Rifle Scopes Opinions wanted to help narrow down some choices here

papershredder

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Once I get my pennies saved up, I'll be in the market for a new scope. Still about a month or two out from buying one. Scope will be going on a Rem 700pss in .308 for right now. Eventually it will be going on a larger rifle for ELR target shooting when that time comes. Price not the biggest issue, but will be taken into consideration when the time comes to buy. But I do want field rugged quality in the scope. Also the less chromatic abrasion the better. Glass quality should not be too much of a concern with my choices, but opinions on that will also be welcome. I've been doing feature comparisons between these scopes, but I can only get so much info there before I hit a wall.

What I want from you is criticism of these scopes. If you have any experience with these scopes; I want to hear your complaints, gripes, nitpicks about the little nuances each scope has. Do they have solid clicks? turret/zero locking up to snuff? turrets easy to turn? Too light/too heavy? Field of view good or will I be better served looking through a coffee straw? Mirage a problem? Forgiving eyebox? adjustable parallax? Reticle easy to see/read? Adjustment range of reticle? How reticles compare? Good customer service? choice of sunshades? NV compatible? And anything else you can think of. Your criticisms will go a long way in helping me with my final decisions :)

Anyway, here's the long list of choices in no particular order: (btw - looking at tree style reticles)
Schmidt and Bender
- PMII Ultra Short 5-20x50 w/Tremor 3 reticle
- PMII LP/MTC/LT 5-25x56 w/Tremor3 or GenIIXR reticle
- PMII /LP 5-25x56 w/Tremor3 or GenIIXR reticle
- PMII High Power 3-27x56 w/Tremor3

Kahles
- K525i DLR 5-25x56 w/SKMR4
- K525i 5-25x56 w/SKMR4 or Tremor3
- K624i 6-24X56 w/SKMR3

Nightforce
- Beast w/Tremor3 or MIL-XT
- ATACR 5-25x56F1 w/Tremor3 or MIL-XT

Steiner
- M5Xi 5-25x56 w/Tremor3

ZCO
- 420 w/MPCT2 or MPCT3
- 527 w/MPCT2 or MPCT3

Swarovski
- Z8i 3.5-28x50 w/BRX-1

Tangent Theta
- TT525P 5-25X56 w/Tremor3 or Gen 3 XR
 

Threadcutter308

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Once I get my pennies saved up, I'll be in the market for a new scope. Still about a month or two out from buying one. Scope will be going on a Rem 700pss in .308 for right now. Eventually it will be going on a larger rifle for ELR target shooting when that time comes. Price not the biggest issue, but will be taken into consideration when the time comes to buy. But I do want field rugged quality in the scope. Also the less chromatic abrasion the better. Glass quality should not be too much of a concern with my choices, but opinions on that will also be welcome. I've been doing feature comparisons between these scopes, but I can only get so much info there before I hit a wall.

What I want from you is criticism of these scopes. If you have any experience with these scopes; I want to hear your complaints, gripes, nitpicks about the little nuances each scope has. Do they have solid clicks? turret/zero locking up to snuff? turrets easy to turn? Too light/too heavy? Field of view good or will I be better served looking through a coffee straw? Mirage a problem? Forgiving eyebox? adjustable parallax? Reticle easy to see/read? Adjustment range of reticle? How reticles compare? Good customer service? choice of sunshades? NV compatible? And anything else you can think of. Your criticisms will go a long way in helping me with my final decisions :)

Anyway, here's the long list of choices in no particular order: (btw - looking at tree style reticles)
Schmidt and Bender
- PMII Ultra Short 5-20x50 w/Tremor 3 reticle
- PMII LP/MTC/LT 5-25x56 w/Tremor3 or GenIIXR reticle
- PMII /LP 5-25x56 w/Tremor3 or GenIIXR reticle
- PMII High Power 3-27x56 w/Tremor3

Kahles
- K525i DLR 5-25x56 w/SKMR4
- K525i 5-25x56 w/SKMR4 or Tremor3
- K624i 6-24X56 w/SKMR3

Nightforce
- Beast w/Tremor3 or MIL-XT
- ATACR 5-25x56F1 w/Tremor3 or MIL-XT

Steiner
- M5Xi 5-25x56 w/Tremor3

ZCO
- 420 w/MPCT2 or MPCT3
- 527 w/MPCT2 or MPCT3

Swarovski
- Z8i 3.5-28x50 w/BRX-1

Tangent Theta
- TT525P 5-25X56 w/Tremor3 or Gen 3 XR
I would highly recommend either of the ZCO’s.
I have a TT, but at almost $1,000.00 more, I would buy the ZCO if I had to make a new purchase.
 

Glassaholic

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    I’ll try to comment on scopes tomorrow as I’ve had a number of what you list. I do have a question, have you ever used a Horus reticle? I like tree reticles that are done well, Horus reticles are too messy for my taste, but it is personal preference so if you e used Tremor and like it then don’t let me persuade you otherwise.
     

