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Need help selecting a hunting scope

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2011 at 20:39
rash_powder View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: November/07/2011
Location: Larimore, ND
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I am looking for a scope for white tail deer hunting and having trouble figuring out what I need.  What I do know is it will be mounted to either a Savage heavy barrel 25-06 or a DPMS heavy barrel .223.  It should have good low light performance as we see most of our deer in the 30 minutes after sunset (legal hunting ends 30 minutes after sunset).  I would like a lot of holdover/windage marks, hash marks rather than dots if possible, and illuminated.  Max range is going to be 400, maybe 500 yards.  I seldom go over 6 power on any offhand shots as I am to wobbly offhand.  This rifle will be for shooting off the ground, so a fixed power is an OK option.  I don't want to spend a whole lot more than $600-700, unless you can convince me as to why what ever you suggest warrants the extra $$.  Turret clicks matching the reticle makes sense too. 

I don't like all the BDC reticles as I just don't see how a guy 5000 miles from me knows what my bullets are doing and they aren't equally spaced - that really irks me for some reason.  But if that is what works I can deal with it. 

I have considered FFP scopes, but the reticle is so fine at low power that it concerns me; but going with a SFP reticle also concerns me as the hash mark value changes with power. 

Now I usually set my gun up high at 100yds so I don't need to think holdovers for most of my offhand shooting.  Just aim and shoot, so fancy reticles haven't been needed so far.  But this longer range business has me thinking holdovers. 

I hope I haven't narrowed myself to one option.  I'll take all suggestions and sort them from there. 

A huge many thanks for any help on this!!

Thanx!!

Matt
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2011 at 08:12
bugsNbows View Drop Down
Optics Jedi Master
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bowsNbugs

Joined: March/10/2008
Location: Florida
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Just as a starting point for discussion, how about a Leupy 3-9 X 50 30mm with ballistic firedot? It's listed here at $570.00.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2011 at 08:30
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Joined: May/07/2009
Location: Montana
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A Vortex PST with EBR reticle should fit the bill.
 
Get the FFP and the illuminated reticle should show up OK when lit, even on lower powers.
 
or
 
Get the SFP and just bump it up to the subtended magnification for the long shots.
 
or
 
Dial-and-dump
 
THe PST line has sufficient optical performance for a 30 minutes after sunset shot, has all the features you want, and is around your price range. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2011 at 09:09
jonoMT View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Joined: November/13/2008
Location: Montana
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Now don't think I'm being a jerk by saying that the scopes that come to mind for this application are all 1-8s that cost over $2000. I'm only mentioning that because you've listed a lot of requirements. They're well thought-out and you've obviously done your research and are familiar with the terms. Yet finding a scope in a reasonable price range that will meet most of them is going to be tricky.

Consider this with an SFP scope: You will generally only need hashmarks at the highest magnification if the scope maxs out at 10X or less. Otherwise, you can learn the ballistics of your load and establish a drop table out as far as you want to shoot and dial in the correction. I recommend using a reticle with uniform subtensions, whether MOA or mils. As long as you get matching turrets either is fine. I prefer mil-based reticles because at least part of the math (which I rarely do, relying far more on a rangefinder) is decimal.

The Vortex PST 2.5-10 is SFP, but would be as low as I'd go in price ($600) - http://swfa.com/Vortex-25-10x44-Viper-PST-30mm-Rifle-Scope-P44567.aspx - for a capable scope.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2011 at 09:11
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Optics Retard
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Chief Sackscratch

Joined: December/17/2009
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Another option is the Leupold Tactical VX-R Patrol 3-9,  not everything your looking for but close and I've been running one through the paces about a month now with excellent results.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2011 at 09:31
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Woody

Joined: July/28/2011
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IMO i would go ahead and get first focal plane.
 
Calculating a drop table for SFP with definitely take some time and lots of rounds.
If you are hunting whitetail, you wont have the time to calculate out your range for different mag levels when the shot presents itself. Not to mention, when the big one walks out and a lot of guys rush shots, there will definitely be more variables that could be miscalculated on SFP, with the adrenaline pumping. Only you know how much you will be using it to find range on various targets, but if you will be doing any kind of ranging on a target that you only have a limited time to crunch the numbers i would highly suggest FFP. (Unless, all ranging is going to be done on the power the subtensions are accurate.)
 
If you are using a range finder i would go with a BDC reticle.
But if you wont be using one and want ranging capabilities go with FFP.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2011 at 09:34
jjrgr21 View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
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my next scope will be the leupold VX-R patrol. mil/mil, and the new reticle. everyone seems to love them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2011 at 09:48
rash_powder View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: November/07/2011
Location: Larimore, ND
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Thank you for all the suggestions.  I am open to all suggestions, so don't feel afraid to make one.  No one will be thought of as a jerk for going over budget.  I absolutely understand that I kind of have tight ideas as to what I need and also am well aware that with optics it is you get what you pay for.  I just can't see putting a scope that costs more than the rifle on.  Can't afford it either. 

