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Advise on hunting illuminated reticle scope

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Category: Scopes
Forum Name: Rifle Scopes
Forum Description: Centerfire long gun scopes
Printed Date: June/07/2023 at 10:48
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.01 -

Topic: Advise on hunting illuminated reticle scope
Posted By: Babba
Subject: Advise on hunting illuminated reticle scope
Date Posted: May/29/2010 at 10:25

After been unable to make an ethical low light shot on a BIG buck I need to upgrade my scope,

specially the reticle.
I was able to make out the buck but the scope's reticle was not clear enough to shoot.
I like your opinion on scopes with an illuminated reticle.
It will go on a 30-06 rifle, hunting for eastern deer (GA, SC, NC),
shooting distance from 25 to 250 yards (usually from a tree stand),
in wooded areas or food plots.
Since it is for hunting it must be fog and waterproof.
I favor magnifications of 3-9, 2.5-10 or 3-12 and obj. diam. Of 40 to 56.

Please people, I work for a living, keep it under $500.00

P.S. Question Are the Nikko Stirling Diamond 3-12 x 56 or the 3-9 x 42 with No. 4 illuminated dot any good?

Posted By: 300S&W
Date Posted: May/29/2010 at 10:50
 What scope were you using to miss a shot on that big buck? If I were you I'd seriously consider this scope. These Zeiss are VERY GOOD in low light situations. -

"I ain't got time to bleed!"

Posted By: cyborg
Date Posted: May/29/2010 at 10:59
The main problem in low light is that most reticles aren't designed for low light use. You need a heavier reticle for low light. Illuminated reticles can be advantageous, but if they aren't properly executed they are useless. Far too many are entirely too bright for the purpose that they are bought for. The best example of a fine exercise in low light reticle and glass quality is the Trijicon scopes. While I have not looked thru a Hawke, I understand from others that it is also very useable in low light. I have a Nikon X series tactical that is quite good also. I also have a Bushnell Trophy that has an illuminated dot and glass reticle. it works well enough, but the glass quality is mediocre. Most others that I have looked thru in that situation are not executed well for the intended purpose that we want them for.

With Freedom comes great responsibility, you cannot have one without the other

An armed public are citizens. A disarmed public are subjects.

OATH KEEPER #8233 Support us, and join our cause.


Posted By: mike650
Date Posted: May/29/2010 at 11:23
It's a little over $500.00 (sorry). The 4a reticle is excellent for low light conditions plus you have the illumination as well as rain guard. If you don't need it then seriously look at the Zeiss Earl recommended.  Thunbs Up">Bushnell 2.5-10x50 Elite   4200 30mm Rifle Scope">4A w/ Illuminated     Dot - Bushnell 2.5-10x50 Elite 4200 30mm Rifle Scope
Stock # - 422152M
  • Matte
  • 4a w/ Illuminated Dot
  • 30mm
  • Rainguard
  • Side Battery Housing
  • Free Fleece Pullover (Mail-In Coupon) -

Another Zeiss choice (with a #4 reticle) for low light and faster target acquisition. It's right at your budget.">Zeiss 3-9x40 Conquest   Rifle Scope">#4 - Zeiss 3-9x40 Conquest Rifle Scope
Stock # - 5214609904
  • Matte
  • #4
  • 1"
  • Etched Glass
  • 2nd Plane -

“A hunt based only on trophies taken falls far short of what the ultimate goal should be.” – Fred Bear

Posted By: neilbilly
Date Posted: May/29/2010 at 11:42


I'm with 300 here. What are you currently using that isn't quite good enough? 

Cyborg, when you get tired of that Trophy, I can find a home for it. Seems to be a discontinued model, and I missed the boat on it.

If God didn't want me to play with it, he'd of made my arms shorter.

Posted By: cyborg
Date Posted: May/29/2010 at 11:44
The 3-12X56... I think you are correct. It is a pretty good scope. Less than 200.00 is what I got it for. Considering that, it's a great scope. There are better out there for sure though. But none for that price range.

With Freedom comes great responsibility, you cannot have one without the other

An armed public are citizens. A disarmed public are subjects.

OATH KEEPER #8233 Support us, and join our cause.


