Sniper Country Duty Roster collective wisdom

Choice of scope:

As to scopes, you get what you pay for. Don't look for Objective lense, power and tube
size and expect them to be the same. What you are looking for is light gathering, clear
picture to edges, and ruggedness. The Military choose the Mk4, but statistically it has a
small exit pupil so brand "X" with a 56mm Objective and 30mm tube should be better?
Wrong the quality of the lenses on cheap scopes is not good and try to shoot them in low
light and you can't get a sight picture. When buying a scope don't just pick it up and look
through it in bright light, thats like kicking the tires on a car lot. Don't cheap out on the
rings. It is a weapon system not just the rifle or scope that makes it work. Mike M.
Calif. USA - Monday, September 21, 1998 at 12:40:28 (EDT)

My question comes regarding scopes. I know I can't afford a Leupold Mk IV and the B&L is also a bit on the high end of things for me. So it seems that my choices come to the Tasco, Springfield Armory, or the Leupold Vari-XIII 3.5-10x40mm Long Range M3. They are all within $100 of each other. So the question is which one? Has anyone had any experience with the Springfield scopes??? As for the Leupold, what type of adjustments does it have? Can't seem it tell if it comes with a BDC ot traget type adjustments and the Leupold site does not have that info. Since I will be reloading I think I would like target knobs so that I can adjust for each batch more easily. Any words of wisdom are greatly appreciated.

Laszlo M <>
Round Rock, TX USA - Tuesday, October 13, 1998 at 11:49:41 (EDT)

Hey for everyone out there with The Leupold Var XIII LR M3, here is some info on what i used to get the scope to reach out to 1000 yards. I used the 1 piece Autauga Arms base and the Mark IV rings. I shot it yesterday and the the setup works good. So if you have the money then that will be your answer.

Sgt G

Ches, VA USA - Tuesday, October 13, 1998 at 08:31:07 (EDT)

Leupold 3.5-10x VX-III M3 LR: $677 (Sparten Supply)
Tasco SS10x42: $360 to $400 depending on retailer
Tasco SS10x42M: $475 to $550 depending on retailer
Springfield: Don't know. Don't like 'em. Don't like them at all.

The M3 LR is a good scope. It has two types of markings on the elevation turret. Both 1 minute increments and a BDC marking for METERS. Windage is half minutes. This scope is configured a lot like the Mk4 M3, only there is no unessesary scope caps. The turrets are sealed and large enough to work well in all conditions. The markings on the BDC go from 100 meters to 1000 meters and below this are tick marks for minutes that are marked numericallty every five minutes. This is a great feature. You can either adjust using the BDC or Minutes, which I pefer. Best of all, there is room to add markings once you know your zero's. Just cover the meter markings and place your own data there.

The best buy on the market is probably the Tasco SS10x42. It was build supposedly to compete with or replace the M3A only at half the price. Lot of good features for the money. For a civilian shooter the 1/4 minute Turrets make more sense and you have room to add your own marking on the turret.

Forget the Springfield. We have covered this in prior Rosters so you might want to check out the archive. Also, if you want a PSS but can not afford it, buy the 700 VS (approx $450 to $500). It has the same action and barrel as the PSS and the stock is the same except for the contour. Also, the 700 VS factory stock is far superior to the factory Savage Tactical stock, which is why the Savage is so affordable. If they put a good stock on that model, they'd have to charge $480 or more. I am not slamming them mind you. This is just how Savage keeps the rifle so affordable.

Good luck and welcome to the money pit!
scott <>
USA - Tuesday, October 13, 1998 at 12:56:11 (EDT)

Greatly enjoy reading about all the aspects of long range, precision shooting!

But I can not get over some of the "advice" offered on the selection of good scopes. As I have stated previously in this forum, I have seenseveral Leupold Vari-III scopes break right off on rifles in the field, since up to at least a few years ago, they were made of several pieces screwed together. The objective (front) part broke right off. So, choosing a Leupold, I would go for a Mk IV. Having guided big game hunters in difficult field conditions for a number of years here in northern British Columbia, I have seen many scopes fail. This fall, one guide told me of three US made Zeiss scopes failing. Another guide mentioned a Swarowski that gave up. So regardless of name and "quality", optical equipment can fail. I have found that both Burris and "tactical" Tascos give good service in our conditions.

BC, Canada

Hans <>
BC Canada - Friday, October 30, 1998 at 01:26:47 (EST) 

I am the Sniper Team Leader for my Sheriff's Office SWAT Team. We are in the process of purchasing new rifle scopes for our rifles (Remington 700 TWS). I am interested in the Leupold Vari-X III 4.5x14 Tactical scope. If anyone has comments, good and bad, on this scope please let me know. Also if anyone has any other scopes they would like to recommend let me hear from you.

We currently have two Leupold Vari-X III 3.5x10 in use and have been testing a Leupold MK4 M3. All of these are great scopes but have some weakness, such as the 1/2 MOA adjustments the MK 4 has which are too coarse for our needs.

Thanks in advance for your help.
Blevin Davis <>
FL USA - Friday, November 06, 1998 at 17:37:14 (EST) 

Blevin: Unlike some of the critics of Leopold scopes, I have not had one Leopold go bad (and I do test a lot of rifles.) My brother in law did have one of the adjustment turrest stick on his 3x9 Vari XII but he sent it back to Leopold and a wee and a half later had it mounted on his rifle ready to sight in. Leopold are fine pieces of equipment no matter which ones you get, and their Law Enforcement scopes are the top of the scope line. But I think you owe it to yourself and your department to check out the Bausch and LOmb 10X Tactical Elite. Now that is a magnificent scope and it has the finer adjustments also. Read the review here in SC.

Al Ostapowicz <>
Prepping myself to locate Sarge's lair in the High Country in the Foggy Republic of , Ohio USA - Sunday, November 08, 1998 at 10:27:22 (EST) 

Followed you guys advise on scopes. Went to the local weapons of mass distruction dealer last week at dusk. Now that it's daylight savings time he is open past dark. Compared the 50mm with the 40mm on a one inch tube. Couldn't tell a difference to save my life. Next tryed the 50mm on a 1" and 30mil tube. Big difference. Ifso facto if the 40mm is as good as the 50mm, and the 30mil tube is better than the 1" tube, the 3.5x10x40x30mil Leupold LR has got to be the best of both worlds. Can't understand why they didn't put the 4.5x14 on a 30mil tube.

