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The folly of disposible 'scopes..

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by cloverleaf, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    When I buy a gun, I usually feel confident in that purchase. I know what I like and what's worth having.

    I know roughly how reliable, well-built and easy to repair various guns are, and how to fix the stuff I choose to own. I know what holds value well, and hence that whatever I buy (esp. second-hand) will have a decent resale value should I need to shift it on in future.

    In short I'm confident that pretty much every air rifle I own will:

    a) Last forever if properly maintained
    b) Be cheap and easy to fix myself when necessary
    c) Not cost me the earth to own/run
    d) Give a reasonable return if sold


    Sadly I can't be this smug about optics. It seems to me that pretty much all the glass we buy to stick atop our airguns is considered effectively disposible. I think this is due to several factors:

    a) The cheapest 'scopes are simply not economically viable to repair on account of their low value
    b) 'scope brands (at least in our market) seems to be reasonably short-lived, so after-sales for older models does not exist
    c) 'scope models also seem relatively short-lived; meaning that a year or two after production of a model has ceased, all spares and service availability will also have been discontinued
    d) 'scopes are difficult to repair yourself, unlike rifles
    e) There are few "after market" 'scope repairers


    I don't like this situation as it's wasteful (both financially and environmentally) and means that if an old 'scope you like fails, your only real option is to chuck it in the bin and buy a replacement.


    Unlike a decent rifle (which will tend to hold it's value reasonably well as it ages), 'scope prices only ever seem to go one way - down, and quickly. I like nice stuff and don't have a problem (mentally rather than practically :p) paying for it; however I baulk at the thought of paying £300 or £400 for a 'scope that will be worth maybe half it's new price once it becomes used, even less as it ages further and suddenly becomes effectively worthless if it develops a fault.

    Does this situation bother anyone else, or am I just over-thinking stuff again? :p
     
  2. Accuspell

    Accuspell Pro Poster

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    I am not sure your fears are all that founded. Yes, maybe on cheap tatt, but anything half decent seems to last for a good length of time. My Simmonds WTC 3.5-19x50 is one of the old crinkle finished ones from the Phillipines, made in Japan, assembled in Manila. It is at least 15 years old and is as crisp and as precise as the day I bought it. There is no reason it won't give me another 15 years of trouble free service, even on top of the SLR - if it has withstood it this long, it isn't going to be affected from future shooting.

    Zeiss give a 30 year guarantee and I know you can still get parts for the pre Zeiss Henzoldt scopes (and Binos - I sent my dad's for repair last year, some people would consider it expensive,but for £200 I got them completely serviced and new lenses put in. I don't think that is bad at all - seen how much lenses are for your reading glasses? How much is specialist technician labour? Car mechanic is £50/hr anywhere and £100+ from a main dealer) So with 30 years of trouble free shooting ahead of you, £900 = £30 per year, then more on top depending on howwell you look after the things. Again, that is the same cost as a cheap, throw away scope......but with the increased ability to see and pleasure gained from longer shooting periods into twilight and more success as a result.

    Sometimes we look to short term - we want everything immediately and to for nothing. You can't have it both ways!
     
  3. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks for your reply - had completely forgotten about this thread!

    I agree about the quality of the Simmons WTC range (owning a few examples myself) however I think they still ultimately fall into the cost trap that I describe. For example I have a 1.5-5x20 that got dropped (causing a lens to come loose) and subsequently repaired out of guilt. This cost me around £60 IIRC; with the 'scope being worth maybe £60-80 this was not really economically viable and I suspect many would have just chucked it out.

    Again I agree about your Zeiss example and while it fits completely with the ethos I try and pursue of paying for quality, long-living, low-depreciating, serviceable gear; although I think you can count the number of airgun owners who spend that kind of money on that kind of glass on the fingers of no hands :p

    My original post was really about the lower-end (but still not necessarily cheap) 'scopes that are aimed at airgunners - 'scopes costing from £40-£400 from brands such as Hawke and MTC, along with a lot of less-reputable names like Nikko Stirling, Leapers, AGS, PAO, (new) Tasco and others.