    VargmatII

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    What I want from you is criticism of these scopes. If you have any experience with these scopes; I want to hear your complaints, gripes, nitpicks about the little nuances each scope has. Do they have solid clicks? turret/zero locking up to snuff? turrets easy to turn? Too light/too heavy? Field of view good or will I be better served looking through a coffee straw? Mirage a problem? Forgiving eyebox? adjustable parallax? Reticle easy to see/read? Adjustment range of reticle? How reticles compare? Good customer service? choice of sunshades? NV compatible? And anything else you can think of. Your criticisms will go a long way in helping me with my final decisions :)

    Anyway, here's the long list of choices in no particular order: (btw - looking at tree style reticles)
    Schmidt and Bender
    - PMII Ultra Short 5-20x50 w/Tremor 3 reticle
    - PMII LP/MTC/LT 5-25x56 w/Tremor3 or GenIIXR reticle
    - PMII /LP 5-25x56 w/Tremor3 or GenIIXR reticle
    - PMII High Power 3-27x56 w/Tremor3

    Kahles
    - K525i DLR 5-25x56 w/SKMR4
    - K525i 5-25x56 w/SKMR4 or Tremor3
    - K624i 6-24X56 w/SKMR3

    Nightforce
    - Beast w/Tremor3 or MIL-XT
    - ATACR 5-25x56F1 w/Tremor3 or MIL-XT

    Steiner
    - M5Xi 5-25x56 w/Tremor3

    ZCO
    - 420 w/MPCT2 or MPCT3
    - 527 w/MPCT2 or MPCT3

    Swarovski
    - Z8i 3.5-28x50 w/BRX-1

    Tangent Theta
    - TT525P 5-25X56 w/Tremor3 or Gen 3 XR

    Ok, my take on it with the morning cup of coffee in hand;
    Schmidt & Bender PM2; I had a 5-25x56 with double turn turrets and MSR reticle. It was pretty much a perfect scope for me, after 2 years of use I sold it (like a dummy). And I still regret that decision. Old design but still a great scope that is as much of a proven performer as they get. It has the best turrets I have ever felt. Reticle choice is up to you, but to me, the MSR is perfect. I would not get a 5-20x50 US for your use. The 3-27 HP is the only PM2 that I have seen go down in competition. While that might mean absolutely nothing, it was still a big bummer for the guy it happened to.

    Kahles; I just bought a k624i, only been to the range twice with it but I really like that scope. Bright, great turrets and also has the MSR reticle. So I think this is a keeper for me. I have not looked through a k525i, but it is probably awesome too.

    Nightforce; Never held or looked through a BEAST, the elevation turret on it is just way too much for practical use, looked through an ATACR and have an old NXS. The ATACR seems nice, but thats all I can say. If you like the offered reticles I bet its a good choice of scope. Lots of people run them.

    Steiner; Never looked through one, cant say anything about it. They offer the MSR reticle which is nice if you like it.

    ZCO; Want to look through one of these scopes so bad. Never seen or even held one so far. If they offer them with the MSR reticle in the future. I might just have to switch scopes again.

    Swarovski; I am pretty sure that scope has MOA turrets and is really a hunting scope with some "tactical" feautures thrown in. Not ideal in any way. I seem to remember that it has very limited vertical adjustment too. So a big NO to this one. It does not belong in this group of scopes IMHO. Keep looking at Kahles.

    Tangent Theta; Supposed to be the be all and end all discussion in performance. I dont think there is a single TT in Sweden so I cant look through one. They are supposed to be close to Minox ZP5 and they did not impress me too much. Not that the minox was bad, it just was not that super awesome either. I had a Hensoldt 4-16x56 at the time and they are truly amazing to get behind. I hate the reticles TT offers personally. So not a scope for me.
     
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    Matches Malone

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    I would take the Swaro and Steiner off the list. They don’t hold up as well as your other options, especially Z8. I think the swaros are a over priced POS imo.

    I would consider how much elevation travel is in the scope and maybe consider substitute the Bushnell elite xrs 2 to your list. It won a Ko2M and there’s a option for the T3 reticle. It’s good enough for ELR.
     

    papershredder

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    I would highly recommend either of the ZCO’s.
    I have a TT, but at almost $1,000.00 more, I would buy the ZCO if I had to make a new purchase.
    As it stands, those two brands are at the top of the list so far. My one and only gripe about the ZCO's are the limited options with 36mm mounts, especially one piece mounts. With all the choices in scopes out there, I agree it is very hard to justify spending the extra dough for a TT. At least the ZCO is more competitive in price.


    I’ll try to comment on scopes tomorrow as I’ve had a number of what you list. I do have a question, have you ever used a Horus reticle? I like tree reticles that are done well, Horus reticles are too messy for my taste, but it is personal preference so if you e used Tremor and like it then don’t let me persuade you otherwise.
    I have not used any tree reticle. I'm just getting back into shooting from a 20 year break. I have only used MIL dots on a standard cross hair. I'm going with trees this time around because of both the wind holds and ranging with the reticle. From the online pictures, I have not been impressed with any other Horus reticle but the T3. I'm not 100% sold on the T3 just yet. The reason why I'm leaning toward the T3 right now is depite it's busyness, it looks to be a straight forward and easy to read. I can be persuaded in this matter.

    Ok, my take on it with the morning cup of coffee in hand;
    Schmidt & Bender PM2; I had a 5-25x56 with double turn turrets and MSR reticle. It was pretty much a perfect scope for me, after 2 years of use I sold it (like a dummy). And I still regret that decision. Old design but still a great scope that is as much of a proven performer as they get. It has the best turrets I have ever felt. Reticle choice is up to you, but to me, the MSR is perfect. I would not get a 5-20x50 US for your use. The 3-27 HP is the only PM2 that I have seen go down in competition. While that might mean absolutely nothing, it was still a big bummer for the guy it happened to.

    Kahles; I just bought a k624i, only been to the range twice with it but I really like that scope. Bright, great turrets and also has the MSR reticle. So I think this is a keeper for me. I have not looked through a k525i, but it is probably awesome too.

    Nightforce; Never held or looked through a BEAST, the elevation turret on it is just way too much for practical use, looked through an ATACR and have an old NXS. The ATACR seems nice, but thats all I can say. If you like the offered reticles I bet its a good choice of scope. Lots of people run them.

