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Need a scope for night hunting in Europe

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2011 at 18:27
dr_deerhunter View Drop Down
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When I took the German hunting course, I never thought I would be hunting at night, but as it turns out, hunting opportunities are rather limited if you aren't willing to sit out in the dark.

I have a Savage 7mm Mag entry level rifle that I want to use for hunting hogs at night. Night vision scopes and spotlighting are not allowed in Germany, so it has to be something that picks up a lot of ambient light, and I would like to get an illuminated reticle if possible, or at least know I can see the aimpoint at night. Most hunters in Germany are rich and own a bunch of land and don't think anything about plopping down 1500 Euro on a scope, so their advice is all Zeiss or Sworski or nothing, which isn't very helpful. I'm not rich; I own a bunch of kids instead of a bunch of land; and I'd like to have enough money to buy some decent binoculars, and still be able to buy groceries after its all done.

One of my hunting instructors recommended the Guide Gear 3-12x56 from sportsmans guide. I'm thinking that might be a little too far on the cheap side. I'm not sure who makes it - maybe Barska? Another hunter suggested I look at used glass on samplelist.com. I found some - what appear to be - mid-range scopes, but I don't have any experience with them. There is a Nikko Sterling Nighteater 10-50x60for $300 (which appears to be popular with airgunners - don't know if it can stand up to a centerfire rifle). Also there is a Nikon 3-9x50 for around $200, but no illumination. Burris also seems to be about in the price range I'm looking for. I've also noticed Millet and Meuller tend to have some large 50-56mm objective glass in that price range

Since all I seem to be able to find are discussions on high-end products, has anyone had experience with any of these mid-range scopes at night? Any other possible recommendations without breakin' the bank? I haven't seen a lot of comparisons between the mid-range scopes, especially comparing light transmission in near total darkness (moonlight and starlight as only sources). I would appreciate anyone's expertise to help me make a decision.

Thanks,

Gary
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2011 at 19:21
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Any old fixed 8x56 german/austrian scope with either reticle no. 4 or no. 1 would do the trick.
I believe as we have the same "culture" in Sweden as in Germany hunting at night, the "tools" would be the same.
 
I suggest you search for a used, fixed (or variable) scope manufactured by Zeiss, Swarovski, Schmidt & Bender, Kahles Helia, or one notch down: Pecar, Nickel.....it doesn´t matter if it´s 20-30 years old, it will beat any of the scopes you´ve mentioned. 
 
Beware of scopes with fancy german names such as Luger, Welter, Jaeger "und so weiter" they are at best made in Japan but more likely China.
 
Don´t sacrifice good optics on the altar of illumination, (I´m rather pleased with that phrase) If you can´t locate the front end of the animal, what should you aim at with your illuminated reticle ?
 
Gerry Atric
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/27/2011 at 19:46
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These are the scopes I use for hog hunting.

My best:

http://swfa.com:80/Trijicon-25-10x56-Accu-Point-30mm-Rifle-Scope-P12880.aspx

This one works too:

http://swfa.com:80/Vortex-1-4x24-Viper-PST-30mm-Rifle-Scope-P44570.aspx

I don't know if you can get them in Germany or afford them. If you can't get something with good glass that's illuminated, then get something with good glass and heavy crosshairs. Thin target type crosshairs are almost impossible to use at night.



Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2011 at 07:09
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From 1993 to 2005, I used the German #1 Post.  You get a truer aim and not a guess at the wee hours.  trust me, ask your instructors, the German guides to not forgive bad placed shots, dark or not.

Trust me, you can see that post best.  I had great results with a simple Burris Fullfield with a simple Micro-Dot at the center of the plex crosshairs.

I do not think a #4 is a good choice, you still can not see the actual intersection of the crosshairs at night, it is just a plex with thicker post.  I can recall three exact times I coulldn't take a shot on sows, because I coulld not actually make out the center of the reticle.  Some will tell you if the boar/sow is between the heavy post to just shoot.  DON'T!  In the ticket, where the Jungendjagers usually get stuck, the shots can be very close.

Remember wounded game goes over to next revere, it is their trophy/meat, but still your problem!

The 56mm is not necessary, I learned quality trumps quantity.  And the 56mm is the German norm, as is the 30mm tubed scope.

