Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Primary Arms 4-14X44 Mil Dot FFP Scope Review

Primary Arms 4-14X44 Mil Dot FFP Scope Review

As I marched through a quest to find and review as many "quality" FFP (First Focal Plane) scopes, I initially discounted what Primary Arms was offering. I mean how in the world could a $229 retail scope compare with the mid-higher tier optics on the market in the $800-$1200 range. I am here to tell you that it gets you about 80%-90% there for a third to a quarter the price.

FFP scopes whose reticles zoom in proportion to the magnification are all the rage now within the shooting industry because they simplify ballistic calibrated reticle based shooting systems. Your ballistic reticle tick mark at 200-yards will be the same whether you are at minimum or maximum magnification.  

There are MOA - Minute of Angle, bullet calibrated and Mil Dot reticles which have some type of hash mark on the reticle with the intent that you can use these hash marks to calculate a shooting “hold” solution, measure distance, or target height. In this, case Primary Arms’ 4-14x44 FFP scope features a Mil Dot reticle. There is a learning curve to any ballistic or graduated hashed reticle, however what makes any of these calibrated reticles tough to use on regular second focal plane optics is that they are typically calibrated only at their highest magnification. This means that the reticle will not zoom with the magnification on standard scopes. For example, the first tick down on the reticle may be calibrated for 300 yards at max 14x magnification, but on 4X magnification that same tick mark will not deliver a 300 yard shot and like a zero around 500-600 yards instead.


Some people like this fixed reticle configuration because it allows your 14x 300-yard zero to be a 600-yard zero at 4x, however this math makes my head hurt. FFP optics make shooting solutions consistent at any magnification and therefore simpler to calculate as you are learning the ballistic system of your scope. If you know your 10/22 or AR15 delivers a 125-yard zero on the top of the first mil-dot at 14x, then that zero will be the same at 4x when you have the magnification low for fast moving varmints. The problem is that this cool FFP system is usually reserved exclusively for more expensive $800+ optics.

On my last cruise through PA's site dropping things in my cart for my latest AR15 build, I took a hard look at the Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP scope. I will have to admit that my plan was to bolt it on a custom 10/22 just to spend more time practicing my Mildot ranging, but after I received the $229 the optic changed my mind about the quality  a sub-$300 optic can deliver and instead dropped it right on my custom AR15 build. Considering the PA 4-14x44 also delivers the FFP feature usually only found on expensive optics, this scope is an amazing deal.

ABOUT PRIMARY ARMS
Primary Arms is a firearms parts and products retailer founded on delivering high quality firearms related products at a extremely competitive price. What makes Primary Arms unique is that they started offering their own line of optics and red dot sights which are now widely regarded as being “best buys” in the industry.

Generally Primary Arms optics are affordable quality equivalents of well know brand name optics. Their $90 Micro Dot design and mounting holes match up to the $400 Aimpoint Micro so you can mount it to Aimpoint Micro pattern mounts. Their $90 Reflex recoil proof sight compares very closely to $300+ reflex sights from Burris, Vortex and others which makes it a very attractive option for both handguns and rifles. There is a difference in quality between the high dollar optics and what Primary Arms is offering, however the quality will really surprise you. It is impressive that Primary Arms optics quality is not ¼ or ⅓ of the quality as the price would indicate.

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, FEATURES, & FUNCTIONS
The fit is actually pretty good with quality on par with the Lucid, Leatherwood and other similar quality optics. The optic was solid and the finish was consistent throughout with a good feel and heft to the optic. A 24oz, the PA 4-14x44 FFP scope is not light and feels substantial.

The Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP scope features a side adjustable parallax adjustment from 10-yards to infinity which makes this an ideal scope for .22LR rifles and even pellet guns all the way to your .308 sniper rifle. Most FFP optics typically don’t deliver parallax adjustment for those close ranges. The 1/10 mil click adjustment turrets deliver a tactile and audible click and can be easily re-zero’ed. The total 35 Mil of windage and elevation for each turret adjustment is not huge, but good enough for the applications most people will use  this scope for.

