Gun Scope Guide: Today’s Best Value in Rifle Scopes

Gun Scope Guide: Today’s Best Value in Rifle Scopes

Given the price of good rifle scopes, you want to make the best decision the first time. Whether you need a red dot sight for close work or are looking at spotting scopes, tactical scopes, hunting scopes, shotgun scopes or handgun scopes, finding the best quality at the best price is essential. This download, by western hunting and optics expert Wayne van Zwoll, outlines the best new gun scopes on the market today with an eye toward value and quality.

You’ll learn about:

• Nikon Scopes

• Bushnell Scopes

• Leupold Scopes

• Burris Scopes

• Zeiss Scopes

• And many, many more!

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Myriad new rifle scopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes include bargains—no second mortgage required!What’s popular, alas, is not always most useful. Scopes the size of sewer pipe sell to shooters who value bulk over utility; reticles as busy as Sanskrit evidently add value to fields disturbingly blank behind crosswires. The practical may later supplant the bizarre in optics; it is making slow progress displacing the audacity of hope in politics.

Another point. I’m obliged to report on glass that’s absurdly expensive. As a youth, I settled on a Weaver K4, because, at $59.50, a Leupold 4X seemed an indulgence. These days, a top-end scope can cost more than my first three automobiles combined. Granted, the scope will last longer, and you needn’t change the oil. But, on the value scale, it may, arguably, rank as low as the cheapest optic—which also merits print. A modern scope that costs less than a tank of gasoline is unlikely to fail you—but it’s still an odd match for a $7,500 elk hunt.

Pricing of outdoors optics is a shadowy business. Few products trade at MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). Indeed, MSRP is equivalent to the opening plea of an optimistic auctioneer. “Street price” used to be the more useful figure, but even that is now clouded by sales that cut deeply into profits. It was not always so. In by-gone days, companies selling optics also made them.

That tradition changed, in the 1960s, when Dave Bushnell began importing scopes from the Orient to compete with Lyman, Redfield, and Bausch & Lomb. Those latter brands have since capitulated. Lyman is now a loading-tool company, and while Redfield’s name was resurrected recently by Leupold, B&L vanished into the Bushnell line. Japan, China, and the Philippines now produce more optics than the Germans and Austrians, whose glass once defined the state of the art. The best scopes from the Orient are very, very good. At all quality levels, many come from the same production lines that make scopes for the competition.

A crowded field brings forth bargains. Witness the 3-9X rifle scope. All major optics firms offer 3-9Xs, and high sales volumes allow them to keep prices close to the bone. These companies are also acutely aware that a beginning shooter satisfied with an inexpensive 3-9X will likely show brand loyalty when they upgrade to a costlier scope. Anyone buying a 3-9X gets the benefit of the brisk trade and fierce competition in these scopes.

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