Mike Bolt <>
W-S, NC USA - Sunday, November 08, 1998 at 12:22:35 (EST)

I need advise on optics. I have $1000-1500 budgeted for a quality optic. I am what I would call a decent/medium range shooter, not sniper quality, but I am practicing. It will be fitted to a Rem-XB40 in .308 with a Remington tactical stock. I also need quality rings for this setup. I am primarily leaning towards the Leupold M4 17X, and the US Optics SN-1 17X. I have a good friend that is a SWAT sniper that likes the US Optics, but want a second opinion.

Tyson Brown <>
Leander, TX USA - Monday, November 09, 1998 at 01:03:21 (EST) 

Don't remember who asked about Leupold scopes, but here's the list of tactical zooms they have.

Vari-X III 3.5-10x40 Long Range M3
Vari-X III 4.5-14x50 Long Range Tactical
Vari-X III 6.5-20x50 Long Range Target
Vari-X III 8.5-25x50 Long Range Target

All have side focus, all are 30mm tube, but... all have 1" internals!

Pat Lakin <>
Whiterocks:somewherer south of the Uinta Mtns., Utah USA - Monday, November 09, 1998 at 18:25:57 (EST) 

Tyson Brown: The Mk4 M1 is a good scope. The Bausch & Lomb Tactical is possibly better, and less expensive. But the magnification is not what you were looking for. I am not sure why you need so high a power, but it sounds like you might want to look into a varmint scope as opposed to a fixed target scope. Some of the 6x20 or 6x24 scopes could give you the magnification you are looking for.

Scott <>
USA - Wednesday, November 11, 1998 at 16:40:00 (EST) 

I was thinking of buying a spingfield scope, a 3 gen gov, Dose anyone like or dislike these scopes Thanks for the input.
USA - Thursday, November 12, 1998 at 13:33:46 (EST) 
To the gentleman regarding the Springfield Gov. Scope, their are far better scopes on the market for the same money. I seem to recall the price for the Springfield Gov. Scopes(Gen I,II,III)run about 399.95,499.95, and 599.95 respectively. You can buy a Tasco Tactical for 399.95 and a Leupold Tactical for about 580.00. The Springfield optics are poor, although it has a few nice features. I have used this scope and will stick with my Tasco or Leupold for the same money.

Brent <>
cold and wet in, Louisiana USA - Thursday, November 12, 1998 at 17:31:08 (EST) 

Long range shooters,

I'm shopping for a moderately priced long range scope to be fitted on a Savage tactical .308 short bolt. Someone
recommended the Springfield Armory Generations I ($399) and II ($499).

What do you think? Any other suggestions?

Thanks for any constructive comments.

B.Anderson <>
Houston, TX USA - Thursday, November 12, 1998 at 18:22:26 (EST) 

I recently bought a Springfield Armory M1A Supermatch with the intent of using it for Highpower competition. I started out in Highpower using a stock AR-15 with the intent of saving money and eventually buying the M1A. Well, it turns out I fell in love with the Mouse gun so now i have a $1600 accurized M1A gathering dust in the safe.
My thoughts are to scope it and make it a sniper rifle. What would be the best scope base to purchase for my rifle? I 'm leaning towards the design that uses the stripper clip guide as a mounting point. Any ideas?

Matt <>
KS USA - Thursday, November 12, 1998 at 19:09:43 (EST) 

To Bolt: Quick advice
Well, I'll give you some advise but it will start a s*** storm.
You dont need to let your family suffer by spending ungodly amounts of money to get a scope that works good. Fixed power scopes will do just about anything that needs done with a rifle. I like the old weaver T-series and also Leopold 8x hunting scope with the adjustable parallax. You can get either one for less than 300 used if you shop around. Fixed power scopes offer better optics for the money than variable power scopes. An 8x scope will be better optically than a variable scope set on 8x because there are fewer lenses that the light has to pass thru on a fixed vs variable. Also there are fewer things to go wrong with a fixed power scope and because there is no friggin adjustment ring on the back of the scope, this gives you a better chance to mount the scope on the rifle for correct eye relief in the prone position without spending the extra money on extension rings or special bases.

Steve <>
S.C.D.H., Ohio USA - Sunday, November 15, 1998 at 12:49:15 (EST) 

Bolt - What are you wanting to do with the scope? If you are going to be shooting under limited light conditions then what NATO says is very important. The more glass there is the more light is absorbed and thus lower light transmittance. DO NOT go for the big objective lens, yuo are wating money on them as the barrel of the scope blocks alot of the light gain you get form the large objective lens and the discomfort of the raised scope is a pain. If you are going to be shooting under varing conditions and distances than the variable is the way to go. Again, becarfule of the power settings as this can also get you in trouble. High power settings are a bear at range and with high mirage conditions. The target will dance, shimmer and shake, not to mention move a couple of feet with the mirage! Either the M3 fixed at 10 power is a good over all scope, or the M3 LR is a good variable. I would greatly question the need of greater than 1/2 moa adjustments on the windage and elevation. The only real advantage to 1/4 moa adjustments is not the greater adjustability of the scope, (most shooters can't even tell when they are correctly zeroed with the things) but the turrets are less suseptable to "slop" in the adjustments due to the finer movement over the 1 moa adjustments. As a quick explanation to that comment on most shooters not knowing when they are zeroed with the 1/4 moa clicks. They usually zero at 100 and the adjustment is .25 inch and they are firing a .30 inch bullet. With the 1/2 moa adjustment the adjustment is 1/2 an inch but the furthest that you can be out of zero is .25 inches, again your bullet is .30 inches. I have seen guys with the 1/4 moa adjustments go crazy trying to zero a zeroed weapon because it is not quite right.

