PDA

View Full Version : Best budget glass?



Grizz Axxemann
10-06-2014, 10:21 PM
So I really REALLY wanted a Stevens 200 in .308. No one was willing to part with one, so I broke down and picked up a Savage Axis XP. All in I was under $300, but I knew I was going to have to swap out the scope (I don't trust a Bushnell Sharpshooter on anything bigger than a .22LR.)

So I'm hunting for a scope. 3-9x40ish mm, maybe with a BDC reticle because I'm kinda lazy like that.

I'm not too keen on spending more than $275 all-in, $300 at the absolute MAX this is a cheap gun and will probably get relegated to backup status if I like this hunting thing, but I know the importance of spending SOME money on glass. Basically, I'm going with the best that I can AFFORD right now.

Here's what I've found so far:

Nikon Prostaff II - Nice glass, turrets seem pretty good (again, I'm more of a set it and forget it guy) not really liking the BDC reticle.
Vortex Diamondback - Again, Nice glass, good turrets and the BDC is a little more intuitive.
Bushnell Legend - Really wasn't impressed with the glass. Didn't fiddle with the turrets, and if they're anything like the last couple of Bushnells I've owned, I'll need needle nose pliers to adjust them.
Redfield - Haven't really had a chance to look at these... Looks like any of the offerings would fit the bill, be it the Revolution, Revenge or Battlezone. After all, these are made by Leupold these days, right? So they have to be half decent.

So with what little research I've done, I can successfully narrow it down to two (well... four) scope options. Much as I like the Nikon's glass (I think it was the clearest and brightest of the bunch) I just wasn't a fan of their BDC reticle, and the Bushnell just wasn't that clear at all.

As of right now the Vortex is leading the way, but I still haven't gotten a really good look at the Redfields yet.

Is there anything else I should consider? This won't be a long-range rig, but I do want to be able to take a 250-300 yard shot if it presents itself. Past that distance I'll be ringing steel gongs or punching paper once in a while.

Foxer
10-06-2014, 10:40 PM
Mueller if you can get it - great glass, low cost. Their tac 2 has been put thru 7 kinds of hell by me and a buddy and still works awesome.

noneck180
10-06-2014, 11:40 PM
I thought I would never buy anything but Zeiss, Swarovski, or NF..but I bought a Vortex. I haven't really put it through it's paces but just installed it on my 17hmr and seems to work good so far.

JustBen
10-07-2014, 05:16 AM
To stretch those pennies, I'd look at a used scope. A bushnell 3200 or Leupold rifleman should come in around $200 used.

kennymo
10-07-2014, 05:37 AM
I have a couple Bushnell Elite/3200's in the safe. Much better than their cheaper offerings. A 3-9x40 should come in near your $300 mark. I'm thinking Vortex is a possibility for my next scope if I can't swing the Zeiss I really want. Bought a pair of their binoculars last year and I'm some kind of impressed. Warranty is pretty kickass on them too.

Rory McCanuck
10-07-2014, 07:55 AM
Bushnell Legend - Really wasn't impressed with the glass. Didn't fiddle with the turrets, and if they're anything like the last couple of Bushnells I've owned, I'll need needle nose pliers to adjust them.
Really?
Picked up one of these : http://www.bushnell.com/all-products/rifle-scopes/legend-ultra-hd/3-9x-40mm-doa-600
for my buddy's 7mm, and it's one of the nicest scopes I've ever used. Amazingly clear. Granted, I haven't tried it at first legal shooting light yet, but ona dreary, rainy day at the range it was still crystal clear.
Turrets adjust easily with finger tips, and are adjustable for zero.
After taxes, I think it was ~$300 on sale at WSS. Just looked it up, $259 now.
The DOA reticle isn't too busy or intrusive as many of them are, and the crosshairs are fine enough for fine target work, with the thicker duplex part thick enough to pick up quickly.

kennymo
10-07-2014, 08:23 AM
I have the Elite 3200 3-9x40 with DOA on my Weatherby Vanguard. A 3-9x40 Legend on the muzzle loader. The Elite is hands down clearer (especially at the edges of the glass) and brighter at low light. I like that the crosshairs are sort of brassy rather than black as well, much easier to see against the bush at dawn and dusk.

lone-wolf
10-07-2014, 07:19 PM
tagged, interested in the same.

Grizz Axxemann
10-07-2014, 09:53 PM
Turrets adjust easily with finger tips, and are adjustable for zero.


