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Optical Quality First

Printed From: OpticsTalk by SWFA, Inc.
Category: Scopes
Forum Name: Target
Forum Description: Paper punchin' scopes
URL: http://www.opticstalk.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=43379
Printed Date: December/15/2017 at 15:43


Topic: Optical Quality First
Posted By: sjs
Subject: Optical Quality First
Date Posted: September/23/2016 at 19:20

I see the same questions on all shooting forums, i.e., how do I get a $1,000 scope while spending only $300?  I will now repeat it again, perhaps worded differently.

I will only shoot benchrest at 100, 200 and 300 yards.  Informal matches with friends.  No sanctioning bodies and no rules on equipment.  Standard benchrest targets only. 

I want at least 12X power, and more is nice but not necessary.  Does not matter if it is fixed or variable, heavy or light.  Forget reticle for now and forget mechanical features.  I am shooing a .223 so recoil is not an issue.

 Given a power of at least 12X, the question is:

For about $600, what is the best optical quality I can buy?  I don't know all that goes into that other than clarity and resolution and light transmission.  Whatever goes into quality glass, what is the best scope glass in that price range?

If I am real close to good quality and only have to go up a few more dollars, please tell me.

Thanks.




Replies:
Posted By: Rancid Coolaid
Date Posted: September/23/2016 at 19:50
SuperSniper, I would do 10X rather than 12X, especially if top range will be 300 yards.  The mechanicals are repeatable, the glass is good, and the scope is a great bargain.  Beyond that, in my experience, you need to jump quite a bit to get similar glass and reliability.

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."


Posted By: dsr
Date Posted: September/23/2016 at 21:32
For benchrest at those ranges the higher the magnification the better.   If most of your targets are under 300 yards and you are not fighting severe mirage then you should not have a problem at magnification above 24 to 25.

Happy shooting.


Posted By: Rancid Coolaid
Date Posted: September/23/2016 at 21:48
Originally posted by dsr dsr wrote:

For benchrest at those ranges the higher the magnification the better.   If most of your targets are under 300 yards and you are not fighting severe mirage then you should not have a problem at magnification above 24 to 25.

Happy shooting.


I could not possibly disagree more.
I run some very high-end glass, and even a $3000+ scope can be tough to get behind at 20X. Additionally, 20X with a 50mm objective or smaller will not give you a bright image even on a sunny day. Add to all that 20X or greater is very mirage-prone, and any small movement will be really annoying in the image.

Were you shooting a mile, I'd say sure, > 20X; at max 300 yards, even from the stability of a bunch, no chance, way too restrictive in use.

Even my 20X optics seldom go beyond 15-18X, you just don't benefit from it inside 1,000 yards.

Lots of new shooters go for more mag and less glass quality, and that is always always always a mistake!

Opinions may vary, but I'd stay away from anything in a 20X range.

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."


Posted By: sjs
Date Posted: September/24/2016 at 07:33

Thank you for the advice gentlemen.  Glass quality is the priority for me and I am flying blind because I have never owned a very high power scope and not a truly high quality high power scope either.  My current scope is an old Bushnell Elite 3200 4-12X by 42mm.  My local stores do not have much selection and the farthest I can look through them in a store is about 20 feet.

The mirage issue raises another question I have.  I wonder what the terrain features have to do with mirage.

I live in SC and it is hot and humid often, but my rifle range is in the woods, with narrow lanes flanked by trees and grass ground cover.  I have only been here a year, and my highest power scope now only goes to 12X but I have not seen any mirage yet.

(I guess I just asked for a weather prediction and even the weatherman gets those wrong most of the time.)



Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: September/24/2016 at 13:15
If you want good optical quality at high magnification, the best sub $1k option is likely Sightron S3 6-24x50.

I suggest you look a little deeper into your wallet and see if you can scrounge up enough cash for one of these.

