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2.5-10 NightForce vs Schmidt&bender vs Zeiss

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/13/2010 at 21:10
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Looking for scope to put on my new Nosler 48 300WSM. I have narrowed my selection down to,
  Nightforce 2.5-10x32 {cheapest, american made but smallest Obj.}
  Schmidt&Bender Summit 2.5-10x40 {Great reputation but only 1" tube}
  Zeiss 2.5-10x42  Victory {30mm tube, biggest Obj. but highest price}
Witch would be the toughest,  low light, all around hunting optic of the 3  ?
Any opinions/feedback would be helpful. Thanks 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2010 at 06:31
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I'd take the S&B. Having a 1" tube is not a negative any any way. It will be all you would ever need. That said, any of the three you mentioned are GREAT!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2010 at 10:04
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Glass in the S&B and Zeiss will be better than the Nightforce )though Nightforce will be more than adequate.)  Zeiss will have the best glass of the 3.

My guess is that the Zeiss would be the brightest and clearest.

I have done nothing with the S&B hunters, only their tactical scopes.  I have used Zeiss and Nightforce.

For 300, I'd buy the Zeiss.  (Though the 1" tube should be fine, I would want the 30mm Zeiss.)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2010 at 10:49
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

Zeiss will have the best glass of the 3.

My guess is that the Zeiss would be the brightest and clearest.
 
Sure about that?  Although a case can certainly be made for Zeiss being the best, my experience from owning and using scopes from both is that they are basically equivalent.  I have a S&B 1.5-6X42 Zenith that to my eyes has better resolution and contrast than my Zeiss Diavari 2.5-10X50 when set on the same magnfication, yet the Zeiss has superior FOV and less tunnel effect at low magnification.  I personally can't even tell a difference in low light performance (again when set on the same power).  When you get into optics of that class, they are so close that there is no clear-cut "better" in all situations and across different model comparisons. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2010 at 11:02
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Tag for later read.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2010 at 11:29
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In truth, I haven't hunted an S&B hunter (as said above) so I'll defer to you on that one.

S&B makes good stuff, no question; but I have always preferred Zeiss' best glass to anyone else's.  Does the S&B have a water-shedding coating?

Eoperator, Rifledude has used both S&B and Zeiss hunters, I have only fielded Zeiss hunters - but have used S&B PMs. In my opinion, the Nightforce isn't in the same league, I'd narrow the field to Zeiss and S&B, maybe throw in Swaro for good measure: more apples-to-apples.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/14/2010 at 14:11
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

Does the S&B have a water-shedding coating?

 
No.  And speaking of Swarovski, although they do have a water-shedding coating ("Swaroclean") and have for a few years now, for some reason, they haven't migrated it over to their rifle scopes.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/19/2010 at 20:43
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Purchased The Schmidt&Bender 2.5-10x40 Summit a couple days ago, 100% satisfied. Crystal clear glass [no fuzzy edges], fast easy to find sight picture, perfect tracking, excelent low light performance, all in a small lightweight package for much less $  when compared to zeiss or swarovski.  At the same magnification offers 30-40 min shooting light over 4-14x40 Nikon, 20min over Leupold vx3 4.5-14x40, 10-15min over Zeiss conquest 4.5-14x44.
 
Salesman told me the 1" S&B model has 1 or 2 less lenses inside to ease assembly of scope, is this possible ? If so why don't they do the same with 30mm models to increase light transmission?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/20/2010 at 10:09
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If a salesman said it then it must be right! Right? LOL. Anyway, congrats on a fine scope.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/20/2010 at 10:47
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Originally posted by eoperator eoperator wrote:

Salesman told me the 1" S&B model has 1 or 2 less lenses inside to ease assembly of scope, is this possible ? If so why don't they do the same with 30mm models to increase light transmission?


