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Another Cheap Scope Horror Story....

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2006 at 18:52
taylorsf View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper

Joined: February/25/2006
Status: Offline
Points: 27

Ok, OK,

some of you know I have a problem with spending the appropriate amount of money for appropriate optics.


Here is another story to add to my notorious history....


I started off trying to make a semi auto sniper rifle (on a budget)


I guess I am just cheap, its not that I cannot afford better, mabye its just that I grew up poor and decades later still find it hard to justify spending lots of money on stuff



I was happy with my bolt action budget build,
but wanted to see what could happen with a semi auto.


For calibre of course I chose .308.
(Sorry 5.56 fans, I am prejudiced.  I was an M60 machine gunner in a ranger bn in the 80s and I like 7.62)


I kept it real simple.
I found an HK91 style rifle for under 500$.
It is called the FA91,
Made by Federal Arms Corps,
DC Industries Inc,
In Bloomington, MN.


What it is basically is surplus G3 parts on an american made receiver.
Quality is, well, don't think it is on par with a real HK91.
But, compare the price compared to a real HK91.  It is worth the price.

Anyways, the benefit of this receiver is it has a weaver rail machined right into it.


I put on a Leapers Accushot Model 168 6X scope.
You can have one for under 75$ delivered.


so off I go to the range.
I thought I would like the rifle a whole lot more. But....
mabye I have just spent too much time with AR style rifles
(I bought a colt SP1 AR15 when I was 15 and enlisted two years after that)

I had handled MP5s in the 80s for some SOT training, and thought they were awesome.  In retrospect I must have just thought HKs were cool for being cool.


I would much rather have one of the .308 semi rifles in the AR pattern.
I think mabye even M14/M21 pattern I prefer also.

OK, not the rifles fault I do not like it.  I get it zeroed and go to shoot some groups.


here is a typical group for it-


the very best group I shot acutally fit under that birchwood casey shoot-n-c patch, which is 1 1/8" in diameter. (this was the only group of a few dozen that size- all the others were similar to this picture I posted, which is just over 1.5moa.  some were up to just over 2.5 moa.  the average was actually just at 2 MOA (1.98)


since this is a parts gun and I was shooting either malaysian or south african decade or more old FMJ nato style ammo (remember the stuff in the plastic blister packs with handle made of the plastic pack) I think I am very lucky.


choose your magazines carefully, there are a lot of HK91 mags out there, and some great prices for surplus.
the trio of 30 rounders I bought were about as useful as a football bat.
about 1/2 of my 20 rounders worked fine, 1/4 fine but one misfeed out of three full magazines, and 1/4 were more dangerous to the enemy if I freaken threw them at him becuase they were all so unreliable.


all mags were the same source, so if you go with an HK style rifle and get cheap surplus mags, be sure to invest some ammo to cherry pick the reliable ones you are going to use.

or, as these were all bought during the 10 year BS assault ban crap, I think you could now look into factory original type mags.  much much pricier, but much much more reliable I believe.


anyways, as for the scope.  It zeroed fine and the 1/4" clicks at 100 was also spot on.  it has some illumination reticle that I dont use, and came with flip up covers and also a mount that is intrinsic to be used on all three types of base.  If any of you know WTF an illuminated reticle is for other than sounding cool or marketing please let me know.



I was happy as can be.  Plenty of accuracy in my opinion for a cheap semi with surplus ammo.  Heh, Heh, Heh.  You don't need a real HK and a Leuopold and over 3k$ invested for a smoking semi 7.62 sniper rifle.  I AM SO MUCH SMARTER than those dudes that drop the big bucks.

Until about 50 rounds into it today, I notice I am canting.  Canting a lot.  Mabye I was doing it a little these past few shots, but not this bad.  I must have been slipping a little teensy bit more with each shot.  All that teensy weensy bit more has added up to a lot and I better get my sh*te together.

I get my vertical  crosshair vertical, and
NOW I am canting.

The damn reticle got turned about 30degrees anti clock wise from the recoil of 50 rounds!!!



