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Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP info?

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    Posted: January/27/2014 at 08:57

I recently completed building my newest rifle, an AR-15 platform in 6.5 Grendel (NiB upper/BCG, 20” AA bbl, Geissele SSAE trigger, Magpul PRS, Todd Jarrett free-float tube). I am hoping to play around at longer ranges with this, and am in the market for a scope. I have been doing a lot of research over the past year and a half while I sourced parts for the gun and waited for them to get delivered, and had pretty much settled on the SWFA SuperSniper 3-15x42 FFP tactical scope (http://swfa.com/SWFA-SS-3-15x42-Tactical-Rifle-Scope-P62238.aspx). I am just getting into the medium/long range game, and am looking for a more ‘budget-minded’ scope (inasmuch as such a thing exists). The SWFA has a lot of the features I like (most notably FFP) and comes with a good reputation and reviews at a reasonable price (about $700). After finally taking my gun out to the range for the first time last weekend and getting frustrated playing around with iron sights, I was all set to place an order for the SWFA when a friend mentioned to me that there is a scope sold by Primary Arms that is getting some good feedback, a 4-14x44 mil-mil FFP (http://www.primaryarms.com/Primary-Arms-4-14X44-FFP-Scope-p/pa4-14xffp.htm) . As the price for this is only $230, I was very interested. The specs on the scopes seem pretty similar to my un-trained eye, but with that drastic of a price differential, I assume there are going to be deficits somewhere… glass/optical quality, turret adjustments, other features, durability, etc. Unfortunately in all my web-scouring I haven’t found any particularly in-depth reviews of the Primary Arms scope… just some cursory “shot it at the range yesterday and it worked well. Tracked good too. Not a bad scope” kind of reviews. Was hoping some of the experts here might have some more details regarding optics/glass quality, etc. Yes I know that with optics you get what you pay for, and yes, this Primary Arms scope is made in china, but Primary arms has a reputation (at least with their red-dot sights) of bringing really quality pieces to market at a great price. I have one of their red-dots that has survived a LOT of abuse I’ve thrown its way. I’m not afraid to drop the money on the SWFA scope, but if I can get one that’s 85% the quality for 1/3rd of the price, that would be an option worth looking into. Thanks for any help!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rancid Coolaid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/27/2014 at 09:11
I know nothing of their optics first-hand.  I've seen a few people say they are decent scopes for the money, but nothing in-depth as you say.
 
If that is your cap for now, I'd say get one and let us know.  If you can save a bit longer, I'd go for the SS3-15 and be done.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/27/2014 at 10:01
Looks like you spent some money on building a nice rifle. To me it would be shame to limit it's capabilities with a lesser quality scope. I would rather go with a known scope that would be a life time investment than go with a scope that could be questionable. You get what you pay for.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BeltFed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/27/2014 at 10:47
Buy once, cry once.
Life's concerns should be about the 120lb pack your trying to get to the top of the mountain, and not the rock in your boot.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jonoMT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/27/2014 at 12:58
Be like putting bad tires on a fast car. PA is a good company. It's possible to deliver a lot of value in a scope (SWFA comes to mind) and the law of diminishing returns applies (i.e. you won't get a scope that's 4X as good just because you spend $3000). But I question whether anyone can deliver a quality scope for that little money.

Look at it this way. SWFA and possibly Vortex and Bushnell have delivered some scopes that are close in function, reliability and quality to so-called uber scopes. They're already exploiting the space where user demand for specs meets most budgets. You can't get much lower in price and not give up things.
Reaction time is a factor...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote supertool73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/27/2014 at 13:35
That scope looks very similar to a Falcon menace.  Even the same mag range and objective size.  Probably based off the same design. 

Falcons are a POS compared to the SWFA SS scopes, and that one is even cheaper than a Falcon.  My cousin has that Falcon and it does not do anything right.  The glass is not very good, the adjustments are not true, it doesn't return to zero properly etc, etc.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RocketScientist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/30/2014 at 16:07
Thanks for all the replies guys! I completely understand all the tidbits of conventional wisdom (buy once, cry once; get what you pay for; save longer for the better one; cheap tires on a ferrari) and I agree with them. As I said, I'm skeptical of the PA scope's quality/durability and am strongly leaning towards the SWFA scope for all those reasons. I was just hoping maybe someone who has actually handled one of these in the real world could chime in and confirm my suspicions or offer some info? Thanks again for the help!! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rancid Coolaid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/30/2014 at 17:44
The fact that very knowledgeable and experienced users have not used one is also a data point to consider.
But, rocket scientist, I'm sure you've already considered that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RocketScientist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/31/2014 at 08:01

