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Leupold Vari-X III vs Bushnell Elite

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 10:26
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Optics GrassHopper
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I was recommended to come here to ask this question, and it seems like I've found the place.  My apologies if this question has been posted before, but I'm new and that's my excuse Big Grin

I currently have a Vari-X III 3.5-10x50 sitting atop my rifle. I've had it for close to 10 years and it's been a pretty good scope. My only complaint with it is that it's decent in low-light, but certainly not the best. I'm looking to upgrade in that department and have seen great reviews for the former 4200 Bushnell Elite scope. It seems that the 3200 and 4200 have now been combined into one Bushnell Elite scope family. For those who have owned/shot through both of these, is the new Elite scope worth upgrading from the Vari-X III I currently have? If not, what should I be looking for to improve in low-light conditions. Also, I've shopped around on competitor Shooting Supply but any other websites I should be looking at would be appreciated. Thanks.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 10:35
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Chief Sackscratch

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What is your budget you want to put into a new scope? what is your normal ranges and environment for shooting? Hunting? Target?

 
Also www.SWFA.com is the owner of Opticstalk, they provide this forum as a board for all things optics and some other stuff.  They offer a 110% low price guarantee so no need to shop elsewhere. 

Welcome to the OT.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 10:40
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Optics GrassHopper
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Thanks for responding and I'll edit my post a little bit.  I will be deer hunting in mainly pine plantations and open food plots in the evening.  My typical range will be 250 yards and under.  I am mainly wanting this scope for low-light conditions in the food plots, as I am tired of having bucks come out right at dark and only being able to see a faint outline of their horns.  I've heard very good things about the Bushnell 4200, but now that the 3200 and 4200 are rolled into one I'm kind of hesitant to go that route, especially if it's not a big improvement over the Vari-X III I have on their now.  I'm looking to spend 6-700 at most.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 10:56
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Chief Sackscratch

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When it comes to being able to see in low light a couple factors come into play.  One that is the same no matter the scope is exit pupil.  The objective size divided by the power the scope is on gives you this.  On average 7mm is the most that the human eye can use/interpret/whatever.  So say your current scope is on 10 power.  50 objective / 10 power = 5mm of exit pupil.  So your not getting all that you could use.  but your up there still.  The next factor is glass quality.  That old leupold was ok back when it came out.  But glass and coatings have come a long way since.  Say you take a scope with sub par glass and it gives you 7mm of exit pupil, a better scope with great glass will let you still see more in low light a say 5mm of exit pupil because of the glass.  The bushnell is not that bad, however I'm admittedly not a bushnell fan.  Nor am I really a leupold fan but I have recenty used one of the new leupold VXR's, specifically the Patrol 3-9.  It worked fine for me in low light. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 11:03
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bowsNbugs

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For great low light usage, check out the Trijicon Accupoint line. They "almost" make your budget... but are worth the investment (IMO). BTW, welcome!!!Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 11:06
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There are many here that are far more qualified than me to respond to your questions, but I'll try.  Without knowing how old you are, the options may change.  Most guys up until their 40s can get max light transmission from an exit pupil of 5mm.  That means that the magnification of the scope divided INTO the objective size = 5mm.  As we get older, we need a larger exit pupil.  By the time we're in our 50's, exit pupil will start to approach 7mm.  So that leaves us with 10x50=5mm exit pupil, 7x50 = ~7mm exit pupil, 6x42 fixed also has a 7mm exit pupil.  Then you have to look at the quality of the glass.  The SWFA SS line of scopes is top notch.  To get the same glass and lens coatings from a major brand (no offense intended staff/mods) you'll have to spend much more $$$. Exit pupil, quality of the glass, and lens coatings all have an effect on how well, and how crisp, images are in low light, or any light for that matter, not to mention color translation.  If you're looking to spend 6-700, and you're looking for a low-light scope, I would be hard pressed to find a better deal than the SWFA SS 3-9X42.  At 6x, you have your exit pupil at 7mm.  at more than 8x, you're at 5.  The 3-9x has the HD glass, as well, so you're going to get the best possible image for low light transmission at the stated price point, IMO.  To get better, you're going to be looking at alpha glass at $1700 or more.  Good luck.