    Steiner; Never looked through one, cant say anything about it. They offer the MSR reticle which is nice if you like it.

    ZCO; Want to look through one of these scopes so bad. Never seen or even held one so far. If they offer them with the MSR reticle in the future. I might just have to switch scopes again.

    Swarovski; I am pretty sure that scope has MOA turrets and is really a hunting scope with some "tactical" feautures thrown in. Not ideal in any way. I seem to remember that it has very limited vertical adjustment too. So a big NO to this one. It does not belong in this group of scopes IMHO. Keep looking at Kahles.

    Tangent Theta; Supposed to be the be all and end all discussion in performance. I dont think there is a single TT in Sweden so I cant look through one. They are supposed to be close to Minox ZP5 and they did not impress me too much. Not that the minox was bad, it just was not that super awesome either. I had a Hensoldt 4-16x56 at the time and they are truly amazing to get behind. I hate the reticles TT offers personally. So not a scope for me.
    The turrets on the Nightforce Beast were the first thing I noticed too. The Beast and the Swaro are pretty much at the bottom of the list and ready to fall off. Not too much info out there on Swarovski, or at least not here in the US anyway. Always read good things about their quality though. I have read almost all good reviews on the ATACR, since it has about every feature I want, I'm keeping that one in consideration. Steiner I've heard mixed reviews on, especially in their customer service and QC. Thanks for the write up on the S&B and Kahles. I've had those two brands right beside ZCO and TT for consideration.
     

    papershredder

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    I would take the Swaro and Steiner off the list. They don’t hold up as well as your other options, especially Z8. I think the swaros are a over priced POS imo.

    I would consider how much elevation travel is in the scope and maybe consider substitute the Bushnell elite xrs 2 to your list. It won a Ko2M and there’s a option for the T3 reticle. It’s good enough for ELR.

    Yeah both those were towards the bottom anyway. The Bushnell or Burris equivalent are actually scopes I'm considering for the .308 when I get a more suitable ELR rifle for the scopes I'm considering at the moment. I haven't ignored those scopes or some of the other high performing mid-tier options. I just want to get the expensive purchase out of the way. I'm not buying this scope just for shooting paper. It's also going to serve as a ready standby in case SHTF. I'm looking into the scopes that have been proven in adverse conditions or at least had those conditions kept in mind during the design stage.
     

    Glassaholic

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    Once I get my pennies saved up, I'll be in the market for a new scope. Still about a month or two out from buying one. Scope will be going on a Rem 700pss in .308 for right now. Eventually it will be going on a larger rifle for ELR target shooting when that time comes. Price not the biggest issue, but will be taken into consideration when the time comes to buy. But I do want field rugged quality in the scope. Also the less chromatic abrasion the better. Glass quality should not be too much of a concern with my choices, but opinions on that will also be welcome. I've been doing feature comparisons between these scopes, but I can only get so much info there before I hit a wall.

    What I want from you is criticism of these scopes. If you have any experience with these scopes; I want to hear your complaints, gripes, nitpicks about the little nuances each scope has. Do they have solid clicks? turret/zero locking up to snuff? turrets easy to turn? Too light/too heavy? Field of view good or will I be better served looking through a coffee straw? Mirage a problem? Forgiving eyebox? adjustable parallax? Reticle easy to see/read? Adjustment range of reticle? How reticles compare? Good customer service? choice of sunshades? NV compatible? And anything else you can think of. Your criticisms will go a long way in helping me with my final decisions :)

    Anyway, here's the long list of choices in no particular order: (btw - looking at tree style reticles)
    Schmidt and Bender
    - PMII Ultra Short 5-20x50 w/Tremor 3 reticle - Fantastic Ultra Short scope with excellent glass and enormous FOV. Prefer the new DT II+ turrets, the older DT turrets with 18 mil per rev have clicks too close together IMO, usable just not preferable.
    - PMII LP/MTC/LT 5-25x56 w/Tremor3 or GenIIXR reticle - The scope that started it all (long range high end), but tunnels aggressively which creates very poor FOV values at the low end of magnification, the opposite of the 5-20 Ultra Short which has massive FOV at the low end. Glass is superb and DT turrets are nice, but DT II+ turrets are much better.
    - PMII /LP 5-25x56 w/Tremor3 or GenIIXR reticle - see above
    - PMII High Power 3-27x56 w/Tremor3 - much more forgiving FOV than the 5-25 (see notes above on DT II+ turrets). Excellent all around scope with flexible magnification range.

    Kahles
    - K525i DLR 5-25x56 w/SKMR4 - wider FOV than the regular K525i, excellent turrets and top mount parallax can be a benefit.
    - K525i 5-25x56 w/SKMR4 or Tremor3 - limited FOV, some complaints about IQ above 20x.
    - K624i 6-24X56 w/SKMR3 - one of the best values right now when found for under $2k. Forgiving FOV, DOF and eyebox made this one of the best PRS/NRL style scopes for a long time. Biggest drawback is the design has heavy CA for the price (when new).

    Nightforce
    - Beast w/Tremor3 or MIL-XT - The scope that couldn't. Couldn't what, you ask? This scope was designed to compete with the top of the scope food chain (aka alpha glass) and just never seemed to catch on, maybe because the ATACR came soon after and many felt the ATACR was "close enough". Supposed to be a fantastic scope, some complain about turret design, but if found used for a good price represents a great value.
    - ATACR 5-25x56F1 w/Tremor3 or MIL-XT - decent scope with an excellent reputation but the scope has poor FOV performance at the bottom, more about brand recognition, price is a little high for the performance (re: brand recognition) and many consider the ATACR 7-35 to be a "better" scope, the 7-35 has dominated PRS comps lately, does it mean it's the best scope - not necessarily, as I think ZCO, TT, Schmidt, Minox ZP5, Kahles and March are better in certain areas, but NF has a huge fan base and their scopes work and perform well.

