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Low Cost Optics ($200-$300) What NOT to buy....

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mcdonl, Dec 10, 2012.

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  1. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Hi folks... so I searched "Best optics" for $200 - $300 and learned two "facts"

    1 - If I spend less than $1000 all I will get is junk
    2 - Every single brand of scope you can buy in the $200 - $300 range is the best scope ever made according to someone.

    Fruitless results I must say.

    So, I will try a different approach. What typical list priced scopes for $200 - $300would you avoid and why?

    Usage - Almost exclusively bench shooting at 100 yards. Occasionally I will hunt coyote from a tree stand that I can pretty much drive up to, and there is a nice shooting rest. So, even in the field it would be rest shooting out to 150 yards with little lugging of the gun.

    The gun - Remington 700 308 w/heavy barrel in a factory stock

    Thanks!!
     
  2. chad1043

    chad1043 Member

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  3. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    #1: Same kind of folks who scoff at most anything that doesn't sport their expensive pet brand logo.

    #2: There are definitely some decent scopes in that price range, but some junk too.

    At the top end of your price range, I think these two options offer the most bang for the buck:

    Weaver V16

    Nikon Buckmaster
     
  4. kludge

    kludge Member

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  5. hq

    hq Member

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    I'd start by reading this article about scopes in general: http://www.chuckhawks.com/optical_sights.htm

    For an idea about what to avoid, try a search engine with a make/model + "problem", "issue", "warranty replacement", "help", "repair" and any other negative words you might think of. Often the worst reviews are the ones you really want to read, as well as find if there are common problems with a particular scope. You seem to have a decent budget and fairly modest requirements so you'll probably do fine with a basic, quality scope.

    If my personal bias has any value, I avoid Tasco, Zos, Weber and Norinco/Norconia because of multiple bad experiences. I won't give any recommendations, they're equally biased, and oddly enough, towards scopes that I personally don't own at the moment. ;)
     
  6. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Thanks HQ, and this is my first "real" scope so I figured 200-300 was reasonable. Hoping so anyway. I am in a small country gun club with a 100 yard berm, and the desire to lose quarters to other old men. I am reading another article right now (Secrets of the Houston Warehouse) then I will move on to this one.

    Also... I will only shoot this gun in full light, optimal weather situations. I do wear contacts but have 20/20 vision with them in.

    I am trying to learn all of the terminology right now. These are far more complicated to learn than the the gun they mount on.
     
  7. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    Houston warehouse is a very interesting article!
     
  8. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Yes it is!!

    It is giving me one of those "what have I gotten myself into" feelings though.... :)
     
  9. targetshooter22

    targetshooter22 Member

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    Personally, I have good experience with Nikon and Leupold products in that range (yes, some of the lower magnification Leupy's are in there). Bushnell and Simmons can be acceptable (own both), but YMMV and they seem prone to good ones and bad ones. Personally, I will trade a clear, bright picture with fine cross hairs for high magnification any day of the week. Please keep in mind I am a recreational shooter and hunter, not a competitor in this space.

    Another way to look at it is quality of the following in order (assuming you won't be taking the rig over hill over dale):
    1. Glass quality as defined by clarity and brightness.
    2. Fine cross hairs, not "tactical" or super-fast target acquisition.
    3. Magnification as long as it's at least 3-9x.

    That's at least my $.02.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  10. TITAN308

    TITAN308 Member

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    Vortex Optics. Something for everyone.

    /thread
     
  11. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Some good information, thanks guys... but again I know that every brand will have supporters, but I am interested mostly in what to avoid. I have already come to the conclusion that every manufacturer that has a $200-$300 model will produce a nice low/mid range scope so I will look for the best deal when I have the money but I want to AVOID any sort of bad scopes that are out there.

    Also, what about used? Too dangerous?
     
  12. targetshooter22

    targetshooter22 Member

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    Nothing nice to say about any Tasco product, and not a fan of BSA (seemed to have low quality glass).
     
  13. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I wouldn't buy Simmons. I had one go wonky on my 7 mag, a Whitetail. I will never own a Simmons. Even a CHEAP Bushnell Sportview held up for years on that gun, then I decide to "upgrade"? :rolleyes: It has a Weatherby Supreme on it now that I REALLY like. That scope is no longer marketed, though. I also own a Weaver KV 2x10x40 I like and I like the Nikons. Lots to choose from in this price range and it ain't cheap 40 dollar Tasco type crap even if it ain't quite Schmidt and Bender.
     
  14. clang

    clang Member

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    Leupold VX-1 can be had for around $200 new. Good scope and great gaurentee.

    Nikon makes some good scopes in the $200-$300 price range.

    Pentax also has some very good $200 scopes.
     
  15. Dr. Sandman

    Dr. Sandman Member

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  16. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    I've always had good luck with Bushnell over the years, and if not for "cheap" scopes I'd never do any shooting because I'd always be saving up for a Nightforce or Swarovski. Cheap scopes are all I have. "Poor folks got poor ways."
     
