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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2007 at 14:27
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The scale below was formed by SWFA sales staff, customer service, pro-staff and owners using personal experience, customer input and facts supplied by the manufacturers.  The ranking system is based on the following criteria (in order of importance and weight).

 

1.  Optical Quality - How bright and clear the scope is.

2.  Specifications - Field of view, eye relief, weight, adjustment travel, etc.

3.  Durability - How do they with stand the test of time.

4.  Special Features & Options - Proprietary items (reticles, design, turrets), Zoom ratio.

5.  Warranty & Customer Service - How good are they.

6.  Value - Bang for your buck.

 

In order to maintain the scale's simplicity we are not listing every single manufacture and only major manufactures will have several of their brands listed.  This scale also does not have discontinued brands or products like the old U.S.A. made Redfields, Japan Tasco or Japan Simmons Aetec.

 

This scale will be kept current with changes that the manufacturers are making that affect their rank.  Many of the lower end companies have been bought and sold a lot recently and while the names have stayed the same......the product has not.

 

 

2007 Riflescope Rating Scale

 

10 - Swarovski Z6, Zeiss Victory

9 - Kahles C - CL & CSX, Schmidt & Bender

8 - Kahles KX, U.S. Optics, Swarovski PH & American, X.O.T.I.C.,  Zeiss Classic

7 - Leupold VX-7, Nightforce, IOR Valdada

6 - Bushnell Elite 4200, Nikon Monarch, Zeiss Conquest

5 - Leupold Mark 4 VX III & VX-L

4 - Burris Black Diamond Signature Select XTR & Euro Diamond, Meopta, Pentax Lightseeker, Sighton, Super Sniper, Trijicon, Weaver Grand Slam

3 - Bushnell Elite 3200, Leupold VX-II

2 -  Burris Fullfield II, Leupold Rifleman & VX-I, Millet, Mueller, Nikon Buckmaster, Simmons

1 - ATN, Barska, Leatherwood, Swift, Tasco

0 - BSA, Leapers, NcStar



Edited by Chris Farris
Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2007 at 15:42
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Looks like you have it nailed I would agree with all of them, it sure would be nice to see test like they do for camera lens with resolution etc.

 

Duce 

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2007 at 17:06
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I agree with most of your rankings, and where I have small disagreements, it is arguable since customer service can differ for different individuals. 

Two things that, I think, I would change are the following:

1) I would move Burris FF2 a step up.  To me it is clearly better than the rest of the scopes you put at 2 points.

2) Weaver Grand Slam scope line seems to have deteriorated substantially in the last year or two.  I do not know if the manufacturing facility has changed, but the glass on several recent Grand Slams I have seen is not the same as it was three years ago.  Besides, I think Weaver's customer service is subpar (at least when I call to ask a question).

ILya
Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2007 at 17:54
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Damn, it's been awhile since I checked in to the rating scale but I have a few major disagreements - for posterity.

 

1.  Nightforce should move up 2 steps at least.

2.  Conquest and Moonarch don't belong in the same category.

3.  No Leupold I have seen/used/owned belonged anywhere near a Nightforce, much less higher on a rating scale.

 

 

All this is, of course, subject to person experience and "soft measure" observation.

 

I am a huge fan of Nightforce and US Optics; that neither scope is available here is a disappoint - I am sure for Chris as well as me and others - but if we are to rate only the scopes available for sale here, that's cool; but don't mark down a great scope for its distribution channels - it is a disservice to those genuinely looking for the best scope in a particular application.

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2007 at 18:19
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Thanks for posting the scale, Chris.  I agree with Rancid that NF should move up, but I'd probably move it up one step if it were me.  I think it's noticeably better than the others in it's ranking, both optically and mechanically.  I found it to pretty much be on par with IOR, maybe slightly behind IOR in twilight performance, but ahead of it in other categories.  I also agree with Koshkin that the Weaver Grand Slam doesn't impress me as being as good as it was 5 years ago and the Burris Fullfield seems about equivalent to the Elite 3200.  Otherwise, everything else seems pretty reasonable, though I might reverse a couple of the 9 & 10 ranked models around when illuminated model scopes are considered.  But, we all value different features for different reasons, so there will always be a lot of subjectivity involved.

