Rifle Scopes What scope - low budget, Amazon preferred

el_chupo_

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Nov 18, 2013
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Hello gentlemen. I have a fairly common question for this spot on the forum, but a wee bit of a twist.

  • What is the platform for the scope? Bolt action rifle
  • What cartridge are you shooting? .22LR
  • What is your intended use for the scope? Target as primary use.
  • What type of conditions will you typically shoot in? Day time, most weather conditions. Occasional low light, but not often.
  • What are the typical distances you intend to shoot? Lets say 25-200yds as primary
  • Are there any specific specifications you would like? Mil is preference. Up in the air about most other stuff.
  • What is the price range you can afford? Lets say up to $600

Scope will initially live on a Ruger American predator in a MDT chassis. This is subject to change across most of the current .22 bolt action platforms available. I love the caliber, I have a short range to shoot at (which lends itself well to the caliber), and lots of .22s to play with. So maybe up to something like a T1x, Bergara, Christensen, Volquartsen Summit, etc. may be in the future. If I spring for a vudoo, it will get its own glass.

I am sort of a classic "shooting for 30 years, mostly with hunting scopes on various rifles" type guy. I have decided to standardize to Mil scopes for dialing and learning on, and as such I have a SWFA 3-15x FFP for a center fire (it could be swapped). I also have an older SWFA 10x (rear focus, crosshair with dot, not the mil-quad reticle, and no markings so I assume MOA). This one may end up on something else where no dialing is used, or sold. Likely sold to buy another .22 optic, as most of mine currently are set up with low fixed power or red dots for handy plinking fun.

Also, due to work bonus layout, I have about $550 in Amazon dollars, so if reasonable, I would like to purchase there.

As far as preferences go, I have little to no experience behind high end glass. I want clarity to shoot, and good tracking so I can learn to dial with the .22. I would prefer something not Chinese, but I am also practical. I dont mind used or coming out of pocket to buy something if there is a great deal on a used something, or it is notably better, but I also dont want to top what is basically a $400 gun with an expensive scope and not get any benefit of these company dollars, either.

I know the seeming current go-to's are the Arken and Athlon Argos in 6-24, but I dont know if those make sense. The Vortex DB tac is on the list, as is a Viper if I can find one that isnt too much. I dont mind pulling the SWFA 3-15 off and using it, (currently on a .308 that is not often used), but when I figure out what .223 bolt gun I want to play with, I am basically back in the same boat.

Help me decide where to use my money, or if I am spinning tires at sub 200 yard and to just throw on a DB tactical 4-16 and go shoot, saving the rest for another scope when the next .22 rolls into the safe?

FWIW, if the Weaver 3-10x mil/mil was still available at midway, with the rep I seem to find about it from past years, that is where I would be settling for a "learning tool" that would seem comfortable on a .22 for mostly 100-200yd stuff, if that makes sense.

Thanks!
 

drewthebrave

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Aug 20, 2019
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Having an SWFA 3-15x myself, I've always considered the SWFA to be a good choice for rimfire optics for their rugged durability, tracking consistency & close range parallax adjustment (6 meters). I would have no reservations about swapping your SWFA onto this rifle and using your Amazon buck to upgrade your centerfire optic.

I have an Athlon Ares BTR 2.5-15x which has impressed me beyond my expectations (it resides on my Mock 12 SPR), so I'd recommend giving the midrange Athlon optics a look. The Ares might be a bit above your budget at ~$800, but there are usually black Friday deals to be had if you're patient (I got my Gen 1 way under MSRP for black Friday 2019)...

I have heard that the Midas Tac line is very close in glass quality to the Ares line -- which is to say very nice for the price. The Midas 6-24x has adjustable parallax down to 10 yards, and the 5-25x is down to 25 yards, either of which should do the trick for rimfire.

If the Midas is pushing your budget a bit, the Helos BTR G2 line comes in right around $500, and the 4-20x and 6-24x both have parallax focus down to 10 yards. I'm more interested in the 2-12x Helos as a budget choice for my Recce 5.56, but the higher magnification could be helpful for rimfire target shooting.
 

FuhQ

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  • Aug 26, 2013
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    Hello gentlemen. I have a fairly common question for this spot on the forum, but a wee bit of a twist.

