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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was up early this morn and decided to do head to head comparison of a few scopes. I am getting ready to buy a new one to mount on a retirement gift for a friend and I am shopping brands. This morning I compared:

Leupold VX-II 3x9x40mm
Nikon Monarch Fixed 4x40mm
Weaver K Series Fixed 6x38mm
2 Burris Fullfields 3x9x40s (one standard and one ballistic plex)

I tested the variables both at 4x and 6x. I found no appreciable difference in the brightness and clarity of the Leupold, Nikon, and Weaver. All were super. The Weaver K6 was very impressive considering it is less than half the price of the Nikon and Leupold. In fact, if I had to rank the Weaver vs the the variables set on 6x for brightness and clarity, it would go:

1. The Weaver K6
2. Tie - Leupold VX-II and the older Burris Fullfield
3. Newer Burris Fullfield

At 4X it would be:

1. The Nikon Monarch Fixed
2. Tie - Leupold VX-II and the older Burris Fullfield
3. Newer Burris Fullfield

One of the Fullfields, the older one, is a 3x9x40 standard plex and it was on par with the Leupold. Very clear and bright. The other, a newer model with their ballistic reticle, was not quite as bright. The clarity was still very good, but just not as bright. I am not sure if this is because it is newer or what? I hear they have changed factories in the last few years. Still it is a good scope for the money IMO. The ballistic reticle and caliber chart, assuming it is meters out well (I have not tested it yet) is a nice feature. In fact I got that one at a great price in a package with a pair of rubber coated 8x32 Binos that I use all the time. So I am not complaining about the newer Burris value wise.

These scopes were all purchased a 4 to 8 years ago. I am also considering a Sightron S2 and a Bushnell 4200 Elite. Does anyone have an opinion how these stack up with the above and who is putting out the best quality scope for the money right now? I am looking in the $150 to $300 dollar range. Also, does anyone else have one of these Weaver K series fixed scopes and how do you like it? Mine is super bright and clear. Brighter than my Leupold that costs twice as much.
 

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I was up early this morn and decided to do head to head comparison of a few scopes. I am getting ready to buy a new one to mount on a retirement gift for a friend and I am shopping brands. This morning I compared:

Leupold VX-II 3x9x40mm
Nikon Monarch Fixed 4x40mm
Weaver K Series Fixed 6x38mm
2 Burris Fullfields 3x9x40s (one standard and one ballistic plex)

I tested the variables both at 4x and 6x. I found no appreciable difference in the brightness and clarity of the Leupold, Nikon, and Weaver. All were super. The Weaver K6 was very impressive considering it is less than half the price of the Nikon and Leupold. In fact, if I had to rank the Weaver vs the the variables set on 6x for brightness and clarity, it would go:

1. The Weaver K6
2. Tie - Leupold VX-II and the older Burris Fullfield
3. Newer Burris Fullfield

At 4X it would be:

1. The Nikon Monarch Fixed
2. Tie - Leupold VX-II and the older Burris Fullfield
3. Newer Burris Fullfield

One of the Fullfields, the older one, is a 3x9x40 standard plex and it was on par with the Leupold. Very clear and bright. The other, a newer model with their ballistic reticle, was not quite as bright. The clarity was still very good, but just not as bright. I am not sure if this is because it is newer or what? I hear they have changed factories in the last few years. Still it is a good scope for the money IMO. The ballistic reticle and caliber chart, assuming it is meters out well (I have not tested it yet) is a nice feature. In fact I got that one at a great price in a package with a pair of rubber coated 8x32 Binos that I use all the time. So I am not complaining about the newer Burris value wise.

These scopes were all purchased a 4 to 8 years ago. I am also considering a Sightron S2 and a Bushnell 4200 Elite. Does anyone have an opinion how these stack up with the above and who is putting out the best quality scope for the money right now? I am looking in the $150 to $300 dollar range. Also, does anyone else have one of these Weaver K series fixed scopes and how do you like it? Mine is super bright and clear. Brighter than my Leupold that costs twice as much.
Thanks for posting your results/opinions, it's always good to see real-world opinions. I've done similar tests on several different models myself, including keeping several scopes in a deep freeze and then comparing the fogging, etc after removing them...lol.

