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A well-written treatise on choosing your riflescope Login/Join 
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Picture of RichardC
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The author addresses value (cost), purpose, magnification ranges, body tube and objective diameter, turret styles, MRAD VS MOA, dialing vs holdover, reticle choice, FFP vs SFP, and warranty.

It is easy to read and understand as a whole, but each section can be referred to for specific information.

It's provided on the Element-optics.com website.




https://element-optics.com/11-...sing-a-riflescope

"11 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A RIFLESCOPE
Weigh up all your options, choose carefully

by Matt Dubber"

"If you purchase a rifle, you are more than likely going to need a scope - and while there are many fantastic makes and models available all over the world, it’s certainly not as straightforward as finding a well-rated product on Amazon and hitting the “buy now” button. There are MANY different things to weigh up and consider, and hopefully this post will help bring some of those considerations to light as you prepare to make the big decision."

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Posts: 12126 | Location: Florida | Registered: June 23, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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Thanks for the reference. A lot of brand specific references, but still a useful discussion.

I am curious, though, about the author’s opinion that the S&B Police Marksman II is the “best riflescope ever made.” Perhaps it depends on how one defines “best,” but there are very knowledgeable reviewers who would disagree. The scope (or other S&B products anyway) are extremely popular in some circles, but the best as compared with more recent offerings—? It would be interesting to know other opinions (some of which I am already familiar with).




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
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Posts: 43593 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund

I am curious, though, about the author’s opinion that the S&B Police Marksman II is the “best riflescope ever made.”


Cut the guy some slack, he works for that company. If the guy worked for Ferd and said some Dodge model was the best made, how long do you think he'd have a job? But its also a good reason to just ignore any of his stated opinions. He's puffing for his company. Probably not a reliable opinion giver (at best). I read the article and then after seeing so many brand specific opinions (all his brand), I realized there wasn't any brand advice I'd take. An unbiased opinion giver should steer clear of making statements that we can easily discount as being him trying to sell his products.

We don't have many discussions here about the quality of scopes. That part is kind of a shame because a truly objective article would be of value, unlike one made to sell his brand of scope. Many of us are "poor" and don't have unlimited funds to dump on a scope. So we buy what we can afford, usually picking a known brand we think is good. Reading this guys sales drivel won't change that for me at all. But then I'm not a top level competitor with a fat checking account. Us poor boys are probably better served by sticking with affordable brands that we recognize and that are generally recognized as being "good".

All that said, my most used scope is from back in 1965, and an off brand at best. It sure serves my purposes without any failure. Its on my 22 and has been very good for my purposes. It was all I could afford at the time and the guy that owned the gun shop told me it was used, and the original owner brought it back. Better still I could bring it back if I didn't like it. Its been pretty clear, and 55 years is a long time. I have no plans on replacing it, either. Maybe the next guy will want to do that, but I bet he won't get better service life than I've had.

We don't talk about scopes very often here (this is primarily a handgun forum). I'd sure like to see a Leupold or a Leica rep give his opinions here. Bet they'd be different.


Unhappy ammo seeker
 
Posts: 17618 | Location: Kentucky, USA | Registered: February 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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quote:
Originally posted by rburg:
Cut the guy some slack, he works for that company.


Does he? Confused

I thought the company banner at the top of the page indicated he worked for or was somehow associated with Element Optics, “… a team of passionate, skillful professional shooters who design and manufacture premium quality riflescopes and optics.” His articles make constant references to Element scopes. Is Element a subsidiary of or otherwise associated with Schmidt & Bender?




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
— Thomas Paine
 
Posts: 43593 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
I am curious, though, about the author’s opinion that the S&B Police Marksman II is the “best riflescope ever made.” Perhaps it depends on how one defines “best.”


Actually, looking at the whole quote it "probably" depends on the definition of "possibly", which is the most wiggle room word, especially when offering opinions about something. Is it the best scope in the world? Possibly. Can my Chinese knock-off compete against an S&B? Possibly. But, when it come down to it, it will probably fail in all metrics except cost.

Unfortunately, I don't really have a ton of experience in judging scopes to give an answer to any except the last. I am fairly expert in word picking, and it's clear that the author here chose a viable contender for "best riflescope ever made," but left room for the answer to actually be his employer's line of scopes, or really any other scope someone was prepared to whip out arguments for; making that claim, at best, a rhetorical device.


"Ultima Ratio Regum"
Life Member NRA Washington Arms Collectors
The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. 'Make it evil,' he'd been told. 'Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them.'
 
Posts: 1066 | Location: T-town in the 253 | Registered: January 16, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by Loswsmith:
the most wiggle room word


True all that, but still a little unusual to see in a blog hosted by a different company.

