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Importance of illuminated reticle

Discussion in 'Long Gun Accessories and Optics' started by beeb173, Apr 3, 2016.

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  1. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    So I'm on my first AR build and want a 1-4x scope. There's a Burris w/ an illuminated reticle and a Leupold or Nikon Monarch w/o. Burris is $300 and gets great reviews and the other 2 are $400.

    So back to the question, those of you w/ the illuminated reticles, would you give up a little scope quality for the illumination? When I say scope quality I'm assuming glass and from the specs it looks like weight. Probably not durability.

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    For a fighting rifle I would go with the illuminated optic. I've seen an AR with a Burris MTAC get thrown about 40 feet and get stood and bounced on hard enough to bend the free float handguard. The optic retained zero. I'm an advocate of buying American when possible, which would mean the Leupold in this case, but they are considerably more expensive and the Burris is a fine optic.
     
  3. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    Have you looked at the Leupold Mark AR series? The 1.5-4x with Firedot illumination is only 450 at optics planet.

    Personally, I feel that the illumination is 100% necessary to make a variable 1x scope pay for itself. With mine, I can barely pick up the reticle indoors without the illumination turned on. If I went sans illumination, then I would opt for a 3-9x or similar. Without illumination you pretty much lose the close quarters capability of the 1x setting, as it's basically supposed to be a stand in red dot on 1x. I think the only place for non-illuminated 1-4x scopes is hunting dangerous game, and only then if it's going to be in full daylight. But even then I would still want illumination if it were available, and for certain if I were doing any hunting at dusk or dawn.

    Also, a 1-4x needs really good glass to be of any use. Since you don't have much magnification to work with, it's absolutely vital that the image be 100%, otherwise you might as well have iron sights. That's the secret behind low fixed power optics like the ACOG is they have super high quality glass. Basically what I'm saying is that it's better to have no magnification than to have a distorted image at 4x, as the distortion pretty much cancels out any advantage there might have been, especially in dim lighting, like on a cloudy day.

    Unfortunately, the 1-4x scopes are an inherently expensive game. I strongly feel that the Leupold Mark AR series is probably the least expensive option in that ballpark. I've never used one, but I know that Leupold doesn't use cheap glass in anything they make. As for Burris, I've heard that their top of the line glass is on par with Leupold's standard quality glass. With the Leupold Mark AR you're basically trading .5x of magnification range for better glass in a less expensive package. For a true 1-4x scope with decent glass, you're probably looking at a minimum of 7-8 hundred, and an average of more like 1200. There are also other factors, too, like the eye relief and how forgiving the "eyebox" is. 1x variable scopes aren't all that user friendly if they don't have a fairly generous eyebox.
     
  4. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    For military applications where you don't want others to know where you are probably. For civilian use I don't think they are worth it and I had one for a while.

    I use this scope on my HD AR.

    http://swfa.com/Leupold-1-4x20-VX-1-ShotgunMuzzleloader-Scope-P51851.aspx

    The thick cross hairs just jump out in near dark conditions and cost is just over $200. If it is too dark to shoot I have lights mounted on the AR that allow me to easily see anything out to almost 100 yards for a fraction of the cost of a good illuminated reticle scope.

    Yes, an intruder will know I'm there, but I'm not a sniper trying to assassinate someone undetected. If I turn on the light and they leave without me having to fire a shot then mission accomplished. That is the difference between military and civilian use.

    I don't have a photo of the rifle set up for HD, but this is my Coyote hunting rig showing the light and mount.

    nm%20047_zps8vqqtlpq.gif
     
  5. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    Grampajack I don't think that Leupold on optics planet is illuminated. Correct me if I'm wrong. The other advantage to the Burris is its a 24mm lens and the other two are 20mm. I'm stuck w/ those models because I'm using Gander mountain rewards points and that's what they have.
     
  6. P.B.Walsh

    P.B.Walsh Member

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    What about the SWFA 1-4 non-HD model at $400? Daytime bright illumination and extremely durable.
     
  7. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    They come either way. The non-illuminated is around 300, and the illuminated one is about 450.

    I understand being limited to Gander Mountain. Have you contacted them to see if they can order you something? If it comes down to it, I would get just about any Leupold on the market before I would touch a Burris with a ten foot pole. And Vortex would be my second choice after Leupold. While there are some Burris scopes that can complete with Leupold, they're expensive, so I think Leupold is going to be a much better value at any price range.

    I wouldn't worry too much about a 4mm difference in the objective lens. I would worry first and foremost about glass quality, followed by how forgiving the eyebox is. Like I said, the glass has to be top notch for a 4x scope to make sense.
     
  8. another pake

    another pake Member

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    I've got a
    Leupold Mark AR MOD-1 1.5-4x20mm FireDot-G SPR on my 6.8 AR.
    Part # 115387
    $450

    That's a MilDot reticle with a green fire dot. You can turn the dot off if you don't want to use it or if light conditions don't warrant it's use.

    I am completely happy with this setup for my uses. Excellent glass at low power acts like a red dot for close range or use at higher power and you're good out to several hundred yards. My Leupy is mounted on QD mounts so BUIS are also an option.
     
  9. another pake

    another pake Member

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    I realized that I have not answered your question, "would you give up a little scope quality for the illumination?"

    No I wouldn't but that's me. Scope quality is somewhat subjective too. What you think is great may be different for another. What quality are willing to give up? What are you going to use the rifle for? Illumination can't correct for quality issues. They are separate. Do you consider weight a quality issue? Optical quality is one thing, especially in low light conditions. Weight, ease of use, repeatability of zero set, eye relief etc. are others.

    For hunting try as many as you can in low light conditions. Brightly lit sporting goods stores really don't fill the bill IMO. Study the available reticles not just the ones in stock. Shooting targets in bright daylight at 200 yards is different than shooting deer in the shadows of woods at 50. Will an illuminated reticle get in the way when shooting targets?

    Ask the guys at your local shooting club if you can take a look through their glass.

    Some things to think about. Good luck and let us know what you come up with.
     
  10. beeb173

    beeb173 Member

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    Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Riflescope, AR-BDC Reticle



    think i may have found it
     
  11. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    I was actually going to suggest that one. I've never had one in hand, but I've heard good things.
     
  12. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    As far as scope quality, I'm a firm believer in "you get what you pay for". Generally speaking, quality scopes (at least what I consider a quality scope) for a quality firearm will often match or exceed the price of the gun under it, unless you are on the "extreme end" of rifles (think Larue, Surgeon, etc.). I have put a $1500 scope on a $900 rifle. As far as illuminated reticles, they have come in handy for me more than once- like at the last legal light when a monster deer is in front of me, or on a very overcast day in a thick Maine forest black bear hunting.
     
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