I own pretty much all the scopes you compared, Nikon 4X Monarch, 4X K4 (rather than 6X) Weaver w/38mm obj, and 3-9x40 Burris FFII. Other fairly new scopes I own include Bushnell Elite 3-9x40 3200 and 4200, Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40 1.8-5.5x38, and 2.5-8x32, and Leupold European 30mm 2-7x33 and 1.25-4x20. I do not own any high dollar scopes such as S & B, or Swarovski. In total I own over 15 Leupolds of various models and powers and all are good scopes. The Leupolds, however, for the most part are not the brightest of scopes when compared to some others.

My 30mm Leupolds are very good in low light and nearly on a par with the best low light models I own, which are my Zeiss scopes. I'd say that the Elite 4200 is as good, or better than any other Leupold I own (other than the 30mm ones), and it's cost is very good considering the quality. I've always figured the cost on this particular model was so good because it was pretty much simply a re-badged 3200 with better coatings on the lenses. All the other 4200s seem to be different scopes than any in the 3200 line-up. The 4200 can be bought for as little as $275 (or less) if you do some shopping online. The Elite 3200 series and Burris FFII are the best scopes available for $200., IMO.

I will have to say though, that IMO for $100. more (at $400) the Zeiss Conquest is impossible to beat at anything near that cost. The Leupold 30mm scopes I have are smaller, lighter and handier than a Conquest, which better matches their applications. They are also more $$:(.
 

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Agree on the quality of current production Weaver. I got a fixed pistol scope at half price because the display unit was all they had left in stock, but I don't think it could have been on display for long. It's perfect. Very bright optics. I don't know how many times Weaver has changed hands since I bought my inexpensive 3 x 9 in the 80's, but current optical quality is way better.

I have a ten year old Sightron mil dot scope on my tac rifle. I bought it when it was a new brand, at least in our area, and had a reduced introductory price. I'd gone into the store prepared to fund a Leupold mil dot offering, but when I compared them side by side, for that year at least, the Sightron was brighter and had a better field of view and half the price. My only complaint is the 1/8 minutes clicks are too easy to lose count of in field exercises. But the optics are fabulous.

Coating developments and the use of computers to calculate lens figuring and combinations has revolutionized the quality of the optics you can buy for reasonable prices.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good feedback guys. I have read nothing but positive things about both the Conquest and the Elite 4200. It kind of depends on how much money we collect for the gift. This is for an Elk rifle. That dang Weaver K6 may just get chosen if funds are tight. Being a fixed, it should be rugged. And it is as bright or brighter than Leupolds and Nikons costing way more.
 

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The Bushnell 4200 that came atop my Barrett M82-A1 was to say the least "JUNK" in every way, dark, didn't track and didn't have enough adjustment to get to 1,500 yds.. It seems the Distrubtor fitted these scopes to the rifles without Bushnells or Barretts approval or say both companys Tech. Service when contacted about a Warrany issues with the optics.......I mounted a Leupold Mark 4 that is boosted to 20x-50x by Premier, now thats a scope!

I think these low end import scopes have a place in the informal target shooting and hunting world but you can't beat a Leupold.....unless you buy one of the new ones made in ????? who knows where,I think they call them the Rifleman scope.
 

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I Also.......

.......do not own any of the high dollar scopes. I have a 8.5-25x50 Leupold mounted on my .30-378 but it was around $1200. I do own a pair of Swarovski bino's that are great.

I however do feel that you basically get what you pay for in optics. Scopes,sights,bino's and spotting scopes. The vast majority of my scopes and sights are Leupold and I am very pleased with their performance for the money spent. The rest of my Leupolds cost me <$550.

