3x magnifier vs 5x and general optic advice

3x magnifier vs 5x and general optic advice

This is a discussion on 3x magnifier vs 5x and general optic advice within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; If you read my orginal thread about mil spec ar-15's you probably know I am in the process of upgrading my budget AR-15 to totally ...

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Thread: 3x magnifier vs 5x and general optic advice

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    3x magnifier vs 5x and general optic advice

    If you read my orginal thread about mil spec ar-15's you probably know I am in the process of upgrading my budget AR-15 to totally mil spec. I opted to go with a brand new Bravo Company upper instead of replacing the low end parts in my current Model 1 sales upper. I am going to keep my rock river lover but I am going to replace the current Model 1 Sales parts kit with a mil spec one. Next up, optics! I'm not skimping this time. I have had a tough time narrowing it down. I know I didn't want a fixed power optic so that ruled out an Acog. I really like the idea of the adjustable 1x6 but I have heard that the even on the zero mag settings they are quite a bit slower from 1-50 meters than a red dot. I could offset mount a micro dot with it but then it's going to start getting heavy and one of my goals with this rifle is to keep the weight down as much as possible. It's looking like my best option is going to be to go with a red dot + magnifier (However I am open to any discussion or sugestions!).

    I am thinking about a Aimpoint T1 for my red dot but I am a bit stuck on magnifiers. From the research I have done it looks like a 3x mag is the most popular choice now days. That didn't sound like a lot of magnification to me so I broke out my adjustable 3x9 and walked out side just to sight on some things. I was correct. It didn't really seem like much magnification. So that got me thinking about a 5x magnifier. The issue though is that I have never actually used one of these. I am concerned about the dot size once it is magnified with a 5x. Am I correct in thinking that once you get out to 200-300 meters with a 2 moa dot that the dot would actually be like 16 moa? That seems like it's kind of defeating the purpose for something that people use to increase precision. What do you folks think?

    Edit - Also, does anyone have any experience with the Lucid variable power 2-5 magnifier?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Array NH_Esau's Avatar
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    Never used a 5X magnifier, but MOA is MOA no matter where you go for range or how you magnify it (the dot will look bigger, but so will the target). At 100 yds, a 2MOA is going to be ~2" across, and at 1000 yds, it will cover ~20".

    Now if you had an internal reticle that remained constant apparent size no matter the magnification (like many variable-mag scopes), that would be different.

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    3x magnifier vs 5x and general optic advice

    I would not go beyond a 3x. I'd use the Aimpoint. Now, I'd take a look at the new Trijicon VCOG 1-6 with a true 1x. Very, very fast at 1x and can be almost as fast as an Aimpoint. Same applies to the Leupold mk6 1-6, S&B short dot 1-4, etc.

    As mentioned above, the dot magnifies as much as the target. Even though both appear 3 times larger, 2 MOA is still 2 MOA it covers the same amount of target.

    You can see this in my last post in the sticky red dot thread where I show both 2 MOA and 4 MOA Aimpoints magnified and normal.
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    Member Array dean1818's Avatar
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    I love the VXR 1x4 on my AR

    I started down the road with a magnifier but quickly changed
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    Member Array sammage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    I would not go beyond a 3x. I'd use the Aimpoint. Now, I'd take a look at the new Trijicon VCOG 1-6 with a true 1x. Very, very fast at 1x and can be almost as fast as an Aimpoint. Same applies to the Leupold mk6 1-6, S&B short dot 1-4, etc.

    As mentioned above, the dot magnifies as much as the target. Even though both appear 3 times larger, 2 MOA is still 2 MOA it covers the same amount of target.

    You can see this in my last post in the sticky red dot thread where I show both 2 MOA and 4 MOA Aimpoints magnified and normal.
    This. By the time you pay for a quality RDS and magnifier, you can get close to good 1-4x or 1-6x territory, which is more flexible. Especially as manufacturers are getting better with reticules and daylight visible illumination, there's no reason not to try one.
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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sammage View Post
    This. By the time you pay for a quality RDS and magnifier, you can get close to good 1-4x or 1-6x territory, which is more flexible. Especially as manufacturers are getting better with reticules and daylight visible illumination, there's no reason not to try one.
    I really really REALLY like the the flexibility of a 1x6. In an ideal world that is what I would go with but I am concerned about 0-15ish yard engagement. I have heard that most of the ones in my price range don't have a true 1x so they are less effective in doors at short distances. I know I said I wasn't going to cheap on this rifle but I am at least a little limited. My optics budget is about 750.00
    -It is a seriously scary thought that there are subsets of American society that think being intellectual is a BAD thing...

