Lack of American made optics

Corey0372

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Seems these days the only American made optics are from a handful of companies... and they're only making a couple of models made for the mil/gov community. What would it take for a company to make your standard 3-9 second focal plane duplex classic ol' whitetail scope? And what would guys from this community be willing to pay for it?

Not only the standard 3-9, but optics that are used by the general hunting community. Your average hunter doesn't need an Aimpoint T-1 microdot or Eotech that you can throw out of a helicopter. Nor do they need a 35 power S&B with a Tremor T3 reticle. What's keeping someone from cornering this market?

Have hunters just gotten so cheap they are unwilling to pay 20-30% more for their scopes? Or is the lack of options the driving factor?
 

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For scopes Leupold makes exactly what you described? A search for American made binoculars is a different story though. American brands like Leupold are made in Asia. I purchased Maven binoculars in 2019 and have been really impressed. Apparently the B series are made in USA with Japanese parts. I could not find any other binoculars made in USA.
 
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Red Leg

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Seems these days the only American made optics are from a handful of companies... and they're only making a couple of models made for the mil/gov community. What would it take for a company to make your standard 3-9 second focal plane duplex classic ol' whitetail scope? And what would guys from this community be willing to pay for it?

Not only the standard 3-9, but optics that are used by the general hunting community. Your average hunter doesn't need an Aimpoint T-1 microdot or Eotech that you can throw out of a helicopter. Nor do they need a 35 power S&B with a Tremor T3 reticle. What's keeping someone from cornering this market?

Have hunters just gotten so cheap they are unwilling to pay 20-30% more for their scopes? Or is the lack of options the driving factor?
An interesting presumption about others' perception of cheapness.

I am more than willing to pay a premium for Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss, and Schmidt & Bender quality (so does the American military for its sniper quality optics - S&B is the current state of the art) in the general power range you suggest. If someone wants to build "American" optics of that quality at a competitive price, then sure, I am in the market.

I should note that the critical path in your proposed American manufacturer are quality lenses. I suspect you may be looking at a rather enormous investment in optical technology that no one to date has had any interest in making in this country. Current "American" manufacturers source their optical components from Asia. They may be assembled here, but the critical lens elements come from the Philippines, China, or Japan.

Some of these assembled in America products can be quite good - Leupold has for years set the standard for the exact sort of scope you describe.
 

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A remark on the side:
A good glass shows its qualities even more in poor light.
The German premium manufacturers (incl. Swaro /Tirol, almost Bavaria/Germany :) are unbeatable in this respect, but so are the prices.
And many people here owe it to their image to have a Zeiss glass fitted, because they fear they will have slipped down the social ladder if their friends see that a Leupold glass has been on to their beautiful Sauer 404.
It is also important to remember that the middle class sector of binos and scopes has been improving over the last 10 years.
The trend in my country, however, is that sales figures are falling rapidly.
Since the -partial- legalisation of thermal imaging and night vision technology, many premium lenses have become shelf warmers (they don't come cheaper on the market because of this, unfortunately), many no longer need these expensive high-end products to get the last bit of light out.

A friend of mine mounted a Hawke scope on his rifle, added a Pard and saved himself well over 1,000 Euros to go hunting at night with it and is excited..I would never have thought that of him, an avowed Zeiss fan.
Pulsar and Pard are setting new standards here.
 
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Unfortunately, I have slipped down the social ladder to Leupold scopes.... :cool:

Life is bearable here!


HWL
 

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Regarding optical glasses, I believe that only Corning and Schott have raw glass manufacturing capabilities in the US. Even these facilities currently do not produce a wide spectrum of glass here. In order to produce a excellent optical designed scope the designer needs to be able to use glasses from glass catalogs which reside in their designing software. There are many thousands of different glass with different characteristics to select from. The main sources of fine optical glasses Schott which are manufactured primarily in Germany, Ohara from Japan and CDGM based in China. As far as fabricating the actual optical elements their are numerous companies in the US which have the facilities, equipment, technology and know how. Likewise for the precise mechanical metals etc. There are less companies in the US which have the equipment and capabilities to do the mounting and alignment but still there are likely close to one hundred. The design is crucial. Not just transmission but reflections, color and many other specifications. The Europeans have many years of optical design and understanding the crucial attributes in the design. I believe this is their big difference. European as do the US companies all use the same top glasses ,AR (anti reflection) coatings and optical alignment equipment. I believe the difference is the European’s understand a “art” of the design and the “art” of fabrication. I my mind, this secret “art” understanding is what we see which is superb.
 

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A remark on the side:
A good glass shows its qualities even more in poor light.
The German premium manufacturers (incl. Swaro /Tirol, almost Bavaria/Germany :) are unbeatable in this respect, but so are the prices.
And many people here owe it to their image to have a Zeiss glass fitted, because they fear they will have slipped down the social ladder if their friends see that a Leupold glass has been on to their beautiful Sauer 404.
It is also important to remember that the middle class sector of binos and scopes has been improving over the last 10 years.
The trend in my country, however, is that sales figures are falling rapidly.
Since the -partial- legalisation of thermal imaging and night vision technology, many premium lenses have become shelf warmers (they don't come cheaper on the market because of this, unfortunately), many no longer need these expensive high-end products to get the last bit of light out.

A friend of mine mounted a Hawke scope on his rifle, added a Pard and saved himself well over 1,000 Euros to go hunting at night with it and is excited..I would never have thought that of him, an avowed Zeiss fan.
Pulsar and Pard are setting new standards here.

Very interesting observation @Foxi
This would mean that the current premium German and Austrian optics makers will need to fight over even a smaller market niche in the future. And since it is unlikely their production costs go down, it will not be a price battle, but rather one or more who will need to close books…
 

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Unfortunately, I have slipped down the social ladder to Leupold scopes.... :cool:

Life is bearable here!


HWL
I never got on that ladder and am also very happy with Leupold scopes! Paying more for the aiming device than one pays for the rifle just seems foolish to me.
 

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The Vortex Razor series uses Japanese lenses. Assembled in the US.

 

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revturbo9967

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The Vortex Razor series uses Japanese lenses. Assembled in the US.

When I bought mine, this is wasn't the case , if it has indeed changed. The AMG stands for American made glass.

 

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Firebird

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So the op specified 3-9 and whitetail hunting. Figure how many millions in this group and how many different scope brands they represent. It’s not a bad idea, but in a long range crazed market, that seems to be where most scope makers are pointed. I like the idea, but I like the options already available.
 

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As much as I like Leupold and the Euro brands, I dislike paying more for a scope than what I have invested in the rifle altho I do have a VX5 on my Whelen that I bought used from a AH member. Most of my mounted scope are mid priced (4 to 6 hundred)Vortex and all have great glass and are built very well. I recently purchased one of their 34mm tubes and all I can say is wow I don,t care where its built. They also have a rock solid warranty with a fast turnaround time. I took a shot on a Primary Arms 30mm scope on my shooting buddies advice for cheap money and so far have nothing but praise for its build quality and glass.
 

curtism1234

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They say to buy a scope the same price as the rifle. I like 1/2 that and have had good luck.

The thing about Japan and Philippines optics is they have been making quality optics for decades. The glass has never been better, and imo it does not need to get any better than it currently is for daylight hunting. The short comings in some companies continue to be mushy clicks and poor tracking (which may be from the mushy clicks). If an American company builds a scope that addresses that, I'm in. If they are going to be the imo poor quality of a Leupold VX2, then I'll go with someone else.
 

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