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Low light scope evaluation

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/08/2009 at 01:07
1911man View Drop Down
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My wife (a hog hunter too) and I just did what I consider to be a semi-scientific evaluation of scopes for light gathering/night hunting.

I got my eye doc friend to get me an eye chart, we placed the eye chart 75yds away at night in a dark area and aimed a 50 lumen LED flashlight at it from 40yds so you could see they eye chart in dim light.

Surprisingly we both agreed on all observations, she could just consistently read one line smaller than I could (47 yr old eyes vs 56 yr old eyes !!!!).

Here is a list of what we compared listed best to worst:

Binos

Nikon Monarch 8.5x56
Bushnell Elite E2 10x42
Leupold Cascades 8x42
Bushnell Trophy 12x50

Very little difference on the eye chart which shows magnification is part of the equasion for sure. However when we started looking accross our lake at trees in the shadows by moonlight it became apparent the Nikon was king of low light between these four.

Scopes (all were tested set on 6x)

Trijicon 2.5-10x56 green dot duplex
Weaver Classic Extreme 2.5-10x56 ill duplex
Bushnell 4200 Elite 2.5-10x50 ill Ger #4
Trijicon 3-9x40 amber dot duplex
Burris Fullfield II 3-10x50 BDC
Simmons AETEC Master Series 2.5-10x44 ill
Bushnell 2.5-10x40 firefly
Leupold VX-3 3.5-10x50 HDPX
Nikon Prostaff 3-9x50 BDC
Leupold 6x42 HDPX

Several surprises here for me. Based on less scientific testing I thought the Weaver CE was the brightest, but in fact the Trijicon was the clear winner and we could see very little difference between the Bushnell 4200 50mm and the Weaver CE 56mm. The Bushnell has the most usable reticle of the two for night hunting in my opinion.

The Trijicon 3-9x40 was very close to the Weaver and the Bushnell in a much smaller and lighter package.

But one of the two the biggest surprises was how good the Burris FF II and Simmons AETEC was. They were definately the VALUE winners. I've had the Simmons on my "beater" Ruger Hawkeye .358 for about 18 months now and it has seen a LOT of hunts, a LOT of rounds down range and a LOT of miles in a Kawasaki Mule and has never changed zero and the illuminated reticle always works when I turn it on. I'm not big on Chinese products, but darn it the thing just works and their pretty reasonably priced ..................

The other big surprinse was how poorly the Leupolds gather light compared to the others! I have to admit I have mostly been a Leupold man all my life, this sure opened my eyes...........

Bottom line

The Trijicon 2.5-10x56 is THE best hog hunting scope in my opinion if size, weight and price are no object.

The Bushnell 4200 Elite 2.5-10x50 ill is the best value in a top of the line really bright scope unless you picked up your Weaver CE when they were blowing them out at bargain prices.

The Trijicon 3-9x40 is probably the best all around hog hunting scope if price is no object.

If the Burris FF II had an illuminated reticle it would be a real winner for hog hunting. This would be my pick for early morning/late evening deer hunting.

With a "street price" of around $175-$200 the Simmons 2.5-10x44 AETEC ill is a real value and probably adequate for 95+ of hog hunting situations.

Other observations. The Trijicon green tritium is definately a lot brighter than the amber. I don't like the soft windage and elevation adjustments of the Trijicon! The illuminated reticle of the Weaver has a fair amount of "flash" around it even on it's lowest setting, the Simmons and Bushnell do not.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/08/2009 at 04:11
DAVE44 View Drop Down
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Well, just so you know Burris does have Illuminated Fullfield II models now with the newer digital dimmer switch on the side of the adjustment turret. Is the plex in that Weaver classic Extreme just a regular plex or is it fairly heavy? I have considered the 24mm model in a plex but am not sure if I really need it.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/08/2009 at 06:34
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  I APPRECIATE the evaluation,Bill.  REALLY would like to get my hands on a Trijicon! 

