April 14, 2017 at 6:48 pm #43470
I had the opportunity a little while ago to pick up a used Bushnell Elite SMRS FFP 1-6.5x with BTR-2 reticle for a good deal.
There was an interesting moment during the volunteer night recce at CLC in which my teammate, with a top shelf magnified optic was able to pick out a vehicle in pretty good detail that I couldn’t see with my naked eye. When he handed me his rifle and I saw what he was talking about by looking through his optic, a lightbulb went off for me. It’s not always warranted, but there are some pretty clutch moments where a magnified optic can really help.
I decided to throw the optic, in the ADM mount it came with, on a carbine today and zeroed it at the range and let me say, the flexibility this scope gives you is pretty awesome. On 1x it doesn’t feel much, if any, slower than a red dot in terms of target acquisition (I didn’t have the time to measure using a shot timer) and makes shooting at distance a breeze. I could also dial up the zoom with a quick adjust lever to see my .223 bullet holes on the target at 100yds (max distance at my range).
Here’s a full review article of the optic: Bushnell Elite Review
It’s my first experience with numbered mil turrets and, personally, I found them to be super sweet once I looked up what a mil at 100yds is equal to. It’s so easy to adjust back and forth when everything is numbered!
My experience with variable scopes is limited, but the only real downside I see is the significant weight penalty in comparison to a micro red dot. There might be other/better options out there (elcan or vortex razor hd II ?) but I just wanted to share my experience with you guys. If you can handle the penalty to both the weight of the rifle and your wallet, I would strongly consider a 1-4 or 1-6 optic.
If anyone with more time behind a variable pwer optic would like to chime in, I’m all ears. (ehem @tango)April 15, 2017 at 9:52 am #43493RoadkillParticipant
I had a Bushnell and it was great. Because I’m a dealer I ended up with a Trijicon Vcog. On one power the are exactly like a red dot. Both eyes open. Dial up for longer shots. As for price it can be substantial, but I think the Bushnell is very reasonable for what you get. The Vcog is quite pricey, but is as close to bombproof as anything you can get.
The weight is also a consideration, although I had this talk with a buddy of mine. He said he wanted to drop a few ounces on his AR by removing this and adding that. I responded, dude, you’re 35 pounds over weight, don’t worry about the weight of your rifle until the 35 are gone. He looked at me and said, you know I never thought of it like that.
RS/CTT Nov 16
HEAT1 Aug18April 15, 2017 at 11:24 am #43497tangoParticipant
@Johnnymac glad to hear you like the new optic! Both you and @Roadkill have experiences similar to my own. Some of this is in response to you guys, some is extra info for other people who may read this. Maintain context of civilians doing Team Tactics.
What I currently have right now is a Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 in MOA reticle with capped turrets and throw lever. It’s about a ~$500-$600 setup depending what mount you get.
I like MOA because it’s easier for my brain to quickly multiply 1″/100yds rather than anything metric. We grew up with the imerial system – I have no idea what 150cm tall looks like but if you tell me 60″ I got it. If I were a competition long range shooter MRAD would probably be the choice since that seems to be more of a standard in those circles. I do in fact use the subtensions on my reticle during FoF for consistent holdovers. Basically zipper up/down using each subtension.
There is only so much you can expect from small objective optics in low light. The physics of how much light they can grab and amplify just isn’t there. The Elcan you had a chance to look through on the night recce has a 32mm objective, 33% larger than just about all other 1-4x or 1-6x rifle scopes out there. The glass is undoubtedly better, and by that I mean it transmits rather than diffuses more light. In layman’s terms, that means you get more light into your eyeball and less bouncing around in the lens. More light in your eyeball means clearer picture. The Elcan design is superior for a multitude of reasons, and undoubtedly the best in the 1-6x variable zoom range for a fighting rifle. Note: it is 1x OR 4x, not 1-4x. You switch between the two completely, there is no in between.
There have been tests, and you can search Youtube, of a red dot vs. 1x scope. Nearly all I’ve seen show that there is no significant time delay going from low ready position, to target acquisition, to accurate shot placement. Notice all the high speed 3 gun dudes going to variable zoom optics these days?
Capped turrets are a must if your rifle is going anywhere other than a rifle bag or a bench rest. If you start moving around while carrying your rifle you will bump the turrets and lose your zero. Zero your rifle, cap the turrets, and use your subtensions for holdover. Fighting rifles are not meant to be extreme precision instruments you dial in to each target. Can you imagine being in the middle of a squad attack and sitting there turning your turrets?
