I learned something from that...what about scopes?


Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2007
Las Vegas
Take a look at the senior members on this sight when they sell a rifle. The add goes something like this "Custom rifle, match barrel --" long, bedded in ------ stock, ----- bases and rings (if you get lucky), rifle shoots .5 inch groups at 100 yards, --- rounds fired, SCOPE NOT INCLUDED!!!!" Most newbies want the best rifle they can buy, but then top it off with el cheapo scope, bases and rings. I have learned that a good scope is more important to me than the rifle. I will be selling a rifle soon, but I will be holding tight to my scope.

How many times do you hear people stating their scope holds zero. That is great, but can it dial up elevation, correct for windage and return back to zero every time. If you dial up for 10 moa does the poi move exactly 10 moa straight up. How many clicks are you going to dial if you need to correct for 200 moa at 1000 yards. Now if you have a variable powered scope, when you zoom in or out does the point of impact move. Once you find a scope that will pass all of these questions, I guarantee you will not want to sell it. Some say you should spend as much on the scope as you spend on your rifle. My advice is take all that new rifle money, double it, buy the best scope you can find, put it on old betsy, get her free floated, bedded, trigger done, lap the recoil lugs, then get out there and shoot as much as you can!

I would like to see someone smarter than me start a poll asking the seasoned long range shooters what the most important piece of the long range shooting package is and I bet the scope would be at the top of, or very close to the top of that list. Accuracy is accumulative, a measure of the whole package, but if you want to get serious about long range shooting there is no way around needing a great scope. In that poll ask how many rifles vs scopes they have sold. Money spent on a good quality scope will always be money well spent.
I disagree. I have one custom rifle and a handful of factory rifles. A few of the factory guns are sub m.o.a. rifles. I used to think they were accurate, until I got my custom rig. That rifle just plain shoots. It's got an IOR 16X42 scope on it. I'd give up that scope long before I would give up the rifle (don't get me wrong, I like the scope, but I love the rifle).

If you're willing to drop $1,500 on a scope, you can get some hellacious glass. But 1,500 won't get you a custom gun deserving of that quality of scope.

My custom rifle will shoot great with any decent scope on it, whether it's a $300 super sniper, or a $2,500 U.S. Optics. It's easy to drop $3K when having a rifle built. I'd never consider spending near that much on a scope. Seeing clearly and returning to zero are very important; but, what good are they if the rifle won't put it in the X-ring.

I welcome your comments, I learned a lot from others debating different subjects on this sight. To a certain extent I agree with you. A custom rifle that is built just for you and your need becomes very special. My grandpa once told me never sell an accurate rifle no matter what it is, and I have come to learn why he said that. However, you will never now how accurate that rifle can actually be without a good scope system.

I have a super sniper scope and even though it cost only $300 I wouldn't rate it as a cheap quality scope. I just took a ruger hawkeye that shot some 2" groups and accurized it for a whole $25 dolllars worth of smithing and I now have a rifle that shoots some half inch groups but usually is a 3/4-1 1/4" rifle,off of a bipod prone. I just took a cheap scope off my sons 22 that would not stay in focus and was shooting all over the place. That scope went into the garbage because it was cheap and not worth sending into get fixed. I put another cheap scope that I use as a back but is of proven accuracy on the rifle and now it really shoots.

You have to remember these posts are for the new guy just starting out. So many want that tactical rifle and will use all their budget on the rifle ignoring the scope side of the equation. Just imagine spending that $3000 on a rifle and putting a $100 dallar scope on it. Now you take it out to the range and it shoots 3" groups. Are those bad groups the rifle, the scope, or the shooter?
You have to remember these posts are for the new guy just starting out. So many want that tactical rifle and will use all their budget on the rifle ignoring the scope side of the equation. Just imagine spending that $3000 on a rifle and putting a $100 dallar scope on it. Now you take it out to the range and it shoots 3" groups. Are those bad groups the rifle, the scope, or the shooter?

You're right. I never felt the need to spend $1,000+ on a scope, but neither would I top an expensive custom rig with a $100 scope. My IOR pricewise isn't in the same league with Nightforce or other top line, tactical models, but it ain't cheap either (for those wondering, it cost me $700 with the rifle).

If a rifle won't shoot well, swapping scopes (if you have a good one on another rifle or laying around) is one of the first things I'd suggest. So many things to check (bedding, scope mounts, crown, barrel tension, etc.) that it's nice to be able to at least first rule out the scope.

As I hinted at in my first post: I value my rifles more than my scopes. Then again, none of my rifles wears a scope that cost more than the gun. Hope I never reach a point where I have to sell rifles to come up with cash. I have some old scopes I'd be willing to sell, but they sure as heck wouldn't bring me very much (anybody want an old Bushnell Banner or Simmons 8-Point?).
This question has been posed to me many times. My answer.....

For any caliber to shoot accurately (notice, I did not say a brand of rifle)...

Barrel quality (does not mean you have to have an aftermarket)
YOU (the shooter)

IMHO, ALL play a part. No one item is going to make up for one of the others.

If your barrel does not shoot accurately, it never will.
If YOU don't practice...then you will never shoot to the caliber's potential.
If the optics don't allow you to clearly see and change POA, then you will not hit the object you want.
Trigger - need something that has little or not takeup, breaks cleanly, with little or no overtravel. Prefer a clean/crisp 2.5-3.5 trigger pull than something that is unsafe, too light, unpredictable, has a ton of takeup or overtravel.
My intent with these posts are mainly directed at the new long range shooter, a guy who hasn't bought any equipment. The point that I am trying to get across is there is a lot you can learn by just tuning up a rifle in the safe and putting a good scope on it. I know when I started, the direction I thought I would go, and what I want now are totally different. I would like some of my start up money back so I could buy the rifle ,scope combo that I need for my intended use.
I agree that you don't need the most expensive scope on the market. My $300 super sniper scope is so good that I have no problem recommending it for a starter package. A guy however doesn't have to spend $3000 to get started. I think it is better to just get out there and shoot, practice, learn, and then your real needs will come clear. You can then drop those big bucks where you really need to.
There aren't many bolt action rifles that you can't get to shoot with a little money and effort. You don't need a one holer to start. Just something that is accurate and consistent. A rifle that doesn't throw flyers. Aim for the 500 yard mark to start and learn how to read the wind and reload for your rifle. Get to know the equipment used to make those long shots. Save some money for bullets so you can actually shoot.
If I was to go back and start again, I would have started with that $300 super sniper scope and tuned the rifle I already had (a ruger hawkeye all weather 308), and spent the $25 for the smithing I had done. For $325 I would be into long range shooting with a consistent moa shooting package. I my opinion you could learn a lot shooting that for a while before you need to upgrade.
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