ILya

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http://www.opticsthoughts.com - www.opticsthoughts.com
http://www.opticsthoughts.com - opticsthoughts.smugmug.com
The greatest obstacle to discovery is the illusion of knowledge


Posted By: sjs
Date Posted: September/24/2016 at 13:54
Thanks, these comments are helpful.  Can you compare the optical quality of that Sightron III with the (roughly) comparable Leupold, VX3i and Bushnell Elite 6500?


Posted By: Grumpyoldguy
Date Posted: September/25/2016 at 08:23
I am definitely not a paid user or advertising person for Swfa. The store is 15 min from my house I exclusively shoot the Swfa product scopes on all my precision rifles. I shoot the straight 10x it is more than adequate for shooting out to 1000 yards and I do regularly. The variable power scopes are great, I shoot them also they are first focal plane and they all dial the box drill perfect every time. The higher magnification straight x scopes 12 and beyond are to much power and not enough glass quality. The 3x15 is great because I can call wind for my buddies with it the 5x20 is awesome and it's a HD glass along with the 3x9 hd, but for what you want the 10x is as far as I would go. For 300 yds in the 10x will rock and if your one of those hunters that wants to turn a scope to 20x to shoot a deer at 40yards it will be so powerful you will still be able to count the hairs on his neck. I have the 6x's on my hunting rifles just right power to make a 300 yard shot and low light morning or last 5 min of light in afternoon you won't lose the target. Oh I can dial out and shoot out to 1000 with a 6x if someone is calling wind for me, some days it's hard to read the mirage on a 6x. The cool boys with the cool toys I shoot with, all shoot tier1 German glass and I can play with them all day and not be under equipped. The Swfa stuff lacks some cool features like zero stops and such, but let me ask you this are you punching paper or slapping steel at three hundred in or are you going to Dirka Dirkastain to do great and wonderful things? Oh and I wouldn't swap my Swfa stuff for a nightforce, I can outfit all my rifles with something very useful instead of mortgage the house for one scope that I have to constantly swap on rifles and rezero and constantly making new dope cards for. If I moved up from these I would go to an Vortex razor, then IOR valdota, then to the holy grail of scope the S&B PMii, keep it simple, and good luck. Oh for a modest price the 3x9 hd ffp scope will kick any leupold in the nads all day.


Posted By: Urimaginaryfrnd
Date Posted: September/25/2016 at 15:50
This is a really pleasant scope to use and has the high quality HD glass so definitely one to consider.  Also one of the things I prefer about this model is the single screw center of the adjustment knobs.
there is a non - HD model but this is worth the added cost.  I did eventually trade mine for the 5-20x50 model, and I do run a fixed 6x   SS on one rifle a  fixed 16x SS on another so pick what appeals to you and remember that SWFA will take scopes in trade toward other scopes.
http://swfa.com/SWFA-SS-HD-10x42-Tactical-30mm-Riflescope-P50717.aspx">SWFA SS HD 10x42 Tactical 30mm Riflescope http://swfa.com/images/ss_illum_milquad_popup.jpg"> http://swfa.com/SWFA-SS-HD-10x42-Tactical-30mm-Riflescope-P50717.aspx - SWFA SS HD 10x42 Tactical 30mm Riflescope
Stock # - SSHD10X42MQ
  • Matte
  • Patented Mil-Quad Reticle
  • 30mm
  • Rear Focus
  • OK for .50 cal
  • .10 Mrad
  • HD Model
$799.95


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"Always do the right thing, just because it is the right thing to do".
Bobby Paul Doherty
Texas Ranger


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: September/25/2016 at 17:12

I put my SS10xHD on my CZ700 and it will probably never leave that rifle... unless the rifle fails... I suspect the 10xHD will outlast it...

It lived through Bigdaddy with no problems... (I think he tried to saw through it with a hacksaw and got tired... he did say the blade was dull)



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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: dsr
Date Posted: September/25/2016 at 21:58
Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:



Additionally, 20X with a 50mm objective or smaller will not give you a bright image even on a sunny day.

