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  #1  
Old 08-27-2018, 4:34 PM
angvsta_avgvsta angvsta_avgvsta is offline
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Default Variable Scope Suggestions for AR-15 ($2k Budget)

After saving enough money to build my first AR-15, I had to lock it away for months until I had enough money allocated for some optics (while also being too busy with family and work obligations).

The time has now come and I'm in the market for some variable optic suggestions for 1-6x or 1-8x with a $2,000 budget.

I've tried reading as much as I can on my options, but often found myself lost and confused, if someone can help explain some of my questions below in layman terms, that would be MUCH appreciated.

1) Any benefit in choosing between PFP or SFP?
2) How about between whether going with MOA or MIL?
2a) I have a REALLY hard time trying to understand the measurements and explanations for MOA and MIL, how they affect your usage in the reticle, and what it means to "hold". If someone can kindly explain this or direct me to some good reading sources, that would be great.
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Old 08-27-2018, 4:57 PM
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We'd love to help you decide the best choice for you, please give us a call at 916-670-1103. It will take a little time to go over the Pros and Cons to LPVO's and the different options
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Old 08-27-2018, 6:59 PM
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So it's chambered in 5.56/.223 I imagine. People always forget to add what it's going to be it's purpose. If it's just for run and gun or close quarters and want to blow your was then ya buy that 1200 dollar ACOG. If you want variable you can get a FFP variable and quality glass for 300 to 500. No need to break the bank when all you want to shoot out to is 100 or 300 yards.
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Old 08-27-2018, 7:17 PM
angvsta_avgvsta angvsta_avgvsta is offline
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@Tommy_Gun sorry, you are correct it is chambered in 5.56 and it will be mainly for running & gunning.

I'm very new to rifles and this is my first AR, so I'm not quite certain on what the exact purpose will be for, but I'm hoping to purchase something that will allow me to have an all-around type usage. I'm also quite interested in some long range shooting, so I hope to be able to dabble in that in the future. I'm a big proponent of the "buy once and cry once" belief, so I do hope to find something that will allow me to serve multiple purposes and last me a while without needing future purchases.

Do you have some scopes that you would recommend in that $300 - $500 range?
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Old 08-27-2018, 8:13 PM
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It's too late for your situation, but for just an extra $80 or so you could have bought a set of Magpul sights, or a Bushnell TRS-25, or a Primary Arms microdot & gone shooting immediately. Those aren't Iraqi deployment quality, but certainly good enough for a lifetime of recreational use.

As for your specific questions,
1) FFP means the reticle is constant in relation to magnification, thus if you increase magnification the reticle will also get bigger. SFP means the reticle is always the same size regardless of magnification. The advantage of FFP is that the subtensions on the reticle are constant, in other words all those tick marks on the reticle will always mean the same angle regardless of your zoom. Let's say you have a mildot reticle looking at a 12" round target, your target radius will span 1.8 mils regardless of zoom. If you miss by 1 mil, you know it's 1 mil without having to check what zoom you're at. The drawback is if you zoom really low power, that reticle (and target) will be really small. FFP is also useful for rangefinding, but the method will take a few paragraphs to explain. If you're familiar with how surveying works or remember your trig, it's the same concept. With an object of known size (height, for example) & known angle (be it 2 mils or 2 moa), you can solve for distance.
Disadvantage is price. But if your price range is $2000, yeah get FFP. Heck even at $1000 there's good FFP options.

2)MOA vs mil is like inches vs centimeter. A circle is divided into 360 degrees, a degree is divided into 60 minutes, a minute is divided into 60 seconds. So a minute of arc is 1/60 of a degree, or 0.01667 degrees. That's it. A circle is also divided into 2pi radians, and 1000 miliradians makes a radian. Sounds more mathy, which is likely why most people prefer moa, but in reality they're both just units. Not like we use such small angles commonly in regular life such that it has much meaning, so using one vs the other is just as easy or hard. In an old post someone said we could just as well use chicken drumsticks as the measurement, it doesn't really matter what is used as long as you're consistent.