Being a guide for many years I have had the experience of comparing scopes that were literally side by side. I know that I have told this short story before but I feel the need to relate it once again. I was guiding a coyote hunter in rural Maine. We were watching a bait situated 125yds out in a vast opening. It was getting pretty dark and I told the sport that it was time to go. He asked why and I told him that you cannot see the bait pole anymore so it was too dark to target a yote. The bait pole was a 2 1/2" piece of elm driven into the ground to which I had a beaver carcass wired. He said to me,"I can see the pole just fine". I asked to take a look thru his scope and sure enough,the pole could be seen. His scope....Schmidt & Bender....mine Leupold. Both 50mm and both set on 7X.

I had an opportunity to try this with several other scopes. Swarovski,Zeiss,Doctor,and several others. The low light performance was better. Enough better given the price ?? I suppose that is up to the individual.

So.....my conclusion is this. It's basically all in the glass. Quality and coating mean everything. Tracking and repeatability are internal qualities. I have read some scope tests that the tracking is very bad. Other scopes will change POI with the power setting. Some will not or not accurately take click adjustments.

Without trying to offend anyone(seems that's pretty easy nowadays) I say....go out and buy your "good deal' scopes for $79.95 if you must. But don't expect to get anymore scope than $79.95 worth of scope. If i was rich as some of you guys I would own nothing but the $1800+ scopes. Until then....I'm satisfied with my Leupolds. -----pruhdlr
 

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I have a Leupold VX-III in 3.5-10x50 that is absolutely great in low light. I have never compared all of mine on the same morning, but I know that my new Leupold is noticeably better than the others.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah I have never had the pleasure of owning a S & B, Swarovski,or Zeiss. I am sure they are a cut above. My God, they ought to be! Even VX-IIIs are pretty high cost. I have heard a lot of folks say that they actually prefer the VX-II. I am not sure why. The Nikon Monarchs are good clear glass IMO. I am really impressed with how bright and sharp that little Weaver K6 was. I am not sure if it is because fixed scopes are just more efficient with light transfer (compared to Variables) or what. At 6x, it was brighter than the $300 VX-11 though.

I have heard a lot of positive things about Sightrons. No experience with that flavor yet though.
 

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Allow Me To Add

Also......with the higher end prices of some of the scope manufacturers hitting the roof,makes me take a gander at some of the Kahles,Zeiss,Doctor,and others in the lower-higher end scopes.

A Leupold for 2K$,a Burris for 1K$,will put me at the Swarovski,Zeiss,and S&B counter in a micro-second. As someone above stated,when I can get a Zeiss Conquest CHEAPER than a Leupold,I will surely at least take a close look. -----pruhdlr
 

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I have always heard that spending equal amounts on scope and gun is a reasonable approach. Sounds good enough, if you are willing to do it. Most of my rifles cost 650-1000. They are topped with Nikon Monarchs, Nikon Coyote Special, Leupold VX II, and a Ziess Conquest. I have only one complaint to voice and it has to do with the most expensive of the lot; the Conquest. My hunts are mostly in Northern Maine where weather conditions typically test equipment. The first year I used the Conquest, during a very wet day, the scope experienced what I feel is an unacceptable level of failure. Some have had scopes fog, but I had one that had water drops rolling around inside the tube. Needless to say, my primary rifle sat in the cabin for the rest of the week. I wrote a lengthy letter to Ziess and sent the scope back. They did not respond with any letter, only a replacement scope. The new scope had a different reticle too. I don't mind the reticle, a "T" reticle with no upper post, but it is not what I returned. Nor do I think a scope can fail at that level and pass quality inspections that a high end scope should be subject to.
 

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My comparisons of these 3 models would be:

Ziess Conquest- Very clear optics, pricey and very poor field experiences.