The number, placement, and types of lenses inside a scope, especially in a scope of this class, is the product of the intended optical design and performance objectives, not some arbitrary decision based on how easy it is to assemble.  Your salesman is full of crap, to put it politely. 

You chose a very high quality scope that will provide you with many years of no-compromise performance.  Enjoy!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/20/2010 at 11:46
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Originally posted by eoperator eoperator wrote:

At the same magnification offers 30-40 min shooting light over 4-14x40 Nikon, 20min over Leupold vx3 4.5-14x40, 10-15min over Zeiss conquest 4.5-14x44.
 



BS Flag


Though, in my opinion, emoticons are gay, that deserved a BS flag.  I've hunted the very best and the very worst optics - and have NEVER seen an optic on either end of the spectrum that would alter safe shooting time by 30-40 minutes.   Night vision, sure, but conventional optics?  And 10-15 minutes over Conquest?


Had to be done!  Twice!



BS Flag





Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/20/2010 at 22:42
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I am also looking for a scope for a 300 WSM, but was thinking something with illumination would be ideal.  Does anyone think this is very important?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/21/2010 at 09:37
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Illumination is great in failing light or when hunting by moonlight.

Be aware that some illumination systems stink (like the old IORs) and some are really great (like the new IORs), so don't assume illumination is illumination.

I have yet to see a scope under $1,000 that had a good battery-operated illumination system, so spending "a little" might get you bright lights in the reticle, and they will probably be too bright.  Just FYI.

For a hunting scope, Trijicon Accupoints are about as good as it gets for illuminated reticles.  They are tritium reticles so no "on-off" switch, just always on - at least for 12 years or so.  They make a 2.5-10X56 that is a great scope and would fit well on any 300WSM 9other than a mountain gun, the 2.5-10 is a big scope.)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/21/2010 at 10:01
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Would the Accupoint be better than a Burris Euro w/E-dot?  I was also thinking about a NF in 2.5-10, but it has only a 32mm objective.  Not sure if that would enough for low light use.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/21/2010 at 10:09
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Originally posted by c1steve c1steve wrote:

Would the Accupoint be better than a Burris Euro w/E-dot?  I was also thinking about a NF in 2.5-10, but it has only a 32mm objective.  Not sure if that would enough for low light use.
 
Burris has a decent illumination system in their Electro-Dot models.  A buddy of mine has the 1.5-6X40 E-dot scope, and it has a wide ill intensity range that gets dim enough for night use without over-illuminating the inside of the scope.  They are well under a grand.  I can recommend those.
 
However, I do like the Accupoints better than the Burris E-dots.  I think Accupoint is a little better optically to my eyes, and I like Trijicon's unique worry-free illumination system.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/22/2010 at 00:14
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C1 steve, having an illuminated reticle and a standard reticle depends on what you would be using the rifle for.  If you are hunting in low light situations like dawn and dusk, or in a place where you can hunt after dusk, which is illegal in most states, an illuminated reticle would be very effective. If you are still looking at a schmidt and bender, i would either go with the Zenith 2.5-10x42 flashdot or the 3-12x50 flastdot .  They are very bright and great for low light conditions.  All in all, with the light transmission of the S&B plus the flashdot, you would have no problem hunting in very low light conditions.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/22/2010 at 10:07
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I haven't used S&Bs hunters so must defer to others on that.

I do like the NF2.5-10.  At 10X, yea, 32mm would be limiting, but how often do you need 10X in low light?  If the target is so far away you need 10X, it's probably not a smart shot to take.


If you have the $$ already set aside, I would be surprised if you weren't exceptionally pleased with an S&B Zenith.



Originally posted by jleinum09 jleinum09 wrote:

...or in a place where you can hunt after dusk, which is illegal in most states...


