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In Search Of My Ultimate Big Game Hunting Scope

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 18:58
Idaho Scot View Drop Down
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I am trying to find my concept of the ultimate big game hunting scope.  When I say big game I mean Idaho style elk and mule deer hunting.  Idaho is wide open so shots from 50 yards in thick timber to 600 yards across canyons aren’t uncommon.   I will be dealing with extreme temperature and elevation change, gun in and out of scabbards and 6-10 miles of tough hiking a day.   Scope failure after tough days afield is not an option for me. 

The ideal concept for the style of hunting I do is to have a scope where I can shoot out to a specified distance using simple hold over/under or PBR type shooting, maybe out to 300 yards or so.  I would then like to have a BDC style reticle that provides additional aim points for quick aiming out to 500-600 yards. 

I am still trying to decide on whether I want FFP or SFP reticles so I am leaving that out of the equation for now.

Below is the list of items I want.  Durability and Repeatability are the two top priorities for me. 

·         Around a 40mm objective- to minimize potential damage due to scabbard use etc. and to limit weight as much as possible. 

·         I would like the scope to be as light as possible so most likely no 30mm scopes, although some are just about as light as the 1 inchers. 

·         Ideal power range would be in the 2-12 range.  I am not a big fan of high power on big game scopes so I would rather sacrifice on the upper end.  Probably a 2.5-10 type range would be ideal.  

·         A good BDC type reticle so quick shots out to distance can be easily managed with no manipulation of the scope.  A mid width reticle that can be seen easily toward dusk/dawn but not so large that accuracy is lost if a smaller animal is being shot at or if they are at a long distances. 

·         I want low profile turrets, mostly so I don’t have to worry about the turrets being so tall that they get beat up while walking through brush and being put in and out of a scabbard.  But I do want target turrets of some kind.  Maybe mini or low profile turrets?  Ideally I won’t use them but if I needed to take that extra long shot I want to know I have the option to dial in on a consistent turret.

·         Rainguard type coating would be nice.  But I don’t know how many other Manf. Offer something similar. 

·         No AO on the bell for durability reasons.  Maybe side focus or just a standard fixed distance scope so I don’t have to worry about another thing to go wrong. 

·         Glass quality is probably near the end of my list for a couple reasons.  I think that in the price range that I will be looking at I don’t think it is going to be an issue. Also, I have a lot of Bushnell elite scopes and have compared them to other high end scopes.   My eyes can see differences but they are seldom enough to justify the price based on optical quality alone.  And for me they seldom provide more than a couple minutes of extra shooting time at dusk and dawn. 

 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 19:03
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How about a Zeiss Conquest with a rapid z 600 reticle? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 19:10
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My idea scope for what you listed would be the new Swarovski Z6 2.5-15X44 with the ballistiv reticule ! But at $2300...........I just couldn't commit to one !
 
So yeh...........I'd say a Conquest 3.5-10x44 z600 or z800 . Elite 6500 2-16x42 md . VX3 4-14X40 BC reticule..........the one's on the sample list are new and a great price !!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 19:30
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Originally posted by swtucker swtucker wrote:

How about a Zeiss Conquest with a rapid z 600 reticle? 
 
+1
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 20:15
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  Well that didn't take long! Wanta take a look?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 20:34
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The Conquest is on my current list of possibles.  Anyone have experience with the turrets?  Are they restable to zero, how many MOA per rev, how are they marked, do the number of rotations show on the turret?  
 
Thanks,
 
Scot E.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 21:00
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Yippee
Originally posted by SamC SamC wrote:

Originally posted by swtucker swtucker wrote:

How about a Zeiss Conquest with a rapid z 600 reticle? 
 
+1
Yippee Here you go +1
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 21:19
John Barsness View Drop Down
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I would argue for a 3-10x (or thereabouts) with a 40mm objective and a simple multi-point reticle. Everybody's eyesight varies, but it is always interesting to me when 10x isn't enough to aim at something the size of an elk at 600 yards.  That is essentially like aiming with iron sights at 60 yards.
 
Wny anybody would complicate a serious big game scope with exposed turrets and ANOTHER turret for parallax is beyond my understanding. Especially since 10x doesn't need any parallax correction with a good 3-10x scope.
 
I guess part of this is the general notion that a scope under 14x isn't enough for shooting even a small elk. This isn't true.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 21:25
Idaho Scot View Drop Down
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Originally posted by John Barsness John Barsness wrote:

I would argue for a 3-10x (or thereabouts) with a 40mm objective and a simple multi-point reticle. Everybody's eyesight varies, but it is always interesting to me when 10x isn't enough to aim at something the size of an elk at 600 yards.  That is essentially like aiming with iron sights at 60 yards.
 
Wny anybody would complicate a serious big game scope with exposed turrets and ANOTHER turret for parallax is beyond my understanding. Especially since 10x doesn't need any parallax correction with a good 3-10x scope.
 
I guess part of this is the general notion that a scope under 14x isn't enough for shooting even a small elk. This isn't true.
 
 
Agreed!  For shooting I very seldom take my scope off 4-6X.  I do however like a little mag, 10x would be fine, to count points, width, thickness of rack, etc.
 