    • What is the platform for the scope? Bolt action rifle
    • What cartridge are you shooting? .22LR
    • What is your intended use for the scope? Target as primary use.
    • What type of conditions will you typically shoot in? Day time, most weather conditions. Occasional low light, but not often.
    • What are the typical distances you intend to shoot? Lets say 25-200yds as primary
    • Are there any specific specifications you would like? Mil is preference. Up in the air about most other stuff.
    • What is the price range you can afford? Lets say up to $600

    Scope will initially live on a Ruger American predator in a MDT chassis. This is subject to change across most of the current .22 bolt action platforms available. I love the caliber, I have a short range to shoot at (which lends itself well to the caliber), and lots of .22s to play with. So maybe up to something like a T1x, Bergara, Christensen, Volquartsen Summit, etc. may be in the future. If I spring for a vudoo, it will get its own glass.

    I am sort of a classic "shooting for 30 years, mostly with hunting scopes on various rifles" type guy. I have decided to standardize to Mil scopes for dialing and learning on, and as such I have a SWFA 3-15x FFP for a center fire (it could be swapped). I also have an older SWFA 10x (rear focus, crosshair with dot, not the mil-quad reticle, and no markings so I assume MOA). This one may end up on something else where no dialing is used, or sold. Likely sold to buy another .22 optic, as most of mine currently are set up with low fixed power or red dots for handy plinking fun.

    Also, due to work bonus layout, I have about $550 in Amazon dollars, so if reasonable, I would like to purchase there.

    As far as preferences go, I have little to no experience behind high end glass. I want clarity to shoot, and good tracking so I can learn to dial with the .22. I would prefer something not Chinese, but I am also practical. I dont mind used or coming out of pocket to buy something if there is a great deal on a used something, or it is notably better, but I also dont want to top what is basically a $400 gun with an expensive scope and not get any benefit of these company dollars, either.

    I know the seeming current go-to's are the Arken and Athlon Argos in 6-24, but I dont know if those make sense. The Vortex DB tac is on the list, as is a Viper if I can find one that isnt too much. I dont mind pulling the SWFA 3-15 off and using it, (currently on a .308 that is not often used), but when I figure out what .223 bolt gun I want to play with, I am basically back in the same boat.

    Help me decide where to use my money, or if I am spinning tires at sub 200 yard and to just throw on a DB tactical 4-16 and go shoot, saving the rest for another scope when the next .22 rolls into the safe?

    FWIW, if the Weaver 3-10x mil/mil was still available at midway, with the rep I seem to find about it from past years, that is where I would be settling for a "learning tool" that would seem comfortable on a .22 for mostly 100-200yd stuff, if that makes sense.

    Thanks!
    Arken SH4 Gen2 or Vortex Venom or Strike Eagle (if you can find a SE on sale for around $600, it would be a good buy)...




    I have a bunch of Vortex scopes, including a new Strike Eagle 5-25x56 EBR-7C MIL and 2 Arken SH4 Gen2 6-24x50 VPR MIL scopes. I would say they both have their pros and cons, and because of that, they are a wash, just pick which one you prefer better. The glass (through my eyes) is nearly identical, both have excellent turrets with repeatable & reliable tracking, both have great Zero-Stops, both have 34mm tubes with lots of travel, both have bright and clear glass, both have excellent reticles. I honestly don't think you can go wrong with either one. For the money, the Arken is a great scope...Kind of a hidden gem from a fairly new company. I wouldn't overlook it, in your research...I think it would fit your bill, very well. Especially since it has 32 MILs of elevation travel for reaching way out there with the .22LR. 👍🏼
     
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    koshkin

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  • Feb 22, 2006
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    I'd be looking at Vortex Venom or Strike Eagle depending on what you can find. With $550 on Amazon, probably Venom.
    Of the lower priced stuff, I found myself really liking the Element Helix 6-24x50 FFP.
    I do not think I have seen the Arken on Amazon, but the 4-16x50 Arken SH4 I have been testing is really quite nice.

    ILya
     
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    el_chupo_

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    Nov 18, 2013
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    Thank you all for the suggestions. I hadnt looked at the Venom or Strike Eagle (at least since I last looked at the 1-6 and 1-8), and just wasnt sure if I could justify a Viper PST.

    The Arken is on the list of ones I am looking at, but the seemingly similar performance, features and price between it and the Argos had me leaning that way simply due to the length and sample size for reviews and reports.

