What do I actually NEED?

Big_Kumar

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I am trying to decide what to put on my M1A. It is sitting in a Sage EBR chassis with an 18” barrel. Depending on the conditions, it is a 1000 yd rig with 175’s. Most of its time is spent hog hunting and hitting steel at 400-800 yds. I also appreciate value and don’t want to spend $1500 when $800 will get the job done.

Features that matter to me (in order)
-Ruggedness - Not that I will try to destroy it, but I don’t want to have to baby it
-Mechanical accuracy - I need it to track true
-Illuminated reticle
-Max magnification of 12-15 - I would be willing to extend that to 10x-18x max
-Optical clarity - I think anything that I am looking at will be good enough for my use

I would love to drop a Nightforce NXS 3.5-15x50 F1 on top of it, but I can never find one when I have the funds together. My next choice would be an NXS 2.5-10x42, but I would like a little more magnification and FFP. I have also looked at the Vortex PST Gen II 3-15, but I don’t know if it will be rugged enough to bounce around on a heavy rig. The Burris XTR II 3-15 is another one that I have considered. My question is, will the Vortex or Burris do what I need, or do I need to spend the money on the NF glass? Are there any other comparable options that I am not looking at?
 
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Big_Kumar

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The PST and XTR both put checks in all the boxes, but I am still not sure about them. I like the reticle in the PST but I don’t know if they are tough enough to bounce around in the back of a truck strapped to a 20 lb rifle. The Razor could very well be the answer to that problem.
 

BlackCat92

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The PST and XTR both put checks in all the boxes, but I am still not sure about them. I like the reticle in the PST but I don’t know if they are tough enough to bounce around in the back of a truck strapped to a 20 lb rifle. The Razor could very well be the answer to that problem.
I chose the razor after checking both out at Cabelas. The pst is very very nice, but I agree the razor seems more robust. One good thing is it doesn’t matter though. Vortex VIP warranty basically guarantees you have a working scope even if you break it.
 
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Big_Kumar

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I keep coming back to the PST and find myself comparing basically everything else to it. Like I said, the one concern is if it will stout enough to get bumped around. The NXS F1 is definitely tough enough, but I can never find one or find them too late.

I don’t know enough about the Brownell’s MPO, but they seem to be pretty good from everything that I have seen/read. Same with the Optika6. The biggest problem with both of them is I don’t think they have MOA reticles.
 

BlackCat92

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I keep coming back to the PST and find myself comparing basically everything else to it. Like I said, the one concern is if it will stout enough to get bumped around. The NXS F1 is definitely tough enough, but I can never find one or find them too late.

I don’t know enough about the Brownell’s MPO, but they seem to be pretty good from everything that I have seen/read. Same with the Optika6. The biggest problem with both of them is I don’t think they have MOA reticles.
Vortex will literally replace a scope that’s been ran over. Beat on it all you want, as long as their warranty doesn’t change you can send it in for repair
 
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Big_Kumar

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I have a number of Vortex scopes and I really like them. Never had anything but good things to say about their customer service too (answering questions, never needed warranty work). The goal is to get a scope that can withstand an accidental drop or bump on a heavy rifle rather than one that will be replaced with no questions asked. But the warranty absolutely gives some piece of mind.

I guess the question would be better phrased as “do I need a Nightforce or will the PST be tough enough?”
 

nn8734

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You NEED a nightforce.....Nightforce.....NIGHTFORCE!!!

j/k, buy the Vortex then trade up into the nightforce when your situation permits. The Vortex should withstand whatever youre going to throw at it, unless you are taking it to the sand box or plan on using it as a billy club when you run out of ammo.
 
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Big_Kumar

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This is more and more what I am leaning towards. The PST should be more than enough for my needs in terms of durability and and everything else. If I feel under-glassed in the future I can always upgrade.

Basically, the PST meets the needs and the Nightforce meets the wants at this point.
 

