Posted: 8/14/2011 5:49:55 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/14/2011 7:32:15 PM EST by Zhukov]
Unfortunately, I forgot to mark the original thread as "do not archive", so it got eaten by the archive server. I've reposted the old info out of the original thread.
PLEASE KEEP THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES IN MIND WHEN POSTING IN THIS THREAD:
NOTE: Please keep in mind that this is about inexpensive (aka "cheap") optics. THEY ARE PRIMARILY FOR PLINKING/DUTY USE.
Posted: 8/14/2011 5:55:24 PM EST
squirrelslayer1: I purchased a 4-16x50 Centerpoint scope from Walmart. It has held its zero in.223 for many rounds. The glass is fairly good unless you zoom it to the max. I paid about 60 dollars for it.
bybon: I like two that have worked well for me. First is a Swift. My 2X pistol scope resides on a Mosin 91/59. It has taken the recoil of that little beast without any indication of trouble. I think I paid a little over one hundred. The second, is a Micro Dot 2 X 7. It has pretty good clarity, is light weight and has a one MOA dot. I have used it on a FAL and it works well. I think I paid about two hundred ten years ago.
jjc155: I have a Mueller APV (All purpose varible objective) in a larue mount for my AR that I use for Coyote's. I have other Mueller scopes too on other guns. IMHO Mueller is one of, if not the best budget glass out there.
Sorry. The four mueller scopes that I own (2 APV one on an AR and one on a 17hmr, Multishot on my .50 ML and a quick shot on my turkey gun). All the glass has been very clear and bright even at higher magnification. They have all held their zero's including the one on my Muzzleloader that has about 300 rounds heavy load rounds through it. No problems with reticles. The Mulitshot has a lighted red dot at the center of the reticle which is nice during low light deer hunting.
The price was the original factor when I initially looked into them but the quality is what has brought me back.
Mueller Multi Shot2x7x32
year purchased: 2007
firearm mounted on: Thompson Center Triumph .50cal ML
number of rounds through firearm with scope mounted: 300ish
Uses: (ie range/hunting etc):Deer Hunting.
Mueller Quick Shot reflex
year purchased: 2006
firearm mounted on: Remington 870 12ga
number of rounds through firearm with scope mounted: 200ish
Uses: (ie range/hunting etc): Turkey Hunting.
Mueller APV 4.5-14x40
year purchased: 2008
firearm mounted on: Savage .17hmr
number of rounds through firearm with scope mounted: 1000ish
Uses: (ie range/hunting etc) Hunting, Plinking and target.
Mueller APV 4.5-14x40
year purchased: 2009
amount paid: 120ish
firearm mounted on: RRA AR15 via a Larue QD LT104
number of rounds through firearm with scope mounted: 500ish
Uses: (ie range/hunting etc) Coyote hunting.
tpsoken: I've been plenty happy with my 6.5x20x50mm Simmons White Tail Classic on my 10-22. $109.99 from Midway right now (I think it was $125ish when I bought mine), clear glass all the way out to full magnification, parralax adjustible down to 30 ft., tool-less1/4 MOA adjustments, matte wrinkle black finish, available in MIL-DOT (mine isn't, didn't know much about reticles when I bought it 5 or 6 years ago), has held zero for thousands rimfire rounds , and has a lifetime warranty.
blwallace5: Primary Arms M3. This unit is priced at $69 for the optic, $79 if you want Primary Arms to include a mount suitable for use on an ar15. The low mount included in the $69 is not high enough to give a cheek weld.
The unit was extremely easy to zero, and has not had to be adjusted yet after 300 rounds. It comes with 7 brightness settings, in my experience 3-7 will be the most useful in normal daytime uses. Leaving the battery on brightness level 3, the batteries lasted two weeks, or about 336 hours before starting to dim. Will update with all other useful daytime brightness settings when done testing.
i picked up an osprey 3-9x42 scope with a bullet drop compensator.
the glass looks really good, and it feels very solid and well made. i feel like i can beat a person to death with it and the manufacture has a "full no fault warranty." this scope is way superior than my tasco scopes.
but to be fair i have not really tried out the bullet drop compensator turret. this is the first scope i have with a turret and i have not attempted to shoot further than 100 yards.
i have put about 200 rounds through it and so far so good. if i needed another inexpensive and nice scope i would seriously consider another based upon the one i have now.
you can find these on amazon and other gun accessory sites for about 125-150$
9mm4me: Primary arms 3-9x40. I am replacing a bushnell trophy 3-9x40 with the primary arms scope and it makes the bushnell look like the lenses are smeared with Vaseline in comparison. The difference between these 2 scopes at 3x is huge, at 9x it's staggering. The PA just flat out has nice glass.