2a)To reiterate the previous statement, it doesn't matter which unit you chose, as long as you're ("you" meaning you+your scope) remain consistent. So don't get a mildot reticle with moa knobs. The real life example is let's say you shoot at a target, and your hit is 2 mil low. So you'd want to adjust the knob 2 mil up. But if you have moa knobs, you'd turn it 6.9 ticks up. Huh? How'd I get that number? You can google the conversion, or look up the formula (2pi rad=360*) Or keep your life simple and keep the reticle the same unit as your knobs.

Hold means to offset your aim point. Most beginners think that you always put the target on the crosshair but that's not necessarily true. Using the above example of hitting low 2 mils, instead of turning the knob 2 mils up, you could just raise the gun 2 mils up ("hold 2 mils up") & put your target on the 2nd dot below the crosshair. Or let's say there's a strong 90* wind going from left to right. You would hold left a little to account for that, meaning you aim a little bit left & let the wind blow your bullet on target.

That's just the semi-technical response to your question, but Tommy has a good point, what do plan to use it for? Hunting? Shooting tiny holes in paper at really far distances? Just shooting into the side of a berm at 20 yards? How likely are you ever going to get past 100 yards? 200 yards? 600 yards? Obviously no one plans to drop their scope from 10 ft onto mud, but how likely would that happen in your usage? Answer those & you'd get more useful answers than my post.
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  #6  
Old 08-27-2018, 8:59 PM
angvsta_avgvsta angvsta_avgvsta is offline
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@kcheung2 I really appreciate your post and going into such detail in answering my questions. Thank you for that! I've kind of gotten a very very broad understanding from trying to read around online, but your post helped tie the pieces together based on my loose understanding.

As far as usage goes, I definitely won't be going to war with it or even hunting. I think my immediate plans are to use it for close quarter shooting & long range shooting at ASR, and possibly learn & experiment in 3 gun competitions in future when my skills improve.
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Old 08-27-2018, 9:02 PM
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Vortex and Primary Arms have great variable magnification scopes in the 300 range. I can only attest to the Primary Arms as I have one on my AR. It's the 1x6 ACSS reticle. If you get one you should and will only use it at max magnification as 6 power isn't that powerful but great for some distance. Put 45 degree offset flip up back up sights as well.

OR.....grab a red dot sight. Many good options out there for the sub 600 range. Don't fall into the more $$$ = best trap. Spend some money on optics but no need for 2k set up. No one gives a **** how much you spent, only what you can hit. 2 or 3k range optics, really, should be used for long distance range 600+ and the .223 just isn't made for that, GENERALLY SPEAKING. Use that extra money for ammo or reloading. Or a new sidearm. Or a....
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Old 08-27-2018, 9:05 PM
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Just read your response. Scopes will "get in the way" for close quarters. Field of View is important. Get a red dot. I have 2 ARs, one with Eotech Red Dot and one with the 1x6 with the offsets.
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Old 08-27-2018, 9:13 PM
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Sounds to me your could use a 1-6 set up. Maybe a strike eagle or pa acss. Good mid range SPR style for AR15s are 1-6 or 1-8. You should make sure your ok with the eye relief though. Some of those can get real fisheyed if you're not spot on.

The 2-10 is a great option too but tend to be more expensive. On that note, $2k is a very nice budget, you don't really need to spend that kind of money. It's an AR not a one mile bolt gun. Save yourself some money and get a better scope to learn the basics on. Then go with a night force and see what you're missing.

I have red dots on my 5.56 with flip 3x magnifier.

On my grendel I run a 4-16 sfp vortex.

And on my creedmor I run a 4-24 ffp vortex.

The higher magnification the higher the wieght usually. Just decide your intended purpose and build the gun to match. Hope that helps,and have fun.
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Old 08-27-2018, 9:19 PM
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If you want to shoot 3 gun competitions, you will want a 1-6x scope. There used to be a guy who posts on YouTube about different 3 gun scopes. Supersetca. Check out his videos.
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  #11  
Old 08-28-2018, 3:36 AM
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Based on your usage...i'm going to recommend two purchase. The first is the vortex strike eagle 1-6 or 1-8.... it will run you around 300 or 400 depending. That will give you 1x capability all the way up to what you would need for more precision work.

