Market for high priced glass????

Feb 19, 2017
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#1
I am wondering just where the market for high priced rifle scopes came from.There must be a large market for $3,000 rifle scopes to justify the ever expanding selection of these scopes and continuing release of new models. Who the heck is buying them at such a rapid rate. Government purchases can't be that much and these would be one time purchases every ? decade or so. Hobby shooters would be the rest of the market. How many independently wealthy hobby shooters are there in the world who buy new $3000+ scopes on a frequent basis? Just wondering..... Or are there tree stands full of bubba's with deer rifles sporting Schmidt & Bender scopes out there that I don't know about?
 
Sep 16, 2009
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#3
One guy I know has purchased over 50 top end scopes. He still has a couple of dozen.
NF B.E.A.S.T, S&B 5-25’s and S&B 5-20 Ultra Shorts.
Those freaks are out there. 😁
 
Dec 21, 2009
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#4
While a $3k scope isn’t a small purchase by any means, I don’t think you need to be insanely wealthy to buy one. These scopes are usually backed by good manufacturers that will support the end user, that way you’re not out to dry when your expensive scope dies on you. Plenty of hobbies have high costs of entry, and lots of guys out there will forgo eating out and other luxuries to spend a little on some glass. There’s a reason they make ramen noodles.

And if you wait for a deal I see scopes going for considerably less than retail on the EE pretty often.
 

steve123

Lt. Colonel
Mar 16, 2008
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Flagstaff, AZ
#6
I am wondering just where the market for high priced rifle scopes came from.There must be a large market for $3,000 rifle scopes to justify the ever expanding selection of these scopes and continuing release of new models. Who the heck is buying them at such a rapid rate. Government purchases can't be that much and these would be one time purchases every ? decade or so. Hobby shooters would be the rest of the market. How many independently wealthy hobby shooters are there in the world who buy new $3000+ scopes on a frequent basis? Just wondering..... Or are there tree stands full of bubba's with deer rifles sporting Schmidt & Bender scopes out there that I don't know about?
There are a lot more people with the disposable income to buy these expensive scopes than you'd think. I personally am surrounded by them, and I'm not wealthy. Most of my other friends, though maybe not wealthy, could order one today if they really wanted to and can afford those class of scopes.

Heck I've got some nice scopes myself, it was a financial sacrifice and for the most part I'm glad I spent the money.

One guy I know had trouble buying homeowners insurance for his 1000+ guns, lol. This same guy said another guy we know has more money than God, lol. You wouldn't know these guys are that wealthy by just talking to them. Then there's my other friend who buys Cannons and machine guns like I buy cheap scopes, lol.
 

cashewnut

New Hide Member
Jul 9, 2018
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#7
There are a lot more people with the disposable income to buy these expensive scopes than you'd think. I personally am surrounded by them, and I'm not wealthy. Most of my other friends, though maybe not wealthy, could order one today if they really wanted to and can afford those class of scopes.

Heck I've got some nice scopes myself, it was a financial sacrifice and for the most part I'm glad I spent the money.

One guy I know had trouble buying homeowners insurance for his 1000+ guns, lol. This same guy said another guy we know has more money than God, lol. You wouldn't know these guys are that wealthy by just talking to them. Then there's my other friend who buys Cannons and machine guns like I buy cheap scopes, lol.
Haha, yes, this. It's just a matter of what people are willing to drop their disposable income on, even if not wealthy. Plenty of people are willing to buy expensive guns and eat Burger King for dinner.
 
Dec 20, 2017
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#10
And a standard Ford truck can run you into the $70,000 territory as well. It's all relative.

There's 300+ million people in this country alone. You don't need everyone to buy an expensive scope to stay in business.
 
Likes: Bender

speedfreak440

New Hide Member
Jan 24, 2018
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#11
Some people have tons of money to spread around all sorts of hobbies, others choose to concentrate on one or two with the money they have, either approach will get you into a $3k + scope, If you cut little corners every day it might surprise you how much that ends up being at the end of a 12 month cycle. That being said it is still a lot to spend on one scope, I have a PMII & while I'm not poor I'm not rich either, I just pick and choose where to spend my money.
 