 

Not trying to nitpick, but the Kahles C series didn't make the list.  Would expect to see it up there in the 8 or 9 range.

 

Thanks again for putting together the scale!

 

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2007 at 18:45
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I'm no optic expert, but I have to disagree with 2 scopes in particular vs. the Leupold Mark 4, and VX III. The Bushnell Elite 4200 has a BRIGHTER sight picture than the 2 mentioned Lupy's. But, 1. it has less adjustment of moa in elevation and windage. 2. It has less reticle choices than either Lupy. 3. I believe the warranty is for 1 year replacement on the 4200, vs. lifetime for the Lupy's. Everything above pertains to the Nikon Monarch, except I don't see the sight picture any brighter with the Monarch. (The resolution might be better) And now Nikon has the forever warranty. As far as durability, someone has to explain to me why an Elite 4200 & Monarch are more durable than a Mark 4, or VX III.
Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2007 at 19:36
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Chris

 

You the man.

 

Thx

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2007 at 20:48
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Interesting.

 

IMO, Nightforce is better the Bushnell Elite 4200 and should be ranked above it.

 

Also, the Burris Black Diamond is better than the Weaver Grand Slam and at least as good as the Bushnell Elite 4200.

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2007 at 23:12
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And a straight-up 0 for BSA?  They make fine boat anchors and dog toys, that should be worth a .25 or something.

 

Not to beat the proverbial dead horse, but I own a 4200 and a few Conquest and like them allot, but neither begins to compete with my Nigthforce NXS.  The reticle is better, the adjustments are better, the glass is better ( though there is that turning ocular thing) and it warrants serious consideration for anything short of a full-on deployment weapon.

 

And for clarification, the 4200 has a 1-year "no questions" warranty in addition to a lifetime warranty - just in case someone thought the 1 year was all you get.  Now, having the warranty and honoring the warranty are very different.

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 06:07
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Originally posted by Blackbird Blackbird wrote:

I believe the warranty is for 1 year replacement on the 4200, vs. lifetime for the Lupy's.


The 4200 has a lifetime warranty just like leupold, the "no questions asked" one year warranty also offered with the 4200/3200 gives the owner the additional chance to return the 4200 in the first year and get their money refunded for any or no reason what so ever. I don't know of any such additional offer from leupold that compares to bushnell. I have actually used the no questions asked warranty on a 3200 elite and other than it taking about eight weeks to complete it worked exactly as stated.I wish all companies offered a one year "if you don't like the scope just send it back for a refund offer"............I would have sent the vari x lll that develped tracking issues back home instead of having it warranty repaired and then having to sell it to recoup my money.

Sorry....didn't see you already made that point RC.

 I will say that when this site rates or ranks scopes I tend to find it way more inline with my own personal experience than any other site. I'm sure Chris gets a much better look overall as to what brands are preforming to what level and the criteria is multi-fold so where a scope may test to one level with its optics it may preform below par in another area. I do agree meade is taking the grand slams down, and  I'm real anxious to see where the new monarchs fall in the ratings..........

     focus

   


Edited by Focus
Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 08:30
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One interesting thing worthy of note that this scale highlights is what a truly exceptional value the Swarovski and Kahles 1" tube scopes represent if you're in the market for a high end scope.  The fact that the Kahles and Swaro 1" scopes are ranked right in there with the "big 3" 30mm scopes and the fact that "Swarovski PH and American" was lumped together as one category on the list validates the observations of many of us that optically, they are in the same league as the best 30mm scopes.  Their only real shortcoming is the fact they have 3X zoom rather than 4X zoom of their 30mm cousins.  No, they aren't inexpensive in absolute terms, but when considering the scopes they compete with optically, they are a bargain!