    I found the same Midas Tac at Amazon just a bit ago as well, and also found that Eurooptic has a Viper PST Gen 2 with the previous EBR2C reticle at $650. Also a Gen 1 PST 6-24x for $479.

    Just a ton of options that seem to start being decent sort of at this price range. More reading and finding reviews on the suggestions!


    Oh, and I would definitely be looking to supporting vendor (and am checking out Cameraland regularly too) if I didnt have the work program. Unfortunately that ended last year and stuff expires soon, so I cant keep saving the little bonuses and such in there for other purchase. Im still looking for any other life purchases I can move to one of the few stores there I actually would buy stuff from instead of a random local store in the next couple months as well, just in case I find something great at another vendor.
     

    el_chupo_

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    Nov 18, 2013
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    Just a quick update and slightly separate follow up. first, thank you all for the help and suggestions! I was checking out the PX and snagged a Strike Eagle, so barring anything odd happening, that will be here soon.

    Doing all this research really has me eyeballing a known higher quality rifle than the RAR Predator model, so I ended up selling one of my 10/22s that I havent shot in several years, and now I am debating a CZ or Bergara. I have also found that I will have very very close to me a place where I can shoot to about 125 yds, so that will likely be the primary plinking and learning distance for a bit.

    So now I am thinking about snagging a nicer rifle for the Vortex SE, and grabbing something like a US Optics TS12x, or a relatively similar 12-16X scope for the Ruger rifle.

    I'd be looking at Vortex Venom or Strike Eagle depending on what you can find. With $550 on Amazon, probably Venom.
    Of the lower priced stuff, I found myself really liking the Element Helix 6-24x50 FFP.
    I do not think I have seen the Arken on Amazon, but the 4-16x50 Arken SH4 I have been testing is really quite nice.

    ILya
    Specifically in the list is the Arken 4-16, and I know you played with the USO as well. Do you have a preference on one or the other for a relatively simple and primarily short-ish range (say 200yds or under) general purpose gun? It may stay on the Ruger, or I may decide after a while to swap it for something like a BMR or Tikka T1x in a year or two. Or even a Kidd 10/22.

    My gut says the TS12 with the light weight and compactness wins here, but with the Athlon Midas Tac 6-24 also being available at a good price, this decision is harder than it should be.

    Oh, yeah - anyone know off the top of their head what ring height I need for a 34mm scope? I am thinking something that puts center at .9-1" above rail would be about right on a 56mm objective, but Im not sure if I am off by a bit.
     

    Gohring65

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  • Feb 13, 2017
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    I'd be looking at Vortex Venom or Strike Eagle depending on what you can find. With $550 on Amazon, probably Venom.
    Of the lower priced stuff, I found myself really liking the Element Helix 6-24x50 FFP.
    I do not think I have seen the Arken on Amazon, but the 4-16x50 Arken SH4 I have been testing is really quite nice.

    ILya
    I second the Arken comment.
    I can’t find a scope under 500$ that even comes close to the 4-16. If it’s as durable as they claim, then I believe this is the swfa killer, their fixed power all the way up to the 3-15.
     
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    koshkin

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  • Feb 22, 2006
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    I second the Arken comment.
    I can’t find a scope under 500$ that even comes close to the 4-16. If it’s as durable as they claim, then I believe this is the swfa killer, their fixed power all the way up to the 3-15.

    I have heard of a good number of durability issues, primarily with turrets seizing up, but I need to verify how accurate those claims are. The one I have is holding up nicely.

    Given how long the SWFA has been around and the track record, I would not be in a rush to announce anything to be a SWFA killer.

    ILya
     

    Gohring65

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    I have heard of a good number of durability issues, primarily with turrets seizing up, but I need to verify how accurate those claims are. The one I have is holding up nicely.

    Given how long the SWFA has been around and the track record, I would not be in a rush to announce anything to be a SWFA killer.

    ILya
    I totally agree with SWFA and longevity of service. Im a huge fan of swfa, but I think QC has slipped a little, I never had any problems for years with swfa but all of a sudden in the last 5 years I’ve sent three different 10x rear focus back for parallax issues.
    If the Arken holds up, I don’t see me ever going back to 30mm 5mil turrets, no zero stop and a simple reticle in a fixed power. Not when this one can be had for basically the same price.
     
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