You can get a Leupold VX-II 3-9x 40 or 50mm with a #1 post, I used one for a number of years.  Had to trade it, couldn't use it no more, I need a fast focus scope now.

Check my PM for other info.




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2011 at 07:19
eurolynn View Drop Down
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Gerry

I am not knocking you advice at all!  But I just had problems with the # at night4, but I 100% agree with the rest of your advice!

Please do not think I was criticizing your choices.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2011 at 11:42
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It´s OK Eurolynn, We all have different eyes, what suit my eyes (and many others) seems to be No 4 and No 1, (there´s always the possibility not to shoot if you can´t see the animal properly)
8x56, 6x42 and 4x28 is more a physical/optical norm than german Wink
It´s a crying shame that Zeiss discontinued reticle No 1....
 
Gerry Atric
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/28/2011 at 13:58
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Look at the Trijicon  Accupoint   2.5-10x56 and their other models and consider an ND3 green laser its like a long range flashlight.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/29/2011 at 05:40
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Bushnell Elite 4200 2.5-10x50 is a tough scope with good glass, a good thick reticle, and good illum center dot for night hunting.  The center dot is very low intensity at the lowest setting and doesn't wash anything out.  If you're willing to spend the money, the Accupoints are preferable.  The 2.5-10x56 is great for night hunting, but doesn't offer a whole lot more than the 3-9x40 in my experience.  I have no experience with the green laser flashlights, but I've had good experience with some red flashlights.  Don't know if the Germans consider that spotlighting, but the red doesn't seem to bother the pigs. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/29/2011 at 10:20
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I would not consider a Bushnell 4200 that great of a low light scope, especially not a night scope.  They have decent glass, but no where near what OP is searching for.  Trijicon glass would be the minimum of what he needs IMO.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/29/2011 at 12:29
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Thanks for all the discussion. Artificial illumination of any kind is forbidden, so lasers and red lights are out.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/29/2011 at 13:15
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ST73--My experience with the Bushnell is quite different from yours.  I've used the 2.5-10x50 for several years of night hunting hogs in Texas, which also seems to include raccoons frequently as well as the occasional coyote and fox.  I don't see particularly well at night, but I've never had any difficulty acquiring a good sight picture at 100yds and under, and the illuminated center dot is perfect for night.  While I prefer the Trijicons, I don't consider the 4200 glass to be "no where near" the Accupoint. 
 
I've not used the 3-9 Accupoint with just moonlight, so I don't know how well it will do without the aid of any type of red light or feeder light.
 
I have, however, used the 2.5-10 Accupoint with red triangle under varying degrees of moonlight, and it was great.  Since I almost always have a red light on my rifle, the extra bulk seemed unnecessary. 
 
The scopes he listed as considerations seemed to be much less than what the Accupoints cost.  For that reason I mentioned the Bushnell, with which I've had good personal experience and which is much less expensive.  I don't know offhand other scopes in that price range that would be comparable and reliable, especially in regards to the illum, which always works on the Bushnells I've had, hot or cold weather.
 
If the Accupoint price is something workable for him, I agree with you that it would preferable.  I don't think he'll be shooting hogs at great distance at night without any artificial light, and if he wants to stay with a lower price bracket, I don't think the 4200 would disappoint him if he doesn't dislike the thick reticle.  If he will be taking longer shots, e.g., under a good moon in a large field, maybe the Trijicon would serve him better.  Additionally, the thick outer posts and relatively thick inner portion of the Bushnell reticle seem busy and distracting to me if the animals are not still.  Another reason that would favor the Trijicon.
 
I'm surprised you saw such a drastic difference between your Accupoint and 4200 at night or in low light.  Maybe my vision is getting bad enough that I can't appreciate the disparity.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/29/2011 at 13:48
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If you don't want to break the bank, have a look at the Trijicon, or the Burris for iluminated, and if you want good glass with no ilumination, and with out the big price tag, take a look at Minox
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/30/2011 at 02:23
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Originally posted by dr_deerhunter dr_deerhunter wrote:

Thanks for all the discussion. Artificial illumination of any kind is forbidden, so lasers and red lights are out.
 
