Ask Josh: Can I Shoot Long Range With An Inexpensive Rifle Scope?

long range rifle scope
Josh Wayner for TTAG

Have a query for Josh? Send it to [email protected]

Today we’re going to be what you get by way of bang to your buck by way of optics. Reader ‘Eddie’ is new to lengthy vary shooting, however to not weapons.

“I really want to know just what makes these expensive scopes so special. I want to know why people say you should spend double on the scope as you do on the gun or something like that. I have started long range and I just don’t think I have the budget for it. What can I do to get away with not spending big money on a scope.”

I’m going to provide the identical reply I gave Eddie on the vary and it will not be a well-liked one. But hey, these stimulus checks don’t spend themselves.

The basic reply i’ve for this query is that, notably in terms of optics, you get what you pay for with the occasional exception. Then once more, previous adages like ‘spend as much on the scope as you do on the gun’ or twice the gun price on the optics is deceptive.

If you purchased a $10,000 M107 you’re fairly clearly not going to place a $10,000 or $20,000 scope on it until you need to severely flex on everybody on the vary. I do know Barrett homeowners who use $300 scopes or simply an Aimpoint on their fifties they usually appear to do fairly properly. In their case it has extra to do with what their gun received’t break throughout firing.

That final half there is normally what folks miss in terms of optics. They suppose that the dearer, the higher…not withstanding the tip use of the rifle the optic is getting used on.

So many scopes!

The very first thing to contemplate is what you’re making an attempt to perform. If you own a $500 rifle that shoots properly, you’ll be able to pair that with a $500 scope and get higher basic efficiency. Will your on-target accuracy go up with a $1000 scope? Maybe, perhaps not.

There is a such factor as overkill in that I wouldn’t take a plastic-stocked run-of-the-mill grocery store particular rifle and put one thing like my US Optics 5-25X on it. Would a scope like that assist that type of gun? Sure, however you’ll shortly notice {that a} $4000 scope and mount on a $500 rifle will see poor general outcomes, not due to the optic, however as a result of decrease finish weapons aren’t going to provide you the kind of consistency {that a} excessive finish optic can take full benefit of.

That is why I are inclined to say that you simply get what you pay for. The truth is in terms of weapons and optics, they’re generally mismatched. The efficiency of 1 retains you from getting the total potential out of the opposite.

I’d say that most individuals on the market spend their cash on weapons and never optics, regardless of the latter being simply as essential part of the equation. I’ve seen $2000 carbines paired with scopes the proprietor obtained from Wish.com, questioning why they will’t hit something or why their gun isn’t correct.

The ACOG is a good scope, not low cost both.

Matching efficiency and consistency is the true title of the sport right here. If you might have a top quality rifle, you’ll need to shoot high quality ammo and use a top quality optic in order that your system is working at its peak with none weak links.

Take, for example, a few of my weapons you see right here on TTAG commonly. i’ve a BRN-180 carbine and a BRN-180S pistol. I exploit fastened irons and a Trijicon Reflex on the 16” higher and a Geissele Super Precison 1-6X on the pistol.

Why? Well, the pistol higher is extra correct and strongly advantages from a magnified optic. The 16” higher i’ve on the carbine is much less correct and shoots teams which are double the dimensions of the 10.5” pistol, usually round 3” at 100 meters.

Two Leupold scopes listed below are in high quality rings. These scopes could look related, however are fairly completely different of their options.

I just like the irons and reflex on the longer higher as a result of I can make the most of an extended sight radius and have extra floor space for my hands. It’s a fast-handling carbine and I get probably the most out of it so far as the benefit in elements is worried. The shorty higher could be wasted with irons and a dot in that I wouldn’t have the ability to wring the perfect accuracy out of it like I can with a magnified scope.

My different work weapons profit from costly optics in that i’ve custom built 6.5 Creedmoors with customized barrels, actions, and even shares. These rifles are so correct that the SIG and USO scopes on them will be utilized to their fullest and monitor precisely at 1000+ yards.

I’d be handicapping these rifles if I put optics on them that couldn’t make the most of their inherent accuracy, even supposing the rifles themselves could be simply as mechanically correct.

Two completely constructed weapons which are compact and correct. Matching the scope to the rifle is extra essential than the relative price.

So now that we’ve muddied the waters, the unique query was if Eddie wanted costly glass to shoot lengthy vary. The true reply to that’s….no. However he received’t reach the long term utilizing discount glass as a result of he received’t be getting the total degree of consistency between his gun and scope.

Let’s talk about Eddie’s gear. He was largely a carbine shooter and had probably the most expertise on AR rifles. Two hundred meters was a protracted shot for him on most days, however watching him shoot confirmed me that he was good at it and will simply hit a 10-inch plate along with his carbine from standing with an EOTECH on his rifle.

The optic he had was utilizing wasn’t low cost. The EOTECH is a top quality and dependable sight. His carbine was a Daniel Defense and once more, not cheap. In whole he in all probability had $3500 into his carbine and optic. Keep in thoughts, although, his optic was solely about half the price of his rifle and to him a $2000 optic for that gun would have been ludicrous.

A low energy variable just like the Giessele 1-6X right here is completely matched to the BRN-180S

Long vary with an AR carbine is usually about 800 yards, with most being succesful inside 600. The little .223/5.56 bullets simply run out of fuel and get thrown round by even a light-weight breeze.

If he wished to take full benefit of his rifle from shut vary to the longest vary his gun could be efficient, he could be challenged to discover a higher answer than one thing matched to his carbine, such because the Trijicon VCOG 1-8x.

The VCOG is a incredible optic and, whereas heavy, presents every thing Eddie wanted. An 8X magnification is lots out to 800 yards, and contemplating that the VCOG has a mil reticle, he can zero at 100 or 200 meters, plug in his drop and maintain for it. This could be a case of maximizing the efficiency of the gun and optic collectively, what place proper now he has a comparatively short-range optic and isn’t taking full benefit of how correct his carbine actually is.

Looking at it one other manner, if Eddie has $3500 into his carbine and he considers it to be enough, what would that very same $3500 spent on a brand new construct appear like for him? Starting with the optic, he may go along with one thing just like the SIG TANGO6 5-30x, which has a road worth of about $2,000. The SIG is a top-end manufacturing optic.

Now he has $1,500 left in his price range. If he will get a superb set of rings and a bipod for $300, that leaves him with $1,200.

Big optic, large turrets. The USO right here has a formidable adjustment vary.

A high-quality long-range rifle will be had for beneath that worth, such because the Bergara B14 BMP, which retails at round $1,000. If he went with a that he would nonetheless have about $200 leftover for equipment and perhaps a sling.

The Bergara, whereas a manufacturing facility gun, is certainly correct sufficient for use with the SIG TANGO6 and each will praise one another, thus making a cohesive rifle that delivers accuracy and consistency.

In conclusion, you actually need to match your gun and optic and guarantee that each are of enough high quality that they every compliments the opposite. If your game is lengthy vary shooting, optics is the final place you need to skimp. You’ll simply be losing ammunition and money-chasing an ever-shifting zero. That’s irritating and — particularly now — costly.

Higher finish optics, whereas dearer, is usually a game-changer when used on a rifle that may shoot in addition to the glass can monitor.

Have a query for Josh? Send it to [email protected]



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