Rick <>
Fayetteville, NC USA - Monday, November 16, 1998 at 00:38:13 (EST) 

Newbie Question. I need feedback on the company, US Optics. I have $1500-1800 budgeted for a top quality optic and don't want to be mislead. I have 2 Leupold scopes that I like and am comfortable with, but a SWAT friend suggested I look into the US Optics line. If not US Optics, besides Leupold, what does everyone suggest?

Tyson <>
Leander, TX USA - Monday, November 16, 1998 at 21:38:59 (EST) 

Tyson - If you have that many geeters set aside for a scope and are happy with your Leupolds then....Go with a Leupold!!!

gooch <>
USA - Monday, November 16, 1998 at 22:26:56 (EST) 

Tyson,Re: Scopes. Just finished a match yesterday (Sun) over at Ft. Benning, Ga. Looking over the line I noticed as usual the rifles and the scopes....lots of Remingtons, a Savage, a Custom Shilen (real nice!!) and others... As for and far The Majority had mounted Leupolds !!!!! I have some experience with different scopes and especially some european scopes, my data is out of date(from service in the '70's) but overall I still use the Leupolds. Some may be fancier, definitely higher priced BUT Leupold does it all. There is a site that offers the U.S.Optics...e-mail them and ask them what makes their brand better than a Leupold.My Spotting scope is a Leupold as is my main match rifle, hunting rifle and .22 plinker rifle !! The only optics not Leupold are my glasses and my binoculars !!The binoc's are Steiners and I have 2 sets, 10x50 Mil/Marine and same in 8x30. Always have backup !!! The Leupold warranty is ROCK SOLID !!!! I got my last scope at a yard sale for $20 and it was crap(M8 , 6power fixed)!!! Sent it back to factory and had it back cleaned and new adjustment, NO CHARGE !!! Nuff Said !!!

Will <>
USA - Tuesday, November 17, 1998 at 01:19:38 (EST) 

I've about made up my mind to make my next scope a fixed power, either a 6x or 8x. And I'm leaning towards either Burris or Leopold. My reasoning is that this scope should be a "all around" scope suitable for hunting or long range shooting. Frankly I'll don't expect to be making shots more than 600m in the LR game and about 300m max while hunting. Any comments or opinions are most welcome.

2nd question, I've seen here what I think is a service to install mil-dot reticles on scopes that don't have them. Does this involve violating the waterproofing and fogproofing of the scope as it comes from the factory.


John <>
Pueblo, Co USA - Thursday, November 19, 1998 at 02:12:25 (EST) 

Any idea where I can get the best price on a B&L 10X tactical? I am looking to trade an M3-10 mil dot for the B&L.

Ding <>
USA - Tuesday, November 24, 1998 at 16:46:11 (EST) 

Rich - I have used the Zf95 and do not like it. The ones we have are too low in power and the quality of glass seems to be lower than the Leupold, S&B, or anyother quality scope. That may be just the ones we have, check with some more people and look through the glass yourself. Check it at twilight as that is when the glass really shows it's problems! (and when Leupold really shines!! On a clear night I have shot until past midnight with a M3A and NO artifical light. You could read the 1000 yard number boards!).

Ding - See above and that is why I don't know why you are trying to trade for a B&L Tactical! What a waste of energy! Email me and tell me why, though I suspect why, you want to trade.

Rick <RBowcher>
Fayetteville, NC USA - Tuesday, November 24, 1998 at 21:34:10 (EST) 

Rick-I didn't get your e-mail address. Post it! I love my M3 but am very discouraged with the ongoing drama of not being able to touch up. For example, I will zero at 100 and 200 with 168's @2600. Then I will proceed to 300yds and it is usually 1-2" high. Some times it will hit low. The clicks are mushy and I suspect that may play into the drama. Interestingly, I get better results by clicking counterclockwise. I have tried the MK M1-10x and like it but I have heard great things about the B&L. I am curious why you feel this to be a waste of energy.

Ding <>
USA - Tuesday, November 24, 1998 at 21:59:56 (EST) 

Rich; I believe I would send that m-3 back to Leupold or contact them via e-mail. Noone is better with customer service than those people. I don't believe that scope should be doing that! I have tested that one but not real extensive. IT was ho-hum no problems as far as I could see.Just go to I know what you mean though. Sometimes I just s--t can something to save time and try something new. I can't advise you on the B&L but others here can. But if you don't get EXACTLY what you want out of a top of the line Leupold I'd bet they will take care of you. The only thing I would critique that scope on was no markings for paralax range. It is simple enough to learn them with a steady bench and mark them if you need too. Perhaps someone can shed some light on the reason there are no range markings on there for the paralax on those side adjust scopes or did I miss something. I might point out that many scope do mark but not correctly the range on the AO. Leupold 4x12 varxIIs are a bit unreliable on that range calibration.

B, Rogers <>
USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 00:35:04 (EST) 

About scopes. I have used Leupold, B&L, Tasco and Kahles. I like the B&L and Leupold the best. I had trouble with not enough light gathering with the Khales. It was so dark with a Kill Flash on that I had trouble in daylight with it. Not a problem with Leupold or B&L. The Tasco was better than the Khales but not as clear as the better two.

I still have a problem with tring to instintly incapacitate someone with a mouse gun. Entry with a M16 but not a sniper shot. Glass and other things are in the way and such. Lets face it energy is nice. I hunt deer with a .308 or above and they weigh less than most bad guys.

Gooch what do you think.
Calif USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 02:00:00 (EST) 

B. Rogers, Ding is the one that had trouble with his M3, I have not even mounted mine yet, but I will check for "mushy" clicks the next time I am at my smiths shop. I had trouble with bad machine work on the Mark IV rings and Leupold basically told me to stick it. I am now having trouble with their M8 4X and their QRW mount system on a hunting rifle, I'm not a vary happy Leupold customer at this point and their customer service seems non existant. The reason I was asking about the Kahles is because I got a flier from SWFA and they are closing out the ZF95 at $585, I thought I might go ahead and sell the M3 scope and buy one of these if it was better. I trust the advice from y'all that it is not. I'm kind of at a loss as to what to do, many people have told me that the M3 is a top shelf scope, but I know if I have trouble with it Leupold won't stand behind it and I will have to pay someone else to fix it (Premier maybe?). There is also the issue of selling the scope NIB as opposed to ring marks etc. I have another month before the stock shows so I have some time to sort it out, I'm open to any ideas. Maybe my expectations of Leupold are too high but the treatment I recieved from John E. Riutta (Leupold Technical Representative) was at times down right insulting and in my mind totally unsatisfactory. BTW thanks all for the good info and advice on the Kahles, probably a good buy at $585 but not the quality of a $1000 scope...

