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The most expensive rifle scope I've ever bought was $200-ish on sale. I'm not a long range hunter or target shooter though, 300 yards is about my max. Out of budget scopes (my range), I can totally tell the difference in light transmission between a 30mm and 1" scope. A higher end scope, it could be more like splitting hairs. My only quantifiers for a scope is, at whatever magnification I need: fully multi-coated glass, etched reticle, 30mm tube, purged, hand adjustable and lockable turrets. I do NOT like a busy, range finding reticle. Some of their German reticles, kind of like trijicon are my favorites. I don't use dope so I don't care how well the erector tracks as long as I can zero and it holds. MPBR is my only real consideration. One day I may move out west and being able to accurately dope my scope could matter more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
My experience with the Swarovski comes from my time working at KDF in the late 80's. Swarovski were big and expensive back then, outside my budget by a long ways. The boss gave me a K15 as an award for sales. I was hoping it came with Swarovski. It didn't. It came with a Leupold. I still have that gun and scope.

Swarovski is top gear.

Which leads to Ziess. Oh my.

In the late 80's the sporting goods store in Northern California, I worked in made a group buy of Ziess via the sporting goods Association. They bought binoculars and scopes. Somewhere around 25-30 scopes. We sold out these scopes by deer season.

The weather up there during deer season is cold, wet and damp. During deer season we would see lots of fogged or leaking scopes. Even an occasional Leupold. The cheap scopes were the most frequent of course.

What we were not expecting was 100% return of fogged/leaking Ziess scopes. Every single Ziess scope we sold was returned---every one!

Also we were not expecting to poor customer service from Ziess. It took over 6 months to get Ziess to correct these scope. Even then it took the intervention of the Sport goods Association to get this issue resolved. That issue is even a longer story.

Of course that was over 30 years ago, and hope things with Ziess have changed.
 

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My experience with the Swarovski comes from my time working at KDF in the late 80's. Swarovski were big and expensive back then, outside my budget by a long ways. The boss gave me a K15 as an award for sales. I was hoping it came with Swarovski. It didn't. It came with a Leupold. I still have that gun and scope.

Swarovski is top gear.

Which leads to Ziess. Oh my.

In the late 80's the sporting goods store in Northern California, I worked in made a group buy of Ziess via the sporting goods Association. They bought binoculars and scopes. Somewhere around 25-30 scopes. We sold out these scopes by deer season.

The weather up there during deer season is cold, wet and damp. During deer season we would see lots of fogged or leaking scopes. Even an occasional Leupold. The cheap scopes were the most frequent of course.

What we were not expecting was 100% return of fogged/leaking Ziess scopes. Every single Ziess scope we sold was returned---every one!

Also we were not expecting to poor customer service from Ziess. It took over 6 months to get Ziess to correct these scope. Even then it took the intervention of the Sport goods Association to get this issue resolved. That issue is even a longer story.

Of course that was over 30 years ago, and hope things with Ziess have changed.
Yeah, I would say you’re comparing apples and watermelons by comparing 80’s vintage scopes to todays, but again, to each his own. 🤷‍♂️
 

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The scopes that Diggler recommended weren't as expensive as I would've thought. More than Leupold but less than Swaro and Ziess. Honestly would need to get them side by side in all conditions of light to get a fair comparison. And, the ones doing the comparison would have no ties to the manufacturers. I believe I paid around $500 back in the mid 90s for my Leupold Vari-X III in 4.5-14x40mm.
 

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Why would they be going for the same price? Good scope or crazy people?
I can’t tell you why, but look it up. It’s nuts what they’re asking for those 30-40 year old scopes. I was looking for a 70’s or 80’s vintage gloss Leupold to pair with a 50’s model Winchester M70 30-06, but I can buy a low end Zeiss or Swarovski for about the same money and get exponentially better glass. I decided to leave the 70’s model Burris 4x on it for now, because I’m probably not going to use the gun much anyway.
 

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I’ve always been a huge fan of Nikon Monarch scopes. Every one of my long range rifles sport one.
Unfortunately for me Nikon is getting out of the scope business. I’ve used them all over the Rocky mountains up to 10,000’ in elevation at -25 degrees as well as the flat plains of Ok with zero issues.
Athlon is a new kid in the scope field. We had a factory demo at our range two years ago. I was pretty impressed with the clarity of the glass that came in the moderate pricing range of $500.
Vortex is really running strong now.
I just finished building another AR and bought some Vortex glass for it. Have yet to fire a round through it which I hope to correct shortly.
 

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I'm going to throw another opinion that nobody will care about, but one may want to research into Meopta optics if a dedicated hunting scope is desired.

Almost all of the parts are Czech made, some of the scope models are assembled here in the US, but still using Czech parts. Meopta also used to make the Conquest for Zeiss.

Glass is Czech glass, and heavily influenced by Schott technology (the uber awesome German glass everyone raves about).

I understand that it is difficult to migrate to new brands after loyalty is established, especially when there is a price tag associated with it and little chance to easily get your hands on one for comparison.
Camera land runs great deals on Meopa optics. I was leery about Athlon optics but my spotter is BADARSE and I love it. Plus I got a hell of a deal on it as well.
 
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From what I understand the warranty can’t be beat.
I’ve heard that too, and it’s a red flag to me when I hear that as a selling point about any product especially a scope. I’ve owned A BUNCH of scopes from low end Tascoes to high end Swarovskis and had them on some really hard recoiling guns, and I’ve never had a need for a scope warranty. 🤷‍♂️
 

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I’ve heard that too, and it’s a red flag to me when I hear that as a selling point about any product especially a scope. I’ve owned A BUNCH of scopes from low end Tascoes to high end Swarovskis and had them on some really hard recoiling guns, and I’ve never had a need for a scope warranty. 🤷‍♂️
Good point.
 

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We run several Vortex scopes as well.
 

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Athlon is a branch off of Bushnell. Like Bushnell, their top of the line offering is pretty darn good.
I did not know that. Thanks for that informative info.
 

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Vortex makes a good scope too once you depart from their bottom offerings (this is subjective, as I'm a touch of a snob). Their warranty is great. The downside is that their Razor HD Gen IIs are boat anchors. I may actually invest in their LHT if I need another hunting scope.

Sightron SIIIs are a fantastic combo of quality and cost for target scopes...just adding to the mix again. Running one of mine head to head with one of my Leupold Mark 4s definitely showed the Sightron to have better light gathering. Glass quality is subjective, but I like my Sightron more there too...its LOW glass from Japan again...at least it was. I don't care how many coatings or who orders the lenses... top tier Japanese glass > top tier Chinese glass.
 
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