And I’m still curious about the status of Schmidt and Bender in this country. I watch a lot of military sniper competition videos and their scopes (possibly even that model) are very popular among foreign teams. I even saw one scope engraved “For HK by Schmidt and Bender” (or something similar) on one being used by a German (IIRC) team.

I know that S&B scopes were very popular with some of the members here for a long time, but at one point that changed, almost overnight it seemed. I got the impression that lack of service support to correct some problems was at least part of the reason, but I don’t know if that was the only reason. The “Dark Lord of Optics” rates the S&B scopes very highly, but not at the top of the top tier heap.

Drifting off topic, I know, but these discussions tend to attract the knowledgeable, and as I say I am curious about how S&B scopes are viewed in the US these days.




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
— Thomas Paine
 
Posts: 43593 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for linking that. I am not an optics expert.

But I most highly prize 'ruggedness' combined with simplicity.

In a former life i was Army Infantry and we were experts at breaking shit. I don't want my equipment to break and be unusable in a critical moment.

So whenever i buy anything -- durability is one of the first considerations.

-------------------------------------


Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
 
Posts: 8347 | Location: Florida | Registered: September 20, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Caribou gorn
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His #2 should have been #1 and his #1 should have a lot of caveats.

"Cheap" is a very relative term and, imo, a $250 scope is not necessarily cheap depending on what you are asking it to do. For punching paper at 100 yards or shooting deer out to 300, there are a whole bunch of $250 scopes that have been doing it reliably for decades.



I'm gonna vote for the funniest frog with the loudest croak on the highest log.
 
Posts: 9412 | Location: Marietta, GA | Registered: February 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have not yet touched or looked through an Element scope. Nor do I know of anyone who has. From what I see on the webz, they have primarily catered to the air rifle folks to date, and they are trying to expand their market to the cartridge rifle folks.

The article is a pretty well thought out marketing piece for Element's products. The 11 points don't break any new ground. There's no secret sauce that hasn't been discussed anywhere else. Element has condensed some important points, then grouped them into a sales piece around their scopes. There is the initial air of impartiality by mentioning Zeiss, Swaro, and S&B. IMO the American consumers they're catering to will be impressed by those European names. But that's because their targeted American consumers won't be all that familiar with scope options on the market.

Make no mistake that Element's 11 point article is not an independent guide for scope buyers. It's a sales pitch for themselves.

Given that Element is probably quite familiar with the recoil issues of springer air rifles, their scopes are likely fairly well built. Their higher end scopes probably do pretty well with repeated elevation changes.

I saw a promo article on the web where a user compared his new Element scope to an old Nightforce NXS optic. The user praised the Element for its clear and bright glass. No surprises here. NSX glass has a blue-ish cast, and it's not as bright as the boatload of recently-built and modestly-priced optics. Few scopes are built to tank-like standards of a NF NXS, however.

Element's product lines appear to target a wide variety of consumers, from the budget-constrained to those more willing to spend some bucks. I suspect they have some decent models, with well thought out features. The scope market is crowded with many options. IMO Element is just trying to differentiate themselves from the others, and to take a bigger piece of the pie.
 
Posts: 6829 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by rburg:
We don't talk about scopes very often here (this is primarily a handgun forum).

Scopes are discussed on an ongoing basis here, generally when a shooter wants a scope to go with a specific rifle. The long distance rifle thread has optics feedback, although it can be many pages between discussions.

Few people have the resources to own a fleet of optics, especially from a wide variety of manufacturers. Even those with a fair amount of experience with both their own and their buddies' scopes, tend to gravitate towards a brand or two that works for them.

The best way to pick a new rifle scope is to get behind different guns with different optics. Understandably, this can be a real challenge for folks who don't interact with a bunch of other shooters.
 
Posts: 6829 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
I know that S&B scopes were very popular with some of the members here for a long time, but at one point that changed, almost overnight it seemed. I got the impression that lack of service support to correct some problems was at least part of the reason, but I don’t know if that was the only reason. The “Dark Lord of Optics” rates the S&B scopes very highly, but not at the top of the top tier heap.

When I dipped my toe into precision shooting, S&B was considered by many of the shooters I interacted with to be the top of the food chain. I might have gone with them for my first true high-end scope, but mil reticles with MOA turrets reminded me of my poor buying choice with a Leupold Mark 4 that had mismatched reticle and turrets.