I had a BEC 3x9 rubber armored scope that the reticle somehow stopped adjusting via the knobs, after all of 10 rounds. I sent it back but they just re-sent it to me saying I did not know how to zero it and added a set of zero intructions.  some warranty and customer service- you can turn the knobs all day and not change point of impact, the darn thing was broke. Just like this thing is broke.


I hope this warranty and return goes better.  Let's see, cheap arse foreign crap like the last one that broke.  SURE they will have awesome customer service.  mabye it is just too wimpy and cheap for a .308.  mabye it would handle 5.56 just fine, or at least be cool for some kid to learn about mildots on his .22.  It would look cool on some air soft fag's rifle, but that ain't doing me any good.


2 MOA in a 7.62 semi with a 6 power scope and lots of mags for under 600$ is cool.  It would be a lot more cool if the damn scope did not break.  In fact, if it had not been for that I would still be happy and SURE you don't need to listen to anyone on optics talk and buy a good scope.  AFTER ALL, I have only had crap like this happen half a dozen times out of the 7 times I bought cheap arse scopes.


(I know, some are saying "only 6 power",
but look Man....
2 MOA is up to about 10 1/2 inches at 500 yds.  I prefer a "6 inch circle of death" but for a semi I will take the "10" circle of death".  If you are shooting at something to eat or something that can shoot back, you really do not want to go beyond this.  At least I don't, and since it is what I am doing, my opinion counts for me, you all are free to blow off my opinion.
6 power is plenty for 500yds. (again, my opinion I am happy as stink with 3 or even 2.5 out to 150m or so, and find 9 or 10 power no fun at ranges less than that)


so , in summary,
I think you are better off with an AR style rifle vs. HK style
I think you are better off with an M14/M21 style rifle vs. HK style
(personal prejudice for handling)

be sure to cherry pick your mags if you go HK style


and be more wise about your optics (duh- will I ever learn cheap scopes cost far more in the long run due to wasted time, wasted ammo rezeroing the next scope after it breaks, more wasted time, etc. etc.)



thats all to this story.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/25/2006 at 23:33
ChrisGarrett View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice

Joined: July/18/2005
Location: Miami, FL, USA
Status: Offline
Points: 99

Admitting that you have a problem is the first step towards recovery.  You get what you pay for in life.



Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2006 at 04:21
cheaptrick View Drop Down

Joined: September/27/2004
Location: South Carolina
Status: Offline
Points: 20848

Good story.


We have a few here on The OT that continue to purchase the junk of the optics world.

In todays market, a guy can actually spend around $200-$300 and get a very decent scope. Nikon Buckmaster, Bushnell 3200, Super Sniper, etc.


I said that to say this..... Spend a couple of hundred dollars and enjoy the sport!!!!!!


I have very little free time. I have at least an hour drive to the nearest decent range to shoot. I reload all my .308 rounds myself, with an OLD single stage RCBS press. 

The Warden, I mean my wife, has me on a "budget"   that leaves me very little room for luxuries.


It almost never fails when I get to the local range some guy will say "Hey cheap, what's wrong with my scope, Bro??"

I walk over and Lo and Behold, he just bought a Leeper, NC Star or a BSA something or other and it puked on him.

I get a headache just looking through some of these scopes, because the glass is so piss poor!! 


Some people that claim they can't afford to spend an additional $100 to get a decent scope are just plain wrong headed!! (Few exceptions, I know.)

Sell something or work for a buddy doing some construction work for a weekend.


$100 can be had fairly easily. 

Cut out a few pizzas and 6 packs on the weekend and you'll be amazed. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2006 at 09:04
Urimaginaryfrnd View Drop Down
Resident Redneck

Joined: June/20/2005
Location: Iowa
Status: Offline
Points: 14268
If all my scopes were Super Snipers I'd be OK with that but I would rather wait a little longer than buy cheap and still have to turn around and buy the right thing later.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/26/2006 at 15:21
taylorsf View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper

Joined: February/25/2006
Status: Offline
Points: 27

yep, I am all over a SS once I decide I am OK with 10X fixed...


when they come out with the variables...

whichever comes first!



for a semi auto platform,

while I was discussing rifles,

I forgot to add the L1A1 series.

