AR-15 Podcast 155 - US Optics

Welcome to Episode #155 of the AR15 Podcast. On this episode we will be chatting with US Optics. We spoke with 3-gunner Reed Gabrielson on the SHOT Show floor in 2015, but today we have USO’s General Manager, Jason Kyle with us.Our final winner for the last week of the Otis Giveaway was:  Russell Smith

We still have a few Otis Drawing winners who haven’t checked in with us.

Main Topic:  US Optics w/ Jason Kyle (GM)

  • Jason’s History
    • Marines - 0311/69, 12yrs
    • USO - since 2010, Sales, GM
    • Company History
      • 25+ yrs
      • Custom-built, grew into off the shelf
      • End-users
      • Product Line
        • Custom, built to order
        • Magnification ranges
        • Feature sets
          • FFP reticle, SFP red dot
          • Applications
          • Accessories/gear/partners
            • Definitely put 1-8x’s in cantilevered mounts
            • New @ SHOT
            • Ordering
              • Dealers
              • Direct

Otis Technology:

We want to thank the folks at Otis Technology for their generosity.  Their help has made it possible for us to thank you, the listeners for all of your support.  Thanks Otis, We’ll see you at SHOT.


ARP 131 - Interview with Vortex Optics


Welcome to Episode #131 of the AR15 Podcast. We’ve got Vortex Optics with us this week to talk about their company and their extensive line of scopes, red dots, binoculars and more.  We want to let you know about a new source of cool products!  Go to to pre-order the Huckleberry patch and buy FRN stickers.

Main Topic:  Reuben Aleckson: Vortex Optics

History of the Company

Reuben’s involvement

-Customer interaction

-3 Gun Competitor

How do you segment your products?

AR Specific Lines?

Sparc II

Strikefire II

Spitfire 3X

Viper PST

Strike Eagle

What differentiates one optic from another?

What differentiates Vortex from everyone else?

What Optics parallel the other competitor’s models

Aimpoint CompM3 = Strikefire II

ACOG = Spitfire 3X

Trijicon RMR = Razor Red Dot

VCOG = Razor HD Gen II

Products to look out for in the future?

Where to pick up Vortex?


-Social Media

Otis Technology:

May 25: @msr300blk

May 31:  Billy W. - @bigbiller on Instagram

June 7: Chris Inouye

June 14: David Michaelson

June 21: Daniel McElwain

June 28: Rick Rasnic

July 5: Roger Morris!

The fine folks at Otis Technology have sent over a mountain of rifle maintenance tools and cleaning kits for the AR-15 and AR-10.  We’ve been tasked with giving them away.  Watch for the special posts on Facebook and Instagram to get a chance to win some of the awesome products made by Otis Technology.  We’ll give away a complete MSR Cleaning kit in either 5.56 or 7.62 in the middle of each month up until Christmas, when we’ll give away a complete Otis Technology Elite Cleaning System to one lucky listener.  During the alternating weeks, we’ll be giving away a host of Otis tools and cleaning supplies.


ARP 127 - Building an AR-15 from Scratch - Part 5


Welcome to Episode #127 of the AR15 Podcast. Parts 1 through 4 of our Building an AR-15 from Scratch series have left us with a complete, functioning rifle. Now it’s time to accessorize with optics, lights, and other enhancements when we put it all together in part 5.

Main Topic:  Building an AR-15 from Scratch - Part 5

Putting it all together

  • BUIS
  • Rear BUIS with FSB
  • windage only
  • windage + elevation adjustment
  • Combo BUIS (Front & Rear)
  • Front Sight Post
  • height adjustment
  • custom posts
  • Optics
  • Optics - Mounts
  • supplied mounts vs.
  • QD mounts
  • Optics - Considerations
  • Operating distance
  • Task Requirements
  • Functionality
  • Optics - Types
  • Unmagnified
  • Red Dot
  • Holographic
  • Magnified
  • Scopes
  • Fixed
  • Adjustable
  • Magnifier
  • Reticle Choices
  • Accuracy and Reliability Enhancements
  • The Wedge
  • Nylon Tipped Tensioning Screws
  • Tensioning Takedown Pin
  • Extractor enhancement kit
  • Enhanced Gas Rings
  • Slings
  • Mounting concerns
  • 1-point, 2-point
  • Rail Accessories
  • Form Factor
  • Needs & Objectives
  • Handguard choice drives accessory availability
  • Lights
  • Positioning
  • Switchology
  • #allthelumens

Otis Technology:

May 4:  Koal McMillan

May 11: Len Dichtel (dick-tell)

May 18: @spillicious

May 25: @msr300blk

June 1:  Billy W. - @bigbiller on Instagram

The fine folks at Otis Technology have sent over a mountain of rifle maintenance tools and cleaning kits for the AR-15 and AR-10.  We’ve been tasked with giving them away.  Watch for the special posts on Facebook and Instagram to get a chance to win some of the awesome products made by Otis Technology.  We’ll give away a complete MSR Cleaning kit in either 5.56 or 7.62 in the middle of each  month up until Christmas, when we’ll give away a complete Otis Technology Elite Cleaning System to one lucky listener.  During the alternating weeks, we’ll be giving away a host of Otis tools and cleaning supplies.

