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Old 08-17-2012, 16:41   #1
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New to the AR family! Opinions on optics...

So my new Ruger SR-556E is arriving wed and I am eager to get my hands on what will be my first AR. I bought a full bottom rail (varying lengths), Troy covers, and a MOE grip. I have a midwest industries sling swivel adapter (made for the SR-22) that is compatible with my rifle's smooth handguard. The only thing I am unsure about is the optic(s) that I will use with it. I have buttstock, grip, and trigger upgrades planned in the future but an optic is my top priority at the moment.

This model ships without the Troy BUIS, although I want to pick up a set ASAP. As many of you know they are not cheap, and I just forked out $1000 on the rifle. I am considering buying an EOTech EXPS-2 holographic sight, although I can't afford to buy both right now ( and my wife probably wouldn't approve either). I have a 3-9X40 Bushnell Elite scope kicking around, although I don't have a mount for it. I was looking at the Nikon M-223 mount, and it is reasonably priced. I don't know if I should get the irons first and go from there, use the scope I have (or maybe get a 1-4 Leupold VX HOG) or maybe jump right on a decent red dot or holographic.

So what do you guys run on your ARs and what do you prefer. I am hoping to get some insight so I don't make a mistake or buy something I'll regret. Although I have limited funds to spend on my hobby, I am not cheap either. I'd rather wait and get something that is built well, lasts, and functions flawlessly than cut corners and be disappointed.
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Old 08-17-2012, 22:56   #2
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Originally Posted by BangBangPlay View Post
So my new Ruger SR-556E is arriving wed and I am eager to get my hands on what will be my first AR. I bought a full bottom rail (varying lengths), Troy covers, and a MOE grip. I have a midwest industries sling swivel adapter (made for the SR-22) that is compatible with my rifle's smooth handguard. The only thing I am unsure about is the optic(s) that I will use with it. I have buttstock, grip, and trigger upgrades planned in the future but an optic is my top priority at the moment.

This model ships without the Troy BUIS, although I want to pick up a set ASAP. As many of you know they are not cheap, and I just forked out $1000 on the rifle. I am considering buying an EOTech EXPS-2 holographic sight, although I can't afford to buy both right now ( and my wife probably wouldn't approve either). I have a 3-9X40 Bushnell Elite scope kicking around, although I don't have a mount for it. I was looking at the Nikon M-223 mount, and it is reasonably priced. I don't know if I should get the irons first and go from there, use the scope I have (or maybe get a 1-4 Leupold VX HOG) or maybe jump right on a decent red dot or holographic.

So what do you guys run on your ARs and what do you prefer. I am hoping to get some insight so I don't make a mistake or buy something I'll regret. Although I have limited funds to spend on my hobby, I am not cheap either. I'd rather wait and get something that is built well, lasts, and functions flawlessly than cut corners and be disappointed.
Get your Troy Iron sights first (they are the best of the bunch), then learn them well. By the time you have those down you may have the bucks to get a good optic.

If you're considering the Eotech, just save a little more and get the Aimpoint H1 (or T1) and you'll spend a lot less on batteries over the long term.....and you'll carry a lighter optic around too. I hardly notice the weight of the H1 on my AR and the dot is very crisp, brightness settings range from 1-12 so you're good to go in almost any lighting conditions.

That's my .02
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Old 08-17-2012, 22:59   #3
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It's all about what you're intended purpose for the rifle is. Hunting, plinking, HD and competition shooting don't usually use the same optics. It also boils down to your preferences. I like variable power scopes in the 1-5 or 2-7 power range depending on caliber and barrel length. I have diffrent scopes from Barska, Leupold, Vortex and Weaver. I have had and used the Eotech and Acogs while overseas and love them, but they are for a specific purpose and have their limitations, in my opinion.

My uses for my rifles are plinking, hunting and defensive purposes which is why I have the variable power scopes, it gives me the best of all worlds (with comprimises made of course, as is the case with optics) There is not the "perfect" optic out there, but what I have gets me as close as possible.

