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What general-purpose scopes are 'tough?'

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/04/2013 at 20:37
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I'm considering a new general-purpose riflescope.  It'll be mounted on a bolt gun, most likely (a Browning BLR is a small possibility).  No matter what it goes on, recoil will be 30-06 level or less.  General-purpose means it'll be a big-game hunting, plinking, varminting, and match rifle (we have hunting rifle matches around here, as well as other matches I think are fun).  The probability is that most shots fired will be during broad daylight, but sometimes spotlighting in the middle of the night (where legal, of course).

Because of the general-purpose nature of the rifle, I don't want exposed turrets unless they're locking (Weaver's design on their Super Slam or Tactical lines is an example of something that I would accept), but they need to be finger-adjustable.

The reason(s) I'm asking for something 'tough' is that, for better or worse, general-purpose rifles for me get thrown in the truck and bounced around, accidentally dropped or bashed into things, taken on a m/c or atv over _rough_ terrain, and the like.  I haven't let one get submerged, but... :)  So, I'm looking for 'tough:' Durable, dependable, reliable, trustworthy; like my Rugers.

Something in the $300 - 500 range (using SWFA selling prices as the definition, not list/MSRP) is all I'm going to spend on this one.  Thanks for your thoughts on this.

IF HUNTING SCOPES ARE 'ALL THE SAME' IN THIS REGARD, I'M OPEN TO HEARING THAT, TOO.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/04/2013 at 20:55
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Let me add some info.  I'm not really looking for a specific scope recommendation.  I'm thinking more about brands in general, or lines within a brand.

Some scope lines/brands I've gravitated toward in the past:

Leupold VX-II and up, for the long eye relief and excellent reputation & service,
Nikon for the long eye relief on the Monarchs and Buckmasters,
Some Weavers for long eye relief and what I think is really nice glass.

Some scope lines/brands I've shied away from in the past:

Burris for their relatively short(er) eye relief,
Some Weavers for their relatively short(er) eye relief,
Bushnell for no particular reason.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/04/2013 at 21:03
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One of the toughest scopes on the planet is a Leupold FX3 6x42 IMO.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/04/2013 at 21:08
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Excellent suggestion, and reminds me of 2 things I failed to include:

I'm looking for a variable-power scope this time, and I'm looking for parallax adjustability.

If, for a different rifle a little ways down the road, I go after a fixed-power scope, I'll definitely give the FX series a hard look.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/04/2013 at 22:59
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I don't think I understand. Are you saying Vortex is the only tough brand of scope, or that the Viper line is the only tough line?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2013 at 00:07
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I think what he is saying is that the combination of features you want in your price range limits your scope choices.  Vortex builds high quality products and has a reputation for excellent customer service.  The HS series is roughly the equivalent of a Leupold VX 2, a Weaver Grand Slam and a few other names and models known and trusted by US sportsmen as utility scopes with reputations for quality and durability.  Since they are made offshore they can offer more features within your price range.  This  scope won't offer military grade durability but it costs a faction of the price of those that do.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2013 at 11:46
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Originally posted by Rainman Rainman wrote:

I think what he is saying is that the combination of features you want in your price range limits your scope choices.  Vortex builds high quality products and has a reputation for excellent customer service.  The HS series is roughly the equivalent of a Leupold VX 2, a Weaver Grand Slam and a few other names and models known and trusted by US sportsmen as utility scopes with reputations for quality and durability.  Since they are made offshore they can offer more features within your price range.  This  scope won't offer military grade durability but it costs a faction of the price of those that do.


Thank you!  I agree that I won't get a (insert favorite example of 'best-there-is-at-everything-in-the-world) for $500.  That's why I didn't ask for that. ;)  I was looking for pretty well what I think you offered:  Leupold VX-2, Weaver Grand Slam, and Vortex Viper HS are generally 'tougher' than the $100 scopes out there which all at least _offer_ every feature in my list, according to their sales literature. Big Grin

Do you know enough about the mechanical particulars, or have the first-hand experience, to comment on general 'toughness' of other lines from those same manufacturers?  For example, SWFA lists at least several Weaver Super Slams that fall under my price cap, and some of the V-series, too.  Do you know whether either of those series is similarly 'tough' as the Grand Slam series?  Then, too, there are Nikons of all descriptions, Pentaxes, Vortexes, probably one of the Eastern-european brands (haven't checked closely on them yet), and of course Bushnells, Burrises, and so forth that also fall under my price cap.  There's even a VX-3 or two that would/may make it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2013 at 12:04
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Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

I dont think that the Viper is any tougher than a lot of other scopes.