The scope is shockproof, waterproof and nitrogen purged with a 30mm scope tube to maximize light transmission. If you have any problems Primary Arms covers this optic with a three year warranty.

What stunned me was that this optic was more clear at mid-range 400-yard distances than my personally well regarded Lucid Crossover optic. I ended up sitting out on the deck for a good hour attempting to figure out if my Lucid was out of focus, however the final deduction was that the Primary Arms scope was just more clear. To be fair the PA 4-14 was more clear than a lot of my optics at that distance. When I broke out the higher tier Burris XTR II, Vortex Viper PST, Nikon Monarch Gold, and Bushnell Elite Tactical scopes for comparison, these did deliver better clarity as they should for the price difference. It was still impressive how great the clarity was compared to these higher end optics.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Overall, I was very impressed with the Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP scope. At $229 is is a deal of an optic and considering it is also a high clarity bright 30mm tubed FFP optic, I have to move it to a best buy status. I plan on picking up a few more for other builds as well. This is a very competitive price range for optics, and Primary Arms has done a great job delivering one hell of an optic for the price no matter what rifle you stick it on.

SPECS
Primary Arms 4-14X44 Mil Mil FFP Scope
Model: PA4-14XFFP
Magnification: 4-14X44
Reticle: Mil-Dot (USMC)
Focus/Parallax Adjustment 10-yards to Inifinity
First focal plane
Matte anodized black finish
Exit Pupil: 11.2 mm to 3.3 mm
Eye Relief: 80 mm to 82 mm
Field of View: 27.2 to 7.85 feet at 100 yards
Click Value: .1 MIL
Total Adjustment Value:Windage: 35 MIL
Total Adjustment Value:Elevation: 35 MIL
Multicoated to prevent glare
Shockproof rating: 1000g, 20 times
Waterproof: 11°C, 0.25 m, 3 min/ 52°F, 10”, 3 min
Nitrogen purged
Main material: Aluminum
Tube size: 30mm
Length: 330 mm / 13 in.
Weight: 690 g / 24 oz.
Three year warranty
MSRP $229

SOURCES

3 comments:

TexasFarmer said...

The scope is awesome. I am a Leupold guy. But this scope replaced the Leupold on my Sig 716 DMR! Running a 20-round, 2-second drill, at 500 yards this setup produces repeatable groups of 2.0-inches. Less demanding, this setup can hold .76-inches in 5-shot groups from a cold barrel. I wish I had it on all my long guns. I'll confess that I am still holding my breath waiting for it to fail because this scope is too good for $230 - yes, I want a NightForce but I have to say this is the best scope in my entire vault - surpassing the 5 Leupold's, a couple of Nikons's, a Waever and a Burris. This is one awesome scope - until I get over my fear it will fail, I'll keep an extra Leupold or Nikon around but as far as replacing it, no way - not until it fails.

TexasFarmer said...

The scope is awesome. I am a Leupold guy. But this scope replaced the Leupold on my Sig 716 DMR! Running a 20-round, 2-second drill, at 500 yards this setup produces repeatable groups of 2.0-inches. Less demanding, this setup can hold .76-inches in 5-shot groups from a cold barrel. I wish I had it on all my long guns. I'll confess that I am still holding my breath waiting for it to fail because this scope is too good for $230 - yes, I want a NightForce but I have to say this is the best scope in my entire vault - surpassing the 5 Leupold's, a couple of Nikons's, a Waever and a Burris. This is one awesome scope - until I get over my fear it will fail, I'll keep an extra Leupold or Nikon around but as far as replacing it, no way - not until it fails.

One eyed Dan said...

100% better than my vortex strike eagle that I had on my Tavor, ordered another one for my Colt AR 15.