We’re back to Facebook for our giveaways. Remember to like and share the post of Chad showing off his Otis kit up in Alaska.


Bob L:  Reed, I enjoyed the podcast as usual.  I thought I would add that the gas port length is really a function of a needed pulse width in order to cycle the BCG.  For the 556.223 it is about 7-7.5 inches, measured from the gas port to the muzzle.  This is the time (pulse width) the system is under the bullet passes the port until it exits the muzzle.  As you shorten the barrel  from rifle (20") to Carbine (16") you need to bring the port back in order to maintain the requisite 7 inch pulse width.  And yes Mid is generally used with an 18" barrel for the same reason.   Most barrel manufacturers don't give you a choice.  Exceptions exist for specific applications of course.

Also many brakes do help control muzzle jump, and varmint hunters like myself use them to facilitate follow up shots when using a scope under magnification.  This is to maintain acquisition, so its not always a recoil issue.   Thanks again and keep up the good work.

Joe:  I was listening to your review of apps episode & noticed you only covered Android & iPhone apps with some PC apps. Here are some Windows Phone apps I found.

  1. Firearm Record Keeping
  2. Reload Calculator

Enzo P:  Hey guys, thanks so much for mentioning Enzo Rifle Works on your podcast. I wanted you to know that that grip on my Trident MK1 is a Karl Nill. Its hand made in Stuttgart Germany and takes months to get. Its walnut and is referred to as a sniper grip with palm shelf. They are $300. + or -. Its alot for a grip, but if you ever have a chance to wrap your hand around one, you will see why, and when I built the Trident we spared no expenses.


ARP 102 - Naughty or Nice? - The Gift Episode


Welcome to Episode #102 of the AR15 Podcast. I’m your host Reed Snyder and with me today are my co-hosts J.W. Ramp and Anthony Hardy.  This is the podcast about your favorite black rifle!  This show is for you; whether you're building your first AR or you’ve been building ARs for years. There is something we can all do to take our black rifle to the next level. Anthony is attending an Appleseed training event, December 6-7 in Pensacola, FL.

Brownells helps make this show possible.

Don’t forget that Brownells, with their 100% lifetime satisfaction guarantee, is there for you anytime you have a problem, like when you can’t remove the taper pins from your new barrel to slip off the front sight base and you now have to find a new barrel.

Shop for AR-15 parts at Brownells.  Go to:

Product of the Week:

Vortex Sparc II

Main Topic: Gift Giving

Reed’s Top Ten:

Magpul Magazines

Faxon Firearms Gun Magazine Marker Bands

American Eagle 5.56MM 62 Grain FMJ 150 Rnd Loose Pack

BCM AR-15 Carry handle

Vltor Heavy Buffer

Superior Shooting Flat Buffer Spring


LANTEC Dragon Muzzle Brake

Vortex Sparc II

Magpul MS4 Sling

BCM Grip

J.W’s Top Ten:

B.A.D. Ambi Safety

FrogLube (just to fight with Anthony and his FireClean)

Camo Stencils / Spray Paint

Jug o’ Powder / Pile o’ Brass

Steel Targets (+1 to Anthony for the good idea)

NFA Tax Stamp Money ($200.00)

Aimpoint T-2

Larue Scope Mounts

TNVC Sentinels

H&K Transferrable Auto Sear

Anthony’s Top Ten:

Ear Pro from Precision Ear

Go Pro HERO 4

Go Pro Picatinny Mount

Kryptek Helmet Logo Typhon Camo Cap

AR-15 Mag Wraps

Do-All Outdoors 9mm-30.06 Dueling Tree Steel Target

Engraved Ejection Port

Ranger Floor Plates (Magpul/USGI)


Cerakoating Service

The AR-15 Giveaway Winner:

Jennifer Gehman


McKCHome: Hey guys, great show. I just got into the AR 15 about 6 months ago. My first purchase was an MP 15 T. It is fantastic. Sometime soon, I would like to build my own. So I have a question: Let's assume my budget allows me to buy quality, middle of the road parts, nothing over the top but also nothing cheap. But let's also say I want to go all out and spend lots of money on only one part of the rifle (e.g., barrel, trigger, upper). What part, in your opinions, should I choose to buy? This gun will be used for home defense and some plinking.   Thanks!