Thanks, that's useful input.  So is your overall response basically that "Hunting scopes are all the same in this regard?"  If so, then that simplifies many things.  I already know how much I'm willing to pay for an extended warranty, and I already know about where my tradeoff point is between warranty vs. quality & features.  My question is about mechanicals and parts, and their relative durability across lines or brands.  It is not about whether there's a perfect-at-everything scope for under $500.

Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

Leupold 4.5-14x40 Mark 4 LR/T 30mm Riflescope
Stock # - LEU56140


It's funny you mention that one.  I wonder: Are you aware that that particular Mark 4 is the single example from that line which is a VX-3 with a 'tactical-look' tube and knobs?  Does that mean you'd recommend the VX-3 line as tougher-than-average within my maximum allocated budget?

Basically, I already know where my 'balance point' is with respect to extended warranty vs. features vs. optical characteristics _assuming the same level of toughness_.  The question is about _whether_ the level of toughness is really pretty much all the same.  In light of this, if basically all scopes which meet my other criteria are the same in terms of toughness, then the choice is supremely easy to make (since I know my own balance point for the other features).

I don't take scopes apart normally, so I don't really have a good handle on how different they are mechanically.  I do have experience with a number of scopes filling more or less the role I'm after, but it seems that scope models and lines are changed sufficiently frequently (on paper, at least) that one can't really tell whether what's being sold as a 'Conquist-a-rama takti-kool night-puker' these days is the same as the thing it was 5 years ago, in any respect.


Edited by MZ5 - May/05/2013 at 13:34
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2013 at 12:11
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How about a Bushnell Elite 3-9 X 40 with side focus and regular turrets. It also has the Rain Guard HD coating. The # is BUSE3940SF and it goes for about $250.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2013 at 14:47
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It seems like you really want to say that not all hunting scopes _that meet my criteria_ are similarly 'tough,' but you continue to give responses and/or examples which indicate that you think they are.  I find this confusing.

As far as that Mark 4 being a VX-3 in a tactical-looking tube, that's what Leupold says of it when I talk with them about it, not merely what I believe.  Having a different amount of total adjustment doesn't imply that the adjustment mechanism is any more durable.  If you know enough about the specific internals of that scope to know that the mechanism is more durable, that's the kind of info I'm looking for. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2013 at 15:56
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We're getting closer and closer to communicating. :)

Something above suggests to me that spotlighting is one thing that's hanging you up. Drop that criterion if it helps you.

One member of the spotlighting group has successfully used a $70 Tasco for the purpose on many occasions. To me, it's not great, but it's a whole lot better than either the price or reputation may imply. Interestingly, the only Vortex I've ever seen in the field (that's the hunting field, not matches) was an utter disaster, optically speaking. Neither its owner nor the Tasco owner nor anyone else could use it at all. To say I was surprised is an understatement. I don't know whether it was broken or not; that scope hasn't been back since. Nevertheless, that experience was sufficient to remind me of the price of an extended warranty.

If the brands you've explicitly mentioned are the only ones you think are relatively tougher than others, within the price cap given, then my choice is easy, so thank you.

Do your thoughts on toughness extend across the entire brand(s), or only certain lines within a brand?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2013 at 20:58
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Thanks for reminding other potential readers of the importance of comparing 'apples to apples,' so to speak.  I think that's obvious, but I can see how perhaps not everyone would.

Thanks for addressing your perspective on toughness.

It's really kind of an aside, but I'm curious:  What else do you think is different between that one particular Mark 4 and the same-power 30mm VX-3, besides the tall/target turrets, the lack of Diamond Coat on the Mark 4, and the different tube on the Mark 4?  Were you just referring to the tube, or do you think there's something assembly-wise that's different between them?


Edited by MZ5 - May/05/2013 at 21:09
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2013 at 21:46
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Urimaginaryfrnd has given you good advice.  If I was in your position of knowledge and unsureness about purchasing a scope, I would take his advice and buy one of the models that he has suggested.
 
Personally, I have had very good luck with the Leupold VX3, the Minox ZA5 and the Zeiss Conquest during the past 10 years for hunting rifles, for what it is worth.  I have been buying Zeiss and Leupold scopes for over 40 years.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2013 at 23:50
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Well designed accessories like lens covers help protect an investment. Leopolds lens covers saved my scopes more than once(mud, dust and small drops) a well thought out protection instead of just an afterthought.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/07/2013 at 10:40
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I was only comparing the 2 specific 4.5-14x40 scopes I mentioned (both 30mm). I was just curious as to whether you thought there were differences beyond the 3 I listed. I feel confident that those are the differences of consequence, but again I invite you to share any certain knowledge/information you have to the contrary.

One of the things I appreciate about Leupold is that they'll actually talk to me. Too often I encounter companies that refuse to do anything but hint, allude, or try to help me jump to conclusions without giving me any actual information. That nearly always comes across as them trying to up-sell me on things that either don't exist, I don't want or need, or that they won't tell me about in a meaningful way. Leupold never does that to me.

