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General Rimfire Scope Considerations

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 12:25
Marine24 View Drop Down
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I've observed on this forum, as well as Rimfire Central, that folks who typically select higher end optics for their centerfire rifles, will select and recommend more budget friendly optics for their rimfires.

I realize most of this depends on the use of the rifle; hunting or match centerfires vs casual/plinking rimfires and budget.  The more serious the purpose, the more quality you are looking for in a scope within your budget.

Just wanted to throw out some of my observations from the comments on this forum and others.  These are my generalizations and looking for your thought process when selecting a rimfire scope.  Perhaps it can serve as guidelines for others to use when selecting a rimfire scope.

- You aren't limited to just rimfire scopes on a rimfire rifles.  Optics designed for use on centerfire rifles are appropriate, but you generally want one with side focus or adjustable objective.  Particularly true when shooting at ranges under 100 yards or ranges that may vary.

- Centerfire scopes are typically larger and heavier than their rimfire counterparts and may appear out of scale for the smaller rifles.

- You don't need the higher end glass on your rimfires that you may need/desire for your centerfire rifles.  Optical quality of more budget friendly scopes (less than $300) are typically sufficient for most rimfire rifle uses (informal target, small game hunting, plinking) inside of 100 yards.

- If budget allows, higher end glass may allow you to use a lower top end magnification range (i.e. 9x vs 12x) but provide better optical quality and possibly reduce size and weight of scope.

- Dedicated match rifles can benefit with higher magnification or fixed magnification scopes due to known distance ranges.  10-20X top end magnification is generally the sweet spot for 22LR rifles shooting at 50 and 100 yards.

- Finer reticles are desired for rimfire rifles who primary purpose is match/target shooting.  X ring on many rimfire targets are 1/4 to 3/8".

- Optics quality and accuracy of the elevation/windage adjustments are more important than magnification range.  Higher top end magnification scopes aren't always the better choice and bring their own issues such as reduced field of view, poorer optical clarity, mirage, eye relief changes and a more challenging/sensitive eye box.

- Like your centerfire optics, buy the best optical quality you can afford for your rimfire rifles and be flexible on your magnification ranges.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 13:26
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Good post, Marine. 

I really like my Weaver RimFire 2-7x on my CZ and I think I paid $130.00 for it. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 14:25
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I have had all kinds of scopes on 22s over the years and I have never really had an expensive one on any rifle, even though I would have liked one.  I still---someday---want to put a Glossy Leupold on a 22 just because they are go good-looking.  And now Zeiss is making that Rimfire scope!  Bucky

I have had probably more centerfire scopes on 22s than anything else.  At 4X, or even 6X, I don't worry about parallax.  I have bought decent scopes off of ebay for $50 ( like old ---but clean!---Weavers and Redfields ), and stuck them on 22s!  

I used iron sights on 22s all the way up till the late 1990s!!  Some 22s just need to be un-scoped.  Others, really need, and deserve, a good scope.  


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 14:26
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CT:  what prompted you to go that route?  From some of your earlier posts, you have some pretty high end glass on your other rifles.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 14:36
cheaptrick View Drop Down
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Originally posted by Marine24 Marine24 wrote:

CT:  what prompted you to go that route?  From some of your earlier posts, you have some pretty high end glass on your other rifles.

You know, that's an excellent question. 
I guess I just never put as much emphasis on my little rimfires as I do my center fires. That and I like to shoot the CZ's with iron sights when I can, except the .17 HMR that wears the Weaver.    
As you may know, the CZ 452 aren't as receptive to scope mounting as some others, but it's certainly doable.   

My old Marlin Mod 60 is currently serving "bird feeder overwatch" and slaying squirrels wears a 4x Nikon Prostaff......Wink  (I can hear ya laffin.) 

Your post has me rethinking my strategy.  

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 15:03
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Hey, if it works it ain't broke.  My primary squirrel gun is a Remington Speedmaster that wears some no name 4x scope.  It works for that intended purpose.

To be honest, that was where my head was at until I started looking at smallbore A23/5 targets with an X-ring smaller than a dime. I'll need different glass on my CZ455 varmint if I want to play in that crowd but not convinced I need to step up to the same class of scope that I have on my 1000 yard rifle.

See a lot of these match shooters running Mueller APVs, Konus, Weaver V16s or T36s on their dedicated match rifles.  Makes sense for that purpose, but can't imagine trying to shoot a rifle offhand wearing a T36.

Perhaps the qualities of the higher end scopes that demand the higher price tag are less critical inside of 100 yards.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 15:10
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Originally posted by Son of Ed Son of Ed wrote:

I have had all kinds of scopes on 22s over the years and I have never really had an expensive one on any rifle, even though I would have liked one.  I still---someday---want to put a Glossy Leupold on a 22 just because they are go good-looking.  And now Zeiss is making that Rimfire scope!  Bucky

I have had probably more centerfire scopes on 22s than anything else.  At 4X, or even 6X, I don't worry about parallax.  I have bought decent scopes off of ebay for $50 ( like old ---but clean!---Weavers and Redfields ), and stuck them on 22s!  