    We all know that an un-warrantied £40 'scope will go straight in the bin as soon as it develops a fault; a shame from a wastage perspective but not such a problem financially. As the price of units to which this mentality applies increases, the gamble of buying used and the potential to lose considerable amounts of money becomes greater. What about 'scopes costing £100 or £200? To me that's a fair wedge to just chuck in the bin if the glass stops working after two or three years.

    A good example I think is the old 1"-tubed Hawke Sidewinder 'scopes. When new I suspect these would have cost in the region of £150-200; a reasonable amount to spend on glass. I've seen a few examples (that are maybe 5 or 6yrs old) shifting for £60-70; around 1/3 of what they were new. Assuming you had one that needed work, I suspect the market value of the 'scope would be almost completely consumed by the cost of repair - assuming the parts were still available and Hawke were able to undertake the work - rendering the 'scope effectively disposable and potentially worthless.

    Another, more costly example is a Tasco Custom shop 8-40x56 I owned a while ago; made by Hakko in Japan and once considered one of the better FT 'scopes. These retailed for around £400-450 when new in the late 1990s / early 2000s; and I believe good examples still sell for around £150-200. Mine had a fault with a perished internal ring of some sort; with parts unavailable to allow repair I flogged it for about £60 spares or repair.

    Putting this cost into the context of a rifle of similar initial value; the Air Arms S410 carbine I bought new in 2002 for around £450 could still be sold for maybe £300-350 and still has (pretty) good parts availability. So after 10yrs the rifle retains maybe 65-70% of its original asking price (inflation notwithstanding) with no reason why it should ever become un-repairable in the forseeable future. Conversely the 'scope is worth maybe 35-50% of it's original value, but becomes effectively worthless if it ever needs repair (as mine did due to perished internal components - I suspect a fairly time-dependent problem that will get them all eventually).

    I currently have a couple of newish Sidewinder 4.5-14x42s.. these retail for around £340 and would fetch maybe £200 used on a good day. How much will they be worth in a couple of years when they're old hat and everyone wants the model that's replaced them? How about if they develop a problem in 5-10yrs - will they be worth repairing; assuming the facilities even exist to do so?

    I know everything is finite and depreciates.. however as someone without the luxury of boundless funds to chuck at my hobby, it concerns me how rapidly glass seems to lose its value. While very few of us view such items as investments, the purchase of very few of the 'scopes currently available seems to make sound financial sense in the long term.
     
  4. Elk hunter

    Elk hunter Keyboard Hero

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    Sorry but you get what you pay for.
    £30 hawk is exactly that when finished bin it.
    But you go down the road of S&B, zeiss or swarovski and you can buy excellent second hand quality for £300/£400. They will keep there value and can be fixed or refurbished for not a lot of money. I use a guy down in Plymouth, Action Optics. Not so long ago he refurbished a secondhand Zeiss 1.5-6x32 @ £45 as good as new.

    But what does interest me about your thread is, I wonder how many modern S/H air rifles will hold there value or increases like the Theoben Rapid 7 after 20 years. Not many.

    Andrew.
     
  5. tomsteebs

    tomsteebs Donator

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    You make a point I think about.

    To me, it seems like alot more air rifles are made now that aren't made for the first time shooter.

    So in say 20years, what will become of say popular rifles such as all those air rangers, r-10's, ultras, s410 etc...

    My thoughts on the r-10 is it's looks are very much a key element to it, but as soon as those looks go oit of fashion then what?

    Ultras are cheap and alot of them about, so how cheap will they go?

    And also when will all these pcp cylinders start to show decay......

    And when will the next development occur that changes the market?

    Bullpups are gaining interest, maybe this is like what seem like pcps have done in the past 20years.....
     
