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Scope with good hydrophobic coating?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2013 at 11:10
c1steve View Drop Down
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I am looking for a hunting scope with good hydrophobic coating, to be used in Washington, Oregon, and B.C. The size would be approximately 2.5-10x42, and in the $1,000 to $2,000 range.
 
I was thinking about a Leica in that size, and this would seem to be ideal. However their website states nothing about hydrophobic coatings.
 
Zeiss HD5 would work well, has the LotuTec coating, and I know offers great performance for the money. However I could spend more and have been considering a Swaro Z6 or even a Nightforce NXS 2.5-10x42 with capped turrets.
 
Any suggestions?
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2013 at 12:45
RifleDude View Drop Down
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The Leica ER does have hydrophobic coatings. Leica calls it their "AquaDura" coating.

I have two copies of that very scope (2.5-10X42 ER), and it is superb. I would say it's the best hunting scope available in that price bracket, and I would even argue it's at least the equal of any hunting scope in the $2500 and up price brackets. That's the route I'd go if I were you.

AquaDura coating works well, the same as any other hydrophobic coating from any other manufacturer. I also have a Leica 8X32 Ultravid HD bino, which has AquaDura as well, so between the scopes and bino, I've tested the coating in wet weather on many occasions over the past 5-6 years. It works just as well as Zeiss's "LotuTec." I have a Zeiss Victory Varipoint 1.5-6X42 with LotuTec, and I can't discern any performance difference between it and AquaDura. Both cause water to bead up and roll off the lens surface like a waxed car finish.

HD5 is a very nice scope, but I like the Leica ER a little better.

Swaro's Z6 series are incredible scopes as well. I have a 1.7-10X42 Z6i from before they added their "Swaroclean" coating. On low power, its FOV and lack of any tunnel vision is unmatched. Otherwise, it would be really hard for me to pick a winner between it and the Leica ER optically. It's more expensive than the ER, slightly exceeding the upper end of your budget, however (if you're buying new). Basically, it comes down to whether or not having the extra zoom range on the low end is worth the extra $600 - $700 more to you, because at the same magnifications, the two scopes are comparable, at least to my eyes.

I could be mistaken, but I don't believe the Nightforce NXS 2.5-10X42 has hydrophobic coatings. Their new spotting scope has it, but I don't believe any of their rifle scopes have it at present.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2013 at 15:12
c1steve View Drop Down
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Thanks for the info RifleDude. The AquaDura coating makes that scope just about perfect. I was also looking at the Swaro, and liked the idea of 1.7 on the low end. If I am in the dense forest in western Oregon or Washington, sometimes shot distances are very close, as in 25 yards.
What about ruggedness of Swaro vs Leica? About the same? Would that be somewhat more than the Zeiss HD5?
 
For the reticle, I would be using the Swaro #4 or the Leica 4A. However the Leica Plex model is on the Sample List for a $300 savings. What do you think about these reticles?
 
-Steve
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2013 at 15:38
ccoker View Drop Down
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how about this?
I have a Leica 3-12x50 I am testing and the NF 2.5-10x42 is arriving today

tell me how you want me to test the glass for water shedding?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2013 at 15:46
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I can't say I've ever encountered an up close and personal shot opportunity where 2.5X was too much magnification. In fact, one of my hunting rifles has a fixed 4X scope on it, and I've never had any issues quickly acquiring and killing critters with it at shot distances well under 50 yds. I think the only advantage to the 1.7X on the Z6 vs. 2.5X is the incredible eye position flexibility and fast, "both eyes open" aiming it provides for rapid shots, such as you may encounter in drive hunting.

I can't say which is more rugged, since neither one has failed on me, both have demonstrated spot-on tracking, and nether has failed to maintain zero. I doubt one has an advantage over the other in that regard, but I would never know unless one failed on me. Even if one did fail on me, it could just be the result of bad luck, as I would never be able to test a large enough sample size to positively conclude one way or the other. For the same reasons, I can't make a durability comparison between these scopes and the HD5, and I don't own an HD5.

I like the #4 and #4A. I think the outer posts on the Leica plex is a bit thinner than I would prefer, but I'm not sure if I like the 4A $300 better than the plex. The 4A has an advantage in low light because of the thicker outer posts, but whether or not that is truly an "advantage" for you and your style of hunting is something only you can decide.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2013 at 16:28
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CCoker,
 
Perhaps put the scopes side by side, and spray them with some water. Not full pressure, but resemble rain or heavy fog. Then observe the water beading on the front lens, as well as look through the eyepiece.
 
Comparing side by side would work, as developing some sort of measuring system would be overly complicated and probably unreliable.
 
I look forward to your review of the NF, and your impression as a general purpose hunting scope.
 
 
-Steve
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/06/2013 at 16:46
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RifleDude,
 
Looking at the images on the SWFA website, I can see what you mean about the thin posts in the Leica reticle. Thicker would be better, but they probably would work.
 
Nightforce has a new reticle called the International Hunting Reticle. Something like that would easy to use.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/07/2013 at 08:28
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arg..
I missed the UPS driver yesterday
hopefully I get it today!

I am going out hunting this weekend and doubt I will have time to get it mounted and sighted in, I may just throw in my backpack to do some back to back low light on game testing..