So, I guess the best place to start is what is the intended purpose is for the rifle?

TG
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:41   #4
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IMHO thats way to much . KISS the AR platform is at it's best when it's used as is with just a good halo sight a hand rail an iron sights. but thats just me .
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:54   #5
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I like shooting irons, but I just took off my Daniel Defense fixed iron sights and put on a Burris XTR 1-4. http://chicagogunsmith.com/catalog/e...m-p-49384.html

Like TG said, the optic you mount is mission specific or depends on the use of the rifle, the distance you intend to shoot, etc...

Can you hit a 400 yard target with an Eotech? Will you ever shoot out to 400 yards? If I was shooting past 200 yards I probably wouldn't go with the non magnified eotech, irons or a scope would be better suited.

If it is for home defense, go with the eotech.

If you intend to mount a scope use flip up iron sights as a back up. If you don't intend to mount a scope and want to go with the eotech, buy fixed irons.

Last edited by CGS; 08-21-2012 at 11:43.
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:07   #6
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After posting I realized that I had left out my intended purposes and distances I shoot (thanks TG). I don't shoot very long range, but that may only be because of the limitations of the Mini 14 tactical I own. I don't compete, but I get out to the outdoor range nearby as often as I can. I also take a trip out to NH every few months to plink with my buddies at a family cabin. I haven't gotten into hunting yet, and don't own any hunting calibers. My first and foremost reason for owning all of my weapons is self defense, especially in a possible WROL scenario.

So I would eventually like to have a few different optics for different ranges, and different purposes but I need something for next week when my rifle arrives. I have considered just shelling out the $180 or so for the Troy sights and becoming proficent with those. I know that is probably the RIGHT way to go about it, but I can't resist skipping that all together and grabbing a nice red dot or holographic sight.

Tactical G, when you say that the holographic sights are limited are you referring to their range? I could see that without a magnifier that would be a problem. And if you add the magnifier then you almost might as well go with a traditional scope. In the end I want to have a few bases covered when it comes to optics.

Gunzilla, thanks for the tip about the Aimpoint. I have checked both out and you are right about the battery life, 5 years! That was a concern of mine with the EOtech sights, especially in a possible SHTF scenario. Also they are nice and compact, and look durable and rugged enough.
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:37   #7
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Thanks again for taking the time to respond guys! I appreciate it... A few more things....

I am not very experienced with glass scopes, and really don't do much long distance shooting (at least not yet), mostly under 200 yards. I noticed that many people favor the 1X4 scopes on their 5.56 ARs. Is this because of their function (power/field of view), or their small size/weight? Are they better for close quarters?

I am not totally sold on the EOTech but I was wondering. What is the difference between the larger models and the smaller single battery mounts? Besides overall size/weight, battery life, and ease of swapping batteries is there really any advantage to the larger models?

Looking though the AR galleries (here and on other fourms) I noticed that a larger percentage of guys have the larger EOtech sights on their ARs. Is this because the smaller models are relatively new? Like I said I am not totally sold on the EOTechs, I just noticed their popularity, even with military and LE. Nothing is set in stone, and I appreciate you guys taking the time to offer me some insight. I know that different people have different preferences and are comfortable with different setups, and there isn't one answer to my question. I just like to get as much input and info as possible, especially before making this type of investment. I want to avoid buying something that I won't need/use.
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Old 08-18-2012, 18:56   #8
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Welcome to the AR BBP. You are not really that limited in range with iron sights. In Army Basic Combat Training (back in the stone age) the M16A1 with standard iron sights was the only option and we qualified at ranges up to 300 meters so I would think you could do the same with a non magnified red dot scope. Of course we only had to knock down a man sized silhouette so it wasn't like shooting for groups but, close enough for self defense purposes.
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Old 08-18-2012, 22:12   #9
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Originally Posted by woodstock View Post
Welcome to the AR BBP. You are not really that limited in range with iron sights. In Army Basic Combat Training (back in the stone age) the M16A1 with standard iron sights was the only option and we qualified at ranges up to 300 meters so I would think you could do the same with a non magnified red dot scope. Of course we only had to knock down a man sized silhouette so it wasn't like shooting for groups but, close enough for self defense purposes.
Thanks man! I am very excited about this purchase and am eager to get my hands on it. Because the clock is ticking I decided to buy the Troy folding sights today. I didn't want to have the rifle arrive and have no optic to shoot it. I had planned to buy the irons all along, I just considered possibly skipping over them.