What I really like:
Overall solid feel
Comes with a mount or rings for $80
What I don't like:
Mil-dots aren't calibrated correctly. Per Marshall, the reticle is calibrated for 10x, the scope only goes to 9x...You may be able to figure something out at a lower power and double it or just use them for holdovers
Eye relief gets more sensitive and needs a closer position at max magnification
It's threaded for a sunshade, but who knows what it will take to find one that fits
My personal opinion is if you looking in the $100 range at BSA, Simmons, low-end Bushnell, Tasco, etc, just don't. Get this scope instead!
Posted: 8/14/2011 5:59:35 PM EST
I had good luck with a Tasco red dot. I gave it to a friend once I bought better glass, but it held zero and battery life was ok.
I haven't tried any scopes, but Bushnell makes great rugged binoculars, so I don't think their rifle scopes would be half bad either. Tasco is owned by Bushnell.
Posted: 8/14/2011 6:00:59 PM EST
jimlostt: I am in the middle of a test of a Vortex Sparc. I am using it on my Lage m10 and after I run it for 3000 round on FA then I am moving it to my FA NFC and after 1500 rounds on that I wil finish my testing.
so far it has 600 rounds on FA 45 and it has been holding up no shift in POA and im pretty happy with it so far.
Saintless: I still think IMO one of the best options out there when it comes to a decent low priced scope is the Vortex 6-24x50 from SWFA ($99).
Glass is clearer than most in this price range, and my son has been using on my 18" rifle for over the last 6 months with no issues - Approx 800 rds.
dogbutter99: i am having pretty good 'luck' with leapers 1x4 long eye relief.
glass is not super clear like my burris..
some fish eye
not entirely sure if this can be a combat item (i doubt it).. i would have to rely on my iron sights.
set zero capability
long eye relief
allows lots of head movement
i have shot way past 1500 rounds with it now.. had it about 2 months.. no issues..
it's on primary arms rings.. and holds zero after re-attaching..
BiggerStick47: One of the best low end scopes on the market is the Nikon Buckmaster 4.5-14 mil-dot. While I use them on my .22s primarily, I have used them on 5.56 and .308 guns without issue. They track well and have relatively good glass.
Matt_Krush: Bushnell XTL trophy DOA250 on my H&R 12g slug gun. 3x9x40. Really clear, 5' eye relief...Supposed to be built for .375 HK magnum loads
Probably paid $140..
shadowcop: I wrote a review on the UTG 1.25-4X scope.
I've also been testing a UTG 3-12 X with parallax adjustment. So far so good. Main complaint is the cross hairs are thicker than I like.
Just a heads up. UTG is moving thier Optics Line to the U.S. next year. UTG Optics will be U.S. made by U.S. workers.
Don't see that too often any more.
I have Two Mueller scopes. One is a 3-10 Sport Dot. I've had it mounted on several weapons. It's one of my favorites.
Second is a Tactical Mil Dot 8-5-25. It's not as clear as the Sport Dot but has been a reliable scope also. Used on a 16" Bull Barrelled 5.56 for 200 yard shots and 2 .22's for precision groups, mostly due the the adjustable objective.
brasidas: I have one of the Bushnell Elite 3200 2-7x32 scopes on AR carbine. It has very nice glass, is made in Japan, and has a lifetime warranty. It seems really rugged. I have had it for about 3 years and have never had any problem with it. I use an RRA mount. They are $150 right now from Natchez. The 3-9x40 version is $140. It is a great scope.
Another reasonably priced quality scope is the Weaver V series. The 2-7x32 is about the same price as the 3200. The 3-9x38 is a little cheaper, but I have never tried that one. The glass is not quite as nice as the 3200, but is still good, and the reticle is a little thin. It is lighter and more compact than the 3200. It is also made in Japan.
This is a 1-4x Leatherwood CMR. The glass is extremely clear and bright, but magnification is closer to 1.1-4. It definitely provided me with much higher optical quality than I expected for a $250 optic. The downside is the very small eyebox, but this is manageable with a solid cheek weld and good practice. Its illumination is functional in near darkness without flooding the tube. Though not technically daylight visable, the green illumination can be seen against dark targets if you wish to use it during daylight hours, against bright targets the reticle is seen as black which is fine by me. I have not tested the hold over marks past 200 yards formally, but they seem quite functional out to about 400, and I have not shot past that. The turret design is easy to set up and is very solid. Adjustments are positive and they track accurately and are repeatably. As usual, the flip up caps included feel cheap and probably won't last, but unusually they fold nearly ask the way down when open. This tiny feature is enough to make me call the company and order more from them should I need a replacement set.
