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Do we have anyone who really knows the optics industry/market well? I'd like to know where the glass on a few scopes is ground these days. You hear all kinds of assertions on what is ground in the US, Japan, China and elsewhere.

For example, I have heard the Leupold glass is ground overseas and the other components are made in China, and the final assembly is in the US. I have also heard that Nikon actually is the contractor for Leupold glass? What is the truth on Leupold in 2010?

Where do Burris and Bushnell get their glass for the Full Field line and the Elite line?

I have a Weaver K6 that is as bright and sharp as any scope I own, including some costing hundreds more. Does anyone know where this glass comes from and who else gets their glass there?
 

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Don't know the answers, but I am pretty sure that China is overseas.

The optics industry is full of automated machinery. Since even amateur telescope makers have been able to figure mirrors to under the critical 1/4 wavelength wavelength tolerance for nearly a century, as you might guess, robotic machinery can do it now. That means anybody can grind lenses by buying a machine. There are eyeglass grinding shops with such machinery in every major city in the country.

Making the glass blanks is more specialized, but, like the telescope mirrors, it's old technology, and I would think China can do a perfectly good job of that. Some specialty glasses are still being developed, like the fluorite lenses Kowa has in their high-end spotting scopes for bird watchers (who care more about color rendition than target shooters usually do). Specialty glasses can also improve on the achromatic properties of compound lenses (reduce color fringing).

Coatings are more high tech than the base lenses are at this point, and since examining the coating doesn't automatically tell you how it was applied, specialty coating processes can be kept proprietary and are. That's where China and India and other developing industrial nations are likely to be behind Germany and Japan.

As to how you learn where specific components are sourced, unless the manufacturer tells you, I'm not sure how you'd know? Import records are required, but I don't know how much of the specifics, beyond the fact some parts may come from some country of origin, have to be made public? I have a friend who is an import/export attorney. If I get a chance, I'll ask him?
 

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i know the Elite line up to now has been made by LOW in Japan including their glass. Weaver was once made in the USA then Japan and now under the new owner ATK they are made in the Phillipines i believe. it's getting really really hard to tell anymore these days as country of mfr literaly changes for a lot of them on a year to year bacis anymore. China will eventualy mfr to the same std as Japan has been doing IF the scope Co they are making them for demands it. the scope Co will demand it IF WE the consumer start Demanding it.
 

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Actually, almost all of the lenses, in the quality optical equipment you can buy in the US and Europe, are made in Japan. China likely makes their own, and I would wonder if the Russians get them from Japan.

Some optics use the lenses as a raw material, and for very high resolution requirements, finish them to more exacting standards. There are not many of those services available in the US or Europe, but the company I work for sources the lenses for systems doing confocal imaging, and each service has a specialty. Coating, for instance is one of the specialty requirements not necessarily done overseas.

A couple years back, Jim Barsness had an optics article in Rifle. I recall he found that Leupold and Burris got the base lenses from a supplier in Japan.
 
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