Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 30
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,969
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0

    Stuff I've learned about Optics

    As several of you know I have been 'thinking' (dangerous I know LOL) about optics and which one I really want. When WEVO was down I spent a bit of time reading on the internet about optics but it wasn't all about 'features' of X manufacturer or whatever it was also about how to USE the optics. I combined this reading with a little testing of my own.

    The first thing I did was manage to clear a lane long enough to where I can get 200 yard shots in. Normally in my part of Texas we only get shots that are very short. If you think West Texas or even Central Texas you can go get 1000 yard shots without a problem... but here because it's so wooded getting anything over 100 to 200 yards is pretty rare. Long story short I have a 1-4x optic now and I took 200 yard shots with very good success. (Now I want to try 300 yards! )

    After that little exercise at 200 yards I am more than confident that I can hit targets at 300 yards or even greater with a 1-4x.

    ---

    I looked into both MOA and MIL based reticles but truth be told if you are talking about a 5.56/223 round none of that really comes into play within 200 yards sheerly because of ballistics. Without getting into the MOA vs MIL debate take a look at this reticle that is from the Vortex Viper PST:



    If you have a dead on precision shooting rifle with match grade ammo zeroed at 100 yards with this optic...at 200 yards you know where the aim point would be? (Not accounting for wind) The aiming point would be just under the center red dot, just atop where the vertical line begins. That's it? Yep. There is not a whole lot of calculations to be had to raise your aim point 1.7 inches.

    It's only out past 200 yards where these MOA/MIL calculations really come into play. (Keep in mind I am using 69 grain basic calculations) At 250 yards your aim point with be at 4.8 MOA on the bottom vertical line. At 300 yards you are just above the lower 10 MOA mark.

    In my mind knowing all this means at close range, there is little to worry about. You can make it complicated on paper if you want but it's just not necessary. Just as long as you know your basic calculations and know where these points are at...the 1-4x is more than effective at these ranges or even longer.

    It sort of dawned on me that a longer optic does not make your rifle more accurate. What a longer optic would do at these ranges would be to allow you to see your target more clearly, but for a rifle that isn't tuned to accuracy and/or uses ammo that isn't suitable it will be all over the place regardless of how long the optic is. You more or less will have a real nice view of your 6 inch groups at 100 yards.

    If you are shooting purely match grade ammo that is accuratized for your rifle and your aim is to try to put a bullet through the same hole on a static target then a longer scope might be in the cards. But what do you trade off for that ability? Size and weight for one, more on other things later. If you have other aims as to shooting a longer optic might not be your best choice.

    ----

    In my reading I came across an article that said people who hunt dangerous wild game...their predominant choice of optic is a 2.5x. I was taken back by this. I was thinking 'why?'. The answer is not in magnification but in field of view. If you are sneaking up on an angry saber toothed tiger you want to be aware of what is around you as well as have the option for quick acquisition. This balance of field of view vs magnification is something to keep in mind.

    Now also take into account pig hunting as an example. Do you want to be so zoomed in that you can see the fleas on them? Your first shot will result in one pig going down but the rest scattering. In fact a wider field of vision will allow you to see your moving targets and acquire them a lot more easily. The idea isn't to have the most magnification but rather the RIGHT magnification to keep all this stuff in balance. If you are within that 200 yard range, zooming OUT to a slightly wider field of view might even be better if targets are not static. Remember, all other factors being on and accurate, the dot is going to be on basically the same spot out to 175 yards. Depending on the range a full 4x zoom might not be the best because the piggies will run right out of your field of vision AND you won't be able to effectively see other piggies running into your vision (until it's too late).

    Now I am not a soldier nor have I ever been one but the same principles seem to apply if you were doing battle at these ranges. I don't know for sure but I am not sure if the 5.56/223 round would be effective for anything other than paper or small pests out past the 300 yard mark anyway. I am not an expert in terminal ballistics by any means so maybe someone else can shed light on this part of it for me. I wonder what a ballistics gel test would look like at 300 yards for a 5.56/223 round.

    ---

    After a lot of consideration, for an AR15, if all I wanted to do was punch paper with match grade ammo then a longer optic would be a better choice. Again, the scope doesn't make the rifle or the ammo more accurate. But if you have an accurate rifle with the right load you could get those 1/4 inch groups... which if I was a police sniper might be a very good thing.

    Other than that, a longer optic for an AR15 could post advantages for outside 200 yards, but 200 and inwards it gives little advantage outside of possibly taking advantage of a highly accurate rifle with superior ammo.

    I don't doubt for a minute that I could get 1/2" or smaller groups with my rifle at 100 yards given a lot of time and effort for developing the perfect load, but is that all that I want to do?

    I would most definitely LIKE to take my rifle out to 300 yards and beyond but for me is that really going to be common? The answer is no. Keep in mind with the 1-4x I am more than confident that I could get rounds on target accurately out to 300 yards.

