$500 Entry Level Scope

EastCOYotes

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My brother in law is looking for a $500 scope to get into long range shooting. He is eyeing the 6-24 Vortex Diamondback Tactical, which looks like a solid choice to me. Any other recommendations? I though the Bushnell Match Pro might be good to consider as well.

I only have experience with the $1000 and up range so not sure what the best value at the $500 mark is
 

Gwain

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You can find a Riton 4-32x56 for 700 right now.
 
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sam4886

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Does camera land still have the athlon Ares gen 1 on clearance? They were $389 I think. Ffp, illuminated, mil or moa, 2.5-15x.
 

Vodoun daVinci

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Athlon of his choice from Doug at Cameraland NY. If one wants the best bang for the $ in an entry level scope it'd be Athlon or maybe the Vortex Crossfire II or Vortex Diamondback.

VooDoo
 

patriot07

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After having both, I've pretty much decided that I prefer low-end Athlon to the low-end Vortex. The Midas BTR that I got from Doug is an excellent scope for the $, better than any sub-$500 Vortex that I've tried. I'd think the Ares for $389 would be an excellent value.
 

Healy

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If illumination isnt important you can find the swfa 3-15 for $500 lightly used. It is a tough proven scope made in japan
 

Hollywood 6mm

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The Bushnell Match Pro is one hell of a scope for $499. I have one on my 22LR, but we ran it on a 308 out to 1047 yards during testing without issues. 30mm maintube, 6-24 mag range, 18MIL total adjustment range, MIL reticle, 10MIL turrets (not the 5 and 6 MIL on a lot of cheaper scopes), and really solid glass quality.
 

FN-Whitney

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Athlon is a great option in that price range. Call Doug at camera land, great place to do business.
 

Vodoun daVinci

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Started on a Vortex Crossfire II 6-24X50 and traded up to an Athlon Argos BTR 10-40X56 this season which is less than $500 and is pretty much a Vortex Golden Eagle at 1/3rd the $. The glass isn't as good as the Golden Eagle but one should expect (and will get) good glass with Athlon but it won't be excellent like the GE at this price.

Athlon continues to amaze me - my nephew bought a higher end Athlon Ares based on shooting my Athlon scope and likes it as well as his comparable Night Force scope. There are differences in quality but bang for the $ you'll have trouble beating the Athlons for entry level optics.

VooDoo
 
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N.Parish

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Primary arms 3-18x50 athena mil is a great 500 dollar option. Great reticle and they have rock solid performance and customer service. I would check them out for sure. Better than the lower priced vortex stuff and right on par with the athlon ares. Imo the reticle in the primary arms scope is alot better but again just my opinion. I have shot all of scopes mentioned above and would go with the ares or the primary scope over the vortex
 

Forward543

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If you can bump your price to $750- $800, you can get a bushnell dmr or burris xtrii off of the used px. They will track well and be usable.
 

Average guy

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My son just bought a gen1 pst 6-24 ffp for 599 at sportsmans warehouse. That’s a lot of scope for the money. I’ve heard lots of good about Athlon Midas also.
 

Backcountryguy

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The SWFA SS fixed power scopes are very solid scopes for the money...but that said I really prefer variable power scopes and I like my Midas TAC 6-24x50 a lot more than my SWFA SS 12x42
 

Farmerdanss

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Doug At CameralandNY. Athlon Ares BTR 2.5-15. Mil Mil. Period. Don't miss out on this helluva deal. And don't think you need higher mag.
 

acudaowner

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swfa's s , bsa's , vortex has a few in that price range not sure how good these are have not gotten one yet but they have scopes in that price range https://swampfoxoptics.com/ not a lot of video's showing details of them out there . But there are options to look at . Good luck on and with your final choices .
 

stello1001

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If an outdated reticle will work for the user, I highly suggest getting a weaver tactical. Glass is amazing and scope works/tracks true. Built like a tank!
 

mosin46

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wow,just looked at the swampfox site. IF they = athlon's exc optics,overall quality and righteous CS,then could be a competitive cat fight.
 

EastCOYotes

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Lots of good feedback here, appreciate it guys.

He is liking what he sees with the vortex diamondback offerings and I’m kind of leaning to the Athlon side since I’ve heard good things there as well.
 

gopherslayer

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I can vouch for the Weaver having excellent glass. I have a 3-15 iEMDR. It sits on my large frame 308 and is a very nice optic, especially when I paid a little over $500 for it.

Vortex has a great warranty. 🤪 I also have an IOR 4-14 I bought off the Hide classifieds back in 2008 from another member and it’s still going strong and we know what kind of reputation they have. Who knows, it’s a crap shoot.
 
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stello1001

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I can vouch for the Weaver having excellent glass. I have a 3-15 iEMDR. It sits on my large frame 308 and is a very nice optic, especially when I paid a little over $500 for it.

