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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2009 at 15:27
bunkerdog View Drop Down
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i have searched but i have not been able to find a scope to satisfy my perceived needs---a while back mr "rifle dude" said precision varmint scopes priorities should be 1--mechanical  2--reticle and  3--optics -- in another post mr koshkin reminds that a scope that will not hold zero and is not consistently repeatable is essentially useless---i agree with both of these gentlemen---i am 63 years old, am very nearsighted (20/20 corrected) with otherwise healthy but aging eyes---i need to scope 2 rifles for varmint hunting---rifle 1 is .17hmr (cz) for target size 3 to 10 inches and range 50 to 200-250 yards---rifle 2 is .204 (cooper) same target size except maybe also coyote---range 100-300 yards (probably my limit for now)---i will be using a laser range finder to determine distance to target area landmarks then use knobs for rough setting---the reticle will be used for point of aim because these little targets won't stay still---yes, lrf's do become inop sometimes and i will need the reticle for ranging---from my research my ideal scope appears to be:

        1---2.5-10  or  4-12    i favor the lower multipliers (3x)
        2---exposed, well marked knobs (no caps needed)
        3---thin reticle (mil-dot reticles cover too much viewable target area)
        4---smaller objective  32-42mm
        5---small diameter ocular tube (to clear bolt handle on cz)
        6---adequate internal adjustment
        7---side parallax adjustment (if needed)
        8---illumination ok but not necessary
        9---knobs match reticle (mil/mil   moa/moa)
 
my list contains the following scopes with my impression of their weak and strong points:

         vortex viper 4-12x40pa dh reticle
                     plus--price, warr and c/s, zero hold and tracking, 57moa internal, glass,
                              side parallax adj                                                    
                    neg--low knobs, thick reticle
         vortex viper 2-7x32
                    plus and neg same as above and parallax adj not needed
         vortex viper 6.5-20x44pa dh reticle    (maybe too much power for my use)
                     plus and neg same as above but plus for tall knobs
         ior 2.5-10 tactical mp-8 reticle
                     plus--price, reticle, great glass, internal moa, durable
                     neg--perceived c/s problems,1/2moa capped turrets
        bushnell elite 4200 2.5-10x40
                     plus--price, glass
                     neg--no tgt knobs (tactical has the knobs but then mil-dot), duplex ret, c/s
        sightron II bigsky 3-12x42HHR
                     plus--rebate, glass, made in japan, int moa, c/s, reticle (ez subtensions)
                     neg--no target knobs, thick reticle?, lacks side parallx adj
        sightron IIIss 3.5-10x44 long range---i really like this one
                     plus--price, parallax adj, c/s, glass, 120 moa internal
                     neg--mil-dot reticle, capped turrets
        zeiss conquests---just don't seem to be of interest to me with plastic turrets and rapid
                     z reticles---the 6.5-20x50 with the rz varmint reticle looks interesting but most
                     likely too much glass (obj size and power for my little rifles)
        leupold mk4  3.5-10x40 LR/T M1   TMR reticle
                     plus--warranty, c/s, durable, thin reticle, 65 moa internal, durable, sfpa
                     neg--price for value, mil reticle, knobs must dial past then come back to
                             desired setting
        leupold VX III 6.5-20x40LR varmint hunter reticle
                     plus--as above, custom shop able toadd M1 elev turret($90), very
                              "trim"scope, durable, 90 moa internal                             
                     neg--same as above, too much power (maybe one of the other vxIII,s)
        nightforce nxs 2.5-10x32 NP-R2
                     plus--reticle, well marked open precise knobs that match reticle,
                              compact "trim"scope,small dia (1.30") ocular tube, no need
                              for side focus/parallax adj, customer service durable,
                              100 moa internal adj, zero stop
                     neg--price, expensive but much to like---unfortunate but most reviewers have
  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/14/2009 at 19:26
RifleDude View Drop Down
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Hi, bunkerdog!

First, what is your definition of varmints (since the term is used for everything from ground squirrels to coyotes)? 

Second, what is your budget?