I used iron sights on 22s all the way up till the late 1990s!!  Some 22s just need to be un-scoped.  Others, really need, and deserve, a good scope.  



Good point.  Just because is a legitimate reason for a particular rimfire scope.  I have a Wby XXII that wears a gloss Leupold just because it looks right on that rifle.  I'm putting a Swarovski Z3 on my Anschutz 1517 because it seems sacrilegious to do otherwise.

Assume those rifles are just fun guns to be used plinking/hunting with friends and family, not trying to shoot a sub 0.4" five shot group.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 15:13
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Marine, I'd love to see you post some pic of your arsenal. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 15:16
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Oh, yes....just hunting and plinking rifles.  Farm Pest Law Enforcement and  No-Need-To-Call-The-Veterinarian Rifles.  




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 15:23
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Ha.  One looks an awful lot like your .223 Truck gun you were showing me on an earlier thread re: Talley mounts.  It was the inspiration for my Savage Model 11 build.

Mike
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Originally posted by Marine24 Marine24 wrote:

Ha.  One looks an awful lot like your .223 Truck gun you were showing me on an earlier thread re: Talley mounts.  It was the inspiration for my Savage Model 11 build.

Mike

Outstanding. That crazy Remington is shooting lights out now for some reason, even with Sierra Game Kings, Mike.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 16:42
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I shoot my rimfire rifles more than I shoot my centerfires, so for the most part, I do put nice scopes on the rimfires I shoot the most. My favorite rimfire scope is the now-discontinued Kahles 2-7X36 AH Rimfire model that resides on my Kimber of Oregon M82 Super America. Two other rimfires (.17 HMR and .17HM2) wear the Minox ZA5 1.5-8X32, and although not quite in the same league as the Kahles, are very nice scopes as well. I also have a now-discontinued fixed 4X32 Zeiss Conquest Rimfire model scope, which is outstanding, though I moved it to my muzzleloader.

I also have the Weaver 2-7 rimfire Mark mentions, and it's a surprisingly good scope for the $.

The problem with trying to put above average optics on rimfires these days is there aren't all that many "high end" dedicated rimfire scopes available any more. There also aren't many high-end scopes that are parallax adjustable to 50 yds/meters and under without getting a Hubble telescope. So, if you want an "above average," small, lightweight scope with "rimfire- appropriate" parallax focus, your choices are very limited. Sure, you can always just use a low powered centerfire scope, but it's better if you either have 50 yd parallax adjustment, AO or side focus adjustable down to <50 yds/meters.

Evidently, there isn't much demand for high end specialty rimfire scopes anymore.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 17:18
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Ted,

Where would you stack up the Minox ZA5 with others that are in that price point ($6-700 range)?  Thinking the likes of Zeiss Conquest, Leupold VX-III and SWFA SS (3-9x and 3-15x) ... etc.

They have the side focus and mid-power range scopes (3-15x) come in the smaller objective size (40-42mm) that wouldn't overwhelm a trimmer rimfire rifles.

Mike
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My Annie and my Volquartsen both wear a Leupold VX3 6.5-20 EFR. And my CZ Precision Varmint Trainer has a Nightforce 3.5-15 mainly because I had an extra one I was not using. But it works out well since I like to dial in corrections and that is one of the NF's strong points.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 18:22
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Sparky:  Good info.  Understand the NF, that is why I put a SWFA SS on my CZ Varmint, plus that NF would look right on your Varmint Trainer.

Why the VX3 on the Annie and Volquartsen?  Target rifles?
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If I didn't have an extra NF I would have put a SS on it.

And yes the Annie and the Volquartsen are both primarily target rifles. But I do have a Leupold 3-9 EFR that I would put on for hunting. I would have used the 3-9 EFR more, but it has the coin slot adjustments on it. I have been thinking about sending it in to Leupold to have the knobs changed to either the target knobs or the M1 knobs. I like the M1 knobs because there are no caps to remove or lose.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2014 at 19:42
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Originally posted by Marine24 Marine24 wrote:

Ted,

Where would you stack up the Minox ZA5 with others that are in that price point ($6-700 range)?  Thinking the likes of Zeiss Conquest, Leupold VX-III and SWFA SS (3-9x and 3-15x) ... etc.



I haven't tried any of the new ZA5 HD scopes, and haven't used the 2-10 ZA5 either. The only one I have any experience with is the 1.5-8X32, and apparently they've discontinued it. So, keep in mind my comments below only apply to this scope.

I like this little scope, and I like "tweener" scopes in general for most rifles other than target or varmint rifles.

Comparing the ZA5 1.5-8X32 to those you mentioned...

There is no comparison between it and the SS scopes. The SS have a much more rugged feel to them, and adjustments are much more positive. Of course, the two scopes are designed for entirely different applications. The ZA5 is purely a hunting scope. Even though tracking and return to zero has been spot on for the two I own, I doubt they would withstand the same punishment a SS would shrug off, and W/E feel is much more mushy and faint compared to the SS adjustments. Optically, the SS are a bit better IMO, but it's close. Speaking of which, the fixed power and 3-15 SS scopes have very close parallax adjustment settings, so if you're not concerned with weight, they make very good rimfire scopes.