Vortex has a great warranty. 🤪 I also have an IOR 4-14 I bought off the Hide classifieds back in 2008 from another member and it’s still going strong and we know what kind of reputation they have. Who knows, it’s a crap shoot.
It's one of those more budget friendly scopes but provide great reliability. At least for me, I thought it was excellent and it's the one scope I regret selling. I've only heard of one person having to send a weaver in (not the tactical model but one in a lower line) and weaver replaced it with a much better one. I will vouch for the tactical line once again...
 

idgunnut

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The Sightron S tac 4-20x50 has always worked really well for me, I love the 2 moa reticle and can be had for a little over 400. I have read really good things about the midas tac and plan on picking one up
 

Alabusa

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For my 22lr, I had the 4-16 Diamondback Tactical and returned it and got an Athlon Argos BTR 6-24x50. I made a good choice. The Athlon is the better scope, all around, in my opinion.
 

E. Bryant

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My two choices:

- Call Doug at Cameralandny and see what deals he can cook up. Adding another $100-150 to the budget might open up the choices considerably.

- Pick up a used SWFA 3-15x42 from the Hide PX or Samplelist.com

The SWFA 3-15x is my personal choice over a Chinese scope with more mag and/or fancier features, but many other people feel differently and they are not necessarily wrong.
 

pewpewfever

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What kind of long range shooting? Recreational? Competitive? Vortex is a good brand with an unbeatable warranty and the best service I’ve ever encountered. Blew me away when I tried to buy new turret covers and they sent them to me for free. I didn’t even pay shipping.

SWFA scopes gave a good rep, but the reticle lines are way too thick to me. Vortex are thinner, and higher end scopes have even thinner reticle lines. I started out with vortex but moved up to a Schmidt for the even thinner lines and improved glass that makes reading mirage a breeze.

I’ve never tried a diamondback, and I never see them in competition. It’s difficult for me to recommend a starting scope less than a Vortex Viper PST and the ebr-2c reticle ones are cheap now they came out with the ebr-7c. I think you can get a new one of those for about $700 and a used one should be in your price range. The warranty is transferable and forever.

If you are planning to do PRS competition, then the 5-25x50 is what I see being used. I like the 3-15x too, especially on an AR. But at PRS matches, which are at ranges past what an AR can do, folks seem to be using 12-18x mag, and cheap glass gets foggy at the highest mag setting. So the 5-25x yields a clear picture in the 12x-18x range.
 
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Backcountryguy

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I’ll just toss it out there that Athlon literally has the exact same warranty as Vortex. Lifetime warranty, fix or replace, free of charge to the customer. They responded very quickly and professionally when I was emailing them one day.

I sent my Midas TAC off for repair and I had it back in my hands 5 days after I shipped it. The scope itself was not broken, but I dropped my rifle and it landed on my sunshade first. It caused the sunshade to “jump” threads or something and it was seized up. For the life of me (and I am pretty strong) I could not get that damn thing to come off. So I sent it in, and whether they fixed or replaced I can honestly say I’m not sure and don’t remember. All I can tell you is I looked at the threads on both sunshade and scope and neither were damaged in any way.

They received my scope and the technician that repaired it within hours of them receiving the scope called me personally on the phone to let me know he fixed it and it was back in the mail. That is great customer service in my opinion.

As of now, I have no need or desire to buy some fancy and expensive German scope, so I’ll continue buying Athlon as long as their products keep performing and their customer service stays impeccable. I have 2 Midas TACs currently, and I’m planning on grabbing an Ares ETR next probably at the beginning of next year
 
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Runnineh

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Eurooptic has gen I viper pst's 6-24 for 550ish right now...definitely a great entry scope
 

pewpewfever

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I didn’t know that about Athlon scopes warranty. I’ve never tried one, or seen one at a PRS match, so it’s really not on my radar. I saw an article that surveyed 173 PRS competitors though, and it looked like 1 or 2 pros used Athlon, so they must make a suitable optic. And of course, it could be that Athlon offers better prices by spending less on advertising and not sponsoring a lot of pros. Could be one to consider, but I don’t know anything about Athlon.

The PRS type competition scope will serve well for recreational target shooting, hunting, shtf, etc. But if you go to an NRA long range shooting match at fixed ranges, practically everyone is using SFP and Sightron is popular. So it helps to know exactly what the uses will be. I think the PRS type scope has the most flexibility, but 3-15x would be better for hunting if that’s the main purpose due to fov at the low end.
 
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steve123

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One difference in the Athlon warranty is they don't offer replacement on a scope that has been painted, unless that has changed as of recent.

Midas TAC is my suggestion.

Looking forward to trying the G2 Ares BTR at some point in the future! It stands to be my go-to if I like it as much as the TAC series. I like reticles with all .2's round about.