With regards to your desire to range targets with the reticle, keep in mind that if "varmint" to you means "prairie dog" (or similarly sized vermin) it's difficult if not impossible to accurately range a small target like a pd with the reticle to arrive at firing solutions of sufficient accuracy to make consistent long range hits.  The reasons are:  1.  Given the small size of a pd and the fact they can vary in height by up to 20% or so, it's hard to bracket a pd in a reticle where it isn't subtended by even a single mil spacing and judge its size with any accuracy.  2.  A small error in height of a pd is a much greater % error based on its actual height, which can severely screw up your range calculation.  With a larger target, you are much less likely to make ranging mistakes where the height of the target occupies more than one mil spacing.  3.  Often, you only get a partial view of a pd because they may only have half or less of their body peeking out of their mounds, or they might not be standing upright.  I use ranging reticles for distance holdovers and wind compensation only, and rely on my laser rangefinder for ranging.

I too don't like the idea of plastic caps and turrets on a scope, however, I do like the Zeiss Rapid Z as a long range varmint reticle and I would strongly consider it for a long range varmint scope.  It has similar glass to NF (in my opinion) for less money, though the knobs as they come out of the box aren't as nice as NF if you're exclusively a knob cranker.  Unlike when shooting at static targets, I usually don't dial in my firing solutions on prairie dogs simply because the places I go are usually a "target-rich" environment, and they're scattered in all directions at all distances.  I would get carpal tunnel syndrome and wouldn't get in nearly as much shooting if I spent time trying to range each individual prairie rat and dial in the shot.  Besides, they frequently don't stand still very long before they scurry off out of vision or to another mound.  After awhile, I become quite proficient in hitting them with the first or second shot after I get accustomed to the distance of various landmarks where I'm shooting.

I do still firmly hold to the 1-2-3 priorities you mention, at least for a prairie dog scope that will be used primarily in good light in open terrain.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2009 at 10:22
bunkerdog View Drop Down
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thank you rifle dude for your quick reply---yes, prairie dogs in northeastern colorado and while i'm still in oregon it will mostly be sage rats (bledings ground squirrel, i think)---i don't want to rule out  the coyote but i don't call them so the lower power scope may not be necessary until i learn to call---budget?.....good scopes cost money---i am not afraid to put expensive glass on my $400 cz and a good scope will surely match my cooper montana varminter---i guess a flexible number would be $1500 i.e. no swaro Z6 or us optics---you are correct about "target rich" environment---that does describe the pd complex i am able to access in colorado (private 5000 acres, open land)---and yes, they do run all over the place, in and out of the mounds and sometimes just eyes---as you say "I use ranging reticles for distance holdovers and wind compensation only, and rely on my laser rangefinder for ranging."---agreed you can not just laze a pd then shoot him---learning to judge distance on open land is a skill i am working on---i use a laser range finder to help me but equipment will fail and i will need to learn how to range without aid---my intent is to range an area of interest them "fire for effect" using the retical for holds and adjustment---sorry if i was unclear about that---is a high power variable scope what i need?---even for my small caliber .17hmr and .204---to me, your priorities, are correct "at least for a prairie dog scope that will be used primarily in good light in open terrain."
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2009 at 10:49
Dale Clifford View Drop Down
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not sure where you got the "need to dial past then back on the mk4", with bdc reticles the need for target turrets isn't as important.
personally on a stationary platform gun, the more the scope the better, especially pd, where one can be looking thru it for several hours. Also in low recoiling rifles such as yours the higher the power the better as the sight picture is not disturbed by the recoil, although this advantage is negated by the single shot cooper to some extent.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2009 at 17:36
RifleDude View Drop Down
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I've found I seldom use more than 14 - 16X or so on my pd scopes because the mirage can be so severe during the middle of the day that higher power really isn't much of a benefit to me.  When the mirage is really heavy, you simply can't see much "through the swimming pool" beyond a certain distance.  Having said that, I do find that higher power can be useful for target shooting for a dual role varmint/informal target rifle, as well as for longer shots when the mirage lets up.
 
