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Scopes: not too big, not too small, just right

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2008 at 19:40
koshkin View Drop Down
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This is going to another one of my occasional "I wonder if I am alone on this" posts.

I was preparing some gear that I will take to the range on Saturday, and one of the rifles I plan to take with me is my Tikka in 280Rem.  For a long time, there was a IOR 6x42 scope sitting on top of that rifle.  Recently, I switched it out in favor of a (recently discontinued) Kahles CL 2-7x36.  Which is a wonderful compact scope that still offers excellent low light performance at 7x and great field of view at 2x.  To my eyes, this a nearly ideal big game scope, especially if going on a trim rifle (not in my case).

Then I started thinking a little about scope sizes.  Many people classify binoculars, by objective lens size. 20-25mm ones are looked upon as compacts, 30-32 mm ones are "mid-size" and 40mm and greater are full size.  The situation with riflescopes is a bit different, since depending on the tube diameter a scope with a 26mm objective lens can by substantially heavier than the one with a 40mm objective and smaller tube.  I will ignore weight considerations for the time being and concentrate on objective lens size.

Using similar terminology, I can split riflescopes into classes as follows:

Compact: objective lens of less than 30mm
Mid-Size: objective lens between 30mm and 39mm
Full-Size: objective lens between 40mm and 49mm
Oversize: objective lens of 50mm or greater

Over the last couple of years I have spent a lot of time with compact scopes, specifically with "low-range variable" scopes with some crossover into scopes with 32mm objective lenses.  All in all, due to some proliferation of tactical shooting and DGR rifles, compact low range variable scopes are, to put it mildly, in no danger of extinction.  These scopes range in price from the inexpensive and still very nice (Weaver V3) to well north of two grand and very good (Short DOT, Z6, etc).  Then there is a bunch of stiff in between covering every possible price range.  Larger scopes are also doing great with ever more really large ones coming out.

Midsize scopes are the ones where I am having a hard time gauging popularity of.  There is a number of them on the market, but I almost never see them at the range, and I seldom see them discussed on the forum here (there are more commonly discussed over on 24hcf, but those discussion quickly become a Leupold against eh Euros discussions and are worthless).  Am  I the only one here who likes them?   Previous king of the hill in midsize hunting scopes (Kahles CL 2-7x36) has just been discontinued, although the excellent Swaro 3-9x36 is around.  There is at least one tactical version that I am aware of: the excellent IOR 2-12x32 (IOR's 6x30 has been discontinued).  Leupold also gussies up their VX-3 in to a tactical looking Mark 4 2.5-8x36.

Some other offerings (ignoring the cheaper junk and sticking to variable scopes for now):

Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x36 (probably the most widespread scope of the type)
Nikon Monarch 2-8x32 (just introduced)
Vortex Viper 2-7x32 (seems the same as previous generation Monarch)
Falcon is coming out with a 1.5-5x30
Weaver Grand Slam 1.5-5x32
Nitrex 1.5-5x32 (made by LOW, and similar to earlier Grand Slam)
Burris Signature Safari 1.75-5x32
Bushnell Elite 3200 2-7x32
Burris Fullfield II 2-7x35
Leupold VX-3 1.75-6x32
Burris Timberline 3-9x32 and 4.5-14x32 (just released)
Zeiss Conquest 2.5-8x32
Leupold VX-2 and European 2-7x33 (I am to put it mildly not a big fan of these two)
Leupold VX-2 3-9x33
Sightron S2 Big Sky 3-9x36
Swarovski American 3-9x36
Zeiss Conquest 1.5-5.5x38

That is just the stuff I can think of off the top of my head.  I am sure there are quite a few I did not think of.

Are these on their way to extinction?  or are they more popular that meets the eye?

Personally, I am surprised scopes of these configurations are not used more extensively for tactical/military purposes.  I think IOR's 2-12x32 is a perfect Designated Marksman scope and I am surprised there aren't more scopes like this.

Opinions?

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2008 at 20:17
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     OK,an opinion! My opinion is your mid size list should be titled the general all around list. If you consider the "well I believe you should have more top end power just in case" factor and how infrequently you REALLY need it,what won't these scopes do 90+% of the time? But for some reason or quite a number of reasons BIG sells. Next time I'm over at 24HC I'll send E over to set you straight!
 
