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Posted: 3/28/2009 5:18:30 PM EDT
95% of my shooting has always been ay 500 yards or less.

I'm looking to get into precision shooting inside of that particular power band, as well as beyond. As soon as the parts all come in, I'm looking to cut my teeth on an AR-10T and go from there.

That said, I can't seem to decide on an optic.

I've been eyeballing the offerings from the Leupold and Nightforce lines.

What specific features should I be concerned with? What do you insist on?

Yes: I've read Zak's articles. I'm soliciting opinion from a broader target base...you.

Thanks in advance.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 5:57:07 PM EDT
I have a Leupold MR/T(3-9) on my SPR and it has performed wonderfully thus far. I plan on purchasing a NF 3.5-15 for my Bolt rifle as soon as I can come up with the scratch.

I think for a precision (not just minute of man right?) rig I'd stay between 3-9 & 3.5-10 because for me target acquisition would be a little difficult close in with very high magnification on the low end.

Post pics when you get it all together.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 6:40:27 PM EDT
For Type III optics, I have five Leupy's and recently ordered my second NF. While the Leupy's are quite nice on my hunting rifles as they are lighter in weight, I genuinely feel the NF to be an overall better product. On a platform as heavy as an AR-10T, weight should not be that big of a concern.

Based upon the application which you describe, features such as parallax adjustment and target turrets w/ zero stop would seem to be advisable. Whether you prefer mils or MOA, your reticle and turrets should match. FFP versus SFP will depend on how you might intend to range and engage targets.

Some folks seem to get hung up on the concept of mega magnification erroniously thinking that it will make them shoot better. Higher mag has its downsides in the form of smaller exit pupil [reduced low light performance], enhanced observance of one's inability to hold the weapon steady, and enhanced exhibition of mirage. Personally, I don't own anything over 10x for my applications, but 14-15x max wouldn't seem to be overkill for your suggested application.

I happen to be a fan of relatively larger objective lenses to improve low light performance, i.e. 50mm on my hunting guns. Larger objectives require the optical centerline to be greater separated from the bore centerline, which is generally not quite so good within reason. With AR-type platforms, the separation is pretty much required for decent cheekweld anyway, so there is no real penalty. 56mm optics start to get really big and heavy, and since I use a D-740 for my night hunting activities anyway, they have no use for me.

Hope this helps with your optics selection.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 6:59:20 PM EDT
I agree with everything said so far except if you gave us some idea of your spending range it might help to suggest something.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 7:24:45 PM EDT
Thanks for the suggestions thus far. To clear up the questions:

1. The rifle will be used for precision shooting inside the 500 yard range, with 500+ Minute Of Pie Plate accuracy being perfectly acceptable.

2. I'd prefer to keep the cost below $1,500 for the optic and mount but I don't want to get hung up on price right out of the gate. I'm more concerned with identifying the perfect candidates regardless of price and making further eliminations from that point on until I've made my final selection.

3. Like all things in life, there should be balance. While this is primarily a precision rig, I'd also like to be able to engage -100 yard targets with "enough" speed. I think a 3-9, 3-10, 4-12, etc. would be preferable, as already suggested.

If the final package allows me to make solid thorasic hits at 500 and solid cranio-ocular hits at 250, then I will be satisfied.

I'm basically looking to build a sub-MOA package that won't handicap me at closer ranges.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 7:42:27 PM EDT
"thoro ocric cranular" WTF?????
Dude, we're just simple idiots here, these big words just screw us up! If you want to make body hits or eye socket shots then, dammit, say so!
As far as "optic enhancers", I'd personally go for a #1-Nightforce or #2-Leupy Mark 4 or #3- Burris XTR
Probably 4 mag on the low end and 15-16 on the top, 50mm obj and a solid, sturdy mounting.
Post pics...
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 8:23:23 PM EDT
Got a chance to shoot one of these recently very nice IMO
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 9:10:40 PM EDT
Thanks again for the answers thus far.

Originally Posted By exhogflyer:
"thoro ocric cranular" WTF?????
Dude, we're just simple idiots here, these big words just screw us up! If you want to make body hits or eye socket shots then, dammit, say so!
As far as "optic enhancers", I'd personally go for a #1-Nightforce or #2-Leupy Mark 4 or #3- Burris XTR
Probably 4 mag on the low end and 15-16 on the top, 50mm obj and a solid, sturdy mounting.
Post pics...

Sorry. The terms are ingrained in my vocabulary. I was simply trying to be clear, as "body hits" aren't good enough.

You don't think 15x is too high?
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 9:36:51 PM EDT
Ok, my opinions here, first off brand, Nightforce, US Optics, Leupold, Premier, Schmidt & Bender, or Swarovski. These will give you good light transmission and clarity, as well as reliability and tracking.

