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Firearms Accessories: Holsters, Safes, Lights & more If it locks up, carries, fits on to or cleans up your firearms, discuss it here.

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  #1  
Old 12-19-2006, 12:27 PM
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Default YA scope Q; cheap variable to learn on

I figure I ought to get a cheap scope with as wide a variable mag as possible to experiment with. I simply don't have any experience with scopes, I don't know if variable or fixed is better for me, what power, and the best way is to get a cheap scope to learn with. I am a beginning shooter, just learning. I'd like to get accurate at, say, 200-500 yards, where "accurate" really means better than I am now :-)

Part of my problem is my eyesight; I only use glasses for driving. I can get around Home Depot without glasses. I feel safe on the freeway without glasses but not around town. With glasses, targets are in focus but iron sights are such a blur as to obscure the target. Without glasses, the sights are fine, but targets past 25 yards get blurry enough that the center becomes a matter of speculation. So I don't really know what kind of scope will work best with my aging eyes :-)

I have a red-dot which is wonderful out to 50 yards or so (I can wear my glasses!), but not good enough for small targets at 100 yards.

I looked at Midway and it has hundreds of choices from $60 up. If I limit it to less than $100 there are only several dozen choices, wow ...

This is for the rails on an AR-15 (Cal-15? Stag-15?). I would like to ask for two recommendations:

A cheap variable power scope, where cheap means it has to withstand a few hundred rounds fired without shaking to pieces, but I don't care if the optics are not perfect or if it is not rainproof or dropproof, or if it needs bright sun or has too much glare in bright sun. If it fall apart after 500 or 1000 rounds, oh dear, pass the mustard. This is a learning tool, a toy, a lab instrument.

And how does it mount to the rails? Do I need something separate for that, do some scopes come with rail mounts? If I have to buy something separate which could be reused when I get a good scope, I don't mind spending a bit to get quality.

Thanks for letting me whomp on this horse carcass in a slightly different manner.
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  #2  
Old 12-19-2006, 12:37 PM
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Any cheap scope will work fine for what you want. A 4-16 power or 6-24X will give you a good idea of what power you want.

You will need a set of rings that are Weaver style (You don't have to have Weaver brand rings but the Weaver style rings by any maker will mount right on the flat top uppers with the Picatinny base.) I like tall rings or a tall ring and base combination so that the scope gets high enough to see through because of the straight stock that the AR type rifles have.

I used this type on my varminter http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=371698
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Last edited by Fjold; 12-19-2006 at 12:41 PM..
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  #3  
Old 12-19-2006, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fjold
You will need a set of rings that are Weaver style (You don't have to have Weaver brand rings but the Weaver style rings by any maker will mount right on the flat top uppers with the Picatinny base.) I like tall rings or a tall ring and base combination so that the scope gets high enough to see through because of the straight stock that the AR type rifles have.
Now here I show my ignorance. Are these rings part of the scope and some don't have them, or are they something additional that can fit to any scope?

Yes, I really am that ignorant :-)
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Old 12-19-2006, 12:45 PM
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Default Oops, a third question

I notcied on Midway that they show the scope view, cross hairs at least on the cheap stuff. What variations are possible, and are they changeable? My old Nikon film camera has replaceble screens to focus on, one is utterly blank, some have tic-tac-toe grids, some have circles, some have crosses, etc. Are there scopes with different markings, and are any of them more useful than ordinary cross hairs?
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  #5  
Old 12-19-2006, 1:07 PM
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Default OK, now I begin to understand

I am going to confuse everybody and myself if I can posting. I see now that the rings are separate and not part of the scope, so presumably any scope can fit in them. It looks like the standard rings are 30mm or 1 inch, some are both presumably because 25.4mm and 30mm are close enough. Are there any fat scopes which need bigger rings?

Does the distance between rings matter? Are there any scopes which have sich a short tube that they won't fit a "standard" pair of rings?

Or are there individual rings which you adapt to the length required?

I notice a "B-Square Military Base" http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=105295 for $60, and a "Leatherwood Hi-Lux 3D" http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=617607 for $350 which has adjustments. Is this worth considering? I don't think I am good enough where it pays to worry about windage yet, I have to get the basics, and it seems to me the basic rings would be good enough for starters; they appear to be good quality, look solid, just no adjustments.
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Old 12-19-2006, 1:16 PM
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Well, we all have to start somewhere! If you want to experiment with fixed vs variable power.. buy either 4 X 12 or 4 X 16 power scope to play with. Depending on the type of shooting you're doing, you'll probably soon discover why fixed 10 power scopes are so popular. A 10 power with good glass is more than enough to hit/ spot baseball size targets beyond 600 yds. Since I have yet to see a cheap mil-dot reticle scope, the standard "multi-X" reticle which is essentially a "+" with thinner lines toward the center, will do fine for you. It's thinner in the center so you don't cover up too much of your target. For suitable low budget brands.. take a look at Simmons and Bushnell. Some scopes will come with the rings.. they're crap.. but they'll be fine for a .223 AR-15 style/ platform rifle since there's little recoil. Another set of problems is because of the location of your rails and depending on the length of your scope.. your head may be placed way back on your stock for an uncomfortable cheek weld. When ordering your rings, the required height will depend on the size of the Objective on your scope. A knowledgeable salesperson should be able to assist you. Else.. have fun! Try taking a look at www.riflescopes.com
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  #7  
Old 12-19-2006, 1:27 PM
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Rings come seperately as you have found. They come in a set of two and they will fit anywhere on the scope in the 1" section of the tube. The vast majority of US scopes are 1" so buy 1" rings.