Tim L: Hey Guys, I just took my new build to the range.  It has a PSA LPK and a Geissele B-GRF trigger that I picked up last week.  Everything shoots great except that my BCG does not lock to the rear after the last round in a mag.  Any thoughts on how to fix this? Should I try a Full Auto BCG? The bolt release looks the same as my other AR-15. I am at a loss...

Thank You, from CommieFornia,

Brian M: I have to keep reminding myself to stop by the site and leave some feedback.  I've been listening to the show for a little over a year now and am slowly building my ar15.  The lower is complete and just waiting to decide on the upper.  I have been really looking at the magpul sl handguard and I think you've pushed me over the edge to get it.  Just a quick question; what kind of barrel do I search for that has the front sight post?  I was thinking of getting one instead of having to use a front flip up.  Is there a specific name for it?

Thanks again for the great podcast.  I keep wondering to myself what else I would like to hear about and draw a blank, but somehow you always put together an interesting episode and I really appreciate it.

Tom J:  Hey guys, Note I'm a legal gun owner and have a valid concealed handgun permit.  Have you have ever thought about having a show topic on 80% lowers? The ar15 easy jig is the jig that I use and love (but the older version).  This jig you cannot go wrong if follow the instructions to the tee. The last one I did while listening to the ar15 podcast, I was done by the time your average length show was finished so you see it really does not take that long to do. I just ordered my 4th 80% lower from another company for a dedicated 22lr so I can teach my little girl how to shoot.  And it's just so much fun to build your own custom AR15. The three I've built so far out perform my Bushmaster. I'm glad that my wife likes to shoot as well, she told me that I'm addicted to the ar15. Told her nope just want to build as many "ghost guns" as I can. I'm attaching a pic of the one I just finished about a week ago.

Keep up the good work.

Evertt:  Anthony, On the Gun Disassembly iPhone app, did you have \"Gun Disassembly\" or \"Gun Disassembly 2\"?  The second one has a somewhat improved interface for iPhone, yet neither is absolutely great. Gun Disassembly was made for PC originally and was ported to iOS. In fact the port was such a copy & paste the help section on the iPhone still (at least last time I used it) mentioned right-clicking to do several functions. Clearly a PC action and not possible on the iPhone. Regardless, it's in my opinion fun, educational, and impressive what the creators have done with it. If you give it another chance you might try it on the PC to get the hang of it. It's free on PC and you unlock the different gun models either by purchase or by completing challenges with the models it starts you with. Thanks for the great podcasts. The AR15 podcast is my favorite on FRN and I look forward to it every week. I'm hoping to start my first ar15 build soon and the info you all have provided has been great.

Zachary D.:  Reed, Wanted to let you know Silencer Shop has Ti-Rant 9mm suppressors on sale for $399 plus a $200 AAC online store credit.  Dakota Silencer has the Ti-Rant 45 for $450 with the same rebate.  The temptation was too much for me and I picked myself up a 9mm can, my first stamped item, earlier this week. When I asked the sales guy why they were so inexpensive, thinking perhaps a new model was due out, he said that with AAC moving he thought they were trying to reduce inventory to move, and administrative burden. Just wanted to pass along the great deal to yourself and all the listeners. Hope you're having a great holiday!

Brian P: Hey guys!!! Love the podcast. Been with you since the first show.  I have a few builds under my belt and decided it was time to get my oldest son involved so we can get a little father son bonding time in at the range.   He is ten and is building everything himself  with just  a little help here and there and of course  supervision  to make sure it is built properly.   So far everything is going great  and he is waiting for some more parts for Christmas.   Just wanted to let everyone know what a great experience this build has been.   But beware much patience is needed.   We do have one question because we will be outfitting his build with a 22lr  conversion kit. will this have any long term damage to the 5.56 barrel or will it just need a good cleaning when he is ready for  a real bolt carrier group. Thanks and keep up the good work.


ARP 055 - Optics, a Different Perspective Part 1

Reed talks optics with fellow Marines

Welcome to Episode #055 of the AR15 Podcast.  I’m your host Reed Snyder and with us are several Marine guests. This is the podcast about your favorite black rifle!  This show is for you; whether you're building your first AR or you’ve been building ARs for years. There is something we can all do to take our black rifle to the next level.