As far as magnification goes, I personally like around 20x at 100yds or more and never really drop below 10, yes I lose some field of view but I shoot with both eyes open and feel more confident in my shot placement at these higher mag levels. Some people i know won't shoot anything over 10x and swear by it because of mirage and other issues. Others use much higher mag levels than I would consider, most of them are competitive shooters and damned skilled. So I would recommend looking through friends scopes at these different powers, or borrow a 6-24 and a 1.5-10 or similar ranges and go look at the distances you'll be shooting and find what you're comfortable with. Then compare clarity, if your rifle is only going to the range on sunny days and just for playing around you can do pretty well with a Burris or Nikon or Bushnell for notably less than the higher end. Just something to consider.

Other considerations include what kind of reticle: tactical, varmint, or just crosshairs. Are you going to try to develop the skill set to range using the reticle? or is it just for punching paper at known distances?

FFP if you do want to develop your ranging this is a great tool

Adjustments, in true MOA, shooter's MOA, or Mils, does it match your reticle? does it match your spotters reticle?

Durability, tracking, and warranties should all be pretty top notch at anything over the $1000 mark, even some of the less expensive brands have outstanding customer service.

These are all just things that i consider when looking at scopes, hope it helps.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 11:10:14 PM EDT
On my AR10T I have tired several scopes. I have used a NF 3x15x50, Leupold 3.5x10x40M3 MK4 and a 4.5x14x50 M1 MK4.

For my shooting I keep going back to the 3.5x10x40 M3. The NF was large and heavy but with good glass and 1/4 moa knobs. I liked it for bench use but just added bulk for humping on my desert trips. Also I found I rarely ever used over 10x out in the desert.

Now with the M3 knobs they are too coarse of an adjustment for some as they are 1moa but for my shooting the are a perfect match to the AR10 since I am not going for itty bitty groups on steel targets and clays. The ranges I usually shoot from range from 100 to 500 unless I really fell energetic and want to carry a heavy ass plate farther. With the M3 knobs I can dial in the range and most of the time I am rewarded with a nice clank on the metal target. It is fast and well matched to the 24 inch barrel, at least in my location. The biggest complaint with BDC knobs is that they may not be even close to the rifle and bullet combo but I lucked out and they work for me.

If I were to buy a new scope it would have the M2 knobs which are 1/2 moa. But with the TMR reticle I can manage with the M3 knobs.

I didn't like the 4.5x15 MK4 for the same reason I didn't like the NF as it was larger and had 1/4 moa knobs.
One thing to consider about the higher powered leupolds are that when you change the power there is a fairly large shift in eye relief which is why I switched from the 4.5x14 MK4 to the NF in the first place. The 6.5x20 and 8x25 MK4s are terrible with that.

If you don't mind the weight I would look at the NF 3x15x50 with the reticle and knob flavor of your choice. I don't like the 56mm obj because it just raises the optic up higher.

If I want to shoot for tiny groups I break out one of my bolt actions as they are slightly more accurate than my AR10. Out of the 10T at the range on a bench I can usually pull of 3/4 to 1 inch groups. Laying in the dirt and using a bipod it is usually 1 inch or more depending on how many rocks I am laying on and where they are poking me.

There are other nice scopes like the S&B and US optics but they are wayyyyy out of my budget.

I also tried an IOR on one of my bolt rifles and like the clarity of the glass and the reticle but holy crap, it is huge and heavy. If I need to beat something to death I will use the IOR.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 4:24:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2009 4:25:31 AM EDT by DevL]
NF 3.5-15x50 wth FFP reticle and in a Larue SPR-S mount. On an AR I like optics low,especially for prone and the SPR-S gives that if you use the 30mm version. SPR-S also has built in cant for elevation. The fact the NF does not have so much elevation per rev is not a big deal since you just want to do 600 and in... I think its the perfect scope for you if you dont mind the weight. I prefer over 10X for precision past 200-300, as you can always dial it down closer in and you dont lose the reticle ranging and windage with a FFP with a high powered scope turned down.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 9:51:16 AM EDT
So if weight is a consideration (and it is: I'll be humping this thing around) then I should be looking at the Leupold M2? I think 1 MOA would be too coarse for me, even with a rifle like the AR10.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 10:08:18 AM EDT
I find 1 MOA too coarse. I dont find 1/4 MOA too fine.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 10:54:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2009 10:55:49 AM EDT by 0612Devil]
I think this is the ticket:


Good power range
Excellent clarity
Smaller footprint
In your price range
Link Posted: 3/30/2009 7:01:16 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Evil_ATF:
So if weight is a consideration (and it is: I'll be humping this thing around) then I should be looking at the Leupold M2? I think 1 MOA would be too coarse for me, even with a rifle like the AR10.

Knob choice is a personal preference. Some people like the 1/4 moa and others like 1/2 or 1 moa. The only advantage of the M3 knob is the ability to reach 1000 yds in one turn plus the built in zero stop as far as leupold scopes go.
The M2 knob lacks the zero stop and takes more than one turn.

The thing I hate about 1/4 moa is I usually forget where the friggen knob is after say 600 yds so I kill the top rail on my target stand which magically is at the perfect height when going for the 100 yrd target.
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