Rich <>
WA USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 04:21:29 (EST) 

Scopetesting, wich scope is best at dusk and dawn.

There are several posts with claims that this scope is better than that, etc.

The only test that works is putting the scopes on fixed stands, side by side, and measure the difference of useability in minutes. In Europe it is legal to hunt in dusk and dawn. That's why european scopes has a different "layout" than their US couterparts. The difference between an average scope and a top quality huntingscope is about 45 minutes were I live. In other words, I can get up to 1,5 hours more huntingtime each day with a top quality scope. If you look at this from a military perspective this is the timeslot were average scopes don't work and it is too light for starlightscopes/NVD's.

A good scope for lo-light conditions is a compromise between practical size, crosshair, lens-quality and FAST FOCUS RING ON THE OCULAR.

There is no secret with scopes that works best in lo-light condition. A top quality 3-12X56, Zeiss or Swarovski, beats all others hands down.

I've tested the Zeiss(nr.1 reticle, 3 heavy posts)against a Leupold M1-10X with duplex. The difference was almost 45 minutes at dawn. (august, 60deg. north). The Leupold's reticle was the first to become invisible. If the Leupold had a no.1 reticle the difference would have been 30-35 minutes. The Zeiss scope is most effective set at 10X.

When usable light is almost gone the human eye goes "nightvision". The human "nightvisionsensors" (don't laugh) are not in the same focal plane as the "dayvision" inside the eye. You get nearsighted. The difference is usually -2 dioptries. When the fast focus ring on the Zeiss is turned -2 you get 10-15 minutes extra shootingtime.

Note: This test would have been even more dramatic if it had been done near the arctic circle. The further north (or south) you get the longer the difficult lightconditions last each day. In an area north of the polar circle in wintertime the performce of the Zeiss and M1-10X scopes can result in hours of different shoot/noshoot-abilities.

Oslo, Norway - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 07:48:36 (EST) 

Rich; That's terrible! I am sorry to hear about Leupold. Gosh I can't believe John didn't satisfy your complaints. Leupold are you reading this stuff. Rich needs a new set of Mounts!What's the deal on M-3s.
I have heard some rumblings about the quality of the Mounts. I will be looking at a set this weekend. What gives? Hep! Hep!

B. Rogers <>
USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 11:15:26 (EST) 

Rick B.
I agree with your advice on not trading the Leupold for the B&L. I'am "NOT" saying anything bad about the B&L, only that I felt that the cross hairs are to heavy for my liking and the one thing I really like on the leupold M3 LR is that the windage knob is marked off in both directions from "0", to I believe 1 through 8 MOAs, not 1 to 15 MOAs. I don't understand why they haven't done this before, It' a lot less confusing than trying to subtract your MOAs from 15.

Pat <>
USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 11:25:49 (EST) 

On the mushy Leupold clicks. You'll get that on the M3's. The reason I've gathered is that Leupold uses an extra set of O rings to seal the turrets. WHile this seals the scope better, it makes the clicks a bit mushy. Over time the clicks will become more distinct. I teach my students to go past thier desired setting then come back to the setting they wanted, this will take the "backlash" out of the knob.

As far as low light scopes go as long as you have a variable power you will be better off as you can zoom down and gather more light.

Gooch out.
gooch <>
USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 12:18:47 (EST) 


Read your comment about the mushy clicks in the M3. I've got a Mk4 M3 on my 308, and noticed the mushyness as compared to a Vari X III. At first, I was worried that this was a problem or a defect. Nope, no way because it's repeatability was flawless as far as I could tell. It's good to hear that the mushy effect is in fact double o-rings being there. Also, the "dial past then back" to elim. backlash is another helpful thing to know. Your expertise has helped once again. Thank you, sir.

Jeff A. <>
being thankful in Smyrna,, Ga. USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 16:03:41 (EST) 

Comments on the M3 scopes and adjustment mushiness, had the same problem with mine. Sent a quick e-mail to Leupold and the reply said that they in fact tended to be mushy due to the military requirements placed on the scope. They offered to "tweek" the adjustments as much as possible to make the adjustments more crisp. So, for those with the problem either give Leupold a shot, or turn "past then back" to the intended zero. The later is a good idea anyway, scope or iron sights.

Barry Chance < >
Longmont, Co USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 17:03:14 (EST) 

B. Rogers, on the rings...the dovetail angle in the ring didn't match the base at all, the cross bolts were quite loose in the slots in the base, and the scope tube bore was very rough and not a constant diameter. The MWG rings are 100% better and fit up to the Mark IV bases perfectly, Scott said the Badger rings were top notch as well. also, don't buy mark IV bases, the QRW are the same thing (I have both for the same action) for about $50 less. I already sold the rings for half what I paid for them and felt guilty doing it, but the guy has the equipment to work with them. Also, the rings had part lines and grinder marks where the sprues had been cut off of the casting, not an issue if you are going to camo them I guess.

Rich <>
WA USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 17:37:42 (EST) 

Guys on the M-3 if there is no problem with resettability then enjoy the mush! I had assumed there was a bit of backlash (there may always be some in any scope system). Gooch has the remedy in turning past and then back. That deal with the 90dollar Leupold mounts really does suck! Yuck! I will have access to one again this weekend and I'm gonna pick it apart.

B. Rogers <>
USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 18:09:53 (EST) 

Scoping in on Scopes: Talk about stirring the Shit. After reading all these posts about the B&L, and Leopold Mark 3 LR and Mark IV, I had to check it out for myself. And Damn if the Leopolds aren't a little mushy as compared to the B&L tactical. There are definitive clicks (actually inaudible snaps) but the B&L has that area covered far better than the Leopolds. If I was going to get another scope (and I imagine my wife will probably let me!!! -(Said something about hell freezing over.)) I would not hesitate and get another B&L tactical. I just cant say enough about it. They are difficult to find but they are really worth it.