  7. #7
    Member Array Crews's Avatar
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    I also would choose a 1-6x a loooong time before I would use a red dot/magnifier. Leupold VX-R 1.25-4 worked great for me.
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    Member Array dean1818's Avatar
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    As an added note I can shoot comfortably to target on 300 yards at a pie plate with my AR15, and still make reasonable shots with the VXR 1-4 on 4 power, the red dot on the VXR is small enough where I can
    Target the top of the plate to compensate for bullet drop.

    With most red dot setups, the red dot itself would cover much if not the whole pie plate at 300 yards

    I have to say, i initially started thinking I would get a 3x9 like I have on my 8mm, but after considering a red dot and magnifier, and then looking through a quality 1x4, there was no comparison.......

    The 1x4 was the choice.

    I was amazed how far the 4 x could be useful in.

    I looked at the 1x6, and if the coin would allow, it would be a nice choice...... But for me, the extra 2x power isnt worth the extra $$$$$$

    I would also say that at 300 yards, I am near maximum distance of what I want to hunt with a 6.8........ Any extra magnification isnt really needed.

    In Texas almost all of my shots are under 100 yards.

    If I had an 18inch AR10, I think the 1x6 would be an awesome choice
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    Senior Member Array munch520's Avatar
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    In my opinion, when shooting at distance with an RDS, magnification isn't the limitation, despite what perception is. The limitation is the simplicity of the 'reticle' (dot), which ironically is what makes it such an attractive option for 0-300m.

    My 3x is enough magnification for 3, 4, and even 500 yard shots. Problems arise, however, because the turrets are not conducive to quick adjustments/reference and there is no reference in the optic for holds. Combine those issues with the fact that a 4MOA dot will cover 20" at 500 yards, and you can discern that a 1x isn't ideal at range.

    This setup was great out to 400


    So I went down the same road you did OP, but never looked for a more powerful magnifier, because I knew that the RDS itself was part of the limitation. I knew I did not want to spend over $1k (preferably $800) and I knew a 1-6 wasn't worth it to me. I won't be shooting past 6-700 regularly with a 14.5, so the extra power (and associated weight and cost) are simply not worth it to me. Now if this were a 16" 308 OBR, my thoughts would be different. My budget was in line with yours, so I checked out the following:

    -SWFA 1-4
    --Great combo but didn't like the reticle at zoom. It's also a little heavier than I wanted.
    -Vortex 1-4
    --I've shot these a lot, and don't like much about them, especially the illumination. It is also pretty heavy.
    -Weaver 1-5
    --Interesting optic, was my second choice. Not sure how I feel about the CIRT ret.
    -Leupold MKIV 1.5-5
    --I love the MR/T with the CM-R reticle, but was out of my price range. No option for mil/mil. 1.5x is a little high for close range. And didn't feel it was worth twice the cost of the VX-R.

    So I ended up with the Leupold VX-R SPR ret 1.25-4. There are definitely 'better' optics out there, I've owned some of them (NF, S&B, etc.) but in my opinion this is one of the best values for the dollar. Here's my early thoughts on it, will be getting this gun out to 900y in June and will have much more informed opinion after that.


    Pros:
    Cost (got it for a little above $500 with tax, street price is $579 if you can find one in stock)
    Mil/mil
    Great glass
    Weight (11.6oz)
    Good illumination
    Holdover values calibrated for 5.56 and 7.62
    Great feeling turrets (a la Nughtforce) with very positive clicks
    Illumination auto off/motion-activated auto on
    Very unobtrusive illumination dial (button)

    Cons:
    Stupid white writing everywhere
    Not a true 1 power
    Illumination button slower to adjust than a dial
    No capped turrets
    No zero stop

    Best review I've found on em: LEUPOLD. VXR 1.25-4 review - Rifle - Technical - Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!





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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for the reply. I REALLY want to like the 1-4 variable power ... I just keep having concerns about 0-25m targeting speed. Mainyl, the 0-10 IE indoors. Have you done any close contact drills with you 1x4? Any info/advice?
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    Rollo,

    Do some research on the Bind on Aiming Concept, and how it works with an illuminated dot. I ran a fair number of rather close in drills and whatnot with a fixed 4x ACOG back in my Marine infantry days.

