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Old 02-01-2011, 03:08 PM
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Who does Light Optical Works, LOW make Scopes for?



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I've gathered by reading numerous posts, and other sources of information that Light Optical Works (Japan), LOW makes scopes for a number of companies including the Bushnell Elite line, which was formerly the Bausch and Lomb, after B&L stopped making scopes themselves. So here is a list gathered as highly probably brands which put their name on LOW manufactured scopes:

Bushnell Elite (formerly Bausch & Lomb, source Ken Marsh)
Weaver Classic, Grand Slam, Super Slam, T-series, Rimfire, Tactical (not the new 40/44 series - Philippines, Buckmark??, source Ken Marsh, AzizaVFR)
Vortex Razor (not Crossfire - China, or Diamondback and Viper - Originally Japan, now Philippines - Posts by C. Nelsons & MGT)
Clearidge (RFC post by Owner of Clearidge, Jon)
Nitrex ( C. Nelson RFC forum reported info from Manufacturer)
Huskemaw (Post #13, forum reported info from Manufacturer and Vendor)
Nightforce - Body & Lenses from Japan, LOW, Assembled in USA (source MGT correspondence with Nightforce, Post #10 this thread, also forum post #13 here)

Others that you know of? Components for Leupold?

Thanks to MGT for filling in a lot of the blanks.

Last edited by Ron AKA; 02-04-2011 at 10:41 AM. Reason: Updated with feedback from posters
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Old 02-01-2011, 03:20 PM
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron AKA View Post
I've gathered by reading numerous posts, and other sources of information that Light Optical Works, LOW makes scopes for a number of companies including the Bushnell Elite line, which was formerly the Bausch and Lomb, after B&L stopped making scopes themselves. So here is a list I have gathered as highly probably brands which put their name on LOW manufactured scopes:

Bushnell Elite
Weaver - all models?
Nightforce
Vortex
Huskamaw

Others that you know of? Clearridge? Components for Leupold?
As you said, the following are rumored as a minimum to be made at LOW
Bushnell Elite
Weaver Classic, Grand Slam, Super Slam, T-series, Rimfire (not the new 40/44 series (Philippines), not sure about the Buckmark either)
Nitrex TR1 and TR2 (discontinued this year)
Clearidge
Nightforce contracts optics and tube for their large scopes from LOW, internal mechanics made at Nightforce, however as far as I know LOW does not make the optics, but subcontracts that out.

Here are some I am not sure of: Super Snipers

As far as Vortex, the Crossfires are made in CHINA; Diamondback and Viper are made in Philippines; and Razor is made in Japan. Razor might be made at LOW, but I don't know for sure. Can anyone comment on this as I do not have a good source on this one.

Leupold official line is that their glass comes from various sources. Again, I am not aware of LOW making glass per say, but subcontracting it from various sources. Big name glass sources might include Schott, Ohara, and Hoya There are others but these three stand out in my mind.

I am not familiar with Huskemaw.

Two other Japanese riflescope manufactures are Asia Optical Japan, and JOL (apparently some ex-Hakko employees) . Asia Optical Japan is a bit of a mystery, as the ScoPro Philippine plant is owned by AOT (Asia Optical Taiwan) and makes riflescopes. AOJ is a part of AOT.

Last edited by MGT; 02-02-2011 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:40 PM
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Question

Not certain how this matters if you can't buy LOW scopes direct: who cares who OEMS the scopes, as long as the brand specifies that LOW meet their requirements?
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MGT View Post
Here are some I am not sure of: Super Snipers
I read a post in another forum where the gent was saying they are made by Kenko in Japan as it had a Kenko sticker on the scope.

My Pride Fowler also came with a Kenko sticker on it and looks very much like a Sightron. I was checking out there website this evening and Sightron, Inc. is on their list of affliates... interesting.

I don't know all that much about Kenko... your thoughts.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:01 PM
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Remember when "Made in Japan" meant Jap junk? Now we search them out for their quality. Funny how things change in 40 years
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:04 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I updated/corrected the original post with feedback so far. On Nightforce I recall reading somewhere that they had very limited staff in the US, no assembly, and only a technician that did repairs.

On Light Optical I see they have an associated company called Iida Light Ltd that makes lenses. So even LOW would appear to be sub contracting components.

I see LOW has been in business for 56 years, so they probably did start out by making "junk". However, like the rest of Japanese products they are now highly respected.

Last edited by Ron AKA; 02-01-2011 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:13 PM
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I read a post in another forum where the gent was saying they are made by Kenko in Japan as it had a Kenko sticker on the scope.

My Pride Fowler also came with a Kenko sticker on it and looks very much like a Sightron. I was checking out there website this evening and Sightron, Inc. is on their list of affliates... interesting.

I don't know all that much about Kenko... your thoughts.
Thanks for bringing up the Kenko Japan name. Like Asia Optical Japan, Kenko is a bit of a mystery. Kenko Philippines plant, is a part of the larger Kenko International, and it makes riflescopes.

Sightron tech told me that they are owned by Kenko-Tokina, yet same Sightron also told me that Asia Optical Japan made the Sightrons. Now why would Asia Optical Japan make scopes for the Kenko owned Sightron, considering that Kenko International owns the Kenko Philippines plant that also makes riflescopes? Sightron is part of Kenko International as you said

Question: Is it possible that Kenko Philippines, and ScoPro Philippines (Asia Optical Taiwan) makes the parts or whole scopes that eventually wear the made in Japan name thru their connections via Kenko Japan, and Asia Optical Japan? There have been rumors that scopes made outside of Japan, end up wearing the Made in Japan label. Usually these have been traced to CHINESE clones, just like the CHINESE Leupold clones of the past, but.....