PMII scopes were common at one time with steel/tactical competitors. Then other manufacturers probably saw the market potential -- they moved forward with new offerings and IMO S&B stagnated. S&B introduced compact-length scopes which looked cool, were really clear in the center of the optic at the reticle's cross hairs, but like many compact scopes had glass that was muddy towards the edges of the windage and holdover portions of the reticles. Something seemed to occur with the accuracy and longevity of S&B's elevation turrets. When a scope doesn't track well, it's worthless to the PRS shooter. When this happens to enough influential shooters in PRS/NRL/similar leagues, it's death to the brand.

I don't recall seeing a single S&B scope in my squad nor in surrounding squads, in the matches I entered in 2020. I may have seen a few in 2019, but it doesn't ring a bell.

I have no idea who the "Dark Lord of Optics" is. I really don't care to find out, either. I suspect substantial talk, and limited substance.
 
Posts: 6829 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, its obviously a promotion piece for Element Optics, I intended my comment about being provided on their website as a disclaimer.


Nevertheless, I found it to be helpful (all in one article) to review what I've known and forgotten about how scopes are made, and especially how the various factors fit into selecting a scope from any maker for airgunning and rimfire.

No, nothing new or necessarily controversial but perhaps useful for other Sigforum members who'd like a quick review of reticle choice, magnification range, holdover vs dialing, MOA/MRAD, focal plane, etc. for any purpose: hunting, pest control, target shooting, etc.

For me, it needs to compromise between up close (10meter) suburban pest control and target practice, and longer range (50, 75, >or=100 yard) benchrested target shooting with my air rifles and .22's.
Hopefully, not made in Communist China.

It wasn't really about brands, but ...

I've used 6x24, Burris, Bushnell, Weaver 1x3 and 43X fixed, Leupold 6.5x20, 3.5x14 ATN and a UTG 'BugBuster' scopes but have been reading about (unfamiliar to me) Vortex, Hawke, Athlon, Element scopes for many months that offer such features.


Want to see how many and varied choices are offered to airgun shooters?

Check out pyramidair.com, airgundepot.com, etc.

Scores, nay, hundreds of makers and models from very inexpensive to the two to four thousand dollar levels.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: RichardC,


_____________________
“Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”
--- Ronald Reagan
 
Posts: 12126 | Location: Florida | Registered: June 23, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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As always, fritz, thanks for those insights about the S&B scopes.

Regarding the article, I seriously doubt that anyone could write a new article about telescopic sights that contained anything that hadn’t been discussed before. It is, however, useful to have several different topics summarized into one for shooters who aren’t already familiar with all the diverse issues to consider when selecting a scope. We have members here with all levels of experience and knowledge about the subject, including total novices, and we all must start someplace.

Pitches by representatives of specific companies are very common and can be useful if we keep in mind that they will of course promote their own products. It doesn’t hurt to be told how different manufacturers approach various things that may not be apparent to a non-insider, for example the fact that March scopes have main tubes that are thicker than other companies’ offerings.

I’m not as expert and knowledgeable as a few of the people here, but despite my frequent questions, I do know a lot about optics in general and scopesights in particular. The reason for that is because I have never stopped inquiring and learning about the subjects that interest me. That means I continue to get information from a variety of sources, including from articles like the one linked. I mentioned the “Dark Lord of Optics” because for anyone who is interested in other sources of information, he seems to be very knowledgeable and he has access to and reviews a large variety of scopes. I first became familiar with him through references to his reviews on other forums, and I am reasonably confident that his reviews are more likely to be useful than the guy’s whose comments are, “I just bought my first $500 scope, and I don’t know why anyone would want anything better. The glass is clear enough to see the target.” Some may be turned off by his theatric name, but I try not to let such things distract me from what’s important.

So, thanks again for the link.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: sigfreund,




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
— Thomas Paine
 
Posts: 43593 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by rburg:


We don't have many discussions here about the quality of scopes. That part is kind of a shame because a truly objective article would be of value, unlike one made to sell his brand of scope. Many of us are "poor" and don't have unlimited funds to dump on a scope.
....

We don't talk about scopes very often here (this is primarily a handgun forum). I'd sure like to see a Leupold or a Leica rep give his opinions here. Bet they'd be different.



One of the Gentlemen in this thread penned a rather poignant post about optics not too long ago. It pretty much covered anything and everything about glass on your gun: power, size, mounts, price point, 1st vs 2nd focal plane, Recticle...
SUPER information! Like "should be in a Gun Magazine" kinda information!
(Oh damn... I just looked, its at the top of the page)

I don't think any specific brands were mentioned, but IIRC, the gist- when it came to brands- is they are all pretty much the same: You get what you pay for." when it comes to the brand names on the market.
Sure, there's a few "sleepers" out there. i.e. Over preforming scope for a shockingly little amount of money. On the flip side of that coin, there's one or two dogs out there that your paying way too much and getting way too little. But for the most part, you pay $$ for glass, you're getting $$ worth, you pay $$$$, you get $$$$...