    Once you figure that out, remembering the offset at that range between the bore and the sights is a bigger issue than speed.

    Not to de-rail, but Munch, what don't you like about Vortex's illum? A 1-4x is in my future, and it and the MTAC were my top runners.
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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye .45 View Post
    Rollo,

    Do some research on the Bind on Aiming Concept, and how it works with an illuminated dot. I ran a fair number of rather close in drills and whatnot with a fixed 4x ACOG back in my Marine infantry days.

    Once you figure that out, remembering the offset at that range between the bore and the sights is a bigger issue than speed.

    Not to de-rail, but Munch, what don't you like about Vortex's illum? A 1-4x is in my future, and it and the MTAC were my top runners.
    The Vortex was also top on my list of 1-4's so I would be interested as well.
    -It is a seriously scary thought that there are subsets of American society that think being intellectual is a BAD thing...

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    Senior Member Array munch520's Avatar
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    3x magnifier vs 5x and general optic advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
    Thank you very much for the reply. I REALLY want to like the 1-4 variable power ... I just keep having concerns about 0-25m targeting speed. Mainyl, the 0-10 IE indoors. Have you done any close contact drills with you 1x4? Any info/advice?
    As buckeye mentioned, read up on BAC. Jon first told me about it and its easy to practice. Put a lens cap or tape on the front of the optic, and practice getting on target with both eyes open. Your brain will superimpose the dot onto your target.

    This is the reason Aimpoints are now shipping with a black front lens cap and clear rear.

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye .45 View Post
    Not to de-rail, but Munch, what don't you like about Vortex's illum? A 1-4x is in my future, and it and the MTAC were my top runners.
    I don't find it as 'eye catching' if that makes sense. When I'm snapping up from low/high ready, I don't want a grid, or corners, or lines to look at. I want a dot. Maybe a circle, like on the SWFA 1-4. I just find it less complicated and simpler to acquire. I've used NFs FC2 reticle and don't like it for this reason, too much crap lit up. IMO it also isn't daylight visible. If you were checking out the Vortex, I'd definitely also look at the SWFA 1-4.

    For my uses, the illumination is for 0-50m only, thus my preference for an illuminated dot. If I was going to be shooting a lot during dusk/night, I'd likely rethink my preference and prefer that the entire reticle is illuminated.

    I'm near Polaris, if you want to check out the Leupold in person, let me know!
    Monotony is the awful reward for the careful

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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=munch520;2740824]As buckeye mentioned, read up on BAC. Jon first told me about it and its easy to practice. Put a lens cap or tape on the front of the optic, and practice getting on target with both eyes open. Your brain will superimpose the dot onto your target.

    This is the reason Aimpoints are now shipping with a black front lens cap and clear rear.



    I don't find it as 'eye catching' if that makes sense. When I'm snapping up from low/high ready, I don't want a grid, or corners, or lines to look at. I want a dot. Maybe a circle, like on the SWFA 1-4. I just find it less complicated and simpler to acquire. I've used NFs FC2 reticle and don't like it for this reason, too much crap lit up. IMO it also isn't daylight visible. If you were checking out the Vortex, I'd definitely also look at the SWFA 1-4.

    For my uses, the illumination is for 0-50m only, thus my preference for an illuminated dot. If I was going to be shooting a lot during dusk/night, I'd likely rethink my preference and prefer that the entire reticle is illuminated.

    I'm near Polaris, if you want to check out the Leupold in person, let me know![/QUOTE

    Makes sense. I am not a big fan of "busy reticules". I am an IT guy and I like a nice clean interface if you know what I mean. I would really like a 1x6 but I don't think I can stomach the 1k+ price tag. I ordered a vortex 3 power magnifier with a flip to side mount but I am seriously considering just turning around and reselling it without even opening it. I was messing around with my adjustable 3x9 scope leaving it on 3x and it really just didn't seem like the 3x mag really made much of a difference. I'll reserve judgement until after I have ran some drills with the setup thought. Currently I have a primary arms micro dot. If I decide to stay with the red dot only I will be replacing it with a Aimpoint H1. I saw that someone makes a 2x-5x variable power magnifier that seems like a really cool idea but quite a few of the reviews I read on it stated that it seemed really dark.

    Edit - Lucid makes the 2x-5x magnifier
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    Wow...you guys are impressive! Looking the the pic below... 200, 400 or 800 meters, all misses for me!

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