Likes: shoobe01
Feb 13, 2017
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#13
When I first started hunting and shooting I thought spending >$1000 on a rifle or optic was insane... Fast forward 10 years and I've slowly prioritized shooting and hunting compared to my other hobbies so I've sold my cheaper rifles and optics to fund more expensive ones.

It's all relative, I have friends that will spend $2-300 a weekend going out to the bars and partying. Cut that back over a couple months and you've got yourself a really nice scope.
 
Sep 6, 2006
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#14
It’s already been said, but it’s all relative. I’m always amused when one of my friends/acquaintances scoffs of the cost of high end optics. I just point out their f350 in the parking lot, the $10k dirt bike in their garage that’s been ridden literally five times, and the $40k boat that’s sitting in a storage yard for its whole life at $150/month. Then they get kicked in the nuts on resale.


I shoot at least once a week, and sometimes much more than that. $3k is VERY easy to justify imo.
 
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m6z

Private
Mar 2, 2013
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Joplin, MO
#15
While a $3k scope isn’t a small purchase by any means, I don’t think you need to be insanely wealthy to buy one. These scopes are usually backed by good manufacturers that will support the end user, that way you’re not out to dry when your expensive scope dies on you. Plenty of hobbies have high costs of entry, and lots of guys out there will forgo eating out and other luxuries to spend a little on some glass. There’s a reason they make ramen noodles.

And if you wait for a deal I see scopes going for considerably less than retail on the EE pretty often.
I've been able to try/sell a few expensive (for me $1k+) scopes and have had no problem selling them for what I paid when I decided I wanted something else, but I'm not in the $3k market.

I think the $3k and up market is going to be fueled/filled mostly with the PRS shooters and people with a serious amount of disposable income.

Then again, $3k isn't that had to come up with when you don't have an $800 a month truck payment.. It's all about priorities.
 
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Stickshift

New Hide Member
Apr 3, 2018
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New Jersey
#16
I think a lot of it is driven by progressive upgrading. A guy spends $800 on a Vortex Viper Gen 1 or Burris XTR. After a few years, he sells it and buys a Razor Gen 1 or Bushnell ERS. Then he sells that and buys a Razor Gen 2 or a Nightforce. Then he eventually buys an S&B.

Each time you're spending a not unreasonable amount of money to upgrade - after all, you get most of your money back from reselling the last scope, so it's not like you're pulling $3k+ out of your savings account to get that S&B you've wanted for years. And when you have multiple scopes on multiple rifles and you have thousands of dollars sunk into the hobby, it becomes even easier to scrounge up some extra cash to upgrade.
 
Jun 13, 2008
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#17
Market?

You're standing right in the middle of it.

Where did it come from?

Same answer.


I've been following and/or moderating this kinda group for long enough that I remember when a Mark 4 was still considered a pretty good piece of gear. The status quo has changed so much, and is so mobile, that it is hard to even FIND at this point; my opinion for the reason behind that is threefold: gear queer + the need for gratification of being a "good shooter" + the idea that better optics will make them a better shooter.

-Nate
 
Likes: Bender
Oct 17, 2017
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Dallas
#18
When I first started hunting and shooting I thought spending >$1000 on a rifle or optic was insane... Fast forward 10 years and I've slowly prioritized shooting and hunting compared to my other hobbies so I've sold my cheaper rifles and optics to fund more expensive ones.

It's all relative, I have friends that will spend $2-300 a weekend going out to the bars and partying. Cut that back over a couple months and you've got yourself a really nice scope.
This is where I'm at. I shot an SWFA 16x for a few years and then moved up to a PST Gen 2 and then an SWFA 5-20 HD. Looking to buy a Minox/NF/RazorG2/etc. next year after I've saved up a bit.

