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A few weeks ago I presented a review of the Primary Arms 3-9×40 Illuminated Riflescope. At the time I thought it was a great deal — for only $75 you get a functioning scope that seemed fairly well built and held zero. This past weekend I took it out for a spin on my new Weatherby Vanguard (more on that later, and thank you Paragon Defense!), and it slowly beat itself to death on my rifle.

First the illumination knob decided to declare independence, as pictured above. Then there was a small revolution inside the scope, which led to my shot pattern opening up wildly and a strange rattling noise coming from the scope itself. Needless to say, I think I need some new glass. And this time I won’t let it in on les droits de l’homme.

We at The Truth About Guns strive to bring you the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth. So, in the interests of full disclosure I thought I should share. I’ll be updating the review I did shortly to reflect the recent developments and adjusting the rating accordingly.

FYI, the rifle is chambered in .308 Winchester. I was using underpowered handloads (41gr Varget, 168gr Hornaday Match bullets), an the barrel length was 20 inches.

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  1. For those AI that can’t see very well, I can tell you that the 4 posts inside the illumination knob are very much threaded, and the holes for them in the scope body are very much no longer threaded.

  2. A .308 is no powderpuff, but unless it’s a titanium ‘mountain rifle’ with a pencil barrel and a kevlar stock it hardly produces brutal recoil. If a $30 Tasco can deal with it, anything should.

    My own Primary Arms red-dot is still glowing happily after many hundreds of 5.45x39mm AK-74 rounds. Which is kind of like saying “I’ve shot a whole brick of CCI Mini Mags, and it ain’t broke yet!” At least it co-witnesses with my iron sights, so I’ll still be able to fend off the zombies if the scope dies.

    • Same here. I’ve got mine on an M4gery(using their co-witness mount) and it’s still going strong after 600ish rounds.

  3. That is too bad. I have heard nothing but good things about Primary scopes. A buddy of mine has that scope on his AR. And he has shot many thousands of .223 through that. It will be interesting to see how their customer service works. Can you report back to us on that?

  4. I’ve got the PA Micro Red Dot on my AR and have had good success with it thus far. I’m leaning towards adding a 1-4×24 scope to the fray also.

    I believe PA will replace the scope for up to 1 year after purchase. Having watched the PA section of for a while now, I’ve seen Marshall on more than one occasion have a buyer call the office for an RMA.

    Maybe you could test that and let us know the results.

    As a frugal shooters, we all want our price conscious ‘glass’ to be just as good as the top tier stuff. While I know it’s not, for the price difference I’ll settle for good-enough but that does include at least surviving bench work.

  5. “les droits de l’homme”

    Okay, I was a follower at TTAC and one of the things that bothered me was the interjection of French into the posts. It is pretentious and annoying. I am waiting for you guys to start using the phrases “craptastic” and “slushbox” when reviewing a gun. Or not.

  6. I bet if you call Marsh he’ll replace it, it’s a cheap optic but he’s as solid a guy as you can buy from.

  7. Folks, you get what you pay for.

    When you buy optics, you are buying a certain level of quality for 3 factors:

    Optical Performance

    A customer can “see” features. A customer can “see” optical performance (if they know what to look for, and most don’t). But you can’t “see” durability except for the outside fit&finish.

    Guess which factor manufacturers skimp on?

  8. Per Farago’s directives, we all try to include Latin, French and Vulgarian (“Suck-Tacular”) in our reviews. He likes to throw in some Cockney (don’t get him started) himself.

    • Yeah, I feel bad about my post. Was a little harsher than I intended. Perhaps it’s because I don’t speak French and had to go translate the phrase. Keep up the good work.

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