The second purchase is a good quality (but budget priced) red dot scope such as vortex spitfire or holosun...etc.. (there are probably a dozen or so decent brands)....this will run you around 150-200.

The more expensive red dots or optics only make sense if you need something at a law enforcement or military level. For the average shooter, they are a total waste of time...

At this point...you are out around 500 or 600...take your other 1.5k and buy as much ammo as you can.....
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Old 08-28-2018, 4:14 AM
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My suggestion is less than your budget max and a bit less on magnification, though I believe they offer a higher power.
Steiner P4Xi is a 1-4 x 24 illuminated reticle optic.
Check this link for the best price I found.
https://www.botach.com/steiner-5202-...-p3tr-reticle/
Powered, it is a red dot,
Unpowered it has an etched BDC reticle.
Best of both worlds in one unit.

Here is the simplest and easiest to understand (for me) explanation of mils
https://youtu.be/S5AGsHSIsVo


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Last edited by wpod; 08-28-2018 at 4:19 AM..
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  #13  
Old 08-28-2018, 4:22 AM
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2k for scope you better have a very high end ar. That sounds like way over budget. Hope it is not 5.56/.223 like putting bright ribbon on a jackass. Did you mean 200 bucks. get an ar mod 1 leupold 3-9 x
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Old 08-28-2018, 7:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angvsta_avgvsta View Post
The time has now come and I'm in the market for some variable optic suggestions for 1-6x or 1-8x with a $2,000 budget.

1) Any benefit in choosing between PFP or SFP?
2) How about between whether going with MOA or MIL?
2a) I have a REALLY hard time trying to understand the measurements and explanations for MOA and MIL, how they affect your usage in the reticle, and what it means to "hold". If someone can kindly explain this or direct me to some good reading sources, that would be great.
Ignore the shade being thrown, nothing wrong with putting good glass on a gun.

Let's start with the questions.

FFP (First Focal Plane) is mostly useful for ranging targets at unknown distances and for using reticle hold points at any magnification (ill explain "hold" points in a sec). If you plan to most shoot at known distances or like most shooters typically have your optic on the min or max magnification than first focal plane may not offer you much value.

"Hold" points are using hash marks on the reticle to compensate for things like wind or drop. Instead of dialing in adjustments on your turrets, you use the reticle to adjust. So if you place your crosshairs on a target and the round hits left of target, you move the reticle over so that the crosshair is to the right of the target (and ideally one of the hash marks on the horizontal line is now on the target) so that the round will impact on target.

Choosing between MOA and MIL is mostly user preference. Do you think/calculate better in Inches or Centimeters? As long as you keep your systems consistent it shouldn't make a big difference which you go with. MIL is what more people are favoring as it is based on factors of 10 which is usually simpler mental math.

Now for the optic. Nothing wrong with a $2K budget especially if you are including the mount in that.

Here are some excellent choices for that price point:

Vortex Razor Gen 2-E 1-6x
They cut weight with the "E" model while basically keeping everything else that was loved about it. Easily the most generous "eyebox" of Low Powered Variable Optics on the market (eyebox refers to how in line your eyeball needs to be with the optic to get a full sight picture...being "generous" means that you do not have to be perfectly in line with it). Second Focal Plane reticle with locking illumination ring.

Nightforce NX8
Still relatively new optic for NF, they worked with more than a few serious shooters to make this optic what it is. Super robust and quality glass with a built in throw lever to help with magnification changes.

The US Optics 1-6x is another great option to consider

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Old 08-28-2018, 8:11 AM
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With the low range variable scopes out there my sorta standard list of recommendations in order of increasing price is as follows:
Burris RT-6 1-6x24
Steiner P4Xi 1-4x24
Hawke Frontier 1-6x24
Burris XTR II 1-8x24

Going higher in price becomes a little harder to justify if you are just starting out with things like these. I think you need to spend some more time practicing before you have a good idea of what really works.

Personally, I use Burris XTR II 1-8x24 with FFP reticle and I am exceedingly happy with it.

