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Page AR-15 » Optics, Mounts, and Sights
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Posted: 7/22/2010 6:21:35 PM EDT
I'm building an 18" SPR rifle of my own concoction. I have -9 diopter eyes with astigmatism, so I am not as much interested in "matching" what the military has as much as I am picking the right optic to shoot varmints, pigs and small targets out to 300 yards. I personally enjoy a lot of magnification, but I do realize there is a limit to how big of a scope you can put on top of a SPR.

So, if you guys had the money to buy whatever you want, what would you put on a 5.56 NATO SPR upper with an 18" barrel? I have my ideas already, but I'd like to hear yours first.
Link Posted: 7/22/2010 6:24:36 PM EDT
[#1]
Probably a Nightforce 2.5-10x32 in a LaRue SPR mount with a mini dot mounted up top.



Maybe a Leupold 6.5-20 Mark 4 or a 5.5-22 NF, but those are big scopes. Particularly the NF.
Link Posted: 7/22/2010 7:45:27 PM EDT
[#2]
I go with a NF 2.5-10x32.....but i am biased
Link Posted: 7/22/2010 7:50:28 PM EDT
[#3]
Considering the purpose of an SPR, you'll probably want to keep it relatively compact.  Not too long ago I was tearing my hair out about what to put on top of my SPRish build.  I went with a 16" barrel instead of an 18, but built it with accuracy in mind.

Anyway, I looked at a lot of scopes.  I considered a lot of them.  U.S. Optics, Schmidt & Bender, Swarovski, Hensoldt, Nightforce, etc.  I wouldn't say that money was no object, but I was willing to drop some cash on a scope.  Back then, I considered $1000 to be a lot of money for a scope.  Long story short, I settled on the Nightforce 2.5-10X32.  Yes, the objective is a little smaller than the typical 40mm, but I haven't found it to be a handicap at all.  The glass is crystal clear and free of distortion.  When I say free of distortion, I'm not just talking about looking through it and the image being clear from edge to edge.  I'm talking about the difference between being able to continually see the target while the rifle is under recoil and not being able to maintain a clear view under recoil because the image distorts on you.

I've found that in the world of scopes, there is good for the money, good enough (I suppose this is relative), better than good enough, and the class leading best.  I would rate the Nightforce as being better than good enough.  I say that because while I was at the shop getting my Nightforce, I looked through a Hendsoldt.  Shouldn't have done that.  The Hendsoldt was like $3500.

The Nightforce is better than good enough and to me, it may be the best in it's class considering that for what it is, it only weighs a pound and a couple of ounces and is right at 12" long for a 10X scope.  It helps to keep the SPR compact and easy to handle.

When I'm at the range shooting my .223 at 100 yards, I don't even need to use a spotting scope because I can see my hits, when other guys with other scopes (some with more magnification) have to use a spotter.  The glass is clear and the resolution is outstanding.

In case you can't tell, I'm really nuts about my Nightforce.  It's the only thing I've ever bought that is firearms related that still makes me smile when I handle it months after I bought it.
Link Posted: 7/22/2010 9:00:41 PM EDT
[#4]
Quoted:
I go with a NF 2.5-10x32.....but i am biased
http://i26.tinypic.com/oawwtu.jpg


+1 for the NF even though i use a Leupold Mark 4 on my SPR..
Link Posted: 7/23/2010 4:42:34 AM EDT
[#5]
Quoted:
I'm building an 18" SPR rifle of my own concoction. I have -9 diopter eyes with astigmatism, so I am not as much interested in "matching" what the military has as much as I am picking the right optic to shoot varmints, pigs and small targets out to 300 yards. I personally enjoy a lot of magnification, but I do realize there is a limit to how big of a scope you can put on top of a SPR.

So, if you guys had the money to buy whatever you want, what would you put on a 5.56 NATO SPR upper with an 18" barrel? I have my ideas already, but I'd like to hear yours first.


