AR15.Com Archives
 The best varmint scope?
BSheppard  [Member]
9/16/2005 8:22:37 PM EST
I would like to spend about 500-600 on a good 18 to 25 power scope for my AR. It has a 24" barrel. and is 1/9. I have a Bushnell banner 6-18 I bought at wally world for about $150.00. It gets kinda milky in the 17-18 power. If you could let me know where you would shop for the scope also. Thanks for the help.
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UnSafe  [Member]
9/17/2005 2:30:47 AM EST
I'm slowly planning a AR Varmint rifle build, and as such, have no experience specific to such platform, but have used iron sighted M16/ M4's a bit and bolt varmint rigs out 400+- yds.
What I suggest is to go to whatever Gun Shops are in your area and compare the "Candidates" side by side for yourself. No matter what anyone claims is a great long range optic, if the sight pic looks crappy, it is crap.

Suggest going no higher than 6-24x( or lower). Generally, the higher the magnification, the quirkier the image. Try looking through a Leupold VX III 6-24x as a starting point. Compare the other scopes to it. Some may be crisper, most will not.

Another consideration is overall size. If the bell is large, it will require elevated mounts to clear the barrel. Ar a certain point, this may screw with your stock/ cheek weld. If the rig is for daylight varmint shooting, the huge 60+mm bells are overkill.

Last, calculate the trajectory/ drop at your max expected range. Ensure that there's enough adjustment.

Beyond that, durability, warranty, ergonomics, aesthetics, brand loyalty, etc..
But if the sight pic looks crappy, it is crap.

For a decent catalog and very nice prices on high end demo models, check SWFA at www.riflescopes.com
cooter  [Member]
9/17/2005 3:21:09 AM EST
since a varmit rig is a varmit rig, I have a 6.5x20 lupy on my swift, at 20 power,it is amazingly clear, there was a time that we were counting thorns on a berry bush at 200yds one day,,the sun was just right that they just stood out, also take a look at the options that are available from www.premierreticles.com/ these guys have some nice reticles,

IMHO you cant go wrong with a leupold,,
nhsport  [Team Member]
9/17/2005 3:25:39 AM EST
Whenever the words "best" and "scope" appear the first thing to pop into my mind is LEUPOLD .
There are other great scopes out there but when you look at guality,availability,warranty and resale value
Leupold is about the top of the pile . They are about the only scope I would consider buying used .
I walked into the local big discount toystore about a year ago and saw a Leupold Vari-X III 6.5x20 40mm
sitting in the used pistol case with a $295 tag on it. It was clear and clean with just a couple of light ring marks on it. By the time I squinted through it there were three other guys fighting over who was "next" if I didn't want it .
Look in Industry under Optics. I have bought from SWFA in the past and they are super fast and usually have pretty good prices . If you or someone you know get a discount from Midway (midwayusa.com) they will sometimes beat SWFA's price by a small margin. I have a C&R and have bought my last couple of scopes with it at Midway.
Midway has become my most favored toystore,they have decent prices anyhow and with my C&R "dealer discount" they are usually the cheepest around. Good service,good easy to use websight,fast shipping,and reasonable shipping .
The 6.5x20 is overkill for my standard barrell uppers but is fun at the bench and has the clarity and power to see 5.56 holes on a clean target @ 200. With the Ceiner and rimfire ammo you watch the bullet from 50 yards on out to the target. You wouldn't believe how much those little slow moveing pills get blown around by the wind .
On a varmint type gun I would expect you would have no trouble seeing rock chuck size critters way on out there. A 20X Leupold brings a whole new meaning to the "if I can see it I can hit (kill) it" claim!
SteelonSteel  [Member]
9/17/2005 4:20:48 AM EST
fist choice is Leopold vari x III for varmints. I also have leopold tactical vxII and vari IIIs but I like the regular adjustment knobs better. Unless I get a steal on something, I buy Leopold. Check out gunshops cases for used scopes and don't be afraid to ask if they'll take a used one off a used rifle. Don't pay anything close to new price for one but you may be surpised at the deals you can get this way. A friend of mine got a steal on a swarovski that way, lucky baastid. The dealer needed cash to pay bills too.

i have several and love them
i also have nikon which is as good, but a little touchier as far as eye relief
i also have a bausch and lomb elite 4000 6-24, it was very good and i stole it at midmay, it's not quite as good as the other two but the price difference more than made up for it. It is plenty good for sunny day shooting

I also have a, hides face, tasco 6-24 I bought when i was in school. No it's not as clear but it always worked perfect except it's fine crosshairs would disappear in lowlight. I replace it with the bausch and lomb. I haven't sold, traded, or given it away.
Fenian  [Team Member]
9/17/2005 6:34:14 AM EST
I have Weaver Grand Slam on my .22-250. It's as clear, bright and sharp as any Vari X 3 I've looked through...even at 20x. I have a buddy from my range who has several Vari X 3s, and he says he thinks the GS is better.

