Optics Rail for Mini-14

Optics, sights, and all sighting specific issues.
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Pickwick
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Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby Pickwick » Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:06 am

I have never used red dot optics, but want to try one for my Mini-14 Ranch. I notice a lot of difference in price among all these rails. Brownell's has the things for 140 bucks or more, and some places have the things for a few bucks. All I need is something reliable to hold a red dot scope for SD purposes.
I looked at the Jack Weigand rail, which has a video, etc. It seems reasonable and affordable. Any of you guys had experience with this? Any recommendations? Thanks.

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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby MisterB » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:56 am

Pickwick wrote:I have never used red dot optics, but want to try one for my Mini-14 Ranch. I notice a lot of difference in price among all these rails. Brownell's has the things for 140 bucks or more, and some places have the things for a few bucks. All I need is something reliable to hold a red dot scope for SD purposes.
I looked at the Jack Weigand rail, which has a video, etc. It seems reasonable and affordable. Any of you guys had experience with this? Any recommendations? Thanks.


Some will tell you to spend hundreds on an optic. That's fine for them. I'd rather spend that money on something else. I assembled a very nice AR15 earlier this year, and when it came to an optic, I decided to get a Bushnell red dot from Walmart. I think it ran me a little less than a hundred bucks. The only thing I didn't like about it, was the cheesy Bushnell white logo on the side, but that's nothing a little goof off and a rag couldn't take care of. The optic works well, and does the job. For your purposes, I really think something like what I bought would work great. Shoot, you could always buy it and try it out (without taking the logo off), and then return it within a short bit if it isn't to your liking, but I think you'll be surprised.

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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby Pickwick » Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:20 pm

Thanks, Mister B. I am looking at a Tru Glo, but the Bushnell would be ok, too. Another question...I am sure it comes with all kinds of instructions for sighting in. What would be wrong with firing from a rest with iron sights, putting one dead center, and then mounting the optic and adjusting it to the hole?

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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby Nathan » Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:26 pm

Pickwick wrote:I notice a lot of difference in price among all these rails.


MisterB wrote:Some will tell you to spend hundreds on an optic.


I'll be the first to say that if you paid more for your rifle than your optic that you bought the wrong optic. As with anything else, quality costs money. As I age and my eyes are going to shit, I can tell a significant difference between low cost optics and the more expensive ones. A quality optic offers clarity not found on the cheaper models and while this doesn't really apply to red dots, the ability to hold true does. The red dot on my 553 is simply more crisp and obvious than on the cheaper models, including less expensive models from the same manufacturer (EoTech). Now these differences might be more or less significant depending on who you ask, but don't convince yourself that there is no difference. Were that true, the expensive brands would go out of business. If you could truly get the same for less, the more expensive models would never sell.

There is no right or wrong answer here because every aspect is relative to your needs and specific criteria. B makes the argument for cheaper optics and he's not wrong. I make the argument for quality optics and I'm not wrong either. If your objective is to simply hit your target then most any decent optic would do the job just fine. If your shooting is more precise or if your vision is starting to suffer, the more expensive optics would serve you better. Try both to determine the true value of the more expensive options.
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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby MisterB » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:41 pm

Nathan wrote:
Pickwick wrote:I notice a lot of difference in price among all these rails.


MisterB wrote:Some will tell you to spend hundreds on an optic.


I'll be the first to say that if you paid more for your rifle than your optic that you bought the wrong optic. As with anything else, quality costs money. As I age and my eyes are going to shit, I can tell a significant difference between low cost optics and the more expensive ones. A quality optic offers clarity not found on the cheaper models and while this doesn't really apply to red dots, the ability to hold true does. The red dot on my 553 is simply more crisp and obvious than on the cheaper models, including less expensive models from the same manufacturer (EoTech). Now these differences might be more or less significant depending on who you ask, but don't convince yourself that there is no difference. Were that true, the expensive brands would go out of business. If you could truly get the same for less, the more expensive models would never sell.

There is no right or wrong answer here because every aspect is relative to your needs and specific criteria. B makes the argument for cheaper optics and he's not wrong. I make the argument for quality optics and I'm not wrong either. If your objective is to simply hit your target then most any decent optic would do the job just fine. If your shooting is more precise or if your vision is starting to suffer, the more expensive optics would serve you better. Try both to determine the true value of the more expensive options.


You can't really make the case you just did that one can't convince themselves there isn't a difference, otherwise the expensive brands would go out of business... If you're going to also point out that the high end maker of your optic also sells less expensive models. For all we know, the less expensive models are keeping that company afloat.

There are plenty of companies in the world that do very well selling high priced items to fools, who assume expensive = better. Sometimes it does, but not always.