 

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 08:57
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In my opinion, the T-bone scale is a far more accurate representation of the true scale.  When inside sales reps start ranking scopes, the scale becomes skewed due to bias from being paid higher commissions by certian manufacturers and to the push money and incentives given to them to sell certain brand scopes over another.
Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 09:11
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Originally posted by gman1332 gman1332 wrote:

In my opinion, the T-bone scale is a far more accurate representation of the true scale.  When inside sales reps start ranking scopes, the scale becomes skewed due to bias from being paid higher commissions by certian manufacturers and to the push money and incentives given to them to sell certain brand scopes over another.

 

gman, do you know this is true in this particular case?  A rather harsh accusation, don't you think?

 

Actually, this scale is reasonably close to the "T-bone" rankings, but different people's scales will likely be different, often dramatically so, since there's no way to do such rankings in an absolute, non-subjective way, especially when factors such as value, customer service, and product features are used.  No matter what scale anyone comes up with or what criteria one uses to base the scale on, some will disagree with it for one reason or another, even if the rankings were based on scientifically conducted testing of optical performance with instrumentation.



Edited by RifleDude
Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 11:53
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Ted,

 

My opinion doesn't constitute an accusation.  It's just an opinion.  I've been a manufacturer's sales rep in 5 industries over the last 20 years and the same sales strategies are used in those five and so since I'm batting a 1000, I can make the inference that it's the same in the optics industry (one industry was digital cameras, a very close industry).  I agree with your statement though.  No one scale is absolute.  There are too many variables used in the equation and so no-one will come up with the same answer.  Everyone is an expert and everyone has an opinion, which is a good thing. Otherwise, this world would be a very boring place to live in.

 

So to answer your question, take for example the Bushnell 4200, which in my opinion is the best scope for the money in the industry.  This scope is listed in both tables as a model of a particular manufacturer.  Since most manufactures have a good, better, best type of line-up  in order to appeal to different income levels and needs, this "model" of Bushnell is listed.  However, Simmons, Millett, Meopta, Sightron just to name a few are listed by manufacturer name only, not by model.  

 

Such as the case with Meopta, being ranked 7.5 as a model in the t-bone scale and then a 4 as a manufacturer in the newest ranking.  Apparently, when customer support and others get involved in the process, Meopta is discounted 3 full levels.  This doesn't make sense.  I'm not trying to pick apart the ranking but it needs to be one or the other, models within a particular manufacturer or just the manufacturer rankings. Leupold is another great case in point.  Most of their models are listed and cluttering up the newest ranking and yet they are not cluttering up the t-bone ranking since models are being compared.  As a consumer, I would rather see the models listed and make my choice from that instead of just a manufacturer ranking.   I will stick with the t-bone scale since models are listed and this for me consitutes a true ranking scale.  More apples are compared with apples in the t-bone scale.  These are my observations backing up my statement.

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 12:22
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Originally posted by gman1332 gman1332 wrote:

Ted,

 

My opinion doesn't constitute an accusation.  It's just an opinion.  I've been a manufacturer's sales rep in 5 industries over the last 20 years and the same sales strategies are used in those five and so since I'm batting a 1000, I can make the inference that it's the same in the optics industry (one industry was digital cameras, a very close industry). 

 

I totally understand and in general agree with what you're saying about the validity of opinions where potential sales are involved.  I've had 4 different sales jobs and I also deal with sales reps nearly every day in my current job.  My point is that you don't know that SWFA is intentionally skewing the rankings to their benefit, and since they are our hosts who provide this forum for us, that's perhaps not the most prudent thing to openly say.  I've bought several optics from them on site and have found their dealings to be nothing but honorable, and they've never tried to sway my decision of one optic vs. another.  They are also entitled to their opinions as well, and may place heavier emphasis on certain criteria that you or I wouldn't weigh as heavily.

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 13:47
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

I agree with most of your rankings, and where I have small disagreements, it is arguable since customer service can differ for different individuals. 

Two things that, I think, I would change are the following:

1) I would move Burris FF2 a step up.  To me it is clearly better than the rest of the scopes you put at 2 points.

