Survey on Scopes!!!


Oct 29, 2004
Lets make this interesting. How about a survey on scopes. Price excluded. Very best on down. I think everybody here is very helpful so I would like to see opinons.

I look at different scopes and sometimes have a hard time seeing which one had better clarity. Those of you with experience, I think this will help!
Otis, you just opened a big bag of worms here, but a very good question. Should be some interesting conversations take place.
ok, I will start it off.

Nikon Monarch
Bushnell Elite 4200
Weaver Grand Slam
Zeiss Conquest
Leupold VX-III

Nikon Buckmaster
Weaver Classic
Bushnell Elite 3200
Burris Fullfield II
Leupold VX-II

Now, these all take in consideration the quality vs. price comparison amount the different brands. I am not saying that one is better than the other, just when you look at the price vs. the quality, this is how I would rank them. Each brand has specific features that makes each one unique or better for an individuals hunting or shooting situation.
First by durability (faith in it's ability to remain a scope and not a metal tube with glass ends) and then by clarity (far less important to me).

Leupold Mk4 (the "real" MK4s)
Nikon Tactical
NightForce NXS
Leupold "tactical" Long Range (a part of the new MK4s)
Leupold VXII
Toilet paper roll tube with thread and masking tape reticle feature.
Springfield Armory

By clarity

Toilet paper tube (with or without those pesky reticle thread(s).
Nikon Tactical
NightForce NXS
Leupold Tactical (Long Range)
Leupold Mk4 (the real MK4s)
Springfield Armory (with or without those pesky reticle threads)
Leupold VXII
Hey Dave, I take it, you don't care for SpringField Armory, i.e. HAKKO made in Japan. I do have one mounted on a M1A and have not had any problems, but I don't shoot it nearly as often as the Leupolds. You're not the first person that I've heard say that thet're not very good. So, I'll definately keep that info in mind. The more I hear it, the less I even consider them.

PracTac, Hakko is one of the largest glass and scope supplier in the industry. They make a lot of scopes for different companies. Their quality varies by what the end user wants and the price point they are trying to meet.

Springfields are not known for their optical excellence. Many say they are great but what is their point of reference. I believe Springfield is leaning more towards bells and whistles then optical clarity.

When you have used scopes like the Nikon Monarch and Elite 4200's, looking through other 'good' scopes doesn't excite you.

If you can, try out as many brands as possible. The differences will be quite obvious. Just pick the scope that looks right to you. Mechanically, most of the upper brands are just fine, but they will vary alot in what image they provide.

As you can tell from the posts above, Nikon and Bushnell Elite have a strangle hold on the tops for optical quality right now. Will be interesting to see how the majors challenge that. Leupold will certainly respond and if Ian let's us know how his tests go, we will have some very good insight.

There was a time when price determined quality. However, with the wonderful world of China, quality determines quality. The Nikons and Elites are up to 1/3 cheaper then a comparable Leupold.

I have been very impressed with Burris FullfieldII for the money. If you want an actual true 'made in the USA' product, that would get my vote.

Jerry, I was just razzing Dave a bit. I got a kick out of the fact he put the Springfields below the toilet paper roll. I do have a couple HAKKO makes in my inventory, i.e. SA and a Hawke, but they are what they are. I mostly use the Leupold MK4s 6.5x20-50 LR/T. However, I'm looking into building another custom rifle in 300wsm and using a NF-NXS, but even there, some opinions vary. I just try to use every piece of info I get from the comments made. It's often very helpful. Thanks for the tips.

I have a GREAT TIP for you. Christmas is coming soon. You can get some of those long Xmas-Paper rolls and really setup some long range equipment. Toilet paper rolls are more like 2x7/3x9's, you need more power

My favorites - whatever is on the rifle I am shooting at the time, as long as it is crystal clear, tracks and returns and takes the recoil of some of my scope wreckers. That elliminates some of the above, particularly Dave's favorite wannabee tactical brand. Matter of fact it includes a lot of what he listed.

