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Posted: 8/28/2003 4:59:10 PM EDT
Hi guys. I'm starting to consider the purchase of a traditional scope for target shooting and hunting. Unfortunatly I don't know much about them and very little experience using them.

Typically they are listed as X x Xmm. The first number in the magnification I believe, and the second the objective size (please correct me if I'm wrong here). What is the objective? The end you look in? The end you look out through? What effect does the objective size have? How do variable magnification scopes work, and what are their advantages vis-a-vis a fixed mag scope?

Next, what are the different types of crosshairs typically seen? Any big advantages or disadvantages here other then personal preference?

Finally, what are good and not so good brands? What some good affordable scopes ($300 or less in my book - which is why I'm not looking at ACOGs)? Thanks!
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 5:13:22 PM EDT
Can you define your use, as far as range of shooting? I know that you said target shooting and hunting, but what is this scope going to go on? If ACOGs are out of your price range, then what about a compact ACOG? The answers to these questions would help people help you.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 5:47:44 PM EDT
Most shooting would be 300 yards or less. Most of it would be just shooting at targets, most likely on my AR, but it might see use on a .22 as well. AFAIK the compact ACOGs are going for about $600 so they are definitly above my price range.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 10:42:27 PM EDT
KW951, "the objective (lens)" is the lens in the end of the scope that points towards the target (the target being the "objective"), and you look through the "eyepiece". In general, the size of the objective lens determines the amount of light that the scope "gathers" then passes through the internal lens system and out to your eye. The concept is that the more light collected, the "brighter"/"clearer" the view through the scope but that doesn't tell the whole story. Lens material quality, number of lenses in the scope, lens alignment and relationship, lens coatings, etc... all contribute to the "brightness" of the view through a scope. It really isn't possible to say that a larger objective lensed scope is "brighter"/"clearer" than a smaller lensed scope for those reasons. Variable power scopes have a control...usually a moveable ring around the scope near the eyepiece...that simply varies the "power" (magnification) of the scope. Common is a 3-9 power variable where at the lowest magnification whatever you are looking at appears to be 3-times closer than it actually is and the highest magnification (9X) it appears to be 9-times closer. Telescopic sights make the process of aiming more precise...theoretically...because of 2 basic concepts. First, due to magnification, instead of a target looking like it is 100 yards away, to your eye it looks like it is 75, or 50, or 25, or less yards away. Second, when you are looking through a scope at a target, the target and your aimpoint (the "crosshairs") are both (roughly) in focus in one view as opposed to conventional fixed sights where you have to switch focus back-and-forth between the target and the front sight as you determine an aimpoint and refine your sight picture prior to breaking a shot. Variable advatages? Well, the simple one is that they are just that...variable. You can use a "power" that best fits the prevailing conditions that exist at the time you are shooting...i.e., closer, larger target = lower magnification; farther, smaller target = higher magnification; slow moving target = higher magnification; faster moving target = lower magnification, and on, and on, and on... Disadvantages? ...that they are variable! Using a variable scope efficiently does take some thinking and practice. It is my observed opinion that people do well with variable scopes despite that variability a lot of times, not because of it. Another problem with variable scopes is that there is a LOT of parts moving around inside the scope as the power is changed up and down. That movement can cause a SIGNIFICANT change in the point-of-aim/point-of-impact relationship in a poorly designed/manufactured sight but that is becoming less and less of an issue, especially in the higher-end scopes. Until you know why you might need a different style of "crosshair" (technically called the "reticle"), there are two general styles to consider...a "crosshair" and a "duplex". A "crosshair" reticle appears as a "cross" within the scope where the width of the "cross" is the same side-to-side and top-to-bottom. A "duplex" reticle appears wider at the sides and on the top and bottom, then narrows to a "crosshair"-style in the center "aiming" area. The proclaimed advantage of the duplex reticle is that the wider sections of the reticle are more easliy visible in marginal lighting conditions (read that as when it is dark[er]) which makes the scope usable more of the time because even if you can't actually see the narrow center "crosshair", you can infer where it is from the wider, outer sections. Plus, in a sudden close encounter a duplex lets you make an aimed snap-shot a little faster because of the same idea. I won't argue wit hthe logic of a duplex reticle and that is what is in most of my scopes (in one form or another). Brands? Geez...get ready for a war over that question. Of course there are the "premium" brands...toss Leupold and maybe some lines of Burris into that group...and up to a point you do get what you pay for becasue good lenses, good mechanical design/manufacture, good warranties, etc... all cost money. As long as you know and accept that you are compromising on ultimate quality of the most precise component on your weapon...there is a lot to be said for the higher-end Simmons & Weavers, and the lower-end Burris, Nikon, and Pentax scopes. Personally, I have been underwhelmed with the latest Bushnell's and Tascos and don't recommend them right now...and I wouldn't even touch a BSA scope just in case something infectious rubbed off. Common mistakes in purchasing scopes are...too big an objective and too much magnification. A bigger objective means that you have to raise the centerline of the scope to get the bottom of the objective off the barrel, which raises the sightline, which compromises your cheekweld on the stock, which compromises consistency/accuracy/comfort/etc... for VERY little gain in real-world usability in most cases. Too much magnification is subjective, but do you REALLY need to see a target the size of a man/deer that is 25 yards away 9X larger (or even 3X) to hit it where you want to? Unless you are planning on busting crows in the next time zone, shooting 1/8" groups at 100 yards, or have some other esoteric need (which you should already know), MOST people (especially new shooters) are well served by the following; * A variable power scope of no more than 3.5-10 power...with 2-7/2.5-8 power probably better, and possibly a 1-4/1.5-5 being even better still. * An objective diameter no larger than the 40mm range (40-42-44mm) with smaller objectives on the lower power-range scopes * A standard/common duplex reticle (NOT lighted, use the money for more ammo) * Mounted as low to the bore as possible (forget the "see-thru" mounts) * Spend every penny you save by NOT buying a 8-25X50LR w/lighted mil-dots Leupold because the salesman said you should on quality ammo, go to the range and learn everything you can about your rifle/scope system by shooting the crap out of it and paying attention to the actions-vs-reactions rule of changing power, making sighting adjustments, shooting at shorter/longer ranges and adjusting to that, etc... Then, you will know/understand the "why" behind you needing something "more" or different before you spend more money...and you won't have to listen to slackers like me ;-).
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 11:45:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2003 11:51:09 PM EDT by Troy]
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 4:54:46 AM EDT
The fixed four power scope is also an option (a little high in power for under 30 yards and a little low in power for shooting little targets at 300 yards, but not bad). If you find a hunting gun store that carries used Leaupold scopes, you might be able to save a few dollars, inparticular on the fixed power scope. I like the lower power scopes of the 1 to 4 range and find the Leaupold VarX II 2 to 7 of interest (have several on 22's). Lastly the easiest scope to find used is the VarX II 3 to 9 as there have been many specials in the past. Not perfect, but should work.
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 6:29:02 AM EDT
Duh..."occular". I was brain dead last night and couldn't remember that to save my life.
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 9:44:36 AM EDT
Thanks guys! That's exactly the kind of info I was looking for.
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