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So What Is It That More Money Buys

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2006 at 14:36
macky View Drop Down
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I did a search at www.riflescopes.com on 3-9x40.  I then sorted by price.  On the bottom end you'll find the "Tasco 3-9x40 Pronghorn Riflescope" @ $33.95.  On the top end you'll find "Zeis 3-9x40 Conquest" @ $549.49.  And in between are about 12 pages of other scopes.  That's a pretty big spread and allot in between.

 

What exactly does more money buy you when you buy a scope?  What are the price points where you start to get into any sort of quality?  I'd really like to know ... and why not use the 3-9x40 scope as an example ... what do you get in a scope below $100, $100-$200,  $200-$300, $300-$400, $400-$500, above $500. 

 

It would be great if any feedback is specific enough that it could almost serve as a "buyers guide" for people that are new to the world of optics and are looking for a balance between "how much they have to spend" and "what trade-offs can be made" when selecting a scope.

 

Also, any hints about whats "an important feature/quality" and whats a "nice-to-have but not "got-to-have"

 

Thanks 



Edited by macky
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2006 at 16:33
catusbill View Drop Down
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I will start by saying: What is the intended use? And what type of rifle and reticles are a consideration after you start using the scope. I personally would pick a $300.00 fixed power on a center fire rifle for 250 yards or less. So with that give us a caliber and range you plan to shoot.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2006 at 17:39
silver View Drop Down
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Fair question, the short answer is quality.  Sometimes it is also what you don't get. If you have ever had a lady ask you for a date at the truck stop you may understand the last statement better...

 

The low end stuff is like looking through scratched up plexiglass. The higher end stuff is like watching HDtv; you can see it better than if you were there in person with the naked eye. You can look through it for hours and never feel tired. It is sharp at every place in the scope. Often there is a certain "pop" (Extra Definition) to the images   The adjustments are sharp and smooth at the same time and stay in the same place.    The low end often has a mushy feel to any adjustment. Or the adjustments may feel like they stick or not feel even.

 

There is a wide middle ground.  Some have little eye relief.  Others may not have the fine adjustment. Most have good, but not great glass.   A scope may look good at a lower power, but as you turn up the power things seem to get grayer and not as sharp a focus. 

 

Coatings are often the biggest part of it.  The better coatings cost more, so does getting them applied properly.  These control the spectrum of light in addition to the lens.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2006 at 18:25
cheaptrick View Drop Down
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Originally posted by silver silver wrote:

 If you have ever had a lady ask you for a date at the truck stop you may understand the last statement better...

 

You my friend, have a way with words!!!

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2006 at 21:43
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Optical Glass is a visual thing hold them up and look at them and see what you like. For many people it is a matter of what they can afford. For others it is a matter of the reputation of a manufacturer for service after the sale. How serious are you about the success of your hunting trips - are you hunting for meat or trophy animals. A lot depends on how much recoil your firearm has - if it kicks hard you want something that will hold up the more expensive scopes are tougher and more reliable as far as holding zero. Here is a rule of thumb if it's not  close to $200 (or more) you don't want it unless you really cant afford to spend more. That said by the time you get to $300+ you are into a  reliable scope built by a manufacturer that will be able to afford to provide service after the sale and this is where you should start if you have a heavy caliber or hunt for trophys. When you hit the $400+ range you have gotten to each manufacturers better grade of scopes with better glass and added features not found on their least expensive model. When you get to $500+ it better be absolutely fantastic or nobody will buy it.

Important considerations are the design of the reticle - does it provide any holdover points like a Burris balistic plex or Leupold varmit or Boone and Crocket Reticle.  Type of knobs - can you adjust the windage and elevation by hand to dial in correction like a Nikon Monarch or like a tactical scope.  Is the tube 1inch or 30mm the larget 30mm tubes have more MOA internal adjustment. How does it focus, is it adjustable is the adjustment in a convenient location.  Does the brand have a reputation for holding its zero under abuse like weaver grand slam. Does the finish match your firearm.  Peer pressure of your hunting buddies can be a factor If they all use brand X do you want to be the only one with brand Y unless it's clearly better. Is the reticle Illuminated.

I like this one:

LEU60045 Leupold 3-9x36 Mark 4 MR/T 30mm Riflescope Leupold 3-9x36 Mark 4 MR/T 30mm Riflescope
  • Matte
  • Illuminated Tactical Milling Reticle
  • 30mm
  • M1 Target Knobs
SWFA: $1,069.95
More Info... Buy Now

But for a hunting gun I could work with any of these and trust it.