If you get one for a decent used price, you can usually sell it for around what you bought it for and you're only out shipping costs basically to try it out. Optics, whether it's rifle scopes, DSLR cameras, telescopes, etc. usually hold their value very well.
 
Feb 13, 2017
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#19
expensive scopes track better, hold zero better, hold POI better when zoming in and out, they are clearer, and they are all together better made.

That being said, scopes 20 years ago are much better than the junk they make of today. I would say that back then, you could get away with a cheper scope easier than you could in this day and age.

I dont buy top of the line but I do buy Nikon or Leupold when it comes to a scope I put alot of demand on.
Everything goes up with inflation too. Lots of people think that because a $300 scope was good 20 years ago, that a $300 scope nowadays will be the same when really it's not near the same scope.
 

Clearlight

Full Member
Jul 23, 2014
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Brisbane Australia
#20
Reliability . Almost every mid range or budget scope brand I have used , has failed or someone I know ,
or on this site has experienced a failure . In over 30 years of shooting , only Hensoldt and March scopes
have remained 100% failure free for me . S & B runs a close second for me , with only one failure of an
older PM 2 model . For some folks , reliability is priceless , for others price is first priority .
 

Travclem

Dr. Dickweed
Jul 14, 2013
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#21
Same reason I paid $31k for a brand new truck in 2003 and $67k for a similar brand new truck in 2015. Inflation is huge. That said, I know a lot of people that have a bunch of cheap guns and optics that can't fathom paying $5k for a rifle and $3k for glass all while having well over $8k invested in their collection of junk. Personally I'd rather have quality over quantity and I believe that glass is the last place to skimp. If I had to cut costs, it would be in the rifle long before the glass.

There's also the guy I know that is an electrician in the oilfield. He lives in a trailer and drives a beater truck but he probably has a $250k gun collection. Different strokes.

Scopes generally hold value pretty well too. I had a Nightforce NXS that I bought for $1500 years ago and sold it a few months back for $1500, only a loss if you account for inflation.
 
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Bender

Something witty here
Feb 12, 2014
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#22
You want an expensive hobby?

Buy a boat.....

Try golfing.... have you seen what they can charge for green fees? I’ll tell ya, some of them cost more yearly than I make in 12 months!

$25,000 side by side toy? Used 3 times a year???

$75,000 trucks????

Ex wives????

Children????


$3,000 scope is a fuggin steal!!!
 

supercorndogs

Ham Fisted Gorilla
Feb 17, 2014
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#24
expensive scopes track better, hold zero better, hold POI better when zoming in and out, they are clearer, and they are all together better made.

That being said, scopes 20 years ago are much better than the junk they make of today. I would say that back then, you could get away with a cheper scope easier than you could in this day and age.

I dont buy top of the line but I do buy Nikon or Leupold when it comes to a scope I put alot of demand on.
The first statement is mostly bull shit, the second is complete bull shit. The third is your opinion that you are entitled to.
 
Likes: Bender

Bender

Something witty here
Feb 12, 2014
2,994
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#25
S&M and NF glasses are the best in the market. JMHO
What is S&M?

Freudian slip?

NF is nice... but the best? Meopta? Henny? Khales? Steiner? All as good or better than NF.

Don’t forget Counter Sniper. They made government over-runs and sold them to the public..... OAF.....
 

5RWill

Optics Fiend
Oct 15, 2009
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#28
You want an expensive hobby?

Buy a boat.....

Try golfing.... have you seen what they can charge for green fees? I’ll tell ya, some of them cost more yearly than I make in 12 months!

$25,000 side by side toy? Used 3 times a year???

$75,000 trucks????

Ex wives????

Children????


$3,000 scope is a fuggin steal!!!
Golfing is absurd, cost so much for tournament fees then the calcutta. Easily right there if not more expensive than precision shooting.
 