    Now take the above reticle... at 350 yards an average person standing at that distance would show up covering approximately 20 MOA. On the vertical line their feet would stand on the bottom 10 MOA mark and their head would be about on the top 10 MOA mark. That's basically within the big red circle. Any closer than 350 yards and the target is even bigger to the eye.

    So, in other words a 1-4x optic is not a bad choice at all considering the round being fired at the most typical distances.
    Last edited by alamo5000; 18 February 2015 at 21:29.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,969
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    Please feel free to critique my thinking (this is why I posted it) or offer any other comments or suggestions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    1,455
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I think you are on the money. 1-4 is a very versatile optic.

    I'm looking at the PST 2.5-10x32 for my next optic, but Midway is tempting me with their special on the HS LR version which lacks the illuminated reticle and has capped turrets. I think I like the layout of the reticle on the LR better but really like the illuminated reticleon my PST

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/769..._1-_-AdBlock03

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    13,916
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by BoilerUp View Post
    I think you are on the money. 1-4 is a very versatile optic.

    I'm looking at the PST 2.5-10x32 for my next optic, but Midway is tempting me with their special on the HS LR version which lacks the illuminated reticle and has capped turrets. I think I like the layout of the reticle on the LR better but really like the illuminated reticleon my PST

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/769..._1-_-AdBlock03
    I like the way you think.

    This is my next optic in a few weeks or so:

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/884...ProductFinding

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    86
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    Good write up. I've found, for me, that I prefer a medium magnification scope. Aim small, miss small. Magnification is also handy for target identification. Of course Magnification comes with a weight penalty so it all depends on intended use. I have a heavier 18" build with magpul prs that wears a 4-14, but my lighter go-fast 16" just has a red dot which will get the job done out to a few hundred yards on medium/large game sized targets. I carried the 18" heavy build for a little over 5 miles today checking my hunting grounds, and it would've been much nicer carrying a lighter set up! A 1-4x is a great choice for all around use though, and eventually I'll add one to my lineup.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,969
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by UWone77 View Post
    I like the way you think.

    This is my next optic in a few weeks or so:

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/884...ProductFinding
    I am still up in the air having a debate about the Viper PST 1-4x (only as an upgrade) and the 2.5-10x FFP. After reading on it for a while I don't understand why FFP are not more common. To me FFP seems somewhat superior because I can use all those features of the reticle regardless of zoom.

    On one hand I DO like to take advantage of my rifle's accuracy. My little dime test from the other day makes me want to do it more. The extra zoom on the 2.5-10 would allow me to 'aim small miss small' but this is considering that I built my rifle with that capability in mind and I would like to keep some home rolled or other match grade ammo around for various fun. The trade off is it is longer and heavier. I also don't know if I would ever really use the 1x portion of a scope.

    I might ultimately get that 2.5-10 FFP AND a matching 1-4x viper PST, both in MOA. I am hoping I could swap those two out without losing zero. In the best of both worlds that would allow me to get my jollies at different things.

    Choices, choices. For now I am torn if I should keep my current 1-4 since it pretty much meets my needs although I do like the Viper a whole lot more in some ways. Ideally maybe a 1-6x or a 1-8x FFP with a MOA based reticle just like the one above (or similar) would be an ideal compromise .... but I am still not sure since the money fairy hasn't visited me in a while.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Twin Cities
    Posts
    975
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    Man, I sure wish I was in Texas where it's not -5 degrees. I'm dying to try out my new 2.5-10 and 1.5x8 dual focal plane. But my old bones don't like the cold much these days.

    I like most everything Alamo brings up. A 1-4 was my first magnified AR scope and still consider it the best do-all glass for 0-200 yds. when you factor in utility, price and weight. I don't like swapping optics if you don't absolutely have to. Fine on the bench where you can tweak the zero if needed, but I just couldn't trust it in the field for serious work.

    Anyone try the 3x compact ACOG to replace a 1-4 for defensive purposes? Downside is a little less power and cost. Upside is smaller, lighter and faster from 1 to 3 if you run occluded with a front lens cap. It's my first choice for a bug-out gun.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    1,455
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by UWone77 View Post
    I like the way you think.

    This is my next optic in a few weeks or so:

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/884...ProductFinding
    I think I will hold out for that as well as I really want the illuminated reticle. Saving a few bills on the HS LR version is tempting, though.