I like how you threw that in, just for good measure, I guess.  In the south, many states allow hog hunting at night. Just FYI.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/22/2010 at 10:33
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Rancid, thankyou for clearing that up.  I have also heard of that and was not completely sure, since i have never been.  The zenith would be an excellent choice for C1steve if hunting at night, i can assure. They are excellent. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/22/2010 at 18:34
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I concur on the Zenith w/ Flashdot.  I have a 1.5-6X42 Zenith w/ #9 Flashdot.  It's one of my favorite scopes.  It is outstanding in low light and optically superb.  The illumination system is excellent, especially since the center dot is projected onto the reticle and the dot is not a permanent part of the reticle when illumination is turned off.
 
Unfortunately, it's also outrageously expensive!  The Zeniths have gone up in price by $400 - $500 since I bought mine only 3 years ago!
 
The other disadvantage to the Zenith is they are quite heavy compared to competing scopes of the same magnification, and it has relatively little W/E adjustment travel compared to competing scopes.
 
As long as weight isn't an issue, and your mount setup allows you to keep your W/E adjustments relatively close to center, the Zeniths are absolutely superb scopes!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/22/2010 at 18:38
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Originally posted by jleinum09 jleinum09 wrote:

If you are still looking at a schmidt and bender, i would either go with the Zenith 2.5-10x42 flashdot or ...
 
Just FYI, S&B doesn't make a 2.5-10X42 in the Zenith series; only 2.5-10X56.  Of course, that makes it even better for low light use, but at the expense of more weight and higher mounts required.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/22/2010 at 21:35
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Rifledude, my mistake, you are correct. I must have been zoned out.. lol. It is a 56 mm bell, just like their variable classic series, thank you. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/22/2010 at 22:40
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Chiming in late to the party...but then I've been away from the computer for five days. Yeah!

I can only weigh in the the NF. The good is that it is a rugged, compact scope with great tracking and decent glass. The illuminated reticle is nice but I've never had occasion to use it within legal hunting hours. The bad is that there is no indicator on the turrets that you've gone past one turn (unlike the larger models) so you really have to spring the extra dough for zero-stop.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2010 at 18:58
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On the value of illumination:

-  Like many, I find it useful at dawn and dusk, when most animals stand in front of my scope.
-  Even in daylight, but also when in brush or forest, or when overcast, and when trying to make a *fast* or *precise* shot on an animal with very dark fur, such as bear, boar, Nilgai, Cape Buffalo, Bison, etc. 

On the quality of S&B and Nightforce:

I own and have used both the Schmidt & Bender Zenith 1.5-6x42 in first focal plane, flash dot #9, illuminated; and the Nightforce 2.5-10x32 illuminated with covers on elevation and windage adjustments.

I have fired a few hundred rounds with these scopes mounted on a 375 H&H (Talley QD steel rings and bases) and 338 Lapua rifles (Nightforce rings and bases).  No issues of any kind.

In preparation for an October Alaska Kodiak Brown Bear hunt, I tested both scopes while mounted in the rings, but removed from the rifle and without scope covers:

1.  Placed in freezer at negative 20 F overnight.  Removed from freezer and placed in the house at 70 F.  The zoom, windage and elevation adjustments on both functioned, albeit with quite a bit of resistance.  The illumination worked on both, but a bit dim, as expected.  Due to the relatively higher humidity in the house, and the lenses being 90 degrees F colder than the temperature in the house, a thin layer of ice formed on the lenses, making their immediate use practically impossible, which I expected.  I do not see this a a failure and would expect any scope (or glass object) to do this -- it's physics.  I could have probably wiped the ice form the lens but did not want to scratch the lenses.  When the scopes began to return to ambient temperature in the house, the ice melted with no apparent ill effects.  Neither scope showed any ill effects whatsoever - no internal fogging, illumination worked at normal brightness, etc. 