                                                       til later
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2008 at 20:23
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I have a Bushnell Elite 3200 2-7x32 but probably like a lot of guys here I have more scopes than guns and I have not used it yet.   The size is a very attractive one! 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2008 at 21:25
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The Leupold Vari-XIII or VXIII-3 2.5-8x36 seems to always have been a very popular mid-size scope even on this site.

One may want to expand Full-Size objective lens to between 40mm and 50mm. IMHO, Big%20Smile  I feel anything over that is definitely in Oversized territory. Looking at my Swarovski 50mm and my Vari-XIII 50mm, there's a difference in size/bulk of the bell, etc. They've come a long way in making the 50mm appear a lot sleeker for hunting purposes. Thunbs%20Up






Edited by mike650 - March/28/2008 at 21:27
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2008 at 21:28
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I don't plan on getting one, my next purchase will be a Conquest 3-9X40.  Don't think I'll be needing another scope for quite awhile after this purchase.  I guess my eyes have gotten used to the look of the 40mm.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2008 at 22:27
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put a conquest 3-9x40 on my browning a-bolt 7mm WSM and it just looked to long, took it off and put on a sighthron 1.5-6x42 and looks alot better and handles alot better too. I think alot of pepple over scope there rifles for hunting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2008 at 22:50
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 A 2.5-8 x36 VARI-XIII on my Go-To gig-game rifle, a Kevlar-stocked Remington 700 in 30-06.
 Low and compact and TOUGH.  Nearly perfect size, weight and balance when I need to cover a lot of ground in the hills or mountains.
 If I ever upgrade, it will probably be to whatever Kahles is closest in magnification and size, for better low-light performance, which has really not been an issue so far...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/28/2008 at 22:53
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Originally posted by 300S&W 300S&W wrote:

Next time I'm over at 24HC I'll send E over to set you straight!
 
                                                       til later
300,
 
Please don't do us any favors, I remember him and his relentless DIVA test going back to SHOOTERS.com.  He belongs and fits in just fine where he is. Devil
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2008 at 04:01
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Originally posted by 300S&W 300S&W wrote:

     OK,an opinion! My opinion is your mid size list should be titled the general all around list. If you consider the "well I believe you should have more top end power just in case" factor and how infrequently you REALLY need it,what won't these scopes do 90+% of the time? But for some reason or quite a number of reasons BIG sells. Next time I'm over at 24HC I'll send E over to set you straight!
 
                                                       til later


Those are indeed very good general alround scopes, but you can also make a good argument for something like 3-9x40 or 2.5-10x40 being as good or better as a general alround scope.  That is kinda why I wanted to stick to classifying scopes by size for the time being.

I can think of a few applications where a scope of this type would be perfect, but not many.  "Good enough" is often at odds with being "perfect".  In this world of increasingly specialized equipment, I wonder if these mi-size scopes will go extinct.

As for E, he and I had a few discussions back when I used to post on 24hcf.  He is one of the very few people I have encountered in the hunting/shooting community who I honestly despise.

I would be very comfortable never interacting with him again.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2008 at 05:51
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The only mid-size I have left are two fixed 4x. A Burris 4x28FF and a B&L Balfor.
I sold my 2-7 Vari-XII and 1.5-6 Burris Signature.
Your list looks pretty good for mid-range offerings, too.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2008 at 06:59
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Guess it depends on your style of hunting & terrain.  I have always favoured mid to compact sized scopes for my deer & bear hunting.  Big game hunting ranges in our heavily timbered territory are typically short, 100 yds would be long way.  Stalk & drive is our style so compact lightweight rifles are the norm.  Iron sights or low powered compact variables are what we use to keep weight down. Emphasis is on the low power end to keep a big FOV for fast moving game & good exit pupil for dark woods.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2008 at 07:56
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Yea, ILya but you never knew what an "eyebox" was prior to the coming of E........grin
I think Matt in Virginia hit the nail of the head.....aggressive, persistent ignorance..
 
