Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Go Back   Long Range Hunting Online Magazine > Rifles, Reloading, Optics, Equipment > Long Range Scopes and Other Optics

Long Range Scopes and Other Optics Nightforce Optics


Real World Difference Between a $500 and a $1000 Scope?

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread 08-24-2013, 10:46 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 14
Real World Difference Between a $500 and a $1000 Scope?

Over the course of the last year or so, I have been on a bit of a journey to replace what would be considered "average" guns with higher quality stuff. After reading, listening to, and maybe moreso conversing with certain people on this forum, I decided to get something I would be happy with for some time. I started the journey with a Sako 85 Hunter, got rid of that and ended up with a Sako 85 Bavarian. After a month of looking at what I felt was a very pretty wood oil finished wood stock, I was convinced that I would inevitably beat it up during hunting season, and get mad about it. So I got rid of it, and got the gun I deep down really wanted, a Cooper Jackson Hunter (stainless/composite stock)

Now to my question. I currently have a Zeiss Conquest 3x9x40, that I picked up about 7 months ago, on this new rifle. Like many, I consider this to arguably be the best $500 scope on the market, but now I am pondering on putting a different scope on this gun.

In your experience what is the real world performance difference between a $500 scope and a $1000 scope such as a Zeiss HD 5, Swaro Z3 or even a Trijicon Accupoint?

I look forward to your answers, particularly from people who use $1000 (or better) scopes.

PS: I'm in Canada so the prices are a bit higher than you good folks would pay for the same in your fine country.
Reply With Quote

Unread 08-24-2013, 11:41 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: las vegas
Posts: 187
Re: Real World Difference Between a $500 and a $1000 Scope?

I am running a falcon 5-25 menace and a SAFA SS 5-20. menace is 4 to 500$ and the SS is 1000 to 1200$. At 0-500yds they are not that different. Better clicks on the SS, better resolution on the SS but after 500yds the difference really comes out. the SS outshines the menace on every level.Targets are clearer and parallax is more easily set. That is not to say the menace is a bad scope, for the money its great. but truth be told there is a difference.
Reply With Quote
Unread 08-25-2013, 12:41 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 226
Re: Real World Difference Between a $500 and a $1000 Scope?

in the real world no difference. In the scope snob world, all the difference
Reply With Quote
Unread 08-25-2013, 12:56 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,876
Re: Real World Difference Between a $500 and a $1000 Scope?

Had a nice long informative post and replaced it with this:

I'd jump on tis like ugly on an ape! I have a Zeiss like yours, a 6.5-20x50 and an NF NXS 5.5-22x56 and if I needed another scope for LRH I'd jump on this like ugly on an ape IF the #20 reticle would be acceptable!

Note: there is a difference between a #20 and #20 z-plex reticle.

Zeiss Conquest 6.5-20 x 50mm Matte in Plex with Side Focus
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
Reply With Quote
Unread 08-25-2013, 01:34 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Bozeangeles
Posts: 174
Re: Real World Difference Between a $500 and a $1000 Scope?

My 2 cents:

Loopy 6-18 vx-ii- $450 or so- turrets crapped out after 2 seasons, but glass was great even beyond 1k- however, not enough turret travel to get there on many rifles. It didn't like recoil much (love their warranty!), but because of its light weight & clarity, I miss hunting with it. It helped put a lot of steaks in the freezer. I sold it shortly after I bought the SWFA.

Zeiss conquest 3-9x50- $450 ish again- no target turrets, so reticle holds only, which work great out to ~600 (z600), wouldn't consider it for long range, but it's great for short/mid range, and it's very light. Glass is great out to 1k, but past that it just doesn't have the power or clarity for me. Looked through a friend's 6.5-20 this spring & had the same conclusion- not for anything past 1k. My 3-9 conquest lives on my light-ish 270.

SWFA 5-20- ~$1k- FFP reticle worked for ranging elk last season remarkably well during a blizzard, turrets are accurate & feel bombproof, glass is clear way past 1k (i've taken shots with my 7saum & SWFA 5-20 at 2275 with confidence- not saying I should be confident at that range, but the scope & rifle can get there), great amount of turret travel, and it handled 338LM recoil without any problems. I have zero motivation to spend money on any other scope- this is my absolute "go to" scope & I will happily buy a second one soon for another rifle. The only bad thing about them is their weight- they're just plain heavy.

I haven't had a chance to touch the new conquest hd5's, but I've played with a couple trijicons (friends have them)- my only hang up about them is their limited travel, the glass is great. I've also spent some time with a Zeiss victory, and a diarange- they're incredible, but way over your $1k limit.

I think $500 gets you into a pretty versatile group of optics- entry level for long range, with good potential, but you'll find compromises in the features & reliability. At $1k you have noticeable improvement in almost every category. $1k let's you see a glimpse of the really good stuff. You still have to forego a few bells & whistles (and coatings), but the glass is good enough & the mechanicals are solid.
Reply With Quote
Unread 08-25-2013, 12:03 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Alabama
Posts: 10,002
Re: Real World Difference Between a $500 and a $1000 Scope?

Originally Posted by timmay View Post
in the real world no difference. In the scope snob world, all the difference
I agree, to a point. You can tell a difference in a $500 scope and a $1,000 scope, if they are both quality of their respective price ranges. Sometimes you might get an above-average scope for $500, and sometimes you might find a cheaper quality scope for $1,000.

In my opinion, the Zeiss Conquest scopes are VERY hard to beat. You get a ton of quality packed into a reasonable price. And they (Zeiss) treat every scope the same, whether it is a Conquest or a Dialyte, or a Victory HT.

I have a Kahles Helia KX 3.5-10x50 ($1,500 when new), and have several Zeiss Conquests (including a 3-12x56 FFP, and a 6.5-20x50) and I would say that while the Kahles has a slight advantage in the glass department (as it rightfully should due to price range), the Conquests is VERY closely biting at its heels.

I'm no expert, just giving my opinion.
"I'm just a peckerwood who lives in the hills with too many guns..." - Bob Lee Swagger

"Give me a minute...I'm good. Give me an hour...I'm great. Give me 6 months...And I'm unbeatable." - Col. Hannibal Smith

Originally Posted by WildRose View Post
The 284 is to the STW what a tricycle is to a Ninja.
Reply With Quote
Unread 08-25-2013, 01:03 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NW Montana
Posts: 906
Re: Real World Difference Between a $500 and a $1000 Scope?

When you take a $500 Leupold and compare it to a $1,000 Zeiss there is a big difference and differences that really matter. Glass quality and tracking are the two biggest things.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:58 PM.

All content ©2010-2015 Long Range Hunting, LLC