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Answering this question is not at all easy because there are many factors associated such as budget, shooting type, important features, specific need, and many more. However, this two-article series will try to help you know the budget you need to spend for buying the right scope.
What’s so Baffling about Price of Scopes?
Before reading this article, you must have checked numerous sites looking at zillions of riflescopes stacked in different categories. What’s most baffling is that all of them look so similar and yet are priced so differently. Whether you are looking at a $100 scope or a $3,000 one, all seem so similar. If this is the case with you, this is definitely the post you should read to get the precise answer.
At the very onset, it must be made clear that price of scopes mainly depend upon three factors – features, quality of scope, and purpose (thereby deciding the range requirement – short, middle, or long range).
Preview of the Two-Content Series
1. In this article, we will first discuss about range of shooting, which will help you decide the magnification range of scope you will be going with. Along with this, we will discuss about the different kinds of rifles that you may use with different types of scopes.
2. After this, we will discuss about the features along with quality of scopes that determine the price of scopes.
Guide 1: Range of Shooting, Rifles, and Price of Scopes
A. Short Range Hunting
In case of most hunting expeditions, you will mostly need to shoot an animal at 100 yard distance. That’s why most hunters use rifles such as Ruger, Savage, Winchester, Howa, and most popular of them being Remington. Whether it is tactical shooting or hunting, all these rifles come with .30-06 or .308 calibers for short range shooting. These rifles will generally cost you anything from $450 to $600. As the requirement is limited to short range shooting only, it is immaterial to spend thousands of bucks to buy scopes with high magnification range. Therefore, you can spend up to $500 or $600 max for a scope with short range capabilities.
Some of the most sought after scopes for this purpose are:
ii. Nikon ProStaff – Rimfire BDC 3–9x40mm
iv. Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm
Avid pro-hunters, who love short-range hunting, generally prefer Nikon and Vortex scopes that are priced below $500.
B. Medium Range Varmint Hunting or Tactical Shooting
This is another popular category. The varmint hunters generally prefer hunting in short to medium range. Some of the rifles they prefer are Remington 700 SPS, Bushmaster AR-15, Savage Model 12 Varminter, Sierra Varminter, Ruger No. 1, and others. If you need a varminter riflescope, you will need a magnification range of 3x to 12x. These scopes are generally priced in the range $700-$1200. Ace varmint hunters generally prefer Swarovski, Nightforce, Zeiss, Vortex, and Trijicon scopes.
Some of the most preferred names in this category are:
ii. Swarovski Z3 4-12×50 BT-4W Reticle – 59024
iv. Zeiss 5214309972 Conquest 4.5-14×44 Ao Rapid Z 800 Reticle
If you are a Trijicon lover, you can also give a try to Trijicon Accupoint Scope 5-20×50 TR23R, which is officially priced at $1500 but can be bought at $1,275 from eCommerce portals such as Scopelist.com.
C. Long Range Shooting
Long range shooting has become a popular sport among shooters. In fact, recreational hunters spend thousands of dollars in taking down a coyote or stag from far away distance, say 1000 yards or anything above 500 yards. These hunters or long-range shooters prefer MOA and ultra-long range rifles and one of the most popular rifles in this category is definitely .338 Lapua Magnum rifle, which can easily be used to gun down a stag, beast, or predator from a distance of 1500 yards. .50 BMG, .416 Barrett, .510 DTC Europ, and .408 Cheyenne Tactical are some other well-known long-range rifles.
If you want to have great experience in long range shooting, it is recommended to choose scopes having large magnification ranges. You should ideally go for a scope that has a magnification range from 5x to 20x.
Some of the scopes you may give a try are:
ii. US Optics SN-3 5-25×58 T-Pal 35mm tube,Matte Black, PCMOA Red Reticle, EREK .25 MOA elevation, US3
v. Swarovski Z6i 3-18×50 BT 4A-I Riflescope 69658
vii. Schmidt Bender PMII 3-12X50 L/P P4 FINE MRAD DT CW
You may also go for Nightforce Competition scopes, especially the 2014 version for ultra long-range shooting. However, it must be mentioned here that this scope is most suited for bench shooting and is well known among shooters for low-light capabilities. Nightforce scope categories are one of the most sought after riflescopes by the long range shooters, whether it is for combat operations, hunting, or competition.
You may get tempted to buy a riflescope that is more affordable, especially when the long-range scopes come at a price of anything above $1,500. However, it must be reiterated here that before going with a cheap long-range scope, you must examine the glass quality of the device and compare it with that of other quality riflescopes. Also, check whether the affordable optical device comes with some essential features such as consistent zero-stop setting, fog-water proofing, lens coating, crisp turrets, and many other features.
In the final part of this article series, you can learn about the features that determine the price of a scope. By reading the next article, you will find it easier to zoom in on the features that you need to check to get the best quality riflescope within your budget. Watch this space for more!