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Low Light Scopes & Magnifications Qs

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/20/2011 at 23:27
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Currently have a 3-9x40 VX-II on a .30-06 that I use mainly for whitetails up to 400yds. Most of my good opportunities come at dawn/dusk, and my VX-II is just plain terrible for gathering light (for my eyes anyway). I wind up watching the game thru my good binos clear as day, but not enuff good light in my VX-II to take a responsible shot. So, w/ that as background, what good light gathering scope would you guys recommend in the under $800 range? So, again, good, bright light gathering is key for me.

My assumptions are that I probably need a 50mm objective lens, but can stick to a 1" tube and don't need the 30mm tube. I understand that I can drop down in the size of the objective lens, and get the same light gathering as a 50mm, but that probably puts me in the stratosphere of scope prices.

Also, do I need more than 14x magnification? I wanna leave room to extend my range well beyond 400yds with time (and don't want to buy a new scope to do so), but I'm not an Army sniper, so do I really need the 20X mag that everyone tries to sell me? Seems like that extra money on mag would be better spent on better glass.

Finally, what about reticles? I have the basic plex in my VX-II, but everyone is running to the fancy bullet drop compensation stuff, etc. Seems to me that only clouds up the view, and makes it seem darker.

Insights/suggestions would be very appreciated.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 05:38
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As far as reticles go, I'd get a 4a or just use the plex.  Sight in so that you're high at 100 yards and zeroed at 200, then see where it lands at 300.  If you have a 400 yard target, check and see where it drops from there.  If you know your rifle and how it shoots, I don't think you need a drop compensating reticle.  Just my opinion...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 05:39
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From Leupold: "The key to a scope providing a bright image to the shooter is not how much light it "gathers" but how much usable light it transmits. "Gathers, transmits, what's the difference?" Quite a lot, actually. First of all, rifle scope do not "gather" light, they transmit it. Yes, large objective scopes allow more light to enter the scope, but that by itself does not guarantee that the image will be any brighter than a smaller objective scope's. In other words, the better the glass and coatings you get, the better your night hunting."

At night a 42mm objective scope set on 6 power will give you a 7mm exit pupil which is optimal and matches your eye and transmits the maximum light to the eye.

Doesn’t matter if it’s a 1” or 30MM tube, but glass quality and reticle thickness or illumination will make the biggest difference.

EAGLE
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 06:22
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   +1 w/EAGLE.
 
   You'd be surprised at what this one will do at 1/2 of what you want to spend.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 07:09
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Originally posted by 300S&W 300S&W wrote:

 
   +1 w/EAGLE.
 
   You'd be surprised at what this one will do at 1/2 of what you want to spend.
 
 
+1 on the Conquest.  Spend the rest of your budget on shells and practice out to what range you want to shoot.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 07:46
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I have wrestled with this very thing and have tested back to back good scope from a variety of manufacturers

I honestly don't think, as suprrising as it may seem, that 14-15x really enables you that much better than 9x at the top end.

As such, I will most likely hunt with a Trijicon 3-9x40 mildot / greendot this season.
I have tested this against much more expensive scopes and I own S&B, USO, etc...

The perfectly lit dot is perfect for hunting.
I will run either a 25-06 or 280AI with a 250 yard zero

Better glass trumps magnification



Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 08:26
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  Now THAT ONE would probably be worth the extra $$$$'s.
 
 
  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 10:39
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Originally posted by 300S&W 300S&W wrote:

 
  Now THAT ONE would probably be worth the extra $$$$'s.
 
 
  
agreed.  The Accupoints have a good reputation in the hunting in low light situations.  NO buttons to turn illumination on and no batteries to every worry with.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 10:50
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Also tube size has nothing to do with how bright the scope is.  It is all about the glass and the coatings.

You are on the right track to buy a scope with good glass vs high magnification.

The Accupoint or Conquest is a good suggestion.