Later gentlemen!

Al Ostapowicz <>
I Can See Clearly Now, the Rain is Gone in Blustery, Ohio USA - Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 23:08:28 (EST) 

Read and have tried to digest all the Hot Tips on scopes.

Took a look at the LR 3.5-10 and the 4.5-14 yesterday at Duncan Gun in N. Wilkesboro. The 4.5-14 is a monsterous sized scope! Nice scopes but I don't like what i'm reading on the last posts about them. Is this a situation where you don't want to buy a first year product?

Still can't make up my mind on Plex versus mildot. Since they probably never will be used for long range two legged critters, just targets and long range hunting, I may be wasting money and effort on the mildot.

Have never had target knobs. How do you keep from accidently knocking knobs off zero?

Bolt <>
USA - Thursday, November 26, 1998 at 15:45:28 (EST) 

About Scopes; I guess that I can't keep quiet!
Rich/WA, it was interesting to see that somebody finally touched
one of the Holy Grails of N. American shooting: The Leupold
scopes. Your experiences were with the M3 and rings, mine
has been with the Vari-II and -III series scopes that always
came apart. I have shared these experiences earlier on this site.But to Leupolds defence must be said that under adverse conditions,
many other brand name scopes can fail.

Hans <>
BC Canada - Thursday, November 26, 1998 at 23:11:09 (EST) 

I e-mailed Leupold about having reticle changed. They said I could get a mil-dot put in my varix-III 6.5-20x40 AO (has target knobs, 1" tube
not matte finish). Cost would be $135.00. Is it worth considering, I have a friend that says he may be able to get me a Leupold Tactical modle at dealer cost ($300 -$400 range), not sure if price is accurate. For now I plan to shoot 1000yard competition and eventually
get down to STORM MOUNTAIN. Another consideration is that I may be able to get a Tasco Custom shop Tactical at or near dealer cost, read less money for a tight budget.
The point is, given the near future plans for this rifle, should I have my current scope switched or wait until next year and get the Tasco or Leupold with the 30mm tube. Any advantages/disadvantages to duplex vs mil-dot for planned use. Right now I will only be shooting at known distance, but when I finally get to SMTC I will need some sort of ranging capability (one or two years away yet).

syeve uhall <>
south west , pa USA - Friday, November 27, 1998 at 00:52:13 (EST) 

All the talk of the mushy turrets on the M3A got me thinking about my review of the Tasco SS10x42M. I recall pulling the turrets off to check out what was under them and seeing both O-Rings and water proofing grease. These scopes were designed to withstand 30 meters of depth in salt water. This is obviously why the clicks seemed so mushy in that scope also. The thing to keep in mind on both the M3 and the SS10x42M, if they are repeatable, who cares if the turrets are a little squishy? Having a precise click certainly is preferable for many reasons, but not at the expense of feild survivability. I guess it is preferable to have a scope that can take the harsh conditions over one that is crisp in feel but fails in inclement weather.

I long ago got into the habbit of dialing a click or three past my desired setting and clicking back. This seems to work no matter how mushy a turret may feel due to rubber rings. I can say this about the SS10x42M, it was very repeatable, mushy elevation turret notwithstanding.

Scott <>
USA - Friday, November 27, 1998 at 10:28:42 (EST) 

About Scopes,
I read X-Ring's review in "SC" on the Tasco SS 10x42 scope, as well as an article in the October issue of "Tactical Shooter" titled "The Scope that could be King." Based on the reviews I bought one and I can say Im glad I did. I have owned a lot of scopes in my life and to my eyes this scope is among the sharpest and clearest scopes made. The adjustments are very precice with all the travel you will ever need. It has a 30mm tube and is quite rugged in construction. I will go as far as say nothing comes close to this scope anywhere near it's price.

Tom B. <>
Jupiter, Fl. USA - Friday, November 27, 1998 at 22:26:43 (EST) 

Ding: Are you still sizing up scopes. Look, buy what ever you feel comfortable with and what you can afford. If you are impressed by the scope then buy it. If you had a chance to use one before you buy it, even the more better for you.

Al Ostapowicz <>
Mantua, Ohio USA - Saturday, November 28, 1998 at 07:52:18 (EST) 

More M3 drama! I have been re-evaluating my system with the M3 day optic. Once again I seem to be right in between the settings when it comes to zeroing. At 200yds I am hitting an inch high one click down puts me one inch low. Any suggestions?

USA - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 19:06:40 (EST) 

Ding! Baby! You are going through the same thing that US Army snipers around the world have to deal with. Its called 1 moa elevation adjustments. If you are shooting competition where you need dead center x ring shots you have the wrong scope. The M3 is a tactical scope intended to put shot after shot into a man sized target in all weather conditions, after being dropped, in low light, with a shooter under stress not to nail the x ring. Normally what we do is to zero/bore-sight the scope at 100 yd/m to where it is close. We then take the shooters back to the 300 yd/m line and adjust POA to POI as thats about the closest we will get in tactical situations. 90% of the time the shooter will be able to get his group to dead center with minimal hold off.

The 1 moa adjustment is not a mistake. We (the Army sniper program/Rick and the boyz at Bragg) wanted it that way. It enables the scope to have all of the comeups for 100-1000m yet not exceed 1 revolution on the turret and kept the low profile turret. If you decide you can't deal with it, call Premier Reticle and ask about putting a target turret on it.

Tactical scopes are just that, target scopes are just that. Hybrids don't work well in either situation. Pick the right tool for the job. Good luck baby!

Gooch <>
USA - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 20:34:45 (EST) 

Ding, this self abuse has to stop. Here is an idea. Have two rifles one for the Competition and one for a Sniper Rifle. If you get rid of the MK4 M3 you will be sorry and if you use it in competition you won't be happy.

