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Looking for Advice on First Serious Scope Purchase

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jd5684 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jd5684 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Looking for Advice on First Serious Scope Purchase
    Posted: October/07/2019 at 20:35
Hello. I'm looking to purchase my first real scope soon, and I'm looking for some input. I have a basic AR with a rail-top upper receiver. Currently I'm using a no-name 3-9x30 that came as part of a $35 scope-n-rail kit for an SKS I used to own about 12 years ago when I was poorer, younger, and dumber. It's fine at 50 yards, but suffice it to say it leaves a lot to be desired beyond that. Budget is a factor, and $300 is about what I can justify right now.

Use Cases: 90% recreational shooting at the range or on a friend's land (not competition, just fun). 9.999% possibility of wild pig hunting in my future. 0.001% zombie outbreak :P

My best friend is an old 11B and is a diehard Leupold/Redfield fan. Needless to say all my research backs that up. It also looks like Nikon's a solid brand to use. I've seen a lot of mixed information on Vortex and UTG. I think the overall on UTG is negative, and the overall on Vortex is positive, but I'd like to ask you guys. That's my first question: Are Vortex and/or UTG decent brands, or to be avoided?

From what I have currently and the research I've done, I want something variable power, with the bottom range no higher than 6x and the top between 12x and 18x. It looks like FFP scopes are generally better than SFP, but for my use case I think I'll be fine with SFP.

Here's some options I'm considering:
Nikon 3-12x42 ProStaff P5
Nikon 4-12x40 P-Tactical .223
Redfield 4-12x40 Revolution
Leupold 4-12x40 Rifleman
Vortex 6-18x44 Crossfire II

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to any educational or constructive input.

JD
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koshkin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/07/2019 at 22:07
Is that $300 budget for a scope only? or does that include a mount as well?

I have a lot of appreciation for your friend's service, but I disagree with him a fair bit when it comes to budget scopes.  In today's market Leupolds worth buying start at VX-R and go on up from there.  I would not by any Leupold below that.

I would not purchase any Nikon riflescope at all, to be entirely honest.  They are going through a transition of some sort, but they are absolutely rudderless at the moment.  Aside from a host of terrible product decisions, they just changed their warranty to be worse on top of that.

With Vortex, Diamondback Tactical is perfectly respectable, but Crossfire is not my cup of tea.

If you want an inexpensive variable, Burris Fullfield II and Vortex Diamondback should be on your list.   Both product lines have been around for a while, so they are generally reliable. They do not look fancy on paper, but they work.  Same for Sightron S-Tac models.

Honestly, if you are looking for a variable for your AR, SWFA's Ultralight 2.5-10x32 is a really nice match to an AR, but it is a bit outside of your budget:


It is made with a hunting 5.56 AR in mind and it gives you a lot of capability in a very compact and lightweight package.  It is not ideal for fighting off zombies, but it is a very good choice for everything else on your list.

ILya

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jd5684 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jd5684 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/08/2019 at 17:34
Thanks for the prompt reply and input.

I was really just looking at a scope as I already have a set of 1" and a set of 30mm rings, but if there's a reason I should consider a different mount I'm open to learning. I have a budget to stay within, but that being said if I'm going to spend the money, I want to spend it right.

Can you elaborate a bit on the Leupold comment? Are you saying that until you reach the VX-R level the quality isn't sufficiently higher than the competition to justify the price difference, or their lower end scopes are just plain not worth the money?

JD
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jd5684 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jd5684 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/08/2019 at 20:12
Sorry for the double post, quick question: You specifically mentioned the Burris Fullfield II line, is the E1 line worth considering? It's touted as the latest generation of Fullfield.

Again, thanks for your time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevel610 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/13/2019 at 13:06
Coming from a "no name" scope any of the scopes you mentioned would be good. Ilya did a write up on his OpticsThoughts blog of scopes in your range and I believe the Vortex came out ahead of the orhers.

Leupold is a solid scope with a great warranty. Some of your cost goes into the warranty rather than glass. 

If I were looking for a scope in your application I would give the new SWFA 2-10 a look.  I've had several of the fixed power swfa Scopes and always found them to be of high quality.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stevel610 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/13/2019 at 13:09
Originally posted by Stevel610 Stevel610 wrote:

Coming from a "no name" scope any of the scopes you mentioned would be good. Ilya did a write up on his OpticsThoughts blog of scopes in your range and I believe the Vortex came out ahead of the orhers.

Leupold is a solid scope with a great warranty. Some of your cost goes into the warranty rather than glass. 

If I were looking for a scope in your application I would give the new SWFA 2-10 a look.  I've had several of the fixed power swfa Scopes and always found them to be of high quality.

Oops. Didn't realize Ilya had replied earlier. You would do well to take a suggestions.
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koshkin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/13/2019 at 17:56
Originally posted by jd5684 jd5684 wrote:

Thanks for the prompt reply and input.

I was really just looking at a scope as I already have a set of 1" and a set of 30mm rings, but if there's a reason I should consider a different mount I'm open to learning. I have a budget to stay within, but that being said if I'm going to spend the money, I want to spend it right.

Can you elaborate a bit on the Leupold comment? Are you saying that until you reach the VX-R level the quality isn't sufficiently higher than the competition to justify the price difference, or their lower end scopes are just plain not worth the money?

JD

On a flat top AR your best bet is a decent quality single piece extended mount of some sort.  With standard rings you can't place the scope sufficiently far forward.

On Leupold: their newer stuff is good and very competitive.  Their older designs were somewhat competitive 20 years ago.

ILya
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