SWFA SS 3-9x42 Tactical 30mm Riflescope SWFA SS 3-9x42 Tactical 30mm Riflescope
Stock # - SS39X42MQ
  • Matte
  • Patented First Focal Plane Mil-Quad Reticle
  • 30mm
  • OK for .50 cal
  • 0.1 MRAD
$599.95
Add SWFA SS 3-9x42 Tactical 30mm Riflescope to Cart
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 11:10
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Chief Sackscratch

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SPL16050 Trijicon 3-9x40 Accu-Point Rifle Scope DEMO-A
Click to view TR202G, Matte, Mil-Dot Crosshair w/ Green Dot
$599.95
Good scope, within budget, Trick illumination.  Great for low light.
 
SPL16650 Swarovski 3-10x42 Z3 Rifle Scope DEMO-B
Click to view 59017, Matte, BRX Reticle, 1"
$719.95
Great Great glass.  only issue is the BRX is a bit thin for low light they have a thinker version here too but its a bit more,
 
SPL14822 Swarovski 3-10x42 Z3 Rifle Scope DEMO-A
Click to view 59017, Matte, BRX, 1"
$799.95
Swaro has top shelf glass
 
 
SPL14798 Leupold 3.5-10x50 VX-3L Rifle Scope DEMO-A
Click to view 66670, Matte, Duplex, 1"
$559.95
I think this may be the exact scope I used on a texas hunt a few months ago, if so I tested it in low light and it wave very nice. 
 
 
These are some recommendations from www.Samplelist.com  another site run by SWFA that specalizes in used optics or demo/showroom samples. that kinda thing.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 11:16
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Chief Sackscratch

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Some new recommendations from www.SWFA.com
 
this tried and true classic has always been a great scope the #4 will show up easily in low light and glass is good too.
Zeiss 3-9x40 Conquest Rifle Scope #4 Zeiss 3-9x40 Conquest Rifle Scope
Stock # - ZEI5214609904
  • Matte
  • #4
  • 1"
  • Etched Glass
  • 2nd Plane
$499.95 
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also availible in a 50obj which will be a bit "brighter"
Zeiss 3-9x50 Conquest Rifle Scope #4 Zeiss 3-9x50 Conquest Rifle Scope
Stock # - ZEI5214809904
  • Matte
  • #4
  • 1"
  • Etched Glass
  • 2nd Plane
$629.95 
Add Zeiss 3-9x50 Conquest Rifle Scope to Cart
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These are very similar to the conquest and would also be worth looking at
Meopta 4-12x50 Meopro Rifle Scope Meopta 4-12x50 Meopro Rifle Scope
Stock # - MEO524390
  • Matte
  • #4
  • 1"
$499.95 
Meopta 3-9x42 Meopro Rifle Scope Meopta 3-9x42 Meopro Rifle Scope
Stock # - MEO524370
  • Matte
  • #4
  • 1"
$399.95 
 
And last but not least the trijicon accupoints.  There are no other scopes with finer illumination systems out. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 11:40
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Optics GrassHopper
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Thanks for all the help guys!  I'm 24 with 20/20 eyesight so I'm good in that area.  I would like to get a 50mm tube if at all possible.  Of the scopes listed, do you all believe that these are all a step up in the light gathering department from the old leupold I have mounted now?  I know zeiss makes quality scopes, and have looked at their 3-9x50 conquest.  I've also heard good things about the meopta.  Is the Zeiss conquest 3-9x50 worth the extra $130 over the meopro 4-12x50?  FWIW, this scope will be mounted on a ruger 30-06.

Again, I've not had any trouble at all out of my Vari-x III but do want to upgrade scopes if it's worthwhile. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 11:46
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Check out the sample list.  Low light scope use = #4 reticle.  Not all #4s are the same, but I really like the Zeiss for low light.  Thick posts on the sides and bottom and comes in pretty tight toward the crosshair, so you can put the cross where it needs to be without a top post restricting your FOV.  I just picked up a Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x50 with the #4 reticle for $699 with hunting turrets on the sample list for my 300 WM.  Hell of a deal.  They have a lot of conquests on the site right now that are factory refurbished, and when you look at them, you can't tell at all.  No #4's in 50mm that I saw, but I also have a 3-9x40 conquest with Z-plex, and it's great, too.  Can't go wrong.  Top notch stuff from SWFA.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 12:05
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Chief Sackscratch

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The glass and performance, IMO, will be a step up without a doubt.  The conquest and meopro will be very similar, being in thicker cover the lower you can dial in mag wise the better for close up shots on not so still game.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 14:58
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In very low light, the reticle stops being visible before the image degrades to the point where you can not see your target.  Make sure that your scope is either equipped with a thick and visible reticle (like a properly designed German #4) or has good quality illumination.

