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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 16:51
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I have to wonder if we aren't a bit too hard on inexpensive scopes and optics.

I know that the under $100 aren't up to the same specs as the $1000 scopes, but are they really worse than not having a scope at all?

I used to have an old Bushnell, I think I paid $29 for it. It was a 4x32 and I used it on a paintball gun for years. I played at the semi-pro level, so this wasn't a scope that only got used once a month. It lasted for years and served me very well. That scope was banged, battered, kicked and dropped and always worked just fine. Countless times I used it as a makeshift telescope to see what 'that bump by the log' really was. I can't say it would stand up to recoil, but it held up to paintballs and beatings just fine.

I also had couple scopes of same cost that lived on pellet guns during my youth. I wore out several break-barrel crossmans with a little $15 Tasco. Heck, those pellet rifles put quite a few rabbits on the table.

For years my grandfather used a pair of 'Sears' (swift I made them I believe) binoculars to read the markings off of ships that came by his place at the beach, they always worked fine.

One of my favorite pair of binoculars is an under $200 pair of Olympus armored 7x50s. In the evening, they are more clear than any military Leupold scope ever was. (Of, course they have the advantage of lower power and larger objective, but you get my point)

I not not saying I would rather have a Tasco than a S&B. And in my short time here, I have done my share of  bashing cheaper tacticals for for poor knobs. But, I wonder if we aren't falling into just a wee bit of elitism is all.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 16:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 17:08
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Most of the optics I own are mid-range. Burris, Leo, B&L, Bushnell and Nikon. I also have Zeiss, Kahles and recently some Steiner optics.
I am not sure where you are going with this question. Do you think we are being hard on people asking questions or the optics themselves?
If it is the people asking the questions I think most of the opinions/advice given around here is pretty good. Most questions about low end optics are followed with "what is your budget". On plinkers most can get by with much less glass, yet we strive to steer them towards a decent glass in their price range.
If it is about the glass itself then I see no elitism around here. I see praise for glass in all price ranges with the better mid-range glass receiving the most. Naturally the high end Euro glass gets high praise and for good reason, it is generally excellent. I will never say anything positive about cheap Chinese glass that sucks, because it does.
That being said, my beater binoculars are made by Swift in Macau, of all places. They weren't very expensive and work.

Doug
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 17:14
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i dont have any scopes worth more than $250, cause for one i cannot afford more, now that i have been around this place i am willing to wait longer to buy a new scope and save extra money to get a better quality scope, cause in most cases the old saying "you get what you pay for" with optics is generally true to life.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 17:18
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no, I don't think "we" as forum members are being unfair or hard on cheap optics.  First, its an optics sight and people are seeking advice with various optical products so someone who only wants "junk" I doubt will be on this forum they would just go down buy the $49.99 special and call it good.

 

The other thing is "Cheap" is not always that cheap.  Meaning that if a scope cost $100.00 which in a retail store with mark up would be a pretty low end scope, the advice many people here give (myself included) is save for a bit more.  The first step in optics is the biggest of all.  People will see a huge difference in low end stuff and entry level good scopes and binoculars so in the end the "cheap" scope / binocular  is really not all that cheap, its actually a waste of money.

 

Just my 2 cents

 

happy shooting

AC

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 17:46
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I have a $25 BSA 4x scope on my .22 and on my mosin nagant 91/30 and I could not be happier with the clarity and performance. To be honest I think it was underpriced. I did have a Bushnell Trophy on the nagant and I HATED it (eye releif was waaaaay too touchy).

I put a centerpoint tactical on my FAL and the jury is still out on that one (plus I have not shot it much) so we will see how that cheapy goes.

There are GOOD scopes for cheap out there but it can really vary from model to model within a brand. So far though unless I am going to buy a SS, leupy, or IOR etc I am going with BSA on the cheap side.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 17:49
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HMMM, I'm gonna say it this way,  I won't settle for cheap stuff, If it's a bargain as in a Savage rifle, a SuperSniper, the new Milletts, I'm all for it, That's inexpensive, not cheap. I'm not gonna name the cheap stuff. All of this being said, if I am going to spend the money on a hunting trip, to get my chance at a trophy, or food on the table, the last thing I want is to have a cheap scope, cheap ammo, etc. I have more respect for my quarry than to risk a piss poor shot due to skimping on equipment. There are way too many other things that can happen I sure as hell don't want to risk it. This doesn't even touch on the necessity aspect of individual freedom and responsibility. We are tasked with the freedom of this Country, Hence the 2nd amendment, DO YOU WANT CHEAP IN THAT SCENARIO ???? I sure don't, and I don't want the man next to me who puts his life in my hands, as i put mine in his to be using inferior cheap crap. There are inexpensive good quality scopes that likely will hold up for harsher use than their intended design, Bushnell comes to mind, some older tascos, etc. I'm getting off the soap box now.    
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 17:52
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Cheap doesn't always mean it's a good value...And a good value isn't always cheap... the magic is to find the right balance for what one's budget can allow. Whether you're in the market for a $100 or a $1000 optic, it's always a good idea to verify  where your money would be best spent.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 18:08
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Again, I completely agree the high end scopes are much better. But, as I said I have made good use and gotten very workable results from quite a few under $100 range. The point had been made that it is not just about 'cheap' but good value for the dollar. What brands do you folks think are decent value for a dollar on the low end?