Given your budget, I'd probably get the Zeiss Conquest 6.5-20X50 with Rapid Z Varmint reticle.  This scope has target knobs, by the way.
Thunbs Up
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2009 at 18:20
bunkerdog View Drop Down
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thank you---i will look more closely at the zeiss conquest 6.5-20x50---i was wanting to stay with a smaller objective for compactness and lower power because of the mirage---pd and squirrels are very small---maybe it helps to be able to turn the power up when you can---i really like the varmint reticle---i read on the zeiss optics web site that it was compatible with the .204, 220 swift, and 22-250---probably not right on but good enough for active targets---true?---i have also found a great deal on an ior 2.5-10x42 with illuminated mp-8 dot reticle---would this be a good called coyote scope for a future rifle (repeater .204 with 35 grain berger bullets)?---i ask because the window of opportunity to acquire the ior will close when the supply is exhaustedWink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/15/2009 at 18:30
RONK View Drop Down
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 Bunkerdog- You have obviously done a lot of homework and research so far to get to this point. Well-done, Sir.

 I'll throw out a couple additional random thoughts for you to mull over:

A) - You are going to be shooting generally in decent to very good light, so your concern about NF glass quality is pretty much unfounded in that regard, I think. I really doubt you would find it the least bit lacking.

B)- You don't want capped turrets? No problem; if a scope you otherwise like happens to have  them, toss them out. (Basically, disregard them in your selection process.)
 
 C)- If I were in your shoes, I would be very happy with a fixed power in the 12x to16X range. I doubt a variable would ever get cranked down for the type of shooting you seem to be doing.  (If you see a coyote, shoot him before he gets too close!)
 Being open to the idea of a fixed power would give you a few more options, such as Weaver's top end target models, or a Super Sniper, for example.
 
D)- Even though you wouldn't use them for ranging in your situation, I think you might find Mil-dots relatively useful as holding points, once you had a few shots downrange and had wind figured out, etc. The crosshairs on a Super Sniper (16X) wouldn't be too coarse, IMHO.
 
E) If your scope is mounted correctly, you will actually need very little internal adjustment for the cartridges used at the distances mentioned. I wouldn't worry about it being a concern at all with any of the scopes you mention.
 
F) I haven't priced them recently but I don't think your budget is really too far out of U.S. Optics range if you want an MOA Reticle and MOA Knobs. (I may be all wet on this point, though.)
 
 Just a few things to chew on.  
 Good luck with your search!
  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/16/2009 at 20:43
bunkerdog View Drop Down
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ronk---many good points---since i am short on experience it will take some thought on my part to learn enough to make an informed decision---you are correct i am in range of u s optics but i think i will wait until i get some time behind a scope and know really what i like---more homework needed-----------thank you
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/16/2009 at 22:22
medic52 View Drop Down
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Alot of good choices, I have all the same calibers listed and being mostly a small varmint hunter myself I use the Bushnell Elite 4200 6x24x40 mil-dot. JUST a good all around scope IMHO of course. Good luck and with your list it would really be hard to pick a bad one.....for your eye only which one do you like the best?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/18/2009 at 12:10
bunkerdog View Drop Down
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more homework has been done---i must admit i initially discounted the the zeiss conquest 6.5-20x50 but it appears to be a great scope for my use---less expensive than another NXS---true not a lot of internal adjustment but with my small caliber flat shooting cartridges and ranges not exceeding 350-400yards (and that would be rare) i should be ok---i like the varmint reticle---i can always turn the power down during mid day or when available light is low---now..........to find a great dealBig Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/18/2009 at 12:39
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i have both the 17hmr and the 204. i have a burris ffII 4.5x14 bdc ret on the 17. zeroed at 100yd it is good out to 300yd 50yd per step. the 204 has a sightron siII 6X24-42 mill dot. i use the mills for hold over and windage only. if zeroed 1" high at 100yd should be able to hold deed on out to 300yd with the 204. I like both scopes and have had NO problems with them, even after 5 trips to south dakota ( live in iowa ).  i wold opt for the higher mag. on the 204. and a 10x -12x on the 17. No bad choices on your list.   P.S.  i would advise against nob turning too easy to get lost, then your hunt is ruined.   personnel experience.  GOOD LUCK!
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