we all know what kind of reputation china made scopes have and most of us have had some poor experiences with some of their cheaper models, the rumor net has mentioned that many big name optical firms have moved to china and that china does now have the machinery to make reasonably good optics. i have been playing around with various china made scopes for most of the year and this is what i am seeing with various china made rifle scopes.
#1 optisan mamba 1-4x24
glass very good, eye box generous mostly yet it gets tight above 3.5x--not super tight though . illumination very good either green or red , turrets soft but holding zero so far. it can double as red dot close to true on 1x, eye relief about 3.5"
# 2 BSA boss 1.5-4.5x32RGB glass good and clear, generous eye box, illumination OK but nothing to write home about green and red OK but the blue washes out, inside of tube has a little irritating shine to it. turrets feel better than the mamba with positive clicks. so far it looks very good for the $$$ holds zero so far on 9mm ar-15, 4" eye relief
#3 BSA majestic 6-24x44 glass very good, tight eye box with critical eye position that gets really tight above 18x , the scope is clear as a bell through the entire 24x mag range provided you got your eye positioned and the AO adjusted. so far it holds zero though the turrets are the softest of the bunch--the glass is exceptional and the brightness is very good all the way to 24x -- the thing i worry about is the soft turrets --maybe they will hold up. the further the range to the target the better this thing works. eye relief is 4" near about--
#4 center point crossman 1.5-6x44 glass is good --but not as clear as the optisan or majestic , about like a bushnell banner --only a tad better, the illumination is OK i would say, not at the same level of the optisan or PA, it is much like that in a BSA boss , the inside of the tube reflects some light, making it less useful illumination than the optisan or the PA. the good news is the turrets really feel strong and well made , solid clicks you can feel and hear. holds zero and tracks well --it is currently on a 7.62x39 ar-15--the 1.5x seems closer to 2x than 1.5-- about 3.5" eye relief
#5 the primary arms 1-4x24 very good glass slightly less "polish" than the optisan , the 4a crosshair is easy to see and hit with , illuminated red dot in the center is not daylight usable like the circle dot of the optisan, the PA can be adjusted to a very low brightness --this can be very useful for night time pest control. the turrets feel solid with good clicks . the 1x is close to true and the eye box is still generous @4x this scope is sort of a toss up with the optisan over which is better--they are both good scopes so far. about 3.5" eye relief
#6 bushnell banner 3-9x40 glass is OK but gets a little grainy @9x , holds zero OK nothing to get excited about as this is just about a "generic". it is bright enough on the lower settings --pretty much a run of the mill scope.
#7 simmons 3-9x32 from the 1990s --the thing still works, holds zero and so on -- the glass is getting a little frosty though , brightness is OK but nothing great.
# 8 generic FM/famous maker unknown brand name china 1-6x24, glass not as bad as you would think, though it does get dim @ 6x and it does have a frosty spot somewhere around 3x-5x , the illumination ain't bad on its mill-dot. only one BIG problem --the turrets failed on the bore sight bench--didn't even get to fire one shot with the thing. i would say avoid this type of china made "optic" --if it is too cheap or unknown brand name , probably best to walk away,
china made scopes i have heard about that i suspect might be OK for the $$$ --repeat MIGHT-- not in any kind of order here--
simmons 44 mag
simmons whitetail classic (could be made in the PIs)
BSA gold star and sweet-223
cabelas store brand
bushnell trophy XLT
pentax 3s (heard good and bad about them)
barska FIXED power scopes
there could be other china made scopes out that do very well , and remember that there could be various makes of scopes with the same name brand where some do very well and others are problem children-- a 2-7x34 might do great where the same brand 3-9x40 might be a turkey or the other way around. the key is know what scopes to look for as the 'baby was thrown out with the bath water' when it comes to china made scopes/optics.
and also there are various scope brands that look to carry the EXACT same scope under various brand names,
generally i still try to avoid china made scopes and i only buy one IF i am getting it WAY below retail price. like that BSA majestic i'm happy with it for $69 shipped but for $229 retail i'm thinking you can get a "real" scope like a vortex viper for about $100 more though not in that same mag range----i doubt any of these majestics sell for MSRP probably $140 ish is more the norm.
when you get below $100 you 100% into china scope terrotory and popular china made scopes generally go for $150ish.
the BSA boss was the suprise to me, a very clear scope for $58 shipped --the illumination ain't wonderful but it is adaquete and it is the perfect size and magnification for a 9mm carbine. mechanically it seems very good as well--inexpensive even by china scope standards like 1/3 the optisans price.
BSA seems to be either a love um or hate um thng. i have only had three BSAs , never had any problems with um--so far--simmons either --other than the glass getting dime after 20+ years bouncing around in a PU--
or maybe i just got lucky?--LOL!