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View Full Version : Cheap Optics or Iron Sights?


Rekrab
03-01-2010, 9:56 AM
Hey folks,

I'm building my AR .308 slowly and I'm starting to collect the small bits and pieces as I go along. Currently, I'm debating whether or not I should pick up Iron Sights first until I can afford a nice piece of glass.

The upper I'm buying is the 24" DPMS flat top with gas block rail.

The way I see it, if I go with standard irons I can probably do some decent shooting a fair way out. If I go with a cheap piece of glass I could probably go further but I might have issues keeping it sighted in. I'd rather not buy cheap optics when I know I'm going to replace it down the road, whereas iron sights will always be useful and less expensive.

I was thinking a $120 budget if I go with Irons, $200 if I go cheap optics.

What are your thoughts? If you can recommend anything I'd appreciate it.

Thanks!

p7m8jg
03-01-2010, 9:58 AM
Iron sights. At a recent rifle class they had us shooting iron sights on a .223 Colt HBAR out to around 225 yards & hitting a 18" metal target.

I was amazed I could hit it.

spareparts
03-01-2010, 10:22 AM
Irons.

I've played the cheep glass game and it just ends up costing you more in the long run.

Grassninja
03-01-2010, 10:29 AM
Iron sights. At a recent rifle class they had us shooting iron sights on a .223 Colt HBAR out to around 225 yards & hitting a 18" metal target.

I was amazed I could hit it.

Your son had to qualify firing at a 12'' black circle at 200 and 300 yards in the standing, kneeling, and sitting positions. Many folks will be surprised at just how far out a proper set of irons can reach. :)

That said, go with irons. Since it sounds like you want some real glass on it eventually, cheap optics would violate the "buy once, cry once" rule.

Bhobbs
03-01-2010, 10:30 AM
I say irons. Learn to use them and then get glass later on.

p7m8jg
03-01-2010, 10:31 AM
Very true!

But then, he's got "young" eyes and is in good shape and better trained than me............

Once A Marine
03-01-2010, 10:31 AM
Get a good set of folding sights, so you can use them as back ups once you can afford a good optic.

Rekrab
03-01-2010, 10:31 AM
OK, I'm glad my inner thoughts are coming out in everyone's opinions.

What do you guys think of the Magpul MBUS sights?

Edit: Hmmm, neve rmind. Looks like Magpul on the gas block would be a bad idea.

Maximusmax51
03-01-2010, 11:04 AM
Irons all the way! Don't really think you want to go cheap on optics when you'll probably have to upgrade latger. Post ur progress of the build so we can all see!

aplinker
03-01-2010, 11:18 AM
A 24" .308 AR needs glass.

There are a number of reliable and worthy options in the $200 range.

epic4444
03-01-2010, 11:19 AM
Yap, great advice from everyone, run the irons and get nice glass later, only way to go.

FMJBT
03-01-2010, 11:20 AM
Take a look at the YHM QDS sights. They are pretty solid, and fold down to a very low profile (.435") to fit under optics later on. I'd suggest getting the single small aperature rear version of the sights, as the dual aperature version sticks up about another 3/16" when folded.

There are a few decent scopes that fall into your price range as well. The Bushnell Elite 3200 10X40mm mil dot, and the FM Optics 4-14X44 FFP mil dot are both available for under $200.00.

aplinker
03-01-2010, 11:38 AM
Are people even reading the OP?

IMHO, unless he uses small aperture match sights, he's wasting money shooting a 24" .308 AR without optics.

Rekrab
03-01-2010, 11:42 AM
A 24" .308 AR needs glass.

There are a number of reliable and worthy options in the $200 range.

Now, are you saying this because I'll never realize the full potential of the 24" barrel with irons, or for another reason?

Optics are on the table for the future, but I was thinking of starting with irons. Believe me, a nice piece of glass WILL be put on there in the future. I'd just rather not replace a cheap scope with a nice scope when I can buy functional irons for the short term.

aplinker
03-01-2010, 11:50 AM
Now, are you saying this because I'll never realize the full potential of the 24" barrel with irons, or for another reason?

Optics are on the table for the future, but I was thinking of starting with irons. Believe me, a nice piece of glass WILL be put on there in the future. I'd just rather not replace a cheap scope with a nice scope when I can buy functional irons for the short term.

A 24" barrel .308 is capable of sub-MOA and 800yds+

The typical BUIS are going to be minute-of-man at as far as you can see (which may not be much!)