Weight: Sure, it is heavier than a red dot. Get a lightweight mount and handguard and set your optic+mount as far back on the upper as you can for best balance. Yes, your red dot is super light and amazing at 100 yards. Yes, you can hit a target at 300yds with a red dot. Magnifying just slightly to 4x or 6x makes shots that distance a joke and I can actually tell you if the thing I’m shooting at is hostile or not. We’ve seen plenty of friendly fire at FoF and that distance is <100yds every single time. Sometimes they’re even wearing brightly colored team insignia and people still shoot eachother! Put people under stress behind a 2-3moa red dot at 300-500yds and you better start praying.
In the video of our last squad attack from CLC you can see me go from rear security, to a flank element outside the objective, to inside the huts doing CQB. When you take casualties and the plan gets improvised, that’s real. You don’t carry an SBR for CQB, DMR for Support by Fire, and a red dot 14.5″ rifle for flank element. You get one rifle that may need to do all of those jobs. It doesn’t matter if you live in the city, suburbs, or country. Do specialists exist? Yes. Do they have a place? Yes. We’re talking about civilians doing team tactics with ARs.
Trijicon ACOGs are also great. I can’t disagree that they are extremely reliable and have real benefits. Fixed magnification just isn’t for me. For the weight, price, and functionality I prefer variable zoom.
On the topic of RMR’s, this was actually taught to me by either Max or 1SGT when asking about their optics. The RMR is cool but rarely does anyone ever use it. Your brain under stress just does not process “oh wait, i’m up close so let me look over my standard shooting position for the neat little red dot”. Just doesn’t happen. They may chime in about that, and I’ve never personally had that experience, but that’s what was conveyed to me.
IMHO, variable zoom 1-6x capped turret rifle scopes are the way to go for multipurpose rifles like ours. My current 1-4x leaves a little to be desired and the next one will be the Vortex Viper 1-6x Gen2. You won’t hear me argue brand or flavor, just get the best you can afford and work with it.
Weak Men can't be virtuous. - JBPApril 17, 2017 at 7:19 pm #43576ericParticipant
I would have to disagree on the RMR. That’s strictly a training issue. I have a Acog w/RMR on the top. The RMR is my default sight only use acog 100 and out. At CTT I only used the RMR never used the Acog once.April 17, 2017 at 9:30 pm #43584Brian from GeorgiaParticipant
I have a bit of time behind a low power variable. I did a lot of research when I set out to scope my fightin’ rifle. I wanted both illum reticle (red dot or otherwise) 1x magnification for up close and the ability to PID targets and/or hit them at longer ranges. No single optic does that better than a low power variable. I’ve ran the scope at Max’s 3 times, shot it to distances of 800 yards and hunted in low light with it.
It’s a great compromise do-all scope. As mentioned, the penalty is weight and size.
There’s one other drawback; LPVs don’t have the durability of a RDS or ACOG. Mine is a US made, $700 Burris XTR 1-4 so it’s not a cheap optic. A year ago, the glass/lenses/ring or whatever inside the ocular bell just absolutely came apart in the middle of a Known Distance shoot. It had several thousand rounds on it with no problem before and Burris rebuilt it no questions asked. But still, there’s a lack of trust now.
The weight and durability issue are exactly why folks run an RMR-topped ACOG.
3-4 Aug 2013 CRCD, 2-6 Aug 2014 CRCD/Patrol, 30 Sep 2016 Run n Gun, 1-2 Oct 2016 FoF, 3-4 March 2018 DCH alumni
Team CoyoteApril 27, 2017 at 11:04 am #44035
So I ran this at last week’s range session with a fellow CLC student:
-I could not shoot it with both eyes open, my battle could though
-We didn’t notice any change in speed
-We both favored slight magnification, it seemed to better match our natural eyesight
-While heavier, it was a non-issue for us (YMMV though)
*In a few RTR drills, when we were crouched behind cover, the scope ‘went black’ on us and cost us some time
I’ll be taking it to this week’s training session for more T&E.April 29, 2017 at 5:28 pm #44139
Just an update, after today’s session I decided I’m better off with a microdot. This is a good variable optic, but I think that 75% of the time, a microdot will accomplish the same thing that the optic would with more flexibility for awkward positions and much lighter weight. The times where the optic really shines in my opinion is low light or longer distances. The variable optic still has a place, so it will remain in my arsenal, but the microdot will reign supreme for the time being.April 29, 2017 at 5:59 pm #44142xsquidgatorParticipant
Silly question, but what is a microdot? I’m assuming something with a tiny dot, like 1 MOA or something?
