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A Different Red Dot Magnifier Idea


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I've not played around with red-dot sights much at all but I can certainly see the utility of them. I have always liked having magnification for target ID and longer shots and the only way to get this with a RDS is to have a magnifier behind the RDS. What I've been wondering is if it would be possible to get a long eye relief scope (i.e.: "Scout"-style) and mount it in FRONT of the RDS and get the same magnification benefits as with a normal magnifier without magnifying the RDS reticule too. To test this concept I've placed a spare scope that was lying around in front of a friend's Eotech and looked through both optics. The magnified scope was not attached to the upper but it gave me a vague idea of how this concept might work. I didn't actually do any shooting like this but it made me think that this concept is just so crazy that it might work!

I have difficulty believing that nobody else has thought of this before and yet I've never seen anyone else do this. Can anyone tell me why this concept would NOT work? I suppose that the two reticules might interfere with one another or that they might be confusing under stress but if one could get his hands on an appropriate scope with no reticule at all then that would take care of that problem. Of course, the magnified optic would need to be in a QD or "flip"-style mount so, just as with a conventional magnifier but that shouldn't be too difficult. Since the RDS would be used as the sighting system even when magnified the zeroing of the magnifier would be a non-issue. Again, ideally the scout scope in this scenario wouldn't even HAVE a reticule!

So tell me: would this work? If not then why?

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I have an Eotech XPS  on one of my guns, with a fixed 5X magnifier (without reticle) mounted on a flip to side behind it. I really like the setup, although I prefer the red dot at 45 degree and the main optic in the normal location. I don't see why it couldn't work for you, and a side benefit would be that the reticle of the Eotech wouldn't get bigger when you flipped the magnifier down in front, kind of like a FFP scope. when you test it your going to have to let us all know how well it works for you.

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The XPS is what my friend is rocking and here are some issues with the conventional magnifier:

1) Very poor eye relief, especially for such a low-powered optic.

2) Incompatible with NVDs, partially due to the eye relief issue.

3) Magnification of the RDS's reticule.  Yes, I know, the rest of the image is magnified too so I know that it "doesn't matter" but the whole purpose of a magnifier is to make longer-ranged shots more precisely.  A smaller dot in relation to the magnified image would help this.

I am almost reluctant to even bring this point up since people tend to fixate on it and ignore the rest of the theory. 

4) Receiver real estate is in low supply due to the magnifier's length and low mount.  The BUIS on this rifle was actually mounted IN FRONT of the XPS 3 due to the lack of real estate and clearance issues.

If feasible, a "scout"-style magnifier would eliminate or at least minimize all of the above downsides.

On a different board a poster hypothesized that parallax would be an issue with this type of setup but we've not yet heard from anyone who has first-hand experience with it.  We're still waiting to hear more.

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I think the eye relief issue kind of comes with the territory if your mounting a separate low power and not always high quality magnifier, behind your unmagnified red dot.  I know the XPS I have is NV compatible but since I don't have any I can't offer anything on that. In the two setups I'm presently running, the XPS with 5X flip to side behind, and the Trijicon TR -24 with small compact red dot mounted at 45 degrees, I find that I am faster with the second setup because I just roll the gun slightly and I can use either optic, since the red dot is not eye relief sensitive I just set up so I have the proper cheek weld for the long range optic and I'm in the right place for the red dot as well. An added benefit is that the two optics can be zeroed for different ranges .  What I find with the Eotech set up is that although I like the big window, I find myself moving my head back and forth when I flip the magnifier up and down. Besides which, I have to move my front hand position to lock it in place and then again to release it.  I'm just guessing here but I think that unless you had a magnifier with a big  eyepiece, when you flip it down in front of the eotech, your going to look through that square window and see a smaller round lens surrounded by the black housing, effectively reducing your field of view, besides which, I doubt your going to be able to find a magnifier that has enough eye relief to allow you to fit the eotech between the back of the magnifier and your eye unless you have your face right up against the eotach.I'm curious, You say your waiting for more input, If you already have the eotech and magnifier why don't you just switch them?

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I think the eye relief issue kind of comes with the territory if your mounting a separate low power and not always high quality magnifier, behind your unmagnified red dot. 


besides which, I doubt your going to be able to find a magnifier that has enough eye relief to allow you to fit the eotech between the back of the magnifier and your eye unless you have your face right up against the eotach.I'm curious, You say your waiting for more input, If you already have the eotech and magnifier why don't you just switch them?

Thanks for your reply.  Please forgive me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing that you are not familiar with the "Scout" optic concept?  It is an intermediate/long eye relief scope that was developed to be placed in front of the action of  a bolt action rifle to give the shooter a greater field of view.  This is somewhat similar to handgun scopes.  The very reason that the "Scout" style magnifier is desirable to us for this purpose is exactly what you mentioned: conventional magnifiers lack the eye relief to be mounted in front and even when they are mounted in the conventional position they have very poor eye relief when you consider what a low-powered optic they are.