KnightCar

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You will never go wrong with a Kahles 624i Skmr3 RSW.
 

M8541Reaper

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Passed my M1A onto my dad (used to be topped off with a MK4) but if I were to run it again, I'd toss my NXS F1 on it. I know you said you couldn't find one when the funds were ideal, but there's a few NXS F1s in the optic's forum listed between like 1200 and 1500, all of which have been listed for a while. You could probably work out a price closer to what you're looking to spend on the other options listed here.

If you're going to spend close to 900 on a PST Gen2, you might as well spend 1200 on an NXS F1. I think there's also a few on the Facebook "Nightforce Owner's Group" or at least there were a few weeks ago.

I've never used a Razor but I wouldn't insult the M1A by putting a PST Gen2 on it lol. To be fair, there is nothing wrong with em for what they run and my brother and a buddy both run em without issues (no offense to them but I also doubt that either would notice if there was an issue lol), just personally I count justify buying one.

HOWEVER ...
The biggest issue you need to conquer is the M1A scope base. I forgot what I went with on mine, but don't skimp and make sure you do your research on em. Shit, I'd even consider welding it on lol.
 
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Rerun7

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PST, XTRII or an LRTS would do what you need and leave you plenty of money for ammo.

Not that getting a higher end scope is a bad thing but it’s not necessary. I ran an XTRII for quite a while and it tracked great, was very robust and I never missed a shot because of the glass.
 

Big_Kumar

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I am running a Sage DCSB for the mount, which probably isn’t the best, but it definitely isn’t the worst either.

I thought about an ACOG for a split second from a ruggedness standpoint, but they sit higher than I want and I would like more magnification.

This has basically evolved from are the PST/XTR lines going to be tough enough (I think they would be) to the standard question of is the NF worth the extra money. I know there are diminishing returns for performance vs dollar at some point and now I just need to figure out what my threshold is.
 

Big_Kumar

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While I do appreciate wood and irons, this particular rig is going in a different direction. It all started because my Doc carried the chassis in the sandbox as then sold it to me for cheap.

That is a very clean setup that you have though.
 

BlackCat92

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Same here. Look for a Razor Gen II in the PX. Plenty come up for sale and usually at good prices.
I actually have one coming from Liberty Optics right now which is a solid company. Also are you West Desert Shooter on YouTube?
 
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HiDesertELR

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Way ahead of you
I'm kind of in the same boat, my eyes are getting older and I'm not sure I can see the difference in some these high-end optics. I hold my XTRII 3-15 next to my Trijicon 1-8 and for the life of me, can't see any difference. I compared an ATACR next to a Gen 2 Razor, and the ATACR glass actually bothered my eyes where the Vortex didn't. Go figure.

I'd get behind as many as you can and go for something that has a known reputation for durability, tracking, good warranty, and does what you need it to.

Read this 2014 article from @lowlight - my favorite line "Fuck Glass and screw you for making it an issue"
 
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Big_Kumar

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That is a great article. He kind of got to the point towards the end where he talks about track record and customer service. Is it worth a little bit more money up front to have a scope that will work when you fly, drive, and hike in to your hunt/match/whatever or to find that it failed but the customer service is great? I absolutely appreciate a solid warranty and outstanding customer service, but I am thinking that it is worth the money to have a little bit more peace of mind that I won’t need it. Anything can break, but I would like to minimize the chances while staying in a “reasonable” budget if possible.
 
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Dbspaded7

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Have you looked at Athlon Optics. They definitely are worth looking at. The Athlon Ares BTR Gen 2 just might be the best sub 1000$ scope. Warranty isnt bad either. Optics are subjective. I think Athlon for the price have good glass. Vortex are great too. In my opinion Athlon, wouldn't be wrong to go with vortex.
 
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Big_Kumar

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I have not looked at Athlon, and I don’t really know a whole lot about them. Guess I will have to educate myself. From the little that I do know about them, they are supposed to be pretty good for the money.
 

