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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15249419 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by PaulBarnard
Originally Posted by mathman
Bold reticles help, even when not illuminated.


That gave me pause to think. I tend to prefer finer reticles. After all I do most of my shooting with my hunting guns at targets, and I much prefer finer reticles for eeking out the smallest possible groups.


As we all know I am a fan of the Made In USA scopes and you mentioned the VX5.

The illumination allows a very fine reticle that is totally usable in even darkness and can be left on for months.

Fire Dot illumination is a bit of a game changer for hunting reticle design.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15249485 09/23/20
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Lots of great info here. I haven't read it all so I apologize if I am repeating something.

As far as the lenses and not the internals, good glass isn't usually just "clearer" than mediocre glass, to me at least. Its value lies in:

Signifigantly less eye strain when glassing for hours on end (this is (hopefully obviously) for binos and spotters only)
Much better low light performance
Much better clarity when dirt and grime, condensation, etc. starts collecting on the lenses



Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15249517 09/23/20
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It appears here lately that the $400 - $600 range on both scopes and binos is a very safe place for 90% of us to be. Special applications would certainly require price points above and below this range though. The good thing is that we have tons of options. Good luck.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15249521 09/23/20
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I'm not much of a big game hunter but am a serious coyote hunter. I seriously feel the money spent on big buck scopes would be better spent on gas for the truck. If I can see a coyote coming with my bare eyes I can kill him with just about any scope I have from a Konus to a Meopta. Instead of shooting him at 500 yrds I call him in under 300 and have no need for high power or fancy turrets, just put the crosshairs on it and shoot. Last year I shot in an Egg Shoot, chicken eggs at 150 yards off shooting sticks, I made it to the final round in the Champions class(I won it a couple years ago). This years scope was a 50 yr old Balvar 8, I'm 23 years older than the scope, it is still a viable hunting scope..

After the shoot we went and decided to kill coyotes with our shoot guns. We usually use smaller scopes for calling coyotes we feel FOV trumps X's when calling coyotes
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Last edited by erich; 09/23/20.

After the first shot the rest are just noise.

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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: Jordan Smith] #15249523 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by Jordan Smith
Originally Posted by PaulBarnard
Originally Posted by mathman
Bold reticles help, even when not illuminated.


That gave me pause to think. I tend to prefer finer reticles. After all I do most of my shooting with my hunting guns at targets, and I much prefer finer reticles for eeking out the smallest possible groups.

A fine center crosshair with coarse posts is the trick. Think LRHS G2H or SS MQ.

I agree with this. Keep in mind that I have not yet run my opinion by the homunculus from Alaska yet; but, that's my take.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: badger] #15249608 09/23/20
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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.


Agreed: I live in South Alabama where most of my bucks are killed in the last minutes of daylight. My go-to scopes are from S&B, Trijicon and Nightforce. To me, those optics are worth the money in terms of low light performance as well as reliability/repeatability.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: ingwe] #15249719 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by ingwe
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.


Well said Tom.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15250009 09/23/20
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I kinda wish we had a like button available as a way to let everyone know that I read and appreciate their responses. Since we don't, I'll just say thanks to everyone.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: JohnBurns] #15250022 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by JohnBurns
Originally Posted by PaulBarnard
Originally Posted by mathman
Bold reticles help, even when not illuminated.


That gave me pause to think. I tend to prefer finer reticles. After all I do most of my shooting with my hunting guns at targets, and I much prefer finer reticles for eeking out the smallest possible groups.


As we all know I am a fan of the Made In USA scopes and you mentioned the VX5.

The illumination allows a very fine reticle that is totally usable in even darkness and can be left on for months.

Fire Dot illumination is a bit of a game changer for hunting reticle design.


I'd like to see a Fire Dot in person, but I hate to bug a local merchant when I am going to order straight from Leupold. Are you aware of any links that might provide an accurate representation of what it looks like both on and off?

