Primary Arms 4-14×44 Review

PRIMARY ARMS 4-14×44-Review

The Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP Scope is a budget-friendly rifle scope but does it have good performance? With an ACSS reticle, bullet drop compensator, and with the reticle on the first focal plane (FFP), this rifle scope can stand toe to toe with the big players.

This is a full review of the Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP scope. This rifle scope comes in a few different versions, but the only difference is the reticle. If you are interested in the mil-dot version, feel free to skim past the portion discussing the reticle.

I’ll be covering the basic specs and what they mean for shooting, but I also want to go over how it actually works in the field and what kind of results you can expect while using this rifle scope.

In A Hurry, Here Is The Review Summary

I was blown away by the 4-14x44 scope. The glass is clear, having an FFP scope is amazing, and you can really take full advantage of the 14x maximum magnification. This rifle scope is well designed and highly functional. It also held up well in extreme cold and is overall a great scope for the money.

The accuracy and durability are top notch, very little distortion, has a 30mm tube, a matte finish, mounts on most .308 rifles, can adjust for wind, and has a reasonable length for the magnifications.

Primary Arms 4-14x44

Primary Arms 4-14x44

The price of Primary Arms 4-14x44 varies, so check the latest price at

What We’ll Cover

The reticle design on this scope is unique, and it’s one of the best features here, but like in most budget optic reviews, in this review we’ll also talk about every other aspect of the rifle scope and how well it actually does when using it for long shots. This scope is not designed for less than 100 yard shots.

For shooting under 100 yards, the minimum 4x magnification adjustment does more harm than good, and something like a 1-10 would be better for shooting those targets.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know before buying the Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP scope.

Primary Arms 4-14x44mm Review

This optic is designed to provide sufficient magnification for long-range targets. The 14x should provide enough zoom to comfortably make 700-yard shots, and up to 1000 yards with practice. It is not designed to assist in aiming at short or mid ranges, and the field of view at 4x minimum magnification can’t really be used comfortably at less than 100 yards.

The view is only 7.85 ft high and wide at 14x and 100 yards. 7.85 ft high and wide is pretty narrow.

Is It Good? Why?

It could be argued that the features and specifications on the Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP scope teach you bad habits. It’s easy to become heavily reliant on the reticle rather than adjusting for wind hold (windage) and elevation on the turrets for each range. 

It allows a friend to jump in and start building confidence quickly, but it also resets the learning curve when they switch to a scope with a more minimalist reticle.

This scope is great at what it does. Light transmission is great, the image is nice and sharp even at the maximum zoom, the ACSS HUD DMR (not ACSS Orion) makes it much easier to estimate range without a rangefinder, and the .1 mil adjustment rotation on the turrets pass the box test when adjusting for wind.

You can purchase the Primary Arms 4-14x44 FFP scope directly from the Primary Arms website, from Optics Planet, or from Amazon.

Primary Arms 4-14x44

Primary Arms 4-14x44

The price of Primary Arms 4-14x44 varies, so check the latest price at

What’s In The Package

Along with the scope itself, you’ll also get lens covers for the large diameter, a lens cloth for cleaning, and an allen wrench that fits the adjustment knobs. The scope does not come with rings, so you’ll need to pick up scope mounts to fit the 30mm tube diameter.

Rifle Scope Design And Features

This is a long distance scope, through and through. What has stood out to me the most in the process of writing this review is that a long-distance precision shot at different ranges has never been more accessible. 

Instead of having to spend huge amounts of money on not only a scope, but a spotting scope and a rangefinder, now you can start to make long shots with just the scope.

primary arms 4 14x44 review

How does the Primary Arms 4-14x44 scope accomplish this? Well, it starts by covering all the basics; an objective diameter 44mm lets in plenty of light at all ranges, the multi-coating manages the light well, and the parallax adjustment knob keeps parallax to a minimum.

