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Why so high?

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  • Why so high?

    First off, I freely admit that I am not a scope man. Like my father, I prefer iron sights. Over the years many weapons have come and gone with all but two having a scope on top, and only then because they had NO sights on them.

    Flash to today. I now have two centerfire rifles and one .357 levergun. That's it for my cartridge rifles, Oh, and one 50cal ML Hawken. And two of those rifles are AR15 M4 clones. And they too have iron sights on them.

    Recent events in my vision have caused a change in my ways. One AR has flip up front & rear iron sights and a very modest holographic sight. It cost $17.99 delivered. I can see it in all light conditions and it allows me to shoot very well. The other was set up in the classic fixed post up front and the carrying handle sights in the rear.

    Yesterday, I mounted a cantilever base and a Leapers 1.25X4x28mm mildot scope. Sits up at the same level as the iron sights and I was able to zero and then shoot a 1MOA group at 100m off the bench and no bag, just a couple 4x4s as a place to rest my forward hand. That was a $80 scope when I got it a few years ago. Its been on a 45-70 Guide Gun [silly endeavor] spent time on a 30'06. And now on a light 223 autoloader.

    An $80 scope.... Now I see scopes advised all the time for hundreds of dollars on up. Not unusual to see some well over a thousand or more. Over a thousand? Why I could buy two more rifles for that! In my mind that's just plain foolish paying that amount of money for a tube and some glass. At this point nearly everyone is ready to tar and feather me and burn me at the stake. Blasphemous speach from an optics heretic.

    So am I wrong using an $18 multi-reticle, two color dot sight rather than one that sells for $500? $450 on sale? Or $80 for a scope and not $500 or more for a name on it? Am I wrong here? These two very affordable sighting aids allow me to put rounds on target, and for hundreds of dollars less. Am I wrong?

    Ok. I'm going to lean back while the mob forms and the tar is boiled and the chickens are plucked. And of course, the wood gathered for the fire to burn the heretic.
    "Don't try to cover up a lack of training with a tool you don't understand."

    John Lovell on upgrades.

  • #2
    If you can get cheaper optics to work, then by all means use them! For me, been there/done that is the easy thing to say. The reason I do not do it much is because just about every time I buy something on the low end it will work great for the price I paid, but inevitably some stupid thing happens and it ruins it, but sometimes I still get lucky. The main reason I buy cheap stuff is it helps me decide what I like and do not like under certain circumstances, and then I go buy the more expensive thing to replace it. Things that come to mind:
    • Truglo red dot, about $55, mounting hardware snapped under minimal tightening force (as in less than 15" pounds) and dot fuzzes. Lasted about 4 sessions. Replaced with Eotech EXPS2-2 with G33 3x magnifier.
    • Ozark Armament red dot ultra rugged, about $40, optic developed vertical drift after putting a single 3.5" long beard load down the pipe. Lasted no sessions. Replaced with Leupold VS-1
    • Mueller 40x56 target, about $260, side focus came apart (2 of the 3 small screws pulled out of the frame). Lasted about 800 rounds. Replaced with Burris XTR II
    • Mueller AO Eradicator 8.5-25x50, about $240, no issues for over 2 years now. Rabbits hate it, would buy again.
    • UTG 3-9x32, about $75, no technical problems but he cross hair makes the scope a better door than window. Used it for about 50 rounds then put it back in the box. Still just using iron sites/have not replaced.
    I say there is nothing wrong with shooting whatever works for you unless it stops working.
    Friends don't let friends shoot factory ammo.

    Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.
    -Winston Churchill


    • #3
      This Leapers [UTG] scope has fine etched mildots and the red/green illumination is good. While on the '06 it was great for hitting hogs out to 400m set on the max of 4x.was on the weapon for two years and used in & out of a pickup weekly trying to eliminate hogs [like that's going to happen].

      Jury's still out on the little dot sight. Its new. We'll see how it holds up. Three sessions ain't enough time to tell....

      Yeah, the cost of optics is outrageous. Showing my age now, in late 68 thru 71 I hunted NVA with a Win M70 in 30'06 with a Redfield 6x scope that I got from my father since the army had no scopes for me where I was. That Redfield took a beating in the jungles. It never quit. When I returned home I gave it back to my dad. He said it looked like hell. I told him it should, I just came from there.

