General scope quality question


Active Member
Jan 2, 2004
Right now, I have a 3-9 power scope that cost about $50. It's the first scope I have ever used. It seems to work fine, except I don't have any idea of how it compares to other scopes.

I am saving up to buy a more expensive rifle for long range target shooting. I have been told that I should spend more than $50 on the scope I will put on it.

I have looked around and I've seen different scopes made by different companies that have the same magnification power and they will cost drastically different amounts in some cases.

Is the difference simply in brand name recognition or is there something regarding the performance of the scopes that can't be told in terms of magnification levels? What exactly is the danger in simply buying the cheapest high powered scope I can find as long as it has a high magnification power? Are the cheaper scopes fragile, do they have less clarity of picture, etc.?

Thanks in advance for any responses.
...any money spent, no matter how little, is a total loss on a cheap scope...wait until you can obtain a good quality Leupold or similar scope...I know it's tempting, but "cheap...good" do not apply to optics... hope this helps
Let me start out by saying I am in no way an optics expert, but I have learned a few things about the topic, some here some the hard way.
Basicly there are two major areas of concern in a scope, the glass/coatings and the mechanical adjustments. You can find mid level scopes that have tolerable glass/coatings and you can find mid level scopes that are fairly repeatable. You'll be hard pressed to find either in a cheap scope and to get both you start to climb into the low end of the upper class price bracket. (if that makes scense)
To get a scope that is repeatable each and every time that allows you to see during the last bit of daylight you need to go with a name like Leupold, Zeiss, Swaro., Nightforce, something along those lines.
Hope that helps some.
Someone here wisely suggested spending the same $ on your scope as you do on your rifle.
Plain and simple - That works.
You kind of answered your own question there at the end.
Generally the cheaper scopes are more fragile and less optically clear, harder to focus. Don't hold their zero, fog in wet weather, less eye relief. clicks won't repeat
(although lots of expensive ones don't either).
Unless you are major hardcore into shooting,
you should be able to find a good scope that will fit your needs in the $300 range.
Look at the less expensive Leupolds, Sightron, Nikon, Burris, Weaver. You should find something there to meet your needs.
Unless you are very into shooting and demand the best from your equipment there is no reason to spend $500.+ on a scope.
Well, fifty dollars doesn't buy much, in the long run. Perhaps suited for rimfires and casual plinking?

If budget constraints are important, I'd like to point out that fixed power scopes are well worth considering. They may not be trendy, but they have qualities like reliability and cost. Most of my variables are set for the same power; 5 or 6. Unless I'm doing load evaluation from the bench, I hardly move the power ring. Sometimes a (good quality) straight 4X or 6X scope makes the owner look pretty smart.

Good hunting. LB
If your not going all out for target shooting and the gun is still primarily for hunting I would think about a Leupold VX-II in 4 - 12 and the 50mm objective. I'm fond of the light gathering abilities on the 50mm scopes for hunting early morning end of day shots.

As was said earlier if your running a stock gun, put the value of the gun in to your optics on top. It is what let's you see where to put the bullet. Barrels can burn out, good optics never change.

Friend, it sounds like you need to go on a shopping trip to ebay. Look for Burris Fullfield for a great buy, IMO. Look also for Leupold or Bushnell Elite 3200 or 4200 series. Far better to buy a reasonably high quality used scope than a brand new el-cheapo that can only bring frustration. (you can easily find a 3-9x Fullfield, new, for under $200)
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