I would also consider these.
http://swfa.com/Swarovski-3-10x42-Z3-Riflescope-P40815.aspx
http://swfa.com/Meopta-3-10x50-Meostar-R1-30mm-Rifle-Scope-P8005.aspx
http://swfa.com/Minox-3-15x42-ZA5-Riflescope-P46139.aspx


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 11:05
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I’ve been looking for the best all-around scope for low light, targets, etc so I started looking at Trijicon.

 

Because of the adjustment (lack of), I’m paying for College and couldn’t afford several high dollar purchase, I started looking at Zeiss Conquest and realized the glass was good (not as good as Trijicon to my eyes) but the z-plex was not going to be a great all-around choice (night hunting), and I would need to a different reticles which was more expensive.

 

Long story short;

 

I've been looking at Leupold's VX-R models and think this might be my best all-around choice until I can afford different scopes for different tasks.

 

Yes, it has batteries, but I can carry extra ones, save a couple hundred dollars (buy a LaRue mount), Good Warranty, glass not bad for the money, etc

 

Way to many factors to list them all, but take your time and get what works best for you.
 
 

Eagle

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 11:26
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I've never looked at the Meopta 3-12x56 Meostar R1 or the Zeiss 4.5-14x50 Conquest, but they both have the #4 reticle available, they each cost about $850, and it seems like they wouldn't suck.

cats9 - Just out of curiosity, how old is your Leupold?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 11:49
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got it in 2006 or 07
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2011 at 12:06
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This might help explain a few things:
 
Originally posted by Urimaginaryfrnd Urimaginaryfrnd wrote:

Exit eye pupil is what the amount of light that is transmitted through the scope is refered to and it is determined by two factors the power of the scope and the size of the front objective.
So a 6x42 or  42mm divided by 6 = 7mm exit eye pupil
So think in multiples of 7
1x   7mm
2x  14mm
3x  21mm
4x  28mm
5x 35mm
6x 42mm
7x 49mm
8x 56mm  
 
Eagle
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2011 at 11:10
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Low light capabilites and long range is a tricky combination...
 
I would go for eighter Zeiss Conquest 3,5-10x50 (1" tube), or Meopta Meostar 3-10x50 (30 mm tube) both with #4 reticle.
Both have a reputation as good low light scopes in the 50 mm / medium budget class, and where I live, we do a lot of legally night / dusk/ dawn hunting for deer.
 
For a dedicated "low light rig", nothing beats a high quality 56 mm scope, but then we talk high dollars and a heavier, more cumbersome scope mounted in high rings.
(Mine is a  Ruger / 35 Whelen with Zeiss Victory 3-12x56 with illuminated #40 reticle)
 
As others have said, the main thing is good glass quality, but I would not consider less that 50 mm if low light hunting was the main issue.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2011 at 13:39
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As has already been said reticle choice is key.On another post a gentlemen gave a brief rundown of his new Swarovski z6.He was thrilled with it;s optical performance,but said the thin reticle wouln't cut the mustard in low light.To me that is a bad position to be in seeing how expensive a z6 is.If you look on the swfa sample list you can find some of the better optics at a reasonable price.I would rather have a used Swarovski or Zeiss anyday than a new Meopta Meostar r1 that sells for near a grand for example.There are those who will tell you that a Meopta Meostar is every bit the scope of a Swarovski or Zeiss or I "Really cant see any difference".You cannot turn the Meostar into a Zeiss Victory if you stand on your head and do two backflips.Do an internet search for "Finnish low light scope test".I have found this test to be very reliable and accurate.Zeiss Victory and Swarovski dominate in this test.In the illuminated test the Meopta Meostar was the first to drop off.Is it a bad scope? No.It just wont hang with the best.I recently purchased what I consider a GREAT scope for the money.It is a Docter Unipoint 2.5-10x50 illuminated.Is it as good as a Zeiss Victory? No.Is it close?Very close.And @ $900 I Did not turn it down.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2011 at 14:39
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The Victory and high end Swaro are in a whole different price bracket than a Meostar.  You are not being very fair in your comparison.

I have both a Swaro Z6 and a Meopta Artemis.  Sure the Swaro is better, but it cost me $1800 and the Artemis cost me $300.  Is it 6 times brighter in low light?  No, but it is a little better.  And it better be for 6 times the cost.  But the Artemis is no slouch.  It is better in low light than My Bushnell 4200s or my Burris Euro, or my Leupold FX2 or my Vortex Viper.