      But again, I'm just amazed at the cost of optics. Anything with "a brand name" on it is two or three times the cost of others. My neighbor is helping his buddy with a new AR15 in 7.62x39. Its got some fancy scope on it now they paid $600 for. Soon a computer assisted thermal scope is going on it. $2,700 is the price tag on it. $2700!!! I'm sorry but that's just plain ludicrous! I could find a whole lot of other things I could spend that money on that one scope for one rifle that they're just going to go out and bust off rounds and holler yeehaw. Asking why such a high dollar scope I was told "Cuz it's cool... N' you can watch it on tv if ya want."
      But still I think scopes and sighting devices are overpriced.

      "Don't try to cover up a lack of training with a tool you don't understand."

      John Lovell on upgrades.


      • #4
        Kit Fox asks " Am I wrong?"

        Yes you ARE, and NO you are NOT!....There are thousands of lower cost items/tools/devices on the market THAT all compete against many so called state of the ART very high end (and cost) same tool

        While I tend to fully agree with the Cry once advice...I really have to devote more thought to many purchases....I do have some Cry once tools that are worth what I paid...

        BUT I have other very expensive top of the line tools that I very rarely use--- and 20 ~30 years later I have to shake my head as I consider all the OTHER stuff I could have bought with that cash....

        What is cost difference
        What is specification difference
        How critical is this tool to my needs
        Do I actually NEED this tool or is it a want

        Then there is customer loyalty for different reasons

        Brand experiance
        Customer Service
        Peer Presure
        Cost to value (fully meets or exceeds my needs)

        I kind of giggle inside when some guy is happy that his Pistol had to go back to Ruger only 5 times and turn around was fast , communication was excellent, and they did not charge me.....for the repairs

        BUT even there I do get it....I had a new fangled DREMEL tool with a design flaw....CS at DREMEL hung in there with me to find a fix. At any point they could have given up and just refunded my money.... So they earned a 60 year old mans loyalty...where if I thunk on it some...I should be pist that they sold a tool that did not do as they claimed it would

        we could all tell stories of this or that rifle, gun, pistol, magazines, optic, cleaning rod, ammo, the list is endless of all the world of discount low cost VS top of line near perfect high cost items

        now being retired fixed income fruggle....well sir I bought the $39 holo red / green/ variable intensity/ variable size DOT from Amazon to play with on my Ruger 22/45 MKIII Lite....this pistol spend finally more time in the safe than on the range....BUT once I got the inexpensive bugger Zeroed...been down range only three times and so that means about 300 rounds...last out it still hit POA


        • #5
          I've found that the glass on some of the less expensive scopes comes very close if not equal to some of the premium scopes. The problems with cheaper scopes come with the adjustable objective mechanisms not coming close to the range printed on the bell or side knob. They also come in the form of excessive parallax like 6" worth at 200 yards. If you have a rifle that fits you and get a consistent cheek weld the parallax isn't as great a problem. But, put a parallax challenged scope on an AR with an adjustable stock, high mounts to clear a large objective bell, and a slight bit of cant from a portable shooting bench and your cheek weld consistency is kaput, as is an hope of routinely hitting a target.

          A few cheap scopes just won't stand up to recoil. I once put about 6 shots through a .375 Winchester on a Contender before the recoil totally destroyed the reticle in a fixed power Tasco scope. RD
          Every once in a while in life we need a policeman, a lawyer, a doctor and a preacher. We need a farmer three times a day, every day.

          Et Canis Manducare Canis Mundi


          • #6
            Gentlemen, it appears that I have become scope or Optic dependent due to the fact that I can't shoot the iron sights on my AR is anymore. I went out this morning to zero the iron sight back up for the carbon framed model. At 25m sitting with a prop, I could not hit a paper plate. I walked up to 15m and try it again. Huh? Nuthin! I nearly threw the weapon into the woods. I did, however, pull the little flip up sight and threw it as hard as I could! (It was a used hand-me-down)

            Went back inside and mounted the scope from yesterday. Walked out to the 100-meter bench sat down and hammered the 10in by 10in iron plate repeatedly until it got boring. Yep I guess I am now optic dependent. It really sucks I can't see worth diddly-squat with iron sights anymore. Oh, and yeah, I was using my left eye too.

            Well, y'all have fun. I checked in to see how things were going here at the site, and now I'm going back to finish cleaning my weapon. I may not be able to shoot worth a damn anymore but my weapons are always immaculate!
            "Don't try to cover up a lack of training with a tool you don't understand."

            John Lovell on upgrades.


