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Scope Upgrade for an AR?
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Location: Hamiltucky, OH
Rifle: DPMS Lo-Pro, 16" Bull Barrel Cartridge: .223 (5.56). Favors 62 grain & 64 grain bullets
Quarry: Pocket Gophers, Cats, Crows, Ground Hogs, Hogs (possibly), and Paper
Range: 25 feet to 300-ish yards
Current Scope: Nikon ProStaff 3-9x40
The rifle is a real shooter. The ProStaff is certainly serviceable, but I'm thinking of upgrading.
Other Scopes I own, & my opinions of them:
Nikon ProStaff 4x32 Rimfire - on a .22lr. Outstanding scope for this rifle
Browning 3-9x40 - on a .243. Not nearly as impressed with it as I thought I'd be, but the price was right. It's on a rifle I rarely shoot, but can't ever sell.
Vortex Viper 2-7x33 - on a .30-'06 Mountain Rifle. Wonderful Scope, outlandish value. Optically, it treads on the heels of the Zeiss's. The size is perfect for the rifle it adorns.
Pentax Lightseeker 2.5x20 SG Plus -on an 870 Slug Barrel. Seems like an excellent fit for the purpose, but it had to be sent back for repair. Though it's now a "fixed fixed", I'm not super confident in it. Very clear though, & I like the DeepWoods Plex for the slug gun.
Nikon Monarch 6x40 - on a 7x57 featherweight. Not as impressed with it as I'd expected: critical eye positioning (though I do need different rings...), not very bright compared to others in the stable, and the adjustments haven't been at the ¼" advertised, nor have they proven to be repeatable. Also, the NikoPlex seems pretty tiny.
Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40 - on a .30-'06. As good, optically, as my eyes can discern, and remakably tough. The scope that turned me into a Zeiss Whore.
Zeiss Conquest 4x32 - on a 7x57 Mountain Rifle and a .35 Whelen. My favorite scopes of all. Clear, bright, tough, simple, fast-handling, and elegant. 4x is perfect for the close shots, and it's also an excellent match for the ballistics of these 2 cartridges. If I weren't looking specifically for a varmint scope, I'd have already bought another one of these.
Magnification: I'm thinking of a variable, and of stepping up to the 12x-14x level on the top end. I'm thinking this could help get the most out of the .223's capabilties.. I know that glass quality trumps magnification every time, but those critters can look awfully puny at 300+ yards.
Reticle: is ranging necessary, desireable, worthless, etc? BDC, DeadHold, yadda yadda yadda. Tell me what I need to know. Given that I'm trying to hit tiny critters (in some cases), I'm thinking I don't want the wires to be too fat.
Turrets: Do I want the kind I have to play with, or is that a waste given the quarry I'm chasing? I've never had turrets like this before, & I can't say that I'm dying to try them. Still, if they'll make life easier for this application, then tell me all about 'em!
Size: I'm using Extra High rings right now, so objective size is not an issue. I'm not looking to go to a 50mm lens just for the sake of doing so, but I'd consider it if it offered any genuine benefit/improvement. Also, weight's not an enormous concern, since it's a pretty heavy rifle to begin with. It's not really fun to tote around, as it's really muzzle-heavy. Still, I saw some scopes today that looked nearly as long as a baseball bat, and I have no interest in that sort of thing.
AO: I've never used one, so maybe I don't know what I'm missing. My understanding is that they're generally not required below 10X or so. However, given that some of the gophers stand up pretty close by, maybe an AO's not a bad idea. Any thoughts from the experienced in the peanut gallery?
I gave a list of my scopes above to show the range of products that I've actually seen fit to spend my money on. The scopes I like best are the ones I think have the best value: Viper & Conquest. I know that companies now make a scope to take as much money from our pockets as each of us is willing to spend. While some may want a $2500+ scope, I'm not among them. I also realize that [Insert name of Cheap-a$$ Chinese Scope Here] has an 8-32X60 scope with all the bells & whistles, for only $50. I'll pass on those, thanks.
For what it's worth, I've been intrigued by the Burris FFII scopes I've looked through (though they were 3-9 and not the 4.5-14): they seemed exceptionally bright for their price point. How would those compare more to Vortex's Diamondback, or the Viper series? I did rather like the view through the Bushnell 4200's, too, but they seemed a bit too big for my tastes, even in a 3-9x40. I've had some passing interest in Leupold products, but never at the prevailing prices.
So, knowing my optical predilictions, and the purpose for this rifle, are there any varmint scopes that you'd recommend?
Personally, I would go for an IOR 4x tactical from the sample list, based upon your stated requirements. You said you like the 4x. The IOR has excellent glass, probably better than the Conquest and it is BDCed for .223. If I had an AR-type rifle, that is the scope it would most likely wear for all-purpose shooting.
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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