....by FTC regulations there are certain cases where this might be legal. Lets say a scope made in Kenko Philippines is shipped to a Kenko Japan plant and some sort of significant change is performed on scope. In that case, by FTC regs, scope can wear MADE IN JAPAN label, as Kenko Japan was the last place a significant change occurs. I have no idea if by Japanese law if it can wear the MADE IN JAPAN label.

So in summary, who makes the Kenko Made in Japan scopes, like Pride Fowler is a bit of a mystery to me, when the Kenko Philippine plant exists. Is Kenko Japan acting as the prime contractor, and subcontracting some/all the work to someone else to manufacture such as Asia Optical Japan? I wish I knew the answer, as I am sure you are right, that the Pride Fowler and Sightron scopes are coming from a common source.

I have also seen some evidence that Kenko Japan and Asia Optical Taiwan have partnered on various efforts in the past, not necessarily riflescopes.

Last edited by MGT; 02-02-2011 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron AKA View Post
Thanks for the feedback. I updated/corrected the original post with feedback so far. On Nightforce I recall reading somewhere that they had very limited staff in the US, no assembly, and only a technician that did repairs.

On Light Optical I see they have an associated company called Iida Light Ltd that makes lenses. So even LOW would appear to be sub contracting components.

I see LOW has been in business for 56 years, so they probably did start out by making "junk". However, like the rest of Japanese products they are now highly respected.
I suspect you're right, that Iida is one of the suppliers for LOW optics. I saw this blurb in LOW history.

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.light-op.co.jp/LIGHT_ENGLISH/company/02.html
1970 With the capital fund of JPY10,000,000., Iida Light, Ltd. was established and lens processing and assembly factory was built in Iida-shi, Nagano-ken.

Last edited by MGT; 02-02-2011 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron AKA View Post
Thanks for the feedback. I updated/corrected the original post with feedback so far. On Nightforce I recall reading somewhere that they had very limited staff in the US, no assembly, and only a technician that did repairs.
When I contacted Nightforce, this is what they said on assembly/production and sources. From the email, they clearly state that they assemble in Idaho for both large and small scopes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sept 15,2008
The marking (made in Japan) represents the tube body, the tube body and the glass are milled in Japan per our specs. The internal critical components, assembly and testing are done at our facility in Idaho. All upgrades, Reticle changes and warranty work are done exclusively at our facility. We are moving to have tube body milled in the U.S.A. currently all of our compact scope tube body’s are made in Idaho and as growth permits we hope to change all lines to this process.

I hope this answers your question.



Thank you



Brian Gearhart

Sales and Marketing

Nightforce Optics, Inc

1040 Hazen Lane, Orofino, Idaho 83544

(208)476-9814 b (208)476-9817 f

www.nightforceoptics.com [email protected]
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron AKA View Post
I've gathered by reading numerous posts, and other sources of information that Light Optical Works (Japan), LOW makes scopes for a number of companies including the Bushnell Elite line, which was formerly the Bausch and Lomb, after B&L stopped making scopes themselves. So here is a list gathered as highly probably brands which put their name on LOW manufactured scopes:

Bushnell Elite (formerly Bausch & Lomb)
Weaver Classic, Grand Slam, Super Slam, T-series, Rimfire (not the new 40/44 series - Philippines, Buckmark??)
Nightforce - at least some components
Vortex Razor (not Crossfire - China, or Diamondback and Viper - Philippines)
Huskamaw?
Clearidge

Others that you know of? Components for Leupold?
You might want to add links to sources/rumors.

For example, many of my sources for rumors come from Ken Marsh.

1. Bushnell Elite made at LOW, that Ken Marsh source is for Elite 3000 and 4000 series.
2. Weaver made at LOW, Ken Marsh source
3. The Clearidge source was from an RFC post by Jon, owner of the Clearidge name. no rumor on this one.
4. Nitrex made by LOW, source is RFC member Cnelson181 in this post
5. Nightforce, source Ken Marsh


Don't forget to add the Nitrex name, even though it is discontinued this year.

Apparently some folks say the early Vortex Vipers were from Japan (currently Philippines), and there were rumors that it was LOW. I don't know one way or the other. Here is Cnelsons181 post about Vortex telling him Vortex Diamondback and Viper made in Japan back in 2008 post. This is no longer the case as latest Vipers and Diamondback say made in Philippines. I don't know of a reliable "rumor" for Vortex Razor being made by LOW.

UPDATE: Ken Marsh links are recently broken A valuable source of riflescope information is lost. Hopefully that information will find a new source.

Last edited by MGT; 07-20-2011 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:44 AM
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The Cabela's Alaskan Guide model that I bought had an AOJ qualiity control on it when I purchased the scope. It said something along the lines of Made in Japan AOJ, or AOJ Japan. I don't quite remember, but I know it clearly stated AOJ on the sticker. It is one of the few I have seen actually pop up with a sticker identifying the manufacturer. I wish I would have saved the sticker.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by MGT View Post
You might want to add links to sources/rumors.
Thanks, I did it.
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Old 02-02-2011, 04:03 PM
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Weaver's Tactical series is also made by LOW. I am waiting for their 3-15x50 FFP Mil/Mil (part number 800363) to be available. I got to handle one and waiting like an impatient kids for "Christmas".
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Old 02-02-2011, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron AKA View Post
Thanks, I did it.
BTW, I never said the Vortex Razor is made by LOW. I don't recall seeing a rumor source on the Razor, but I really haven't looked that hard. All I know is that it is made in Japan, and I believe C. Nelson said the same. It could be made by LOW, or one of the other Japanese manufactures like Asia Optical Japan. I don't know.
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