AR15.Com Archives
 3x20 and/or 4x20 colt scopes
tireur-du-25  [Member]
12/6/2006 8:11:18 AM
Hi everybody,

first of all, a few words to introduce me (as it is my first post here !) :
I'm a french sportshooter (mainly handgun at the beginning) who is discovering Rifles since our shooting federation build a new championship witch aim to allow "old rifles" reaching competitions (ordonnance weapons competition : TAR in french, for "Tir aux armes règlementaires"). As i've always been crazy about WWII weapons and guns in general, this has been for me a nice way to take my old lee enfield N°4 out of dust !
As AR15's became more and more present on podiums, i'm buying one of these nice and famous rifles (not only bruce willis will hold one, but me also ! ). It is also a kid's dream i finaly reach ! My black rifle is a Colt Sporter A2, in 222Rem caliber (civilian weapon, but need a governmental authorisation to buy one anyway... ).

I aim to buy a genuine Colt scope 3x20 to have an authentic configuration. I see that two kind of scopes can be found : the 3x20 and the 4x20.
Can someone explain me differences between those two scopes (except the optical enlarging of course ), and their history : witch one is older, where were they used (militay troops, specialized units...). is there a difference in quality ?

Thanks a lot for any information about it (maybe specialized web sites ?),
...and i apologize if my english is sometimes...special !

Olivier (France).
QUIB  [Moderator]
12/6/2006 8:45:04 AM
Well I don’t have any info for you regarding Colt scopes, but I just wanted to welcome you to the Retro Forum and to AR15.com!

Quib
Retro Forum Moderator
Bumblebee_Bob  [Team Member]
12/6/2006 11:12:54 AM
Welcome aboard Oliver!

I can't help you much on your question about the scopes but I believe the 3x scope is the older type. As you say, the biggest difference between the two is the magnification.
innocent_bystander  [Team Member]
12/6/2006 11:25:00 AM
I think the non-illuminated ones all came from Hakko in Japan. The illuminated ones came from C-More here in the US.

Another great retroish scope is the Beeman.
georgejetson  [Member]
12/6/2006 12:55:05 PM
Only the early 3x was orininaly made in the States (not many),all the ones with the phillip head mouning screws was made in japan and all the 4x was made in japan,as far as the optics well you know 4x is better than 3x
5D15  [Member]
12/6/2006 2:02:31 PM
I know the question was regarding the Colt scopes (which to my understanding were indeed made by Hakko in Japan) but they're getting rather pricey these days. Regardless of vintage or magnification they end up going for $250 to $350 on E-bay these days, it seems.

CDNN has Hakko made AR style scopes that are nearly identical to the Colt labeled units, save for a few cosmetic touches, and the basic 4x model is on sale for about $70.00.
DakotaFAL  [Member]
12/6/2006 3:16:42 PM
I never saw any Colt scopes in military service but I have owned a couple over the last 2 decades.

Both were 4x and one had a cross hair reticle while the other had a tapered post reticle. The post was nice, but the multi-plex crosshair was more precise and was effective as a range finder.

I'll second the suggestion to get a Hakko built scope through CDNN or some other vendor rather than spend 3 or 4 times more money on a used Colt, unless you just have to have one with a pony painted on it.

For optimmum accuracy and repeatability after dismounting and remounting, you may find that you want to bed the base to the carry handle - another reason to get a hakko.
45Bravo  [Member]
12/6/2006 5:13:22 PM
Even though I'm a fairly new member I'd like to welcome you to the retro forum. I've found a definite place among black rifle enthusiasts here and hope that you will too. I'd also like to add that you have a rifle that is rather rare in the US. I'd love to add one of the .222 rifles to my collection. I recall that even the magazine floorplates were marked .222 for those rifles. The first time I ever saw one I was told that it was designed for export to countries that didn't allow military or NATO calibers in sporting rifles. I wish I'd bought the only one I've ever seen but maybe one day I'll run across another.

Now, on to your questions.