If they look anything like this:http://i1070.photobucket.com/albums/u496/Robert_Dryfoos/Bushnell3200turrets.jpgThen yes, I need needlenose pliers.

blacksmithden
10-07-2014, 10:39 PM
^^^He's got bigger fingers than most^^^ :)


Grizz....I've got a 3x9 Redfield on my Browning BAR in 300 win mag. It's never moved off center, and it's wacked a few deer. Although I'd rather have something with more magnification when messing around at the range, this one does the job while hunting. No complaints about it at all.

Grizz Axxemann
10-08-2014, 01:16 AM
^^^He's got bigger fingers than most^^^ :)


Grizz....I've got a 3x9 Redfield on my Browning BAR in 300 win mag. It's never moved off center, and it's wacked a few deer. Although I'd rather have something with more magnification when messing around at the range, this one does the job while hunting. No complaints about it at all.
That I do. And I've never once heard a woman complain about it :P

Older or newer Redfield? If it's a newer one, what are the odds of me getting a chance to take a peek through it?

Facepalm
10-08-2014, 02:56 AM
I have a Redfield 6x18x44, works great on my howa 7mm remington mag, you should be able to get something new for around 200. Redfield is Leupold and backed by the same warrenty

lone-wolf
10-11-2014, 07:03 PM
I bought a vortex diamondback 2-7x, vplex.
I hope the eye relief is OK, it's my biggest fear of the purchase.

Strewth
10-11-2014, 07:24 PM
Have you looked through a Burris Full Field II? Has worked fine for me, bright for the money, takes banging around on the quad no problem. Leaves you money for rings, as well.

Rory McCanuck
10-11-2014, 09:05 PM
If they look anything like this:http://i1070.photobucket.com/albums/u496/Robert_Dryfoos/Bushnell3200turrets.jpgThen yes, I need needlenose pliers.

Sorry, took a while to get back to this.
No, they can be grabbed from the edge.

http://i648.photobucket.com/albums/uu209/Johnny_Canuck_bucket/P-17/SSA53162_zps3752489f.jpg

Grizz Axxemann
10-12-2014, 12:13 AM
it's still not as bright as the Nikon or Vortex though.

bettercallsaul
10-12-2014, 12:33 AM
I hear good things about Vortex & Redfield. Redfield are made in the USA as well.

Grizz Axxemann
10-12-2014, 12:43 AM
I keep hearing good things about Redfield too. That's why it's still on the list.

lone-wolf
10-18-2014, 07:56 PM
http://opticsthoughts.com/?page_id=77

lone-wolf
10-18-2014, 08:05 PM
Some highlights:

In terms of overall optical quality one scope here is clearly better than the others: Vortex Diamondback. Field of view is substantially wider and the image is “punchier” (to use a photography term). It both outresolved other scopes in this test and provided for a high contrast image. I did not bring a spotting scope with me to the range, and if I was not sure about the exact placement of bullet holes with any of the other four scopes, I could always see them with the Diamondback.


Overall, Vortex Diamondback maintained its optical edge in low light just like it did in good light. The image was brighter and sharper than with the other scopes. The closest behind the Vortex was Burris Fullfield II, but the difference was noticeable.


Fullfield II and Diamondback seem to have the best coatings of the bunch since veiling flair was much weaker and ghost image formation was much less pronounced. However, Diamondback’s wider field of view and better contrast really stood out.


Part 5. Conclusions
In retrospect, I should have set this comparison up differently. I assembled several scopes that were under $200, thinking that they all compete for the same customer. I ended up with two scopes right at $200 mark, and three scopes ranging from $150 to $175. As it turned out, in this market segment, this $25 – $50 difference in price indicates a significant level change in terms of overall quality and especially in terms of optical quality. Perhaps, these five scopes should not have been lumped together into the same test.
I am beginning to think that a more reasonable way would have been to split it up into two comparisons along different price points:

$150 +/-$20 which would include Bushnell Elite 3200, Nikon ProStaff, Redfield Revolution and some others.
$200 +/-$20 which would include Vortex Diamondback, Burris Fullfield II and Nikon Buckmaster.


Unfortunately, hindsight is always 20/20 and the comparison was set up they way it was set up.
Here is how the scopes stack up after all is said and done:

1st Place: Vortex Diamondback 3-940
This is the best overall scope here and not by a small margin. It is mechanically good and optically excellent for the money. The eyepiece is a little fatter than on other scopes here, but I doubt it is sufficiently large to cause bolt handle clearance issues on most rifles. The reticle remains fairly visible even in rather nasty lighting conditions (I still think that #4 reticle in this scope would be better) and low light image artifacts are well controlled.