I would say the IBS reticle in the Leica is on the thin side.  The lit reticle is PERFECT for real low light hunting, they nailed it.  It is however not of any use in bright light to get faster on target for close in hunting.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/07/2013 at 08:35
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Originally posted by ccoker ccoker wrote:

how about this?
I have a Leica 3-12x50 I am testing and the NF 2.5-10x42 is arriving today

tell me how you want me to test the glass for water shedding?

Send the Leica to me and I will run it through it paces here in Montana.  Lots of temp change with frost, dew, rain, snow, etc.  Perfect testing conditions.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/07/2013 at 08:37
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how about an invite to come Elk hunting ? :)

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/07/2013 at 08:43
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Come on up.  Probably taking the horses out the week of Thanksgiving. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/07/2013 at 09:43
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I'll trade you some hog hunting :)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/07/2013 at 20:35
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RifleDude,
 
Regarding the thickness of the posts, and ability to see the reticle in dim light, how would you rate the Leica 4A vs. the Swaro 4. and compared to the Plex:
 
1. Swaro 4, thickest posts
2. Leica 4A, slightly thinner
3. Leica plex, thinner yet.
 
Is this order correct? Would you rate the Swaro and Leica reticles as very similar? The images on SWFA appear to show that the Swaro has significantly thicker posts.
 
I like the #4 and #4A. I think the outer posts on the Leica plex is a bit thinner than I would prefer, but I'm not sure if I like the 4A $300 better than the plex. The 4A has an advantage in low light because of the thicker outer posts, but whether or not that is truly an "advantage" for you and your style of hunting is something only you can decide.
 
CCoker, I am thinking that a spray bottle would be the best way to apply moisture. Any sort of hose use might overcome the seals on the front of the lens.
-Steve
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2013 at 00:42
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Can't comment on the Leica but I have owned an HD5 and Z3's (still have the Z3's). I bought the HD5 because I wanted Lotutec but unfortunately I never liked the HD5 and traded it off. It seemed to be built very well and tracked great but the HD5 glass was not pleasing to my eyes. I have since looked at maybe 10 more HD5's and I just can't get behind them well. I can't explain it but I have several Conquest and love them. I was always struggling to get the right sight picture in the HD5. I thought maybe the one I owned was a dud but they all seem difficult to quickly acquire a good sight picture. The glass itself was great and I wanted it to work so bad because of Lotutec! I kept trying numerous HD5's and it was all the same for me. That being said there are a large number of Hd5 fans and if I didn't get so frustrated with my eyes I would still own one. I finally just stuck with Swaro because it is much more pleasing to look through and decided to live without Lotutec. Again this is just "my eyes" so you should look through them all to see what you prefer. I have no Leica dealers around me to test one out. RifleDude is extremely knowledgable with his advice and seems to have things spot on in comparisons!

My current go to Hydrophobic scope is a Sightron Big Sky and it works very well. If you can live with Japanese glass it is another great option at lower cost. I prefer the Big Sky to Bushnell Elites (which I also own).

I would say the Leica would be hard to beat in the power range you are in. I may just order one myself and try it out since there are no dealers anywhere near me.

Best of luck with your decision!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2013 at 08:14
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eas, just curious as to which HD5 you had

I didn't have any issues with the HD5 3-15
I do wish they would put some wind hold tick marks on the horizontal stradia for the 3-15 with the target turret though.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2013 at 09:02
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Originally posted by c1steve c1steve wrote:


RifleDude,
 
Regarding the thickness of the posts, and ability to see the reticle in dim light, how would you rate the Leica 4A vs. the Swaro 4. and compared to the Plex:
 
1. Swaro 4, thickest posts
2. Leica 4A, slightly thinner
3. Leica plex, thinner yet.
 
Is this order correct? Would you rate the Swaro and Leica reticles as very similar? The images on SWFA appear to show that the Swaro has significantly thicker posts.
-Steve


Sorry it took me so long to respond. I had to wait until I could get back home to compare the two reticles. I looked at them side by side, and I can't tell any difference in the thickness of the outer posts on the Swaro and Leica 4a reticles. They look exactly the same. The Swaro posts extend further in toward the center of the crosshairs than the Leica 4a posts do, which might make it slightly easier to bracket an animal's vitals in the Swaro reticle in low light when it becomes difficult to see the thin crosshairs. The graphic representations of the reticles don't always accurately reflect the actual reticle.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2013 at 09:45
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ccoker, I had the 5-25x50 HD5 but "for me" the 3-15 was the same issue. It's got to be something about the view and my eyes. Both the 5-25 and 3-15 was a little cloudy at the higher magnifications as well. Again, I'm sure it's just my eyes that see it differently. The HD5 is a darn good scope for the money it just didn't work for me (although I REALLY wanted it to).
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2013 at 19:10
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Rifle Dude,
 
Thanks for doing a side by side comparison, I think I will go with the Leica with the 4A reticle. I also look forward to see what ccoker has to say, but for my 325 WSM it will most likely be a regular hunting scope.
 
-Steve
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2013 at 07:16
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What rifle is your .325 WSM in, Steve? I have a Kimber Montana in .325. I like it a lot!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2013 at 10:18
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I have a bone stock Winchester M70, made in the Utah facility. My first M70, I have not shot it yet but I really like it. Very well made, light, excellent stock. I look forward to scoping it and finally shooting it.
 
I did put on a 10 moa Picatinny rail from Near Manufacturing. I plan on removing some of the center of the rail to make loading easier.
 
-Steve
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