Like the rest of us that posted, I'm seriously lacking information about this excellent accessory. I have a 3X version and it is a pleasure to own. It works very well on the standard 20 inch rifle but also just as well on the carbine. I haven't really tried to mess with the ranging adjustment during use because most of my shooting is limited to 150 yards and in. Still, picking off soda cans at those ranges is easy with this scope. I picked mine up several years ago for around $175 US. I've seen several recently for $250 and up. The 4X is just a tad better in magnification but I'm glad that I got the 3X because it seems to go better with my retro rifles. I still have the original white box with gold lettering but can't recall if it has any instruction manual with it. It came with a pair of Bushwhacker flip up yellow lens covers that absolutely distort the crystal clear image produced by the factory glass. I have but little information to offer so I thought I'd share a few pictures of mine.







tireur-du-25  [Member]
12/7/2006 3:27:06 AM
Thanks to you all.

45bravo, i can confirm that the 3x20 comes with lens caps and manual in its white box (with gold letters)....because i missed on on ebay recently !
these scopes are quit expensive in my opinion (even if it become rare), in particular for us, in Europe, because of shipping costs (US - France) that are around 20-50 $ depending on the shipping company.

hum...deal for 250$ shipping include ?
ho ! not for sale ? sorry...

Nambu  [Member]
12/7/2006 4:46:44 AM
Hi and welcome aboard. I have some info on these scopes.The first ones had just the fine cross hair and were stamp made in USA on the bottom with colt embossed on the top side.They came in red box with black lettering and a silhouette picture of the scope on the lid in the same black ink. They also had the Colt Industries symbol on the box end.These were the 3x-20 scopes.This was around 1965 I believe(I am away from all my data and scopes at this time). These were only produced here for a short time, then they went to Japan and are so marked , with Colt still embossed on the top. there they changed to the multiplex crosshair, but the boxes continued to stay marked the same, untill they started producing the white box with gold lettering (80's ?)and also the 4x scopes.
HTH , Nambu
Old_Cop  [Member]
1/5/2007 2:56:44 PM

Originally Posted By DakotaFAL:
I'll second the suggestion to get a Hakko built scope through CDNN or some other vendor rather than spend 3 or 4 times more money on a used Colt, unless you just have to have one with a pony painted on it.

For optimmum accuracy and repeatability after dismounting and remounting, you may find that you want to bed the base to the carry handle - another reason to get a hakko.


I ordered one today, having just returned a chinese pos to my local dealer. Look forward to trying it on my HBAR.
threepdr  [Member]
1/5/2007 5:13:38 PM
Olivier,

A belated welcome to the forum. I'm an infrequent poster here. I'm not Bruce Willis, but did carry a M16a1 for many years as a Army Infantry officer. As far as "authentic configurations" go you do not need a scope if you intend to emulate a military M16A1. In my 13 years of service (1979 - 1992) I never saw an M16 with any kind of optics. If fact we tended to believe in those days that other armies who used optics did so because they had poor marksmanship. The scopes you mention, I would assume, were more for civilian use and had no standard so any scope that fits your need would be "authentic".

The modern Army has gotten over its pride and now realizes that optics produce more hits down range. Most of what they use now are red dot or other more advanced optics, most of which offer no magnification, but an excellent prallax free sighting system.

I use a Aimpoint redot scope on my M4 carbine and even with these 50 year old eyes I can hit what I'm aiming at much better than with open sights.

Again, Welcome
back40  [Member]
1/7/2007 5:37:41 PM
45Bravo,

Any idea on manufacturing dates on your scope?

I've got just like the one you have in your pictures, except the lens caps are solid, not flip up, are made of what appears to be textured vinyl, and are held on the scope by an elastic band between them.

I also have another 3x20 that has the lens caps as you do, but the logo is the slightly more modern style with thicker print.

captrichardson  [Team Member]
1/7/2007 9:34:45 PM
Sorry to be late to this one, missed it the first time around.

Thanks to everyone for the info, I don't have near as much info on these as I would like, but here is what I have:

MILITARY USE:
No question they were used by Military Personnel as the pictures below show. However I am not sure if they were “USGI” (Govt Issue), “COTS” (Commercial Off The Shelf) at the unit level, or just “Personal Purchase”? I am sure there were some personal purchases, not sure about the Official Govt Supply Channels?

VIETNAM:







1970's-1980's










--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MODELS:
Per above there is:
COLT 4X20 - WHITE BOX





COLT 3X20 - RED BOX







COLT 3X20 - WHITE BOX







Unfortunately I am not 100% on the details!

