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Scope for AR - advice/suggestions

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 08:30
chrisrules View Drop Down
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New to the forum here. Looking to scope my AR. Its a mil-spec AR, nothing fancy. Primary use would be either plinking/shooting for fun with some friend as well as hunting (deer, hogs, coyotes, etc). I live in SC, so there's not a lot of wide open space for long range shooting/hunting. My guess is most shots would be under 300 meters ( if hunting, probably under 200 meters; too many trees). On the rifle range, I can see targets out to 300 meters; in the woods is a different story.

My thoughts are that a 1-4,1-6, or maybe 1-8 power scope would be plenty (perhaps even too much). I want an illuminated reticle. I like the concept of FFP, but I understand the illumination on those isn't as bright as SFP. I'd like to use the illuminated reticle at 1x for a close-to-red dot experience, but still have the zoom ability for longer shots. I'll shoot either the 55 grain or 62 grain 5.56 NATO round.

What would be some good optics that won't break the bank? I'm considering some of the Burris scopes, Vortex PST and Strike Eagle, Primary Arms, Athlon Optics, Bushnell, etc. I know SWFA has some great optics as well, but not sure about the cost. 

Sorry for the lengthy post. I appreciate any advice/suggestions you all have.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 08:39
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Welcome to OT.

Any particular budget you want to keep within?  Can't recommend the SWFA 1-4 or 1-6X scope strongly enough.  FFP and illumination brightness is a non-issue.  Couple on the Samplelist that are worth a look.

My brother had a Primary Arms on a 300 Blackout AR we were using on a pig hunt, while I had the SWFA 1-6x.  Night and day difference in the quality of the optics.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 08:47
chrisrules View Drop Down
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Hey, thanks. That was pretty quick for the first reply to my post.
 
Since I'm military, I can get discounts on some, which helps. For example, I can get the Vortex Strike Eagle for just under $300 ( no mount). 

I'd like to keep it in the $500 or less range. I don't shoot that much, and I'm not planning on getting into any competitive stuff, so I don't need uber high-end glass.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 10:05
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I believe this meets your needs and IMO is a better choice than the Vortex. Plus it is $420 with a mount.

https://swfa.com/optics/browse/swfa-ss-1-4x24-tactical-30mm-riflescope-kit.html
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 10:46
chrisrules View Drop Down
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Thanks Sparky. Great scope, great price - but is it enough scope? My head tells me it probably is, but in the off chance I need to make a longer range shot, I'm thinking 1-6 is where I need to be. Can't decide. And too bad that one's out of stock right now.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 11:13
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Like with most thing in life, you get what you pay for, so the first thing you need to do is work out how much you want to pay.

A good quality 4x with a well designed reticle will do better for you than a low quality 6x.

In the under $600 range, for a low range variable, I recommend three different scopes that are fairly close in performance, but have different feature sets: SWFA SSDM 1-4x24, Vortex PST 1-4x24, HiLux CMR4 1-4x24.

Generally, I maintain a list of recommendations on my website.  They are not always up to date, as I am going through and updating them, but here are my current recommendation for the under $600 range:

None of the 1-6x scopes in this price range impressed me enough to recommend them.  

If you are willing to spend a bit more, your options open up considerably, but you need to do a little soul seraching and come up with a price cutoff.  Then you will get better recommendations.

Another factor to consider is how much weight you are willing to tolerate on your AR.  That can make a big difference in how the gun handles.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 11:32
chrisrules View Drop Down
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Thanks, I'll check it out. Weight is definitely something I'm wary of - I don't want to upset the balance and feel of the rifle. All the more reason I asked for advice/suggestions. So many things to consider. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 14:02
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Here's some of the ones I found and was considering, listed below. Anyone have thoughts/insights on any of them?

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

Athlon Optics Argos BTR 1-4x24

Primary Arms 1-6x24

Primary Arms 1-8x24

Athlon Optics Midas BTR 1-6x24

Burris XTR II 1-5x24


I had thought I was nearing a decision, but now with the addition of the SWFA SSDM 1-4x24, Vortex PST 1-4x24, and HiLux CMR4 1-4x24, I'm just not sure. Pretty sure all can be had for under $500, with the exception being the Burris.

Still debating about FFP versus SFP. I like the FFP concept, but I'm thinking the reticles will be too small and not bright enough at 1x to suit me.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 14:16
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Originally posted by chrisrules chrisrules wrote:

Here's some of the ones I found and was considering, listed below. Anyone have thoughts/insights on any of them?

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24

Athlon Optics Argos BTR 1-4x24

Primary Arms 1-6x24

Primary Arms 1-8x24

Athlon Optics Midas BTR 1-6x24

Burris XTR II 1-5x24


I had thought I was nearing a decision, but now with the addition of the SWFA SSDM 1-4x24, Vortex PST 1-4x24, and HiLux CMR4 1-4x24, I'm just not sure. Pretty sure all can be had for under $500, with the exception being the Burris.

Still debating about FFP versus SFP. I like the FFP concept, but I'm thinking the reticles will be too small and not bright enough at 1x to suit me.


Not sure about your brightness concept.  Are you just meaning they may not be as bright because the reticle shrinks with the magnification range?  If you buy one with a properly designed reticle like the SWFA SS versions, they are designed so at low mag they are still plenty visable.  Are you planning on using a lit reticle in day light?  I have never really understood why people like to do that.  But to each his own.  But if you are just using them in low light it is actually preferred to have them quite dim.  Very few scopes especially cheaper scopes do illumination right.  most of them are so bright even on the lowest setting they are pretty much unusable in low light. 