Otis Ripcord Giveaway

For times in the field when you just can’t reach your Otis cleaning system and need a quick and effective clean – reach for the Ripcord®. This convenient tool cleans from Breech-to-Muzzle® in one quick and easy pass. The molded rubberized core and Nomex® fibers together create a more effective way to trap and remove fouling.

Winner: Scott H

Reed and Tony,

I just wanted to thank you for the time and energy that you put into the AR15 podcast. I find it very informative and a helpful learning tool for the AR15 platform. I have pretty much been listening to your podcast and most all of the other podcast on the Firearm Radio Network for a year now. I have to say they are all entertaining and educational. I know it takes a lot of time and dedication to keep the network going and I for one, appreciate it!!!

Please enter me in the Otis Ripcord give-away.

Thanks, again

  • Brownells helps make this show possible.
  • They are there for you anytime you make a mistake, like when Jake shoots a spring across the room into his shag carpet.
  • Shop for AR-15 parts at Brownells.  Go to:

Tip of the Week:  Drinking Tips from Marines

  1. Franzia is not an acceptable beverage
  2. If you want to drink with a Marine,  learn to drink whiskey
  3. When at Fort Knox - Go to the Makers Mark Distillery
  4. Never get caught drinking in your squad bay

Main Topic

A USMC Look at Optics

 Listener Feedback

 War13usaf: Enjoyed your last episode very much and it hit home. I am an Air Traffic Controller as well with 11 years active duty, but am currently studying gunsmithing through Sonoran Desert Institute. I have been itching to trade career paths, but it might be too late for me as I\'m 29 and still have 2 years left on my contract. it was good to here a fellow controller and service member excel in another field. Any story can be inspiration to someone else!

Nathan:  You guys have a great podcast idea here.  Also, thank you for having a feedback email.  I enjoy most of your podcasts quite a bit, but would like to discuss some specific things about the AR Optics edition.  First, I think this is a very important subject which you guys knocked the ice off of, but now it is time to open the beer!  Maybe I can add some perspective here that is slightly different than the podcast showed.

First, my optics philosophy

Setting up your rifle's optical system involves developing a specific purpose, clearly developing a spec for that purpose, evaluating every scope in the market that meets 90+% of the purpose(online and in hand if possible), set a general +/- $100 price range and dive into the optical decisions to get the market narrowed down to 1 choice.

The market seems to have 10 of everything, but there are really only a few scopes out there for any well defined purpose.  I will go through my AR optics choice made recently in the end.

Next, a little vocabulary which seemed to be a struggle on the podcast:

Eyepiece - The part of the scope closest the shooter which holds the ocular lens and focus adjustment.

Ocular lens - The lens you look through.  This is where the image is focused on.

Eyebox or non-critical eye relief - This is the qualitative measure of how quickly and easily you can get your eye in position to view the target.  This is the key with AR optics.  AR's are for war, hog hunting, coyote hunting, 3 gun, self defense, etc.  A scope/mount/setup which won't present me an image immediately is meaningless.

Eye relief - Distance which the reticle gives you a full view of the reticle.

Eyepiece focus - The part of the scope which allows you to get the reticle focused on the ocular as you see it.  There are 2 types.  Locking focus most commonly used by Leupold.  Fast focus. . .used by most other brands.  Fast focus is fast and easy to setup, but can be moved accidentaly.  Leupold's method is set it, lock it and forget it.  Since a rifle is for one person usually, I wish all were Leupold style.  Once locked, you KNOW it is good!

Zoom ring - Adjusts the magnification of a variable scope by turning this ring.  Some brands make a few models where the whole eye piece turns.  This is better with gloved hands. . .but is a pain with scope caps usually.  Whichever you choose, make sure this thing is going to turn easily and quickly when you need it to.

Magnification - This is the number of times smaller  or larger and object is or the number of times farther you see it at the same size.  I like 1x parallax free red dots for up close 0 - 50 yd work.  Actually out to 125 yds is not bad with a dot.  A 1-4x allows me to engage quickly from 10 foot to 200 yards pretty well.  I've shot deer at 250 yds with a 4x plex, so maybe I should say 250.  I find I need 6x to be moderately comfortable at 300 yards.  12x should get me to 1000 yards ok, but 25x would be ideal.  IMO, minimum magnification to distance is:

100 yds - 1x

200 yds - 4x

300 yds - 6x

500 yds - 8x

600 yds - 8x

800 yds - 10x

1000 yds - 12x

This is on a ~20" or so target.  Varmints you might want to double the magnification and even triple it at 1000 yds.