It´s the same rules as in Sweden (but we´re allowed to illuminate the hogs feeding place nowadays).
 
dr_deerhunter, are you living in Germany or the US ?
Reason for asking; I have been working off and on in the mid-Europe region for 30 years or so, I´ve been in and out of a lot of weapon-stores and seen "a trend": Good used scopes is reasonably prized thanks to the "novelty" of illuminated reticles.
 
I don´t condone illuminated reticles, good optics and good illumination is better that just good optics Wink
If it comes to money, I´d rather skip the illumination.
 
Gerry Atric
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/01/2011 at 17:08
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After my boar hunt in Turkey where all the shooting was strictly by ambient light I can assure you an illuminated reticle is a necessity. The best night hunting scope I have found is the Trijicon 2.5-10x56 Accupoint with green dot.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/01/2011 at 17:15
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Originally posted by Gerry Atric Gerry Atric wrote:

Originally posted by dr_deerhunter dr_deerhunter wrote:

Thanks for all the discussion. Artificial illumination of any kind is forbidden, so lasers and red lights are out.
 
dr_deerhunter, are you living in Germany or the US ?

Gerry Atric
 

We live in Germany.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/01/2011 at 20:21
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How is SWFA going to send a scope to Europe?  We can't do that. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/01/2011 at 23:41
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As you live in Germany, the Trijicon (good as it is) will be more expensive than a used german/austrian 8x56. Start scavenging hunting shops in your neighbourhood, have a look at e-gun for a broader search.
 
I´m still convinced that the priority should be good glass then illumination and if you have to sacrifice anything due to poor funds, that should be the illumination.
 
Gerry Atric
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2011 at 14:47
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Originally posted by Ed Connelly Ed Connelly wrote:

How is SWFA going to send a scope to Europe?  We can't do that. 


My Armed Forces Europe postal address is in New Jersey. The military will take it from there. If SWFA won't ship to APO, then I would find some other place. I usually don't do business with companies that won't ship to APO/FPO. Since it was another retired military guy that told me to try the samplelist, I was assuming they ship here.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2011 at 23:22
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Yes SWFA does ship to APOs. 

Since 9/11 you can't ship items like rifle scopes to foreign lands without a ton of paperwork and a lot of time.

At one time I lived in Germany as a local, not affiliation to the military, couldn't order crap thru my German address.  But as soon as I went back to work with US Forces and got my APO, everything was good to go.

Be sure and tell us what your final choice was, and how it worked out.

And, Waidmansheil!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/04/2011 at 09:54
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Originally posted by Gerry Atric Gerry Atric wrote:

As you live in Germany, the Trijicon (good as it is) 
I´m still convinced that the priority should be good glass then illumination and if you have to sacrifice anything due to poor funds, that should be the illumination.
 
Gerry Atric


Agreed 100%


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2011 at 15:17
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Originally posted by eurolynn eurolynn wrote:



Be sure and tell us what your final choice was, and how it worked out.

And, Waidmansheil!


Well, after much (my wife would call it obsessive) shopping, going to stores, looking through glass, reading reviews, etc. I finally made a purchase. I had pretty much decided that my original price goals / features were impossible to attain, so I started working my way up, trying to see where I could find the best bang for my buck.

I looked in German stores and on German websites, but the Euro rate is so bad right now, that it adds nearly 40% to anything I purchase over here, so buying from the USA makes a big difference. Turns out SWFA has the most competitive prices I could find on the internet.

I decided to move my price range up to $400 and forget about the possibility of an illuminated reticle, so I came up with my best "bang for the buck" in that price range as a competition between the Vortex Viper 3.5-10x50 for $399.95 (swfa), Sightron II 4.5-14x50 for $366.95(swfa), or the Leupold VX-III 3.5-10x50 for 399.95(samplelist). But after that analysis, I still wasn't convinced I was making the right choice. I was going to post here to get you guys' opinion, but you already told me -- Trijcon.

I have borrowed a friends rifle for a hunt this weekend, and he has a Meopta R1 3-12x56 that I took out last night to check out in the darkness. My big thing I wanted to determine was how important is it that I get an illuminated reticle. One of my German hunting friends told me that most of the engineers at Meopta came from the Zeiss factory, and they put those scopes a near second to Zeiss as far as the quality of the glass. This Meopta has a German #4 reticle with fairly thick posts - which get even thicker at lower power. So looking around in the dark I was able to determine 3 things -- #1, I'm nearly blind at night Smile, #2, I could see the posts in the darkness as long as there was a little ambient light, so I could hit something, but that would be about it, and #3, precise bullet placement on anything further out than 50 yards will be impossible for me without some type of illuminated reticle.