My bad, I have never shot one.

If anyone here is up to speed on them to comment on accuracy potential, etc. I would be glad to hear it.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2006 at 00:39
chasseur106 View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman

Joined: March/12/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 137

 Hello        & nbsp;  

             There are few exceptions to buying low and competing well with those that buy smart the first time through.  The only one I can think of are those guys that have access to machine tools and can swap out a bad barreled or shot out barrel on a Mauser and swap in a good one, and then do the necessary trigger work to get the groups they need.  Sub MOA all the way!!.  When you buy cheap clones of good rifles, especially in the semi automatic category, you are buying what some manufacturers are happy with putting out on the market.

           Think of it from the manufacturers point of view.  He/she wants maximum bucks for minimum efforts.  And if he/ she can snare your hard earned dollar for a cheaply made clone of what you want, then you are in agreement with him/her that to pay for the rest of that quality that he did not put into the copy cat rifle is a waste of your resources. 

            However, when you expect the same terminal performance from the aforementioned piece of crap, and do not get it, you are the only one who is hurting.  The low life that made it and sold it to you, is happily spending your cash, and lying in wait for the next SUCKER...  Think of it this way as well.  The rifle that you are trying to short cut to getting for minimum bucks spent never would have made it to the place of honor that you esteem it to be worth owing if the original manufacturer had been so sloppy with product quality.  These were some of the lessons we Americans learned when a group of lazy Spaniards and Cubans kisked the snot out of our forces in the Spanish American war.  That war was the death knoll for the .30-40 Krag Jorgenson rifle with the Spaghetti box trap door on the side.  We were outclassed by Paul Mauser's well designed 7X57mm Model 98 Mauser.  From that point on, we learned that if Germany changed their weapon and ammunition, we too had better change it.... Which lead to the development of the .30-03 to the now famous .30-' 06!!! 

           We have all had to learn this lesson to some degree in our own lives.  The point is that I hope you are learning, you only get what you are willing and able to pay for.

            Don't beat yourself up too bad, but when we all tell you that you won't be happy with a cheap scope, it is because a lot of us have already been there and been given the same song and dance!  Same performance as $$$Leupold or ________________, ( Or Zeiss, Swarovski, etc.!!) but for less than half the price!!!  Ain't happening!!!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2006 at 13:23
taylorsf View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper

Joined: February/25/2006
Status: Offline
Points: 27

well said,

I like hearing

"what I NEED to hear, not what I WANT to hear"


I have to keep in mind-


A dumbass will not learn from his own mistakes

A smart man learns from his own mistakes

A genius learns from other mistakes.


I need to get smart, stop being a dumbass, and shoot for being a genius!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/02/2006 at 14:53
cheaptrick View Drop Down

Joined: September/27/2004
Location: South Carolina
Status: Offline
Points: 20848


Your not a dumbass!!


I guess some of us on here have already been down the road of cheap optics and are just trying to dissuade you from that.


I would recommend you buy you a SS 10x and start shooting.

If you want to upgrade to a SS variable, then sell the SS on Sniper's Hide for full list and buy it.  

But you can enjoy yourself NOW!!!!


My SS 10x has surpassed my expectations. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/03/2006 at 21:14
taylorsf View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper

Joined: February/25/2006
Status: Offline
Points: 27

OK, here is the follow up.


I contacted leapers and got very nice customer service and a replacement scope less than  a week after I sent them mine.


In summary, the first one I had was fine, then after about 50 rounds it had knocked the recticle counter clockwise about thirty degrees.


I get mine today, mount it my my HK91 clone,

and I must have mounted it wrong.

I do it again,

and yep,

what do I get,


the reticle is already 10 degrees counterclockwise without having to fire a shot.


there is no cure as the mount is integral to the tube and it is not a matter of adjusting a scope in rings.



what kind of company makes a scope that knocks the reticle loose with 50 rounds of 7.62 in a semi auto?  Not exactly a lot of recoil there.

well, anyone.  some companies a lot less than others, but it could slip through with any company I guess.