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15250098 09/23/20
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Just go into a local Bass Pro Paul. They have them and you won’t feel as if you are wasting a local merchants time. They are used to tire kickers.

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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15250129 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by PaulBarnard
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.



Originally Posted by PaulBarnard
I am considering a Leupold VX5 firedot.


I appreciate that people have various conceptions of what is a reasonable amount to spend on hunting, or rifles, or optics. There are guys that accomplish more with an old lever gun and a peep sight than a good portion of the guys that buy Blasers crowned with Z8's. There's nothing wrong with a person who uses a inexpensive or even cheap rifle and cheap optics who hunts ethically and puts meat on the table. On the other hand, I think the experience that a big portion of American hunters have involves a very limited amount of time each year in the field, with a great deal of expenses involved in being there. The biggest expense is likely to be the time away from employment, careers, and businesses. There are also substantial expenses in travel, accommodations, land access, possible guide or pack expenses, and the licenses and tags. In the end, the expense of quality equipment isn't a particularly big factor unless it's only used for a single short season. Even then, it hasn't necessarily lost its value, it's just that disuse lowers its utility. Unless the money saved by buying a cheap scope could buy the hunter more time, it's not a good trade. I don't think that is the case for most people. Our time for hunting is limited and a few hundred or even a thousand dollars isn't going to buy us more.

I agree with Woodhits' comments that a rifle scope is a sight and not an observation device. I would also note that it's not a camera lens. Even on high-end Leica, Swarovski, and Zeiss rifle scopes, there are optical flaws that result in images less optically perfect than lens systems designed at similar expense for observation or photography. They aren't designed for picture-perfect images, but are fit for their purpose. For example, rifle scopes could have substantial axial chromatic aberration. The VX5HD scopes probably have less of that if they use flourite glass (often referred to as HD or ED). While anti-reflective coatings result in higher light transmission and potentially extended low-light visibility, whether less chromatic aberration makes any practical difference in the field may be a moot point. For the same reason a person wouldn't spend many thousands of dollars on a hunting trip and take along a unreliable rifle with a sight that won't hold zero even though it "could work," a rifle scope manufacturer producing a product that is high quality in every other respect isn't going to cheap-out and give the customer glass that produces bad purple fringing with the excuse that, "it doesn't affect accuracy."

Fortunately for hunters, there is a limiting factor on rifle scope expense: weight. Unless you're willing to carry an optic that weighs close to two pounds or more, hunting scopes tend to stay in the $2000 price range. I would also note that optically, scopes tend to be better at lower magnifications which also happen to be better suited to hunting due to the wide field of view.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15250662 09/23/20
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WOW cant believe how this thread exploded so fast !!!!!!!!!! lots of differing opinions.

Many years ago I got a screaming deal on a top of the line Pentax Bino, at the time they used Asahi glass that was considered top notch in my industry.

A friend took me out coyote hunting for the first time...........he whispered there is a coyote coming in.......where ???? where ????? where ??????
he handed me his Swaro 10X42 SLC's as I put my Pentax on the ground, I instantly saw the coyote picked up my rifle and was hooked for life !!!!!!

IMO buy the ALPHA bino's and spotting scope, you only NEED 1 or 2 binos (I have 4) and only need 1 spotting scope. so buy the best.....

don't have an exact number but I have 25-30 rifles and no way am I putting ALPHA on all of them it is not needed. my favorite mid priced scope Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14X40 with 30mm tube and side focus, yes the VX5 with firedot is nicer but more money.

I made a huge mistake a couple years ago and had Leupold put a target cross hair in one of my hunting scopes, it is completely unuseable for hunting as you can NEVER see it unless shooting at a white target, and now Leupold's custom shop is closed so it is a safe queen

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15250852 09/23/20
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20 years ago after going through a few pair of not so great binoculars I finally decided to pony up $830 for a pair of swarovski 10x42 slc's. That was big money to me at the time and those same binos would be about $1700 today. Those binos are my go to binos today while my buddies who were buying $2-300 binos were constantly upgrading to the next "almost as good as swaro/leica/zeiss" ones. Most of them have easily spent twice what I did by now and are still trying to find that magic $300 bino that's as good as an alpha and they still frown a bit when they look through their newest chinese wonder binos then look through mine.