For ~$250 this is a great value. I guess at that price point it starts approaching the mid price range, but if you can swing it, it is deformity worth a look. The biggest negative by far is the tiny eyebox, and if that is important to you don't buy this. For me it is fine, and I don't see any reason to replace this scope until funds for a significant upgrade are found. I decided to try this after having a Millett DMS which is functional but large, heavy, and has the glass of a dirty fishbowl.
Posted: 8/14/2011 6:05:30 PM EST
BDA: I've had good success shooting my Benelli MR1 rifle using a Vortex Sparc.... several hundreds of rounds, cold temps (michigan.. 8 degrees last range trip). So far, great battery life.. easy to use... quality mount... no loss of zero. Cost was $199 at AIM surplus.
I've also mounted a Lucid HD7 on my ACR, with excellent results to date. So far, one range trip for about 400 rounds rifed after zero... again, cold michigan weather, with good brightness (auto brightness feature works very well) and very little loss of zero when changing reticle styles. Maybe 1-2 MOA to the right of "zero" for my dot, when switching to the crosshair reticle.
Both work very well... and at $175 shipped, the Lucid looks to be a great deal for an entry level red dot.
lightguy: Natchez shooting supply has a sale on their Nitrex line plus a $50 or $100 rebate.
In all honesty I have not recieved the scope yet HOWEVER I have done extensive research, read all the reveiws on this scope (mine is a 2x10 50MM etched reticle) and came to the conclusion this is a slam dunk. A $600 dollar scope for $180 final cost. Even at $600 it has been said to compare to the very best and more costly premium scopes.
I screwed around long enough that the 3x15's etched were gone.
Got this in yesterday. I opted for a shade as well for $16 extra on sale. Used 1" tall 6 screw Weaver rings for my 20" bull barrel with a DPMS alloy tube handguard.Nice cheap rings.
The scope just clears when a Bultler creek lens protector is on.
Scope had to pushed forward to the first picatiny notch to allow proper focus.
Scope glass is very nice. Reticle looks usefull. The BDC supplied chart starts at .223 so its compatible. Japanese components and build.
Clicks are 1/4" and the tube is only 1" but I'd rather have a 1" quality scope than a 30mm cheapo.
I have a stupid money Leupold on a .50 BMG single shot and yes I would say the Nitrex compares. Not exactly but very nice.
ArmaNotSoLite: I bought a Lucid optic for $250 when they were first introduced. It came as a 1x, but had a 2x screw on magnifier that came with it. It was a nice piece for a cheap CQB type weapon. I sold it to my buddy a bit ago because he needed a cheap optic for his new Stag.
Here's the link to my review on Gunkings. Its fairly in depth, and I hope it helps. Lucid HD-7
TheRealMags: I have had good luck with the Millet 1-4x DMS on a 20 inch AR. I also am impressed with the CenterPoint 4-16x mil dot from Walmart.
Opinion: Good budget scope, for $60 at walmart is actually very nice and will hold up to recoil. I have never heard of these breaking from reasonable recoil (as in not mounting it to a .50BMG)
Rifles: Mounted to Mosin nagant for 40 rounds, and held up fine, now on my father's AR-15.
Optics: Ok on lower powers, past 12x it becomes hazy even in the most perfect conditions. Illumination is nice, adjustments are ok, and the adjustable paralax is a great feature
Opinion: This scope continues to impress me. It was $154 originally but many places that carry it also have 15% off coupons making it a great deal. This scope is very nice, and NOTHING like the ones found at walmart. They are in a different "class"
Rifles: Mounted to my 5.56 18" SPR. I have shot .44 moa 5 shot groups at 100 yards using this scope. I also dropped it on a screw driving leaving a small dent, but it works fine.
Optics: Much clearer then walmart one I previously mentioned. It has a 30mm tube which allows more light. The scope stays clear and bright through its magnification range. I have the side adjustable parrallax version which is VERY nice. The only downside is the markings for distance are definetly off. It may be my bad vision, but to be parallax free at my local 100 yard range I have to set it at 270 yards. The adjustments are right on, and have locking rings. The parrallax adjust works well to focus at any range though. Looking at a house 350m away I was able to focus to see the detail in the bricks on the chimney, and successfully used the mil dots to estimate the range within 10m
-Side note.... The only thing I do not like about this scope is that because it is compact the availible space of the tube for putting rings on is very small, no one piece mounts such as LaRue of ADM mounts will fit it as they are around 1/4" too long.