Now, what kind of company has such poor quality control that it lets improperly set reticles out to the consumer?

well, again I guess anyone could let one slip.



what kind of company sends out a bad scope,

the second scope you see from them is bad,

and when you are sending a replacement for a screwed up scope don't

you think they would make sure its a good one??!!??


I admit the customer service was much friendlier, faster, and actually sent me a new scope as compared to BEC.



that many features in a scope that cheap,

and you get what you pay for.


Now, I am not saying you have to buy the most expensive scope.

There has to be a point where what you spend gets you something high quality.

For example, you don't need to spend 5000$ on a rolex sub to get a good dive watch, there are plenty of awesome dive watches for 1000$.  You can even spend 200$ on a seiko automatic diver, and be good to go.

Now, you spend less than that entry level seiko or citizen diver, or the same on some off brand with more features, and you are in trouble.


and that is what happens with trying to get a lot of features for cheap in a scope.

Now, I figure the SS, a nikon buckmaste mildot, a bushnell elite mildot, mueller, or a swift

is at the price point like a seiko diver,

you may not need the rolex,

but if you spend less than for the seiko diver or

spend the same as one but get a bunch of extra features,

you are going to be SOL.


let me sum it up for you-

cheap scopes- 7, taylor-1


BEC 3x9 rubber armored- adjusments no longer move reticle (lasted a handful of 7.62 rounds)


NC Star 4x BDC for AR15 Carry handle- canted reticle from 1st mounting (I may not have studied grad school level ballistics or have a PhD in physics, but I am pretty sure a BDC cam does not work quite right when the vertical crosshair is not vertical)


Leapers T168 6X- reticle knocked loose and turned counter clockwise


Leapers T168 6X- replacement scope under warranty, reticle canted from get go


two simmons model 51105 red dot scopes for "Shotgun, Rifle, and Handguns" that turn off when firing while mounted to a CAR15 (at least they work on my kid's .22s)


4x SKS top receiver mount that moves enough between shots to not hold a zero, (sure you have seen these- the movement is not the rings, it is the acutaly receiver top unit)




the winner

a Target Sports 10x42 that came with rings, flip ups, and has held zero and not broke after 60 rounds of 300 winmag.  (I got it to see if 10x fixed was cool for me, as a precursor to a SS)



in contrast I have used some other scopes,

a 2.5 Banner on a varimit rifle over 25 years old and working fine,

a 30$ bushnell 4x sportview for over 16 years,

and a redfield wideview that spent over 30 years on a 30.06 with no problems.


why did these less than premium scopes work so long and so well-

because they offered nothing but the bare bones minimum for the price,

and did it as well as you can for the price.


the trend of the others, with the one exception (So Far) on my .300 winmag that is still doing fine, was that they offered a buch of stuff-

illuminated reticle,

BDC cam,

mounts, rings,


many features,

etc. etc.

for a minimal price.


they do it all crappily,

thats why they were so cheap.


gas to the range, lost time mounting, wasted ammo zeroing, lost time redoing stuff,

postage for warranty replacement, all add up to this-

buy a good scope.


I have learned my lesson.




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/05/2006 at 00:53
cd100 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper

Joined: November/06/2005
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 28



The HK clone you mentioned is not a bad gun.I've had one for years.Hog Hunt every year at 75 yds to 200 yds in our delta.Buy some premium hunt'in ammo  and watch your groups tighten up.When I get a new gun I buy 4 or 5 different manufacturers ammo in the bullet weight I chosen,then go to the range see which groups tightest.I lucked out .Mine likes Corelokt Express better than Hornaday.Lot's cheaper!


  Recently took offf the Pentax 3x9x50 and mounted a Trijicon 2.5 reddot.Works great swamp hunt'in under thick canopy's in white oak /cedar forests.Canopy's so thick,you can't see the sky.



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