 Anyways,that Simmons Atec doesn't surprise me at all. I've had a MS Prohunter 2-7x32WA for 2 yrs.  Haven't gotten to do much shooting during that time but did get it mounted on my 7 1/4lb .300 and shot it a dozen times or so when I first got it.  Ended up putting it on my daughters .243 Ruger Carbine so I could hunt and now it's sitting on my 9.3x62mm Mauser waiting to be sighted in.  For well under the $100 I paid for it,it is a NICE scope that so far has held up well.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/08/2009 at 07:47
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Get Your Popcorn Ready
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/08/2009 at 07:52
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  Gonna need more than that!  Here ya go. Get Your Popcorn Ready Get Your Popcorn Ready Get Your Popcorn Ready  Get Your Popcorn Ready LOL!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/08/2009 at 08:17
1911man View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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Originally posted by DAVE44 DAVE44 wrote:

Well, just so you know Burris does have Illuminated Fullfield II models now with the newer digital dimmer switch on the side of the adjustment turret. Is the plex in that Weaver classic Extreme just a regular plex or is it fairly heavy? I have considered the 24mm model in a plex but am not sure if I really need it.
 
I have one illuminated Burris, but the reticle keeps illuminating on it's own or by a VERY light touch, sent it back to Burris waited a month and it still does it. Has anyone else had this problem or did I just get a lemon?
 
It's the 30mm 1.5-6 x?? higher end model with dot/German #4, don't remember what it's called
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/08/2009 at 09:12
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Not at all surprised about the FFII, elite 4200 test results, or the leupy for that matter.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/08/2009 at 09:37
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One thing to note is the magnification relative to the objective size, giving some optics in your test the advantage of a larger exit pupil. I'm not saying that it wasn't a valid test. For example (assuming highest magnification on all the scopes), you rated the Bushnell 2.5-10x40 firefly better than the Leupold VX-3 3.5-10x50 HDPX, which would have a larger exit pupil at 10 x (5mm vs. 4 mm).

What might make the test more interesting would be to compare binos with the same magnification and objective size (or at least the same exit pupil). The 8.5 x 56 Monarchs have an exit pupil of 6.59mm while the other three are 4.2, 5.25 and 4.17, respectively. The Monarchs allow about 25% more light transmission than the next closest pair.

Still, a good test because it's what you have available and I like the way you set it up. Also, comparing value and the other observations about things like soft W/E adjustments are what make this forum useful.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/08/2009 at 09:53
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Originally posted by 1911man 1911man wrote:

[QUOTE=DAVE44]
 
I have one illuminated Burris, but the reticle keeps illuminating on it's own or by a VERY light touch, sent it back to Burris waited a month and it still does it. Has anyone else had this problem or did I just get a lemon?
 
It's the 30mm 1.5-6 x?? higher end model with dot/German #4, don't remember what it's called


sounds like the Eurodiamond
I had one two, twice it failed, second time I vented long enough to get a replacement scope, non illumniated due to arrive to today and will be sold

I bought a FF2 illuminated 3-9x40 for my son's 243, first time out it was intermitantly working... sent it back, got the reticle changed out as well and so far, it seems fixed

time will tell... not really fond of Burris at the moment and not really fond of battery powered reticles on scopes

one scope I would REALLY like to try is the 1.5-6 Ziess Victory Varipoint

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/08/2009 at 13:06
Duce View Drop Down
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Thanks for the review always good to have a review by an experienced man with the scopes and binos in hand.
Duce Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/08/2009 at 15:38
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Optics Apprentice
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Originally posted by jonoMT jonoMT wrote:

One thing to note is the magnification relative to the objective size, giving some optics in your test the advantage of a larger exit pupil. I'm not saying that it wasn't a valid test. For example (assuming highest magnification on all the scopes), you rated the Bushnell 2.5-10x40 firefly better than the Leupold VX-3 3.5-10x50 HDPX, which would have a larger exit pupil at 10 x (5mm vs. 4 mm).

What might make the test more interesting would be to compare binos with the same magnification and objective size (or at least the same exit pupil). The 8.5 x 56 Monarchs have an exit pupil of 6.59mm while the other three are 4.2, 5.25 and 4.17, respectively. The Monarchs allow about 25% more light transmission than the next closest pair.

Still, a good test because it's what you have available and I like the way you set it up. Also, comparing value and the other observations about things like soft W/E adjustments are what make this forum useful.
 
We had all the scopes set at 6x for a fair comparison and just did the binos becase we had them handy and was curious.
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