I too went with a 2.5-10x32 NXS [NP-R2, ZS] for my SPR'ish build for the time being, but mainly because that was what I had "laying around spare" when I assembled the upper.



It works pretty decently in my application for this particular weapon of punching paper and ringing steels.



The NXS compacts have two downsides though.  The most notable is the comparatively small objective lens and corresponding EP; I sold my 2.5-10x24 recently because it was "intolerable" for me in this regard.  I don't find even the 32mm to perform particularly well in reduced ambient light compared with many of my other devices.  This may or may not be relevent to you, but you do mention hog hunting in your application list. They are substantially nocturnal down here, especially during the hotter times of the year.  I happen to be a large objective/EP "junkie".

Also, there is no parallax adjustment, a feature which may be beneficial considering your substantial vision correction.  I presume that your wear corrective glasses when shooting?

It is inferred from your post that budget is not particularly restrictive, so that opens the door for plenty of great options.

Since you mention a preference for "a lot of magnification", something like an NF 3.5-15x50/56 [F1] NXS or USO SN-3 3.2-17x44/58 would provide this, as well as both a larger objective and adjustable parallax.  Do you intend to range with the reticle or use an LRF or both, i.e. is FFP versus SFP relevent?  The downside is the 2# optic weight and increased size.

To achieve excellent optical performance in a slightly lighter weight package, "conventional" hunting optics such as Swarovski or Zeies might be applicable.  The downside is the limited availability of exposed turrets if you intend to dial-in versus holdover, and that they are not "built like tanks" as is the case with some of the more "tactical" options.  This is not to suggest that they are not durable.

Of course, S&B is always a great choice for thsoe with deep pockets.

One thing that I consider "worthless" is BDC reticles on anything but ACOG's [since that is the only choice]; limiting oneself to a single calibration indicates a lack of diligence in truly understanding external ballistics.

So what are the ideas that you already have in mind?

Link Posted: 7/23/2010 5:45:48 AM EDT
[#6]
murderman:

My ideas are the Nightforce 2.5-10x32 that everyone has said vs. the Leupold Mark 4 4.5-14x50mm LR/T M1 Illum (http://www.leupold.com/tactical/products/scopes/mark-4-lrt-riflescopes/mark-4-4-5-14x50mm-lrt-m1-illum-reticle/). The Leupold has a much larger objective, more magnification and a parallax adjustment (which may be useful for my eyes). Likewise, it only weighs 3 more oz and is 0.8 inches longer than the Nightforce 2.5-10x32. I think anything bigger than that (like a Nightforce NXS 3.5-15x) would be too much scope for this sort of gun, and I might as well move on up to a .308 OBR to accomodate it.

I'm not sure about ranging features, because honestly, I have never shot much at all beyond 100 yards due to college, medical school and residency. I have not done much rifle hunting either (mostly duck/goose), but now I have access to a place where I can shoot beyond 100 yards a few times a year outside of Indianapolis. Likewise, I will have a chance to try some hog hunting and varmit shooting this winter. I like the tactical milling reticle Leupold offers or something like the NP-R2 that Nightforce offers due to the fine lines rather than the mil dots, but I'll need to practice and learn how to use it effectively. I think a laser rangefinder would be a great investment for someone like myself (my dad uses one while golfing to great effect....of course his son bought it for him ).

I think your remarks about BDC reticles is true. I rather have something that is standardized and can be employed for a variety of loads. I don't want a single reticle designed for a single load.

You know, people knock Leupold around, but I compared a non-illuminated 4.5-14x50 Leupold vs. a more expensive Z6 Swavorski 2-12x50 (non-illuminated) at a Cabelas a few weeks ago, and I personally found the Leupold to give a much brighter picture (which of course is subjective and probably person dependent). I have looked through the larger (not compact) Nightforces, and I know their glass is top notch. Nothing beats a S&B though in terms of picture clarity due to theri 34 mm tubes, but I don't think they have a scope well suited for a SPR build due to size and weight (except for of course, the short dot).