Even the Meostar is considerably less money than the high end Swaro and Zeiss, so they should be better.  But if you want a scope with 95% of the optics without the huge price then the Meostar is one of the offerings available. 


Edited by supertool73 - September/22/2011 at 14:40
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2011 at 15:16
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As supertool said, Swarovski and Zeiss Victory is in another liege than Meopta, so that is an unfair comparison.
My statement was that in the middle cost segment, both Conquest and Meopta are good options.
 
A couple of friends of mine use sucessfully the Meopta Meostar R1 3-12x56 on moon lit night hunting for red deer. Reticle used is #4
Not as clear as my Zeiss Victory, they still hang along surprisingly well.
 
This is not hearsay, I have made side by side comparison on the same moonlit field looking at live animals, and the Meopta is a lot of glass for the money.
Same goes for the Conquest.
 
The 50 mm will set you back a bit in low light compared to the 56 mm, but is a lighter and more streamlined scope.
I have one on my Kimber Montana , and it is a dandy to carry around.
 
If one has the budget, Zeiss Victory, or Swarovski are the high end brands used by us Europeans for low light hunting, and belive me, we do a lot of low light / night hunting for deer and boars.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2011 at 16:23
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I think you are missing my points;Take your grand that you would spend on a Meostar r1 illuminated and buy a good used Swarovski or Zeiss (SWFA right now has a Swarovski PH 3-12x50 listed on Ebay that will probably sell for less than a grand (we can watch and see auction ends tommorow).Heck Iwas offered a PH 2-10x56 a few days ago for $800, but went with the Docter Unipoint for the illuminated reticle instead.The other point was to discount claims from folks saying their Meopta's,Kahles,Docters,etc.were right up there with the Zeiss-Swarovski.If this were true Meopta and the likes could rock the optic world.Everybody would want the $1000 scope that equals the Alpha glass.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2011 at 16:30
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I have no experience with the higher-end scopes like the Swaros, etc., and no experience with long-range shooting, so take all this in that context.  I do a lot of low-light and night hunting, but not at the distances you're talking about.
 
I've had great luck with the Accupoints.  The 3-9 with green dot is my favorite up to this point for GP stuff.  I've been working with the 5-20 on a .308 auto, and I like it fine, too, but it's a little bigger and heavier.  People don't tend to like the Bushnells very well on this board, and maybe I won't when I get a chance to use some high-end scopes, but the view through my 4200 and 6400 seem as good to me as my Accupoints at the ranges I use them, and the illum on the 4200 always works.  The prices on them have been pretty good now that they're merging the Elite series, and the 6400 has a pretty wide magnification range. 
 
Whether you need the bigger objective depends on several things which have already been addressed.  An additional issue is your eyes.  You may not be able to use a 7mm exit pupil if your eye pupil doesn't open that far, which may be the case if you're getting a little older.  How you know whether that's the case or not, I don't know.  Maybe some of the other guys who are more versed in the technical side of things can help with that.  The advantage of the 30mm is the potential to get a wider range of internal adjustment (not always the case), which may play into things later if you want to shoot at longer ranges.
 
Magnification range seems to be a personal preference.  Some guys can shoot pretty far at magnification levels where I can't clearly see a defined point of aim at 200yds.  Another advantage of having higher magnification available is the ability to fine-tune your zero if you're not one of those guys.  I don't always use the highest mag level when I'm hunting at night, but I use all the magnification I have to zero my scope and see where it shoots at different distances at the range.  Is your group at 200 yds a product of your shooting ability coupled with the potential of your rifle/optic/ammo combo, or a consequence of not being able to clearly identify an aiming point and send several shots toward that same point?  Some guys can do that with 4x or 6x;  I can't.  Also, in low light with only parts of an animal visible through brush, etc., it's been helpful a couple of times to be able to see exactly what's what by turning the ring up.  One thing most people seem to agree on, though, is your comment at the end of your paragraph: "Seems like that extra money on mag would be better spent on better glass."  Where that balance is for you might be different than for someone else.  And, again, if you want the ability to extend your range "well beyond 400yds" in the future and don't want to buy a different scope, the range of internal adjustment available to you might become important, and a 1" tube without a ballistic reticle might not meet your needs.
 