I rarely experience too dark to see the targets even at above 30 to 40 power.


Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:


Add to all that 20X or greater is very mirage-prone,..

At 100 to 200 yards mirage is not a problem for me. Unless you have something like pavement between you and the target.

Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:


and any small movement will be really annoying in the image.

Remember the shooter said he was shooting Bench Rest and if he has any preceivable movement he needs to work on his bench technique, his rests and his rifle riding in the bags. Also note higher magnification will show any weakness in his bench technique.

Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:


Were you shooting a mile, I'd say sure, > 20X;

Here is where I strongly disagree. For benchrest rest 100 to 200 yards I prefer the highest magnification I can get as distance stretch out magnification decreases because air, humidity, dust and
/or mirage degrade the image and high magnification highlights all the imperfections in the atmosphere. I shoot 30 to 50 power at closers ranges and about 18 to 25 power at a 1000 yards. But if you catch one of the days when the atmosphere is nice at distance and you can crank up the power -oh boy, you just hope everything else is right so you can try for some killer groups.

Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:


Even my 20X optics seldom go beyond 15-18X, you just don't benefit from it inside 1,000 yards.

It seems that we have different styles of shooting. See above for my reasons.

To the original post I would not be afraid to use a 20 power scope for the course of fire you stated. If you are close to your club range go and check out how the mirage is at your range and look at what other competitors are using.


Posted By: Sparky
Date Posted: September/27/2016 at 16:56
Or save $100 and get this one off the sample list.

http://www.samplelist.com/SWFA-SS-HD-10x42-Tactical-30mm-Riflescope-DEMO-A-P96842.aspx - http://www.samplelist.com/SWFA-SS-HD-10x42-Tactical-30mm-Riflescope-DEMO-A-P96842.aspx


Posted By: bigredhemi
Date Posted: November/12/2016 at 01:30
If I place a 3" Shoot-N-C target at 300 yards I can't even see it with a 12x. My minimum at 100 yards is 20x for precision shooting. I have a few 16x and lower that I demoted to my air rifles because I rarely shoot them past 50 yards, if that.

SJS - check out Bushnells new Trophy Xtreme 6-24x 50mm. Nice glass, 1/8" clicks, side focus, eye relief at full power is great and the clearity doesn't degrade. I bought 2 of them I liked them so much and I think there is still a rebate on them. I think they could have done better with the reticle but it's serviceable.

For 300 yard precision I need at least 32x, and the only good 32x budget scope I've found is the Mueller 8-32x 44mm, either the target dot or the mil. dot. The only mirage I ever encounter is from the barrel and I can work around that. I also own three 10-40x scopes.

Recently made some friends in England and they're telling me that for airgun and 100 meter std. vel. 22lr matches over there, 40x and even 50x are the go-to scopes.

Also - check out the Falcon Menace first focal plane scopes for something a little different.

The Weaver T36 (fixed 36x) seems to be a VERY popular scope, and they make them with the side focus now. I prefer adjustable scopes for their versatility.

Whatever you get, make it a side focus. Objective Parallax adjustments are a pain. Uck.

Scopes = Loco

Happy shopping!


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Pass The Ammo...


Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: November/12/2016 at 01:51
Originally posted by bigredhemi bigredhemi wrote:

If I place a 3" Shoot-N-C target at 300 yards I can't even see it with a 12x. My minimum at 100 yards is 20x for precision shooting. I have a few 16x and lower that I demoted to my air rifles because I rarely shoot them past 50 yards, if that.

SJS - check out Bushnells new Trophy Xtreme 6-24x 50mm. Nice glass, 1/8" clicks, side focus, eye relief at full power is great and the clearity doesn't degrade. I bought 2 of them I liked them so much and I think there is still a rebate on them. I think they could have done better with the reticle but it's serviceable.