  17. R H Clark

    R H Clark Member

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    The bad list is too long just stay with Leupold, Zeiss,Nikon,Weaver,Burris,Bushnell, or Vortex and you will be fine.

    Spend as much as you can on your power range.You will get more for your money in the 3X-9X rather than 6X-18X.If you need greater than 9X try for a fixed power.

    If Cabelas still has thoes Zeiss Conquest scopes on sale,you won't do any better for $300.
     
  18. dvdcrr

    dvdcrr member

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    I hate to say it, and I won't tell you not to buy them, but look hard before you buy redfield and the newer leupold vx1 scopes. The finger adjustment knobs are a real step down from traditional leupold quality in my book. I have two of these units and both can exhibit movement before they click when you first go to turn them. Its sort of a gritty slide or half click which prevents you from adjusting one sharp click. Though the optics, tubes and reticle are fine.
     
  19. Hit_Factor

    Hit_Factor Member

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    How about what to look for in a scope? I like to look through the scope into a dark area. If it's just dark, put it down. If you can see and recognize items consider further.

    Place the scope on a table, set the cross hairs on a 100 yard object. Now move around and look for the cross hairs moving off the target. This movement is due to parralax. Too much movement? Consider another scope.

    Look at the color rendition at the edges. Do you see a rainbow? look for another scope.

    Look at something bathed in sunlight, is it foggy? Thats a flaw in the anti reflective coating.

    Twist the turrets, are they smooth or rough?

    Is the adjustment per click suitable to your needs?

    Is the reticle suitable, heavy reticle might be good for hunting but a light reticle is best for targets.

    Check that there is enough eye relief at the highest magnification.

    Stay away from Barska, BSA, low end Bushnell and Tasco.
     
  20. pseudonymity

    pseudonymity Member

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    I think in the $200-300 range you are going to get decent glass, but not great. More expensive scopes will have better quality glass, but the glass on a $600 scope is probably not 2x better than a $300 scope.

    Assuming the glass looks good (anti-glare, anti-fog and light transmission are covered in earlier posts), you are looking at differences in a few areas - magnification, reticles, turret adjustments, parallax adjustments and manufacturer warranty policies.

    For a target scope, I like a fine crosshair reticle, side adjustable parallax adjustment and large turret caps with 1/8 MOA adjustments with a solid detent system.

    Reticles are personal choice, but for target shooting I like cleaner designs. No need for range finding reticles if you shoot at fixed, known ranges. Fine crosshairs obscure less of the target.

    I prefer side parallax adjustment, it just seems easier, although it tends to make the scope body that much larger, and could be a problem with covering much of the ejection port on some rifles. If you single load rounds in a bolt action for instance a large scope body with low rings can be a hassle, especially if you have gloves on.

    Some scopes have removable turret covers, others you can adjust the scope without removing covers. In either case, you should be able clearly feel the detents in the scope adjustments as you turn the dials. Larger wheels tend to be easier to feel the detents in gloves or with cold hands. With either adjuster style, the markings should be engraved into the turret or cap. Painted marking and similar will wear off eventually. What is really helpful is if the scope tracks accurately. It may be listed as 1/4MOA per click, but if some clicks are .2MOA and others are .3 MOA it can be frustrating. A box test is a good way to test scope tracking.

    Some manufacturers have better warranty and customer service than others, and even the best scopes sometimes just fail without warning.
     
  21. col_temp

    col_temp Member

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    Hey Hit Factor, Good info thanks. this is a great question and its been interesting reading so far.
     
  22. floorit76

    floorit76 Member

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    I am very happy with my Redfield Revolution $200, and really like the looks of the Redfield Revenge, $250ish.
     
  23. CharlieDeltaJuliet

    CharlieDeltaJuliet Member

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    I have to agree with Chad about the Bushnell Tactical. I am a big fan of the Bushnell Tactical and Elite Tactical scopes.
     
  24. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    Do the really bad makers make scopes in the 200-300 range? I will break ranks with the conventional wisdom and advise you to avoid the Nikon ProStaff and Buckmasters lines. I have found them to be markedly optically and mechanically inferior to the Leupold offerings in the same price range.

    The most overlooked scope brand is Sightron, and you can get a very nice example from them in that price range. Or just buy the best Leupold you can afford and be done with it. There's a reason everybody compares their stuff to Leupold.
     
  25. Marlin270

    Marlin270 Member

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    For me, I had to look through various scopes. My eyes are not the best, so I wanted a scope that would allow me to pull the rifle to my shoulder and get a picture without dealing with eye relief issues. I found that some scopes, although nice and clear, had less forgiving eye relief. I looked through a bunch of brands from $150-400 with that in mind. I ended up with a Leupold VX-2 as a good choice at about $275.
     
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