But I only paid X for the gun!

I’ve brought this up before, but I keep hearing that assertion.  It says you can never pay more to accessorize a gun that the price you paid for the gun.  It should always be less.  I’ve had people mention their free guns– gifts.  “I didn’t pay a dime for the gun, so how can I justify X?” or “I only paid 100 dollars for this Carbine back in the ’60s…!” (Never mind that it may now be worth 800 or more)


There are high-end optics that cost more than almost any firearm made, except for some of the fine double rifles, and you aren’t going to be using these optics on a fine double rifle.  Ditto for some of the hand-made flintlock longrifles and such, and a few boutique rifles.  There are also sound systems that cost more than a lot of used cars, so I guess you have suffer with an inferior sound system until you can afford a more expensive car to put it in.  A friend of mine once had a $50K sound system in his apartment, so I guess he was really breaking the rules.


The way I see it, if you paid some low price for your rifle, and it does the job you need of it, then you now have more money to spend on a good optic.  I don’t see a conflict here.  It’s all about the setup you want, not some spreadsheet of arbitrary rules based on relative prices of the components.


If it makes anyone feel better, I once had a 150 dollar stereo in a 100 dollar car, with a 500 dollar set Michelins under it.  Can someone make the case that I should have restricted myself to crapy tires because I only paid 100 bucks for the car?  I put over 100K miles on that car too, which included some rather long road trips – you want to me run retreads on it?  Uh; no.  It had well over 200K on it when it finally died a violent death, otherwise, 20 years later I might still be driving my 100 dollar 1963 Dodge 330.  What’s your problem?


ETA,  From comments;  “You are not accessorizing your rifle, you are accessorizing your SCOPE!”  That is a better way to look at it.  Get a great scope and find a rifle that’s good enough for it.  Then you have something.

5 thoughts on “But I only paid X for the gun!

  1. You are not accessorizing your rifle, you are accessorizing your SCOPE!

    Never buy a rifle that’s more expensive than your scope should be the rule.

  2. “perfume on a pig” is a possible concern, but making this argument strictly based on dollar signs is silly.

    How many people have a $200.00 Ruger 10/22 and make some practical improvements costing nearly $100?

  3. I have a $100 Swedish Mauser that was made in 1904. But it’s such a Tack Driver, that I don’t dare bring it out with my Buddies. Why? It got old hearing, ‘Well, I’ll give you $200 for that gun. You’ll double your money. C’mon, sell it to me!”

    Now. when I told them that I NEEDED to put a Scope on it (due to my Eyes getting old and tired), all I heard was, “Well, it’s really not worth it. But tell you what, I have this old ______, and if you sell it to me, I suppose it’ll fit.”

    With Friends like These…

  4. Agreed. I’ve been having this conversation with my girlfriend for a while, she just doesn’t understand why I want a $2100 optic for a rifle that was $1099. The rifle has since been accessorized to be worth more than the optic, but still, the entry price was a tick under $1100. And she thinks the $660 Eotech on it should be adequate! I’ve got a long way to go with her!

  5. Lyle:

    I have to agree…what you’re putting together is a SYSTEM designed to deliver a bullet to a particular spot at a particular velocity. Barrel, trigger, ammunition, sights…all part of a system.

    When I bought a (relatively inexpensive) CZ527 in 7.62×39 I was looking for something more accurate than the POS Ruger Mini-30 it was replacing. I initially scoped it with a cheapo Bushnell low-power scope (hey, nothing against Bushnell’s low-end line, they’re good value for the money), thinking that it would be about as accurate as the rest of the rifles I’ve got in that caliber (SKS, AK, the other Mini-30). Much to my surprise, the rifle would print to 1 MOA, even with the steel-cased Wolf hollow-points.

    I re-scoped it with a VERY good Leupold with a 50mm objective to gather a lot of low-light for Minnesnowta deer hunting (most of which happens around dusk or dawn). Cost about as much as the rifle. But the last time my wife sighted-in for deer hunting at 100 yards, she printed three rounds almost on top of each other (a nice little clover-leaf pattern).

    I guess it only makes sense to me to match the quality and capabilities of the rifle to the quality and capabilities of the scope. It doesn’t make sense to put a $500 scope on a rifle that is physically incapable of shooting better than 4 MOA, but it also doesn’t make sense to put a $50 scope on a rifle capable of sub-MOA accuracy.

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