Chris carries BSA. I haven't used them, but I would be curious to know what people think. As I mentioned I have had really good luck with the low end Bushnells. Certainly, they aren't (insert favorite brand) but plenty of folks have used them for years to bring home game. So, I guess Bushnell would get my vote for decent low end scope. Other thoughts?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 18:19
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I have a friend with an older BSA, not bad just not good either, it has not fallen apart yet, so I guess that's something, but he can't hunt as long as those of us with Bushy's. even the cheaper bushys, I own a banner, but it's been a dang goodun. it's as clear as a 3200, but it's also an older model don't know about the newer model. I won't spend a dime on a simmons>>>>>period, My youngest brother owns some pre meade tascos that are pretty good. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 18:20
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im not impressed with bsa's variable high power scopes they get cloudy fast.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 18:37
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Ok...something to keep in mind is what it's for and what conditions.  Ok, short story but a lessoned learned.  I've had a couple different pairs of binoculars over the years my first OK good (not $39.99 junk) was a pair of Carson XM (never should have sold = great buy) then a pair of Weaver Grandslam 10.4x45 ($500.00) pretty good nocs in the sceme of things. Compared them to a friends Leica on a wonderful blue bird clear sunny day and I couldnt see hardly any difference. Ok, now fast forward hunting in miserable conditions lots of snow, mixed with rain (bad weather) the sun breaks and with the snow I get tons and tons of C A from my $500 pair of Weavers the Leica ..not a dam thing.

 

So moral of the story you can't always go to a store or out on a perfect day and go well that Simmons looks about as good as that Zeiss.  There is a reason for all the high prices top end stuff commands. BUT not everyone needs that but I will say it again entry good level optics still provide a the best bank for you buck. Going cheap (unless its so cheap that its lunch money) is a waste of money since some of these "cheaper scopes/binoculars" are not all that far behind good products in price.  Save a little bit more money and get a product that will serve you well.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 19:17
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For those of you who have had good luck with your BSA`s and Barska`s! Your luck can always change,,real fast!!! You get what you pay for! Some look at a scope as an expense! I prefer to call it an investment. An investment in my hunting and shooting enjoyment that will last a lifetime and perform flawlessly under ANY weather condition!...........BSA`s? Barskas?  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 19:22
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Tasco`s too!     
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 21:03
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For me, it always seems to come down to low-light performance, at least from the standpoint of a deer and elk hunter. Scopes all look great in the showroom, but at twilight you can always separate the good, the bad and the ugly. It usually breaks down quite predictably along purchase price lines, too, with a few exceptions. If you don't need low light performance, an el cheapo may work fine for your needs-at least for a while.

 I am a blue- collar slob with a family. My hunting opportunities are few and far between, and I consider them precious. Most precious of all are the last 20 minutes of shooting light when I've been in a treestand since a half an hour before sunup on a cold gray November day. Then is when I kill my biggest bucks. Then is when I'm REALLY glad I stretched my tight budget a little more than maybe I should have.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 21:22
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The most durable scope for ~$100 that I have is a Sightron S1 3-9x40.

Some other inexpensive (~$100 and under) scopes that I have had good luck with are:

Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40 (also rated for an airgun)
Pentax Gameseeker 6x40 and 1.75-5x20


I have had uniformly aweful luck with BSA, Leapersm, NcStar, and a few other chicom scopes.

Generally, I would recommend to spend at least ~$200 on a scope.  That gets you some pretty nice products, but if you have to get a cheaper piece, there are OK options out there.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 21:31
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Koshkin- how would you rate the low-light performance of the Sightron S1 3-9x40 you mentioned, as compared to some of the more commonly-encountered brands of similar magnification?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 21:35
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ANy specific scopes you are comparing it too?

If you are concerned about low light performance you should really be looking at more expensive scopes.

In this price range if it is reasonably clear and holds zero, you are already a step ahead of the competition.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 21:45
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 Oh, let's say a Vari-X II in a 3-9 x 40  just for comparison's sake.