            • #7
              I had to give up iron sights too. They've just become useless to me. I took the sights off my AR, it now has an old Leupold VX II compact 2x7 on it so it's useable for me. Everyone at the club tells me I need iron back up sights in case the scope craps out but I'll just look down the barrel like shooting a shotgun because that's what I'd be doing anyway with iron sights. I guess I'm a bit of a scope snob because my experience has been you get what you pay for. Don't get me wrong I don't own a scope that cost more than $300, but I got them on clearance. I have a Bushnell Sportview 4x on a .243 that isn't worth as much as the rubber scope cover on it. It won't hold a zero at all. The gun is a safe queen so I haven't gotten rid of the Bushnell. If I actually used the rifle I'd probably buy a Nikon Monarch for it as the last two I bought have been excellent scopes. I try to buy what I believe is the best scope in my price range. If all I can afford is junk then I wait and save up until I can afford to buy better quality.
              If it weren't for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.

              "Ammo and really good friends are hard to find in a gunfight so I bring them with me" E. J. Owens


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kit Fox View Post
                So am I wrong using an $18 multi-reticle, two color dot sight rather than one that sells for $500? $450 on sale? Or $80 for a scope and not $500 or more for a name on it? Am I wrong here? These two very affordable sighting aids allow me to put rounds on target, and for hundreds of dollars less. Am I wrong?
                Flip the script on that $18 scope and use an inflation calculator to compare prices. In 1968, would you have put much faith in a $2.48 scope? Probably not. That Redfield scope your father lent you cost about $100 in the 1960's. That's an $800 piece of glass in today's money!

                Looking at it that way, the quality of $2-$300 scopes today is a flat out bargain compared to those of yesteryear.


                • #9
                  Does that mean my $80 Leapers scope will be worth $640 in a few years? and the holographic sight a whopping $144? Just kidding.....

                  Being on a VERY tight budget, I have to get what I can afford on my meager pension. Add that to a very biased outlook on the accessories market and you get me. An old man with little spare cash who refuses to be "held up" by the "parts posse" for high dollar stuff with a popular name on it. I've had two other shooters try to buy my little Leapers scope off me [for cheap!] since its light, small, and sees good downrange. Have had it now for I think 6 years or better? Its battle proven. The little holographic sight, well I've only had it about a week so I don't know. It may work for several years, or it may crap out the next time I go shoot which will probably be tomorrow or the next day. Like I said earlier the jury still out on it.

                  But I still believe that the Optics marketing angle is nothing but a money-making, wallet emptying, price gouging enterprise where they hold shooters over a barrel and shake them down for every penny they got. They've got people convinced that if you don't buy the name brand of popularity today, you don't have a good scope. If you don't spend $500 to $1,500 or more on your custom scope then You just mounted a piece of junk on your weapon. I'm sorry I just don't buy into that. Even $300 is too much. [My opinion]

                  And as mentioned earlier, I agree with not buying a used piece of Optics. So many people trash a scope and then hustle off to the pawn shop to sell it as fast as they can. They know they messed it up, and they're just getting rid of it. So no, I won't buy a used scope because I'm not going to buy somebody else's problem.

                  You know what's funny? I can take my old model 92 lever gun in 357 with some serious near full Buckhorn rear sight on it then go out and shoot the Daylights out of it and never miss! Even with my crappy eyes I can still see that sight. Crazy huh? Oh, by the way, I have always said putting a scope on a lever-action carbine is like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa. It just ain't right.
                  "Don't try to cover up a lack of training with a tool you don't understand."

                  John Lovell on upgrades.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kit Fox View Post
                    Does that mean my $80 Leapers scope will be worth $640 in a few years? and the holographic sight a whopping $144? Just kidding.....
                    No not all. An inflation calculator just tells you what say $100 in 1968 is equivalent to in 2018 ($800). I used the scope your father lent you as an example to show that quality optics have never been cheap. He spent a pretty penny, the equivalent of $800 today, on that old Redfield.

                    I'm not making the argument that a person needs to spend that much to get a decent scope, I'm just saying that spending $500 today on a decent scope isn't outrageous when comparing the cost of optics over the last 50-60 yrs in inflation adjusted dollars.