    Steiner
    - M5Xi 5-25x56 w/Tremor3 - interesting design, hardy reputation, but glass doesn't seem to be on par with other scopes in the price range. Nice turret design with second rev indicator.

    ZCO
    - 420 w/MPCT2 or MPCT3 - the best ultra short on the market today, phenomenal performance with huge image and thin periphery. Schmidt Ultra short 3-20 and March 4.5-28x52 give it a run for the money, but hard to argue the overall performance and support that ZCO USA provides.
    - 527 w/MPCT2 or MPCT3 - I expect to see this scope taking a big chunk out of the NF 7-35 popularity, for close to the same price the ZCO offers a lot more performance over NF and other brands. Forgiving eyebox, FOV and DOF make this one of the best.

    Swarovski
    - Z8i 3.5-28x50 w/BRX-1 - Swarovski = SFP, more geared towards hunting than towards ELR and dynamic competition

    Tangent Theta
    - TT525P 5-25X56 w/Tremor3 or Gen 3 XR - pretty much the best of the best, optically and mechanically. Phenomenal eyebox, DOF and very good FOV. Best turrets in the business especially with toolless zero. My only gripe is the numbers marked on the large turrets are so small. Minox ZP5 5-25 shares in the lineage of Premier and Tangent Theta and has glass that is on par with Tangent and the MR4 is a very compelling reticle, using essentially the same optical formula I could not tell a difference between my ZP5 and my tangent with regard to optical performance, I have heard different from others and think it may come down to glass variance and possibly QA/QC. One thing to note is the Tangent and ZP5 are "big" scopes, the market seems to be trending towards shorter scopes with the likes of the ZCO, Kahles, March et al.
    Please see my comments in red above

    Another scope you should seriously consider is the March 4.5-28x52 with FML-TR1, this is a phenomenal scope with an excellent tree reticle, it is an ultra short design and blends a lot of features into one compact package.
     

    Glassaholic

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    I have not used any tree reticle. I'm just getting back into shooting from a 20 year break. I have only used MIL dots on a standard cross hair. I'm going with trees this time around because of both the wind holds and ranging with the reticle. From the online pictures, I have not been impressed with any other Horus reticle but the T3. I'm not 100% sold on the T3 just yet. The reason why I'm leaning toward the T3 right now is despite it's busyness, it looks to be a straight forward and easy to read. I can be persuaded in this matter.
    Fair enough. I had the Tremor3 in a Leupold Mark 5 3.6-18 and it drove me nuts, found it to be very distracting. But I should also say I find the SKMR series from Kahles and MPCT from ZCO to be distracting as well with their thick horizontal tree lines. I much prefer the dots in the tree like the MR4, Gen 3XR, FML-TR1, EBR-7c, Mil-XR etc. these are all tree reticles that do not dominate your attention, the FML-TR1 and Gen 3XR being at the top of that list.
     

    koshkin

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    Fair enough. I had the Tremor3 in a Leupold Mark 5 3.6-18 and it drove me nuts, found it to be very distracting. But I should also say I find the SKMR series from Kahles and MPCT from ZCO to be distracting as well with their thick horizontal tree lines. I much prefer the dots in the tree like the MR4, Gen 3XR, FML-TR1, EBR-7c, Mil-XR etc. these are all tree reticles that do not dominate your attention, the FML-TR1 and Gen 3XR being at the top of that list.

    I am pretty much on board with this argument, but I am a little biased here.

    As far as the original scope options go, out of these, I am partial to TT, ZCO and S&B. New March 5-42x56 and 4.5-18x52 scope should really be in this conversation as well.

    I shoot TT with Gen3 XR and have no intention of replacing it any time soon, but March 4.5-28x52 is kinda speaking to me.

    ZCO reticles are not perfect for me, but optomechanically this very little to complain about with these. I wish the FOV was a touch wider, but that's pretty much it.

    With S&B, I really like the GR2ID reticle, so the 5-25x56 with GR2ID would definitely be on my list.

    ILya
     

    papershredder

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    I am pretty much on board with this argument, but I am a little biased here.

    As far as the original scope options go, out of these, I am partial to TT, ZCO and S&B. New March 5-42x56 and 4.5-18x52 scope should really be in this conversation as well.

    I shoot TT with Gen3 XR and have no intention of replacing it any time soon, but March 4.5-28x52 is kinda speaking to me.

    ZCO reticles are not perfect for me, but optomechanically this very little to complain about with these. I wish the FOV was a touch wider, but that's pretty much it.

    With S&B, I really like the GR2ID reticle, so the 5-25x56 with GR2ID would definitely be on my list.

    ILya
    Nah, no argument. Just making sure my hard earned dollars get well spent. Heavy/thick crosshairs, dots, lines, etc... probably will bother me. Just as long as they're not really obstructing the view through the scope, I will be fine with it. Bunches of thin lines and fine dots I'm ok with. I've worked in machine shops for most of my adult life, so I'm used to looking at all types of gaging instruments, which is basically what a reticle is.


    Please see my comments in red above

    Another scope you should seriously consider is the March 4.5-28x52 with FML-TR1, this is a phenomenal scope with an excellent tree reticle, it is an ultra short design and blends a lot of features into one compact package.
    Thank you for that write up! March is getting added to the list. I've been out of the loop for a while and actually have not even heard of March until you mentioned them last night. I have heard of Minot, but haven't taken them into consideration either. That will change. I started this thread with the idea of narrowing down choices, so far the list hasn't been narrowed down. It's changed a little, but it's not quite shrinking yet.