For 300 yard precision I need at least 32x, and the only good 32x budget scope I've found is the Mueller 8-32x 44mm, either the target dot or the mil. dot. The only mirage I ever encounter is from the barrel and I can work around that. I also own three 10-40x scopes.

Recently made some friends in England and they're telling me that for airgun and 100 meter std. vel. 22lr matches over there, 40x and even 50x are the go-to scopes.

Also - check out the Falcon Menace first focal plane scopes for something a little different.

The Weaver T36 (fixed 36x) seems to be a VERY popular scope, and they make them with the side focus now. I prefer adjustable scopes for their versatility.

Whatever you get, make it a side focus. Objective Parallax adjustments are a pain. Uck.

Scopes = Loco

Happy shopping!

I think you need a better 12x if you can not see a 3" target at 300 yards with it.

I can see a 3" target at 300 yards with my 4x Elcan Spectre, or with a 6x SWFA SS or with a 3-9x42 SWFA SS, and the list goes on.

For rather specialized target shooting a high magnification scope is often a good idea, so there is definitely a place for 36x, etc scopes, but they usually go on pretty specialized rifles.  To a significant degree, those high magnification fixed power scopes exist largely because of the weight limitation that exist in benchrest competitions.  Outside of those benchrest events, their utility is very limited.

As far as the Trophy Extreme and Mueller scopes you mentioned go, I am decidedly not a fan, however, to each his own.  I would not spend money on either one, but that is just me.

I look at a lot of scopes every year and to me, target shooting options in the sun-$1k market start and end with Sightron S3 scopes.  

As a general rule, if you want very high magnification, you need pretty good optical quality.

As far as airgunners usign very high magnification scopes goes, the biggest reason for that is achieving tvery shallow depth of field.  They calibrate their side focus turrets, so that by focusing on the target, they can figure out the distance using the side-focus wheel.  That way, they can work out the holdover they need.  They are not using all that magnification because they are struggling to see the target.

Lastly, if you are interested in Falcon FFP scopes, your best bet is to get the same scope from Athlon.  That design has had some very well documented issues over the years and I suspect Athlon has better customer service.

ILya


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http://www.opticsthoughts.com - www.opticsthoughts.com
http://www.opticsthoughts.com - opticsthoughts.smugmug.com
The greatest obstacle to discovery is the illusion of knowledge


Posted By: RifleDude
Date Posted: November/12/2016 at 06:13
Guys, he said he only wants to shoot benchrest and do informal matches with friends. Have you gents ever been to a short range benchrest comp? The serious benchrest competitors spare no expense in their equipment, and there's a reason all of them use fixed power 36X - 45X scopes. All they care about is being able to see their groups. They are aiming at bullet holes and chasing a few .001" that separate first place and 10th place. Light isn't an issue. Optical clarity takes a decided back seat to raw magnification and mechanical integrity. The scope must first and foremost maintain rock solid zero.

Unless you create your own rules stipulating max scope magnification, you will get your azz handed to you showing up to a benchrest competition -- either formal or informal -- with a 10x or 12x scope against guys with true purpose-built benchrest rigs! Look at the equipment lists at benchrest matches. These guys aren't aiming at 3" plates; they're aiming at quadrants of bullet holes and trying to squeak out sub-.1s. These guys don't give a rat's azz about optical quality in an absolute sense; they only care about their scope maintaining rock solid POI and having good enough optical quality to enable them to aim at the edges of bullet holes if needed for wind. Variables are out because they weigh more and there are usually equipment weight limits they have to stay within, and everything but the highest magnification goes unused.

He's not gonna be banging steel here. You don't select the same scopes you'd pick for field tactical for aggregate group size games.

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Ted


Money can't buy happiness... but it's much more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.