I would think that for the OP's situation, a more sensibly priced optic is in order, but you made some valid points

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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby MisterB » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:45 pm

Pickwick wrote:Thanks, Mister B. I am looking at a Tru Glo, but the Bushnell would be ok, too. Another question...I am sure it comes with all kinds of instructions for sighting in. What would be wrong with firing from a rest with iron sights, putting one dead center, and then mounting the optic and adjusting it to the hole?


I don't know that you're accomplishing anything by doing it that way. The spot you choose to shoot at, technically doesn't really matter, so long as you sight it in to the same spot with all of your shots. In fact, I think you're better off installing your optic at home ahead of time, where you have proper tools and a workbench, as well as locktite. Optics can sometimes fly off or at least shift, if you don't get them installed properly.

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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby Nathan » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:25 am

MisterB wrote:You can't really make the case you just did that one can't convince themselves there isn't a difference, otherwise the expensive brands would go out of business
Sure you can, just by looking at the government contracts and the company's own publications. While you are correct in that more expensive doesn't always mean better, you don't really believe that a $100 red dot from Wal-Mart is truly comparable to a $700 EoTech, do you?

Sure, he may be served just fine by a box store grade sight, but at the very least he should try them both out first. I can tell a big difference. The dot is much more crisp on the quality optics and when your eyes are going to shit and you start to see double sometimes, it makes a significant difference to me not to have the fuzziness around the dot. My son uses a $300 lower grade EoTech that isn't quite as clear but it doesn't bother him because his eyes are better.
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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby hkguy » Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:11 am

i would look at govt contracts with a grain of salt, its not like the govt is know for being frugal. There are several good choices that are not at the aimpoint price point. The bushnell TRS-25 or Primary Arms Micro dot are two of the best sub $150 red dots on the market. the Vortex SPARC is another good option if you bump your budget up to $200. Otherwise Vortex is next followed by Leupold, Mako,C-more, EoTech, Trijicon, etc. the things that separates nightforce from a VX1 have more to do with the internals of the scope than the actual glass itself.

I think Nathan sometimes forgets that many of do not have the financial means to always go big.
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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby Nathan » Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:08 pm

hkguy wrote:I think Nathan sometimes forgets that many of do not have the financial means to always go big.
Believe me, I do realize that. I have literally lost everything and been homeless. I know what it's like to be hungry enough to eat bark. That doesn't however, change the validity of my statements. Real quality costs more; the ability to afford it is another issue entirely. I'm not in any way suggesting that there aren't some very acceptable models that cost less; there absolutely are. I simply dismiss the idea that they're truly equal with the quality units. Details that are minor to some will be huge to others. The blur surrounding the dot on the cheaper unit is a prime example of what I'm referencing. It doesn't bother my son and doesn't seem to affect his shooting really but it makes a difference to me. The reflection blur that I just don't get on my 553 makes it a little harder on me and I just don't shoot them with the same authority. I hope you guys don't get the wrong idea; I'm not "correcting" anyone because nobody is wrong here. They're simply two different ways to accomplish a task and the buyer should always compare both so their purchase is an informed one. I'm only providing the information for the other side.
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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby MisterB » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:10 pm

Nathan wrote:
MisterB wrote:You can't really make the case you just did that one can't convince themselves there isn't a difference, otherwise the expensive brands would go out of business
Sure you can, just by looking at the government contracts and the company's own publications. While you are correct in that more expensive doesn't always mean better, you don't really believe that a $100 red dot from Wal-Mart is truly comparable to a $700 EoTech, do you?

Sure, he may be served just fine by a box store grade sight, but at the very least he should try them both out first. I can tell a big difference. The dot is much more crisp on the quality optics and when your eyes are going to shit and you start to see double sometimes, it makes a significant difference to me not to have the fuzziness around the dot. My son uses a $300 lower grade EoTech that isn't quite as clear but it doesn't bother him because his eyes are better.


The same government contracts that replaced the 1911 with the Beretta? Lol. The same company publications that pander to shareholders and making sales? Shit....

I never said the Bushnell is 100% comparable to a $700 (and up) optic. I'm just saying I don't know that those higher priced optics are truly $600-$2,000 better, nor are they necessary for the OP's needs.

You mentioned you could see both sides, and that there's no right answer, but you did make a blanket statement that if you "spent more for your rifle than your optic, you bought the wrong optic".

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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby MisterB » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:14 pm

hkguy wrote:
I think Nathan sometimes forgets that many of do not have the financial means to always go big.


... Or that some or us do have the money, but elect to have other firearm priorities....like the two Henry rifles, and Ruger Alaskan 44 Magnum I've purchased in a month's time.

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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby Nathan » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:53 pm

MisterB wrote:I don't know that those higher priced optics are truly $600-$2,000 better

This will be relative and depends on who you are asking. I shoot them with far more authority than cheaper scopes, so for me it is worth it. Target acquisition is faster, shots are more accurate and I've never had to reset zero. For me it is well worth the additional expense. For the OP it might not be, but he'll never know for sure unless he considers both arguments and tries both for himself.