    Fair enough. I had the Tremor3 in a Leupold Mark 5 3.6-18 and it drove me nuts, found it to be very distracting. But I should also say I find the SKMR series from Kahles and MPCT from ZCO to be distracting as well with their thick horizontal tree lines. I much prefer the dots in the tree like the MR4, Gen 3XR, FML-TR1, EBR-7c, Mil-XR etc. these are all tree reticles that do not dominate your attention, the FML-TR1 and Gen 3XR being at the top of that list.
    All points considered. Moving away from the reticles and taking Steiner, Swarovski, and Nightforce off the list. Let's say between the S&B PMII Ultra Short, both ZCO's, TT, Kahles K525 DLR, and any March and Minot scopes that are comparable to these in features:

    Which has the easiest to see/read turrets?

    Which would you consider to be the strongest, toughest built?
     

    kriller134

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    It’s not on your list but the vortex venom 5-25 is a tier 1 alpha scope. It’s just as good as a zco or TT at a fraction of the cost.
     

    Glassaholic

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    All points considered. Moving away from the reticles and taking Steiner, Swarovski, and Nightforce off the list. Let's say between the S&B PMII Ultra Short, both ZCO's, TT, Kahles K525 DLR, and any March and Minot scopes that are comparable to these in features:

    Which has the easiest to see/read turrets?

    Which would you consider to be the strongest, toughest built?
    Keep in mind these are my opinions so take them with a grain of salt

    Easiest to see/read turrets - this is going to be subjective, but I think the "easiest" are the ZCO turrets with a close second being the March 4.5-28 large turret shroud (comes with each scope).

    Which would you consider to be the strongest, toughest built - again, subjective, these are all considered "Alpha" class scopes and should handle use and abuse well. If you submit a post "Which Alpha Scopes are the toughest" you are going to get all kinds of answers with certain fanboys singing the praises of their particular brand and other naysayers ripping on another. Fact is all manufacturers have had their duds that have failed sometimes under the most pristine of conditions. I would venture to say all the manufacturers you list above have a good reputation for quality and reliability with the Minox having some early turret issues that they later remedied (their current turrets are excellent).
     
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    papershredder

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    Keep in mind these are my opinions so take them with a grain of salt

    Easiest to see/read turrets - this is going to be subjective, but I think the "easiest" are the ZCO turrets with a close second being the March 4.5-28 large turret shroud (comes with each scope).

    Which would you consider to be the strongest, toughest built - again, subjective, these are all considered "Alpha" class scopes and should handle use and abuse well. If you submit a post "Which Alpha Scopes are the toughest" you are going to get all kinds of answers with certain fanboys singing the praises of their particular brand and other naysayers ripping on another. Fact is all manufacturers have had their duds that have failed sometimes under the most pristine of conditions. I would venture to say all the manufacturers you list above have a good reputation for quality and reliability with the Minox having some early turret issues that they later remedied (their current turrets are excellent).
    Opinions are what I wanted out of this thread. All of my local gun shops and sporting goods stores only stock hunting scopes with an occasional entry level budget minded Vortex. I was planning on going to the next Indy 1500 gun show just to hopefully check out some of these scopes in person before buying one, but the the June event was cancelled. I'll have to wait until mid-late Aug for that opportunity again. For the time being, other opinions/reviews is all I have to go on. I'm still going to wait a month or two before I buy one. During that time, do more research, look for more reviews, those types of things. ELR isn't big around my area. Thunder Valley Range in Ohio would be a 6hr drive. I'm looking forward to visiting that range one day.

    In the meantime, next questions aren't related to any certain brand of scope, but will go towards helping me make a final decision.

    Anybody out here in the Hide want to chime in on on the difference between using 20x or 25x out to distance of, let's say 2500yds?
     

    Matches Malone

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    Alright, between full size IPSC and a 36" square target.
    There’s not going to be a huge difference. If you use the reticle to hold, then the more mag will help imo to break up the target with reticle. Too much mag, if using a FFP you’re not going to be able to see the whole reticle anyways. You can’t really go wrong with x25. You don’t have to use it, but you have it if you need it.
     

    Glassaholic

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    Anybody out here in the Hide want to chime in on on the difference between using 20x or 25x out to distance of, let's say 2500yds?
    In most places you can shoot that far you're going to battle mirage. The longer the distance doesn't always equate to higher magnification... just keep that in mind. @NoLegs24 won the Nightforce ELR challenge with his TT 5-25, I know other ELR shooters who have 5-25's so while having more magnification might be nice under certain circumstances, it is not necessary.
     

    USACS

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    The TT is an amazing scope, but it’s not worth the money over a ZCO or S&B of similar mag ranges since they’re so optically comparable.

    The Swaro Z8i should be written off immediately because it’s a hunting scope and not designed to the same specs or options as the other scopes. Keep in mind that Kahles is the tactical division of Swarovski, so the K525i is going to run with the same glass but better options and design, and much more rugged construction.

    NF Beast is old tech, and it’s also discontinued. If you find a new one for sale, I’d skip it and just go to an ATACR, as it’s a better scope.

    An advantage to the ATACR over the others is that they have a 7-35x option that would excel in the ELR role. That said, 5-25x is more than enough to shoot ELR and any variant of that from the aforementioned would give you exceptional performance.

    In terms of what to pick, that’s just going to come down to what looks best to your eye, and how much you are willing to spend to get there.
     