  6. Jonnymac

    Jonnymac Engaging Member

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    Funnily enough I never think about residual values. I try and buy everything with the view that I will keep it and I want it to last. I spend a little more initially, but usually have little to complain about.
    I just don't get the whole, 'buy it, use it for a bit and flog it' thing.
     
  7. TORNADOS7

    TORNADOS7 Top Poster

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    As above, got a good springer and a reasonable pcp so all set for the future, the only time I'll trade or sell is if something considerably better comes along at a must have price !!!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  8. tomsteebs

    tomsteebs Donator

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    I chop and change a buy and sell constantly, I've lost lots and also gained lots. Air rifles are my passion and i love using them, that's why I chop and change as i want to experience different set ups outside of a shop or range. I'm trying to buy certain items such as scopes and universal equipment that won't ever need changing. Ie: big gun safe, skan chrono, rifles that are unique as opposed to run of the mill.....
    I think it's the difference between a pass time and a hobby
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
  9. ratman60

    ratman60 Very Active

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    hello, maybe i am a cheap skate but i dont go in for those high end brands much just prefere a hawke, does what i need, a fair price, optics are good enough for air rifles, and light enough to not make top heavy, but then another thought is when you have a good range of different styles from one company like hawke they bring in new models not much different from originals hoping we buy those and so your spending more then loosing money if you sell s/h or even give away
     
  10. Clubshot

    Clubshot Clubshot

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    As stated you get what you pay for -

    Any Scope arriving in UK - costs about a 1/4 of what you pay - so a £50 Scope Costs around £12.50 to make

    Years ago a Brought Walther Scopes - Which still serve me well today -

    Well aware of others - as My Club Sales Table has many Scopes most weeks - where Shooters can not get on with them

    BOB/R
     
  11. whitevanman574

    whitevanman574 Donator

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    the worst scopes I have ever had are the walther or ags range the walthers just broke and the ags turrets snapped of a few models , to be honest hawke are as good as any cheap range . I have doubts on mtc ,are they japan lenses or Chinese???

    remember guys anyone could go to alibaba sites and get a few scopes nip of abroad go to a factory and say rebadge these I want x thousand of them really .if you wanted to get into the scope buisness
     
  12. tomsteebs

    tomsteebs Donator

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    Korean lenses, and made in China, the Japan bit is just the company :)

    Or at least that's what I think I know
     
  13. Akita177

    Akita177 The Absolute State of Britian podcast

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    I thought the Glass was made in Japan well thats how MTC market it as Optisan Japans secret optics, though i dont know where they say is Japanese glass.
     
  14. ratman60

    ratman60 Very Active

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    to follow on from this i just looked at my hawke scopes and on the boxes is states made in chinabut then there are good scopes made there and some very cheapies. some chinese manufactures will make to your specification as can most other goods like night vision/ fishing rods/metal detectors but that means months of sales/ design engineers etc going to the factory having R and D process and a finished product to sell, or you buy what they make and re badge your own logo as most cheaper scopes are sold that way. i think most people using springers need to use a shock proof model not so much as PCP but like i mentioned Hawks are a good all rounder VFM scope and a good warranty from Deben.
     
  15. thevoid

    thevoid Posting Addict

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    I have an MTC mamba and cost me 90 used but I did know the seller and know it was looked after, for me it the most robust scope I've seen, everything about it seems well made and put together. I've even accidentally dropped the lot on the floor and zero never shifted.
    As for the other end of the scale, I have kicking around a Hawke sport map6 scope and struggled like mad to get zero until one day I heard something rattle down the scope and turns out one of the inner lenses had broke free and in the process it hit against the objective lens and chipped it.
     
  16. 177

    177 Donator

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    I've said this before but I wish folks would get over country of origin when it comes to scopes.

    Lenses are graded.

    The ones with the best polish and best applied coatings command the highest price.

    Many manufactures would try to marketing spin their coatings over other coatings but, frankly, most of them are so similar it really comes down to how well said coatings are applied, and how well the lens was ground and polished prior to being coated.

