Cheap Rifle Scopes Vs Quality Rifle Scopes

Rifle scope prices can start as low as $40 and go up to several thousands of dollars. If you are in the market looking for a scope and don’t know the difference between a cheaper scope and quality scope, you shouldn’t buy a rifle scope at either price spectrum. There are benefits to buying a less expensive scope. If you are stalking deer in thick and brushy areas, a cheaper scope with lower magnification is more than sufficient. If you seldom take your rifle out and shoot it fifty times a year, getting a cheap scope will be a good idea. If you’re shooting under fifty or forty yards at the shooting range, the only difference between a $90 scope and an $800 scope will be the price. However, if you plan to do more than what a product is capable of, problems will arise. In this article we’ll bring to light problems you may see when buying a cheaper rifle scope, so that you’ll be better educated when you are making a decision on which one to purchase.


Different models of the same brand of scope can differ in price based on magnification, but in this case the resolution will be similar. Different brands of rifle scopes will differ in price based on resolution at ranges, often times beginning from 100 yards out. Another reason why a cheaper scope may produce blurry images is the quality of coating on the glass. sig sauer 6.5 creedmoor rifle Full multi coating is not cheap and is usually an area where manufacturers pass the savings down to the customers. Cheap quality coating will transmit less light, thus making it very difficult to hunt at dusk and dawn. A large objective lens may gather more light but a smaller objective lens with better coating will do just as well, if not better. If investing in a quality scope, fully multi coated lenses by a reputable manufacturer is the way to go.

External Construction

Cheaper scopes are not meant to last through the years, if it does happen to break, the pricing is attractive enough to buy another one! Expensive scopes focus on value for your money, an area where you will see the most value is durability. High quality manufacturers test their scopes in different temperatures and shock levels. Through these tests, a quality scope will endure the humid seasons of the South and the cold hunts in the Rockies, all while absorbing more shock.

Always look for weather proofing key words such as fogproof, shockproof, waterproof, rubber armored, scratch resistant. Many quality scopes have these characteristics standard to their products. It is very important that the outer construction of a rifle scope is solid. Solid construction prevents water from seeping in the scope and protects it from bumps and bruises. Although some rifle scopes are advertised as waterproof, cheaper scopes have O-rings that are not sealed as quality scopes; this can lead to fogging and internal parts will fail as a result. If you were to fully submerge a Leupold or Nikon scope underwater, you can be confident that the scope will stay dry in side.

Internal Construction

The risk of failing internal parts also goes up exponentially when purchasing a cheaper scope. If you’re a shooter that shoots often, do not be surprised to see some of the following problems.

Reticles have been known to go off-center, shift, and even break. In my earlier hunting years, I’ve had a rifle scope turn from a + to an x after a few rounds.

When your gun setup goes from one climate to another it will experience fluctuations in weather conditions. Changes in temperature will lead to condensation on the lens. Fog in a scope will render it useless. If a scope fogs, it is the effect of a bad internal gas purging system, look for nitrogen or argon purged rifle scopes.

Windage and Elevation Adjustments

Cheaper scopes will naturally be made of cheaper materials. A clear example of this is construction of the turrets. While scopes that have elevation/windage adjustments will work well when initially purchased. Over time and use, quality rifle scopes will still click ¼ of an inch at 100 yards as advertised, while cheaper scopes may not be as reliable, this difference can make sighting in a chore or a breeze.

Often times the low quality of internal construction of cheaper rifle scopes will result in instruments that are very sensitive to recoils and changes in magnification. Be prepared to re-sight in if a cheaper rifle scope cannot handle the rifles recoil or if the magnification power changed.

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