I hadn't looked to closely at the Leupold VX-R's.  I quick scanned over the line but missed some.  The 2.5-10 PST Vortex is one I was considering.  I just wasn't sure the reticle would be easily visible or not.

I have a SS 10x42 on my air rifle and do like it for that application.  Been thinking maybe a 6x unit would be about right on the deer gun, maybe the 10x. 

The ranges I am thinking are certainly not long range by most accounts.  I only think they are as we don't generally engage deer at that kind of range.  I am just tired of walking and shooting at running deer.  It is much easier when they are standing still. 

Do I really need the hold over marks or is just dialing in clicks better?  I have a ballistic program (Strelok Ballistics) on my Droid that seems to give accurate info.  It shows hold overs, clicks, and a picture of the reticle (if it is one he has loaded in) with the aim point indicated on it.  If I have time to load the range info in, that will get me awful close I think. 

Sometimes I think I am over thinking this all.  Hopefully some of the venders at the local gun shows this January will have some examples I can check out.

Thanks again.

Matt
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2011 at 09:52
coldhunt View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
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Joined: March/19/2011
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I don't know if this will help or not. I am certainly not as versed as the majority here. I recently bought a Burris 2-12x40 E1 reticle to go on a 300wsm. My first impresions were very good. It was bright and had very decent low light ability. It was also much clearer around the outer edges than my Monarch. It does have windage and drop marks, but did not seem to be overly cluttered to me. I was able to get my eye on the desired marks quite fast, in very low light with a small amount of ilumination. The reticle did seem a bit washed out with no ilumination, but that is not a problem to me, as the centre cross seemed to be fine. As advised to me on here I can and will make drop charts for both 6 and 12 power, (this will have to wait till spring, but for now the rig is very accurate at 100 to 300 yds, and that will do for this hunting season). I ordered this scope here in Alberta for $899, and I am sure you can buy for less in the US. I was able to take this scope as well as a swarovski z6i outside to compare in very low light at a local gun shop. The swaro was of course much better, but not 3 times better, and I wasn't going to spend close to $3k anyway. I also love the wide FOV, which was a big factor for me. Again not in Swaro teritory but much much better than your average 3-9 etc. We hunt alot in NW Alberta where we are in lots of dense bush, with preditors, and FOV is very important IMO. If this scope performs up to my first impressions it will stay on this gun. I will hunt with it set between 2 and 6 mainly but I like the idea of dialing it up when I want. I had the gun for many months before buying the scope, and had many scopes on the list before buying. I think it will be just fine for when those Whities, and Elk think it's dark enough to poke out of the bush. The scope also came with a cover and butler creek flip ups, which I thought was a nice bonus, even though the caps seem to be a bit cheap.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2011 at 11:58
ArtP View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: September/04/2011
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For deer hunting out to 300 yards I think 10x or even less is plenty of magnification.  I also think any scope over 8x or an objective over 36x would look funny on an AR type weapon.  I might decide on the weapon first, then choose the scope.  For hunting I believe you need a low power of now higher than 3x, preferably 2x.  You just don't know when a deer might walk by at 35 yards and trying to pickup a large, closeup target at high magnification might be the difference between home-cooked dinner than you harvested vs. Jack in the Box.

A nice budget option would be the Bushnell line with FireFly reticle.  You shine a flashlight down the ocular lens for a couple minutes and then have a glowing reticle for 20-30 minutes.  I'm not overly impressed with the glass, but that shouldn't stop you from getting your deer.  I'm not talking about NCStar glass, just not as good as some of the others in the 3-5 hundred range.

Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40.  Excellent glass, no better glass for the money.  No lighted reticle, but the duplex style reticle is of the heavier type and easier to pickup at dawn/dusk.

Leupold VX-R in 2-7 or 3-9.  Best of all worlds and would be my choice.  VX3 quality glass, a lighted dot, decent price and will hold its value if you ever want to sell it.

Burris EuroDiamond with lighted reticle.  Comparable to the VX-R IMO.  This model has been discontinued but can be had pretty cheap if you look around.  Out of respect for SWFA, I don't want to name other vendors.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2011 at 14:48
michael l View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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Joined: November/08/2011
Location: south carolina
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I hunt soy bean fields in the south and the distances are normally around 300 yards.I have used swift scopes primarily and they have been more than reliable.Now that being said i was told swift really isnt the same swift as of a few years ago.I just got a vortex viper 2.5x10x50 this week and the glass is awesome.I cant honestly talk about how reliable it is because ive only had it a few days,but it zeroed easily.So my suggestion would be to try the vortex because the glass is really good and at low light i can actually see the deer not just the outline like in the swift.
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