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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all.

As you may recall, I recently purchased by first M14 through TonyBen. I’ve been learning the platform and how it shoots using irons, and now I’m investigating a scope for it. I plan to use a Sadlak steel or airborne mount. The question is which scope?

I see this rifle as primarily a “battle rifle” as it was originally intended by our military, but I also see its usefulness at longer ranges. It’s currently the only large caliber rifle I own. I am a casual shooter who is not particularly interested in really high precision, but I do my rifle is a very accurate shooter (in Tony's hands). I will stick to 200 yards and closer distances for the vast majority of my shooting, but it will also see occasional shots out to 500 yards max on steel.

I had originally thought of putting a 1-6x or 1-8x LPVO scope on it given I really like the 1x setting for close-in shooting. You don’t see very many LPVOs on M14s at all, though. Instead it’s more of a traditional scope. So I’d like to consider a scope with a low end of 2x-3x and a high end of 10x-15x or so. I’d like to better understand how not having a true 1x at the low end will affect more dynamic shooting in the 10-50 yard range.

What issues are introduced by not having a 1x when shooting in a faster, close-in way? What do you do to adjust and compensate for a “snap shot”? Again, this a shooting enthusiast’s rifle and the chances of it being used for serious work or even hunting are slim, but I’d still like it to be configured in the appropriate way.

I currently have a Vortex Viper PST Gen 2 1-6x LPVO on my AR-15 which I really love (except for the weight). I like the simple MRAD reticle and single, very bright illuminated center dot. I’m looking for a mid-range optic for my M14 with a similar reticle. Weight doesn’t matter much really, but lighter is better. Glass quality and reliability is #1. It doesn’t have to be bombproof or ultra high-end. Open to SFP or FFP.

What would you recommend and why? I’d like to keep the budget at $1000 or under. Under is better. Thank you for your time.

Chris
 

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If you like the PST Gen 2 1-6, then you should already be aware of the PST Gen 2 2-10 x 32 FFP. I've never touched this optic, so don't take this post as an endorsement....just an obvious statement.

It's hardly lightweight, but it should be as durable as the rest of the PST Gen 2 lineup. As long as the reticle is sized similarly to the 3-15 FFP model, it will be completely usable at all magnification levels.

If you can find one for a decent price, a Mark 4 3.5-10 x 40mm would be worth considering.

My other recommendations are all above the $1,000 mark.
 

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Vortex PST 1-4x on a 308 M110 at 600yds workout. However, I don't do run-n-gun with my M14 or M110. The illuminated center isn't very bright so I don't think it would be fast enough for that shooting. Red dots seem better and are adequate for up to 150yds.
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For M14 types, with available mounting and my body, I prefer longer eye relief options, like 3.5"+, though I am not you so...

If I'm shooting up close and on the fly, I really like 1(ish) x capability, though to a degree people can adjust to a lot. Some were running fixed 4x magnification, so I hear, universally for everything.

I would personally lean towards an LPVO for what you're describing, starting at 1x and going up as high as your farthest distance requires, but also keeping in mind that the wider zoom range, all else being equal, the more it costs, and the more it compromises something else, whatever that may be.

The other thing to consider on weight, on an M14 rifle, is that once you put on optics, between the mount, the rings, and the scope, no matter what, you're not going to make it a light and fast-swinging easy 3 gun kind of thing. People with the skill might be able to handle it quickly, but that's not the same thing.

Depending on your use, it might be also an option to use QD rings, and alternate between a red dot, or LPVO, and a higher power option.

Maybe, for instance, a Vortex PST 1-4x24 (you can get them on clearance now, and it is almost half a pound lighter than the PST Gen2 1-6x24),

Vortex PST 1-4x24

or even better deal, with MRAD...

Vortex PST 1-4x24 (MRAD)

It's kind of tempting to buy one just to get an MRAD version, though the particular MOA version I've got is just sitting in a box, so... if you can find anyone closing out the capped turrets versions, that's probably my favorite version in that model, as I'm not a turret turner, and I'm paranoid about accidentally changing turret settings, but again, you're not me... :p

and a SWFA 10x42 (man, you missed a heck of a sale, but still a good value at full retail).
SWFA 10x42

They're both among my favorites for what they are, at least of which I've tried.
 

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You've gotten some good opinions on various scopes and optics, but each has a more specific use and certain limitations. You may have to make some concessions and figure the AR for fast, near shooting, the M1A for 300+ distances. You can then choose the appropriate optics for that use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the comments! I appreciate it. I think that last poster is right. I think this rifle will be more dedicated as a DMR type of rifle that I shoot from a fixed/stable position. That’s mostly what I intend anyway, but was also exploring the battle rifle theme. I don’t plan to shoot 100 rounds quickly at short range really. More casual slower shooting. The mid-power range seems like the most appropriate magnification for this rifle.
 