2nd Place: Burris Fullfield II 3-940
FFII is in a firm second place. It is not quite as good as the Diamondback, but it is appreciably better than the other scopes I looked at. This model has been around for some time, so perhaps it is overshadowed by the Diamondback simply because it is an older design. On the other hand FFII has an excellent record for durability and performance in the field. Optically, its center field performance is very good, but Diamondback offer a more contrasty image and wider field of view.

3rd Place: Bushnell Elite 3200 3-940
While I was pretty sure of where this scope fits in this comparison, I was not entirely sure of how to summarize my impressions on it. For example, Burris that ranked above it was pretty good in everything, but I can’t say there is one feature that stands out. It is just a good allround scope. Elite 3200 is a different story altogether. Mechanically, it is the most solid-feeling scope here. Also, it has Rainguard outer coatings which are helpful in wet weather. On the other hand, it has a little bit of tunnel vision (not much) and it needs better coatings since there were some fairly strong internal reflections off of the glass. Another positive is that Elite 3200 line up is very extensive and offers several reticle choices including the FireFly reticle that works very well in low light. Like the Fullfield II, Elite 3200 3-940 has been around for some time now. Perhaps, I would have been better served by one of the more recently designed Elite 3200 scopes, but 3-940 was the configuration I wanted.

4th Place: Redfield Revolution 3-940
This is the new kid on the block, and it is getting a pretty good start. It has a few things going for it:

assembled in USA by Leupold (i.e. built in customer base of Leupold fans)
slim eyepiece and nice styling: the scope looks right
good allround performance

This scope, to me, was kinda like Burris FFII only fifty bucks cheaper and not quite as good. I wish it had a little better contrast, and I wish the knobs were less flimsy feeling. Aside from that, I liked the scope and I can’t think of another scope that costs $150 and performs better. I think I have a Sightron S1 3-940 sitting in my safe somewhere. I think I’ll dig it out and quickly compare it to the Redfield. I suspect that these two are your best bets in this price range (assuming it holds up long term, but only time can determine that).

5th Place: Nikon ProStaff 3-940
I might get some flak for what I am about to say, but here it is anyway: I do not get the reason behind this scope. I just can’t figure out who I would recommend it to. That is my litmus test: “will this scope be my recommendation for any sort of situation?” With the ProStaff, the answer is an emphatic “no”. Optically, is pretty close to Elite 3200, except it does not have Rainguard, knobs are not finger adjustable and available reticles do not work well in low light. Redfield is cheaper and sleeker styled. Plus it has the support of Leupold customer service behind it. Now, here is the kicker: ProStaf is most certainly not a bad scope; however, the competition is awfully good and numerous.

Grizz Axxemann
10-20-2014, 10:50 PM
So I finally pulled the trigger on a new optic.

I went down to my preferred LGS, rifle in tow and had the Redfield, Burris and Vortex lined up. The Accu-range setup on the Redfield is really neat, but strikes me as being way too fiddly. I'd probably be better off with a regular crosshair. Just based on that, it was eliminated, simply because from my standpoint, it's an information overload on a quick shot.

The Vortex had brighter glass and a finer reticle. But the Burris just felt quicker to get on target. I literally sat there with the optics guy beside me going between both scopes seeing how fast I could get on target with them. Considering I'll be "setting it and forgetting it" the soft clicks on the Burris weren't the end of the world. In fact, the Redfield blew everyone out of the water in terms of the best turret knobs.

In the end, I went with the Burris Fullfield II with the Ballistic plex reticle. Only because it felt more intuitive. That being said, I'll more than likely pick up a higher magnification Vortex with the BDC reticle for my .223 in the spring, unless I fall head-over heels for the Burris and get another one. And I won't be counting the Redfield out yet either. I was very impressed with the glass.

I should also mention that the three scopes were separated by about $30, with the Vortex being the most expensive, and the Burris the cheapest. The Redfield literally split the middle.

JustBen
10-21-2014, 05:26 AM
I've been very happy with the one Burris that I own, granted it's more towards the high end of the range.

Strewth
10-21-2014, 10:03 AM
Yay, Burris! Not fancy, just works.

Grizz Axxemann
10-21-2014, 09:50 PM
I've been very happy with the one Burris that I own, granted it's more towards the high end of the range.

I can't afford high-dollar glass at the present time. Too many expensive hobbies, too many bills, too many deductions, not enough disposable income. I should start selling weed or something on the side to make some extra cash :P


Yay, Burris! Not fancy, just works.