Here's a link where you can learn more about the "Scout" rifle concept and the optic that has come to be synonymous with it:


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I had never read the wikipedia definition of the scout concept, nor was I aware that Copper was credited with originating the concept. My only exposure to them has been from handling a SAI scout rifle. I did realize that it referred to a forward mounted scope. Since I've stated where my admittedly limited knowledge of the configuration comes from, and was basically comparing the setups that I own and have experience with, and further stated that in regards to what you could expect to see through the lens with your suggested set up, that I was just guessing at what I thought you'd get,  let me ask this question,  when you refer to a long eye relief optic are you describing an optic that allows you a wide amount of eye relief meaning eye anywhere from 3 to 5 " from scope, or are you talking about a scope that has a narrow range but that range could be as much as 7 " from eyepiece to eye? The reason I ask is because I thought that the  range of eye relief was in direct relation to the level of magnification, No?  meaning more magnification narrower range of eye relief. I am not trying to come off like some expert here, and when I said I was guessing that you'd restrict your field of view if you put the smaller lens'd optic in front, it was because I took my magnifier off the gun and held it in front of the XPS and that's what I saw. You said that you did the same thing, when you looked through the eotech didn't you find that the housing of your tube type scope blocked out some of the window of the eotech? I was thinking that even if you were using a magnifier with a longer eye relief, you'd lose that effect of the housing around the lens disappearing and just seeing the red dot and the background as you do with an unmodified eotech. As I said I'm not trying to come off like an expert, just sharing ideas, and always looking for a better setup, which is why after doing the piggybacked magnifier behind the red dot the first time I went to the other setup (which works better for me) the second time. I'm in the process of figuring out what I want to do for an optic on my 300, and, as of right now I plan to go with the 45 degree red dot and probably a greater magnification tube scope than on my last one,in the conventional location. That is of course unless I find something I like better, first.

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My experience with the extended eye relief scopes is that, as a rule, they give you not only greater (i.e.: longer) eye relief but also a greater range of eye relief (e.g.: 8-12", 4" range, for the Leupold 4x scout vs. 3.8"-4.3", 0.5" range, for the Leupold 1.5-5x Mark AR).

You are probably correct that some FOV would be lost when going from true 1x (unmagnified RDS) to any magnification greater than 1x but I think that this would be the case regardless of whether the magnification was achieved via a magnified RDS or a 'cranked up' conventional variable magnification optic, though perhaps for different reasons. 

I realize that by adding magnification into the mix I am sacrificing many of the advantages of a RDS but in the process I would be gaining most of the advantages of a magnified optic.  By using a QD scout magnifier I believe that I could minimize the disadvantages while retaining most of the advantages.  It's a theory that I want to test anyway.

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You can be sure that I will be eager to hear what your results are with this configuration. I think that my experience with different optic configurations is much more limited than my knowledge of the gas guns themselves(although I may be wrong here as well) When I originally set up my Eotech, lever flip to side magnifier, it was, in my mind, an improvement over one of my friends mounts, that required you to pull back to flip the magnifier. But when I got to try it out under timed conditions, I felt that there was room for improvement. When the Trijicon TR-21, TR-24 optics came out I got try them on friends guns and liked them, so mounted one. What I found was (for me) I  was slower engaging close targets than I Had been with my unmagnified Eotech, that was when I decided to add the 45 degree mounted mini red dot. I have found that (for me) that works faster on most targets up to around 75 yds, where I go to my magnified optic. I have found that I do better when I don't have to adjust my hands or cheek on the gun. What I am now finding is that the narrow range of eye relief sometimes slows me down while I adjust position for best eye relief. For me, the perfect setup would be a 45 mini red dot for the close stuff and an illuminated reticle (like the TR 24) scope with  a wide range of eye relief and a little more magnification than the 4X of the Trijicon. I don't think I need a variable power scope, but would like something with a good field of view and wide eye relief range, so as to enable me to acquire my target quickly. For me (I think) that setup would be faster for my purposes than anything that requires me to move the magnifier by hand to go from 1X to magnified. Are you aware of any fixed optics in the 6X range that have good FOV and are forgiving as far as eye relief goes? One of my friends suggested the 6X48 ACOG, which on paper looks good, but is pretty large, pretty pricey and I think is supposed to be heavy. The problem with these optics setups is that it's hard to find someone who has the one you want to try out and it gets expensive buying them to try out yourself.

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Hey Jgun,

I guess that it all depends on what you're trying to set your rifle up for.  It sounds like you're setting yours up for either 3gun-style competition, a battle rifle, or the classic, "do everything" setup that all of us pursue but never quite achieve.  Depending on what you're looking at the weight of the 6x ACOG might or might not be an issue.  I personally plan on carrying mine around on the ranch during calving season to plug any coyotes who might be so careless as to let themselves be seen by me.  For that reason alone I want to have a lighter setup.

My friend has bought a Leupold 2.5-8x pistol scope and he's going to see if it will work as a makeshift magnifier.  If so then I think it will be a pretty decent "do all" setup.  As for me, I think that I will mount a Shepherd P210 scope that I have lying around and see how it performs on my Fulton when it gets here.  If that proves unsatisfactory then I'll be getting a Burris 1.5-6x scope, perhaps?  I won't know what works for me until I've tried it.  I'll probably back up whatever magnified optic I settle on with Deuck Defense 45 degree sights.  Regardless of what we decide works for us we'll be sure to share our results with everyone here.

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