Calif USA - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 21:20:27 (EST) 

Ding - What's the problem. You are the maximum you can be out. That is 1/2 moa. If you want to shoot NRA bulls, then the X-ring is 1 moa in diameter and hold on the top (or bottom if that is where you are zeroed as out) and you will get dead center x-ring hits IF you do everything else right. Yes you will be 4 inches out of zero at 800 and a whooping 5 inches out of zero at 1000. But then again the x-ring is 10 inches in diameter and the 10 ring is even bigger. If you are shooting other than NRA bulls, then you can easily hold the error. My advise is to zero so that you are 1/2 moa high, that way you have aim points of known deminsions on a head shot. You will find that as you go back you will be dead on at some ranges and 1/2 moa out at other ranges. The reason is that the M3 does not have a cam it uses moa adjustments with a ballistic collar to represent ranges. If you are zeroed at 200 at .5 moa high you will probably be about dead on at 600. One more point on your zero. Shoot for several days and you may find that on some days you will hit POA/POI. This is due to the constant variables of weather, light, eyes, and the ever possible hang over zero. If this is true, besure to write down in your log when you are on and when you are out and by how much.

Rick <>
Fayetteville, NC USA - Tuesday, December 01, 1998 at 22:35:53 (EST) 

1) I'm sort of looking for a new scope for a Savage 110FP in .308, used mostly just off a bench. Currently thinking about a Weaver V24 6-24, but am also considering the Tasco 8-40x56 30mm scope. Has anyone here tried one of those? Currently have a once-piece Leupold base and rings on the rifle, and since I'll need new rings, I may get a new quick release base; swap the scope between this rifle and a .223 110 or 112 I've been thinking of getting - Any thoughts as to the height of rings I might need?

Rifle is currently scoped with a Tasco 5-20x50BDC scope, and shoots to sub 0.5 MOA with either 165 or 180 Nosler Ballistic Tips, stoked with IMR4895 and H4350, respectively, but I suspect that the scope is wandering a bit - fire five shots, everything feels right, I've got a cloverleaf, but one of 'em's 3/4 or an inch off... Also some diagonal stringing.

bogie <>
STL, Misery USA - Wednesday, December 02, 1998 at 23:01:11 (EST) 

TO: All

RE: Mid - Price 'Scopes

In reading the many and varied posts concerning which scope to put on a rifle, I have noticed a trend that seems to put shooters in two camps: One camp wants the top of the line, ultimate, super whiz - bang model that costs almost as much as my first new car, and the other camp seems to want to mount an economical scope that comes in around the $200 range or so.

Might I humbly suggest that there are lots of mid-priced scopes that are just the ticket for a wide range of uses. In particular, the model that comes to mind is the Leupold Vari-X II. It is offered in a wide selection of magnifications, reticles, and finishes, and really presents what I believe to be an outstanding scope for the money. After owning a bunch of different makes of scopes, and studying many others, I chose a Vari-X II model for my long-range rig because, I imagine, like many other shooters here at SC, I do not have a bottomless well from which to draw my funds, and the Vari-X II fit the bill.
Scott (T.O.O.)
PA USA - Saturday, December 05, 1998 at 17:32:55 (EST) 

Scopes: Someone mentioned scope prices and wondered why we mention high dollar scopes more often than not on this site. Roster topics not withstanding, this site is totally devoted to the art and knowledge of sniping. Not hunting, not varmint shooting, not plinking. All of those endeavors can be done to some level of success with junk glass. But the intentional and LEGAL taking of another human life by a military or police sniper requires optics that are functionally beyond reproach. I happen to love the Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40mm for hunting deer but would never EVER consider putting it on a sniper rifle. This isnít Deer Country and you will never see us review a typical hunting scope unless it can double as a sniper scope. The simple fact is that there is little out there for under $300 that has the all features necessary to make a good sniper scope. Good glass alone wonít do it. The internals have to be very repeatable. It has to have finger adjustable turrets capable of tracking come-ups. It has to have either low or medium height target turrets. It has to be strong. It has to have enough internal adjustment to get out to the range the sniper expects to shoot. It has to be precise in adjustment and it has to have enough field of view to function in the environment it is built for. The list can go on and on and could take an article in itself. A cheap-ass Tasco/Bushnell/Weaver hunting scope just doesnít cut it. So donít think we are being scope snobs by ignoring economically priced products. We arenít. We just consider the single driving topic of this site when we speak of purpose built glass. There are a lot of great hunting scopes out there. But few make ideal sniper scopes.

Sorry for the pulpit pounding. Been that kind of day. If I seem a little uncompromising on this topic, please understand that the nature of the use dictates what will work. As we are talking sniping here, the affordable general purpose rifle scope doesnít rate much mention. They can and do work for close in shooting, but they do not allow the precision required for this topic. To sum it up, if I had a choice of buying a mediocre scope today or saving up the $400 necessary for a entry level tactical scope sometimes in the future, Iíd start saving today. Why spend the money twice?

Scott <>
USA - Monday, December 07, 1998 at 15:15:23 (EST) 

Scopes, buy the $30 simmons to let you shoot until you can afford good glass. I have learned the hard way that there is no in between. out of four moderately priced ($250-400) Leupolds of various model that I have bought in the last three months two out of three are screwed up one hasn't been mounted or shot yet. I tried to save money by not buying the european stuff and it's going to end up costing me half again as much in the end. These scopes were actually for hunting rifles but ruining a hunting trip is not worth buying an inferior scope just to save a few bucks. Again, if you can't afford good glass, buy the cheapest thing you can find until you can. Pat has the good ideas, sell something, sell everything that isn't nailed down. The same thing goes for mounts in my experience, if you can't afford Badger or MWG, use the inexpensive dual dovetail until you can.

Will the 3.5-10 M3 LR turrets work on the fixed 10x M3?

Rich <>
WA USA - Tuesday, December 08, 1998 at 02:08:07 (EST) 

Didn't mean to sound the way I did in that scope post. It wasn't meant to bust on anyone, but to just explain why cheap optics are not considered here. The short of it is that this isn't a hunting site in the game animal sense of the word so the gear needs differ. Guess I need to brush up on my writing style. I wasn't actually upset when I was typing the above!

