A few days ago I received a very polite e-mail asking for scope advice. If memory serves me right, the gentleman who sent me the e-mail, was debating whether to keep his Razor HD LH 1.5-8×32 that he got a screaming deal on or to pick up a similarly priced 1-6x scope of some sort. The platform is a lightweight AR-15 chambered for 6.5 Grendel. I think.
The catch is that I very briefly skimmed through the e-mail, but since I was about to get onto the plane I filed it off as “this deserves a detailed response, so I should do it when I have a few minutes”. Well, I finally got a few minutes and I can’t find that e-mail to read through it carefully and answer it appropriately. I must have accidentally deleted it.
To the gentleman who contacted me: I will answer based on my rather vague recollection. If that does not cover it, please send me a note with more details.
For a hunting AR, I can think of few scopes better than the Razor HD LH 1.5-8×32.
In the grand scheme of things, for a civilian there are three reasons to have a 1-6x scope on a rifle:
- You want to use the rifle for self-defense/tactical classes where there is a need to use it like you would use a red dot sight.
- You are going to take the rifle hunting where you are shooting driven game or it is a big caliber boomer you use on DGR.
- You want your setup to look cool.
Outside of these three, it is often difficult for me to justify the compromises involved in having true 1x on the low end of the magnification range.
Now, for a rifle used as a plinker, the compromises are comparatively minor, since you will do most of your shooting during the day and you are mostly just having fun. However, for a hunting rifle, you want to think carefully before you put a 1-6×24 scope on there. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, please keep in mind that I happen to have Razor HD LH 1.5-8×32 as sort of a permanent scope on my hunting AR chambered for 458 SOCOM. However, since I also use this rifle to test scopes, it has had a few 1-6x and 1-8x variables on it (I am on the last leg of testing HiLux CMR8 1-8×26 on it right now).
There are a few reasons why you should think carefully before you put a 1-6×24 or something similar on your hunting rifle. Unless you are planning to spend a fair amount of money, most of these scopes are not all that good in low light at 6x. That is partly because of the smallish 20-26 mm objective (and corresponding small exit pupil) and partly because most of these are really optimized for low magnification. Higher end models are, naturally, quite good at all magnifications, but they are pricy and exit pupil restrictions still hold. The amount of light that gets to your eye at high magnifications where eye pupil size is not the limiting factor is proportional to the diameter of the objective. At 6x in low light, a 32mm scope delivers ~78% more light than a 24mm one.
Another problem is with the reticles. Most low range variables scopes out there today are really not designed for hunting and the reticles reflect that. Razor HD LH, on the other hand, was designed for hunting and the G4-BDC reticle is configured with that application in mind.