Quick Tip #1 - MGM Switchview or similar. That might make an average scope faster.  Super fast! SpectorDR Throwlever $2600

Erector tube - The inner lens assembly that is moved by the turrets for zeroing the scope.  This part is critical for the shooter, because it determines the usable scope diameter or light pathway, what focal plane and the quality of turret adjustments.  Unfortunately, you have to have very good critical reading skills to determine anything about this part from scope maker's information.

Objective - The part of the scope which holds the objective lens.  This lens and it's quality are the main contributors to the scopes brightness.

ED, HD, etc - Usually refers to a higher grade of glass material.

Grinding - The process of making the lens which is one of the main cost factors.  Generally speaking glass is ground for optics by a supplier.  These suppliers tend to supply most makers in their country.  <- This may be over generalized.  Generally speaking again, German, Leupold(US), Burris (US), Japanese, Philippines and then China is pretty much the order of quality, but there could be many exceptions..

Lens Coatings - These are put on the lenses of the scope to improve light transmission through the lens and minimize reflections inside and outside the scope.  Some also prevent fog or rain drops from building up.  The key is this can make a US Optics 24mm oj size be brighter than a Chinese 50mm obj.  Lens coating allow high end scopes and their users to "cheat" the exit pupil formula.

Exit Pupil - This is: EP = Obj diameter/magnification.  For example a Burris Fullfield E1 2-7 x 35.  On the high end, the EP is 5mm.  On the low end 17.5mm.  I find a scope with decent quality coatings and a 5mm exit pupil will see well at dusk and even past legal light.  At the low end 2 - 4x setting, this scope could be used in complete darkness with only a moonlit target.

Reticle: The place, usually a piece of glass where the crosshairs, ranging scale, mildots, etc are placed.  Generally speaking plex (+) is usually the cheapest and a Horus type ranging scale is the most expensive.  This is a key part in a scope's performance and cost.  Choose wisely.

Illuminated Reticle - This is where the reticle is lit by a small light.  Sounds great. . .Super a night! <-NOT!  I have not used a US optics IR, but the ones I've used were bright enough that even in red they hurt my night vision and caused a haze in the optic.  Not awful, but hard to use in pitch black night.  In a CQB situation, this is likely great.  In a dawn/dusk, this would be OK with good to great optics.  Most of the time. . .Total waste of money!

Focal Plane

First Focal Plane - This is where the target and the reticle change in size at the same rate as you adjust the zoom.  The meaning is that a ranging or BDC reticle are always usable regardless of zoom adjustment.

Second Focal Plane - This is where the target changes in size relative to the reticle you adjust the zoom.  The meaning is that a ranging or BDC reticles are only usable at one zoom level, or you need a chart to determine the reticles measurements at other zoom levels.  Look at Nikon Spot On.  An FFP would not change with magnification.

Parallax - This is the situation where the target is not focused on the eyepiece at the exact same focal plane as the reticle.  Simply put, if your eye is in a different spot than it was when you zero'd the gun, you will have parallax error, unless you have dialed the side focus or objective focus to move the target to the reticle's focal plane.  This has it's greatest effect at close range(<50 yards) or far range(putting a little dot on a really little target) and high magnification(>15x).  With a 3-12 over 10 yards and under 600 yards, I say "total waste of money.)

Enough terms!

Quick Tip #2 - Objective caps used on the eye piece are often more secure and simpler in operation.(Butler Creek brand)

A Basic How-to of Using a Scope

First, a scope should be carried on it's lowest power and objective(side) focus set at 150 yards, so targets which appear at point blank range can be engaged.  Second, when a target presents itself with time to adjust, the shooter should zoom to max power, adjust side/obj focus(fine tune by bobbing head while turning the side focus until the target does not move relative to reticle.), gather data(range/wind/target movement), calculate, adjust turrets/pick reticle aiming point, then fire at target.  Sometimes, the shooter needs to dial down from max power due to mirage or the need to see escape paths, etc.  <- That is where a high end FFP scope and/or a spotter really helps.  So, that is a very long process.  Targets which present themselves for shorter periods need shortcuts. . . .like that 25 yd whitetail buck who is moving when you see him.