Likes: Bender

Freediver111

New Hide Member
Feb 28, 2018
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#29
My wife's student loans keep bogging us down, as well as her penchant for buying and restoring furniture that she ends up selling at cost to friends. Guess everyone needs a hobby!
That being said, we own a nice house, but we don't buy new $50K trucks and avoid payments on toys. I just paid cash for mid-2000's Sierra HD just to avoid payments. That affords me money for scopes, guns, hunting trips, etc. I still pick-up some side contracts every year to help offset the costs, but that's more low hanging fruit.
You'd also be surprised how many people blow money and have zero in retirement savings.
 
Likes: earthquake

supercorndogs

Ham Fisted Gorilla
Feb 17, 2014
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#30
I am not going to say my 20 year old MK4 M3 was not nice, but at 1200 dollars it can't touch any of the more modern scopes I have bought for that. ERS, Gen1 Razor, Steiner 4-16, Cronus, Burris XTRII, weaver 6-30x56, LRHS. The MK4 was right in line with my Burris XTR, that cost about the same at the time. Thats the old burris not the XTRII.
 
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wjm308

Send it!
Nov 30, 2012
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Black Forest, CO
#33
As has been said before, it is about priorities. Every person has hobbies, something they do that is an expense. I am an outdoors person so my hobbies tend to revolve around stuff for outdoors. If you're a hiker you'll spend money on boots and Camelbacks, etc., if you're a backpacker then you'll spend money on backpacks, tents, stoves, etc., if you enjoy fishing you'll spend money on rods, reels, etc. and the list goes on. Hobbies are what helps keep us going when other things are rough, we invest time and money into the things we love, whatever that might be. There is the old adage "the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys" and there is truth in that, when I was a teenager my life revolved around fishing and when I bought my first $100 custom rod I thought life couldn't get any better, then I got a little older and could afford a bit more, I remember telling my dad about wanting to purchase an HK91 (it was actually a Springfield Armory SAR 8, man I miss that rifle) and it was close to $1k at the time, a massive expense for me at the time but I did it because it was something I really wanted (while my dad explained the difference between wants and needs he still supported me, he was a good and wise man).
 

wjm308

Send it!
Nov 30, 2012
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Black Forest, CO
#34
To answer the OP's original question regarding where the market for high end optics came from, for me personally, it was because of Snipers Hide! Before I joined the Hide years ago I was content with my Winchester Model 70 308 and Coyote Lite 300WSM with Bausch & Lomb Elite 4000 4-16x50 and Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x44, at the time I never thought I'd spend more than $500 or so on a scope, but I was also spending $2k on camera lenses and $4k on DSLR's at the time, I've gone into semi-retirement from photography and in a sense the funds for all the photography gear transitioned into shooting gear. That Winny M70 308 with B&L Elite 4000 is now a custom SAC 6.5 Creedmoor with PROOF carbon fiber barrel with a Minox ZP5 5-25x56 sitting on top of it and the Coyote 300WSM with Zeiss Conquest was sold to fund a custom Chanlynn 7mm SAUM with Bighorn TL2 action that had a Vortex AMG on it, but just bought a S&B Ultra Short 3-20x50 and am waiting on the ZC420. I also have AR's and .22's that have pretty nice optics on them, but I've made a commitment to myself to not have more scopes than rifles and to not have more rifles than my small safe can hold and that has helped.

My advice to anyone reading this who is content with the equipment they have now and has no desire to spend more, leave the Hide and never return :eek: The Hide is largely responsible for my obsession with good gear, but let's be honest, we are more than capable of obsessing about quality stuff all on our own, but sharing in a community that does the same just promotes that addiction further ;)
 

GeoffatBurris

New Hide Member
Mar 7, 2018
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#35
A few random thoughts:
- The market for low to midrange hunting scopes is way bigger. Even with the fact that they tend to just keep the same scope forever.
- Using this website to answer Kujak's question is what my statistics teacher would have called "sampling bias." People here are not representative of the overall shooting sports market.
- No disagreement from me on buying $3k scopes. We sell some of those. But I gotta bug in my ass about calling $1,500 scopes "cheap." That's not cheap. Cheap scopes start at $35 on Amazon. 1500 bucks is upper end for the vast majority of people.
 