    Alamo, I think I mentioned this in another thread, but check out the Bobro quick detach mounts if you want to move scopes around (i.e., have both a 1-4 and a 2.5-10). I bought my 1-4 primarily for my PTR91:



    but the Bobro makes it easy to move to other platforms



    The Bobro mount retains zero quite well. My only beef is that Bobro doesn't make a low-rise mount so I will probably go with a LaRue LT120 for the 2.5-10x32 on a SPR build to keep the optic close to the bore.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    2,276
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    I've mentioned this before in another thread, but it also comes down to what you want to get out of shooting at distance. Personally, I can't stand shooting for groups. I find it tedious and, at the end of the day, not really all that useful other than for short periods of time to practice my fundamentals. For me, I'm more interested in minute of steel, where the challenge is making the steel smaller and still getting hits. For something like that, a 4x will get out to 400+ meters without a problem, as long as you can see the target and hold/dial for wind accurately. On a no-wind day, my ACOG was making hits with boring reliability using just 55gr Federal M193. Had it been windy, it certainly would have been more sporty, especially trying to hold for wind with that reticule.

    And on a related note, learning how to hold for wind is really where I'd like to get more practice. Talk about an art and a science.

    Quote Originally Posted by alamo5000 View Post
    I am still up in the air having a debate about the Viper PST 1-4x (only as an upgrade) and the 2.5-10x FFP. After reading on it for a while I don't understand why FFP are not more common. To me FFP seems somewhat superior because I can use all those features of the reticle regardless of zoom.
    FFP is more expensive and can be heavier. Also people don't like their reticule to get so small that they can't read it anymore. Obviously finding good balance of reticule size and mag with a scope is part of the shopping process. That said, I'm a FFP snob and love 'em!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    13,916
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    If you guys are MIL/LE, Vortex has a program, 35% off listed MSRP on their website. This is pretty decent on the higher priced optics, even if it's full MSRP.

    The PST 2.5-10 I'm looking at retails for $899, with the program it's $584, right there with the retail price of the HS.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    2,410
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by UWone77 View Post
    I like the way you think.

    This is my next optic in a few weeks or so:

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/884...ProductFinding
    Yep, that's the scope I've been talking about for a looooong time that I want for my SPR build. Too bad I don't qualify for their discount anymore.

    Alamo, I have a "precision" .308 setup with a 6-20x44 Vortex on it that I took hunting in December. I would Max out the zoom just for target ID (counting antlers etc) but then I'd dial it back to 6-8x even for 200+ yard shooting distances, so like your reading mentioned, I had a much wider FOV and could see if anything was around.

    If I was to build a .308 Scout rifle, for tromping through the woods pig or coyote hunting, I'd surely only put a 1-4x on it for limited distances and wide field of view.


    A 69gr .223/5.56mm that leaves the barrel at 2700fps will be traveling at 1890fps at 300yds carrying roughly 550ft-lbs of energy and at 600 yards will still be moving at almost 1300fps (still supersonic) with 250ft lbs of energy. More than enough for lethality at those ranges. Which is why the Army invested in designated marksman rifles and optics so these shots could be accomplished if sniper assets were unavailable. Look at the MK12 SPR: using mk262 ammo (77gr), add about 100 to each of those velocity and energy figures. And they are typically seen with 3.5-10x Leupold scopes.

    You just have to figure out what you want from your rifle. Don't try to make it too many things: a CQB rifle, a combat/marksman rifle and a benchrest gun all in one because it won't happen. Have individual builds or you'll go crazy trying to figure out what accessories are best. If you're just ringing steel at 2-300yds, a 1-4 or 1-6 is plenty. I have a fixed 3.5x ACOG for that on my 16" Recce AR. I'm building my 18" SPR to be a more precise but still minute of man rifle at 600yds, so it'll wear a 2.5-10x or 3-12....not a 5-22 or 6-24x.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,969
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    Thanks for all the replies guys! I have a lot of thoughts running through my head LOL. However you look at it though, I want to be an educated shooter.

    I am still sort of conflicted as to what to buy... in part because I want to spend my money wisely.

    I have a FFP 1-4x now but truth be told I don't think a FFP or a 2nd FP scope matters that much on a 1-4x basically for the reasons mentioned above. On a longer scope I think it would matter a lot.

    I am tempted though to get the Vortex 1-4 PST. I think it could be an upgrade of sorts to my Bushnell but I don't know if the grass is greener or not. I think overall a 1-4x will be the best one for general purpose shooting particularly considering distance constraints around here. I still might have to get out the chainsaw and clear a small lane so that I can do 300's. I cleared a bunch of brush and got out to 200 yards, so I might be able to sneak in a few more yards.

    Regardless of scope though I am finding that different ammo hits all in different spots from my "gold standard" zero. Keep in mind I have been trying all sorts of stuff, some of it quite cheap. I zeroed with Winchester Match and by far that has been the best performer in my rifle. It's both accurate and consistent. If I had no budget and could get 5000 rounds of that stuff then I would be in business. But different ammo performs differently. Today I tested out some Freedom Muntions 69 grain rounds that I bought as a test...It wasn't the most accurate stuff but the trajectory was waaay different than other rounds. Once I figured it out (it is far from match grade) and I was able to get rounds consistently on a 6 inch sticker target at 200 yards. With match ammo I am sure it would be even better.(I will try it soon to find out) But the main thing is if I were to ever start shooting in competitions or whatever--- I need to pick a round and go with it.