Philosophies of Use

Point and Shoot - Shooting still or moving targets of ~15 - 20" aim point at 0 - 250 yards are probably best shot with a point and shoot scope.  This can be a basic 4x plex reticle, red dot, basic 3-9 variable, or a higher end optic dialed in to simplified settings. I would guess 90% of all scopes are being used this way

Point and Shoot + Range - This to me is my favorite AR compromise.  This is a pretty good setup out to 400 - 500 yards in good conditions with practice.  It is typically a 1-4, 1.5-6, 2-7, 3-9, 2.5-10, etc with a smaller objective and a BDC reticle.  The best example is something like a Burris Fullfield E1.  These add a BDC to the point and shoot type or in the Burris case, a BDC with wind. . .This type of scope is typically shot from positions like prone and the target is typically ranged visually or with a rangefinder and shot by shooting to a different aiming point on the BDC.  Fast and accurate.  Frankly, I'm getting a switchview lever here and taking shots at max magnification.  I have no need for a FFR reticle here, but if you go to a 4.5-14, then maybe you should be looking FFP, in case 14x isn't available to you.  I can't say for sure, but in general SFP is fine.  Also, side focus. . .Since the ideal scope in this range ends at 12x or so, I see no need. . .just slows me down.  Of the 90% who are point and shoot types, maybe 10% of them shoot enough to be better served by this type.  IMO, this is likely 15% of the market at best.  15% include stealing 10% from the previous group.

Full Turret Type or Advanced Reticle Scope - This is usually too much scope for an AR. . .Who wants a 15 lb AR!  These start out with the fixed power Super Sniper and go through the US Optics stuff.  They often weigh 20 oz plus, can be used as a hammer, have glass from the best glass makers and  are best moved by truck!  That said, my go to bolt rifle has a 3-12 Burris XTR which I consider this type and am quite happy with.  Beware of fakes. . .There are many $20 - $600ish fakes in this market.  Frankly, this scope can't be made for much under $600 and to really get what you want, think $3000 +.  In a word US Optics.  For fun, I configured my ideal scope. . .It was $3406. . .ouch!  Only in this style is a FFP reticle really valuable.

ARP 055P2 - Optics, a Different Perspective Part 2

Choosing my Own AR Optic

So, I promised how I picked my last AR scope.  First I watch NutNFancy's video on AR-15 scopes.

First, the gun is a self built AR-15 with a 17" A2 profile rifle gas barrel, rifle quad tube, Vltor EMOD, etc.  So, I wanted a scope which would show me max accuracy on 100yd paper (I thought 10x), but would still be quick into use for some informal 3 gun or rifle match(<2x plus good eyebox plus lightweight).  I also think of this gun being accurate out to 500 yards for a coyote or something similar(thinking BDC reticle).  So, my spec list:

Magnification - 2-8x, 2-7x, 2.5-10x, 2.5-8x

Exit pupil - Want 5 at max power so, 40, 35, 50, 40 objective sizes.  Wow! 40 - 50 obj is not light.

Weight - Want 12 oz. . .Better look small or Leupold. . .maybe Nikon Monarch with smaller obj

Lens coatings - Fully Multi-coated is a minimum for me.  Since I'm looking at smaller obj's, I had better be thinking Nikon Monarch 3, Leupold VX3, Zeiss, or better!  The better lines of Leupold and Nikon and Burris all have great matched lens coatings, IMO from looking through them in the store.

Eye Box - Better go to the store for testing.

Optics Tip #3 - In store testing how to. . .First, get the scope on the fake stock at an eye relief that you can full view quick.  Then aim at flat wall 25 - 100 yards away with nothing on it.  Focus the reticle with the eye piece focus perfectly.  Perfect is judged by lower slightly, blink and then snap the scope up and ask if the reticle is clear.  Good.  Then set the side focus(if required) to 150 yds.  Then look at objects near a light.  OK? How is the light affecting your view, the objects color, etc. Then look at the picture on the far wall or outside.  Really scrutinize it.  The guy has brown hair.  Is it the way it was when you saw it up close or less texture, less color, too much color, etc.  Ask if they have an optics chart or target on a wall.  If so, how do the lines look?  Are the straight, distinct, etc.  Also, how did things look at the edge for all targets?  Then, pick a 25 yd target.  How quick can you pull up and trigger a shot?  Maybe try again at 50 yds.  This pull up and shoot is all about eyebox.  Poor eye box on similar scopes will show up as feeling slow, or worse eye tired.

Cost - Well, this thing is going on an AR, so you have to leave room for the $150 + mount!  Uh, let's see, $300 +/- $100 for the scope.


Burris 2-7x35 Fullfield E1 -

Pros - Was on sale for $130, BDC has wind scale, power ring has GREAT feel, Burris coatings always render color well to my eye, eye box was good.

Cons - at $130 are the coatings good enough in the real world?, it was sold out the day I went for final selection.

Nikon 2-8x34 Monarch 3

Pros - .5 MOA adjustments, 12 mo same as cash(buy now, sell old scope later), $300, $20 off coupon, eye box was best of group, edge clarity best of all, color and contrast best of all.