Mine's a 6x20x40 with the fine crosshairs. I can see how the crosshairs would be difficult to see in low light conditions, but they make this scope with at least one other reticle, a duplex iirc.

For $335 or so, it's a great buy. I bought this scope 2 years ago...I called SWFA, and asked them for the best scope I could buy for $400. I was actually thinking of a Leupold, but the guy I talked to at SWFA suggested the GS. The prices haven't gone up at all as far as I know, so it remains a really good deal.
BSheppard  [Member]
9/17/2005 9:01:37 AM EST
What do you think about a super sniper 20X42 30mm?
eklikwhoa  [Team Member]
9/17/2005 10:58:18 AM EST

Originally Posted By BSheppard:
What do you think about a super sniper 20X42 30mm?




the 20x imo is too much.


there will be heat mirage problems if it gets hot enough in your area
fixed magnification would hinder "searching" for the varmints, especially the 20x
i would go with 10x



again this is just my opinion, my .02
cooter  [Member]
9/17/2005 2:26:45 PM EST
second what eklikwhoa said,
I was looking at a 16x -M1,MK4 yrs back before everything became a MK4, I set one of my variables at 16 for a while, found that I could not use that magnification as much as I thought, in a straight power that is, either I had too much mirage in the scope, or too narrow of view,
thats why I m a believer in the 6.5x20, you can have the best of both worlds,,
357sig  [Member]
9/17/2005 4:05:07 PM EST
In your price range you should consider the VII 6-18X40 Leupold fine plex with target turrets. At $450.00 you will have enough left for mounts. I have a 6-20X50 VIII Leupold on a RRA Varminter and the above mentioned VII on a CZ 527 Varminter and Savage 110FP. In pratical Varmint hunting ranges I see little advantage to the VIII over the VII.
ker2222  [Member]
9/18/2005 5:00:22 AM EST
For starters, for me at least, after about 20minutes shooting on the prairies I have never had my scope higher than 14x magnification and usually more like 12x. Prairie dogs love the heat and open spaces which translates into horrible mirage, especailly once the barrel heats up even a little.

As to brand, between me and my prairie doggin partners, I've shot with or looked through lots of different varmint scopes. Even so, ever time I go to buy a new scope, it becomes a stressful experience. For most of us, a serious varmint scope represents serious money and lots of times we won't have the opportunity to put our hands on some of these scopes let alone shoot with them before we buy them. For me, here's teh decision making process I use:
1. Pick a popular (carried by lots of places) "bench-mark" scope. For varminting, the Leupold VX-III provides a good bench rest. There seems to be a consensus on the various boards and amongst shooter that the VX-III's are good scopes at not outragous prices from a company that has great customer service. So, to me, its a good bench mark.
2. Go to a store and take a look through or borrow a VX-III. Get a sense of its optics and functions.
3. Then, shop around and read the million Leupold vs. Brand X Scopes threads that are out there and see how they stack-up.
4. Decide what price/quality/feature combination works for you using the Leupold as sort-of the bench-mark baseline.

Using this process, I have ended up sometimes buying leupolds but, frankly, my varmint rifles now have non-leupold scopes on them. I love my Burris Signature with the ballistic-plex reticle. It is not as clear as a leupold, I beleive. But, there was not a $200 difference in clarity and the ballistic plex reticle works great for my rifle, load and shooting style. A Zeiss Conquest was my main varmint scope for a while. I thought it was optically better than the leupold and I liked its knobs better. It was in the same price range as the leupold--so I went with that one. More important, for me at least, is that I sleep easy with my purchases becasue I followed a process at least before I spent....

Varmint scopes I have liked: Below the "Nightforce/S&B" price point
Leupold VX-III.
Burris Signature w/ballistic plex reticle. If you can get this reticle to work-out for you, it is impossible to beat in my opinion
Zeiss Conquest
Weaver Grand Slam

The SUper Snipers are great scopes but not necessarily for varmints, IMHO. I like a variable power. 20x is way too much BTW

BSheppard  [Member]
9/18/2005 10:54:52 AM EST
Thanks for all the help. I'm closer to picking one now. I think Leupold VX III might be my best bet. Is there a place where someone got a great deal? New or used?
ker2222  [Member]
9/18/2005 11:01:24 AM EST
try the ee here. They are popular enough that you should be able to come across a nice used one fairly regularly.
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