2.  I wanted to determine what would happen if I dropped the rifle while crossing a river: would the rifle scope function?  I figured I could fall, recover, and find the rifle within about 15 minutes.   I assumed that the hose pressure might simulate the pressure of a flowing river.  I placed the scopes in an empty 5-gallon plastic bucket, then ran the hose at "full blast," playing the pressured stream of water over the scopes until the bucket filled.  I left the scopes completely submerged in the bucket for 15 minutes, the retrieved the scopes from the bucket.  I did not change the zoom or remove the windage or elevation covers or change the windage or elevation while the scopes were wet.  After drying the scopes with a towell and blowing air gently over them, I performed a full function test, including illumination, and they performed flawlessly.  I removed the windage and elevation covers, and the battery cover and inspected for the presence of water underneath the covers, and found none.

I thought I was a little overboard doing these tests -- it's was a bit odd looking at the bucket, scopes submerged, and thinking: "There's $4000 worth of scopes sitting under water," but then it's a $30,000 hunt, so better a failure here then there...

In a planning call with the guide (30+ years guiding in Alaska ), he asked if I had good scopes to bring.  I told him that I thought so, and sheepishly told him what I did.  He said "Good - that's the first thing I do when I get a new scope.  If it fails I return it immediately under warranty."  That's an Alaskan for you.  I felt better.

Note that I did NOT place the scopes in tap water when the scopes were frozen; I would not expect them to survive this test just due to the nature of the materials , though they may.  Nor would I expect this to happen on a hunt.


Selecting a scope for a hunt:

I use both scopes on my 375 H&H depending on the situation: If closer in range, if I may have to shoot very quickly, especially at dangerous game, if the light may be lower, then I use the S&B.  If the range may be longer, the animals less dangerous, and the hunting in open or in brighter conditions, then I take the Nightforce 2.5-10x32. While both scopes have high quality optics, the S&B, with it's 42MM objective just gathers more light than the Nightforce's 32MM objective.  However, they weigh about the same amount, about 1#11oz with rings attached.  Firing 300g bullets from an 8.5# 375 H&H I'm okay with that extra weight, but whatever you like!

On most hunts I don't take two rifles anymore, but I usually take both scopes, with the second as a backup.  My rifle case has custom foam with a recess for both scopes, which gives me the option of taking one or both scopes.  I ship the rifle with scopes removed, then torque one onto the rifle upon arrival at the hunt.

Both are useful for darker animals as both are illuminated.

On a personal note, while this may not be necessary, it relieves worry about scope capabilities and failures, and this knowledge sure gives me a lot of confidence, and that confidence helps me shoot better under pressure.  I also know that if my rifle wet --  rained on or dunked, or very cold, I can still hunt -- I know that.  When I was in the infantry in the Marines, knowing our capabilities and limitations was an important part of mission planning, and I guess to me, it still is.

Well, that's what I do and how I choose - do what woks for you!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2010 at 19:10
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2010 at 19:18
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And on the topic of how much magnification one needs at "the upper end."  As the lawyers always say, "It depends." 

For me, on big game, while I have some scopes that go up to 15x, I only use them for load accuracy testing. Heck, for years, and maybe still, the USMC sniper rifles had a 10x fixed scope, and they shoot pretty far!

When I'm in a sensible frame of mind, I have to admit that 4x or 6x is more than fine for a lot of big game hunting!

I'm a pretty good but not a great shot, and there was a lot of luck involved, but at a Gunsite hunting course I shot a 1" group at 200 yards off of sticks with a 300 Win Mag -- with the scope set at either 4x or 6x, I don't recall, but it was a 1.5-6x scope.  I can shoot this way off a bench more often than not at 6x, so I think that 6x is plenty of scope -- on BIG game.

And many guides will tell you that lots of people miss a quick shot at game appearing at an unexpectedly short range.  When they raise their rifles and try to find the game -- at 50 yards -- through their scope -- set to 15x, well, in many cases, it's too late to recover from that mistake.

Having said all that, I know and respect -- highly -- a Canadian I know who hunts, and I mean a LOT!  All his rifles all wear big glass, and it's rare that he comes home empty handed, so whatever works for you, do that!

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