    What does that have to do with optics you say? Well I enjoy shooting groups to some degree, but to really get into that aspect is going to drive shooting costs up A LOT and it will more or less be a one trick pony kind of thing. Don't get me wrong, I would love to shoot 400 yard shots (or more) but unless I can find some place to do that for cheap (or free) I will be constantly left wanting. Part of the problem is also Rainier Arms. I love that damn barrel. :) Seriously. It's just TOO good hence it tempts me to want to shoot these micro groups.

    I built a rifle that is accurate (at least in my book). It's very capable. With what I have now if I slap that 2.5-10x on there and invest in a lot of expensive ass ammo (not mentioning reloading yet but that would be a big time investment too), but more or less with the addition of a longer optic I would have a very good longer range rifle... but no where to go shoot it or test it's legs. The idea to shoot longer ranges and to shoot for groups does appeal to me as an activity.

    If I can locate a place to reliably and easily get to so I could do those longer range shots on a regular basis then by all means I would love to have that 2.5-10x. In essence I would train to be a sniper without being a sniper.

    On a second side though, I think Gatordev is on to something. I am not sure how to go about it but I think maybe setting up a gong course would be kind of fun. I could realistically get 3 or 4 gongs and set them up anywhere from 50 to 200 yards and anywhere in between and practice a completely different aspect of shooting. I could do target acquisition and hone a completely different set of skills. Now that Gator talked about it again sounds pretty appealing. I am definitely going to have to look more into that and how to set it up and what kind of drills I can do, what kind of things I can practice and so forth. I think that kind of activity would be awesome. I could also use the gongs for pistols too. I think that would be fun as hell.

    So here I am kind of torn... the whole sniper thing more or less comes naturally to me. Not saying I am great at it, but it just does. I have been shooting with people more than once and numerous times I have had people get frustrated and hand me their rifle only to have me zing the next few shots right on target. People seriously bring me rifles to sight in and all that 'just because'...I don't know if it's because I analyze things to death or if I am just steady or what.

    The mount I have now is an AERO Precision SPR. I like it for the most part. If I did get the longer scope it wouldn't bother me one bit change the optics so far as they won't go 'really off target' when I do. Even if I mounted it up and left it for a month thats fine. Then I could swap optics, confirm zero again and go off doing other things such as the gongs.

    I don't want to say that I am highly competitive, I just like to get really good at what I do. On one hand I could do the long range stuff and go for super accuracy, but on the other I could go for the reactive stuff where I can get my reflexes going and practice those skills.

    I am honestly interested in both aspects. The whole gong thing I could set up and do. I just have to get 3 or 4 gongs and figure out how to set them up etc etc. They could also double as pistol targets to help hone my pistol shooting even more. The only real downside to me getting the 2.5-10x is not having somewhere to really stretch it out. Unless I can locate somewhere to shoot, I would be confined to relatively short ranges and ultimately just trying to get tiny groups at 100 or 200 yards.

    All that said I am thinking the better option until I can find a place to shoot out to 500 yards or so would be to either keep the 1-4x I have, or upgrade it to one I might like better (the Vortex), and buy some gongs and try out some different exercises.
    Last edited by alamo5000; 19 February 2015 at 22:15.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,969
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by UWone77 View Post
    If you guys are MIL/LE, Vortex has a program, 35% off listed MSRP on their website. This is pretty decent on the higher priced optics, even if it's full MSRP.

    The PST 2.5-10 I'm looking at retails for $899, with the program it's $584, right there with the retail price of the HS.
    I am not a cop but how would one go about investigating this program? I know a BUNCH of cops who would jump all over that deal.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,969
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    In a perfect world though a FFP 1-6 or 1-8x with a MOA/MIL type reticle would be my perfect solution. I think. :)

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    2,410
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Since you have no where to shoot for distance, you could use the higher power optic to shoot for precision, rather than just hits on target.

    And it sounds like you're learning that consistency is a genre wide concept in firearms. From position, grip, cheek weld, breathing, AMMO, etc...the key to accuracy is consistency.

    How much would even 1000rds of that Winchester Match cost? A single stage press and a set of dies, plus scales and other equipment can be had for around $500-600 depending on making use of sales. Add a few hundred for components (100ct of 69gr Nosler BTHPs is as much as a box of 20ct Winchester 69gr Match ammo)...you may not break even at the $1000 mark quite yet but I guarantee by the time you shoot 2000 factory match rounds, reloading would have already been saving you money, and you get the type of quality and consistency (there's that word again) from handloaded ammo you can't get from even some of the best factory match ammo.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •