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What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make #15248676 09/23/20
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PaulBarnard Offline OP
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Like many of you, I can shoulder a rifle with good glass and think to myself, man that is nice. I have some rifles with good glass and some with mediocre glass. When I go hunting or I go to the range, with both when I put the plus sign on the target and pull the trigger, the bullet goes where its supposed to.

Most of my hunting is southern woods. I have done some open country hunting. Other than an appreciation for the sharpness of the good glass, I can't say that I have ever realized a real benefit from it. Low light situations are an exception.

I have cheap binoculars, decent binoculars and good binoculars. It is especially satisfying to put the Steiners up to my eyes. The sharpness is evident. With that said, they don't give me any information that my Nikons don't also give me. If I can count the points on the mule deer with the Steiners, I can also count them with the Nikons.

Excepting low light performance, does great glass provide any real benefit over good glass? Will a VX5 ever allow me to accomplish anything a VX Freedom won't? Will a MeoStar allow me to accomplish anything a MeoPro won't let me accomplish?

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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248692 09/23/20
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Assuming that the internals are equal (and low light aside), there isn't much of an advantage in my opinion. A scope is a sight, not an observation device. The problem is that most scopes with lower-end glass also have less-robust erector systems.

As for binoculars, high end glass certainly helps reduce eye strain in environments where you might be glassing all day long-- probably not a factor in the South.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248717 09/23/20
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Obviously, quite a few folks think high end glass is worth the expense. I snicker silently when guys are woofing about their $150 scopes and $99 binoculars and how good they are and just as good as Swarovski, Leica, etc. Betting most have never looked through alpha optics outside of a box store. To each his own.

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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248730 09/23/20
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Kinda like a good looking woman .
They sure look better !

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248735 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by PaulBarnard
I have cheap binoculars, decent binoculars and good binoculars. It is especially satisfying to put the Steiners up to my eyes. The sharpness is evident. With that said, they don't give me any information that my Nikons don't also give me. If I can count the points on the mule deer with the Steiners, I can also count them with the Nikons.

Excepting low light performance, does great glass provide any real benefit over good glass? Will a VX5 ever allow me to accomplish anything a VX Freedom won't? Will a MeoStar allow me to accomplish anything a MeoPro won't let me accomplish?


As far as bino's, I find that while I could often make my 30 year old Steiners work very well, the newer Leica's I have can deliver slightly better clarity but with a whole lot less eye strain if I spend much time at all glassing.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: Woodhits] #15248742 09/23/20
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PaulBarnard Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Woodhits
Assuming that the internals are equal (and low light aside), there isn't much of an advantage in my opinion. A scope is a sight, not an observation device. The problem is that most scopes with lower-end glass also have less-robust erector systems.

As for binoculars, high end glass certainly helps reduce eye strain in environments where you might be glassing all day long-- probably not a factor in the South.


That's exactly what I was looking for. I had never even considered eye strain. Kodiak was the only place I had ever glassed, and it was never for protracted periods of time.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248747 09/23/20
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Once you step up to what i call "medium" glass.... that describes the price too... you can sure tell a big difference in cheap scopes. Lots of great prices and glass in the "medium" range now, more than ever.

Further gain in glass, once you step out of the medium class, is very expensive. You'll spend a lot of bucks before you graduate to a noticeable difference.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248757 09/23/20
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I’m with you on scopes.

Schitty binoculars though, they hurt my head after a very short amount of time. If you use them for hours at a time, I imagine you’d go cross eyed.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: WAM] #15248761 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by WAM
Obviously, quite a few folks think high end glass is worth the expense. I snicker silently when guys are woofing about their $150 scopes and $99 binoculars and how good they are and just as good as Swarovski, Leica, etc. Betting most have never looked through alpha optics outside of a box store. To each his own.


I have never had the pleasure of using "alpha" glass. I am assuming as with most things there is a point of diminishing returns with the clarity/sharpness of glass. For example, I can see an appreciable difference between my Sightron S1 and my Leupold VX-2. I can see a difference between my VX-II and my MeoPro, although it's less pronounced. As a consequence, most of my glass is in the VX-II range.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248783 09/23/20
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Yes, the performance increase per dollar curve flattens out considerably once you get to the MeoPro level.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: mathman] #15248802 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by mathman
Yes, the performance increase per dollar curve flattens out considerably once you get to the MeoPro level.


Part of what has me asking this question is that I am considering treating myself to a higher dollar scope. I have a highly practical side that I am doing battle with.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248805 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by PaulBarnard
Like many of you, I can shoulder a rifle with good glass and think to myself, man that is nice. I have some rifles with good glass and some with mediocre glass. When I go hunting or I go to the range, with both when I put the plus sign on the target and pull the trigger, the bullet goes where its supposed to.

Most of my hunting is southern woods. I have done some open country hunting. Other than an appreciation for the sharpness of the good glass, I can't say that I have ever realized a real benefit from it. Low light situations are an exception.

I have cheap binoculars, decent binoculars and good binoculars. It is especially satisfying to put the Steiners up to my eyes. The sharpness is evident. With that said, they don't give me any information that my Nikons don't also give me. If I can count the points on the mule deer with the Steiners, I can also count them with the Nikons.

Excepting low light performance, does great glass provide any real benefit over good glass? Will a VX5 ever allow me to accomplish anything a VX Freedom won't? Will a MeoStar allow me to accomplish anything a MeoPro won't let me accomplish?


Your disclaimer "Low light is an exception" is, IMO, the crux of the matter. I hunt Georgia hardwoods, and first and last light is prime time for whitetails. The lesson I painfully learned many years ago was the abrupt total loss of performance of cheaper optics below a certain light threshold, still within the "30 minutes after sunset" game regulations in Ga. A very good buck had stepped out of the woods into my food plot about 150 yards away in the fading light. I had watched him with my Zeiss binoculars working his way through the briars for about 10 minutes. No shot opportunity because the brush was so thick. As he made his way onto the food plot I picked up my rifle and could barely make him out for a few fleeting seconds, and then all I could see was fuzzy blackness. I looked again through the binos and could see him quite well, well enough to shoot, if the scope was equal to the binoculars. I was using an inexpensive Simmons. Lesson learned.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: rockinbbar] #15248824 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by rockinbbar
Once you step up to what i call "medium" glass.... that describes the price too... you can sure tell a big difference in cheap scopes. Lots of great prices and glass in the "medium" range now, more than ever.

Further gain in glass, once you step out of the medium class, is very expensive. You'll spend a lot of bucks before you graduate to a noticeable difference.


Amen brother.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: badger] #15248825 09/23/20
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PaulBarnard Offline OP
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Originally Posted by badger
Originally Posted by PaulBarnard
Like many of you, I can shoulder a rifle with good glass and think to myself, man that is nice. I have some rifles with good glass and some with mediocre glass. When I go hunting or I go to the range, with both when I put the plus sign on the target and pull the trigger, the bullet goes where its supposed to.

Most of my hunting is southern woods. I have done some open country hunting. Other than an appreciation for the sharpness of the good glass, I can't say that I have ever realized a real benefit from it. Low light situations are an exception.

I have cheap binoculars, decent binoculars and good binoculars. It is especially satisfying to put the Steiners up to my eyes. The sharpness is evident. With that said, they don't give me any information that my Nikons don't also give me. If I can count the points on the mule deer with the Steiners, I can also count them with the Nikons.

Excepting low light performance, does great glass provide any real benefit over good glass? Will a VX5 ever allow me to accomplish anything a VX Freedom won't? Will a MeoStar allow me to accomplish anything a MeoPro won't let me accomplish?


Your disclaimer "Low light is an exception" is, IMO, the crux of the matter. I hunt Georgia hardwoods, and first and last light is prime time for whitetails. The lesson I painfully learned many years ago was the abrupt total loss of performance of cheaper optics below a certain light threshold, still within the "30 minutes after sunset" game regulations in Ga. A very good buck had stepped out of the woods into my food plot about 150 yards away in the fading light. I had watched him with my Zeiss binoculars working his way through the briars for about 10 minutes. No shot opportunity because the brush was so thick. As he made his way onto the food plot I picked up my rifle and could barely make him out for a few fleeting seconds, and then all I could see was fuzzy blackness. I looked again through the binos and could see him quite well, well enough to shoot, if the scope was equal to the binoculars. I was using an inexpensive Simmons. Lesson learned.


I have done enough deep woods hunting to have learned that low light performance matters. At the VX-2 level 3-9x40 on a cloudy evening, I can make out the crosshairs placed over the chest of a deer almost all the way to the last legal minute of shooting. On a non-cloudy day I can make it beyond legal hours.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248828 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by PaulBarnard
Originally Posted by mathman
Yes, the performance increase per dollar curve flattens out considerably once you get to the MeoPro level.


Part of what has me asking this question is that I am considering treating myself to a higher dollar scope. I have a highly practical side that I am doing battle with.


Once I got to MeoPro level "glass" I'd start thinking about more money for more robust mechanics instead of better "glass".


"In the real world, think of the 6.5 Creedmoor as the modernized/standardized/optimized version of the 6.5x55/.260." John Barsness 2019
Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248834 09/23/20
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If I were hunting primarily woods type country down South, I'd have an illuminated reticle in whatever scope proved to hold zero. For binos, I'd have a good medium priced ($500-$1000) 8x42.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248845 09/23/20
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"Glass" is a pretty broad term.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: JGRaider] #15248860 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by JGRaider
If I were hunting primarily woods type country down South, I'd have an illuminated reticle in whatever scope proved to hold zero. For binos, I'd have a good medium priced ($500-$1000) 8x42.


It's interesting that you mention the illuminated reticle. That's the way I am leaning. The very few first minutes and last minutes of legal light can find me searching for the crosshairs on the kill zone. I can see the crosshairs against a more open background and I can make out the kill zone on the deer, but as soon as I put the crosshairs on the target, I lose them.

I am considering a Leupold VX5 firedot. Leupold has a little known veterans program that will give me a pretty good discount.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15248867 09/23/20
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Good binocs are the shizz....best money I EVER spent on any sporting equipment. The caveat then is to USE them, religiously.

For 99.9% of hunting high dollar "Alpha" scopes are not necessary. But if it floats your boat....

I'll spend 90% of my time looking through binocs, and about .00012% looking through a scope.

Also, as someone mentioned you get into a law of diminishing returns quickly with optics. A $500 binoc is easily twice as good as a $250 one. A $1,000 binoc is by no means twice as good as the $500,and for another $1000 you'll be lucky to get 10% more in performance.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: mathman] #15248884 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by mathman
Originally Posted by PaulBarnard
Originally Posted by mathman
Yes, the performance increase per dollar curve flattens out considerably once you get to the MeoPro level.


Part of what has me asking this question is that I am considering treating myself to a higher dollar scope. I have a highly practical side that I am doing battle with.


Once I got to MeoPro level "glass" I'd start thinking about more money for more robust mechanics instead of better "glass".


How much can a buyer really learn about the robustness of the mechanics? We obviously have a pretty large body of knowledge here due in a large part to the work of Form and a few others. If someone wasn't aware of their works, how would they learn about the internals?

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