Any scope suggestions then based off this info?
 
Thanks,
 
Scot E. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 21:42
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Any of the good multi-coated scopes from the Bushnell 4200 to the Zeiss Conquest should work fine. (Notice I went from B to Z....) They are all very good these days. Sorry to be so general, but if you buy a good scope and figure out how to use the reticle by actual shooting out to whatever range, then you are good to go.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 22:40
Idaho Scot View Drop Down
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Originally posted by John Barsness John Barsness wrote:

Any of the good multi-coated scopes from the Bushnell 4200 to the Zeiss Conquest should work fine. (Notice I went from B to Z....) They are all very good these days. Sorry to be so general, but if you buy a good scope and figure out how to use the reticle by actual shooting out to whatever range, then you are good to go.
 
Do any of the 4200's have special reticles besides mildot?  I really love the 4200's but they have never had great reticle choices.  Do any of their 2.5-10's have mini target type turrets or are they all thumb bar style?
 
What about Sightron.  I have been lresearching their SII and Big Sky and am impressed so far.
 
Thanks!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2009 at 23:24
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5214609971 Zeiss 3-9x40 Conquest Rifle Scope                                                                                       Zeiss 3-9x40 Conquest Rifle Scope
  • Matte
  • Rapid Z 600
  • 1"
  • Etched Glass
  • 2nd Plane
SWFA: $574.95
More Info... Buy Now
 
TR20 Trijicon 3-9x40 Accu-Point Rifle Scope                                                                                  Trijicon 3-9x40 Accu-Point Rifle Scope
  • Matte
  • Amber Triangle BAC
  • 1"
SWFA: $678.95
More Info... Buy Now


Edited by Urimaginaryfrnd - February/21/2009 at 17:14
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 00:31
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"Scope failure after tough days afield is not an option for me."
What about something like this?  It's built like a tank and weighs 4.2oz more than a 3-9 Conquest.  Get it with a B&C.  VX7 2.5-10x45.





Edited by timber - February/21/2009 at 00:47
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 04:17
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Originally posted by John Barsness John Barsness wrote:

Wny anybody would complicate a serious big game scope with exposed turrets and ANOTHER turret for parallax is beyond my understanding.

I guess we should all be thankful we're allowed our own personal preferences, likes and dislikes. 

I know many who say the same thing about putting clutches and those gear lever thingies in cars.  They know they get to the grocery store and back "just fine" in cars without, so they "aren't needed."  Why "complicate" a car with things that might "confuse" or "mess up" a driver when that light turns green....

Thankfully, we're not obligated to follow others' preferences.  Personally, I feel simple multi-point reticles have usually exceeded their usefulness by 600 yds without a lot of work and/or happy coincidences that gives one the perfect reticle, perfectly matched to his load and conditions.... 

I feel at that range a turret is the best tool for the job.  The bullet is dropping really fast at that point, dialing exactly and eliminating all estimations removes added possibility for error due to kentucky holdover.  There are many good low profile turrets on the market these days and there are also scabbards big enough to swallow any scope you can think of that can give you some extra room.

What was your price range?  On the low end, I think a 3.5-10 or 4.5-14 VX-3 with the B&C reticle (for most ranges) and their new low profile turret for the really long shots might be right up your alley for a reasonable price.  If you're looking for the ultimate in toughness, reliability and turret repeatability (at a reasonable size/weight) the NF 2.5-10X32 may be just what you're looking for.  Of course Zeiss can install low profile turrets and their Rapid Z reticles are very nice--enough you may be able to do without a turret if you work things out right.  S&B has nice low turrets available.... 

There are many choices.  They are all full of compromises--size, weight, glass, turrets, price, etc.  For weight, Leupold probably takes it closely followed by the Conquest.  Durability, NF.  Glass and durability, S&B but you pay for it.  Absolute best at everything (except for weight, that is), Premier. 

I know I've left many worthy scopes out, those are just examples off the top of my head, not meant to be a comprehensive list.  The point of all that is there are many scopes that will work and the best for you largely depends upon your own personal preferences.   So, what are they?  When you're practicing at 600 yds, what is it you feel will make you more effective?

If you haven't done a lot of that, doing so is more important than scope choice.  Shawn Carlock puts on a nice school in your neck of the woods and has much experience to offer taking deer and elk in the Idaho mountains at all ranges which may give you a jumpstart if this sort of thing is new to you. 

Whatever scope you choose, what's important is you practice with it and become proficient with it.  Most problems blamed on "complicated scopes" would be more accurately described as "incompetent user errors."  Don't blame the tool....
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 06:13
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Seems like a better solution, and the one I've taken, is to have two scopes with QR rings. A lightweight dot scope for the timber and a higher power scope for the open areas. The advantage is that if and when you do fall or have a scope failure you've got a backup. You've also optimized your optics for the conditions instead of trying to find a do all scope. Get into really tough walking conditions switch to the dot to save weight and protect the expensive one. Works well for airline travel to as you can put your optics in your carry-on bag.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 08:19
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Jon A,
 
Obviously, we all tend to state our preferences, and my personal preferences, likes and dislikes come from some experience, not total ignorance of the things you are talking about.
 