I wanted to research these more, fortunately this topic came about, so hopefully it will develop further!

If you have any more info please jump in, thanks again,
"Capt Richardson"
QUIB  [Moderator]
1/7/2007 9:48:32 PM

Originally Posted By Old_Cop:
I ordered one today, having just returned a chinese pos to my local dealer. Look forward to trying it on my HBAR.


I was recently indirectly chastised in the optics forum for criticizing the cheap Colt copies.

My understanding was that the Hakko’s made in Japan were ok, but could be hit or miss. The Hakko’s made in China were understood to be cheap garbage.
back40  [Member]
1/7/2007 9:57:03 PM

Originally Posted By captrichardson:

COLT 3X20 - WHITE BOX




Thanks for those pics. Those are exactly the scope covers I was trying to describe earlier. I also have that instruction manual. Woot! Nice to know they are original.
fxntime  [Team Member]
1/9/2007 6:21:21 PM
Interesting thread. I have a 3X a 4X and a Colt Tasco 3x9 carry handle armored one. That one is larger and uses A Colt/ARMs M16 marked base.
twonami  [Team Member]
1/9/2007 6:25:31 PM
just picked up a illuminated Hakko unit



rlc  [Member]
1/9/2007 8:21:43 PM
Capt,

the scope in the 6th pic down, the one with the soldier holding the scope as a monocular, looks more like an AR180 scope, with some type of base attached to it so it would fit an AR-15


your thoughts?

captrichardson  [Team Member]
1/10/2007 4:18:31 PM

Originally Posted By rlc:
Capt,
the scope in the 6th pic down, the one with the soldier holding the scope as a monocular, looks more like an AR180 scope, with some type of base attached to it so it would fit an AR-15

your thoughts?



Good Catch ric!

No question that is not a "standard" Colt AR15/M16 "setup".

I am not familiar enough with the "180 setup" to say if that is what it is, but I guess that could be a possibility.

I am going to check around with some team members to see if anyone might have any ideas. The individual pictured was with 12th Group, and the picture was from 1986.

I am trying to think if the scope could have been mounted on something else, and then moved to an M16? I can't think of anything off the top of my head.


The 8th photo down (last of the military personnel ones) also has me scratching my head? That photo is supposed to be a Ranger Patrol, which the "Ranger Rolled" BDU Caps would support, however there are a number of things that stick out.

1. The "Pointman" has what should be a Colt 653 Carbine, however it has a Slickside Upper, which would make it something else (like a USAF Carbine). Whether it is a Colt Model 654, or possibly a rebuilt Colt Model 649 / USAF GUU-5A/A, I don't know?

2. The "Pointman" also has a "standard set" of Carbine Handguards, but he has what appears to be a AN/PEQ-2 mounted on them? I have seen this done before, but not very often.

3. They all appear to be wearing vests, not LBE? No question the Ranger Batts have vests, but that would make this a pretty recent photo, which would make me ask then why are they carrying "A1 Carbines", versus M4 Carbines, if this is a more recent photo?

4. The last individual pictured appears to have some type of Medium to High Power Scope mounted to his carry handle?

To me this photo has a lot of "unanswered" questions? If this is actual US Army Rangers, it would not surprise me if this was not a "Staged" promo photo with some "prop weapons". It would also not surprise me if this turned out to be a bunch of the Infamous Airsoft Operators.

I did finally find out that one of the other questionable photos that I had of a SF Team Member with a Slickside Carbine, was actually a staged photo where they used a civilian SP1. One of the giveaways on that one was the missing sear pin on the carbine.

Looking at the Pointman's Carbine, I can't say for sure, but it does not appear to have a sear pin?


I can almost say that I have about seen it all, so not much would surprise me!

Thanks,
"Capt Richardson"
45Bravo  [Member]
1/10/2007 5:04:59 PM

Originally Posted By back40:
45Bravo,

Any idea on manufacturing dates on your scope?

I've got just like the one you have in your pictures, except the lens caps are solid, not flip up, are made of what appears to be textured vinyl, and are held on the scope by an elastic band between them.

I also have another 3x20 that has the lens caps as you do, but the logo is the slightly more modern style with thicker print.



