AR-15 Scope

AR-15 Scope

This is a discussion on AR-15 Scope within the Related Gear & Equipment forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was wondering if anyone could explain (or post a good explanation) to me how to pick out a scope for my AR-15. I have ...

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Thread: AR-15 Scope

  1. #1
    Member Array claybreaker0's Avatar
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    AR-15 Scope

    I was wondering if anyone could explain (or post a good explanation) to me how to pick out a scope for my AR-15. I have a red dot scope and was looking into getting a Mako 5X magnifier for it so that I could shoot at longer distances. But then I realized, if I'm going to spend $130 on a magnifier.....why not just get a regular scope and switch it out with the red dot when I needed to? I know you can get a fairly decent scope from $80-$125, I think?

    Now the issue, I have no idea what scope to buy. I don't understand the 3-9x-40 explanations, and all the numbers. Those of you with scopes on your AR-15, what do you use? I don't want to spend a whole lot of money, but would like to be able to shoot maybe a squirrel, or rabbit, or coyote at 200 yards? I know the .223 cal is a light and fast round, but am not too sure of it's capabilities. Thank you for your assistance.
    "Being armed gives you options"

    Kimber Pro Carry II; S&W M&P; S&W M&P9c; Walther PPS: Ruger SP101 357: Kahr P380 w/ CT; NAA 22mag; Rock River AR-15; NEF Pardner Pump; Benelli Nova


  2. #2
    Member Array larebel's Avatar
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    Red Dot Magnifiers - For Optics Accessories & More
    $79 for a magnifier.
    And they have nice scopes for cheap.
    I have the M4 red dot and the magnifier and treat them like crap, still kickin.

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    Member Array nikdfish's Avatar
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    With multiple systems, you have to consider mount cost & whether or not your setup will maintain zero across dismount/remount cycles.

    I ended up going with a Millet DMS-1. With 1x-4x and a "doughnut & dot" reticle center that can be illuminated for low light settings (or use as a reflex sight), it covered the bases for me pretty well. On the negative side, it is not lightweight ...

    Nick
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    NRA Life member

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    Member Array claybreaker0's Avatar
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    Thanks for listing a few options. NIKDFISH: About your comment considering the scope holding zero. Once the scope is zero'd in, why would taking it on and off the gun create any issues with zero? I wouldn't think it would matter as long as I didn't go banging around the scope right, or no?
    "Being armed gives you options"

    Kimber Pro Carry II; S&W M&P; S&W M&P9c; Walther PPS: Ruger SP101 357: Kahr P380 w/ CT; NAA 22mag; Rock River AR-15; NEF Pardner Pump; Benelli Nova

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    Quote Originally Posted by claybreaker0 View Post
    Now the issue, I have no idea what scope to buy. I don't understand the 3-9x-40 explanations, and all the numbers.
    3-9x40 is pronounced "three to nine by forty." The 3-9 number indicates a variable-power scope, that magnifies the image 3-9 times over what the naked eye sees. Usually you rotate the eyepiece to achieve a different magnification.

    The 40 means that the objective lens (the one closer to the muzzle) has a diameter of 40 mm. Bigger is usually better, but... the parameter known as "exit pupil" is the objective divided by the power. So if you set your 3-9x40 scope at 4x ("four power"), the exit pupil would be 10. The human eye has an exit pupil of about 7, and a scope with a bigger exit pupil number will not result in a usable increase in what you can see. There are other considerations as well, such as the scope's tube diameter (most are either 1 inch or 30 mm these days), lens coatings, eye relief, and weight.

    The price range for scopes is huge these days. You could buy a cheap Barska from Cheaper than Dirt or a Swarovski for thousands... it comes down to your intended use and your budget. For a serious hunting rifle, for example one you'll take on a once-in-a-lifetime hunt, a cheap scope is false economy, just like cheap ammo. But if you're just plinking and a cheap scope drifting off its adjustment, or not returning to zero after an adjustment doesn't bother you too much, than go for it. For me, typically the scope and mounts run at least 50% the cost of the weapon on which it's mounted.

    The good news is that the AR carbine in .223 doesn't have monster recoil, so you don't need a scope that will stand up to a .416 Rigby's recoil. You're also likely not to be going after prairie dogs at 300 yards, so high power isn't a requirement. The scope you suggested at the outset - 3-9x40 - will probably serve you very well. If you need to give up features for cost, then a slightly smaller objective (32 mm) might be an OK tradeoff, and a fixed 4- or 6-power scope might be as well.

    If you wander into a Cabela's or Bass Pro, chances are the people there will guide you to an acceptable choice. Don't feel pressured to buy there, but do take advantage of the ability to look through different scopes to get an idea of what different reticles look like and the sharpness and clarity of the image. I was hell-bent to buy a Leupold scope based on hearsay and reputation a couple of years ago, until I played with one at a Cabela's and found other scopes for less money offering better images and features.

