Well, it's been a long week here in the sunshine state with big blow from Ernesto that wasn't, but I managed to find some time between putting up & taking down storm shutters and preparing for another USAR deployment (on top of the usual stuff) to take in everyone's advice and do some more research. I stopped off at my local smith this week to drop off a shotgun for some work and he had a SU-16 in stock, so I spent some time looking at different scopes (through them and how the profile looked on the gun). The result is I agree with Urimaginaryfrnd that compact scopes around 8" or so had an 'ideal' look and feel, but a 10-12" scope wasn't too oversized for the rifle either. For my personal preference on magnification, I still think a variable is the way to go, but again, I agree that 6-7x is more than sufficient. With this in mind, I've adjusted the short list with models I feel are more suitable for this setup
Burris Fullfield II 2-7x35 Ballistic Plex - great price and a BDC reticle
Leupold VX-III 2.5-8x36 - Thrown in because I can pick one up brand new in the box for $400 from a friend, and it has the Boone & Crocket BDC reticle
Other Considerations - I haven't "totally" ruled out the Sightron SII Compact 2.5-10x32 and Nikon Monarch UCC 2-7x32. They are in between the two above pricewise, have great optics, and would be a good fit as far as length and weight are concerned, but neither has a BDC reticle option...too bad, if either did I'd be tracking the shipment instead of posting right now.
From everything I've read, all four of these scopes are good, with the optics in the Burris FF II falling a notch below the rest. I am all but settled on a BDC reticle and the Burris hits a great price point, but still, I have to wonder if the Leupold at 2-1/2 times the cost of the Burris holds something to make it worth the money. The primary questions I have about the Burris compared to the Leupold are zero drift, low light performance, how critical eye relief is, durability, and precision in adjustments. In other words, is the Leupold worth it at that price or is half the difference still going towards those full page ads?
The info and feedback here has been great...thanks again.
koshkin - If you catch this thread, I noticed that you have a SU-16 fitted with the 2-7x36 Burris FF II, so I'd love to hear your opinion...plus I know you have used a lot of the Sightrons.
SVD666 - I called Bushnell about the ballistic reticle on the 3-9x40 4200 Elite and they are releasing one. A few dealers with good connections may have them, but Bushnell has not assigned a part number to them yet. Beyond that, I also found that the ballistic reticle is just a different style (an inverted triangle with a few hash marks below it), not a bullet drop compensating reticle. All in all, I dropped them off the list due to their length, but I appreciate the heads up just the same.