Optics Priorities


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Nov 29, 2008
Live Free or Die
So in researching scopes I am wondering how would you prioritize the various options/requirements in an optic. In case the question isn't coming out right I'll provide an example as to what I mean:

Ideally I assume
Variable > Fixed
FFP(First Focal Plane) > SFP (Secondary Focal Plane)
Clarity of glass
Light Transmission
Argon > Nitrogen
Fully coated > multi coated

and on and on

but where I am getting to would you rather forgo a little light transmission and get a FFP scope or would you take a SFP to get variable power in a scope? fixed power from a quality manufacturer vs variable power from a lesser manufacturer. I know ultimately a S&B, nightforce or US Optics would be the best but if you were only spending a set limit how do you decide what is the best value
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Dec 26, 2008
Im in the same position.......
A few things I have come to hear but cant say are a end all

Mind you Im looking for a scope that will be shot 98% of the time @ 200 yards for small groups and the occasional trip out to 600 yards for something I can only describe as F class type or prone type shooting.

Few things some of the bench shooters pointed out.
Fixed magnification on the higher side 16x + may offer far better clarity than a adjustable
Adjustable Objective If you think your going to be adjusting it often a side focus is more convenient.
I have only looked through a few front focal plane scopes. they are in my opion good for something like a 10x mil dot style scope where range estimation and hold overs will be from using the mil dots ? just my limitted observation.
I am also leaning towards a 1/8 moa dot for better shot/target sighting. example is most of my scopes are hunting scopes. The intersecting cross hairs cover about 4 moa of the target at 100 yards. Not really great for shooting small groups.

I recently looked through a March brand scope with 40x fixed 1/8 moa dot all I can say is wow. putting the 1/8moa dot inside a 22 cal hole at 100 yards is just nice!
and the clarity of the glass even out to the edges was just clean.
Makes all the other scopes I looked at suck....... well not enough for me to change my budget.
Im still searching and saving into my budget. I will most likely buy something in the 800-1000$ range ?

I know this might not help although in the end most guys I talk to with better optics want clear glass with repeatable adjustments. One guy was showing me some of the back lash issues and false clicks he was having on his Leupold
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Mar 3, 2009
I shoot from various positions at various distances ranging from 25 to 450 yards (rarely out to 1200) , sometimes unknown. My preference is to dial for elevation and hold for wind. I sometimes shoot moving targets and I like shooting at the lowest magnification practicable. For these reasons I prefer a front focal plane, mil based reticle (with Mil turrets) that has a low magnification around 3 power and a side focus parallax.

When I am shopping for scopes, these are my parameters. For around 1k you can find a Bushnell g2 DMR 3.5-21, Steiner 3-12, and with a little more you can find first gen Vortex Razors. I have used all three and really find them to be solid choices for my applications. SWFA makes some quality scopes, and I still use their fixed power scopes for a couple of my rifles because they are affordable.

If you know your distances, and your applications do not warrant FFP, and you shoot at stationary targets, then you may not need/want a ranging reticle. My advice to anyone that doesn't want a very simple reticle design, to shop for scopes that have matching turrets with their reticles.

Once you take features out and you start comparing glass quality, I believe once you get over $1k you enter the realm of diminishing returns. Apochromatic lenses are great, but I can remain behind the glass for extended periods of time without top end glass, and have minimal eye fatigue. If you happen to have trouble in this area, then maybe you would want to invest in high quality lenses.
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