You're limiting the capabilities of the rifle by not using glass.

If you want to learn irons, shoot a .22lr!

It's a bit like buying a nail gun and turning it over to use it as a hammer.

lumwilliam
03-01-2010, 11:53 AM
I've been asking around about Primary Arms optics ($89 M3 clone in my case), and have even PM'd a bunch of members here who are using them. I don't own any myself, but I've heard the quality is great, they hold zero well and even look cool. All that for less than $200, and I've been told to expect them to be back in stock within 2-3 weeks.

aplinker
03-01-2010, 11:55 AM
A red dot on a 24" .308? :rolleyes:

FMJBT
03-01-2010, 12:15 PM
A few options for optics. I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones I could think of off the top of my head for under $200:

Bushnell for $184.32
http://www.blackbearsportinggoods.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=ELLBUS321040M&click=12

FM Optics for $149.95
http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/riflescopes/variable-power-scopes/p/4-14x44-mildot-tactical-scope-by-famous-maker-/cPath/203_208_326/products_id/3642

Both have about 75 to 80 MOA of internal travel with 1/4 moa adjustments, which should be enough to dial a 308 to at least 800 yards.

AM9000
03-01-2010, 12:40 PM
Irons.

I've played the cheep glass game and it just ends up costing you more in the long run.

This.

At least until you can afford an Eotech... they are pretty reasonable.

Rekrab
03-01-2010, 12:47 PM
Probably won't be going the Eotech route on this. It's either scope or iron sights. And honestly, the options available to me in the Scope category is making me lean towards a scope first. The Famous Maker scope looks pretty nice.

pyro3k2
03-01-2010, 1:02 PM
Please for the love of god and all that is holy, DO NOT put a red dot on a 24" .308 or irons for that matter, the bushnell 3200 elite x10 fixed power mil-dot is the only scope under 200 worth buying. That little thing can take the recoil of a 50bmg and not just one time, users have reported 200+ rounds with not losing zero and thats from a B.F.G. Back up irons sights should be lower on the list of things you need for the build, they would be nice to have but in all practicallity the 24" bull barrel upper weights around 10lbs on its own. Every time some one puts iron sights or a red dot on a bench rest gun god kills an puppy.

aplinker
03-01-2010, 1:15 PM
jeez. I swear, people do not understand what they're reading or saying! EOTech?! :rolleyes:

The Bushnell is the better of the scopes. You can sell them for near your cost when it comes time to upgrade.

Rekrab
03-01-2010, 1:45 PM
Alright, thanks for the tips guys. I think I'm sold on the Bushnell scope.

Maybe if I ever do a 16" upper build I'll go with a red dot or irons.

aplinker
03-01-2010, 2:20 PM
Alright, thanks for the tips guys. I think I'm sold on the Bushnell scope.

Maybe if I ever do a 16" upper build I'll go with a red dot or irons.

RDS and irons are great for plain jane 16" AR-15s.

Rob454
03-01-2010, 2:48 PM
I use iron sights when i go hunting. Sometimes i throw my scope on there.
You shoudl be able to do 200 yards easy with iron sights. If you plan on scoping it might as well wait and get a good optic. No point in getting a crappy one and then having to buy anothe rlater cause the cheap one just cant stay zeroed.

FMJBT
03-01-2010, 3:42 PM
The Bushnell is the better of the scopes. You can sell them for near your cost when it comes time to upgrade.

The Bushnell is better in terms of resale value, but in performance I'd give a slight edge to the FM scope. It has longer eye relief, FFP etched glass reticle, and side parallax adjustment. Adjustment range and tracking are pretty much identical between the two. The FM scope also includes rings that are about equivalent to the Burris XTR's.

lumwilliam
03-01-2010, 8:32 PM
Please for the love of god and all that is holy, DO NOT put a red dot on a 24" .308 or irons for that matter, the bushnell 3200 elite x10 fixed power mil-dot is the only scope under 200 worth buying. That little thing can take the recoil of a 50bmg and not just one time, users have reported 200+ rounds with not losing zero and thats from a B.F.G. Back up irons sights should be lower on the list of things you need for the build, they would be nice to have but in all practicallity the 24" bull barrel upper weights around 10lbs on its own. Every time some one puts iron sights or a red dot on a bench rest gun god kills an puppy.

Ahhh, the only thing I love more than my learning curve, is that I chose to put my real name as my avatar. sorry guys