Leupold VX II- Clear optics, reasonable cost, like it in the field. Downside- reticle in low light

Nikon Monarch- Clear otics, reasonable cost, and the Monarch reticles "glow" in low light. The reticle turns a reflective bronze and is very easy to see in low light.

Overall, I will continue to buy Monarchs unless a Leupold is available at a better deal, but if I am spending more than 500 on a scope, I will simply climb the model levels of these 2 manufacturers before I go with a Ziess.
 

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I was talked into buying a Swarovski 6-24 X 50 with the TDS-4 Retical. at the time I was looking for a scope to mount onto an AR50. The sales rep. at my favorite gun shop had just recieved his Swaro. and we did a side by side comarison between his Swaro. and the high end Leupolds . This gun shop specialized in Leuponds so they had every model. it took me about 30 seconds to decide on the Swaro. . We looked thrugh one Swaro. and about ten Leupolds as well as other brands. With the Leupold you could see the building next door through the window (derty window) very well But with the Swaro. you could see the nail holes like you were right in front of the wall. This was with a 24 power scope agianst a 25 power Leupold. I have never looked through a S & B or the Zeiss Hezolt scopes and I have asked questions about both on verious forum sites and know one says much about them. I have also purchasted two Weaver scopes one for my girl friends CZ 550 it is a Classic V9 3-9 X 38 we looked through this scopes and several of the leupolds that were twice the price. The weaver was cleaner and brighter that the leupolds (do not know which Leupold models we looked through) and the adjustments on the leupolds you just about had to have a pair of vise grips to turn them and the Weaver was very smooth. My second Weaver is a Grand Slam 3-10 X 40 I purchased it becouse of how nice my girl friends Weaver is and I have yet to mount it on a rifle. One more thing about the Swaro. I have fired about 500 rounds thruogh my AR50 and no problems. I got invited to go to a miltary base with two other shooters. two of us have AR50's with the same scopes., He purchased his at the same time I did becouse of the side by side comparison and an EDM 50 with a freshly rebiult Leupold (do not know what model and rebuilt) I fired aprox. 100 rounds that day the other AR50 about 400 rounds No Problems with our scopes. The EDM50 fired about 50 rounds through it and it ripped the retical out after about the 10th round now the Leupold was rebuilt and I do not know if the rebuilder was even qualified to rebuild it so I do not hold that agianst Leupold But the clairity of the Swaros. to that Leupold NO COMPARISON. In my opinion as others have said you get what you pay for for the wost part and if you get the chance to to a side by side before purchasing do it and be open minded about the results I love my Swaro and I also love the Weavers that I have puchesd but the are differnt animals. I am saving up for an S & B becouse of what I have read about them. I really wish that I can look through one be for I buy one. all ways have fun shooting out there.
 

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I have a Bushnell Elite 4200 3 to 9 x 40. It's as clear and bright at dusk as my Nikon 4 x 40 Monarch, and clearer and brighter than my old Leupold VX-II 2-7 x 33. I'd get the Bushnell again in a heart beat because I am so happy with the "Rainguard" lense treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I have a Bushnell Elite 4200 3 to 9 x 40. It's as clear and bright at dusk as my Nikon 4 x 40 Monarch, and clearer and brighter than my old Leupold VX-II 2-7 x 33. I'd get the Bushnell again in a heart beat because I am so happy with the "Rainguard" lense treatment.
Being from mid coastal Maine, I imagine the rain guard comes in handy. I had a 150 yd shot while watching a bottom field for deer in the rain this fall. It was near dark. When I looked through my Leupold VX-II, I found it very clouded with water dropplets. I thought I had kept the flip up covers closed long enough, but apparently not. I could barely see at all. I managed to pull off the shot, but it was not a good sight picture at all. A few water dropplets on your objective lense will kill any light gathering qualities your scope has. I can't help but think that a 4200 would have been a lot better in those condiditions. I tell you this too, for the money, that Weaver K6 is one bright scope. In brightness per dollar spent, I cannot imagine anything being better.
 
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