    Long Range 338

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    TT- is the top dog optically and the turrets are simply amazing. Tool less zero is great. Limited reticles and price being the downside.

    S&B- is a great option, I've only handled the 5-25. DTII+ turrets are amazing and fixed the "clicks too close together" issue. S&B is well know and well respected with many reticles options. Very solid scopes. Tunneling on the low end and recent price increases make other options more attractive.

    Kahles- Owned by Swarovski, so basically their tactical line. Solid scopes with a reputation for somewhat subpar glass but solid mechanical hardware. I like their MSR-K and other reticle options. With the left side windage and top mounted parallax it just feels like learning how to drive from the opposite side of the car.

    Nightforce- I really don't have much experience with their FFP stuff so I can't comment here.

    Steiner- Steiner is kind of a hidden gem in the used optic market in my opinion. The internals are very solid and work well. The M5X turrets aren't tactile enough for many but the 2nd rev indicator is a nice touch. I have a couple of these with the MSR and they are great scopes. I would however move up to the M7X with the MSR2 as it is a nice upgrade for about the same price. Many will complain about CA in the glass but I really like mine. I wouldn't put it on par with TT but the price is better.

    ZCO- Very nice scope and good on all fronts. The 36mm tube is a bit of a rarity and the reticle options are not great in my opinion. ZCO may be the best bang for your buck in all around quality build.
     
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    papershredder

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    There’s not going to be a huge difference. If you use the reticle to hold, then the more mag will help imo to break up the target with reticle. Too much mag, if using a FFP you’re not going to be able to see the whole reticle anyways. You can’t really go wrong with x25. You don’t have to use it, but you have it if you need it.
    Definitely will be going with an FFP for this purchase. I'm leaning towards the extra mag of a 25x, but stepping down to one of the 4x-20x or similar magnifications options will shave the expense a little. Though cost won't be considered until I'm making final decisions.
    In most places you can shoot that far you're going to battle mirage. The longer the distance doesn't always equate to higher magnification... just keep that in mind. @NoLegs24 won the Nightforce ELR challenge with his TT 5-25, I know other ELR shooters who have 5-25's so while having more magnification might be nice under certain circumstances, it is not necessary.
    Has any of the major ELR matches in the last couple of years been won with scopes in the 3x-18x to 4x-20x magnification range? Glad you mentioned mirage, because I do have a couple questions regarding mirage for the Hide at the bottom this reply. That was the topic I was trying to lead to when I was asking about difference between 20x & 25x out to distance.

    The TT is an amazing scope, but it’s not worth the money over a ZCO or S&B of similar mag ranges since they’re so optically comparable.

    The Swaro Z8i should be written off immediately because it’s a hunting scope and not designed to the same specs or options as the other scopes. Keep in mind that Kahles is the tactical division of Swarovski, so the K525i is going to run with the same glass but better options and design, and much more rugged construction.

    NF Beast is old tech, and it’s also discontinued. If you find a new one for sale, I’d skip it and just go to an ATACR, as it’s a better scope.

    An advantage to the ATACR over the others is that they have a 7-35x option that would excel in the ELR role. That said, 5-25x is more than enough to shoot ELR and any variant of that from the aforementioned would give you exceptional performance.

    In terms of what to pick, that’s just going to come down to what looks best to your eye, and how much you are willing to spend to get there.
    TT- is the top dog optically and the turrets are simply amazing. Tool less zero is great. Limited reticles and price being the downside.

    S&B- is a great option, I've only handled the 5-25. DTII+ turrets are amazing and fixed the "clicks too close together" issue. S&B is well know and well respected with many reticles options. Very solid scopes. Tunneling on the low end and recent price increases make other options more attractive.

    Kahles- Owned by Swarovski, so basically their tactical line. Solid scopes with a reputation for somewhat subpar glass but solid mechanical hardware. I like their MSR-K and other reticle options. With the left side windage and top mounted parallax it just feels like learning how to drive from the opposite side of the car.

    Nightforce- I really don't have much experience with their FFP stuff so I can't comment here.

    Steiner- Steiner is kind of a hidden gem in the used optic market in my opinion. The internals are very solid and work well. The M5X turrets aren't tactile enough for many but the 2nd rev indicator is a nice touch. I have a couple of these with the MSR and they are great scopes. I would however move up to the M7X with the MSR2 as it is a nice upgrade for about the same price. Many will complain about CA in the glass but I really like mine. I wouldn't put it on par with TT but the price is better.

    ZCO- Very nice scope and good on all fronts. The 36mm tube is a bit of a rarity and the reticle options are not great in my opinion. ZCO may be the best bang for your buck in all around quality build.
    Swaro is already off my list, I did not know that Kahles was owned by Swarovski so that's an interesting tidbit of info. Kahles is still being considered and March is now also being considered.

    I put the Beast on the list just because. The ATACR is the scope that has my attention. I've looked into the 7-35, but decided I would rather have something a little lower on the bottom end of the magnification range just for that little extra FOV at short distance shooting.

    As far as Steiner goes, I'm just about to drop them from consideration. Though oddly enough I just found a couple stores with an online search within an hour to hour and a half drive that has Steiner scopes listed in stock. So hopefully I'll get the chance to check one over.

    I just about have my choices narrowed down. Here in a couple days I may post up a more refined list so I can get some final opinions. My first post will be left as is.

