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.
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>
<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>
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.
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:
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.
I purchased a Mueller APV from Optics Planet for about $160. The glass was very very clear. I was very impressed with it.
Originally Posted By sixgunner455:... I bought a Savage rifle in .243 this year that came with a scope and rings... It came with an inexpensive Bushnell 3x9x40... 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..
This may be a silly question but have you checked to be sure the reticle is centered because the problem you are having sounds exactly like a scope that is not centered.