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Is there anything you can do to 'test' a used rifle scope before buying it? As some of you may know, I am not a big fan of scopes, so I don't really know much about them. I need a scope for one of our rifles(a .30-06), but I do not use it enough fo

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  • Is there anything you can do to 'test' a used rifle scope before buying it? As some of you may know, I am not a big fan of scopes, so I don't really know much about them. I need a scope for one of our rifles(a .30-06), but I do not use it enough fo

    Is there anything you can do to 'test' a used rifle scope before buying it? As some of you may know, I am not a big fan of scopes, so I don't really know much about them. I need a scope for one of our rifles(a .30-06), but I do not use it enough for it to qualify for a brand new scope(unless you all know of a good scope that is fairly cheap when new).

  • #2
    If the lenses are clean you can look for defects, that's about all until you start using it. If you can get to a gun show or pawn shop buy one with a lifetime warranty. Someone like Leupold or Burris. Otherwise it costs about $150 and up to have a scope cleaned and adjusted.

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    • #3
      Not sure how much a boresighting device would be worth but having one or at least using one could be the difference between buying a useless scope and getting your money's worth. You have to buy rings and bases regardless so if that gun shop has a used scope have them mount it quickly and throw on their boresighting device. If the scope tracks consistently by elevation and windage as it acquires center it is looking good. Once centered give the rifle a good jolt and see if the scope has lost its zero. Even the cheaper scopes are pretty rugged these days they just won't have the quality of glass which allows for better light transmission in low light conditions. When Savage and others are able to sell rifles with scopes so cheaply and those scopes do the job with recoil from 30-06 and medium magnum loads it says something about scope production today. You have to really abuse them to have them fail.

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      • #4
        I don't know how much you'd be willing to pay but Redfield is making some affordable scopes in my opinion. You could also look at a Weaver K4 or K6. They are fixed power and that can save you some. I have a K6 that I am very happy with. Buying used can be difficult but as JHP points out some of the good ones are warranted past the original purchaser.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kody View Post
          Not sure how much a boresighting device would be worth but having one or at least using one could be the difference between buying a useless scope and getting your money's worth. You have to buy rings and bases regardless so if that gun shop has a used scope have them mount it quickly and throw on their boresighting device. If the scope tracks consistently by elevation and windage as it acquires center it is looking good. Once centered give the rifle a good jolt and see if the scope has lost its zero. Even the cheaper scopes are pretty rugged these days they just won't have the quality of glass which allows for better light transmission in low light conditions. When Savage and others are able to sell rifles with scopes so cheaply and those scopes do the job with recoil from 30-06 and medium magnum loads it says something about scope production today. You have to really abuse them to have them fail.
          The scope that is currently on the gun is one that came with a packaged Savage rifle. Not saying they all are, but this one is garbage. It's like looking through a scope without any cross hairs...you basically have to center the object hah. Technically it holds a zero, you just can't see where to aim.

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          • #6
            Put it in a freezer until it is real cold, take it out and inspect for internal "fog". Some fogging on outside of the glass is OK. If it fogs or seems to blur on the inside, the scope is leaking.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
              Put it in a freezer until it is real cold, take it out and inspect for internal "fog". Some fogging on outside of the glass is OK. If it fogs or seems to blur on the inside, the scope is leaking.
              Cabela's Multi-Turret Riflescopes are about $200. Some of my buddies use them on 06s and love it. Not as clear as high end scopes but much better than bargain brands.

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              • #8
                Unfortunately, with optics you kind of have to try them to find out for sure how good they are. The best thing you can do is stick to popular, well-established brands, and maybe check out the online product reviews on big hunting goods retailers like Cabelas or Bass Pro to get an idea of what some good-quality choices in your price range are. Personally, I would not buy a used scope or any other kind of used optical instrument, but that's just me. I don't know what fairly cheap is to you, but a couple of brands that offer great scopes at pretty reasonable prices are Redfield and Pentax.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
                  Put it in a freezer until it is real cold, take it out and inspect for internal "fog". Some fogging on outside of the glass is OK. If it fogs or seems to blur on the inside, the scope is leaking.
                  Oh wow, out of curiosity I stuck the scope I had mounted on it into the freezer and it fogged up BAD. Maybe that is the source of the problem. Never heard of that trick. I doubt anyone selling a used rifle will let me stick it in my freezer before buying it though.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
                    Put it in a freezer until it is real cold, take it out and inspect for internal "fog". Some fogging on outside of the glass is OK. If it fogs or seems to blur on the inside, the scope is leaking.
                    Yeah, if a scope is not sealed...
                    well you saw what happens. They may not let you stick the rifle in your freezer. I've bought used scopes and had the seller but it in their freezer so that it's cold when I arrive to look at it. If they refuse I don't buy that scope, cold should not hurt an all weather piece of equipment.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kody View Post
                      Not sure how much a boresighting device would be worth but having one or at least using one could be the difference between buying a useless scope and getting your money's worth. You have to buy rings and bases regardless so if that gun shop has a used scope have them mount it quickly and throw on their boresighting device. If the scope tracks consistently by elevation and windage as it acquires center it is looking good. Once centered give the rifle a good jolt and see if the scope has lost its zero. Even the cheaper scopes are pretty rugged these days they just won't have the quality of glass which allows for better light transmission in low light conditions. When Savage and others are able to sell rifles with scopes so cheaply and those scopes do the job with recoil from 30-06 and medium magnum loads it says something about scope production today. You have to really abuse them to have them fail.
                      You might try adjusting the eye piece to bring the cross hairs into focus. May help or there is something else wrong with it that is much more serious.

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                      • #12
                        If the cross hairs have disappeared, I would send it back to the manufacture. Perhaps I have just been lucky, but the few scopes I have had similar problems they have replaced or fixed them. No questions asked. We will keep our fingers crossed.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post
                          If the lenses are clean you can look for defects, that's about all until you start using it. If you can get to a gun show or pawn shop buy one with a lifetime warranty. Someone like Leupold or Burris. Otherwise it costs about $150 and up to have a scope cleaned and adjusted.
                          I've heard of people buying a Leupold off eBay and then taking advantage of the lifetime warranty if it's busted.

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                          • #14
                            How much is in your budget? You can get a new Bushnell Banner for less than $100

                            https://www.amazon.com/Bushnell-Multi-X-Reticle-Riflescope-3-3-Inch/dp/B00IYHGAQO/ref=sr_1_5?s=hunting-fishing&ie=UTF8&qid=1524406651&sr=1-5&keywords=rifle+scope&refinements=p_36%3A12535570 11

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