    But, just to give me some clarity on the topic of mirage here. Are all brands of scopes effected by mirage the same or do some handle mirage better than others? At about what power in magnification does mirage take a stronger affect and starts to produce diminishing returns?
     

    ma smith

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    Definitely will be going with an FFP for this purchase. I'm leaning towards the extra mag of a 25x, but stepping down to one of the 4x-20x or similar magnifications options will shave the expense a little. ...
    FFP reticles are typically useless below 8x if not 10x

    The ATACR is the scope that has my attention. I've looked into the 7-35, but decided I would rather have something a little lower on the bottom end of the magnification range just for that little extra FOV at short distance shooting.

    IIR Several 5x optics are really 6-7x FOV equivalent, so be careful with this

    Couple of examples S&B pm2 and atacr 5-25x have soem low end tunneling...

    Pretty sure eg Khales 6-24x will match wide angle FOV vs 5-25 ATACR and has BETTER fov than the 5-25 pm2 by S&B.

    4-20 ATACR and 4-20 ZCO also both have a bit of tunneling on 4x if early reports are true, etc
     
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    Glassaholic

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    But, just to give me some clarity on the topic of mirage here. Are all brands of scopes effected by mirage the same or do some handle mirage better than others? At about what power in magnification does mirage take a stronger affect and starts to produce diminishing returns?
    Probably a better question for @koshkin. There are a number of Tangent Theta owners that talk about the scope's ability to "cut through" mirage to a point beyond what is observable from other scopes, even other alpha class scopes. Mirage is an atmospheric condition, just like fog and I don't see anyone saying their scopes cut through fog :D My guess is it has to do with a scopes ability to resolve micro contrast and therefore allowing our eyes to see more detail that is perceived as "cutting through".
     

    Glassaholic

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    FFP reticles are typically useless below 8x if not 10x
    A reticle's usefulness is dependent on many factors, for a long range scope it is going to be dependent on the thickness and design. For example, my Bushnell LRHS 4.5-18 G2H reticle is perfectly usable at 4.5x, but my Burris XTR III 5.5-30 with SCR2 reticle I find to be difficult to discern at 5.5x. The G2H is a pretty thick reticle and the SCR2 is a very thin reticle.
    IIR Several 5x optics are really 6-7x FOV equivalent, so be careful with this
    That's a very good point about FOV, this is an often overlooked spec on a lot of scopes and the ATACR 5-25 and PM II 5-25 are probably two of the worst offenders; however, while they may struggle on the low end, they pick up FOV performance throughout their mag range matching or surpassing what some competitors offer even though the competition may have better FOV at the low end.
    4-20 ATACR and 4-20 ZCO also both have a bit of tunneling on 4x if early reports are true, etc
    My ZCO 4-20 had no discernible tunneling at the low end of the magnification.
     
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    ma smith

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    My ZCO 4-20 had no discernible tunneling at the low end of the magnification.
    It was written up here...not sayin who is right or wrong tho... It is written in a way that makes it credible, with a specific/technical explanation, but I will always defer to better sources.


    [T]he ZCO tunneling just slightly (4.5x to 4x) whereas the S&B [S&B PM II 3-20] does not tunnel. The origin of this slight tunneling in the ZC 420 is some shared erector components between it and the larger ZC 527.
     
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    Secant

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    My ZCO420 tunnels from about 4.5 or maybe 4.25(ish) to 4. It’s not a ton and it’s only at the very bottom end, but it’s there.
     

    NoLegs24

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    @papershredder man, can you afford to keep those optics in the mid 3k’s and 4k? Especially since you still have to save up to buy either?

    I do find it funny that a lot of guys that can’t afford to keep it, will sell it to buy a less expensive option and call that optic they chose, “just as good”.

    If I wasn’t shooting TT’s, I’d run Schmidt’s. Simple as that. I’ve looked through (owned a lot on your list) and played with all of them, I’d take the Schmidt without hesitation if TT wasn’t an option.

    If I had money to blow and didn’t mind CW turrets, Hensoldt 3.5-26x is one of those scopes that is just like 😳. Am I right @SkyScrapin ? Lol
     

    Glassaholic

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    My ZCO420 tunnels from about 4.5 or maybe 4.25(ish) to 4. It’s not a ton and it’s only at the very bottom end, but it’s there.
    Wish I still had my ZCO. Also, to make sure we’re on the same page, what exactly are you seeing - is it a loss of FOV where the image no longer grows or is it a loss of magnification where the image ceases to be magnified while the FOV continues to grow, or is it the periphery of the sight picture that begins to blacken and get larger encroaching on the image making it smaller - or a combination thereof?
     

    Glassaholic

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    It was written up here...not sayin who is right or wrong tho... It is written in a way that makes it credible, with a specific/technical explanation, but I will always defer to better sources.

    Big Jim is one of the most thorough reviewers out there, I do recall reading this when he first posted his review.
     

    Guthwine

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    I would add the Minox ZP5 to the list. For me, the MR4 reticle is pretty much perfect and the image quality is on par with the other scopes on your list. Imho it's the best bang for your buck.
     
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    papershredder

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    FFP reticles are typically useless below 8x if not 10x



    IIR Several 5x optics are really 6-7x FOV equivalent, so be careful with this

    Couple of examples S&B pm2 and atacr 5-25x have soem low end tunneling...

    Pretty sure eg Khales 6-24x will match wide angle FOV vs 5-25 ATACR and has BETTER fov than the 5-25 pm2 by S&B.

    4-20 ATACR and 4-20 ZCO also both have a bit of tunneling on 4x if early reports are true, etc
    I was wondering about tunneling effects, but haven't gotten around to mentioning that yet. Thanks for the heads up!