Freediver111

New Hide Member
Feb 28, 2018
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7
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#36
To me a $1300-$1500 scope is a fair but of coin.
I think several manufacturers make some excellent glass with rugged and reliable turrets that that price point. In my experience, although more limited than some on here, when you pay more than that you're paying for reticles, better glass, and maybe some added features. Maybe I'm wrong, but to many the price jump from $1,500 to 3K may not be worth it for small gains.
 
Feb 20, 2017
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#37
Photography is a money eater for sure, just an average kit with nothing fancy can run 10k easy, get into larger format and it gets huge.
Motorcycle drag racing, or any form of racing is a good way to turn a large fortune into a small one. To compete in any of the Pro ranks means a lottery winner's budget, every damn year.
The beauty of this sport is you can compete, maybe not win, but compete nonetheless for well under 2K. You can easily spend 4 or 5 times that as well and if you are not up to the task, that guy with the bone stock Remington 700 with a raggedy old Weaver 10x is still liable to kick your ass.
Shit, I'm typing this on a 24" Mac with a terabyte of storage, have a MacBook Pro sitting on the desk next to me, an iPad mini in my briefcase and a iPhone 6s in my pocket. I read books on a Kindle Fire. $$$$$$, everything costs too much these days.
 
Feb 10, 2017
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#38
I never would have thought I could afford an AI. But I’ve been blessed with a good job (45k) that allows me to be disciplined and save money for one and a used SS 5-20. On track to purchase the rifle package this December.

It sucks saving as I don’t eat out, I don’t buy stuff, and I haven’t shot since I spoke to MHSA about an AIAT (5/7/18). Not shooting sucks, but I will have a lifetime (currently 24 yo) to shoot the AIAT.

Its all in what you want and what you’ll do and sacrifice to get there.
 
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Jan 15, 2005
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VA
#39
If you think the scopes are expensive, whatever you do don't start looking at high end NV and thermal clip ons. They start at about the cost of what you can buy a new Ford Focus for, and top out as high as what a new fully loaded Cadillac Escalade costs.

Buy a few of those things, and $3K for a Schmidt is a fart in the wind.
 

Bender

Something witty here
Feb 12, 2014
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#40
If you think the scopes are expensive, whatever you do don't start looking at high end NV and thermal clip ons. They start at about the cost of what you can buy a new Ford Focus for, and top out as high as what a new fully loaded Cadillac Escalade costs.

Buy a few of those things, and $3K for a Schmidt is a fart in the wind.
Try out some NV binos.... I looked through some Gen 3 a while ago... $13k.... and I felt like I NEEDED them, but thank god, that wore off...my wife would have made me wear them “on the inside” if you know what I mean....
 
Oct 8, 2012
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#41
I have a pretty decent selection of top tier optics.
A couple S&Bs, a couple Premiers, a Kahles, a March, and a Tangent Theta.

I do not smoke, drink, no drugs, have an affordable house payment ($800/month) and drive an 11+ year old truck. Hunting and shooting are my vice (and passion).

None of my optics were purchased with bill money or normal paycheck funds. I do a lot of sidework, and get bonuses at work. And that money goes about 50% to buying the wife and kids presents, and 50% to my gun fund.
 

hic28

The Legman
Apr 2, 2017
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#43
I’ve always said shooting is a cheap ass hobby when compared to racing cars or airplanes.

A 2.4L 4 cylinder putting out 420+hp for a dirt midget can run upwards of 40k just for the motor, and it will need to be rebuilt before you shoot out a barrel.

Check out the reno air races if you want to see an expensive hobby where you only get one competition a year for the millions you dump into it.