Posted By: RifleDude
Date Posted: November/12/2016 at 07:20
To answer your question, even though you said you won't be shooting under the rules of any sanctioning body, you are still shooting benchrest, at benchrest targets. This tells me that you're shooting for either groups or X's, which means precision, which means unless your own rules you create stipulate magnification limits, higher magnification is better. You're probably shooting in good light and you don't need or want wide FOV. Even though you say you're competing informally, you are still well served to use gear that is well-suited to the purpose. You might decide later that you're having so much fun you want to jump into formal competition. In that case, you might as well start out with a scope that is designed for that purpose. A person participating in an informal baseball league isn't going to buy a set of golf clubs; you're still gonna get baseball gear.

You can get a decent benchrest scope within your $600 limit. Take a look at the Sightron SII 36X42 or the Weaver T 36X40. Or, if you want to step up in quality, you might find a used Leupold Competition Series for that or a little more coin. The ultimate BR scopes are the March Benchrest series, but they are very expensive. Get a fine crosshairs or crosshair with β…› MOA dot reticle.

In short range Benchrest, fixed power scopes are the way to go. Variables are predominant in LR Benchrest.

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Ted


Money can't buy happiness... but it's much more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.


Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: November/12/2016 at 09:45
Ted, here said he wants at least 12x and more is nice but not necessary, so I suggested a 6-24x50 Sightron S3 which covers what he is asking for and gives him more magnification if he needs it.

While not ideal for competitive benchrest, it is far more user friendly than any of the fixed power target scopes and has better optics too.

ILya

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http://www.opticsthoughts.com - www.opticsthoughts.com
http://www.opticsthoughts.com - opticsthoughts.smugmug.com
The greatest obstacle to discovery is the illusion of knowledge


Posted By: RifleDude
Date Posted: November/12/2016 at 10:18
True, the SIII does have better optics, but it is inferior overall as a dedicated benchrest scope and exceeds his $600 budget. Its best target reticle is a .25 MOA dot and it has ΒΌ MOA clicks with 12x less magnification. Ideal benchrest scopes start at 36x, have β…› MOA clicks, and finer is better in terms of reticle, with either ultra fine crosshair or β…› MOA dot crosshair. Again, in BR, you are firing "sighter" shots to gauge wind holds, then firing "record" shots which may entail holding on one edge of a bullet hole for wind correction. This requires a super thin reticle. These features trump optical quality in a benchrest scope, and if he ever decides to make the leap from informal to formal BR, he can still use the same scope, whereas he can't with the 6-24 SIII.

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Ted


Money can't buy happiness... but it's much more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.


Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: November/12/2016 at 11:03
These are reasonable points.  He said that if he needs to spend a little more money for better optical quality, he is willing to do so.  Honestly, I was not tryign to get him into formal benchrest.  I was trying to answer his question: 12x or more with the best possible glass within reach of $600.

This is a better option, but further removed from his $600 budget:

http://swfa.com/Sightron-8-32x56-SIII-30mm-Riflescope-P48420.aspx - http://swfa.com/Sightron-8-32x56-SIII-30mm-Riflescope-P48420.aspx


On a separate note, I've been testing this beast for a bit now:
http://swfa.com/Sightron-10-50x60-SV-34mm-Riflescope-P83674.aspx - http://swfa.com/Sightron-10-50x60-SV-34mm-Riflescope-P83674.aspx

This a serious step up in performane for Sightron.  It hangs with the March scopes and dual clutch side focus really makes a difference at high mag.  

ILya


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http://www.opticsthoughts.com - www.opticsthoughts.com
http://www.opticsthoughts.com - opticsthoughts.smugmug.com
The greatest obstacle to discovery is the illusion of knowledge


Posted By: bigredhemi
Date Posted: November/12/2016 at 18:38
Koshkin: I'm a little taken back by your response. In fact I'm offended. What do you know about the level of equipment I own or my experience level and knowledge about optics.

That said - SJS, head out to a 300 yard range and see if you can borrow several scopes of all magnification ranges, if possible from some friends, and place a 3" high vis target (there's a reason for the 3"size), and see what works best for you within your budget and purpose.


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Pass The Ammo...


Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: November/12/2016 at 19:07
Bigredhemi, offending you was certainly not my intent. I know absolutely nothing about your level of expertise or what you own beyond what you originally posted.


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http://www.opticsthoughts.com - www.opticsthoughts.com
http://www.opticsthoughts.com - opticsthoughts.smugmug.com
The greatest obstacle to discovery is the illusion of knowledge


Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: November/12/2016 at 21:16
That having been said, the visual acuity of a normal healthy human eye is right under 1 arc minute, i.e. 3 inch target at 300 yards should be right around the limit of what you can see with your eye under favorable conditions.

Unless the target is very dimply lit and has very low contrast, you should have no problem seeing it with a 12x scope.  If you can't something is wrong either with the scope or with the eye.

ILya


-------------
http://www.opticsthoughts.com - www.opticsthoughts.com
http://www.opticsthoughts.com - opticsthoughts.smugmug.com
The greatest obstacle to discovery is the illusion of knowledge


Posted By: bigredhemi
Date Posted: November/14/2016 at 00:49
Yeah - I'm with Ted here.

I guess I should have said I can't see a 3" target at 300 yards WELL ENOUGH for any type of precision shooting at 12x with desired results. I can ring a 12" plate with it a 12x, but that's apples to oranges. Implying that just being able to see that target at that range and precisely placing one shot next to another are one in the same is well... let me put it this way, I was pointing out how horridly inadequate 12x is for any type of precision shooting at even 100 yards. Your unwarranted implications aren't appreciated especially as a MODERATOR.

SJS - Go check some of the other forums where the precision shooters hang out and give some of the manufacturers a call and talk to them. Heck - there are even a lot of videos. Also check out AccurateShooter.com, 6mmbr.com, and Benchrest.com for some good useful info.


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Pass The Ammo...


Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: November/14/2016 at 02:13
Bigredhemi, here is the exact phrase you said: "If I place a 3" Shoot-N-C target at 300 yards I can't even see it with a 12x."

That is what I was addressing.  I am not a mind reader.  Unless you say what you mean, I havn't a foggiest idea what you really mean.  Interpreting that phrase as anything else is a bit of a stretch.

Now your latest pearl of wisdom: "let me put it this way, I was pointing out how horridly inadequate 12x is for any type of precision shooting at even 100 yards" is certifiable BS.  12x is inadequate for formal benchrest.  Calling it inadequate for all precision shooting is just flat out wrong.

Beyond that, I wasn't trying to set the guy up to win benchrest competition.  He asked for the best optical quality with a 12x or greater scope within reach of $600.  If he asked for how to set up for formal benchrest competitions, my recommendation would be different.

ILya


-------------
http://www.opticsthoughts.com - www.opticsthoughts.com
http://www.opticsthoughts.com - opticsthoughts.smugmug.com
The greatest obstacle to discovery is the illusion of knowledge


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: November/14/2016 at 09:49

ILya, maybe this will make it easier:



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Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living


Posted By: bigredhemi
Date Posted: November/14/2016 at 11:23
I needed a good laugh today. I don't have much time left on this good earth and wasting it on something this petty is... well a waste.

Is there a Moderator that moderates the Monitors?  Wink


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Pass The Ammo...


Posted By: 3_tens
Date Posted: November/14/2016 at 11:42
Dan has been riding in Sherman's way back machine again.    Super





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Folks ain't got a sense of humor no more. They don't laugh they just get sore.

Need to follow the rules. Just hard to determine which set of rules to follow
Now the rules have changed again.


Posted By: Kickboxer
Date Posted: November/14/2016 at 13:13
Originally posted by bigredhemi bigredhemi wrote:

I needed a good laugh today. I don't have much time left on this good earth and wasting it on something this petty is... well a waste.

Is there a Moderator that moderates the Monitors?  Wink

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?



-------------
Opinion,untempered by fact,is ignorance.

There are some who do not fear death... for they are more afraid of not really living



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