It is interesting that, _possibly_ excepting the Nikon, the scope brands/lines you just listed are ones that I have found to be 'tough' or durable over time, too. It seems that this is also the experience of those who may have used other scopes which I've not had much experience with (Burris, Bushy, and others), so I think I got the kind of input from this thread that I sought.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/07/2013 at 10:48
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I've been thinking about something and I wonder whether anyone else sees things at all this way--

The riflescope business seems to me to be a lot like the over-the-road truck business in this way: It seems very much like there are FAR more scope brands out there than there are scope manufacturers (shall I say assemblers?), and it seems as though all the brands have a finite and reasonably small number of components from which they may choose for the assembly plant(s) to combine for them. This ends up resulting in relatively small trade-offs at any given price range, with differences being primarily 'ergonomic' (to include customer/warranty support) in nature.  There may be an outfit or two who, like Mack, make a decent amount of their own stuff, but it seems to me that most of it is just picking this engine, that transmission, that cab & chassis, etc, and bolting them together.

Kinda ironic, I think!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/07/2013 at 20:49
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Nikon 4-16x42 Monarch 3 Riflescope

Nikon 4-16x42 Monarch 3 Riflescope

$449.95



Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/07/2013 at 21:32
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raise your limit to $700 and get the SS 3-15. i have the 4.5-14 MK4, and it's a good scope for sure. but overpriced, as are most leupolds.

and while i'm not crazy about the looks of the new 3-15, you can't argue that it's the best bang for the buck right now.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2013 at 12:30
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Thanks, imaginary.  I was just trying to make sure we stuck to the 2 Leupys that Leupy says are essentially the same thing.  Some of our discussion got onto other Mark 4s instead.  You're right that I'm not considering those scopes at this point, as being over my limit for this app.  I was just curious.  And thanks for the suggestion, BobbyH.
 
jjrgr21, that's an interesting entry.  If I were to raise the limit for this application, adding another one of the Weaver Tactical 3-15s makes more sense to me.  They have locking turrets and a $100 rebate, to name a couple reasons.  All the Japanese-made 3-15x scopes seem like they'd be good machinery; the example I own is.  A Weaver Super Slam 3-15 ends up being high in the running for me, actually.  I've discovered that a local store has an OUTSTANDING price on one, so between their price (already below my threshold) and the $50 rebate on top of that, it seems like a fairly obvious buy.  Only trouble is that this same store has a nice Grand Slam that meets all my criteria for a pretty darned excellent (and even lower) sale price, too. ;)
 
I'm taking a new-to-me rifle and a combination of ancillaries to the range this week.  The outcome of my outing(s) will probably impact exactly where on the price and magnification scales I end up in this decision overall.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2013 at 22:39
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More non-specific hints/suggestions...

Leupy specified how the glass coatings and tube differ. Your logical fallacy about differential pricing indicating substantive differences in components is obvious. Pricing has essentially zero to do with cost, and almost everything to do with 'what can we get for this?'

I was just curious as to whether you have any actual knowledge about the scopes that would back your claim that Leupy doesn't know what they're talking about with respect to those two specific scopes.

Leupold is straight with me whenever I talk to them, even when they say that they can't tell me a particular thing. That is why I violated my price cap by ~$8.00 today and bought the Long Range VX-3.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2013 at 23:01
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Originally posted by MZ5 MZ5 wrote:

  ..... I was just trying to make sure we stuck to the 2 Leupys that Leupy says are essentially the same thing.......
essentially?
 
Sure they are the same thing because Leupold says so. Whistling  So they are the same price, have the same finish,  have the same turret....    why have two? 
 
I guess it's all in how you ask the question.  If you want a specific answer call Leupold back and ask them more precise questions.  Is the tube the same thickness?  Is the glass the same?  Are the lens coatings the same? Is the erector system the same?   Having owned them -  I dont think they are the same, I think the VX3 has better glass and coatings are different and I suspect the erector system or the tube thickness may be different, but I dont know for sure, so  Ask Leupold.  
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2013 at 23:26
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I did ask specific questions, and I got specific answers.  I relayed a basic level/version of them up the thread here.  You were the one who said Leupy doesn't know what they're talking about, and I've invited you multiple times to back your claim.  Thank you for letting me know that you don't have any knowledge of the differences between those two scopes.  I now better understand why you're only implying and insinuating.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/08/2013 at 23:57
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Get Your Popcorn Ready
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2013 at 16:11
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Interesting discussion.

A few points:

-Talking about which brand is toughest is a non-sequiter.  Not all scope lines within each brand are built to the same level of quality.  The best example of that is Bushnell which offers several product lines, some of which are excellent, while some others are ... less so.