Thanks for the comments. Keep them coming.
Link Posted: 7/23/2010 5:57:25 AM EDT
[#7]
I am trying to figure out this same issue for a SPR of mine.  I have given serious consideration to the Leupold 4.5-14x40 long range with the Varmint Hunter reticule.  I currently have the 50mm version on a bolt .243 and it has been my favorite scope. I also have the 4.5-14x40 Boone and Crocket reticule on my 30-06.   Both provide quick range estimation, easy to use reticule and its really good glass.  I am trying to decide between the 40mm or 50 mm objective.

Another thought is that same scope in the CDS version.  Once you buy the scope you send Leupold your bullet/ballistic information and they mail you out a set of corresponding turrets.
Link Posted: 7/23/2010 7:56:01 AM EDT
[#8]
Quoted:
murderman:

My ideas are the Nightforce 2.5-10x32 that everyone has said vs. the Leupold Mark 4 4.5-14x50mm LR/T M1 Illum (http://www.leupold.com/tactical/products/scopes/mark-4-lrt-riflescopes/mark-4-4-5-14x50mm-lrt-m1-illum-reticle/). The Leupold has a much larger objective, more magnification and a parallax adjustment (which may be useful for my eyes). Likewise, it only weighs 3 more oz and is 0.8 inches longer than the Nightforce 2.5-10x32. I think anything bigger than that (like a Nightforce NXS 3.5-15x) would be too much scope for this sort of gun, and I might as well move on up to a .308 OBR to accomodate it.

I'm not sure about ranging features, because honestly, I have never shot much at all beyond 100 yards due to college, medical school and residency. I have not done much rifle hunting either (mostly duck/goose), but now I have access to a place where I can shoot beyond 100 yards a few times a year outside of Indianapolis. Likewise, I will have a chance to try some hog hunting and varmit shooting this winter. I like the tactical milling reticle Leupold offers or something like the NP-R2 that Nightforce offers due to the fine lines rather than the mil dots, but I'll need to practice and learn how to use it effectively. I think a laser rangefinder would be a great investment for someone like myself (my dad uses one while golfing to great effect....of course his son bought it for him ).

I think your remarks about BDC reticles is true. I rather have something that is standardized and can be employed for a variety of loads. I don't want a single reticle designed for a single load.

You know, people knock Leupold around, but I compared a non-illuminated 4.5-14x50 Leupold vs. a more expensive Z6 Swavorski 2-12x50 (non-illuminated) at a Cabelas a few weeks ago, and I personally found the Leupold to give a much brighter picture (which of course is subjective and probably person dependent). I have looked through the larger (not compact) Nightforces, and I know their glass is top notch. Nothing beats a S&B though in terms of picture clarity due to theri 34 mm tubes, but I don't think they have a scope well suited for a SPR build due to size and weight (except for of course, the short dot).

Thanks for the comments. Keep them coming.


Here is an illustration that you might find useful regarding the relative sizes; I am sure that I wrote the weights down somewhere as well, but am not finding them just now:



L->R:
1) TA11J [3.5x35] ACOG
2) 2.5-10x24 NXS
3) 2.5-10x32 NXS
4) 3.5-15x50 NXS
5) 3.5-15x56 NXS
6) 3.5-10x50 Vari-X-III [1" tube]

My lightweight hunting bolt guns have been running Vari/VX-III 3.5-10x50 Leupy's successfully for two decades, but there is better glass available.

Whatever you do, match the turrets' scale with that of the reticle.....milrad/milrad or MOA/MOA.
Link Posted: 7/23/2010 1:50:21 PM EDT
[#9]
I regulary shoot 1 - 300 with a 4.5 - 14 x 50  LR with a VH ret.
I just bought a 20" rifle and it is waiting on a 4.5 - 14 x 50 MI.
Basically the same with the obvious M1 adjustments on the latter.
I like the minimum [for Leupold] eye relief. I also like their VH and fine duplex reticles.
 I can see, sometimes, target hits at 300 with the current LR.
It is pretty nice for the price range.  I find I need no better.
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