Scott (TOO): Nobody said you was cheapening the site. In fact I did not even know who made the post on the low budget scopes. Sadly, many police do have to buy their own gear. As one would expect, the big departments seem to have unlimited budgets while the smaller ones are somewhat limited. I even hear a lot of police have to buy their own side arm! Some police are known to use medium to bottom budget scopes. I even saw a video of a cop using a deer rifle with a crappy Tasco or something on top. These will get the job done if the expectation is not high and the range not far, but these rifles are hardly ideal. I guess a case could be made that a .22 rimfire could do the job if the range is short enough. My point was that for a well rounded and totally versatile set up, the department is better surved by a purpose made optic and rifle combo.

Scott <>
USA - Tuesday, December 08, 1998 at 09:59:06 (EST) 

Our 338 Lapua Magnum project is on the run again and my McMillan A2-stocked version will be ordered next week. It will look a little bit like Dakota Longbow as the stock and barrel length/thickness are the same. Scope will be Nightforce 5.5-22x56 with mil-dots. I know it is huge, but proper cheek weld with A2-stock is not a problem. Weight will be around 7-7,5 kg without scope, which weights at least 1,1 kg, plus rings.

Hexa <>
Helsinki, Finland - Friday, December 11, 1998 at 13:12:23 (EST) 

Hexa, one comment on the scope. Do you really need a 1/8th moa turret as found on the NightForce? It makes for some slow scope adjusting in the field. At 6 moa per revolution you will not be dialing up or down very smartly. If you haven't played with one of these scopes you might try to get ahold of one before buying. Large doesn't describe it! Will this be a fun gun or a tactical rifle? If for fun, what the heck, go for the NightForce. If for real, I'd look elsewhere for glass. That monster is going to cause problems in the field. I'd hate to stalk with it. I am not convinced that its so called light gathering ability outweighs it negatives.

Scott <>
USA - Friday, December 11, 1998 at 16:25:17 (EST) 

To Scott: Yes, the 338 LM gun will be mainly for fun i.e. for reservist activities and long-range shooting. On the other hand it doesn´t hurt to learn the ballistics of 338 LM as our armed forces are switching over to it in the neat future (1-3 years).

If I would be searching for a serious-serious rifle, I would not consider anything "gunsmith built" because you can not get spare parts for it in war time, and in peace time there will be no serious 338 LM shooting. At least not for me as I´m not a police officer. BTW I think that the Finnish police has not shot one person with a sniper rifle in at least the last 20 years.

You´re right about the 1/8" adjustments. Apparently you can not get everything. In Finland a Leupold M1 or M3 costs around 1750 USD. A NightForce 5.5-22x56 mil-dot cost to me around 1000 USD. And no Leupold so far offers illuminated reticles. Premium Optics´s "with flashlight rechargeable" mil-dot is not a viable option. You can not play with flashlights in the dark every 30 minutes. Simrad is not an option due to extremly high cost.

Hexa <>
Helsinki, Finland - Thursday, December 17, 1998 at 07:34:42 (EST) 

Hey guys,

I was just wondering what you all thought about BSA scopes?? I will be buying one, a BSA 24x44 with 1/8 e/w tactical adjustments, and a BDC, so if you can please tell me how you like them, an like how they compare to other scopes.


Joshua belokur <>
USA - Thursday, December 17, 1998 at 18:28:50 (EST) 

Joshua: As a matter of fact (oh no!not him again) I just happen to have tested a BSA. It is a variable 4.5 to 12 50mm objective with the turrents and a/0. I hate to review it on the main page so here is a short version. Resettabilty of turrents excellent/unbelievable. Lenses good but a little off at the edges at max power. Images appear a bit smaller at edges (just a bit)but light and focus very good.
Construction seems good. Cross hairs are effective and sharp. There is a 1" exactly vertical shift in impact power at 100 yards attributed to a power change of direction. (backlash). I've seen worse and the price is right! It is the best variable power scope for $100.00 I have ever tested. construction seems battleship and finish is grade a. Pro's will call it Unacceptable but it comes close were it not for the impact shift it would be hard to find a critical point.
Opinion line open.... NEEEEXT!
B.Rogers <>
USA - Friday, December 18, 1998 at 00:03:23 (EST) 

Josh: If it is 1/8 minute turrets, it AIN'T tactical. It is more a varmint scope.

Scott <>
USA - Friday, December 18, 1998 at 14:39:27 (EST) 

Generic mk4 scopes?? What is it?? I go to several gun shows a month and I have noticed that many of the dealers who usually sell only high-end optics have started selling a "navy contract scope". It looks just like the mk4 series of scopes and appears to be very well constructed. It's selling for $600. Does anyone know anything about it.
david white <>
USA - Monday, February 01, 1999 at 22:50:31 (ZULU) 
Scopes: Count me a satisfied owner of the B&L Tactical. The target turrets are slower than a BDC, but for this beginner I learned a lot making them work right, and the settings have always been repeatable. The image is very bright and clear, it regularly brings exclamations from people who try it. In one instance, I was able to pick out a brown kiwi fruit against a black bullseye at 500 yards with heavy overcast.
Grasshopper <>
Richmond, CA, USA - Tuesday, February 02, 1999 at 08:04:03 (ZULU) 
Someone mentioned the generic Leopold. One of the guys I used to work with "found" one of these scopes when he was active duty. The tube was all steel and no markings other than the turrets. He said it was not made anymore. I wouldn't know one from another but it looked like one of the Mark 4-IIIXXX Number 1 X Vari-thingys you guys are always talkin about.

Roy <>
CS, CO, USA - Tuesday, February 02, 1999 at 16:01:07 (ZULU) 

Someone asked about Navy Contract scopes. The ones I have seen are Tasco's not MK4's, and that is why they are cheaper. SWFA has them for 300.00.
Calif, USA - Wednesday, February 03, 1999 at 16:36:34 (ZULU) 
I shot my new AR15 this weekend. It shot great, I expect <1 MOA groups once the barrel is broken in. It is topped with a Simmons 3x9x40 scope. I have learned a very important lesson: Never buy a scope that is inexpensive. The crosshairs are too wide for target work and the scope is not clear enough either. I paid $50 for it and now I have a scope for my .22 backyard gun. I am now trying to decide If I should get a Leupold or a Tasco Military. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

If anyone is contemplating putting a new rifle system together buy the best scope you can find buy it and then see what you have left over for the rifle. If you do it any other way you will regret it as much as I do.