_____________________________________________________________________

"When its time to shoot, shoot. Dont talk!"

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy
 
Posts: 6414 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You know I had to open this thread and have a few things to say. Razz

I did not read the linked article yet, so I will not comment on it.

The "Dark Lord of Optics" is none other than my good friend ILya Koshkin. I have known ILya for about 4 years now, we correspond via email and other forums, and we catch up at SHOT Show every year. You can trust was he has to say about optics. It's also what he does for a living. ILya is a good guy and he does not pull any punches in his reviews. I missed seeing him at the cancelled 2021 SHOT and our plans to get together for some shooting and tests got cancelled by COVID, or at least postponed.

The "best" optics is so highly subjective, and it also very much depends on the type of shooting. You cannot compare the best LPVO, for exanple, to a top of the line long range, high magnification scope used in F-class or Benchrest at 1000 yards. There are myriad other examples one can think of, and that's also the biggest conundrum when someone starts a thread on here asking "what is the best optics" without any details about the intended use and yes, budget.
 
Posts: 3198 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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Thanks for the endorsement of the DLO’s opinions.
He likes the same scopes I bought most recently, so he must be really smart. Wink




“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
— Thomas Paine
 
Posts: 43593 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by NikonUser:
You know I had to open this thread and have a few things to say. Razz

I did not read the linked article yet ...



... when someone starts a thread on here asking "what is the best optics" without any details about the intended use and yes, budget.



I ... um ... well, thanks .


_____________________
“Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”
--- Ronald Reagan
 
Posts: 12126 | Location: Florida | Registered: June 23, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by sigfreund:
Thanks for the endorsement of the DLO’s opinions.
He likes the same scopes I bought most recently, so he must be really smart. Wink


He is.
 
Posts: 3198 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by RichardC:
quote:
Originally posted by NikonUser:
You know I had to open this thread and have a few things to say. Razz

I did not read the linked article yet ...



... when someone starts a thread on here asking "what is the best optics" without any details about the intended use and yes, budget.



I ... um ... well, thanks .


I read the article.

I focused (pun fully intended) on the following statements:
"The emphasis is more on glass quality and weatherproofing, and that’s why companies like Zeiss and Swarovski have evolved into highly reputable manufacturers for this style of hunting, with the best glass on the market. Of course, there are exceptions, such as Schmidt & Bender which produces the Police Marksman II (possibly the best riflescope ever made) which is more suited to long-range applications, with a heavy build and chunky, tactical turrets"

The first bolded comment is flat out wrong. If you absolutely want to ascribe the title of "best glass" to a riflescope, it will have to be that fabled Hensoldt. It is actually the only riflescope of which I am aware that is made with fluorite crystal glass. The price is astronomical. I have not looked through one, but perhaps someday I will have the chance. There are many other brands with phenomenal glass and I'm not even sure I would put Swarovski in that league. Also, there are variations within brands depending on the model.

The second bolded statement is indeed qualified with the weasel word "possibly" but even with that qualifier, that statement is out of date.

Thanks for the link.

Oh, I forgot to mention, Element scopes are made by LOW (Light Optical Works) in Japan, a very good riflescope OEM.
 
Posts: 3198 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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OK, so the Dark Lord of Optics is Ilya. I have very limited social media presence and I really don't follow anyone. If Ilya does the Sauron/Voldemort/Sith thing to distinguish himself from the internet masses, then more power to him. But it's not my thing.

I have read a number of Ilya's posts on other websites. He obviously knows a crapload on optics. His analysis tends to be quite thorough. He has played with and analyzed an incredible variety of scopes.

IIRC, Ilya likes Tangent Theta scopes, and I concur whole heartedly. I believe he tends to be high on S&B PMII. At one time I thought S&B was just about as good as scopes get, and so did much of the market. Given the issues I've seen in the field, and the first- & second-hand reports I've heard from steel match competitors, S&B will not be in my optics line up for the foreseeable future.

There are brands that Ilya is rather so-so on, which perform quite well in steel matches, and are used by a variety of competitors.

I don't know what type of shooting Ilya does. I do know that sometimes products that look good on paper, don't always perform as expected. Every shooting discipline has its equipment quirks -- whether it is hunting, self defense, 3-gun, F-class, bench rest, PRS/NRL/steel, or whatever. Bottom line -- I respect Ilya's work, but I don't always agree with his conclusions, for the type of shooting I do.
 
Posts: 6829 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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