Firearm & Gun Forum - FireArmsTalk.com > Gear & Accessories > Optics & Mounts > Expensive optics?

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-24-2012, 01:55 AM   #1
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
maddoccanis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 44
Liked 11 Times on 8 Posts
Likes Given: 11

Default Expensive optics?

I have a PhD in Physics and have worked on designing optical devices. I have to say I am hard pressed to justify the cost of high end optics. When optics were hand made one at a time they were expensive. Now they are mass produced. Can someone tell me why I am wrong?....doc

__________________

Last edited by maddoccanis; 11-24-2012 at 01:59 AM.
maddoccanis is offline  
 
Reply With Quote

Join FirearmsTalk.com Today - It's Free!

Are you a firearms enthusiast? Then we hope you will join the community. You will gain access to post, create threads, private message, upload images, join groups and more.

Firearms Talk is owned and operated by fellow firearms enthusiasts. We strive to offer a non-commercial community to learn and share information.

Join FirearmsTalk.com Today! - Click Here


Old 11-24-2012, 02:26 AM   #2
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
SSGN_Doc's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 4,104
Liked 1961 Times on 1163 Posts
Likes Given: 423

Default

Quality control. Hand assembly in controlled work spaces. There is still a lot of manual labor involved in sporting optics. Then those optics are subjected to weather, temperature extremes, recoil etc. and still expected to hold zero through power adjustments and maintain repeatable adjustments. Cost of facilities and equipment for mass production. Paying technicians that maintain the equipment. Unions, benefits packages, insurance, testing, marketing, lawyers, shipping and receiving, accounting. Designing it is only the beginning.


A lab microscope doesn't get exposed to as many variables and extremes as a rifle scope. It has a controlled light source and background. Telescopes may get exposed to some weather and temp extremes but usually not as extreme and with less rough handling.

Then when you get into red dots the best have to meet military requirements like all of the rough handling while holding zero, submersion requirements, ability to be exposed to salt water, night vision settings, and circuitry that can handle all of this along with battery power management that allows 50,000 hours of constant illumination. Some optics use radioactive gasses to illuminate the sight.

Purging gasses and other hazmat costs. Lots of these are built outside of the US because of the labor and environmental costs that would be incurred here, and they are still expensive overseas. Then add import tariff. Then add good old supply and demand, and the market drives the price up even more.

__________________

Last edited by SSGN_Doc; 11-24-2012 at 02:31 AM.
SSGN_Doc is offline  
Cattledog Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2012, 02:34 AM   #3
Moderator
FTF_MODERATOR.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
JonM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Rochester WI,Rochester WI
Posts: 17,129
Liked 5271 Times on 2748 Posts
Likes Given: 333

Default

a lot of the cost has to do with how rugged the internals are and how well they repeat adjustments and how consistant the clicks are from stop to stop. the glass itself isnt the major factor.

ssgn beat me to it with a better explanation :P

__________________

"Gun control: The theory that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled with her panty hose, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that fatal bullet wound." — L. Neil Smith

The problem with being stupid is you cannot simply decide to stop doing dumb things...

JonM is offline  
Cattledog Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2012, 02:59 AM   #4
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
SSGN_Doc's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 4,104
Liked 1961 Times on 1163 Posts
Likes Given: 423

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonM View Post
a lot of the cost has to do with how rugged the internals are and how well they repeat adjustments and how consistant the clicks are from stop to stop. the glass itself isnt the major factor.

ssgn beat me to it with a better explanation :P
But you were more concise.
__________________
SSGN_Doc is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2012, 03:04 AM   #5
FTF_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Cattledog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Portland,OR
Posts: 1,459
Liked 588 Times on 378 Posts
Likes Given: 535

Default

and you two beat me to all of it. What they said....:-p

__________________
Join the NRA Here!


"You can have it fast, cheap and accurate...pick any two."~Me

"Educate and Inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them." ~Thomas Jefferson
Cattledog is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2012, 03:21 AM   #6
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Sonic82's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Minneapolis,Minnesota
Posts: 2,901
Liked 749 Times on 477 Posts
Likes Given: 586

Default

I think there's only a handful of labs that precision grind glass. I heard alot of the big manufacturers use the same labs.

Actually, I used to grind and polish precision glass. Much tighter tolerances than for Sporting Optics. I made Ring Laser Gyros for the Aviation and Cruise Missle industry.

__________________
“He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”
― Alexander Hamilton

The comments made herein are those solely of this writer and in no way reflect the opinions of any other person, agency, or entity.

Last edited by Sonic82; 11-24-2012 at 03:25 AM.
Sonic82 is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2012, 03:31 AM   #7
FTF_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Cattledog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Portland,OR
Posts: 1,459
Liked 588 Times on 378 Posts
Likes Given: 535

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic82 View Post
I think there's only a handful of labs that precision grind glass. I heard alot of the big manufacturers use the same labs.