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You say that you consider the M14 to be a battle rifle, so let's take it from there.

First, you have to decide what type of target you will be shooting at and at what range.

1x per 100 meters is considered acceptable to engage full size E Type silhouettes, shown below left. These targets represent a standing threat. The ART scope used on the M21 was based on this concept. 2x per 100 meters is better for engaging F Type silhouettes, shown below right. These targets represent a threat that is prone or behind cover.

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Service Rifle targets are a different category altogether. They are round bullseye style that get larger with distance, essentially giving you the same sight picture regardless of range. A fixed 4.5x with easily adjustable turrets is perfect.

Don't worry about shooting up close with the scope. It won't matter if the low end is 1x, 1.1, 1.5 or even 2. Your brain won't know the difference. You can even shoot with both eyes open. Your biggest problem will be remembering to aim low on the target. The trajectory of a scoped M14 or one with the BSZ of 250m will require you to aim at the base of the target. The M21 was zeroed at 300m. Anything longer, you use the dial. Anything shorter, you just aim low.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Is the mismatched turrets and reticle on the Leupold MK4 3.5-10x40mm really a big deal? What is the process for working around that? Is it possible to get mil turrets installed by Leupold?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you, KurtC. Good things to consider. Let’s say I intend to shoot paper targets or 6” round steel out to 200 yards but then 10” round steel out farther.

Thats interesting about having to shoot low on closer targets with a scoped M14. That’s the opposite of an AR-15. My AR is zeroed at 50/200 yards. Closer than 50 yards I have to hold over to account for the offset. The M14 is opposite? Can you describe the bullet trajectory?
 

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I keep my iron sights zeroed for 250 meters, as per Infantry doctrine. When shooting steel on our 100 and 200 meter lanes, I aim low on the silhouettes. If I were to find a 300 meter range, I would need to aim high, as done for US Army rifle qualification courses.
 

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I recommend the 50/200 zero for an M14 type rifle. From point blank to 200 yds. the trajectory never varies by more than 2” from the line of sight. At 300 yds, shoot nipple height for a center of mass hit.
 

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The Mark 4s have great turrets, so elevation can be covered by dialing. Windage can also be adjusted for by dialing, but it's not nearly as common as holding. You can manually convert the reticle hashmarks from MILs to inches. It's a SFP design, so just spin it up to max if you want to hold with the reticle.

Leupold can change the turrets from MOA to MIL in their custom shop......when/if they ever open it again. I bought a couple 4-14x50s for cheap, figuring I'd send them in for the swap, at which point I learned that's not possible right now.
 

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The major downside I see with scopes like the Leupold Mk 4 3.5 - 10X is the weight and size. If you want to use the scope for any sort of dynamic shooting, a low power variable scope is much lighter and more compact but generally has adequate magnification for medium range shooting.
 

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The major downside I see with scopes like the Leupold Mk 4 3.5 - 10X is the weight and size. If you want to use the scope for any sort of dynamic shooting, a low power variable scope is much lighter and more compact but generally has adequate magnification for medium range shooting.
The weight aspect of this statement certainly depends on the individual scopes that are being considered. According to the Internet, the MK4 3.5-10x40 weighs 19.5 oz, which is less than the 22.7 oz of the Viper PST 1-6. The illuminated Millett DMS 1-6 spec states 20.7 oz. The higher power options are definitely larger in size, and the tall M1 turrets of the MK4 are among the taller ones available.

I plan to check out the Nightforce NXS 2.5-10x42mm sometime. It's got a very useful power range, sensible objective size, side focus, and NF quality.

I agree that the M14 clone makes a better DMR than one intended for run-n-gun usage.
 

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The weight aspect of this statement certainly depends on the individual scopes that are being considered. According to the Internet, the MK4 3.5-10x40 weighs 19.5 oz, which is less than the 22.7 oz of the Viper PST 1-6. The illuminated Millett DMS 1-6 spec states 20.7 oz. The higher power options are definitely larger in size, and the tall M1 turrets of the MK4 are among the taller ones available.

I plan to check out the Nightforce NXS 2.5-10x42mm sometime. It's got a very useful power range, sensible objective size, side focus, and NF quality.

I agree that the M14 clone makes a better DMR than one intended for run-n-gun usage.
A Leupold VX-3HD 1.5 - 5X scope weighs 10.1 oz. If one chooses wisely, you can find a high quality low power variable scope that is very light and compact.
 

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I mis-read that as VX-5HD on my phone.....VX-3 might be in the same price ballpark.

I've got a few VX-R Patrol 3-9s and they're alright (especially for the discounted pricing when they were discontinued), but have pretty much ignored the VX-3HD and Mark 3HD scopes. I presume they're as nice as a VX-3i, which is plenty nice for an optic that won't be going to war.

Is an illuminated reticle important?
 
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