So with that in mind, I set in my mind that it had to be so, and decided the Trijcon was going to be my scope. Samplelist has a Demo-C model for $599, and I was going to have to bite the bullet and figure out a way to borrow decent binoculars until I could afford some. I figured scope + a good set of rings + shipping would cost around $700. Now to tell the wife...

Fortunately, this week happens to be our anniversary, so I buttered her up a little and she went for it. There was more to it than that, but lets just leave it there. Big Grin

Today I went back onto Samplelist to get the Trijcon -- (already had it in my shopping cart) -- when I was just scanning some of the other stuff and noticed the Weaver Classic Extreme 2.5-10x56 with illuminated reticle. I'm not sure how long it has been on there, or why I had not noticed it before. I figured 56mm optics with illuminated reticle for $400 - it must be lousy optics or something, so I started reading the reviews.

I found an old review on here from 2009 where someone did a review of this scopes performance at night - it was an extremely positive review. Looking around the internet, I found only one bad review on this scope. Everyone else seems to say that you are really getting a lot for the money. Weaver doesn't make them anymore - best I can figure, it seems they closed the line out in 2009, and they were selling them off for around $300 -- everyone liked them so much, the price went back up. I found some places on the internet where they are selling new for anywhere from $520 - $600, so $399 seems like a good deal -- all the features I originally asked for, good reviews, illuminated reticle, and only $100 more than my original price.

So I dropped the Trijcon out of my shopping cart, and bought the Weaver. I hope I made the right choice. Since I already had a kitchen pass for $700, I picked up a sweet little pair of Nikon Monarch 8x56 binos off the samplelist too. It seemed like the best I could do for the money, although I'm sure there will be a whole host of people who disagree. I guess I'll find out when it gets here.

One way or another, Waidmansheil!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2011 at 15:48
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Hey, a man's got to get creative...sometimes. Good luck with your purchases. Big Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2011 at 17:59
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Keep us posted on how the Weaver works out for you.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/15/2011 at 16:36
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I have the Weaver 2.5-10x56 on my Savage 116FSAK right now.  It is an excellent scope.  The illumination is a bit bright, I never get it above the minimum setting, and it is heavy, but for an ansitz rifle, it works great.  All-up my Savage weights 10 1/2 lbs with the big Weaver and a sling.

I used it to replace the Bushnell Elite 6500 2.5-16x50 I had on before. I lost a shot at a deer because I could not see the (non-illuminated) crosshair.  I immediately started searching for something better that would not break the bank.  I found the Weaver on sale and snatched it up.

I also bought a 1.5-4.5x24 (straight, 30mm tube) from the same series for my Marlin .45-70.  Its OK, it served me well in South Africa and here in Germany.  It handles the 325 grain FTX OK, but shifted impact with 550 grain Craters over a LOT of H335.

I think I paid less than $500 for the pair ($239/269) from competitor on closeout back a couple years ago.  I should have bought more.

It is still in production, in Japan, but it is not sold any longer as a Weaver.  Here in Germany they are still sold under the Vixen brand, and if I remember at Wild & Hund show in Dortmund the 2.5-10x56 was going for 850 Euros.  the 1.5-4.5x24 is also still made.  There are basically a couple big companies in Japan that make most of the scopes that come from there, and they put whatever name on it you want.  Some of our guys did a group buy of 30 scopes direct from the maker, and they ran the order.

My jaegermeister thinks I should buy a Zeiss Conquest, for more money and no illumination.  Then again, he shoots a Sauer 202 8x68S with a Zeiss Diavari 2.5-10x56, so about a $US5,000 rig.

Europeans favor what they like, as do Americans.  The proof is in the pudding.  If the Weaver works for you, then it is a good scope.  If it doesn't then it is not.  Ignore what the other folks say about "euro scopes are better" unless they can prove it to you side-by-side with their scope and yours.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/15/2011 at 16:38
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Oh, and Waidmannsheil 
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