 I'm just curious, never having used or even seen a Sightron , but hearing some pretty good things about them. I realize the S-1 is not in the high-rent district, of course.



Edited by RONK
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 22:07
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If you want to use Leupold for comparison, I think Sightron S1 is somewhat similar in terms of optics to Leupold VX-1.  Maybe a touch better,  but not as good as VX-II.  Not sure how it compares to the older Vari-X II, but I think Vari-X II is more or less the same as the current VX-1. 

Mechanically, Sightron S1 is pretty sturdy.  It is my "beater" scope.  I have used it on a number of different rifles as a "place holder" until I could  put something more expensive on, and it always held zero and adjustments were repeatable.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 22:16
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Well, that's surprisingly good for around 100 bucks. I have an older Vari-X II and it's not bad, but it cost a lot more than 100 bucks, twenty(?) years ago!

 As you mentioned, though,TRUE low-light performance is a whole different game.Thank you for the answers.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 23:04
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Here's my take on cheap scopes and this is the voice of experience, trust me!  I used to think that the Japanese made Tasco world class 3-9X40 scopes were the absolute best scope for the money...never had one fail and I owned several of them. The adjustments weren't always predictable, but they seemed to stay put once they were zeroed.  As time passed, I gained some experience with higher quality scopes, mainly by sighting them in for friends who had bought one.  I bought my first Vari-X II Leupold in 1987 at age 21....I thought it was alright, but honestly I didn't see that much difference between it and my $89 Japanese World class scopes especially while deer hunting.  I moved back to mostly buying Tasco WC scopes until one day my Chinese Tasco that was mounted on my .257 Roberts came loose inside.  Sure they replaced it, but my trust in the Chinese Tasco scopes was gone.  As some more time passed I started informal target shooting more and more and met some guys that only owned the nice mid line scopes...it opened my eyes and I slowly moved toward buying almost exclusively Leupold scopes.   A few more years passed and I started realizing that my Nikon scopes seemed just as clear and bright or better than most of my Leupold scopes, so I started really wondering how good Leupold scopes are....and NO I've never had one fail, but I started realizing that almost every Leupold scope I owned wasn't really clear edge to edge like even my Nikon Pro Staff was.  So, I started looking again and wound up with where I am today owning a Swarovski, 2 Kahles CLs, a few Leupolds, Nikons and a Zeiss...my take on it is this: Match the scope to the intended purpose and spend all you can afford. If you are thinking about buying another gun you really don't need consider upgrading in optics instead.  A strong argument can be made that the gun is no better than the scope that sits on it.  Always Consider the reticle before you buy because for hunting the reticle has a lot more to do with making a shot in low light than most people realize.  Watch the sample list because a really fantastic scope doesn't have to cost a lot more than what you are already considering spending.  For example, I recently bought two Kahles CL 3-9x42 scope in as new condition for $549 a piece. That's less than $100 more than a 3.5-10x40 Leupold VX-III and IMHO 10 times the scope.   I'm not brand loyal, I research and spend the money where I think I am getting the most scope for my $. 

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/25/2007 at 23:53
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I agree with Koshkin about the Sightrons very nice value. I also have a Simmons red dot that has held up for years. The battery doesn't last like Aimpoints, but it shoots just fine.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/26/2007 at 06:23
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ILya, Your an optics guru.

What would a moonlight resolution test tell you, about optics quality ?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/26/2007 at 11:37
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

The most durable scope for ~$100 that I have is a Sightron S1 3-9x40.

Some other inexpensive (~$100 and under) scopes that I have had good luck with are:

Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40 (also rated for an airgun)
Pentax Gameseeker 6x40 and 1.75-5x20


I have had uniformly aweful luck with BSA, Leapersm, NcStar, and a few other chicom scopes.

Generally, I would recommend to spend at least ~$200 on a scope.  That gets you some pretty nice products, but if you have to get a cheaper piece, there are OK options out there.

ILya


I have to say that I have taken his advice a couple of times even while I was still a lurker, and have never gone wrong.  I am a big Bushnell fan, but simmons are ok too.
It depends on what type of shooting you are doing.  For deer, when almost all shot are less than 150 yards, any decent 3-9x40 will do.

Just a word on NcStar.  I have seen a few guys up at the range where after a few shots it loses POI.  Sure it has a lifetime warranty, but you could spend a fortune in shipping before realizing that it's just the nature of the beast.

Just a thought, you might try eBay.  Try to find a $150 scopes in the shops, and see how well you can do if you are patient on eBay. A word of warning, read their feedback carefully.  Trusted seller's like SWFA tend to have better service.  Oh and always use your credit card through paypal, it is an added layer of protection.  And buy NOTHING that ships from China!
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