    Probably a better question for @koshkin. There are a number of Tangent Theta owners that talk about the scope's ability to "cut through" mirage to a point beyond what is observable from other scopes, even other alpha class scopes. Mirage is an atmospheric condition, just like fog and I don't see anyone saying their scopes cut through fog :D My guess is it has to do with a scopes ability to resolve micro contrast and therefore allowing our eyes to see more detail that is perceived as "cutting through".
    That's why I worded the question that way. I figured as much, but doesn't hurt to check if modern tech has overcome nature yet.

    @papershredder man, can you afford to keep those optics in the mid 3k’s and 4k? Especially since you still have to save up to buy either?

    I do find it funny that a lot of guys that can’t afford to keep it, will sell it to buy a less expensive option and call that optic they chose, “just as good”.

    If I wasn’t shooting TT’s, I’d run Schmidt’s. Simple as that. I’ve looked through (owned a lot on your list) and played with all of them, I’d take the Schmidt without hesitation if TT wasn’t an option.

    If I had money to blow and didn’t mind CW turrets, Hensoldt 3.5-26x is one of those scopes that is just like 😳. Am I right @SkyScrapin ? Lol
    I don't live in denial. Unless I'm talking about fast food or screwdrivers, I usually don't say the phrase "just as good". My bills get paid. Low debt to income ratio plus working mandatory OT for the past 8 months has given me a little windfall. I'm approaching this as a long term, one time and done purchase. That way when I do start building an ELR rifle here in a year or two, I'll have the scope purchase out of the way ;) Then the .308 is going to get one of those other scopes that everyone says is just as good. After all this researching I've been doing lately, the scope I really want right now is one of the March Genesis models. But there is a limit to my insanity. The msrp for a TT on Armament Tech's website is the absolute top dollar I am even considering spending. It's been nice to find a TT 5-25 can be had for cheaper through other vendors.

    I would add the Minox ZP5 to the list. For me, the MR4 reticle is pretty much perfect and the image quality is on par with the other scopes on your list. Imho it's the best bang for your buck.
    I've always heard good things about Minox. I just looked into the ZP5's. They beat all the others in price for sure. What's steering me away from the ZP5 is the shorter turret elevation travel compared to the others and the longer overall length of the scope.
     

    Secant

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    As you rotate the magnification ring in the +\-4.5 to 4 range, the magnification changes, the FoV of the picture doesn’t change and a black ring takes up a small portion of the outer image - does that make sense?

    Just to underscore my previous statement, it’s not a huge deal, it doesn’t effect how I (or probably anyone) uses the optic, it’s nothing that I would consider a deal killer, but I do notice it.

    Wish I still had my ZCO. Also, to make sure we’re on the same page, what exactly are you seeing - is it a loss of FOV where the image no longer grows or is it a loss of magnification where the image ceases to be magnified while the FOV continues to grow, or is it the periphery of the sight picture that begins to blacken and get larger encroaching on the image making it smaller - or a combination thereof?
     

    Glassaholic

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    As you rotate the magnification ring in the +\-4.5 to 4 range, the magnification changes, the FoV of the picture doesn’t change and a black ring takes up a small portion of the outer image - does that make sense?

    Just to underscore my previous statement, it’s not a huge deal, it doesn’t effect how I (or probably anyone) uses the optic, it’s nothing that I would consider a deal killer, but I do notice it.
    That does make sense and is somewhat typical of what I've observed before, but just can't remember seeing that in my 4-20. I'm assuming it was there and I simply never noticed it, I shot that scope for about a year until I got my TT.
     

    918v

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    If you hate CA then you can discard Kahles and Steiner. If you want to shoot ELR then maybe you should consider scopes with ultra fine adjustments. That leaves you with S&B with multi-turn .25 cm per click or 1/8 moa turrets.
     

    papershredder

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    If you hate CA then you can discard Kahles and Steiner. If you want to shoot ELR then maybe you should consider scopes with ultra fine adjustments. That leaves you with S&B with multi-turn .25 cm per click or 1/8 moa turrets.

    Yeah, CA will more than likely get under my skin. Guess that puts a dampener on the Kahles then.

    Check my math here: .1mrad click = 1cm at 100m, which =22.85cm per click at 2285m (2500yds), 22.85cm=8.996in. A little touchy for scoring hits but can it be done when all other factors that affect trajectory are counted for? ( The reason why I am using the 2500 yard example is that is the max distance of the closest ELR range that I will have access to ) I hope it can be done, because almost all the .05 Turreted versions of the scopes I'm looking at are out of my price range but 1 and it is out of stock at eurooptic. It's one of the March FX models and I'm reading their lead times are out to 10 weeks now on certain models. S&B's with the reticles I want are pushing $5500+ new. Quit crushing my hopes here:mad:
     

    Glassaholic

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    ^^^ Plenty of ELR shooters use TT's and other 5-25ish designs with .1 mrad clicks. For true ELR you'll be getting a Charlie Tarac anyway so don't worry too much about how many mils of elevation are available in the scope. Your ability to call wind will be greater than your scopes click value more than likely.
     

    papershredder

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    ^^^ Plenty of ELR shooters use TT's and other 5-25ish designs with .1 mrad clicks. For true ELR you'll be getting a Charlie Tarac anyway so don't worry too much about how many mils of elevation are available in the scope. Your ability to call wind will be greater than your scopes click value more than likely.
    I wasn't that concerned. All of my choices have the .1mrad graduations. I pretty well have my list narrowed down. It will be one of the S&B PMII 5-25 Double turn turrett models with either Gen2XR, Grid, or T3 reticle. The ZCO 527, or one of the March FX wide angle scopes with the FML-TR1 reticle. The one I will actually get depends on price and availability when the time comes to buy, which will be towards the end of June/early July barring any unforeseen expenses.
     
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