The right way to get to know my rifle is to practice with the irons first, then possibly move to another optic. I still haven't decided what to buy next, and I like some the suggestions here. I am going to pay more attention to other guys at the range and what they are running and maybe I can get a closer peek at each optic in person.
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Old 08-19-2012, 05:52   #10
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Originally Posted by BangBangPlay View Post
My first and foremost reason for owning all of my weapons is self defense, especially in a possible WROL scenario.

Tactical G, when you say that the holographic sights are limited are you referring to their range? I could see that without a magnifier that would be a problem. And if you add the magnifier then you almost might as well go with a traditional scope. In the end I want to have a few bases covered when it comes to optics.
What I meant is that all sights have limitations since each are for a specific purpose. There isn't a one-size fits all optic option, unfortunately. With holographic or red dot scopes, you have the limitations of range, especially if your dot is 4 MOA or larger, it makes it harder to see your target at distance. Plus batteries are an issue, especially in the WROL scenario you had in mind when you purchased the rifle. Battery life may be "5 years", but Murphy will never leave your side... This is why I prefer scopes, no batteries. I can zoom in and reach out to touch something or stay on low magnification for fairly quick close quarters type shooting. But, you can also get the magnifiers for the holographic and red-dot sights too, so that is always an option, but a pricey one for a good quality magnifier.

Scopes are limited in their eye relief, they are very unforgiving in that respect, for the most part. So if you are doing cqb style shooting, gaining a quick sight picture is going to be a tad more difficult than with an Eotech or Aimpoint. But, it can be done with practice.

For red-dot type optics, I prefer the Eotech just because it is unfair how easy it is to gain a quick and accurate sight picture with it due to their large area where the reticle is projected . I like aimpoint, but their drawback for me is the tube-like construction which doesn't give me the ability to get the sight picture as fast as with Eotech.

Originally Posted by BangBangPlay View Post
I am not very experienced with glass scopes, and really don't do much long distance shooting (at least not yet), mostly under 200 yards. I noticed that many people favor the 1X4 scopes on their 5.56 ARs. Is this because of their function (power/field of view), or their small size/weight? Are they better for close quarters?

Looking though the AR galleries (here and on other fourms) I noticed that a larger percentage of guys have the larger EOtech sights on their ARs. Is this because the smaller models are relatively new?
1x4 scopes are popular with the AR crowd because they can be used for both CQB and distance shooting. 4x is a good do-it-all magnification for the round and effective. Let's face it, we don't need a scope with enough magnification to pick out a tick on a deers butt to hit our targets. Yes, some of these scopes are light as well, but some even have ballistic drop compensating crosshairs so you can adjust your shot at distance easily, and they work too! The 1x is good for cqb, with the limitation of eye relief vs. quicker sight pictures. But, mostly, it is for the cool factor with these optics. I used to be heavy into all the crap I could attach to my AR when I first came home for overseas, but before I knew it, I was out a few grand and up to the weight of my M249. Not exactly an easy to tote around carbine anymore.

Now, all my AR's have a scope that fits the caliber and size of the rifle, a VFG and railed forearm of some sort, and BUIS (on most of my ARs). No lights, bipods etc. My 308 has a 2-7 scope with a BDC, my 7.62x39 has a 1-5 scope with BDC, my 5.56 heavy barrel has a 1.75-5 scope with BDC, my carbine 5.56 has a 1.5-4.5 scope with mil-dots and my .22lr AR has a 1-3 scope, just crosshairs.