Reticles I can't help you with when it comes to long-range stuff, but for shorter distances, the Accupoints are clean and uncluttered and provide a clear aiming point against a dark animal in low light.  They don't have a lot of internal adjustment, though.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2011 at 09:07
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We are very proud of the price/performance ratio of all of our optics.  If users say that for their own personal preference they prefer a Meopta (or a Docter, etc...) compared to a ZESS Victory of Swaro Z6 then there is no need to discount their opinions.  They are opinions and all of us will make them based on our own experiences. Also, in the low-light test from Finland three-years ago, while they do say that Meopta and a S&B were the first to drop off at night-time, the user also reccomends Meopta and Docter as the best choices for low-light hunting at a reasonable price.

 
"The two scopes that fell out first were Meopta and Schmidt&Bender. The next two scopes were Kahles and Docter Classic It was still somewhat possible to see the outlines of the deer with Docter. The next two were Docter Unipoint and Zeiss Diarange. Zeiss Victory Varipoint was a bit better than the last two. Swarovski PVI-2 and Zeiss Classic Diavari were on the same level, a little better than the varipoint. The last scope on the table was the Zeiss Victory Diavari."
 
"To MrGman, the scopes that I would recommend is Meopta Meostar and Docter Classic. They are good low scopes for low light hunting at a reasonable price. The best you can get, if you are prepared to pay, is of course Zeiss Diavari, both victory series with loctec coating and the classic series. For daylight hunting only I would for sure chose another scope."

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2011 at 10:51
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Originally posted by dw0229 dw0229 wrote:

I think you are missing my points;Take your grand that you would spend on a Meostar r1 illuminated and buy a good used Swarovski or Zeiss (SWFA right now has a Swarovski PH 3-12x50 listed on Ebay that will probably sell for less than a grand (we can watch and see auction ends tommorow).Heck Iwas offered a PH 2-10x56 a few days ago for $800, but went with the Docter Unipoint for the illuminated reticle instead.The other point was to discount claims from folks saying their Meopta's,Kahles,Docters,etc.were right up there with the Zeiss-Swarovski.If this were true Meopta and the likes could rock the optic world.Everybody would want the $1000 scope that equals the Alpha glass.


How about a smaller font?  Shouting will get you nowhere.   Whatever



Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2011 at 11:27
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I have not seen the latest tests from Finland, so I am not sure what their results are.  I can make a couple of comments on this thread, thought.

Everyone builds scope to a particular price point.  I suspect that if Meopta were to build a scope aimed at performing side by side with a $2500 Zeiss, it would perform fairly closely.

As far as buying used optics goes, make sure someone has had a chance to inspect them.  If it was not properly maintained, you may be loosing more performance than you think.  Also, performance gets tweaked all the time.  Mid-range scopes like Meopta et al are quite a bit closer to the alpha makers today than they were ten years ago.

Lastly, I saw a mention of Kahles up there somewhere.  Currently manufactured Kahles scopes I have seen are likely to be able to run neck in neck with pretty much anything out there.  I'll try to do a thorough test on one in the near future.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2011 at 12:45
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I chose this font size because I like the way it looks and the way it is a size 3 out of 7.If I ever get to the point that I get critical over a font size,please remind me that I forgot my medication. Another thing.Most of the folks are very infomative and friendly,but always a smart @ in the bunch.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2011 at 12:51
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they set a default font size for a reason.  using larger is considered shouting.  Its common knowledge.  He was pointing it out.  Not being a smart ass, be careful of the direction you are taking. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2011 at 13:08
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Easy now guys.  All caps is what I would consider shouting.  Sometimes people have a hard time with the small font because of eye sight.  So they type in larger.  We have a guy here at work that does the same thing.  He types everything in 15 or 16 font.  It just works better for him. 
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