    Lastly, make sure you get rings and a mount which are no less capable than your scope. $10 rings on a $250 scope (an exaggeration) are likely to be a weak link in total system performance.

    Check here for some general (and dated) scope info:
    Recommended Riflescopes
    Smitty
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    NROI Chief Range Officer

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    kpw
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    1-4x 24mm - 731424M - Bushnell

    Discontinued but still available online around $130 +/-. I mounted one on my 556, so far, I love it. It's 1-4x24, 30mm tube, illuminated 4a reticle.
    "In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power." -
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    Senior Member Array Ring's Avatar
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    1: what do you want it for? "fun, 3gun comp, varmint, hunting"

    2: what are your planed targets? "size?"

    3: what distanced are you planing on shooting? "longest range?"

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    Member Array claybreaker0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ring View Post
    1: what do you want it for? "fun, 3gun comp, varmint, hunting"

    2: what are your planed targets? "size?"

    3: what distanced are you planing on shooting? "longest range?"
    I want it for a mix of all of the above. I think the longest distance I would be looking to be able to hit reliably would be about 200 yards, and probably about rabbit sized? From what I see here I think I will go with a 3-9x50mm scope. I think that will do it? Does anyone see any issues with a scope holding zero if I take it on and off the gun? Now I guess I'll need to find some high mount 1" inch rings......?
    "Being armed gives you options"

    Kimber Pro Carry II; S&W M&P; S&W M&P9c; Walther PPS: Ruger SP101 357: Kahr P380 w/ CT; NAA 22mag; Rock River AR-15; NEF Pardner Pump; Benelli Nova

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    Senior Member Array Ring's Avatar
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    just a FYI, my 16" AR with do under 1MOA at 200y, i killed at over 350y+ with it, it has a 4x16x44mm



    as for zero, it may be "close" to zero, but depends how good your rings are.. on a flat top AR u may need extra high

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    Member Array 9mmPro's Avatar
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    I might be getting a Leupold Prisimatic 1x14mm scope , i heard they are the best scope for quick on target aquisition.

    Leupold 1x14 Tactical Prismatic Rifle Scope w/ Illuminated Red Circle Plex Reticle - 63300 FREE S&H 63300. Leupold Prismatic Riflescopes, Leupold Riflescopes.
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  11. #11
    Member Array claybreaker0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ring View Post
    just a FYI, my 16" AR with do under 1MOA at 200y, i killed at over 350y+ with it, it has a 4x16x44mm

    as for zero, it may be "close" to zero, but depends how good your rings are.. on a flat top AR u may need extra high
    After your post, maybe I'll go with a 4-16X40.

    At what range did you sight yours in at? I'm sorry if these seem to be simple questions, I'm just not real familiar with rifles. Do you sight in at 100 yards, and then you are good to go? How does that work?
    "Being armed gives you options"

    Kimber Pro Carry II; S&W M&P; S&W M&P9c; Walther PPS: Ruger SP101 357: Kahr P380 w/ CT; NAA 22mag; Rock River AR-15; NEF Pardner Pump; Benelli Nova

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Ring's Avatar
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    i sight ALL my scoped rifles at 200y, this will put you "about" 1 to 1.5" high at 100 and 9" low at 300y

    if you have a laser range finder, you can use it with my ballistic XLS sheet to range your scope
    Free Ballistic Calculator (FREE Ballistic calculator)

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    Member Array claybreaker0's Avatar
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    Does anyone know anything about the CenterPoint scopes? I was thinking about the 4-16X40mm. I was bouncing between that and the Tasco scope with same magnification. I know I have a Tasco on my Remington 22lr, but I want to make sure I have something that is cheap, but made well enough to sit on a AR-15 through a large count of rounds.
    "Being armed gives you options"

    Kimber Pro Carry II; S&W M&P; S&W M&P9c; Walther PPS: Ruger SP101 357: Kahr P380 w/ CT; NAA 22mag; Rock River AR-15; NEF Pardner Pump; Benelli Nova

  14. #14
    Member Array kdydak's Avatar
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    For cheap(er) 3-9 rifle scopes the Leupold Mark AR have a very good reputation:

    Leupold Mark AR Rifle Scope 3-9x 40mm Duplex Reticle Matte - MidwayUSA

    That is $300 plus the cost of rings.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array Ring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claybreaker0 View Post
    Does anyone know anything about the CenterPoint scopes? I was thinking about the 4-16X40mm. I was bouncing between that and the Tasco scope with same magnification. I know I have a Tasco on my Remington 22lr, but I want to make sure I have something that is cheap, but made well enough to sit on a AR-15 through a large count of rounds.


    the 4x16 u see on my 16" and 24" AR's are both center point i got at walmart... believe it or not, so fare, grate scopes... i even have a 2x7 on my 12ga dear gun, and all work great...

    love the turrets

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