My recommendation for you is to look at your future and what you bought the rifle for and what you may want to use if for eventually (hunting, competition, distance shooting) and get an optic that will work for you then (and now). Something like a 1-4 or 1-5 optic, there are plenty of options for good prices out there. I do recommend also picking up your irons and getting good with them, they will never fail or run out of batteries. But just remember, battery operated optics will run out of juice eventually. For this reason, if you want to stay with the holographic and non-magnified optics, you could look into the Trijicon RMR, Tri-power, and Reflex sights. They run off tritium and are good for 10+ years. And, they are compatible with the magnifiers for added distance. And if the tritium wears out, Trijicon replaces the element. But again, in WROL, good luck getting your optic serviced.

And yes, the larger Eotech optics are more prolific because the smaller ones are fairly new to the market and VERY expensive. And, in some cases, their smaller batteries are more expensive than some AA or AAA batteries are. So swapping out for the new optics is costly for most of us.

I hope this helps some.

TG
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:14   #11
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TG, thanks for the explanation. I always welcome the knowledge/opinion of someone who is more experienced, especially someone who has seen combat firsthand. You no doubt know what works and what doesn't, or what is effective and what really isn't. I have experience with rifles but not ARs, and I have never gotten into the fancy optics available these days. I have always shot with irons and I am pretty simplistic when it comes to accessories on all of my firearms. I don't use a bipod, flashlight, etc. and I plan to keep it simple on my AR. I may swap some components like the trigger group (which is a 9 lbs pull apparently), the buttstock, rifle grip, and a few other minor things in time. That is why I proffered the E model of this rifle, because of its simplicity (smooth handguard).

I went ahead and grabbed the troy folding BUIS and will practice with them for a while before making a decision on an optic. I think I got over excited and got ahead of myself. Because of my lack of experience with ARs I should first familiarize myself with their capabilities before deciding. I will keep in mind the advise about batteries and their availability and overall life. I took a look at the aimpoints and the trijicon optics and have added them to the possibilities. But for now its just irons and lots of ammo and range time coming up! Thanks for your insight, all knowledge is appreciated and accepted.
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Old 08-19-2012, 14:06   #12
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Another decent red dot is the Lucid HD7. I bought it first and now I am wishing I had some BUIS. Just haven't been able to make myself spend the money they want for anything decent (like Troy).
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Old 08-19-2012, 18:21   #13
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Originally Posted by woodstock View Post
Another decent red dot is the Lucid HD7. I bought it first and now I am wishing I had some BUIS. Just haven't been able to make myself spend the money they want for anything decent (like Troy).
I hear ya! That is the dilemma that I faced with my recent purchase. I got the Troy folding BUIS for a deal on Grab A Gun for $160 for the pair. Most sites wanted much more, some over $200. Ill check out that red dot. I have watched a few videos/reviews on you tube of some of the optics mentioned here, but I will have to wait. Quality gear isn't cheap, and im willing to wait to get something that I like, will last, and that functions flawlessly
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Last edited by BangBangPlay; 08-20-2012 at 13:36.
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Old 08-19-2012, 19:00   #14
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Thanks, I'll have to take a look at that site, sounds like a bargain.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:39   #15
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Originally Posted by BangBangPlay View Post
Quality gear isn't cheap, and im willing to wait to get something that I like, will last, and that functions flawlessly
With that mindset you're on the right track for having a weapons system that most would be happy with....and some would kill for.
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Old 08-20-2012, 13:44   #16
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Sorry about the thumbs down icon on my last post, I didn't even notice it until today. I must have clicked it by accident.

I looked at the Lucid HD7 and it has gotten very favorable reviews, and is a very reasonable price. It is really going to be a difficult decision when the time comes, but I am much more educated about what to look for.

Yeah Grab a Gun consistently displays the lowest price when I search for gear on Google, and most often it isn't even close. Their shipping is cheap too, and is a flat rate for firearms ($5 I think). I have purchased several items from them and most definitely recommend them. Only a few days left to pick up my rifle!
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Old 08-21-2012, 06:33   #17
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Sounds like you have a waiting period on your rifle. You must live Mass? My condolences if this is the case.