The other option I like a lot is Elcan Spectre OS 4x with a miniature red dot on top of it (Doctersight II in my case, but Burris Fastfire II is a bit cheaper and sits ont he same mount).

I like both and run both. I am at ASR fairly regularly if you want to see them in person.

ILya

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Old 08-28-2018, 4:36 PM
angvsta_avgvsta angvsta_avgvsta is offline
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I really appreciate everyone's advice and recommendation as I'm seriously considering all the different thoughts and suggestions in making my choice.

@wpod & @koshkin, I started to look at the Steiner P4Xi since I was not aware of that scope until now, so thanks for that. I'm actually quite interested in it.

My AR is chambered for 5.56, so I'm definitely all ears in everyone's advice of not spending so much money, especially since I am new to this and have much learning to do with range time. Plus, pocketing some left over money from that $2k budget is always a good thing!

Right now, I've kind of narrowed it down to the following 3 and hope to see what you guys think.

1) Steiner P4Xi 1-4x24 SFP @ $509
2) Primary Arms 1-6x24 SFP GEN III @ $289.99
3) Primary Arms Platinum 1-8x24 FFP @ $1,080 w/ $150 gift card from Optics Planet

What are your guys' thoughts?
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Old 08-28-2018, 4:52 PM
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If you click on the Botach link I posted you'll probably get a better price.
I paid around $465, no tax, no shipping, included the $90 throw lever.
Just a thought.
I had been looking at FFP scopes when I came across the Steiner.

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Old 08-28-2018, 4:54 PM
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I'm going to preface this by saying I already own the PA 1x6 so I'm a little bias but the 1x6 will do everything you want and more. The auto range feature of the PA is a cool feature. FFP is useless for close range IMO even for up to 300yds. Your .223/5.56 will have basically the same Point of Aim 100yds to 200yds due to its velocity with only a little variance out to 300 (50yd zero). FFP will cause the reticle the be super small at 1x (I am sure it is still useable thought as they would not sell it). When you use a SFP like the 1x6 you will zero it at max magnification. You will never use your turrets for the most part once you zero it.


I am basing this on what you want this for. Close range does not need you to spend much money. IMO Grab the 1x6 and use some of your huge savings to get some quality off set sights for best of both worlds and only spend like 500 to 600 total. Again PA are a reputable company with good products. No offense but the Vendor post above of course wants you to spend stupid money on something you don't need. Do what you want but for ARs $1k for optics is hilarious.
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Old 08-28-2018, 7:45 PM
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That glass on that budget Primary Arms 1-6x budget scope is pretty bad.
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Old 08-28-2018, 8:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy Gun View Post
Do what you want but for ARs $1k for optics is hilarious.
Many people would disagree.
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Old 08-28-2018, 9:23 PM
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I would personally get a Vortex Razor HD Gen II and then get an RMR on a 45 degree offset with that budget.
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Old 08-29-2018, 3:17 PM
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Old 08-30-2018, 1:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angvsta_avgvsta View Post
I really appreciate everyone's advice and recommendation as I'm seriously considering all the different thoughts and suggestions in making my choice.

@wpod & @koshkin, I started to look at the Steiner P4Xi since I was not aware of that scope until now, so thanks for that. I'm actually quite interested in it.

My AR is chambered for 5.56, so I'm definitely all ears in everyone's advice of not spending so much money, especially since I am new to this and have much learning to do with range time. Plus, pocketing some left over money from that $2k budget is always a good thing!

Right now, I've kind of narrowed it down to the following 3 and hope to see what you guys think.

1) Steiner P4Xi 1-4x24 SFP @ $509
2) Primary Arms 1-6x24 SFP GEN III @ $289.99
3) Primary Arms Platinum 1-8x24 FFP @ $1,080 w/ $150 gift card from Optics Planet

What are your guys' thoughts?
I deeply dislike the SFP Priamry Arms 1-6x and all the other scopes out there that use the same design (like Vortex Strike Eagle).

Primary Arms Platinum, on the other hand is a very nice scope.

The 1-8x is great for extending the distance, but on 1x, the Steiner is a little better (also smaller and lighter). You kinda have to decide what is more important to you.

ILya
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