I have no idea on the date of manufacture. Possibly late 70's or early 80's. I saw a used one just like it at the gun show this past weekend. White box, 3X20, made in Japan, and with the fake leather caps you describe. The asking price was $350. Unfortunately I'd already spent all my money.
Sharpshooter  [Member]
1/11/2007 3:02:48 AM
The original Colt 3x20 scopes were made by Realist. Later on they were the made by Hakko , Tasco and C More (70's ,80's and 90's). AFAIK the only scope made for Colt by Tasco was the Delta Scope of which I still have off my Delta Rifle, however I have read information that Tasco made some of the 4x scopes as well. I have a smattering of the various optics that have carried the Colt name on them. I will say that although I am partial to the early Realist models. Optically the Hakko is a better unit and usually has better eye relief. I would stay far far away from the Leapers models as they are usually crap.
innocent_bystander  [Team Member]
1/11/2007 8:22:17 AM
Back in the early 90s I recall seeing and handling some Colt style carry handle scopes marked Lightforce (Australian parent company of Nightforce). I remember them being made in Japan and of what appeared to be very high quality.

Not sure if they were different or maybe they were just adding their name to the Hakko scopes?
E.r.i.k  [Member]
1/11/2007 12:29:13 PM
captain, they were commercial off the shelf
Flash66  [Member]
1/11/2007 2:56:21 PM

Originally Posted By innocent_bystander:
Back in the early 90s I recall seeing and handling some Colt style carry handle scopes marked Lightforce (Australian parent company of Nightforce). I remember them being made in Japan and of what appeared to be very high quality.

Not sure if they were different or maybe they were just adding their name to the Hakko scopes?


I have one of those Nightforce carry handle scopes and it is of very high quality. The one I have is marked Nightforce but the paperwork and box is from Lightforce.

I picked it up off the EE last year from a kid for $50. I don't think he knew what he had. Probably the best deal I have ever made.
rlc  [Member]
1/11/2007 11:54:52 PM

Originally Posted By captrichardson:

Originally Posted By rlc:
Capt,
the scope in the 6th pic down, the one with the soldier holding the scope as a monocular, looks more like an AR180 scope, with some type of base attached to it so it would fit an AR-15

your thoughts?



Good Catch ric!

No question that is not a "standard" Colt AR15/M16 "setup".

I am not familiar enough with the "180 setup" to say if that is what it is, but I guess that could be a possibility.


Looking at the Pointman's Carbine, I can't say for sure, but it does not appear to have a sear pin?


I can almost say that I have about seen it all, so not much would surprise me!

Thanks,
"Capt Richardson"



really hard to tell if it has a sear or not, looks to me like a speck under the upper, just over the safety, however the pic doesn't have enough detail for me to see,

however

a couple of pics of my AR18 scope, (marked armalite) and the 3x20 colt,
Armalite scope only mounts on a AR18 or AR180, notice how the mount flares like the one in the pic,, this scope also has the inverted post and crosshair




i have the original white box for the Colt, and while taking pix, i noticed i have the original paperwork in the bottom of the box, along with the instructions, i have a warrenty card (more like a statement) saying Bushnell or Bausch & Lomb holds the limited lifetime warrenty,,,

scope is marked japan on the under side,,,
any body else have such a thing??
E.r.i.k  [Member]
1/12/2007 1:16:05 AM

Originally Posted By rlc:
scope is marked japan on the under side,,,
any body else have such a thing??


yep. Thats the same thing I have seen...
I have also have used non japan marked ones.

Erik
curt  [Team Member]
2/18/2007 11:53:17 AM
I have a colt 3x20 with a sticker on the underside which states that it passed some sort of japanese qa/qc for riflescopes.

can anyone point me to soeplace where i can download a manual for this thing? I zero'd it yesterday by rotating the range knob all the way up but did not have any luck on setting the windage.
Morg308  [Team Member]
2/19/2007 5:34:45 PM

Originally Posted By fxntime:
Interesting thread. I have a 3X a 4X and a Colt Tasco 3x9 carry handle armored one. That one is larger and uses A Colt/ARMs M16 marked base.


Any pics of the Colt/Tasco scope? I'm wondering if the armored Delta scope is pretty much the same as the common Tasco armored scopes with a Colt logo on it. Nawww - Colt would never do that...