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Top 3 choices for AR15 optics under $400.00

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Top 3 choices for AR15 optics under $400.00

Old 06-17-2016, 07:03 AM
  #1  
Nontypical Buck
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Default Top 3 choices for AR15 optics under $400.00

I'm curious to know what owners of AR15 platforms (5.56) are using and/or recommending for an optic to be used for all around plinking and ringing steel at 200 meters.

All suggestions are welcome as I have never owned an AR15 before (my build is almost done). Extrememly interested in suggestions that include optics you are currently using, and why you find it to be so useful to you.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 8mm/06 View Post
I'm curious to know what owners of AR15 platforms (5.56) are using and/or recommending for an optic to be used for all around plinking and ringing steel at 200 meters.
So, I bolded your usage plans above to highlight what they mean to me in terms of optic selection, below...

Plinking = generally larger targets, meaning lower demand for accuracy, slow to moderate fire at short to moderate range, often firing not supported. Optic Selection: lower price, mid-range to low range magnification.

Ringing Steel = larger targets for a given range, meaning less demand for accuracy, slow to moderate fire rate, typically supported or prone fire. Optic Selection: Mid-range magnification.

200 Meters = relatively short range, but long enough to generally require supported shooting position. Parallax issue is less critical/prevalent. Optic Selection: Mid-range magnification, doesn't necessarily need parallax correction.

So...

If I tally that up:

1) I'd advise against iron sights or a solo red dot sight - the precision just isn't there. An 8" steel gong at 200m is only ~4MOA, which means a normal red dot will nearly fully cover the target = not good for reliable hits. The front sight in iron sights typically covers about 10MOA with 2-5MOA drift for the front sight in the rear sight, so similarly, drifting by a few MOA with irons is very easy.

2) The exception to the above is a magnified red dot sight, or a red dot sight with an added magnifier. Probably not gonna get many of these in the $400 or less ballpark, however.

3) A mid-range variable zoom scope would be my recommendation. Pick up a Bushnell Elite, Nikon Prostaff, or Leupold VX-2 3-9x40mm and you'll be fine. No need to spend extra for parallax adjustment, no need to go any higher than 3-9x or 3.5-10x, maybe 4-12x if you want. Even a fixed 4x would be fine for banging steel at 200yrds.

Originally Posted by 8mm/06 View Post
All suggestions are welcome as I have never owned an AR15 before (my build is almost done). Extrememly interested in suggestions that include optics you are currently using, and why you find it to be so useful to you.

Thanks in advance.
Most of my AR's have different applications from your own, so what I have on mine probably isn't very relevant for you. I have short range shooters with iron sights and/or red dots and I have magnified red dots on longer range shooters, but most of my AR's have scopes on top. But I'm not generally very satisfied with hitting a 2-4MOA steel gong - I'd much rather put a sub-moa group in the middle of a gong or paper target - so I put a little more optic on top of mine. I also do most of my shooting well past 200yrds, so my optic has to be versatile enough to reach mid to long range without inducing parallax errors.

I do have 2 AR's right now with what I'd say are suitable for what you're needing, even though the optics are a lot cheaper than you're looking at (and they're not good scopes either). One wears a 3-9x40mm Bushnell AR, junk scope, but it was only $150 and I needed a temporary scope for this upper. The other wears a Nikon Buckmaster 4-12x40mm, also not great, but also only $150 when I bought it and only a temporary solution, since I shoot this one most often at night with a red-dot sight. My other AR's wear red dots (trijicon RMR, Burris FastFire, Eotech 512), iron sights, or higher magnification scopes like 2.5-16x50mm, 4.5-14x50, 6-18x40, 6-24x44, 4.5-30x50mm, etc all of which have adjustable objectives or side focus, and most of which cost a lot more than $400.
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Old 06-18-2016, 09:22 AM
  #3  
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Just know that you don't need to limit your selection to a "AR style" scope.

3X -9X should be fine for your intended use !


Take a look around here to see what your money can afford.........................

http://shop.opticsplanet.com/?gclid=...FQgzaQod41kK0w
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Old 06-18-2016, 03:07 PM
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Nontypical Buck
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Thanks for the responses. I'll review your suggestions while I shop and consider. I'm all for saving a couple bucks so maybe I can get by 9for my purposes) with a little less invested.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-18-2016, 07:42 PM
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The Bushnell Elite 3500 3-9x40mm runs $280 at midway regular price. I have a precursor 3200 which has been a fantastic scope for about 10yrs, and killed plenty of game past 200yrds. That'd be on my short list for your given application.
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Old 06-19-2016, 07:11 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for the specific model suggestions ... I'll give this all plenty of attention while I decide in the next couple months.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:36 PM
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3200s are fine scopes dont have a 3500 yet. Elites, Vx1s, and burris fullfields will serve you well. Dont get caught up in going too cheap. You still want it to functoon reliably.
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Old 12-05-2016, 12:38 AM
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What are your thoughts on Leupold scopes? I have heard they are all made in the USA and are quite good.
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Old 03-01-2017, 11:19 AM
  #9  
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Leupold makes great hunting scopes, and great glass, but they've fallen out of favor with most of the tactical/practical shooting crowd because they haven't kept up, per price, with many of the bells and whistles those folks are wanting. When guys go looking for tactical/practical scopes, they're after side focus, locking turrets, a milling reticle, 0.1mil adjustments, and first focal plane reticles, among a dozen other features individual shooters prefer. Leupold, for the money, doesn't have a lot of these features.

For a set it and forget it low zoom scope, the Leupold Mark AR 1-4x isn't a bad scope, but you could get as much scope in a different brand for $50-100 less.
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:24 AM
  #10  
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Checked out a bunch of scopes, liked the bushnell 3500 in the store the best, some of these scopes might be nice etc... especially for targets but then in the real world reticles for hunting can be another story completely, was quite surprised I liked the bushnell 3500 more than the similar model vortex... both are quality though.

ended up going with the 4500 4-16x for the AR setup for coyotes...


depends on your use/setup, just plinking at 200yds/meters, anything will work

not sure what the bushnell 4500 2.5-10x goes for?
any scope from 1x-10x I think would be nice.
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