I very much have (considered the lack of popular acceptance).  Like I said, my ‘gut’ feeling is that the PA scope is bottom-tier Chinese low-QA dross, and I’m most likely going to end up with the SWFA.  However my time in grad school and later in research (I work more on the practical side now) burned a problem-solving approach into my head, and I can’t help but follow it. I come up with a theory, and try my hardest to validate or contradict it with empirical evidence. Since I don’t have the funds to buy both scopes and subject them the rigorous testing, the next best thing is find someone who has. I’ve got a lot of data about the SWFA, but precious little about the PA. I was just looking for some hard data to fill that knowledge gap. Don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I honestly really do appreciate all the feedback you and the other guys have given me. Makes me feel a lot better about what will most likely be my final scope choice J

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rancid Coolaid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/31/2014 at 09:41

Good luck, follow your gut.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote MZ5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/24/2014 at 11:24

Old thread, but thought I'd throw what little experience I have with this scope on, since no one else in the thread had ever even looked through one.

I have a good friend and shooting partner who got one of these PAs back in August, and I had a chance to shoot with him and that scope in September.  I also have an SWFA 3-15 which my friend has used, and he and I both have Weaver 3-15s as well.  Before I got there in Sept, he had put over 500 rounds downrange with this scope, mounted on a 6.5 Creedmoor.  He'd shot it out to 1,000 yards, and dialing back and forth between 800 & 1,000 he reported correct tracking (neither of us generally papers and measures tracking so long as hits are repeatable and as-predicted at distance).

He and I shot were shooting at 1,680 yards in good daylight in Sept, and I can tell you a couple things about the PA based on that experience--

The PA is surprisingly good, optically.  The image does blur slightly as you click out toward the edge of the adjustment range (his measured out to 34.3 mils of vertical).  I cannot see details of the targets as well with the PA as the Weaver or SWFA, but I can see them a WHOLE lot better than with most or all of the scopes I have in the same price range (mostly Nikons and Leupold/Redfields).

Adjustment clicks are good.  The PA moves 6 mils/rev, IIRC, so the clicks are closer together than the Weaver's, for example.  However, they're a good tactile and audible 'click,' so you don't get lost or over-shoot with 2 or 3 clicks instead of 1.  That is an issue I've had with both my SWFAs; the clicks are decent to good once you've moved them a few clicks, but initial movement of 1 or 2 clicks is significantly mushy and quiet, and therefore it's easy to over-shoot small adjustments with them.  Weaver's clicks are more positive, but PA's are good.

Reticle is a plain mil-dot.  Nothing fancy, but functional.

I have no way to know whether this will be a durable-for-decades scope.  It's on my friend's truck gun, which gets knocked around a lot, so it'll be a good test over time.

There's a high probability that I will acquire a PA and put it on my match 223.


**EDIT**

I forgot to add that this scope and rifle went on the fall deer hunt recently.  It allowed the party to easily identify animals and count points when another group member's scope was unable to even distinguish the fact that he was looking at elk rather than deer, nevermind whether he was looking at males or females (I don't recall just now whether his was the ProStaff scope, or an older Leupy).  Upon looking through the PA he exclaimed, "Wow!  That's better than any scope I own!"

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RocketScientist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/27/2014 at 07:53
MZ5:

Thanks so much for the actual first-hand experience!! Thats exactly the sort of info I was looking for, very much appreciated. If you have any more experience to share, or any updates re. durability etc, please don't hesitate to share. Again, many thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billyburl2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/30/2014 at 10:13
The thing about Chinese made scopes is, you as the consumer are the quality control. Are they getting better, yes they are, but all the reviews in the world don't make up for "your"scope going to crap! And on top of that,this scope only comes with a 3 year warranty. I would run and hide!
If it is tourist season, why can't we shoot them?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MZ5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/30/2014 at 10:42
I don't understand your comment. The location from which a scope is sourced has nothing to do with whether or not the importer here has good, bad, or indifferent quality control. All indications are that Primary Arms stands behind their product as well as SWFA or Vortex or anyone else. If you have actual failure rates you'd like to share, I'm sure every one of us would like to see them. Otherwise, firsthand reports and experience always trump secondhand fear-mongering, IMO.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billyburl2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/30/2014 at 11:18
I don't have failure rates to share, but where the scope is made does matter to me. Look into the history of Falcon scopes, their start was hailed as the next best thing to sliced bread. Same with Millet. Where else could you get a ffp scope for under a thousand dollars? Then the Q.C. problems started piling up, and it was "so what if I am on my 3rd or 4th scope, I still got it for under a grand!". And now hardly anybody remembers that they were once considered a feasible option for long range scopes.

To say a company stands behind their scopes like SWFA, or Vortex, is indeed saying something! I have seen some truly destroyed scopes made by both companies, that were not the fault of the manufacturer, and the warranty was honored.

Case in point. http://www.opticstalk.com/scope-mounting-gone-wrong_topic40585.html

Edited by billyburl2 - October/30/2014 at 11:27
If it is tourist season, why can't we shoot them?
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