Originally Posted By DakotaFAL:
My preference is always decent optics. Not high end, but not cheap either.
A decent scope will have well made achromatic lenses and good lens coatings that produce a bright image, sharp focus and good resolution. A decent scope will also have accurate, repeatable adjustments with no back lash.
In my experience, people make a few common mistakes in scope selection. They mistake magnification for resolution and think that more magnification will let them see more detail at longer ranges. That would be the case if all things were equal, but in a low end scope they are not. More magnification requires more light, which means a larger objective. Ideally you'd want to be able to divide the objective lens diameter by the maximum magnification and get a number (the exit pupil) around 7. That's as wide as a young person's pupil can generally open, and that means in low light conditions, the eye is getting maximum benefit from the optics. Worst case, you don't want to let the exit pupil be less than about 5mm. When that happens you end up losing image brightness in anything other than full sun shine.
Large objective lenses are also exponentially more expensive to produce to the necessary level of quality, so an inexpensive 4-12x, 4-16, or 6.5-20x scope will invariably end up with a small exit pupil, low image brightness and a grainy image with low resolution. And the odds are the adjustments will not be repeatable and may not be properly aligned with the scope.
In a variable power scope there are 2 or 3 more lenses depending on the design, which causes more internal reflection and light loss making good lens coatings even more important, and the lenses must be perfectly aligned with virtually no play in the mechanism if the scope is to maintain zero as the power is changed. You'll get none of that in a cheap scope.
Parallax becomes more of an issue at higher magnifications and on a .22LR higher magnification is usually concurrent with a larger objective lens that makes it harder to maintain a consistent cheek weld, reducing the potential for your eye to be optically centered relative to the scope. That's important as you only get parallax errors when your pupil is not aligned with the axis of the scope and the farther off axis you are, the worse the apparent error becomes. The larger objective also increases the distance between the line of sight and the center of the bore and that creates a different kind of parallax that directly affects your trajectory and hold over - something that's very important with the .22LR and it's rainbow trajectory.
So...rather than going big and getting sucked into the large objective, high magnification low cost marketing lie and buying a 4-12x40 or a 4-16x44 at a too good to be true price, consider:
1) A 2-7x33 Leupold. Even the VX1 versions has good optics with sharp image, repeatable adjustments and good image brightness. It comes in both rifle formats with a 150 yard parallax adjustment or a shotgun/muzzle loader format with a 75 yard parallax setting, and the list price is $264 with a duplex reticle or $289 with the LR duplex reticle. Street price ends up being around $190-$200. The optics on the Leupold VX2 2-7x33 are even better and it comes with finger adjustable turrets, but the list price is around $375 and the street price is around $300-$325.
2) A Leupold 3-9x40mm. The VX1 3-9x40mm again is available with either 75 yard or 150 yard parallax adjustment and the list price is $289 with a Duple reticle or $315 with a LR Duplex reticle, and again the street price runs around $50 less. The VX2 version lists for $374 with Duplex reticle or $412 with the LR duplex reticle.
3) A Leupold VX2 3-9x33 EFR. These are nice scopes, but pricey at $500. If you can find a used one you're in great shape. Optically speaking they are on par with the 3-9x40mm so unless you really need to shoot very accurately at very close range (under 25 yards) where the EFR adjustable objective is important, I'd recommend saving the money and getting #2 above.
Leupold also has VX1 and VX2 2-7x28mm scopes, but for the same money you can get one of their 2-7x33 scopes so I see no advantage worth the tradeoffs involved. Leupold also has 2-7x33 and 3-9x40 Rifleman scopes and they are a bit less expensive than the VX1s at $249 and $274 but you end up stick with their wide duplex reticle so for the extra $15, you're better off with the VX1.
4) The optics on Nikon's Monarch series scopes are very good and they have great finger adjustable turrets that I prefer over the VX2 as the index mark for the zero faces the shooter all the time. You can get a 2-8x32mm for $290, or a with a BDC reticle for $300.
5) NIkon's 3-9x40 Buckmaster offers decent optics and reliable adjustments at a decent price ($230), so it's also worth considering.
I've never been all that thrilled with Nikons Prostaff or Rimfire scopes, and with a price point of only $230 for the Buckmaster scopes, it's worth the extra $40 or $50 to step up a notch.
Wow thank you so much for the lesion on scopes sr. I must admit I know very little. Once again thank you for your time!