Beyond that, the Primary Arms 4-14x44 brings in advanced features like being a first focal plane scope, having an ACSS HUD and .10 mil turret adjustment clicks on the elevation and windage turrets. Wind can be tough to adjust for, but the precise clicks make adjusting for wind easier.

The Reticle

The Primary Arms 4-14x44 scope would be a great optic even with a simple duplex reticle, but the reticle takes it to a whole new level of performance. There’s a lot to say about the reticle, and it’s almost all good.

The reticle is illuminated with a red color and has 6 different brightness settings. The illumination is a nice touch, but it’s important to note that only the horseshoe and center dot get illuminated.

This is a pretty common practice with an illuminated reticle, but where so much of what makes this scope unique is the ACSS, not having it illuminated means those extra capabilities go away in low light conditions.

ACSS - Advanced Combined Sighting System

The ACSS is designed to be an improvement over standard wind hold and BDC ladders, by also providing range estimation ability of targets based on a target that is 18” wide and 30” tall. 

If you generally don’t like ladders or prefer a minimalist reticle, the ACSS is only going to make things worse, because it adds an awful lot of lines and dots to give you even more information.

Here’s what the ACSS looks like at 14x magnification:

primary arms 4 14x44 acss review

Here’s Primary Arms’ Basic Explanation of How To Use it:

primary arms 4 14x44 acss

The whole philosophy behind the ACSS design is to be able to quickly compensate for range without having to use an adjustment knob. This applies more directly in cases where first hit ratio is important like hunting, but ultra-high precision is not.

High precision will have much more to do with your skill as a shooter and the rifles you're using, and no reticle markings will ever change that. A lot of long distance, high-precision shooters are critical of the ACSS because it gets in the way for them, but I found that the ACSS could actually help speed up the process for anyone besides a sniper as long as you’re not trying to skip steps.

If you know how wide your target is, you can use the ACSS to almost guarantee that your first shot is on paper, which then tells you how much you need to adjust for elevation and windage, and as long as you go through the same steps you would normally, the ACSS can give you a little bit more information to make each step get closer.

For hunting, especially big game, the ACSS saves you a huge amount of time and allows you to get good placement on your first shot. The ACSS was designed with hunting in mind, and it's great for hunting.

First Focal Plane (FFP)

Having an FFP scope is a dream come true on a scope this affordable. An FFP reticle remains true-to-size and gets smaller as you zoom out and larger as you zoom in. While this can actually make the reticle less useful at close distances, it makes it much more useful for long range targets. 

You generally won’t see FFP reticles on budget optics, or scopes that have maximum magnification ranges of 9x or less, since a second focal plane (SFP) reticle can still be used at long distance and is much easier to use at short distance.

First Focal Plane (FFP)

For a 14x scope, however, the FFP reticle is really nice, because your reticle covers the same parts of your target no matter what magnification you’re at. 

It’s difficult to explain why this makes a long magnification range shot so much easier without being able to put one in your hands and have you try it, but suffice it to say it’s fantastic.

Adjustments

The next most impressive part of the design of the Primary Arms optic is the ability to adjust. Most scopes at this price point don't use Mil for their adjustment turrets, and will be either one .25 MOA or .5 for each click. The PA 4-14x44 scope breaks the mold by using .1 mil clicks. 

The parallax adjustment knob is also worth mentioning here as it can set the parallax as low as 15 yards and all the way out to infinity. You’ll never be trying to make a shot at 15 yards with this scope, so for all intents and purposes you will be able to set parallax for whatever distance you’re shooting at. 

Setting to infinity doesn’t mean that you can just keep turning the knob forever and it will continue to adjust. At one away, the effects of parallax become much harder to see, and taking the parallax adjustment all the way to “infinity” means that there won’t be any noticeable parallax when shooting beyond a certain point.

Again, none of these features or specifications would be shocking or even worth special attention on a scope that is triple the cost of the PA 4-14x44mm, but to see them on this scope is impressive, and the performance of the scope lives up to what it says it can do on paper.

