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rgbwmb's picture
Joined: 02/19/2011
Posts: 26

Check this out if you are looking to buy a new or used scope. I currently have 4 scopes that I have compared at low light conditions, low and high power, close and far. They are a used Bushnell 3.5-10x42 scopechief, a used Pentax Lightseeker 30 4-16x50, a new Weaver Super Slam 3-15x42, and a new Burris Signature Select 4-16x44. Here is the rankings as the above tests warranted according to light gathering, clarity, overall picture when looking through the scopes....in 4th place is the Weaver, good light gathering, great build quality, not as crispy clear as others, overall picture is smallish and like looking through a tube. In 3rd place is the used Bushnell, nice large picture, clear and bright, good quality build, best buy for bucks. In 2nd place is the new Burris, only superior to the Pentax in build quality, is the new style body, very bright, big picture, very clear at higher powers, nice, nice, nice. That leads us to the 1st place Pentax with it's best overall impression when you look through it, these are the old Burris Signature bodies that were a fine scope, the build quality not as good as the new Burris design but the glass on these Lightseekers is awesome!!!! I also had a brand new Pentax Lightseeker 4-16x44 that I sent back because the power indicator dot did not line up with the power indicated. In other words, 4 power indicated 5 and 16 power indicated 17. That new Pentax was also compared to the Weaver and was also superior. The bottom line and the reason I posted this is to enlighten hunters and shooters as to what is available in quality optics. Not everyone has the opportunity to compare side by side top line scopes as I did. My findings are not disputable as these are real world comparisons done at my home as the sun is rising in the AM on many different occasions. Many variable power scopes at different price levels show well at low power, but when the power gets cranked up is the uh-oh moment where the clarity diminishes and the picture darkens significantly. Also eye relief can decrease as well...not so on the scopes I tested. I hope this post helps someone in their search for a good scope. I might add one last but important item...Warranty! Pentax and Burris have tremendous warrranties...check it out. By the way...I bought the Weaver with all intentions to mount it on my 300wby. I got a smoking deal on it and after I bought it I got a smoking deal on the above mentioned New Lighsteeker. That is when the comparisons began and the superiority of the Pentax/Burris were established. I have also owned Leupold vari-x 3 and the Pentax/burris is superior...Just the facts!!!!

benjicunney's picture
Joined: 08/20/2010
Posts: 21
Excellent post, that was a

Excellent post, that was a great description of the ligth qualities of each scope. While my experience with Pentax is limited; I would agree that the Burris products are excellent. They have really made a great product in the signature select series. Their lenses have excellent coatings and the internal lenses are a lot larger than many other comparable scopes. 

If ever in the market for another scope check out www.betteryourhunt.com

Don Fischer's picture
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3213
Without the proper equipment

Without the proper equipment I'm not sure how you can tell the light gathering qualities. Your eyes might see something different than other eyes would. You can see clarity but again only in relation to your own eyes. Most scopes have an adjustment on them for individual eyes. To tell the truth I've never found it to help other than bringing the cross wires into proper focus. But if it does that, I would assume everything else is changed a bit too.

For the most part I believe that most of the talk today about scopes is just something to talk about. There are a whole lot of good scopes out there, personnal preference of one over the other is about what wins out, or manufacutere reputation. Leupold seem's to have the best reputation and it has certainly been deserved. But if you take their low price model scope against against their high price model and compare just the clarity, I doubt there's much difference really. Certainly not measureable with the naked eye. And both scopes will get the same lifetime warrenty! The new Redfield they are making gets the same warenty.

For all the fuss over Leupold and their well derserved reputation, I doubt that their product is all that much better than many of the others on the market. What is better is the way their customer service works and how they stand behind their products.

I've never owned a Pentax scope but have used some Pentax cameras. Optics are optics and Pentax optics are wonderful. I would not hesitate to buy one if I needed a new scope other than a very old preference for Redfield scopes. My new Redfield is probably in truth no better than many other brands on the market but it does say Redfield on the tube!

I have never tried a Burris scope either. The Burris brother's were working for Redfield in Denver when they quit and opened up their own business in Greeley. I lived in Greeley then and had the unfortunate opertunity to meet them, I did not like them at all so have never bought a product other than a grove mount set of rings for a 22. That was long ago and those have been very good rings. It's the brother's I did not like, customer service like they had then, arrogent, turns a lot of people off a product even though it may be a good product.

I do have a couple Nikon scopes and I am a Nikon camera fan. The scopes are very good scopes but I doubt I'll ever get another. Problem being customer service. I bought a 4 1/2-14x Nikon that had the BDC reticule in it, it was all they had at that store and sporting goods are a long way from here. I took it home and called Nikon to see about changing the reticule, no dice. They told me to take it back and have the store order the scope with the reticle I want in it. Had that been Leupold I believe they would have told me where to send it and had it back post haste. Another example where customer service has cost a company business. I don't know about Bushnell and others. I have a very old 3-9x Bushnell Banner on my 25-06. It has never failed me. In the right situation I would buy another Bushnell.

I have had Weaver scopes and they were decent scopes but the clarity was never there for me. One writter once said of them, "they must have clearer air in Texas". That's where Weaver was then. I might add that the worst scope I ever owned was also a Weaver. Inexpensive 1" tube scope. I would not judge the company by that one example though.

A scope I had great success with was a Tasco World Class, $89 scope in the world of $200 scopes! It was on a 25-06 for a number of years and then my 6.5-06 for several more. I recently gave it to a guy I know for his son. It was a good scope, very clear. But I had a Tasco Pronghorn on that same 25-06 befor it and shot it off the rifle in no time. What I mean is that the ring that holds in the front lens striped its threds and the lens was very loose, aluminum. Difference between night and day in those two scopes but the money difference was only about $30!

One thing I am sure of is that if I buy any of the well known brands of scope, I'll get a good product; I know that everyone turns out a lemon now and then and I know that Leupold customer service is second to none. Guess what? I've only owned one Leupold in my life. It was a very good scope.

The bottom line is that you can test scopes from now till the end of time and the true difference between a thousand dollar scope and a decent $200 scope isn't anywhere near $600! The hunting public is well served with any good well known brand of scope. What is more important and often over looked is the different power ratings and how much is really needed. The better you can see, the better you can shoot origionally refered to the clarity of the scope more than the power for the hunter. Power came in in the target shooting game. It has carried over to the hunting side and a lot of people put far more scope on a rifle today than they will ever need.

ndemiter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: lawrence, KS
Joined: 05/17/2007
Posts: 647
how were you able to quantify

how were you able to quantify the light transmission? with a meter similar to the ones used for photography?

i was wondering, also, if you tried any durrability tests on them as well... but you may not have wanted to goof one of them up.

it was a good post though. I'm really unfamiliar with pentax optics but i've heard some great things. maybe i'll try one of them out soon.

but i do love my leupolds and nikons as well!