I have killed a lot of varmints out to 900+ yards with a combination of turrets and various reticles, and out to 600 have found that the right reticle will do the job even on prairie dogs--which are a LOT smaller than the vital area on an elk, or even a deer. Have also seen such reticles work far too often on big game at 600 to blithely dismiss them. The "secret" to using them is to actually shoot with them at various ranges. It doesn't matter if they match up "perfectly" with a certain load at 100, 200, 300, etc. yards if the shooter knows which reticle to put where at X range.
 
What I have also seen quite a bit of in hunting and guiding for big game is exposed turrets being fiddled with, or accidentally turned to the wrong setting. Ihave also seen big, long scopes being knocked out of zero or even bent after a day in saddle scabbards. Some of this was operator error (not mine, since I wasn't using the scopes to hunt big game) but some of it was mechanical. With the exception of Nightforce and maybe one or two others, using a really big scope in hard Rocky Mountain hunting risks it being knocked out of zero by normal mishaps. I have seen this too many times to count.
 
Another thing I have seen too many times is somebody so obsessed with the relatively small chance of taking a very long shot that they fail to prepare properly for the much more likely shorter shots. Now, obviously some people are prepared for any likely shot--and in my experience a simpler, smaller scope like a 3-10x with the right reticle is a very good choice for that. This not just my personal preference, but an observation resulting from being around lots of hunters in the field.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 08:29
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Originally posted by Idaho Scot Idaho Scot wrote:

The Conquest is on my current list of possibles.  Anyone have experience with the turrets?  Are they restable to zero, how many MOA per rev, how are they marked, do the number of rotations show on the turret?  
 
Thanks,
 
Scot E.
Scot, the turrets have very nice defined clicks, and are resettable to zero. The low profile hunting knobs just pull up, and turn to reset. They are marked in 1/4 minute increments with a thin line, and a thick line every 1 moa. Unfortunately the marks don't go all the way around the turret. If you were going to possibly have to turn the turret a full revolution, you would want to have the target turrets, or pay very close attention to how many clicks you went up. Personally I've found that the Rapid-Z reticle is enough for shots like this by itself. No knobs to turn, just pick your yardage mark, and shoot. The windage markings are a nice reference point also.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 08:32
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Ditto on the Rapid-Z. It's a very well designed reticle for hunting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 16:28
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 18:37
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Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions. 
 
I have a couple follow-up questions that I haven’t been able to figure out or just need your opinions on. 
 

1.       The Nightforce 2.5-10x32 is more money than I thought I would have to spend but I must admit it does provide a lot of what I am looking for.   For those of you that have experience with it, how much low light time am I going to loose with the 32 mm objective?  The size of that scope is so compact.  I like it!  Also, the NP-R2 reticle looks attractive as it seems it would do what I want and also give me capability to range with it if I ever had rangefinder issues and had to do it the old fashioned way.  Without seeing one it is hard to tell how heavy the reticle lines are.  Are they going to be tough to see in low light?  Do the NXS reticles have illumination or is that just an option on some models?

2.       Does the 2.5-10x40 4200’s have the finger bar or target turrets?  I know the high mag models have the target turrets but I can’t find any info on the 2.5-10’s.  Anyone doing reticle changes to the 4200’s?

3.       Sightron.  What are the major differences between the SII and SII BigSky?  Do they both have the exactrack system?  Is it true they have target type turrets?

4.       Weaver.  Any info out yet on the new super slams?  I have been a long time Weaver fan, especially of their older stuff, V16, and target models.  They have great tracking and have been rock solid for me.  I know they went through a tough time recently but have heard they are back on track.  Their 2.5-10x42 looks nice.  Any info on these?

Thanks,

 

Scot E.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 18:42
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The 4200's have the raised bar, meaning no coin slot on the 2.5-10's.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 20:16
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The only 4200s you can change a reticle in are the ones with an AO. The Big Skys have a hydrophobic coating like Rainguard. There are other advantages of the Big Sky but that's the one I remember. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 20:26
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How about Sightron Scopes.  Slightly better glass than a 4200, great CS and tuff.  They also have resettable to zero low turrets with caps, a mildot reticle for holdovers and good eye relief  http://www.swfa.com/pc-10613-1511-new-sightron-3-12x42-sii-big-sky-riflescope.aspx
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 20:53
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I'm looking forward to seening the new Leica riflescopes.  extra long eye relier , easy mounting,  30mm tube, side paralax adjustment, billistic plex style retice and Leica precision...  Can't wait to look at one... NV Hunter
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2009 at 21:48
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Originally posted by NV Hunter NV Hunter wrote:

I'm looking forward to seening the new Leica riflescopes.  extra long eye relier , easy mounting,  30mm tube, side paralax adjustment, billistic plex style retice and Leica precision...  Can't wait to look at one... NV Hunter


Leica! Me too!

Idaho Scot.  Another idea.  Leupold 2.5-8x36 Mark 4 MR/T.  SWFA has them for $929.00.

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