Eye relief is comfortable at 3.2”. This is enough eye relief to keep you from getting kissed by the scope, but not such long eye relief that you can’t be comfortable during your shot. Most scopes in these magnification ranges will have similar eye relief.

Performance, Strength, And Durability

The only issue I have seen with the Primary Arms 4-14x44 scope is that when temperatures get below freezing the magnification adjuster starts to feel a little loose, but it still held zero and worked exactly as it's supposed to. The Primary Arms 4-14x44 scope is constructed with aircraft grade aluminum and is shockproof, waterproof, and fog resistant. Heavy recoil is not a problem.

primary arms scope review

This optic was designed for the recoil of a .308 Winchester, so the recoil from a smaller cartridge should be fine. They test their scopes at different recoil levels, up to extreme recoil. This scope should not lose zero from recoil.

One area where the Primary Arms 4-14x44 scope falls behind some competitors is on the manufacturer warranty side. A premium manufacturer like Leupold warrant for an unconditional lifetime, and will repair or replace a scope even after 50 years of hard use. 

Primary Arms has a 3-year warranty, which may seem like a long time, but 3 years is not a long life for one rifle scope.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • ACSS reticle, wide magnification range
  • Reticle is FFP, Objective diameter 44mm
  • .1 Mil turret adjustment clicks
  • Side focus knob
  • Great glass and light transmission at 14x

Cons:

  • PA only offers a 3-year guarantee
  • Not good for short to mid-ranges
  • Reticle designed for .308 Winchester ammo only
  • Fog resistant (vs fogproof)

You can pick up the Primary Arms 4-14x44 scope at Optics Planet, Amazon, or Primary Arms’ own website, and prices should be the same across all sites.

Alternative Products

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

ALTERNATIVE

Vortex Crossfire II 4-16x50mm

Vortex-Optics-Crossfire-II-4-16x50-Review

Vortex Crossfire II 4-16x50mm

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 4-16x
  • Length: 14.2 in
ALTERNATIVE

Burris Signature HD 3-15x44mm

Burris Signature HD 3-15x44mm

Burris Signature HD 3-15x44mm

  • Diameter: 44mm
  • Magnification: 3-15x
  • Length: 13.2 in
ALTERNATIVE

Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm

Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 4.5-14x
  • Length: 12.2 in

1. Vortex Crossfire II 4-16x50mm -Similar Cost 

Vortex Crossfire II 4-16x50mm

The Crossfire II gives you a bit longer range and one larger objective diameter. It’s a bit more expensive but fairly close, and if you want a more traditional reticle type but similar features and high durability, this has great reviews. It’s fog resistant, can come with an illuminated reticle, and is great for the recoil from AR-15 rifles.

Vortex-Optics-Crossfire-II-4-16x50-Review

Vortex Crossfire II 4-16x50mm

The price of Vortex Crossfire II 4-16x50mm varies, so check the latest price at

2. Burris Signature HD 3-15x44mm - Better Guarantee, More Premium

Burris Signature HD 3-15x44mm

This gives you an extra 1x on either end of the magnification range and many of the same features you can get on the Primary Arms 4-14x44 scope, but the glass clarity and light transmission will be better on the Burris, the warranty is lifetime even without proof of purchase, and you have a more standard duplex reticle that will translate over to other scopes better.

Burris Signature HD 3-15x44mm

The price of Burris Signature HD 3-15x44mm varies, so check the latest price at

3. Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm - Best Guarantee, Most Premium

Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm

The Leupold is to the Burris what the Burris is to the PA; it has an even better guarantee, better customer service, better durability, and comes with Leupold’s Xtended Twilight Lens System for incredible light management for crystal image clarity in bright daylight and fantastic low light performance as well. It’s light on features, however.

Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm

Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm

The price of Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x40mm varies, so check the latest price at

Conclusion

The Primary Arms 4-14x44 HUD DMR scope is incredible for the price, and as long as the ACSS reticle is to your liking, it’s definitely worth picking up for your rifle (or rifles). You can buy it from Primary Arms’ website, Amazon, or Optics Planet.

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