Yep. This is true. The only thing I wasn't a fan of (and this was after the fact) is that flip up scope covers don't really work that well given that the whole eyepiece rotates when zooming. Thankfully I had and extra "scope bikini" that fit, albeit a tad big. I'll either find a use for the caps, or sell them at a discount.

Strewth
10-21-2014, 10:11 PM
Yep. This is true. The only thing I wasn't a fan of (and this was after the fact) is that flip up scope covers don't really work that well given that the whole eyepiece rotates when zooming. Thankfully I had and extra "scope bikini" that fit, albeit a tad big. I'll either find a use for the caps, or sell them at a discount.

True, although I just put the flip up in the position I used it most (4x, I think?), and found that opening it and then rotating to 9x if needed was not a big deal. I have a couple of scopes like this though, so maybe I'm settling?
It's a 3-9x40? I think I have the original scope bikini if you want it.

Grizz Axxemann
10-21-2014, 11:27 PM
True, although I just put the flip up in the position I used it most (4x, I think?), and found that opening it and then rotating to 9x if needed was not a big deal. I have a couple of scopes like this though, so maybe I'm settling?
It's a 3-9x40? I think I have the original scope bikini if you want it.

I tried that out and I found it got in the way. At higher magnification, it interfered with the bolt, and at lower magnification it blocked my left eye (or was it the other way around... either way, it was bugging me) so yeah, if it's cheap enough for a stamp, shoot me a PM.

Strewth
10-21-2014, 11:36 PM
I tried that out and I found it got in the way. At higher magnification, it interfered with the bolt, and at lower magnification it blocked my left eye (or was it the other way around... either way, it was bugging me) so yeah, if it's cheap enough for a stamp, shoot me a PM.
That makes sense, no point keeping it on if it bugs you. Now I'm going to have to pull that rifle out and see how I've got it.
I'll go root around my tickle trunk for the bee knee knee.:).

Grizz Axxemann
10-21-2014, 11:52 PM
Yep. That's how I figured it. Normally scope covers interfere with my ball cap, but these ones didn't. They just got in the way of everything else. I paid $13 each for them. I'll either find a use for them or pop them in the marketplace for $10.

762shooter
11-08-2014, 09:58 PM
So I finally pulled the trigger on a new optic.

I went down to my preferred LGS, rifle in tow and had the Redfield, Burris and Vortex lined up. The Accu-range setup on the Redfield is really neat, but strikes me as being way too fiddly. I'd probably be better off with a regular crosshair. Just based on that, it was eliminated, simply because from my standpoint, it's an information overload on a quick shot.

The Vortex had brighter glass and a finer reticle. But the Burris just felt quicker to get on target. I literally sat there with the optics guy beside me going between both scopes seeing how fast I could get on target with them. Considering I'll be "setting it and forgetting it" the soft clicks on the Burris weren't the end of the world. In fact, the Redfield blew everyone out of the water in terms of the best turret knobs.

In the end, I went with the Burris Fullfield II with the Ballistic plex reticle. Only because it felt more intuitive. That being said, I'll more than likely pick up a higher magnification Vortex with the BDC reticle for my .223 in the spring, unless I fall head-over heels for the Burris and get another one. And I won't be counting the Redfield out yet either. I was very impressed with the glass.

I should also mention that the three scopes were separated by about $30, with the Vortex being the most expensive, and the Burris the cheapest. The Redfield literally split the middle.

I just bought a Fullfield II this week. I haven't had a chance to shoot it yet but it seems good in terms of brightness and sharpness. I'm not worried about durability, they are well regarded for being durable. I got a smoking good deal on it, too.

saskcoyote306
11-09-2014, 03:59 PM
I just purchased a Sako A7 and came with a budget Burris E1 3-9 w/ ballistic plex and I have to say its nice glass for about $200. My other rifles have Zeiss Conquest 3.5-10x44's and its not far behind them and they were 3x the price. My only compaint is the thing fogs up so bad.

3MTA3
11-10-2014, 01:36 PM
The Burris scopes that I have/have owned are/were excellent.
Falcon Menace?- I have had those reccomended to me and have wondered if they are any good?

762shooter
11-11-2014, 07:27 PM
The Burris scopes that I have/have owned are/were excellent.
Falcon Menace?- I have had those reccomended to me and have wondered if they are any good?

I've read very good reports about the Falcon Menace 10x42 Tactical 30mm riflescope but I haven't heard much about the rest of their line. I'm also not sure that the Menace 10X is still available in Canada.

zulu
01-05-2015, 12:36 PM
Frontier firearms still brings in the 10x from time to time and about 300$