Actually, I used to grind and polish precision glass. Much tighter tolerances than for Sporting Optics. I made Ring Laser Gyros for the Aviation and Cruise Missle industry.

True that. Try looking at the stars with even a mediocre rifle scope and it wont look nearly as good as a cheap telescope. Strap that same telescope to a rifle and watch it become a paperweight in .005 seconds.
__________________
Join the NRA Here!


"You can have it fast, cheap and accurate...pick any two."~Me

"Educate and Inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them." ~Thomas Jefferson
Cattledog is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2012, 04:14 AM   #8
Camo, you are lucky to see it.
FTF_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
KG7IL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Eatonville,Washington. My nearest neighbors are cows.
Posts: 2,414
Liked 1703 Times on 942 Posts
Likes Given: 5193

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by maddoccanis View Post
I have a PhD in Physics and have worked on designing optical devices. I have to say I am hard pressed to justify the cost of high end optics. When optics were hand made one at a time they were expensive. Now they are mass produced. Can someone tell me why I am wrong?....doc
hmmm tell you why you are wrong. .. ..Ok, sure..

You are wrong because the real world is a little tougher on scopes than a classroom or lab. Execution of design is critical. Manufacturing makes the biggest difference.

Lower end manufacturing skimps on the quality of the manufacturing steps to keep costs low. Scopes do not acheive theoretical goodness. Approaching the goodness costs money.

precision, material, coatings, mounting, seals, gas ......
you know all of this as a design engineer.

Hit the websites to look at the features and specs.

Hit the stores, compare scopes.

Try your constestants in low light condition and try the controls.
Buy what you think is good enough.

My guess is that you will soon see why you should spend a little more.


References:
__________________
JOIN THE NRA

Email your representatives USE THIS LINK

KG7IL
KG7IL is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2012, 04:29 AM   #9
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Sonic82's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Minneapolis,Minnesota
Posts: 2,901
Liked 749 Times on 477 Posts
Likes Given: 586

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cattledog View Post
True that. Try looking at the stars with even a mediocre rifle scope and it wont look nearly as good as a cheap telescope. Strap that same telescope to a rifle and watch it become a paperweight in .005 seconds.
Not sure of your point...glass quality doesn't have much to do with durability that I know of.
__________________
“He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”
― Alexander Hamilton

The comments made herein are those solely of this writer and in no way reflect the opinions of any other person, agency, or entity.
Sonic82 is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2012, 12:53 PM   #10
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
TCH2FLY's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 182
Liked 11 Times on 8 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by maddoccanis View Post
I have a PhD in Physics and have worked on designing optical devices. I have to say I am hard pressed to justify the cost of high end optics. When optics were hand made one at a time they were expensive. Now they are mass produced. Can someone tell me why I am wrong?....doc
Just to be clear, what can't you justify? Is it the list price of the optic or is it PAYING that price because those are two very different things. I'm also not sure what price point you consider "high end", $500, $1000, $3000 or ?

Several valid reasons the list price is so high have been listed above so I won't go back over them but complexity also plays a big part of high end scopes.
As a designer you must know that as the user requirements increase so does complexity. The shooters requirements for high resolution and clarity with good contrast will require a more complex lens array so where a low end scope might have 5 lenses, a high end scope might have 10 or more. This increases the critical nature of the assembly process to ensure proper alignment and increases the cost to produce.

As far as paying for a high end scope, I can't possibly say you are wrong because you may not have a need for the level of clarity, ruggedness or functionality offered as the price increases. Honestly, the differences between top-end and bottom-end optics are huge but grow smaller as the price point increases from the mid-range up. It really becomes a personal preference due to the unique qualities of an individual's eyes/vision.

If you hunt in open country with good light you will likely not see an advantage to a high-end scope. If you hunt in dense vegetation under low light you might need the better resolution and contrast in order to separate the game from the background or each other. If you shoot long distances then higher magnification with less distortion is very important and can be provided by the higher end products.
I own scopes that range for $50 to $3000 and they each fufill a specific requirement ... in the end only you can “justify" making that purchase.
__________________

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

TCH2FLY is offline  
Txhillbilly Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Firearms Forum Replies Last Post
Why is 410 so expensive bwalka General Shotgun Discussion 33 02-12-2012 05:59 AM
7mm-08; why so expensive? edwardo Ammunition & Reloading 5 01-28-2012 05:35 PM
expensive day at the fun shop partdeux General Handgun Discussion 4 09-11-2011 03:04 AM
Expensive site R-BOLT The Club House 4 08-01-2009 05:29 PM



Newest Threads