-Generally, the only true determinant of how durable a particular riflescope is to have access to the statistics of how many scopes make it back to the repair facility and for what reason.  Only scope makers have that data and they are not exactly sharing it.  I have seen these numbers for a few scope makers that I have a good relationship with, but I was sworn to keep it to myself.

-Anecdotal evidence that comes out in threads like these is seldom reliable because most consumer do not see enough scopes to make any solid conclusions.  Internet reputation of different brands is usually a function of who screams the loudest, rather than which scope is truly more reliable.  It is not uncommon to see someone tout the toughness of his pet scope, while praising the customer service in the next post and mentioning that the scope went back to the service center multiple times.

-I do, of course, have my personal (similarly anecdotal) opinion which is that most similarly priced and featured scopes from a decent quality makers are similarly reliable (or tough if you prefer that word).

-Some of the generalizations about particular scope features that I saw earlier in this thread are patently inaccurate.  One example is that Burris scopes have short relief. Some do and some do not.  Generalizing for the whole brand is seldom accurate.

-On the 4.5-14x40 Leupolds mentioned above: whether in a 30mm or a 1" tube these are the same scopes with cosmetic variation and external turret design variations.  The internal mechanics and optics are the same.  Coatings occasionally differ, but even there I have my doubts.

-On service reps in various customer service centers: it is very uncommon to find one that actually knows what he is talking about, unless it is a very small company you are calling.  I have talked to quite a few scope companies over the years and with all the larger ones I usually have to go through a couple of people to be forwarded to someone who can tell the difference between his ass and an elbow.  That is neither good. nor bad, but rather a fact of life.

-On how scopes are built: there are a few contract manufacturers out there and most scopes are built by them (there are, of course, exceptions with some companies being either big enough or expensive enough to "roll their own").  However, an optical sight is not a LEGO toy.  You do not pick and choose components and slap them together.  It is a fallacy perpetuated by mechanical engineers and other technically competent people in their own fields who do not understand optics.  Optical systems simply do not work that way.  You can choose particular features you want, but then the system has to be designed for it.  Most contract makers also have some reference designs that are offered to multiple customers who may use them with cosmetic or other external tweaks.  However, you can also have a proprietary design created by them, or you can come to them with your own design, that they will manufacture.

ILya

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Actually they are not the same according to Leupold's specs and the fact that the VX3 has 116MOA of internal adjustment where the Mk4 has only 72MOA of internal adjustment indicates that one of the two is highly probably: Either the Mk4 has a heavier erector system or the external tube is thicker. In addition the differing dimensions per Leupolds website are indicated below in RED
Mark 4 LR/T 4.5-14x40mm (30mm) Target
A. Length12.60 in
B. Tube Length5.40 in
C. Illustration1.80 in
D. Illustration2.30 in
E. Eyepiece Length3.20 in
F. Objective Length4.00 in
G. Objective Diameter2.00 in
H. Eyepiece Diameter1.60 in
K. Tube Diameter 1.18 in
LowHigh
Actual Magnification4.90 x14.60 x
Linear Field of View (ft/100 yd)18.60 ft7.30 ft
Linear Field of View (m/100 m)6.20 m2.40 m
Eye Relief (in)4.40 in3.70 in
Eye Relief (mm)112.00 mm94.00 mm
SpecificationValue
Weight (oz)16.00 oz
Weight (g)454.00 g
Objective Clear Aperture (in)1.60 in
Objective Clear Aperture (mm)40.00 mm
Elevation Adjustment Range72.00 moa
Windage Adjustment Range72.00 moa
 
==================================================
VX-3 4.5-14x40mm (30mm) Side Focus
A. Length12.60 in
B. Tube Length5.90 in
C. Illustration2.20 in
D. Illustration2.50 in
E. Eyepiece Length2.90 in
F. Objective Length3.60 in
G. Objective Diameter1.80 in
H. Eyepiece Diameter1.60 in
K. Tube Diameter 1.18 in
SpecificationLowHigh
Actual Magnification4.90 x14.70 x
Linear Field of View (ft/100 yd)18.70 ft7.30 ft
Linear Field of View (m/100 m)6.20 m2.40 m
Eye Relief (in)4.40 in3.70 in
Eye Relief (mm)112.00 mm94.00 mm
SpecificationValue
Weight (oz)15.10 oz
Weight (g)428.00 g
Objective Clear Aperture (in)1.60 in
Objective Clear Aperture (mm)40.00 mm
Elevation Adjustment Range116.00 moa
Windage Adjustment Range116.00 moa


Edited by Urimaginaryfrnd - May/09/2013 at 22:59
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