2) Weaver Grand Slam scope line seems to have deteriorated substantially in the last year or two.  I do not know if the manufacturing facility has changed, but the glass on several recent Grand Slams I have seen is not the same as it was three years ago.  Besides, I think Weaver's customer service is subpar (at least when I call to ask a question).

ILya

 

1) They used to be prior to The Beretta Group acquisition.  The current Philippine made models are not the same quality.  The half scale was not too popular so the ones that were in the half range had to go up or down.  The current Fullfield II is not as good as a 3200 and its not as bad as a Millet but it fits closer with the Rifleman and Buckmaster.  As we run into things like this we may consider bringing back the half scale.

 

2) Meade's acquisition of Weaver, Redfield and Simmons is responsible for what you have noticed.  I agree completely with you on their decline and bad customer service.  The scale has been adjusted.

 

 

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 14:03
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

Damn, it's been awhile since I checked in to the rating scale but I have a few major disagreements - for posterity.

 

1.  Nightforce should move up 2 steps at least.

2.  Conquest and Moonarch don't belong in the same category.

3.  No Leupold I have seen/used/owned belonged anywhere near a Nightforce, much less higher on a rating scale.

 

 

All this is, of course, subject to person experience and "soft measure" observation.

 

I am a huge fan of Nightforce and US Optics; that neither scope is available here is a disappoint - I am sure for Chris as well as me and others - but if we are to rate only the scopes available for sale here, that's cool; but don't mark down a great scope for its distribution channels - it is a disservice to those genuinely looking for the best scope in a particular application.

 

1. I agree NF should move up, but not to the Kahles / Swarovski level.  I moved them up one level.

2. This is the new 4x erector Monarch, totally different scope than the one it replaced.  They may end up above Conquest in a year or so.

3. Have you seen the VX-7 and compared it with a NF?

 

As you noted yourself, you are a huge NF fan and rooting for the home team....so to speak.  They have a fine scope, their line is not very deep, the illumination is not as good as their competition and their custom service is notorious for not be easy to work with.

 

We are not just rating scopes that we sell and definately not downgrading any that we don't sell.  This healthy discussion is precisely why I started this thread.  Thanks for the input Koshkin and R.C.

 

I added USO too.

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 14:18
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Just trying to help.

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 14:27
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Originally posted by Chris Farris Chris Farris wrote:

Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

I agree with most of your rankings, and where I have small disagreements, it is arguable since customer service can differ for different individuals. 

Two things that, I think, I would change are the following:

1) I would move Burris FF2 a step up.  To me it is clearly better than the rest of the scopes you put at 2 points.

2) Weaver Grand Slam scope line seems to have deteriorated substantially in the last year or two.  I do not know if the manufacturing facility has changed, but the glass on several recent Grand Slams I have seen is not the same as it was three years ago.  Besides, I think Weaver's customer service is subpar (at least when I call to ask a question).

ILya

 

1) They used to be prior to The Beretta Group acquisition.  The current Philippine made models are not the same quality.  The half scale was not too popular so the ones that were in the half range had to go up or down.  The current Fullfield II is not as good as a 3200 and its not as bad as a Millet but it fits closer with the Rifleman and Buckmaster.  As we run into things like this we may consider bringing back the half scale.

 

2) Meade's acquisition of Weaver, Redfield and Simmons is responsible for what you have noticed.  I agree completely with you on their decline and bad customer service.  The scale has been adjusted.

 

 



That is interesting about FF2.  I have seen several scopes made very soon after the move to Phillipines, and they seemed to be at about the same quality level as Colorado made ones, but the quality may very well have gone downhill since then.

The Grand Slam has been a disappointment to me lately, since the new production scopes seem to be very bright, but less clear, resulting in bright, but washed out images.  While I think you have the Grand Slam in the right spot for now, if these problems persist it may have to move down another step.