                    On a super tight budget do what you have to do of course. It's just that after wrecking a few scopes it seems that at some point, going too cheap just ends up costing more money and frustration. I have some have some higher glass but I'm nowhere near an optics snob. I've had a number of Nikon Prostaffs that came with guns I've bought and didn't feel handicapped in the slightest hunting with them (~$100 used). One of my favorite pistol scopes are the old Tasco Pro-Class. Sometimes you can find them for around $60 depending on the model and never had an ounce of trouble with one even over max charges on a 375 JDJ.


                    • #11
                      Funny, I had two other Leapers scopes with mildot and such. A neighbor got one and the other one, a nice compact one was grabbed by my stepson for his AR15 carbine. Both were whining about needing scopes. That was two years ago. Now, I'm whining a little too.
                      But today, I got the carrying handle sights on the carbon framed AR15 and did the old battle sight zero routine. Then at 12m, I hunkered down and fired for effect on a 9" paper plate. Wow! 5 o'clock on the edge! No wonder I sucked so bad yesterday! Got close. Went back to 50m and got serious. Fair light. Using right eye too. Pegged the center of the plate a few times. Ok... Went back to 100m sitting and drilled into the 10"x10" iron plate and enjoyed the ringing of each shot.
                      Now the scope is for loooooong range stuff like 300m or more. Except I don't shoot that far where I hunt. But my inexpensive little scope is just fine. Even if it won't be worth big bucks when I'm dead and gone...
                      "Don't try to cover up a lack of training with a tool you don't understand."

                      John Lovell on upgrades.


                      • #12
                        For more years than I care to to count I've use some of the old all steel El Paso Weaver scopes and still have a few on a couple of rifles. The just work even though the picture is nowhere as near bright on the new scopes. One time I bought a cheap $29.95 4X Tasco as a temporary measure as I need to put something on a new rifle. That Tasco has been on rifles as light as .223 Rem. and as mean as the .375 H&H and is still going strong. The only thing is if you look through the front lens you can see pieces of the anti glare coating hanging off the inside of the tube. Hasn't seemed to affect anything so far.

                        "And as mentioned earlier, I agree with not buying a used piece of Optics."

                        On that I have to disagree. I would not hesitate to buy a used Leupold in any power if the price was right. Odds are it'll be just fine. If not, send it in to Leupold and they'll fix or replace it. How can you go wrong with that kind of deal? I've had three Leupolds I've bought brand new that crapped out on me. Two at the range and one on a hunt. Still got my elk but that was more very good luck and one never knew where the next shot would have gone should there have been the need. Sent them back to Leupold and usually within two week got the back good as new.

                        I can't say how Burris or Nikon would handle one of their scops though. So far the ones I do have are holding up quite well. The Nikon is on a .35 Whelen and the the Burris on a .280 Rem. Both those scopes run in the low $200 range. Gun write John Barsness had much good to say about the Burris Fullfield and based on the two I have, so far I have to agree.

                        I only have one expensive scope and I have yet to mount it on a rifle. A $600 Minox that I got a really good deal on. I'n trying to decide what rifle to put it on. I'm thinking it would go real well on my M70 FWT 7x57. Scope is a 2.5x10X. Currently it wears the lowest price Leupold 2x7 which has held up very well.

                        Sad to say, at my age iron sights just don't cut anymore.

                        Paul B.


                        • #13
                          The number one reason for the high cost for optics is that they are the trend now. If it isn't sexy looking the newer generations want nothing to do with it. Yet those that would benefit from the optics and really have a need for one end up taking it in the wallet at the register during check out.

                          "Necessity is the mother of all inventions."


                          • #14
                            I think it's all a conspiracy. I'm sticking with my irons even if I can't see good no more I don't care. I ain't going to buy no high-dollar scope because that's all they got.
                            Besides, the money that I would spend on a high-dollar scope would pay for my visit to the eye doctor and new glasses. Then I'll be able to shoot everything I got with ease!
                            Nope, it's a conspiracy I'm telling you.
                            "Don't try to cover up a lack of training with a tool you don't understand."

                            John Lovell on upgrades.


                            • #15
                              A lot of purchase decision are relative to need or want and cost..... I have come to at least try out the sub 50% cheaper knock off clones before deciding is I needed or wanted the 3 to 7 time higher cost item

                              to this day I do not own a ACOG or any other $300~$700 optic...several of my (internet substandard) NcStar...( and similar chinglish clones) are just fine and adaquat and reliable enough for my use and budget....

                              Frugal Fred

                              Yes Virginia I do know the high end $500 buck versions are BETTER...but 33% better is not worth 300% increase in price..FOR MY NEEDS