Cons - Seemed a hair dim on 8x(hard to be sure), Not sure if it is better than the Burris(now at $200), zoom hard to grasp well. . .Needs a switchview likely at $60.

Leupold 2.5-8x36

Pros - It is a Leupold, weight  11oz, B&C reticle

Cons - Yellowish cast like many Leupold coatings, B&C reticle seems unfinished, $479 ($200 over spec), edge clarity not as good as Nikon, didn't handle a target near a bright light well

Zeiss 2-7x32

Pros - It is a Zeiss(coatings, mechanics, brightness,etc), very bright and clear, $350

Cons - Edge clarity poor, reticle huge. . .a deer might hide behind it at 300 yards, not BDC,

So, I chose the Nikon 2-8x36 Monarch 3.

I guess what I'm saying is that I felt your show didn't clearly tell me a better way to buy this scope. . .or frankly as good of a way to select this scope.  I think listeners don't need to hear the old spend more get better, glass costs as much or more than the rifle, etc.

Frankly, if I would have said AR glass for $1000, I think I would be looking at that scope and Burris XTR 1.5-6x40, IOR Valdada 2.5-10x42 hunting, Leupold 2.5-8x36 tactical, etc.  Those scope all have 1 thing in common near 20 oz weight!  They have better glass, but can I even use it in this scenario?  Also, who knows about eye box on these as it is an order and see what you get kind of deal.

Anyways, just trying to give you another viewpoint on selecting AR optics, mainly riflescopes.  I hope this was at least worth reading to you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Ryan  Hey Guys!  Love the podcast! I\'m glad there\'s finally an informative show about everything AR on the scene. However,... Your recent podcast on optics was cursory at best and simply uninformed at various points. Most of the topics you covered were not explained sufficiently at all(!) After years of shooting, reloading, competing and tinkering with rifles and endlessly squeezing the utmost amount of accuracy I can out of rifles, I\'ve come to believe that if there is ONE thing a shooter should seriously invest in, it\'s optics. Of the two major components in a rifle-system; the rifle itself, and the optics,... the majority of the investment should be put into the optics. After all, a great optic can be moved from weapon to weapon and utilized on each.

Here are some comments, and corrections, on what you discussed:

Shooting Dirty: definitely true,... making sure that your bore has reached copper equilibrium is a key to consistent, predictable POI. This is a great (p)ossible (f)uture (s)how (t)opic (PFST), as cleaning the barrel is sooooo overdone by most shooters and in general, hurts accuracy.

Eye-relief: in general, the higher the magnification, the closer the shooters eye needs to be to the ocular lens, and the smaller the \'window\' in which the eye can see a clear eye-picture.

FOCUS: Great opportunity to talk about the difference between the \'ocular\' focus i.e. the adjustment found on the ocular lense that is used to bring the reticle into focus, and \'parallax\' adjustment, which is found on either the bell or the objective lens or more typically in recent years, on the left-hand side of the turret housing, and is used to adjust the depth-of-field or focal depth of the optic.

1st vs 2nd focal-plane: MIL-RADIAN is an \"ANGULAR\" form of measure, just like a DEGREE is an angular measurement, as is a Minute-of-Angle (MOA)...(PFST). A 2nd focal-plane scope means that the reticle is \'fixed\' and does not change in dimension throughout the range of magnification i.e. when you dial the power up/down, the reticle remains the same size throughout. In a 1st focal-plane scope, reticle changes size in direct relationship to the magnification i.e. the reticle \'grows\' when increasing magnification and \'shrinks\' when decreasing magnification,... the important point of which is that the reticle, and all its\' corresponding hash-marks (hold-overs), remain constant throughout the magnification range.(PFST)

Parallax: this is simply the depth of field or focal depth of the optic. Optics cannot maintain perfect focus on everything, no matter the distance, especially with high-magnification optics. Think of it as a focus-range for the optic i.e. out of the 1000-yards of range you\'re looking at through your scope, your only able to get a crisp focus on 50-yards of it,... and you use the parallax adjustment to dial-in, and out, at what distance that range will be.

Reticles (PFST): MIL-RAD, MOA, BDC,... these are the major \'types\' of reticle and deserve more attention,... in conjunction with this is the adjustments of the optic, i.e. 0.1 MIL-RAD /click, or 1/4 MOA/click,...etc. Matching the Reticle to the Adjustments,...etc. The pros and cons of going with a BDC reticle or BDC turrets,... Again,... (PFST)

Tube Diameter: 1-inch, 30mm, 34mm, 35mm. Has very LITTLE to do with the amount of light-transmission,... that\'s primarily linked to the objective diameter - after all that is where the light is gathered and transmitted down the tube. However, tube diameter is probably still the more important feature in that it is directly linked to the erector housing\'s ability to travel up/down i.e. the amount of MILRAD\'s, or MOA adjustment the optic can travel,... This also brings in the topic of canted bases and why they\'re a good idea for long range shooters, as well as how to properly calculate the amount of travel the erector has,...(PFST).

