Review of Mueller Close-Quarters Scope
My own optics quest has taken me to low valleys and high mountains (not literally, but figuratively.) For many years I owned what many people would consider JUNK. Cheap Chinese made scopes like BSA, Leapers, NC Star, Barska, Kalinka and others that most people have never heard of before and will never hear of again. At the time, money and ignorance played a large part in my decisions. I figured one 6-24x56 scope was just like every other one, but the cost differences (and my budget) were enough to cause me to buy the least expensive ones. I was a casual shooter at best, and my eyesight was such that I really at first didn’t know if I could tell a difference in the higher-priced optics. Of course, most of the time spent at the range for me was spent plinking and shooting at targets 100 yards or less away.
One day, however, I had an optical epiphany. I got a great deal on a rifle, and it came with a top-of-the-line Leupold scope – this was a $850 scope! I couldn’t believe how much it cost (I technically got it for free, but that’s another story.) I don’t think in my 18 years of shooting (at that time) I had spent more than $400 total for ALL my many scopes combined. So I went to the range and let’s just say that day was an “eye-opening” experience. From that point on, I was determined to learn more about scopes, try many out, and try and match my needs with the best value optically. That didn’t mean I would automatically buy the most expensive all the time, but I did want quality and value for my money.
I have owned Leupold, Nikon (Monarch, Tactical), Weaver, Zeiss, Burris (Signature, Fullfield 2, Black Diamond), Springfield Armory 3rd Gen, IOR Valdada, Swarovski, and the gaggle of inexpensive ones as well. I have had great and not-so-great experiences with many of them. Some had optical clarity and resolution that were incredible, but for my applications their design, reticles, performance in other areas, etc. made them unsuitable for my purposes. Others had all the features I desired, but optically they weren’t up to par. I still own many of these (two Zeiss scopes, a Weaver, even some new ones I haven’t tried like a Fujinon and Swift.)
Enter into the fray a few short years ago a new company called Mueller www.muelleroptics.com Honestly when I first saw an advertisement for the company’s products I thought, “Oh, great, another no-name company that won’t be around for more than a year or two, trying to get into the market with an unproven product.” However, a funny thing happened. The longer I posted and researched on various internet message boards, the more and more positive things I heard about the company. I started to take notice. Here are some things I discovered about Mueller:
1. They are a small company based out of MI
These approaches have enabled them to offer scopes that are in the league of $300-$500 scopes, at less than half the price.
So, I decided after reading all the glowing reviews on many websites and even in a few respected shooting magazines, to bite the bullet and try one. I figured if I ended up with a crappy scope, I could at least turn around and put it on Ebay or something. I decided to order their least expensive scope, a 2-7x32 lighted reticle “Shotgun” scope called the Multi-shot. I was toying with an idea of having a low magnification scope on my AR-15 for general purpose and extended range 3-gun use. I had an IOR Valdada 1.1-4x26 lighted reticle already, but didn’t care for the weak dot, and it was expensive (and I really needed to sell it for some other projects). Well, I really liked the Mueller scope I got, and while it didn’t exactly serve my purposes for a 3-gun scope, it did end up on my 10-22 Pocket Rifle where it does a great job at the ranges I am shooting at with that gun.
I began to email Rich, the owner of Mueller, with some thoughts, ideas, and suggestions regarding some of his other scopes that eventually bought. I got a 8.5-25x scope for varmint shooting, and a 4-16x50 scope for “tactical” shooting, with an illuminated mildot. That was the scope that originally got me emailing Rich, as I thought that with a few modifications it would be “perfect”. Over the next few months an idea began to form in my head. I found myself thinking back to why I originally bought the Multi-shot scope. A 3-gun/CQB style optic, that had magnification, has always been a desire of mine. And unless I wanted to spend a LOT of money (U.S. Optics, IOR, Schmidt and Bender, Leupold) I would just have to make due with either my Eotech or Aimpoint, or bite the bullet and get a fixed 4x ACOG. But maybe there was another way. Now, when I say “3-gun/CQB style optic”, I’m not talking about one that can take the abuse of real combat. I realize the ACOG, S&B, Aimpoint, et.al. are designed for very rough use. However, to get a variable 1-4x scope that can also be used for close quarters shooting and with all the features I wanted, it would cost a pretty penny. Most AR-15 shooters do NOT need that type of optic. Many of us go to the range a few times a month (if we’re lucky!) and blast off a few mags at paper or reactive targets. The chances of us ever being in real combat are next to nil. And of course there are people who compete in 3-gun matches where they may engage targets from 25 yards up to 300 yards or more. These people, not the U.S. military, are the types of customers that Mueller is interested in.
And so, without further ado, I present to you Mueller’s answer to my dilemma, born of my desire (and the desire of others) have a fast-reaction tactical optic that can serve as a close-range red-dot optic, and also have the versatility of extra magnification for those long shots that might be required at 300+ yards. I was asked by Rich at Mueller to provide a detailed review of this prototype scope, and then pass it along to a couple of other members of ar15.com for their input as well. One of the reviewers is a police officer with the NYPD, and he will be letting some ta