For scopes on my deer rifle I have a meopta 3-12x56 for the low light performance, I've made several shots at last legal light on food plots that I couldn't have made with a leupold freedom. I'd much sooner give up the scope than the binos though. For my prairie dog rifles I've kind of gravitated to sightron SIII's as best compromise between money and repeatability. I do have a couple of nightforces on them too. I don't trust the internals of most lesser scopes. I've had some really accurate rifles start shooting 1" groups that tightened back up when I put a known good scope on it.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15251131 09/23/20
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I have a few illuminated reticle scopes. Vortex Viper PST FPS 4-16 and 6-24 were the first. Glass not great and illumination too bright. Got myself a VX5 3-15 CDS with Firedot. Great glass and the firedot is perfect for my needs when I pig hunt. Black pig and near dark was a problem, but the firedot has made it easy. You can turn down the brightness till you can barely see the red dot. Love that scope. Used it on a hog at 300 yards in light so dim that the hog was hard to see. Could not have made the shot without CDS and the firedot.

Had a Vortex Crossfire II 6-18 with V-Brite. Had problem holding Zero. Sent it back. Have an Athlon Midas 2.5-15 with illuminated reticle on my AR. I like it so far, and the lit reticle isn’t too bright.

But the VX5 with firedot is easily the best for dim light hunting for hogs.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: 603Country] #15251194 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by 603Country


But the VX5 with firedot is easily the best for dim light hunting for hogs.


Yeah that will happen.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15251567 09/23/20
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I thought everyone knew the VX6 2-12 with the illuminated long range duplex was the best hunting scope. Unless you're rich, then maybe the Z6i with BRH. smile

+1 on the firedot being very well designed. Daylight bright to dim enough that it just shows up in dark timber - not distracting, just lit enough to easily be placed on target.


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: ingwe] #15251691 09/23/20
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Originally Posted by ingwe
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.



Excellent post and very true..


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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: mathman] #15251728 09/23/20
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By disregarding low light use, you are disregarding most big game hunting in North America. Most big game animals are crepuscular, like elk, deer, pigs in many parts of the country etc etc.
So yes, that is where one sees the results with Alpha glass.
Other discussions are almost irrelevant.
Even varmint hunting Which is a daylight venture, one needs Alpha glass. My hunting club has an annual varmint hunt and I’ve hunted along side people that couldn’t even see what I was shooting at because the bins they were using did not have enough contrast to consistently spot ground squirrels at distance. Much less their schitty riflescopes.

Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: PaulBarnard] #15251735 09/23/20
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Good to excellent glass will get you first and last light capability on horns....If your eyes are good2go.

Aside from that, unless counting nut hairs or the nipples on the milk maker is your thang. Decent glass with excellent mechanics, if dialing, is more important.

Bins and spotters are for sizing the animal....Usually.

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Re: What Real Difference Does Good Glass Make [Re: mrmarklin] #15251911 09/24/20
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Originally Posted by mrmarklin
By disregarding low light use, you are disregarding most big game hunting in North America. Most big game animals are crepuscular, like elk, deer, pigs in many parts of the country etc etc.
So yes, that is where one sees the results with Alpha glass.
Other discussions are almost irrelevant.
Even varmint hunting Which is a daylight venture, one needs Alpha glass. My hunting club has an annual varmint hunt and I’ve hunted along side people that couldn’t even see what I was shooting at because the bins they were using did not have enough contrast to consistently spot ground squirrels at distance. Much less their schitty riflescopes.


I am well aware of the low light considerations. I wanted to talk about how good glass comes into play in conditions other than low light. Do you remember which scopes were so bad that they couldn't see ground squirrels at shooting distances?

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