Opinion: This is a solid 30mm scope. Because it is fixed power it is extremely "bright" I got it for $99 shipped and I think its worth double that. The only thing I do not like is that the mil dot crosshairs are not "long enough" There is a thick black bars which are about 2/3 of the height and width and 1/3 is the mildot crosshairs. Another thing I do not like is the turrent styles. They are much taller then they need to be. I keep my rifle in a soft case and the adjustments were too big to fit, even though my larger Centerpoint 3-12x fite nicely.
Rifles: I have tried this on both my 16" 5.56 carbine and my 18" 5.56 SPR.
Optics: It is the brightest "budget" scope own. The first time I used this scope was on a relatively dark day, and it was pouring rain, yet when looking through it it actually looked like it was sunny out, which really impressed me. It is so bright because it is a fixed scope wit a 30mm tube.
OlsenG_360: Mueller APT 4.5-14x40mm
30mm tube, adjustable objective
mil-dot reticle, accurate milling at 10x
something like 70-80moa elevation adjustment
very clear glass
I've had mine on a savage bolt .223 for about a year and I couldn't be more pleased with it. Passed the box test with flying colors.
Wish i had bought about 5 more when they were still $145. They hover around $170 now.
I will say it's no lightweight at 23 oz, but then again most guys are going to stick it on a 10+ lb heavy barreled rifle.
1/2" group at 200 yards with a $140 scope and a $300 gun I'll take that. This weekend I'm going to shoot it out to at least 450 possibly more so i'll see how it does at those ranges. Before I bought it guys were telling me it would suck... well I'm 250 rounds of .308 in and it rocks.
As the post below me mentioned about eye relief... the 10-40x50 does have relatively short eye relief. When other people shoot my gun they scope eye themselves(although not to the point of injury, just embarrassment). Although my stance on that it is shooter error, not being used to recoil of a lightweight .308(not that the recoil is so harsh).
Espos1111: I have an Osprey 4-16X42 Tac, or something like that. I have it on my AR 7.62 upper. The rings it came with work well on a flat top upper but a 1/2" or 3/4" riser is recommended to help access the charging handle. It has held up well so far, around 200 rds through it. Glass is clear. My only complaints are:
1. It took almost 50 rds to sight in at 100 yds. First shots were about 2' low and to the right. I couldn't spot them by myself as they weren't even on the target board. Had a friend help out spotting. After that it was spot on for the next 150 rds.
2. At higher magnification the eye relief is VERY touchy. It seems like if you move your head a millimeter one way or another you can "black out". At lower powers it is not like that at all.
3. See-through cap are hard to flip up. You end up pulling the caps off instead of them flipping up.
Minor complaints and at $129 (Natchez) for a lighted rangefinder reticle its not bad. I have spent the same on worse. My other scope is a Nikon M223 much better but 2-3x the price. No complaints on that one.
Edit: I forgot to say the reticle hairs are very fine, not thick as some cheap scopes are. I could clearly see cartridge casings, we were shooting at, at 100 yds around the cross hairs. Also at dusk or darker the lighted reticle does not over power the scope with light, even with it turned up all the way, and only the cross hairs light not the whole reticle.
Posted: 8/14/2011 6:16:44 PM EST
Originally Posted By allenNH:
I had good luck with a Tasco red dot. I gave it to a friend once I bought better glass, but it held zero and battery life was ok...
+1 - I don't know about the current line, but I've used Tasco Pro-Point red-dots on PCCs and rimfire handguns for years with very good results. No idea how they would hold up to heavier recoil/more powerful platforms.
Posted: 9/10/2011 12:15:27 PM EST
I bought a Centerpoint 4-16x44 scope at Wal Mart partially due to InfiniteGrim's decent review. It was to finish off my son's super-budget first hunting rifle (.30-06 Mossberg Maverick for $179). I told him if he wants a better scope he can pay for it.
Front lens parallax adjustment
Adjustable target-style knobs for windage and elevation. You can reset them to zero and lock the turrets down.
Comes with flip-up scope caps
Illuminated red or green
Comes with rings/weaver bases, but they are too high for your average bolt action. Probably OK for an AR though. I replaced them with Millet Angle-Loc rings.