Posted By: Babba
Date Posted: May/29/2010 at 12:40

Thanks for the prompt replies.

The non illuminated reticle works great in food plots even in low light.
However, in wooded areas, light dims before it does in open fields, in these conditions the trees create an effect of vertical stripes in black and different shades of greys where it is difficult to distinguish the black reticle on that background.
If I hunted exclusively on open fields I agree the Zeiss Conquest or the Bushnell Elite 4200 are probably the best buy.
In wooded areas I like to have a non black reticle, any color, pink for all I care, illuminated or not, but not black.
According to the “2009 riflescope rating scale” by the SWFA sales staff the Nikko Stirling Diamond scopes are classified on the same level as:
Bushnell Elite 3200,
Leupold VX-II,
Millet Tactical/Buck Gold,
Nikko Stirling,
Nikon Buckmaster,
Sightron SI & SII,
Vortex Crossfire & Diamondback,
Super Sniper Fixed -
The price range varies greatly within the same class and Nikko Stirling is the clear winner.
In regard to quality the boys at SWFA say they all compare.
Some one said “Trust but verify”  Wink, this is good advice, do you people believe the Nikko Stirling Diamond is a good but, specially the 3-12 x 56?

Posted By: 300S&W
Date Posted: May/29/2010 at 13:29
  I just sold a Leupold with the Heavy Plex reticle and can assure you I had no problem keeping sight of that reticle when aiming into the thick stuff at first or last light.  My point being that there are non illuminated reticles that will fit your purpose.
  As far as the Nikko Stirling scopes go,from what I've read on the forums,they seem to be a crap shoot.  You may get a good one or................................. 

"I ain't got time to bleed!"

Posted By: mike650
Date Posted: May/29/2010 at 13:58
Baba, welcome of the OT.

IMHO the Nikko may not be the clear winner amongst the scopes you listed. At $214.95 it may even fall into the category of "you get what you paid for". 

Earl's right (300S&W). Heavy duplex's, 4a's etc. are great for low light and heavily wooded areas. If your budget was a bit more I'd maybe suggest looking at something like a Trijion Accupoint 2.5-10x56. I mentioned the Bushnell because it met most of your posted requirements, low light, illumination, rainguard, etc..... alas it's $70+ over your budget.

“A hunt based only on trophies taken falls far short of what the ultimate goal should be.” – Fred Bear

Posted By: bugsNbows
Date Posted: May/29/2010 at 15:12
I'd save a bit more and get a 3-9 X 40 Trijicon Accupopint.

If we're not suppose to eat come they're made of meat?

Posted By: WYcoyote
Date Posted: May/30/2010 at 00:03
I love my two Burris Signature Select 3x9 scopes with the Electro Dot reticles.
Had the same low light experiences as you with a Leupold 3.5x10 on a bull elk and a whitetail buck. Visible animal, no crosshairs.
They were not recent purchases but less than $400.
Even when not using the E-Dot the wires are heavier than usual, as is the Firefly on the Bushnell Elite 4200 2.5x10 I just bought. I have not yet hunted with it but think it should work out very well.

Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: May/30/2010 at 00:32
Generally speaking, an optimal scope for your use would be Trijicon Accupoint 3-9x42.  However, it is a bit above your price range.  

Here are my recommendations in order of ascending price (and staying under $500): -  (there seems to be some sort of a discount on these right now, it was ~$300 not long ago) - - - -


------------- - - Odyssee Video Channel

Posted By: 1911man
Date Posted: May/30/2010 at 11:30
I've still had decent luck with the cheap Simmons AETEC MS 2.8-10x44 illum, if you want real quality go with the Bushnell 4200 Elite 2.5-10x50 illum #4 or spend the extra money and get a Trijicon 3-9x40 Accupoint with amber or green dot which is my hands down favorite low light scope.

Bill Wilson

Posted By: Babba
Date Posted: June/05/2010 at 07:39

Last update:

Finally I decided to go with the Bushnell Elite 4200 2.5-10x50 4A Illuminated Dot.

All along I understood it was a better scope but more expensive and beyond my limit.

The deciding factor was a price I could not refuse, under my limit of $500.00 , no tax, shipping included. (yes, new in the box no referbs).

Yippee  Big Smile

Thanks to all for your help.

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