You mentioned you could see both sides, and that there's no right answer, but you did make a blanket statement that if you "spent more for your rifle than your optic, you bought the wrong optic".

I still believe that, but this is my own personal belief because that's how it applies to me. There is no right or wrong answer because its relative to each individual.

Out of curiosity, have you ever used the $500+ red dot optics? Not just looking through them at the store but actually shooting with them?
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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby MisterB » Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:28 pm

Nathan wrote:
MisterB wrote:I don't know that those higher priced optics are truly $600-$2,000 better

This will be relative and depends on who you are asking. I shoot them with far more authority than cheaper scopes, so for me it is worth it. Target acquisition is faster, shots are more accurate and I've never had to reset zero. For me it is well worth the additional expense. For the OP it might not be, but he'll never know for sure unless he considers both arguments and tries both for himself.

You mentioned you could see both sides, and that there's no right answer, but you did make a blanket statement that if you "spent more for your rifle than your optic, you bought the wrong optic".

I still believe that, but this is my own personal belief because that's how it applies to me. There is no right or wrong answer because its relative to each individual.

Out of curiosity, have you ever used the $500+ red dot optics? Not just looking through them at the store but actually shooting with them?


I have. They're nice, but IMHO, not nice enough to justify the price for my needs. I still have my original 20/20 vision, so maybe that has something to do with it. I just reject this notion that if I have a $1,000-$2,000 AR, that I'm somehow expected to spend 1K-2K on an optic, and therefore a more budget minded optic is somehow less effective now.

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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby ridurall » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:23 pm

I used to go round and round with Pinkhmr (Randy Pinkham) about friends don't let friends buy NC Star or any other of the garbage cheap scopes and red dot scopes out there. I absolutly hate spending those high prices on quality scopes but I won't spend the money on Chinese junk optics. Randy would spend a bunch of money on a new AR-10 or building up a quality AR-15 or 50 Caliber BMG and then he would stick a $100 NC Star on it and wonder why it wouldn't hold zero or he couldn't see the target at 750 yards like he could with the same type 50 BMG with my Nightforce NXS 8-32X56 scope on it. Now that is the complete opposite side of the argument because Nightforce is really out of the price range for a lot of us. I had decided that what I saved on the 50 BMG I would put into the best scope I could afford especially if I can afford to upgrade to a higher quality 50 at a later date. I've got EoTech red dot on my 16 in AR-15 at at one time I had a Bushnell that was made by Eotech without the armored outside and the Bushnell broke several years ago. I've got one of the Trijicon RM04 Amber sight on my S&W 629 Competitor 44 Magnum that one of these days I'm going to use it to shoot a hog. I also have some cheaper red dots that were given to me and non of them are mounted to any of my guns. They just don't hold a good zero. The Trijicon has handled hundreds of high velocity 240 grain HP without losing zero. When I was shooting Silhouette back in the 1980s I had a Thompson Center "lifetime warranty" fuck shit scope on my contender. I sent it back 5 or 6 times because it would lose it's zero or ability to adjust the crosshairs. After getting too tired of rezeroing it I purchased a Burris 3X handgun scope that I've still got today and it works just like it did in the 1980s. In 1979 I picked up a Leupold VX III 1.5-5 scope and about 3 years ago it quit working. I sent it back and they sent me a brand new VX III 1.5-5 that works great. I paid $25 for it at a gun show back in 1979 and got a $400 replacement for free I figure that is pretty good service for 33 years. :shock: What I'm getting at is look into getting a used high end red dot with a no BS lifetime warranty so if something goes wrong the company will replace it.

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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby Nathan » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:21 pm

MisterB wrote:IMHO, not nice enough to justify the price for my needs.


I still have my original 20/20 vision


See, I figure you and me are gonna be buds for a real long time. Let's revisit this topic when you get older and your eyes start to go to shit. 8)
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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby Nathan » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:26 pm

ridurall wrote:They just don't hold a good zero.

This has been my experience as well. When I try to save money I end up going back for what I should have bought in the first place which ultimately ends up costing me more. I also notice a big difference in reflectivity of the lens. When using the cheaper red dot scopes I can see ghost reflections in the lens that screws with my already crappy eyesight. The more expensive scopes use non-reflective lenses (a coating, I'm assuming?) so all I see is a very crisp and well defined red dot.
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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby MisterB » Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:09 pm

Nathan wrote:
MisterB wrote:IMHO, not nice enough to justify the price for my needs.


I still have my original 20/20 vision


See, I figure you and me are gonna be buds for a real long time. Let's revisit this topic when you get older and your eyes start to go to shit. 8)


Lmao. Fair enough

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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby MisterB » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:54 am


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Re: Optics Rail for Mini-14

Postby Nathan » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:01 am

...my EoTechs have served me very well for years. I don't know the scope of the reported issues or what models are affected and only know how mine have performed.
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