CTT 10-2014, CTT 1504, RnG/CQB/FoF October 2016, 2017 Georgia CTT/DA, DCH 2018.April 29, 2017 at 8:42 pm #44155
Just a small red dot, not referring to the size of the dot, just size of the overall package: Aimpoint T1/T2, Trijicon MRO, etc.
In this case it’s a Primary Arms (PA) Advanced Microdot. Now before I get flamed- PA is not considered comabt grade. I have/had about 5 or 6 of these and encountered two defects. One was the windage and elevation dials were swapped, and one that let moisture in. The one that let moisture in was replaced free of charge. The other I got used for a steal, specifically because of those knobs being switched. I learned with these, you need to torture test them before placing them on a rifle: run under shower head, drop in bowl of water for hours, then zero on a rifle, take it off, toss it around, then place it back on- then check that it can maintain zero. THESE ARE NOT IN THE SAME CLASS AS TRIJICON OR AIMPOINT (in terms of QA). But I will say that they are a pleasure to use for 25% of the cost of a T1. If you want piece of mind, by all means get an Aimpoint. In fact, if you’re only going to have one red dot, get an Aimpoint. Nevertheless, I’ll continue to use a mix of these microdots and Aimpoint Pros.May 5, 2017 at 7:47 am #44322jimParticipant
Just finished Missouri RS/CTT. Used Vortex Steike Ealge 1-6×24. Love the optic. As was said, very little time difference from Eotech/micro rds. Day two was VERY rainy. Many many water droplets inside the optic.
Returned to Vortex for warranty.
As was also said, trust is an issue now.May 14, 2017 at 6:20 pm #44528jimParticipant
So an update. Put the optic in the mail on Friday the 5th. Got a brand spanking new one in the mail yesterday the 13th. No questions asked. Original was even sloppily painted green.
Says alot for their customer service.
Still not confident about wet weather training though.May 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm #44532veritas556Participant
Anyone with experience with an Eotech + magnifier care to chime in? Does the rear tube kill the awesome field of view in the Eotech? Is the clarity of the 3x comparable to what you’d get with a 4x tubed scope?June 5, 2017 at 9:28 am #45163pixelmanParticipant
I’ve run the Eotech with their magnifier and while useful, its not up to snuff compared with decicated glass.
I have the flip ovrr mount and it occasionally snags on things when flipped out of the sight path.
Im currently using the Trijicon vcog. Expensive and relatively heavy, but built likea tank and a pleasure to use.
Formerly known as Pixelman.
HEAT 1. Apr 2019June 6, 2017 at 5:02 pm #45208PinkyParticipant
I am in the process of transitioning off of some Aimpoints (M4/PRO’s) over to variables (Steiner P4Xi 1-4X). My experience (YMMV) and logic:
1. mild astigmatism (I think) – a slight starburst on RDS’s, some hardly noticeable, some pretty bad.
2. need/desire to shoot and see stuff better at 200Y+.
3. have tried RDS+magnifier for a while – FoV is bad and eye relief really bad. They are good in a pinch for longer distances, but I did not like it. Also, see comment 1 and magnify said starburst effect.
4. Tried a Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6X and liked the ability to go longer, but the up-close was harder/slower. I think due to the 1x not being a true 1x (a problem with lower end variables)
5. Moved to Steiner and love it – glass is great, eye relief is great, and you have the option of an illuminated red dot for 1X use. Still get a tiny but of blurry on it, but you don’t have to turn it on. “Seems” to be just as fast on target up close, but have not objectively measured. 1X seems to be true 1X or close enough for me not to notice like I did on the Vortex.
6. downsides – bigger/heavier than RDS. Have to adjust zoom as desired (throw lever helps greatly). battery life of red dot is not anywhere near that of Aimpoint.
I agree with everything JohnnyMac said in general. As stated, YMMV, but worth trying if you have the astigmatism issue and/or want a bit better view of things far away.
I am currently trying it out on a 12″ barreled 6.5 Grendel and really liking the versatility (of the optic and the cartridge).
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