800473 Weaver 3-10x40 Grand Slam Rifle Scope Weaver 3-10x40 Grand Slam Rifle Scope
  • Matte
  • Dual-X
  • 1"
SWFA: $319.95
6525 Nikon 3-9x40 Monarch UCC Riflescope Nikon 3-9x40 Monarch UCC Riflescope
  • Matte
  • Nikoplex
  • 1"
SWFA: $319.95
200168 Burris 3-9x40 Fullfield II Rifle Scope Burris 3-9x40 Fullfield II Rifle Scope
  • Matte
  • LRS Ballistic Plex
  • 1"
  • Hunter Knobs

LEU61275 New Leupold 3-9x40 VX-II Riflescope New Leupold 3-9x40 VX-II Riflescope
  • Matte
  • Long Range Duplex
  • 1"
  • Multi-Coat 4 Lens System
SWFA: $329.95

SWFA: $318.95

 



"Always do the right thing, just because it is the right thing to do".
Bobby Paul Doherty
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2006 at 03:27
cheaptrick View Drop Down
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I think the Zeiss Conquest has filled a unique role in optics.

You can get a great scope, with super glass, and backed by a major manufacturer.

 

You would have to spend twice the money to better it.

Yeah, they need to put a 30mm tube on it and give it some more elevation, but it's got enough for a hunting rig the way it is.

 

Even koshkin's beloved Sig. Select, Leupold's VXIII, Nikon Monarch and others have put some very nice optics out there the last few years.

It's a buyers market right now.

 

I'm not sure if overall glass quality is better, or if it's just that technology has been cranking out some great coatings, but scopes seem to me to be getting better.

 

Remember your first scope?? I do.

Now days a Nikon BM would seem like a S&B PMII compared to my 'ol Redfield back in the day.    

 

I have already went through the "I must have top shelf scopes" phase of my life.

I'm looking now for quality at a decent price. IMHO, it's never been better for us shooters than it is right now.

Good thread, macky.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2006 at 03:51
macky View Drop Down
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This helps me get into the ball park ..

  • close to $200 (or more) you don't want it unless you really cant afford to spend more. 
  • $300+ you are into a  reliable scope built by a manufacturer that will be able to afford to provide service after the sale and this is where you should start if you have a heavy caliber or hunt for trophys.
  • $400+ range you have gotten to each manufacturers better grade of scopes with better glass and added features not found on their least expensive model.
  • $500+ it better be absolutely fantastic or nobody will buy it.

And this adds another layer  ...

 

Important considerations:

  • design of the reticle - does it provide any holdover points like a Burris balistic plex or Leupold varmit or Boone and Crocket Reticle.
  • knobs - can you adjust the windage and elevation by hand to dial in correction like a Nikon Monarch or like a tactical scope.  
  • tube 1inch or 30mm the larget 30mm tubes have more MOA internal adjustment.
  • How does it focus, is it adjustable is the adjustment in a convenient location. 
  • Does the brand have a reputation for holding its zero under abuse like weaver grand slam.
  • Does the finish match your firearm. 
  • Peer pressure of your hunting buddies (or opticstalk.com  ) can be a factor If they all use brand X do you want to be the only one with brand Y unless it's clearly better.
  • Is the reticle Illuminated.

So it pretty much sounds like a starting point is $200 or more (for anything decent ["reasonable decent glass, will take some abuse, won't fall apart, and an acceptable warranty"] )  and from there you need to figure out what "you really need" and "what you just want" .... "and what's important enough to you to pay for" .....

 

 

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2006 at 08:08
mwyates View Drop Down
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I'd have to say that "good" scopes start at the $200 point, not decent.  There are some decent, very serviceable scopes below that point that will do 95% of what the high dollar scopes will.  You might have to zero them more often, and they don't look as good, inside or out, but they work fine.  Example:  My cousin shoots a 35 year old Remington Woodmaster 30-06 with an Equally old Bushnell in high, see through mounts.  You better not get in a shooting contest with him
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2006 at 08:44
Stud Duck View Drop Down
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Quality control is another thing "more money" buys. When you're looking at a $100-$200 scope one may be great (and I use that term loosely) and another may be crap....that's what happens when you're buying on the lower end of the scale.

Edited by Stud Duck
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