Guns and Shooting Online Staff Riflescopes
The scopes we use on our own rifles

By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff

There are plenty of good riflescopes on the market today in a wide range of prices. When most of us started shooting and hunting (back in the dark ages of optics) that was not the case, but it is today. Read the scope reviews on the Product Review Page and you will see that this is true. Never the less, when the subject of shooting optics arises, one of the most common questions posed to us is, "What scope do you use?" This little piece is intended to provide Guns and Shooting Online readers with some answers to that very question.

Each staff member and contributing writer who responded was asked to name up to three of his or her favorite riflescope brands (or brand and line, if applicable). These had to be scopes that the respondents actually use on their own rifles, not some "blue sky" choice that they could not, or would not, buy with their own hard earned dollars. Without further ado, here are the results.

    Chuck Hawks, Owner/Managing Editor: Leupold, Sightron, Nikon Laser IRT

    Randy Wakeman, Senior Editor: Sightron SII, Bushnell Elite 3200

    Gordon Landers, Editor: Leupold

    Rocky Hays, Gunsmithing Editor: Leupold, Burris LaserScope

    Randy D. Smith, Contributing Editor: Bushnell Elite 3200, Weaver Classic K and V series, Traditions Silver Antler

    Dr. Jim Clary, Competition Department: Sightron, Nightforce, Burris Fullfield II

    Susannah Clary, Competition Department: Nightforce, Bushnell

    Mary Clary, Competition Department: Nikon Monarch, Sightron, Leupold

    Jim Fleck, Chief Technical Advisor: Sightron, Leupold

    Robert Fleck, Technical Assistant: Leupold, Simmons Master Series Pro Hunter

    Nathan Rauzon, Technical Assistant: Mueller

    Jack Seeling, Technical Assistant: Nitrex, Simmons Master Series Pro Hunter

    Mike Nelson, Contributing Writer: Leupold, Weaver

    Terry Hart, Contributing Writer: Leupold, Bushnell Elite

    Jon Y. Wolfe, Contributing Writer: Burris Fullfield II, Simmons Master Series Aetec, Weaver Grand Slam

    Ed Turner, Contributing Writer: Leupold European 30, Zeiss Conquest, Bushnell Elite 3200

    Rick Ryals, Contributing Writer: Leupold

Leupold, Sightron and Bushnell are the riflescope brands most often chosen by the Guns and Shooting Online staff and contributors. It is interesting that the most popular brand was Leupold, the only scope made in the USA at this time. Most responders did not differentiate among the various Leupold lines, implying that all Leupold scope lines are generally recognized as superior products. (Most of us who chose Leupold own several Leupold scopes from different Leupold lines.)

Among those who specified a particular line within a brand, the Bushnell Elite 3200 line was most frequently cited. This particular Bushnell line offers an excellent combination of high quality and reasonable price. The Sightron SII line is also recognized as a standout in the performance/price arena. Neither of these are economy lines, but both are widely recognized as superior values in upscale (three-star-plus / four-star) scopes, even by folks who did not include them among their top three choices.

To summarize the results from our staff poll, here the numerical results:

  • Leupold: 9
  • Bushnell: 5
  • Sightron: 5
  • Weaver: 3
  • Simmons: 3
  • Burris: 3
  • Nikon: 2
  • Nightforce: 2
  • Zeiss: 1
  • Mueller: 1
  • Nitrex: 1
  • Traditions: 1

These are solid, mainstream choices. Evidently, Guns and Shooting Online writers have more sense than many gun scribes. Note that the prestigious European brands did not fare well. Even though several staff members do own famous Euro brand scopes, they mostly failed to make the list. Moreover, only one low priced scope (the Traditions) was mentioned. This tends to indicate that the majority of our staff and contributing writers feel that solid value does not necessarily equate to low price or a five-star brand name. In the vernacular, we seem to be "meat and potatoes" scope buyers who prefer steak to sizzle.

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