". The same scenario years after that with a Kahles scope allowed me not only to see antler, but to count points at 80 yds, in a hay pasture, with not much contrast.

    A little different scenario, I was hunting a big buck one year. At dusk I saw a deer. I raised my Stiener binocs and could see the deer clearly, raised the rifle with the Leupold M8 on it and couldn't see the deer. Back to binocs- still there, back to scope, no deer. That's when I decided it was time to run higher quality optics. That was a grown buck too.

    Sometimes it isn't the cost, or the name, but the clarity and magnification you need. Depending on the application. Daylight's not that big a deal, dusk and dawn, or looking into shadows or poor contrast is a big deal.

    There's an old saying, "buy the best you can afford". Seems to work most of the time.

    I sell off rifles from time to time, I don't sell off scopes.
     
  22. jester_s1

    jester_s1 Member

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    Punching paper with good afternoon light is no test at all for the quality of optics. Hunting in low light is a much greater test, and target work at long distance is greater still. The high end optics are for shooters who absolutely must be able to make the shot- either because life depends on it as is the case in military or law enforcement, or serious competition, or during an expensive trophy hunt. For us commoners, scopes around $300 are perfectly adequate, and we'll never see the difference in performance.
     
  23. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    High end glass isn't the problem, it's the fact someone bought a cheap rifle.....buy a higher end rifle to match.
     
  24. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Don't forget the mfg. has to figure in the FOREVER warrenty.

    Stop and think what a car would cost with a deal like that.
     
  25. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    An older mini is not capable of enough accuracy to take full advantage of a $300 scope, never mind a $1200 scope.

    For a typical older mini, I'd suggest a 2.5x shotgun scope, perhaps 4x max if you have an accurate one. A red dot would have been more suitable on mine (best-ever group of 5.5" at 100 yards, from a rest and rear bag). And you can get a really good fixed-magnification scope for $300 (or an Aimpoint on an Ultimak rail for $700-ish).
     
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