Some scope are longer and shorter than others but one set of rings will fit any of them usually. The mount that the rings come with if you buy them that way will determine how far apart the rings mount. If you buy a mount for an AR type rifle it will fit probably 99.9% of the scopes available.

The reticles (crosshairs etc.) are fixed for that particular scope and it can get expensive to change them (you cannot do it at home). Most scope makers offer a couple of different reticles (read more $) but most have a regular and duplex crosshair, look through both and see what you like.
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  #8  
Old 12-19-2006, 1:48 PM
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Default Yes, the light becomes brighter :-)

Thanks a heap. In looking through the Midway selection, I find three scopes that are different enough to make me think.

One is a Barska 6x24 42mm http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=161233.

Two is a Barska 8x32 50mm http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=194348.

These two interest me because it says "Available with a 30/30, Mil-Dot or Target Dot Reticle". Whether they ship with interchangeable reticles or not, I don't know, maybe you have to choose on the ordering page. Of the two, I would guess there isn't much difference other than the mag factors, especially because the higher mag scope also has a bigger optics, so they are close to equally bright. I wonder if 32x might be a bit of overkill, and if 8x might be a bit high for the low end.

A third one is a BSA 6x24 40mm http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=151051.

It is somewhat smaller than the Barska 6x24 (40 vs 42mm) but what makes me curious is having an "illuminated mil-dot". I notice they don't say red-dot. Is there any reason to get an illuminated scope for learning? I bet not ...

OK, how about a really silly question. Is it possible to use a scope in conjunction with a red-dot? I have the Aimpoint something-mumble and have ordered the 3x magnifier with its flip mount, and wonder if any other scope could be mounted in place of the 3x. Would the red-dot still work? Would it be incredibly dorky and only marginally useful? I am beginning to see the distinction between the red-dot and a scope. The red-dot is for faster target acquisition than iron sights, although for me it makes aiming possible when the iron sights simply get blurry and fuzzy. But a scope is not meant for lining up on a target in a hurry, not at those distances. I guess if you did do a lot of that, the variable scopes might be handier. Some of the fields of view at full zoom sure aren't very wide; heaven help you trying to find a target in a bunch of trees which all look alike in the scope, even if it is plainly visible to the naked eye.

Now on to the riflescopes.com site! Midway has tons of choices and is good for comparing, but I need more surfing!
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Old 12-19-2006, 2:24 PM
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Default Made a choice

riflescopes.com sure has lots of information well displayed. I found this one Bushnell scope, 6-24x40mm http://www.riflescopes.com/products/...ifle_scope.htm.

But I went ahead and ordered the 8x32 Barska. Partly because I won't know what too much mag is unless I use it, partly because it has the 50mm instead of 40 or 42mm, and partly because it has 1/8 mil adjustments. This is a learning tool, and I may as well go for the useless options so I can find how useless they are :-)

For the mount, I ordered the one recommended by Fjord.

EDIT: Ooops, no Bushnell questions. Forgot to clean that up once I made the choices.
An interesting school for the holidays.

Thanks to everyone.

Last edited by Scarecrow Repair; 12-19-2006 at 2:25 PM.. Reason: Eh, forgot to clean up the title
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Old 12-19-2006, 2:28 PM
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The red dot is going to be non existent when you put a scope beind it. And even if it were not for that fact.. you'd have a hell of a time trying to get them to co-witness. If you MUST use them in combination.. get a forearm that will permit you to mount the aimpoint at a 45 degree angle and just tilt your gun when shooting in CQB.
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Old 12-19-2006, 4:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildcard
The red dot is going to be non existent when you put a scope beind it. And even if it were not for that fact.. you'd have a hell of a time trying to get them to co-witness. If you MUST use them in combination.. get a forearm that will permit you to mount the aimpoint at a 45 degree angle and just tilt your gun when shooting in CQB.
Nah, I was just asking out of curiosity, since there is a 3x magnifier for the red dot. I think it would all be just a bit on the goofy side.
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Old 12-27-2006, 10:20 PM
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Default Got the scope; how do I compare it to others?

I did get the Barska 8-32x50mm and am astounded at the difference it makes to me, probably because of my nearsightedness. I got a 1" group at 80 yards prone on my first day. The biggest surprise is how touchy it is about viewing distance. Get too close to the eyepiece or too far away and it is about useless. I also found that the mount I got, a single base with two rings, is probably not as good for my purposes as two independent rings; I have the scope as far forward as it will go but it still feels not far enough, that I have to keep my head back an unnatural distance. If I had independent rings, I could shorten the distance between and move the scope farther forward.

However, it is ideal for learning. Now I am jealous of you farsighted shooters who don't need this, like a friend who can shoot 2" groups offhand at 200 yards and iron sights.

So, now that I have it, it seems excellent. But Barska doesn't have a very good reputation, and it certainly was cheap. What I would like to ask now is, how are better scopes different? What should I keep in mind as I learn how to use this? It was an overcast day, too dark for my chrony to work well, but the scope seemed quite bright. I like the mil-dot reticle. I see that some scopes have the focus on a knob with the alignment knobs, but focus was never a problem. This one has 1/8 MOA adjustments, which seems to be overkill but I am not going to complain. It looked like some scopes have separate adjustments for zero and windage / distance; I can see how that would be handy once I get better, but probably won't make a lot of difference at 100 or 200 yards.

Any suggestions you have will be welcome. If, for instance, most of the difference is in the optics, should I keep an eye out (!) for distortion or blur? Should I continually check the zero to make sure it isn't knocked around by the recoil? Will the viewing distance be less critical or better?
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