February 9th, 2021

Riflescope Comparison Reviews and Videos

riflescope optic scope test video comparison review product movie

For a benchrest, F-Class, or ELR competitor, the optic may easily be the most expensive component of the rifle. Even a hunter may spend as much on glass as he/she does on the rifle itself. Because scopes represent such a big investment, it is important to do some research before deciding what to buy.

Unfortunately, it is pretty much impossible to “test drive” a half-dozen or more optics. Thankfully, there are some video reviews on the internet that are, for the most part, helpful. Here we provide five scope comparison tests, with different price points, high to low.

1. Nine Long Range Scopes Compared by Pew Pew Tactical

Pew Pew Tactical (PPT) published lengthy comparison of nine long range scopes. For each model PPT examined clarity, eye relief, reticle design, parallax, and windage/elevation travel. PPT also provides short videos for all the scopes showing the operation of the controls. FULL PPT REVIEW HERE.

riflescope Pew Pew Tactical optic scope test video comparison review product movie

NINE Long Range Scopes Compared
1. Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50mm
2. Vortex Viper PST II 5-25×50mm
3. Leupold VX3i LRP 8.5-25×50mm
4. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56mm
5. Burris XTR II 5-25×50mm
6. Steiner PX4i 4-16×56mm
7. EOTech Vudu 5-25×56mm
8. Primary Arms 6-30×56mm
9. Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56mm

2. $1500 Max Price Five-Scope Showdown

This 5-scope comparison test by Armslist Media yielded some surprises. All the scopes in the review retailed for $1500 or less. Most offer 5X at the low end and 20X or 25X at the high end. Three provide a four times zoom ratio, while the SIG Whiskey5 has a five times ratio and the Leupold VX6 has a full six times zoom ratio, with its 3-18X lens. That’s good for varmint hunters who often scan a wide field of view and then zoom in on a critter to make the shot. We think all these scopes offer good value for the money. We add that anyone considering these optics should also look at the Zeiss V4 line which offers outstanding glass at very competitive prices. The Zeiss Conquest V4 6-24x50mm is just $1199.00 at EuroOptic. The Zeiss V4 would be one of our first choices for a SFP varmint scope, no doubt about it.

FIVE $1500 Scopes Compared
1. Leica ER 5-20x50mm
2. Leupold VX6 3-18×50mm
3. Nightforce SHV 5-20×56mm
4. Trijicon TR23 5-20×50mm
5. SIG Sauer Whiskey5 5-25x50mm

3. Five Sub-$1000 Scopes Reviewed by Precision Rifle Network

If you are looking for a moderate-priced optic for a PRS or hunting rifle, consider one of the scopes featured in this comparison review. These all offer 24-25 powder at the high end, plenty of magnification for PRS/NRL matches. This video compares the controls of all five optics, and there are through-the-lens views showing the reticles on each optic. The tester criticized the SIG Tango for “scope shadow” in view, and overly complex labeling on the knobs. He liked the Burris XTR2 saying it “is a well-respected optic in the precision rifle community … it is basically ‘bomb-proof'”, but he felt that Burris glass color fidelity was not on a par with the Vortex or Nightforce. (7:58). NOTE: the Nikon Black FX1000 series has been discontinued so these optics are available now at very attractive prices. Even before the price cut, the reviewer said “Guys, for the money, I’m not sure there’s another scope on the market that can compete with this thing.” (7:12). The 4-16x50mm FX1000 is just $649.99 at EuroOptic.com — a steal. We’ve used the 5-25x50mm FX1000 scope reviewed in this video — it has truly excellent glass, albeit stiff knobs.

FIVE $1000 Scopes Compared
1. Burris XTR2 5-25×50mm
2. Nightforce SHV 4.514x50mm
e. Nikon Black FX1000 6-24×50mm
4. SIG Sauer Tango4 6-24x50mm
5. Vortex Viper PST Gen2 5-25×50mm

4. Best Rimfire Scopes under $200 (.22 Plinkster)

.22 Plinkster is an honest tester who shoots thousands of rimfire rounds every year. So he’s in a good position to review budget-priced scopes designed for rimfire rifles. Because rimfire rifles have a different kind of recoil pulse than centerfire rigs, and because rimfire rifles are often shot rapid fire at plates, with hundreds of rounds fired in an afternoon, you want to find a scope that has been thoroughly tested to ensure long-term durability. Among the dozen scopes he tested, .22 Plinkster favored the Bushnell Rimfire Series: “I’ve used these [Rimfire Series] scopes a lot. These scopes, for the price point… you can’t go wrong.” He also recommended the Vortex Crossfire scope, noting that it had very clear glass and a rock-solid, transferrable lifetime warranty: “Vortex is one of my favorite scope to use, and as a company they really stand behind their products.”