Another comment on Nightforce et al: of the three scopes you have there (VX-7, Nightforce, and IOR), I have little experience with VX-7, but quite a bit of hands on time with IOR and Nightforce.  Between those two, optically IOR is better (measurable advantage in resolution).  Mechanically, both are very good, although IOR is still hampered by some past problems which I think are a thing of the past. Same for the customer service: IOR customer service has improved vastly.  I've had a fair amount of interaction with Val and Scott and they have been very helpful.  I have had less interaction with Nightforce customer service, but I do not have any complaints about it.

One thing that I do see though is that IOR is very open to change and to new products, and they seem willing and able to listen to the market place when designing new products.  In the future, I fully expect IOR to move up the foodchain (which they are already doing with their tactical scopes).

Nightforce, I think, has a nice niche with competition shooters, but I do not know if it will be easy for them to become a major player in other markets.

Both IOR and Nightforce need to redesign their reticle illumination.

VX-7 I have only seen briefly, so time will tell, but from what I have seen, it is a very good scope that is priced too high.  It would be very competitive if it was priced about 30% lower.  As it is I do not expect to buy one until Leupold realizes that they messed up and we start getting various "one time 40% off deals" and such.  Also, 34mm tube in a hunting scope is a mistake, I think.  They should have come out with 30mm hunting sopes and 34mm tactical scopes.  Time will tell, of course.

ILya
Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 14:30
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Thanks for posting the scale, Chris.  I agree with Rancid that NF should move up, but I'd probably move it up one step if it were me.  ................ I also agree with Koshkin that the Weaver Grand Slam doesn't impress me as being as good as it was 5 years ago and the Burris Fullfield seems about equivalent to the Elite 3200. ........................

 

Not trying to nitpick, but the Kahles C series didn't make the list.  Would expect to see it up there in the 8 or 9 range.

 

Thanks again for putting together the scale!

 

 

Moved Up NF one, Weaver Grand Slam down one, left FFII alone for now.

 

The Kahles C is the same as the CS, CL, CSX, KX and CBX optically.  The CL and KX are their flagship models and why they are listed.  It goes back to not wanting to dilute the scale with too many makes and models.  I'll include the C and CSX along side the CL.  The CSX is very innovative and has the best illumination system hands down, so it deserves to be up there too.

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 14:49
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Originally posted by Blackbird Blackbird wrote:

I'm no optic expert, but I have to disagree with 2 scopes in particular vs. the Leupold Mark 4, and VX III. The Bushnell Elite 4200 has a BRIGHTER sight picture than the 2 mentioned Lupy's. But, 1. it has less adjustment of moa in elevation and windage. 2. It has less reticle choices than either Lupy. 3. I believe the warranty is for 1 year replacement on the 4200, vs. lifetime for the Lupy's. Everything above pertains to the Nikon Monarch, except I don't see the sight picture any brighter with the Monarch. (The resolution might be better) And now Nikon has the forever warranty. As far as durability, someone has to explain to me why an Elite 4200 & Monarch are more durable than a Mark 4, or VX III.

 

I don't really know how to reply to your inquires because I don't completely follow what you are saying.  Are you disputing that the 4200 is brighter or agreeing?  The 4200 is easily brighter and shaper than the Leupold.  It is the fact that Leupold has so many options that got the Mark 4 and VX-III to the level they are on the list as well as their industry setting customer service. The Monarch listed on the scale is the new Monarch.



Edited by Chris Farris
Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 15:53
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Originally posted by Focus Focus wrote:

...................... I will say that when this site rates or ranks scopes I tend to find it way more inline with my own personal experience than any other site. 


     focus

 

Most people do and its because we don't pull any punches and don't have a hidden agenda......we call a spade a spade.

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 15:56
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

One interesting thing worthy of note that this scale highlights is what a truly exceptional value the Swarovski and Kahles 1" tube scopes represent if you're in the market for a high end scope.  The fact that the Kahles and Swaro 1" scopes are ranked right in there with the "big 3" 30mm scopes and the fact that "Swarovski PH and American" was lumped together as one category on the list validates the observations of many of us that optically, they are in the same league as the best 30mm scopes.  Their only real shortcoming is the fact they have 3X zoom rather than 4X zoom of their 30mm cousins.  No, they aren't inexpensive in absolute terms, but when considering the scopes they compete with optically, they are a bargain!