    I have some excellent scopes that have made in China etched on them.

    Bushnell Legend Ultra HD are bright, crisp, super clear for the most part and come from China.

    If you make stuff down to a price you have to start with consumables and components at the bottom of the quality scale.

    I consider Hawke's low to low mid-range stuff pretty good value for money, I consider their mid-range to *ahem* "high" end stuff an overpriced, under-performing joke, but sales of said models at least prove that marketing hype works...

    A scope made (which usually means assembled) in China can be made with premium lenses and quality tubes, or the lowest grade components.

    As far as I can remember Nikon don't actually make their own scope lenses - I'm pretty sure I read that they sub-contract manufacture. However, they are obviously setting a higher minimum standard of components to get the sum total of the results you see when you look through one.

    Country of manufacture has a lot less to do with scope quality than you might think - at least where looking through it is concerned.

    Regarding the opening post I consider the majority of my leisure interests as a white elephant to one extent or another.

    I never expect to get back anywhere near what I spend and by capping my upper ceiling expenditure I establish an acceptable (to me) point of loss where I am willing to simply replace a faulted item if necessary.

    That said, I spend less on my Nikon Prostaff/Vortex Diamondback scopes than many people spend on Hawke and MTC et al (go figure :rolleyes: ) and despite my lower spend I get better in-the-field performance and an infinitely better standard of warranty cover.

    The Vortex warranty is killer - with or without a receipt they will fix or replace for life.

    I can live with a £150 loss if I am clumsy enough to drop a Nikon Prostaff. I'd be a lot less impressed if I wiped out a Lightstream at 3 times the price.

    I'd be less impressed still if I knackered one of the higher end scopes I have on the big guns, but they get used a lot less than the air rifles so opportunity for mishap is limited by definition.

    There really isn't a lot between the likes of a Nikon Monarch and a Zeiss Duralyt at last light, and a pro stalker friend of mine has been going with Meopta after years of using Swarovski since he simply can't justify the price in terms for any perceived performance differences. Nice if you can, but you shouldn't feel that you have to.

    I spent £1500 on a pair of identical fishing rods last year, plus reels and other junk on top of that. I won't make close to that price if I decide to sell, but I went into it knowing that and prepared for it. It really doesn't matter about the amount - what matters is whether you are prepared to sink it into an interest knowing that some kind of proportional loss will be made at point of resale.

    Apart from a small few examples of kit that can accrue in value, I consider any air rifle gear a luxury that is little more than a drain on disposable income resources.

    Whee the real trouble starts is when folks pour far more into it than they can afford to invest.

    How many times do we see the sales ads citing car repairs, unexpected household bills and similar day-to-day life outgoing costs as the underlying reason for sale ?

    If you can't afford to lose the investment, or a chunk thereof, spend less and work harder to get more out of it.

    A final point:

    after years of driving Audi cars I went with a small city car 4 years ago.

    I ran the numbers and worked out that over 4 years I was going to lose more on the Audi than the city car would cost me to buy outright.

    With £35 a year road tax and 66 MPG from a 1.5 turbo diesel engine it can't and won't ever compare to the space, comfort and driving experience, but I went into it knowing that and also happy in the knowledge that I was going to lose approximately 70% of £12000 instead of 70% of over £30000, with lower attendant running costs for servicing, tyres and so on.

    Broadly speaking a similar scenario exists regarding most consumer products.

    Do the math...
     
  17. tomsteebs

    tomsteebs Donator

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    So did I when I first bought one, that xJapan's little secretx has annoyed me ever since. I might be wrong but im pretty confident that's how they do it.

    For me the scope with the greatest build quality and glass I have used is the Nikon prostaff efr.
    It all feels solid and smooth and the glass is very nice. I'm either changing ALL of my scopes to prostaffs with bdc or vortex diamaond backs with bdc. They have warrenty to last your usable life time
     

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