It's an OK scope for the money. Even with the adjustable parallax adjustment, the reticle shifts as you move your head. Not by a lot, but it's noticeable. The exit pupil is pretty finicky and it's hard to get a clear picture - even at 10x. It's not terrible, but more of a hassle than with a more expensive scope. Clarity is decent, but it's not as sharp as even a budget name-brand scope. The illumination will probably be useless; even at the lowest setting, the glare from inside the scope tube will probably mess with your night vision. I can't comment about how accurate the turret adjustments are since I didn't shoot a "box test".
Basically, it's your average complaints you'd have with a budget scope. It has stayed zeroed so far through about 40-50 rounds of .30-06, and I think it will do fine for a budget starter scope until he can afford something better.
Posted: 9/10/2011 6:45:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/10/2011 7:22:42 PM EST by Zhukov]
I had a $375 Nikon Monarch, 3.5-10, that was just great for the money. Sold it to a friend and it went under water during Katrina and survived, stained and marked up, but still usable....
<Note: A $400 scope isn't what I would consider "inexpensive". Midrange maybe. Thanks for your review though. - Z>
Posted: 9/10/2011 7:12:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/10/2011 7:22:00 PM EST by Zhukov]
<This is a thread to review optics. Feel free to repost your question in the Optics forum if a search doesn't show any results. - Z>
Posted: 12/18/2011 12:29:32 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/23/2011 12:02:52 PM EST by sixgunner455]
I am not terribly experienced with telescopic sights, so I rely on the opinions of others when I am looking at them.
I bought a Savage rifle in .243 this year that came with a scope and rings. A friend of mine had purchased an identical rifle a couple of years previous, likes it, and said that the scope is "adequate and functional."
It came with an inexpensive Bushnell 3x9x40. It is functional, as I was told, and is the same scope that I saw on several 7mm Magnums, .30-06, and .270 rifles at the range after Big 5 had a sale. It is probably the same as a sub-$30 Bushnell scope I found online.
I can see internal parts of the scope when looking through it, including what appears to be a couple of Phillips screw heads. In spite of that, it zeroed well enough - I am not an expert, but I think there may have been an issue with predictability in adjustments. It held the zero through repeated firings as I developed a couple of loads for the rifle.
It has a good bit of what I understand to be parallax, but it is tolerable.
The biggest complaint I have about it is that there is what, to me, seems to be a large amount of point-of-impact shift between 3x and 9x - over 4" of shift at 100 yards, and the shift is up and right. I do not find that kind of shift acceptable. To really be able to use it, I'd have to pick a magnification level, zero it, forget that it is adjustable, and hope that the adjustment ring didn't get bumped while I was hiking. I'd rather just have fixed 4x than deal with that.
I was discussing this with a friend of mine, and he frowned and said that he had an older Nikon Prostaff 3x9 he wasn't using that I was welcome to borrow, and that I could buy it from him if I liked it well enough as he'd had it on a couple of range-toy rifles, but had never hunted with it.
I really like it, but I'm probably not going to be buying it because it isn't exactly what I want. However, I did, with his permission, use it for my Coues whitetail season. Honestly, my friend encouraged me strenuously to use his scope after he looked through the Bushnell: he told me he wasn't going to take it back until my season was over, so I should just use it and not worry about it getting a couple of scratches on it.
Compared to the Bushnell, the Prostaff has much clearer glass, almost no parallax, a finer reticle (simple duplex), and was easily the easiest scope I've ever used to zero. The adjustments were exact, and each click was audible and tactile as well, even though it required a coin or screwdriver on the turrets to make adjustments.
The glass was, as I said, very good. I was able to see better at a distance with that scope at dawn and dusk than I could with the naked eye. It extended potential shooting time significantly.
The things I don't like about it are probably silly nits, but they are there: The turrets are not re-settable, and not finger-adjustable, and I want that. I used up almost all of the horizontal adjustment getting it zeroed for my hunting load, and while I could probably just leave it on the rifle, leave the scope set the way it is and hunt deer with it for the rest of my life, I also intend to hunt coyotes and steel plates with this rifle, so I'm not going to be just using one load through it. I want a different reticle - one with bullet-drop compensation or mil-dots, I'm not particular at this point, but that is what I want.
There is a Prostaff available that has the finger-adjustable turrets and a BDC reticle, but the turrets are still not re-settable. There is a Redfield Revolution I looked through and liked quite well that has a BDC, finger-adjustable turrets, and they are re-settable (at least according to my understanding of the terminology), so I'm probably going to get one of them. Just have to decide between 2x7 and 3x9. I live in AZ, so while we do have brushy areas, making the 2x7 quite attractive, we also have a lot of very wide-open country: the only deer I saw on this hunt were over 1200 yards away. So, I am leaning towards just getting another 3x9, and either throwing the Bushnell out, selling it, or putting it on a .22.