I like precision shooting cause I can afford it. I can’t afford another racecar or another airplane to race.
 

supercorndogs

Ham Fisted Gorilla
Feb 17, 2014
2,870
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#45
A few random thoughts:
- The market for low to midrange hunting scopes is way bigger. Even with the fact that they tend to just keep the same scope forever.
- Using this website to answer Kujak's question is what my statistics teacher would have called "sampling bias." People here are not representative of the overall shooting sports market.
- No disagreement from me on buying $3k scopes. We sell some of those. But I gotta bug in my ass about calling $1,500 scopes "cheap." That's not cheap. Cheap scopes start at $35 on Amazon. 1500 bucks is upper end for the vast majority of people.
We bought a cheap house for 30k. Cheap can be a relative term. You can get some real nice scopes in the 1500 range, that is for sure. Some of them used to cost 2k.
 
Likes: GeoffatBurris

powerspc

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 15, 2018
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#46
Apologies up front for the fuzzy math but think about it this way:

I have scopes I’ve been shooting for 20 years. Say that one particular scope cost me $3,000 at the time. Then it’s only been costing me $150/year to shoot it. I try and shoot every week, but realistically shoot about 30 times a year, so it actually costs me $5 (five-dollars) every time I use it. Now calculate the cost of 15-20 rounds of .338 Lapua each time you shoot…That glass starts to look like a pretty good bargain doesn’t it?
 
Likes: lancetkenyon
Nov 5, 2013
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#47
I have a pretty decent selection of top tier optics.
A couple S&Bs, a couple Premiers, a Kahles, a March, and a Tangent Theta.

I do not smoke, drink, no drugs, have an affordable house payment ($800/month) and drive an 11+ year old truck. Hunting and shooting are my vice (and passion).

None of my optics were purchased with bill money or normal paycheck funds. I do a lot of sidework, and get bonuses at work. And that money goes about 50% to buying the wife and kids presents, and 50% to my gun fund.
this is me also...i do shooting/hunting/guns/knives...house is nice, but not fancy and over the top...drive older, well maintained truck and have no desire for the newest thing that gets me from A to B at the same speeds...dont care about newest clothes, shoes, etc...dont wear any jewelry/watches...use the same cell phone until its literally on its last leg and limping...once my savings/retirement/investment stuff is covered, excess gets to play...id rather look poor and have a bunch of money in the bank, than look rich under a ton of bills lol
 
Likes: kujuak

ddavis

Sergeant
May 26, 2011
928
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Texas
#48
I think a lot of it is driven by progressive upgrading. A guy spends $800 on a Vortex Viper Gen 1 or Burris XTR. After a few years, he sells it and buys a Razor Gen 1 or Bushnell ERS. Then he sells that and buys a Razor Gen 2 or a Nightforce. Then he eventually buys an S&B.

Each time you're spending a not unreasonable amount of money to upgrade - after all, you get most of your money back from reselling the last scope, so it's not like you're pulling $3k+ out of your savings account to get that S&B you've wanted for years. And when you have multiple scopes on multiple rifles and you have thousands of dollars sunk into the hobby, it becomes even easier to scrounge up some extra cash to upgrade.

Pretty much this for me. It would be hard for me to justify spending $3500 for a new scope. But I recently had a couple of scopes (that I had traded into) that were worth $1k each and I sold both of those to fund that $3500 scope that was going for $2k on the exchange here. So now I have a $$$$ scope and the way I acquired it was pretty easy to digest.
 

Clark

Gunny Sergeant
Jul 4, 2003
2,559
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WA the everblue state
#49
Where I live I am surrounded by rich liberals.
Where I hunt I am surrounded by poor conservatives.
Cars cost the same in both places, but houses are 10X as costly near Amazon headquarters.
The guys buying high end scopes are not mending fences, they are probably writing software.
 

Srikaleak

Sergeant of the Hide
May 11, 2018
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#50
Yea my situation is much more pathetic. I'm 30, live at home with my parents, save 85% of my income and spend the rest on guns, good food, and gym equipment. It's a wonder I'm single 😂😭