TG
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:46   #18
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Originally Posted by TacticalGenius View Post
Sounds like you have a waiting period on your rifle. You must live Mass? My condolences if this is the case.

TG
No thankfully I don't, although I drive through there all the time. I ordered it and I comes in tomorrow, although I may have to pick it up on thurs because of my busy schedule. I live in RI and the laws here are pretty liberal when it comes to firearms. Only concealed carry permits are a pain, and obtaining them varies from county to county.
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Old 08-21-2012, 13:20   #19
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Whew! Glad to hear that!

TG
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Old 08-21-2012, 15:25   #20
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Originally Posted by TacticalGenius View Post
Whew! Glad to hear that!

TG
I know it! I went to college in MA but you couldn't pay me to live there now, or Cali for that matter. I went to a Dicks Sporting Goods in Mass once and they wouldn't allow me to touch anything (including a box of ammo!) without a special license. I went to check their ammo prices and it is all behind the counter and can only be accessed by a clerk. The guy was nice until I told him I was from RI, then he wouldn't even show me anything. I explained that I was only there to check what they carry and the pricing, but he gave me the business and told me to go to the store in RI. That is the last time I bought anything from Dicks. I buy all of my ammo from Palmetto St. and Ammo To Go now.
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Old 08-21-2012, 22:38   #21
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Originally Posted by BangBangPlay View Post
The guy was nice until I told him I was from RI, then he wouldn't even show me anything. I explained that I was only there to check what they carry and the pricing, but he gave me the business and told me to go to the store in RI. That is the last time I bought anything from Dicks. I buy all of my ammo from Palmetto St. and Ammo To Go now.
Elitist M***holes...
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Old 08-23-2012, 18:53   #22
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F' em. The Mass residents are only upset that they are restricted, regulated, and denied a fundamental right that we all maintain. All because we live somewhere else. I know that can change fast, but I am glad I bought this sooner rather than later.

Got it today! What a beautiful, well built rifle. Here is a picture. I love the Troy folding sights, they are so well made! I can see why shooting long ranges with a nice set of irons isn't a problem. I am used to my Mini 14's sights, which are adequate, but nothing like these. I can't wait to go to the range next week.
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:05   #23
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Rifle looks good! Now for the break in!
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:27   #24
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Originally Posted by BangBangPlay View Post
I love the Troy folding sights, they are so well made! .
Your welcome

I knew you'd like them. when I got mine they replaced a set of Midwest Industries iron sights and the difference in quality was night and day.

Nice looking rifle too.

Considering Mass was the place where 'the shot heard around the world' was fired from (Lexington and Concord) it's turned into a haven for over-bearing liberal cowards......just like the British that tried to subjugate us. Give a democrat an inch and they take your guns.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:02   #25
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After much review and research I have decided to go with the Aimpoint patrol rifle optic, instead of the EOTech EXPS that I previously had at the top of my list. After reading opinions of those who own both, the battery longevity of the Aimpoints is what really stood out to me.

I like the idea of just leaving the optic on and having it ready when I need it. It is just one less thing to fumble around in the heat of the moment, and when fine motor skills are even more difficult to coordinate. The long battery life also is one less thing that can fail when you need you rifle the most (or when your life depends on it. No need to turn it on and off, and it is probably even more wise to just leave it on for a few reasons. One being that you can more accurately calculate when to change your battery, and the second being that if the optic is off it most likely means that the battery is dead, simple.

With all of that being said I really did like (or prefer) the EOTech's wider field of view and the circle dot reticle. It also is a lower 1/3 cowitness out of the box, and the Aimpoint will need an expensive aftermarket mount to achieve that. But the super long battery life and low running cost ($4 a battery) of the Aimpoint trump those preferences and made the decision easy. I am surprised that optic manufacturers haven't designed a mercury switch option that simply activates the optic when the rifle is being held, and shuts it off automatically when the rifle is stationary. This would prolong the battery life of almost any setup (short or long).
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