If you get an SWFA illuminated FFG, you will be able to see them fine at the low mag in low light and in bright light if that is your thing. 

Another to consider but it is a bit spendy is the Trijicon Accupoint 1-4x or even their 1-6x.  It is my favorite low power variable I own and I own quite a few.  I have the green triangle post and it is awesome for speed up close and out to 200 to 300 yards.  It works great in low light with just the right amount of illumination. 

Leupold VXR patrol is also an excellent option with one of the best battery illumination systems going, they are $500.    

I have not used the Burris XTR 1-5x.  But I have the 2-10x and I like it a lot.  Good scope IMO. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 14:22
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Vortex Strike Eagle and Primary Arms 1-6x26 are more or less the same scope with different reticles and logos.  I am not a fan of this design.

PA 1-8x24 looks to be an evolution of the earlier 1-6x24 made by the same OEM.  I have not seen it yet (I'll take a look at SHOT).  It will be good to hae a decent 1-8x in this price range, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Athlon Argos is a FFP scope, unlike everything else in this group.  They have a nice reticle, but I have seen this OEM design from other brands and I am not sure I like it.

Athlon Midas looks decent at SHOT last year, but I have not tested it yet.  Once again, I like their reticle designs and if it is based off the same platform as Styrka S7 I've been testing, it is a decent scope.

Burris XTR II 1-5x24 is being discontinuued, so you may be able to find a good deal on it.  It is a good scope and the best one out of the ones you listed.  I like the CQ Mil reticle.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 14:23
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Don't have any first hand experience with FFP reticles; from what I've read, some say the illumination, on the smaller reticle, make it less than ideal for rapid shots, compared with SFP reticles.

Ideally, I'd like to use the illuminated reticle, in a 1x scope, much the same as a red dot, and then have the power (whether 4 or 6) to range out for longer shots. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 14:29
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I see.  I don't necessarily think it is the illumination just that the reticle gets so small.  Many of them are just not designed well.

I think you will definitely want to consider the SWFA SS HD 1-4x or 1-6x.  At 1x the entire circle lights up and if you turn it up it very visable even in daylight.  Yet in low light it gets very dim. 

I have one of the first generations without the circle and even without it at 1x with and I can find it plenty fast because of how they designed the outside posts so large. 

1x scopes are not red dots.  Very different IMO.  Red dots you don't have to be perfectly lined up and you can still see the dot just fine. Magnified optic you do, or it just don't work.  Most of them are not really 1x either.  I can see a bit of magnification in every 1x variable I have ever looked through.  But I am a huge fan of them and while they are not as fast as a red dot up close, they are still a great trade off for up close speed and some mag for the longer shots. 


Edited by supertool73 - December/15/2016 at 14:35
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 15:06
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A 1x scope is not quite a red dot, but to get close, you will need to spend a bit more money.  Illumination quality becomes a big deal and none of the scopes you are looking at give you that in bright light.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 15:23
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I understand about the red dots; have experience with them. While I wouldn't expect a 1x scope to perform the same, the concept is still the same. Rifle to cheek, put dot on target and fire. 

And ILya brings up a good point -money needed for better equipment. Since monetary constraints will keep me from investing in the higher dollar, better illuminated scopes, there's the idea of going with a small, variable power scope, and adding a reflex sight to it. Again, weight can be an issue and I don't believe I need too much scope. Probably a 2-10x or 3-9x. Heck, even a 1-6 or 1-8 non illuminated scope, with a reflex sight. Just too many ways to skin this cat, I guess. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 15:53
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Well, I was mostly trying to make a point that staying within $600 or $700 would be tough.  It would be tough even if you got a proper magnified optic with a decent reflex sight.

Take a clsoe look at Leupold VX-6 1-6x24 with Firedot.  It will likely do more or less everythign you need with a very nice illumineted reticle.

If you want to do more with the reticle at distance, consider the SWFA SS HD 1-6x24.

Both will run you right around $1K.

Probably the best deal going right now is the Sig Tango6 1-6x24 which is being revamped, so a few models are nicely discounted:


ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2016 at 16:13
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Where in South Cackalacky are you located.....?  Might be able to meet up with someone with a SS 1-4 and take a gander through it.  Im in SE NC and we have other folks in the central north of SC that I know of.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/16/2016 at 20:04
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I'm over in the Greenville/Spartanburg area.

I'm starting to think maybe I'm overthinking this. It seems as though the small reticles in the 1x ffp scopes aren't going to be satisfactory for the red dot like experience I want. So maybe I should just look at sfp scopes. If Im gonna do that, maybe I just look at more typical hunting type scopes and just add a reflex sight to that. 

This shouldn't be a hard decision, but there are just so many variables. I appreciate everyone's input.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2016 at 05:19
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Welcome to Optics Talk and thank you for your service.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2016 at 07:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2016 at 07:42
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The SWFA SS 1-4 will do what you want..... full red dot experience at 1X.    You can always buy one from SWFA and if you don't like and don't mount and keep it in 100% new condition they will more than likely take it back on exchange for something else .... call them to confirm.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2016 at 06:58
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I have a Leupold VX3 1.5-5x20mm with the illuminated duplex as my home defense choice for my AR15. I have the SS 3-15x42mm mead that I swap out for coyote hunting. Both sit in their own Bobro mount and hold zero just fine when switched.
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