 

 

The 1" Swarovski and 30mm PH use the exact same glass and coatings, the 1" are assembled here which is less expensive and there is no duty (18-20%) because only parts are imported.....this is why they are such a value FYI.  Same for the Kahles.

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 16:28
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Originally posted by gman1332 gman1332 wrote:

In my opinion, the T-bone scale is a far more accurate representation of the true scale.  When inside sales reps start ranking scopes, the scale becomes skewed due to bias from being paid higher commissions by certian manufacturers and to the push money and incentives given to them to sell certain brand scopes over another.

 

Here is the T-Bone scale that he created:

10 - Zeiss VM/V, Swarovski PH, Schmidt & Bender

    9  - Swarovski PH, Schmidt & Bender

    8  - Swarovski A-Line

    7  - Zeiss Conquest, Kahles

    6  - Leupold VX III

    5  -Leupold Vari-X III

    4  -

    3  -

    2  -

    1  - BSA

 

 

I took his idea and turned it into this on my own back in 2005:

tbone rating scale 

 

   10 - Zeiss VM/V, Swarovski PH, Schmidt & Bender

    9  - Swarovski PH, Swarovski A-Line, Schmidt & Bender

    8  - Swarovski A-Line, Kahles, IOR

    7  - Zeiss Conquest, Kahles, Elite 4200, IOR

    6  - Leupold VX III, Weaver Grand Slam, Nikon Monarch, Bushnell Elite 4200, Burris Euro & Black Diamond

    5  - Leupold Vari-X III, Weaver Grand Slam, Nikon Monarch, Burris Signature Select

    4  - Burris Fullfield II, Bushnell Elite 3200, Simmons AETEC, Leupold VX-II, Nikon Buckmaster

    3  - Simmons, Redfield, Rifleman, Leupold VX-I, Nikon Buckmaster

    2  - Simmons, BSA, Tasco

    1  - BSA, Tasco

 

The evolution of the t-bone scale was done exclusively by our sales staff, owners, customer service and senior OT members and here it is.

 

2007 T-Bone Riflescope Optical Rating Scale

 

10 - Swarovski Z6, Zeiss Victory

9.5 - Kahles CL MultiZero

9 - Schmidt & Bender, Swarovski PH & American, Zeiss Classic

8.5 - X.O.T.I.C.

8 - Kahles KX

7.5 - Zeiss Conquest

7 - Leupold VX-7, IOR Valdada

6.5 - Bushnell Elite 4200, Nightforce, Nikon Monarch

6 - Leupold Mark 4 VX III & VX-L, Weaver Grand Slam

5.5 - Burris Black Diamond XTR & Euro

5 - Burris Signature Select, Meopta, Pentax Lightseeker, Super Sniper, Trijicon

4.5 - Sightron

4 - Bushnell Elite 3200, Leupold VX-II, Simmons Aetec (pre-Meade)

3.5 - Nikon Buckmaster

3 -  Burris Fullfield II, Leupold Rifleman & VX-I, Millet, Mueller, Redfield USA

2.5 - Leatherwood, Simmons, Swift

2 - ATN, Tasco

1.5 - Barska, Leapers

1 - BSA, NcStar

 

So it's kind of amusing when you say, "In my opinion, the T-bone scale is a far more accurate representation of the true scale."

 

You're other comments are not even worthy of a response.  You obviously don't know much about me or my company Mr. Lindsay.  You are new here and started off with zero credibility and in my book you now have negative credibility.

Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/08/2007 at 16:36
SAKO75 View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice


Joined: February/29/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 246
chris

i called swarovski in rhode island today and they told me thay even though they own kahles, they are the "2nd-tier" line. they also told me that getting kahles to service something in a timely manner was hard to do because they dont work on any kahles stuff in the USA. it all has to go back to austria. her quote was that it could take "months" for a repair. that really dissuaded me from kahles especially coming from their sister company. have you heard different regarding kahels????
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