If you want to go the illuminate route, Trijicon Accupoint 3-9x40 is one of the better choices for the money.

If that general price range is in your budget, you should also take a look at Meopta Meostar 3-10x50 with #4 reticle.  That scope will give notably better optics than your Leupold and a very nice low light reticle.

Ditto for Zeiss Conquest 3-9x50 and 3.5-10x50 with #4 reticle.

If you are set on the Bushnell Elite, you should be looking at 2.5-10x40 and 2.5-10x50.  However, both have somewhat thinner reticles than I like.  They are serviceable, but I would want something that stands out a little more.

These two models used to be in the 4200 line-up.


ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 18:38
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Out to 250 you don't need variable scopes, turrets, 50mm objectives, etc IMO.  The Leupold FX3 6x42 is very, very tough, has great glass, every bit as good as a Conquest, and  you can get whatever reticle you want in it from Leupold.  The heavy duplex in mine last longer at dusk thirty than my Conquests.  It is very, very bright.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/25/2012 at 20:16
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id suggest the Trijicon Accupoint also  great glass and a awesome reticle 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/26/2012 at 21:24
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Unfortunately the Swaro Z3 does not have an illuminated reticle but has the best glass of those recommended, next would be some of the Trijicon's and the new illuminated Leupod VX-3's.
A Leupold VX-3 2.5-8 with illumination might be equal to the Trijicon 3-9 or the SWFA SS 3-9.
Stretching your budget to the top end would get you a bit better glass. The new Zeiss Conquest with illumination were a disappointment, the view looked dull, not what I was expecting.
Some states do not allow any artificial illumination in the scope except for varmint hunting.
The Swaro Z3 would in my opinion then be your best bet.
A friend is using the new Leupold VX-3 1.5-5 with illumination for a hunt in Hungary.
So many choices...I would chose the Trijicon or Leupold but that is a personal choice you need to make.
Ilya has pretty much seen them all so his advice is to be highly valued...he talked me into a Zeiss Victory 1.5-6 and now I am a Scope Junkie.
Best of luck.
Art

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/27/2012 at 00:57
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Minox has just come out with an illuminated reticle, 1.5-8 really interests me.
Thanks
Art
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/27/2012 at 03:34
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Originally posted by WTB WTB wrote:

My only complaint with it is that it's decent in low-light, but certainly not the best. I'm looking to upgrade in that department....pine plantations and open food plots in the evening.  My typical range will be 250 yards and under.  I am mainly wanting this scope for low-light conditions in the food plots, as I am tired of having bucks come out right at dark and only being able to see a faint outline of their horns.

Your Vari-X III 3.5-10X50 is not a bad scope, quite decent by most measures, one of my favorite Leupolds actually.  But there's one specific performance attribute you want to upgrade.  I recommend you upgrade it.

Many of the scopes you're considering and that are being suggested are nice scopes in many ways, but they won't be a significant upgrade in low light performance.  Some will even be a downgrade.  Wouldn't it stink to spend a bunch of money on a shiny new scope only to find it's not noticeably better in that aspect than your old trusty 3.5-10.

You're specifically looking for an improvement in low light performance out to 250 yds over food plots but don't want to spend $1500-2000+.  Staying close to your budget, these are the scopes I'd recommend that I believe will make you the happiest and keep you from cussing yourself for wasting a bunch of money.

http://swfa.com/Trijicon-25-10x56-Accu-Point-30mm-Rifle-Scope-P12880.aspx


http://swfa.com/Meopta-3-12x56-Meostar-R1-30mm-Rifle-Scope-P7996.aspx

http://swfa.com/Zeiss-3-12x56-Conquest-30mm-Rifle-Scope-P1781.aspx

There are probably others that perform similarly but I haven't kept up with all the latest models.  These are tried and true.  Of them I'd go with the Meopta for your application.

Yes, you do want a 56mm objective.  Low light performance is why you're here.  All else being equal it simply makes for a better tool for the job.
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