LIGHT - great opportunity to talk about the coatings on the lenses and that THAT is the MAJOR feature of great glass.

TURRETS - Again, 0.1 MIL-RAD /click, or 1/4 MOA/click, and matching the reticle...etc. (PFST)

FIXED POWER vs. VARIABLE POWER: durability, focal-plane, cost, features,...etc.

Bad purchases vs. good purchases,... talk to ME! My hope is to at least convince you that of ANYTHING you purchase, weapon/optic,... the OPTIC is the more important of the two. (PFST)

RETICLE: Duplex, Varmint, BDC, Mil-Dot, MILRAD-based, MOA-based, HORUS, Combo-Hybrid-Designer. In addition to providing hold-overs to the shooter, it can also serve as a great means of range estimation i.e. being able to utilize the reticle to \'range\' a target at an unknown distance.(PFST)

BRANDS: based on my own experience:

Burris - eh,... get what you pay for Redfield - eh,... get what you pay for SWFA - fair,... adjustments are mushy, but the \'features\' are well-thought out in general. Leupold - everything from OK, good, to FANTASTIC! One of the widest range of optics available. You get what you pay for. Nikon - OK,... good hunting scopes, but not really rugged. Swarovski - GREAT glass, but limited reticles Weaver - Good, solid, affordable scope. Nightforce - generally, great: rugged, heavy-duty, accurate, featureful... High-end models are top-tier. Vortex - Great designs. Everything from good (PST) to great (Razor) line of scopes USOptics - HIGHLY customizable, HIGH quality, LOTS of options. PREMIER Reticle - FANTASTIC,... ULTRA rugged, and featureful, Well thought out. Get what you pay for. Top tier Khales - Top tier, GREAT stuff,... but you pay for it. Schmidt & Bender - the optic by which ALL others-- are judged,... The summit,...AWESOME!(PFST)

Again, durability, reliability, repeatability,... not to mention quality of glass, adjustment/reticle combos. A scope, is an investment well worth making cautiously,... and is entirely based on the intended use of the scope. Maybe you only intend to put the scope on an AR15 shooting 62gr Green Tips,... at which point, a fixed ACOG NSN-TA01 with a BDC reticle would be appropriate,... or you\'re looking to throw a good optic on an AR15 chambered in 6.5 Grendel, at which point I\'d look at a variable 4-16x50 Vortex with a MIL-RAD based FFP reticle,... etc. (PFST)

There are a TON of topics that you could easily fill an hour with on this topic,... Let me know (PFST) .


ARP 002 – Back to Basics

arlower This week the AR-15 Podcast hosts Reed Snyder and Jake Challand take listeners back to basics on the AR-15 platform.

They also discuss some of the most popular upgrades and sighting systems.

In addition to discussing the AR-15s basic parts Snyder and Challand review the list of parts going into the AR-15 video blog build and address listener feedback.

Welcome to episode #2 of the AR15 Podcast.  I’m your host Jake Challand from Gun Guy Radio.  This is THEE podcast about youuurrrr favorite black rifle!  This show is for you; whether you're building your first AR or you’ve been building ARs for years.  There’s something we can all do to take our black rifle to the next level.

Main Topic: Basic parts of the AR-15 Platform





Most Common upgrades:

Trigger Buffer Bolt carrier

Listener Feedback:

Yancy:  Hey guys I mean zack and Steve. I could use a show on optics. How much, is it one of those thing that "you get what you pay for,  I too am in the process of building an ar. I a cheating a little by using a in good shape older A2 as the donor  now working on the different optics I can add. Think about running an small fixed power scope on the handle and then a red dot on the side.  Thanks for all you help and the check is in the mail! Paul:  I just finished listening to the first AR-15 podcast tonight.It was great!  Really informative, and the combo of guests you had really made for a great show.  A lot of what you guys are going over actually can apply to your most awesome listeners.........(Canucks) Larry:  Is there a way to download the ar-15 podcast to my ipod? I want to listen to it at work instead of over my computer. Also if you didn't talk about it in the first episode could you talk about converting the ar-15 over to the 300 blackout and what that is? I have only heard about doing it but know nothing of it. Thanks

iTunes Review:


Show notes at Find us on iTunes