The Shooter <>
College Station, Tx, USA - Tuesday, February 09, 1999 at 01:24:53 (ZULU) 

The Shooter:

I have owned the Tasco SS10X42M. Great scope for the money. You can't go wrong with it. I also own a Leupold MK4 M1. I prefer the Leupold. Part of the reason is the type of reticle you have. The Tasco has circular reticles which is the Army version. My Leupold, from Premier Riticle, has Marine Corp reticle. Big difference between the two. The Army are round so calculating mils are different then the oval by the Marine Corp. Also, the Tasco is not a precise or positive when you click up or down, left or right. However, for the price, you can not be it. If you get Tactical Shooter, there was an aritcle about 4 to 5 months ago reviewing the Tasco scope. It had good reviews. I hope this helps.

You also mentioned that you have a AR15. You did not mention if it was a flat top, or did it have a floating barrel etc... I can only but presume. If you have a standard AR15, like myself, who wants a nice little scope I can recommend one to you. It is by Combat Military Optics. They have a good range sighting system built in with luminated reticles. It has a standard colt mount which fastens to the carrying handle of the AR15. I have been happy with this scope also.

SC did do a review of the Tasco scope. Check out the review section.

Darren <>
San Francisco, CA, USA - Tuesday, February 09, 1999 at 03:19:53 (ZULU) 

My AR15 is a flat top Colt 6700. It is same as it came from the factory, other than the scope. I was planning on a free float barrel as my first modification but I am going to spend the money on the scope.

I use a Leupold 4.5-14x50 Mil-dot on my 700VS .308. Would I be better off putting a M3LR on the .308 and putting the 4.5-14x50 on the AR? For those with experience with army and marine mil-dots, will having two scopes different affect my ranging abilities from an application standpoint?

The Shooter <>
College Station, TX, USA - Tuesday, February 09, 1999 at 04:22:57 (ZULU) 

The Shooter:

Using a scope is subjective like anything else. What do you plan to do with it and What are your objective with this rifle! I can't really imagine a 50M lens on a AR15 but it does happen. However, On a bolt action I could see it happening. In fact, alot of individuals have it that way. I started that way with a B&L Elite 3000 5X15 50M scope. You really need to figure out your objective before anything else. I went through two scopes before I settled on my Leupold. Now I am a happy camper.

As for MIL Dots, yes it can have an affect. The dots them selves are measured differently. You can read about it in some publications. I would ask for - I think - September or October of Tactical Shooter. They explain it well, actually, very well. Their web site is

Here is one other sites that I would recommend you checking out;
My favorite AR15 site - Go to review, then to scopes. They review the Tasco scope there.

Semper Fi
Darren <>
San Francisco, CA, USA - Tuesday, February 09, 1999 at 05:06:26 (ZULU) 

1)Has anyone owned a vari-xIII and a vari-XII, and been greatly dissatified with the vari-xII? I guess what I am asking is there much difference in the glass.

I'm very satisfied with the optics of the vari-xIII, but have not had any experience with the Vari-xII. My dad and I are building a rifle for my Grandpa and are trying to keep it quality(American) and affordable.

2)Would anyone be able to compare the light gathering capabilities of Light Force 56mm vs a Leupold vari-xIII 50mm @6.5x. Is it whorth the extra bucks? And how much extra light do you really get out of 50mm vs 40mm objective with a Leupold. I have heard that the cross hairs really come apparent But I have not had both a 50mm and a 40mm side by side in low light.

Matthew Marx <>
MSU, MS, USA - Thursday, February 18, 1999 at 05:46:50 (ZULU) 

Matthew; I think you will find the III slightly superior to the II but mainly its the turrents as they click instead of just move. The II is mostly a 2 piece tube where the III is a one piece thus perhaps adding a little strength. I must say the Light force is a bright scope but it is a heavy dude and just more than I want to pack on a rifle preferring to put the weight in the barrel if I must have it. The B&L Elite is a good scope if Economy is a consideration and I would consider it in the model 4000 as being better than the Leupold II if not some models of the III. The 4,5 x 14 - 40MM is my favorite just because it offers a smaller profile to the observer (target) and still has plenty field of view. Others like the 30mms for their extra range adjustments out to 1000 yards or so and their half inch clicks. Better quit there.

B.Rogers <>
USA - Thursday, February 18, 1999 at 13:09:40 (ZULU) 

Scopes :

Upon a visit with Schmidt&Bender I noticed that Mr. Bender, when inspecting a scope, always looks into the Objective (front) end first. It is there that an expert and novice as well can see quality of workmanship, cleanlyness, and overall finish the best. So at the Shot Show I went around looking into the front of scopes. The Germans were right there to explain the internals, Leupold got a Tech guy to answer my questions, US Optics and Sheperd looked at me like I was stealing something, but Nightforces reaction was the best. "Ehhh, Sir, you looking into the wrong side of the scope" !!!!!
So I went on to lay the thing down on the edge of the table and began twisting the okular lens up and down which mooved enough to see without even getting close. They then scanned for my badge and when they saw Lasercon, Germany they took their baby away from me.
You go figure !

Torsten <>
G3ermany - Thursday, February 18, 1999 at 13:42:54 (ZULU) 

On objective size: Don't let cost be your only guide. A good 40mm or 42mm objective is usually, well in reality - totally all you really need. There are a lot of disadvantages to the big glass for what little use they actually offer. To put a fine point on it: if you ain't shooting at night, why trouble yourself with the big scope? Also, the 40/42mm glass can be VERY excellent at light gathering. I can recall shooting with the B&L Tactical and being amazed at how much I could see at 9pm. Unless your grandpappy would have reason to want a scope the size of Rhode Island on his rifle, I would not get him the LF. It is quite big and there are scopes capable of reasonable resolution found in a lot smaller packages. Save your cash and do him a favor.

Matt Marx <>
USA - Thursday, February 18, 1999 at 16:40:09 (ZULU) 

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