Dbspaded7

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I am new to Athlon as well. I bought the Athlon Cronus BTR. So far I am very happy with it. Glass is really good. I just know the Athlon Ares BTR gen 2 (849$) has all your requirements and I dont think you would be disappointed. So my Cronus BTR I would compare to a Vortex Razor gen 2, Steiner TX5I etc.. I picked mine up for 1400$. For the money I think you cant go wrong. I was originally going to go with Vortex. Honestly I would be really happy with any of them. Also you should know I am definitely no pro on glass and you should go with what works best for you and your budget. I can only speak for my Cronus BTR and not the Ares BTR, my Athlon experience is limited. But it's worth a look.
 

porridgebird

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Vortex will literally replace a scope that’s been ran over. Beat on it all you want, as long as their warranty doesn’t change you can send it in for repair
What Leupold?? Made in USA, great glass, they have great service and lifetime warranty and less $$ than a niteforce! Just sayin’
 
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ubettcha

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The eyebox on the razors is very easy to get behind. NSX Nightforce not so much they are kinda tight.
I use a USO with the gen2XR which I like. I also have 2, pst gen 1 6x24 ebc 2, shv with Moar, PM II with P4 and mil dots/diamonds on a few older scopes from LEo and swfa. The Leo's are the only ones I've had issues with tracking. They are older scopes 2 10x and 1 4.5-14
Pick a reticle in your price point. If a simple mil dot will work the 5-20 swfa will be more than rugged enough. If 10x fixed works the HD swfa is alot of bang for the buck.
If you feel you need a nightforce ramen noodles and kraft mac and cheese for a few meals and it's all good.
 
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Big_Kumar

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I cannot tell you guys how much I appreciate your opinions and feedback. I try to listen more than I speak because I figure I will learn more from those that know more than me.

I looked at some of the Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14 FFP scope and was very interested in the Impact reticles, but no illumination marked them off the list.

I may show my ignorance, but I have always mentally filed the NF SHV F1 in the hunting scope category. I think it probably puts checks in all the right boxes and I just over looked it. I am going to have to look into them a little bit more.
 
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BlackCat92

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What Leupold?? Made in USA, great glass, they have great service and lifetime warranty and less $$ than a niteforce! Just sayin’
I hate to talk about brands I know nothing about. I mainly have shot Nikon and Vortex. I was maybe 12 the last time I shot through a Leupold and it was a great piece of glass from what I remember. I looked through a couple at Cabelas awhile back but to me the Razor has better eye relief but I could just be an idiot. Different strokes for different folks.
 

Big_Kumar

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Once again, I really appreciate the feedback. I think right now I’m leaning towards finding an NXS F1, because I am thinking that the bump in price is worth the extra peace of mind for ruggedness.

The NXS is almost definitely more than what I need, and I am certain that the PST 2, XTR 2, etc. will more than meet my needs as well. This time has morphed the same as every other time I try to buy glass from “what will get the job done” into “are the additional features worth the price increase”. I am probably not going to buy an NXS F1 anytime soon because A) I don’t see the MOA models listed very often and B) I need to pinch a few more pennies to not completely empty my “extra curricular” fund.
 

bigd081285

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Once again, I really appreciate the feedback. I think right now I’m leaning towards finding an NXS F1, because I am thinking that the bump in price is worth the extra peace of mind for ruggedness.

The NXS is almost definitely more than what I need, and I am certain that the PST 2, XTR 2, etc. will more than meet my needs as well. This time has morphed the same as every other time I try to buy glass from “what will get the job done” into “are the additional features worth the price increase”. I am probably not going to buy an NXS F1 anytime soon because A) I don’t see the MOA models listed very often and B) I need to pinch a few more pennies to not completely empty my “extra curricular” fund.

Hey I reccomend the viper but you definitely wont be disappointed with a NF sir