Hope this is an acceptable review of two scopes. The prices I've seen on the Nikon, by the way, range from $150-$200. They even have it at WalMart.
ETA: I have discovered that the 2011 Prostaff has zero-resettable turrets.
Posted: 3/1/2012 9:43:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/2/2012 9:44:52 AM EST by dreadpiratejeff]
Since this thread is about inexpensive optics, what about inexpensive, yet good quality holographics, acog style and magnifiers?
I currently have a pretty cheap Barska M-16 with a 3x magnifier. The problem, though is that with my rear iron sight on the rail, I can't really use both the magnifer and the M16. So I've been looking at picking up a decent (if one exists) acog style scope that I can co-witness with my BUIS.
I've seen some listed as "Trijicon Style" but I question their quality... So currently, I'm thinking etiher a 3 - 4x ACOG style or a holographic with a magnifier somewhere between 2 - 4x.
Any suggestion on those?
And to also provide some feedback from experience...
The barska M16 is not bad for what I paid for it (140 with a 40.00 rebate) at Gander Mountain, and for the 100 bucks I got both the M16 sight and the magnifier. Together, the setup isn't terrible. The optics are pretty clear but you have to get pretty close to the magnifier to get a good sight picture. The M16 itself has held zero well over about 400 rounds, but I noticed today that when I removed the magnifier and moved the M16 rearwards closer to the real BUIS it had dropped off zero pretty bad. but I was about out of ammo for the day, so i'll need to re-zero it soon.
It sits a bit high because the battery compartment is in the bottom of the unit, so the co-witness is 1/3 rather than dead center, where I'd rather have it.
Here's the Barska M16 and magnifier before I mounted the rear iron sight:
Here's what it looks like currently with the Matech rear sight installed:
Posted: 3/2/2012 8:44:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/2/2012 8:45:50 AM EST by Eric802]
I've got a Primary Arms 4-16x40 in the Primary Arms Deluxe mount on one of my AR's. I think I paid $159 for the scope, which certainly qualifies as a "budget" optic. I don't claim to have experience with a lot of high-end scopes, aside from a Kowa spotting scope I used to have, but I think the P.A. 4-16 is a very good scope. The glass is very clear, eye relief is decent even at maximum magnification, and the mil-dot reticle is accurate (calibrated at 16x). The turrets are resettable to zero using the little torx wrench included with the scope, which is nice. I will update this as I gain more experience with it at longer ranges; farthest I've shot it as of now is 200 yards and I have no complaints yet.
The only "con" that comes immediately to mind is the included flip-up caps; I won't say they're useless, but they don't fit very tight. I put some duct tape around the inside of the cap and that tightened up the fit enough to make them useable.
Posted: 6/7/2013 1:33:46 AM EST
Figure I'll add to this thread since I just finished bending the sunshield back into shape on my Millett SP-1 after it was dropped again. This thing is unkillable.
I've heard from multiple people that Millett SP-series are the only sub-$100 scopes that will hold up when mounted on a .454 Casull revolver. I can't confirm that specifically since I don't have experience with any other cheap red dots, nor a .454 revolver. I can say from experience, however, that if you put an SP-1 on a Serbu Super Shorty, shoot almost nothing but slugs, and accidentally drop it (mostly butterfingered people at the range... mostly) often enough for the sunshield to be all wonky looking from being bent back and forth, it will still never lose its zero. Ever. Even with the cheap-o rings it came with. If you miss, it's because you flinched!
An old photo from when both were new:
In all other respects, it's a perfectly adequate red dot. The glass has a noticeable bluish tint, but it's still usable in low light. The dot is quite sharp, and is 3 MOA as advertised. Parallax effect is minimal. The brightness settings (it goes to 11!) are just fine for me, but I don't use night vision and don't live in a desert. Battery life is great; it's had the same battery for over 4 years and was accidentally left on for a whole week once, and it's still running.
Given the durability and long-term battery life, I wouldn't feel bad at all about sticking a Millett SP on a SHTF gun. These things are always my first recommendation if someone asks me what a good, cheap red dot is.
Posted: 6/7/2013 10:38:46 AM EST
I purchased a Mueller APV from Optics Planet for about $160. The glass was very very clear. I was very impressed with it.