For hunting scopes I would include the Nikon Gold or whatever they call their new 30mm hunting models, they are super - one helped kill a very big Alaskan brownie on my hunt last summer, 1.5-6 is about as nice a dangerous game scope as you will get. Also have some Swarovskis and a Zeiss that almost melt my eyes they are so sharp and bright, 3-12x50's. I also have a 3-12x50 Burris Black Diamond that is a very good hunting scope, has turrets that are so-so but optics and reliability are tops. For that matter I use a Burris Signature a lot also, it has never let me down. Really like Monarch 3.5-10'sx50's, (might be 2.5- what the hell) they are bright and very sharp, and reasonably priced, have been on a lot of hunts and stood up to lots of use and recoil. Also have some old Redfield Ultimate Illuminators that have to be used in poor light to be believed. They are clubs, heavy and bulky, so-so turrets but amazing optics. Another VERY sweet new scope is the Leupold MK4-MRT in 3-9 (Dave, you gots to get one - don't ask why, just buy one...). For Jerry's sake I will certainly include the 4200's, they have been reliable, tough but their big scope needs decent turrets.

Found out that the NXS 2.5-10 does not perform like its big brothers when the sun starts getting low and you are trying to kill a mulie buck that is running into the sun. Somebody turned out the lights and at the same time fired a flare down the scope tube! He died tho, the GA LITE Non-Typical scored again!!!

You pretty much get what you pay for, I have seen a few expensive dogs but not many. Just how much we are paying for the name on some turrets would be interesting to know.

I would trust someone like Jon's opinion - he has given a lot of good advice here and he is in the business of marketing optics. He has pretty much stayed with hunting scopes in his list, would be interested to hear his opinion on tactical scopes if he does much with them.

Oh yea, I have an original Weaver K-4 or two, steel body, beer bottle glass in the lenses but it still works perfectly. Also think there is a Weaver K-6 around if I want to shoot long
Those were the good old days.

I have not look at very many tactical, but the ones that I seen I would rank them like this based on price vs quality again.

Nikon Tactical
Leupold Mark 4
Nightforce NXS

I personally would buy the Nikon over all of them in a heart beat. When you look at the Nikon, it is one of the more impressive scope for the money that you pay for it.

Also, I agree with you on the Nikon Monarch Gold. That 1.5-6x42 is one of the best low power 30mm scopes available.
Ian, how many times have I bugged you to go give Bushnell a kick when you see them at the SHOT show. Talk about missing the boat.

The turrents are repeatable and once you get used to the graduations, very useable. I like the low profile on a hunting rifle but are a bit slower to use as a target scope.

I have yet to meet a 4000 or 4200 that was not mechanically repeatable. They just need more internal adjustment and they would be better then the Nikon. I find the Bushnell has a larger apparent field of view compared to the Nikon Monarchs. Being picky but why not.

I am surprised that in the tactical scopes no one has included the two big under dogs - Tasco Super Sniper ($300, hakko manf) and Elite 3200 10X ($180).

Both have lots of adjustments that are repeatable. Nice true mil dot reticles. Above average optics and quality finish. In fact, I find the Elite 3200 equal to the Mk4 and the Tasco as better. The Mk4's do not work for my eyes at all.

Of course, there is also the IOR's which seem to be getting more popular all the time.

Great optics are getting cheaper. We have never had it so good...

Jerry, I have the 20X Tasco SS and a side by side comparison to a MK4 LR/T 6.5x20 there's a diff., but for the money and the application, the SS was a great deal.

Next time you open up a Nikon Tactical with Mildots check the Mildot manual. That guy doesn't know enough to pour pee out of his shoe
Just the order of the scopes I own. I can't beleive someone rated a bushnell over zeiss?? I guess the price was weighed pretty heavily??
Nightforce NXS
zeiss conquest (x2)
leupold LR 30mm (x2)
weaver V16
Bushnell banner

Wait-- Price is not a factor according to the thread starter. Are you Serious about the bushnell?

I am suprised that leupold is still in business after the conquest line was introduced.

[ 11-05-2004: Message edited by: MOA ]
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