5. Budget Optics for AR-Platform and Defensive Rifles

AR-platform rifles used for 3-Gun matches and home defense purposes don’t need high-magnification optics. Instead you want something that allows rapid target acquisition and has illumination for low-light situations. This video covers three budget-priced AR optics, two one-power Red Dots, and a Primary Arms 1-6x24mm SLx ACSS scope, which is offered in both SFP and FFP versions starting at $389.99 (not $289.99 as stated in video). A similar illuminated scope (with a better warranty), is the Vortex 1-6x24mm Strike Eagle, currently $299.99 on Amazon with BDC3 reticle.

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February 9th, 2021

Reading Mirage to Determine Wind Speed and Angle

South Texas Mirage Reading article
Diagram from SouthTexasShooting.org.

How to Read Mirage as a Wind Indicator

Note: This article was written by Glen Zediker. Sadly, Glen passed away in October of 2020. However, you can still order his books from Midsouth and read his articles in the Midsouth Blog.

Most good shooters use mirage as their leading indicator to spot changes in the wind. With well-designed stand, the scope can be set it up where you can see the wind with the left eye and see the sight with the right without anything more than a visual focus shift. That gets the shooter back on the trigger with the least chance of missing another change. In the photo below e you can see 11-time National High Power Champion David Tubb using a spotting scope set up for his left eye.

wind mirage spotter spotting scope
David Tubb sets up his spotting scope so he can easily see through it with his LEFT eye, without shifting his head and body position.

There are multiple resources that give clues or evidence of wind direction and strength: wind flags, observation of grass and trees, and mirage.

Almost always I use mirage as my leading indicator. Mirage (heat waves) is always present but you’ll need a scope to read it. For 600 yards I focus my scope about halfway to the target. Mirage flows just like water and the currents can be read with respect to wind speed as well, but it’s not clearly accurate beyond maybe a 15 mph speed. The thing is that mirage shows changes, increases or decreases, and also direction shifts, really well.

A couple more things about mirage flow: when mirage “boils,” that is appears to rise straight up, either there’s no wind or the scope is dead in-line with wind direction. And that’s a quick and accurate means to determine wind direction, by the way, move the scope until you see the boil and note the scope body angle. Here’s another tip — the boil can predict when a “fishtail” wind is about to change, a boil precedes a shift.

wind mirage spotter spotting scope

You don’t need to spend big bucks for an effective spotting scope to view mirage. You can get the Vortex 20-60x60mm Diamondback angled spotting scope for just $399.99 from Midsouth. That’s complete with 20-60X zoom eyepiece. Though inexpensive, the Vortex Diamondback is popular with many competitive shooters and hunters. No, it doesn’t offer the sharpness of an 80mm Kowa Prominar or Swarovski spotting scope, but you’ll pay $2400+ just for the body of those high-end optics.

Choice of EyePiece — Wide-Angle LERs Work Well
I use a long-eye-relief 20X to 25X wide-angle eyepiece. That setup shows the flow best. And pay attention to where the wind is coming from! See what’s headed your way, because what’s passed no longer matters. That’s true for any indicator. Right to left wind? Read off the right side of the range.

Once I get on target then all I am doing is watching for changes. It’s really uncommon to make a big adjustment between shots. The fewer condition changes you are enduring, the easier it is to keep everything on center. That’s why I shoot fast, and why I start at the low point in a wind cycle.

Read FULL ARTICLE in Midsouth Shooters Blog

sighters spotting scope mirageMaking Corrections with Limited Sighters
Here’s a Tip for NRA High Power matches where only two sighters are allowed: “Make a full correction off the first sighting shot location! Even if there are minor changes afoot, that’s how to know how well you assessed condition influence pre-shot. Don’t second-guess. After the second sighter you should be on target and then simply watching for changes. Pay attention, correlate visible cues to the results of prior shots, and if in doubt, click into the wind.”

Information in this article was adapted from material in several books published by Glen Zediker and Zediker Publishing. Glen, who passed away in 2020, was an NRA High Master who earned that classification in NRA High Power Rifle using an AR15 Service Rifle. For more information and articles visit ZedikerPublishing.com.

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