I think Conquest and the newest generation VX-3 is pretty comparable. I would place the Minox on par with them optically in the center of the field in terms of resolution. However the ZA5 image gets soft around the field edge and there is noticeable barrel distortion (kind of a "fisheye" look) from 1.5 to about 5X. From 5X - 8X, it pretty well goes away. You don't notice this distortion so much without panning. This is the tradeoff for having a 5:1 zoom range in such a short optic with a relatively small dia eyepiece.

My other criticisms are that it has turrets that are too tall relative to the size of the scope, and although it adds to the sleek look of the scope, I'm not a huge fan of the smooth rubber power change ring with no raised texture to aid in gripping.

On balance, I like its size and weight, I like the 1.5-8X power range, and I like the "Versa-Plex" as a hunting reticle. Since you only aim with the center of the FOV and since it's optically quite good in the center "sweet spot," I don't mind the soft field edge and distortion so much given the compact, light form factor, power range, and price I paid for these scopes.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/29/2014 at 08:21
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I have a 4X Bausch and Lomb Balfor on my go to 10/22. I have a Leupold 3.5-10X50 EFR on a 77/22.
The 4X is a big game scope and in this power range parallax is a non-issue. The reticle is heavy enough for any hunting situations.
The Leupold has also done great duty. But, I find the thinner reticle on this scope, like many rimfire scopes, is a bit thin for low light use. Great for target, but my Remmy and Kimber target rimfires have irons.
I don't twist knobs on my rimfires, so that issue is not as important to me.
As for glass quality, my 77/22 Magnum will be getting an upgrade because it is used primarily for night time predator hunting. I am looking at Meostar and VX-R Leupold for that role. There is quite a bit of difference in cost between the two, so I am not sure what I will do. But I completely understand when you mention "If budget allows".
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/29/2014 at 09:05
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Excellent point about the reticle.  Just received a demo Z3 with the plex reticle.  It will do well at the range, but it was hard to find at dusk yesterday.
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yeah..... the dreaded, "If budget allows"  sure raises its ugly self way to often for me!   Otherwise I'd have high dollar optics all the way around!
 
I have a sweet little Browning SA that I have a cheap Bushnell 4x on I think.  I can't remember the last time I took that out...  pretty sure it was before I got the 17HMR... when ever those came out.  my 17HMR is wearing a Redfield Golden 5 Star 4-12X40AO and it works very well for hunting "tree rats" and the occassional plinking I do with it at the range.  Its fairly big.. but I think it looks fine on my Savage 9317.  Its not great glass by any means... but plenty good enough for how I hunt... which is mostly during snow days and not in low-light.
 
I hope I can get one of the remaining Monarch's for my son's 17HMR... I think that would be pretty nice.
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I have two Weaver rimfire scopes that I have had for probably 10 years on CZs
the Scout for the kids has a 2-7 and my American has the 3-9 AO

Great little scopes
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/29/2014 at 10:48
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I have the Weaver 3-9 AO on my Savage and like it, works well on the range and in the woods.  The glass on this scope surprised me for the cost.  Would love to put a SS 3-15 on a 22 or 17.
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My .02
I have a Savage 93r17 and put a BSA sweet 17 3-9x40 on it when I bought it.  It was plenty fine for 25-100 yards.  Past 100 yards it showed its flaws.  The reticle was way too thick to see small objects like a target bull or a squirrel at 150 yards.  It was also hard to get my eye just right to see through it.  I have since bought a Simmons 6-21x44 for it.  The rings haven't come in yet but I have checked it out at the range and it's great.  It's no Ferrari but Chevy is good too.  For $140 at SWFA I think it's a great value scope.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/05/2014 at 07:45
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I have a Leupold 3-9x33 compact on my 10/22, it's the only Leupold I have left but worth keeping; great setup for wabbits.  Big Smile
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Appears form follows function in most of the responses.

For general plinking/small game hunting, you don't need the higher end scopes since the more modestly priced glass is more than adequate inside the effective range of the 22LR.

Size matters.  Since most rimfires are typically a scaled down version of their centerfire counterparts, smaller objective scopes are generally preferred to keep them to scale.  Typical use of the rimfire during the day doesn't warrant the larger objective sizes, but early morning/evening small game hunters would benefit from the light gathering capabilities of the larger objectives.

More mission specific rimfires, such as dedicated match rifles, have their own peculiar requirements similar to long range/match centerfire rifles but quality of the optics required for 1000 yards isn't necessary when shooting at 50 or 100 yards.  More budget friendly options probably make sense but the optical quality of the more expensive option is sure a lot easier on the eyes for long shooting sessions.

Some rimfire rifles just demand the higher end glass for no particular reason other than just because.  Putting a lower end scope on a high end rimfire might grate against your sense of propriety.  Your rifle, your call.

Don't make a science project out of it.  Put some glass on it and go shoot your rifle.  Probably won't be the perfect scope but you can adjust from there.

A lot more fun to get the rifle out to the range/out in the woods than sitting in the safe waiting for the perfect scope.

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