Roy
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2008 at 07:58
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               koshkin,
               I didn't REALLY mean for you to change the name of your list although that's exactly how I made it sound! I guess what I was trying to say was that if shooters were really honest with themselves about what they need,your mid size list would work in the majority of situations.  I used a VARI-X lll 3.5-10x40AO for 20+ yrs as my do all scope but now that our groundhog hunting has come to a stop I find I get by with alot less scope. Just went to a VX-lll 1.75-6x32 after using low power fixed scopes a few yrs.  Yea,we've definitely been turning into a high tech/specialized society over the yrs and as you would know WAY MORE than I would its made its way to our sport big time. Now that I think about it there have been alot of scopes like the ones in your mid-size list that are no longer available. Will they go the way of the DODO? Only time will tell.
              Only one more time on E. I refuse to converse with him. Nuff said.
 
                                                   til later


Edited by 300S&W - March/29/2008 at 07:59
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2008 at 09:09
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I think I prefer the mid-size.  The VX III 2.5-8X36 is my favorite.  I tried a Kahles CL 2-7X36 on my Kimber and didn't use it because I couldn't use low mounts with the big Kahles eyepiece.  I've got an old Vari X II 2-7X33 on my Browning BLR .243.  It's worked just fine for a lot of years.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2008 at 09:48
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I think they are more popular than it seems, they just dont get as much attention.  The scopes you listed are some of my favorites.  I cant stand a large scope on a trim rifle hence the reason I dont own a 4200.  My wifes a-bolt micro wears a vx-iii 1.75-6x32, I just ordered a vx-iii 2.5-8x36 for my a-bolt, my 336 wears an sii 4x32, my cz 452 wears a monarch 2-7x32 and I have a sii 3-9x36 that needs a home.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2008 at 12:14
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Although my 3x9 4200 doesn`t look too bad on my 300 WSM Ruger Frontier compact, some would consider that scope`s 48mm objective bell diameter and its length to be a bit too much for that rifle. With that stated however, there aren`t many other 3x9`s that are that much smaller. Maybe the 3x9 Leupy Ultralite or even the 2.5x8 VX3 are the exception that would have been more suitable in size!..............But! Because my compact well exceeds the ballistics of a 24" barreled 30-06, which makes it is an excellent long range shooter, I didn`t want to be hampered or hesitant in taking shots beyond 400 yards should that need arise. IMO, being prepared for any possibility is 1/2 the battle....... I would rather have a scope that is slightly over sized for the rifle and MORE suitable for the caliber, rather than have a scope that LOOKS better on the rifle but LESS suitable for the caliber!!.................However, the lower powered variables have a great market place, especially when mated with DGR`s, low to moderate/medium range calibers like the popular 338 Fed., 350 Remy Mag., on the lever carbines chambered in 45/70, 450 Marlin and 30-30`s...........For that reason, the lower powered variables and the smaller objective more compact scopes certainly aren`t going anywhere!  Their popularity will increase.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2008 at 16:39
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                                                         Chainsaw    Ed  ( cutting a cable... )
 
 
 
                                                             Fridge%20Smash  Squeezer  ( standing under refrigerator..)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2008 at 16:54
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Originally posted by Ed Connelly Ed Connelly wrote:

                                                         Chainsaw    Ed  ( cutting a cable... )
 
 
 
                                                             Fridge%20Smash  Squeezer  ( standing under refrigerator..)
...................Becoming a little more creative there Mr. Ed???!!!..................You`re hurtin me man!!!.... You`re hurtin me!!........OOOCH!!!.......OOOCH!!!!!!......OUCH!!!!!.......OUCH!!!!!!.......................Crutch
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/29/2008 at 18:32
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                                                         Roll%20on%20Floor%20Laughing
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2008 at 01:19
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Some gas for Ed!FarterEd!....................................Na%20Na
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2008 at 10:34
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I'm with ya, Koshkin.  The 1.5-6X, 2-7X, and 3-9X class is my favorite for a general hunting scope.  They offer the best compromise between great low magnification FOV, decent high end zoom, and nice compactness.  I too view the now discontinued Kahles 2-7X36 as an ideal scope, and it is one of my all-time favorites that I will never part with.  I have both the 2-7X36 AH and CL, in fact.  Wonderful little scopes!  I also am quite fond of the 2.5-10X configuration in a 30mm scope, and 10X is personally the upper limit for magnification I'm interested in using on any big game hunting rifle.
 
300S&W, it just so happens that my favorite Leupold scope is the VariX / VX-III 1.75-6X32.  A wonderful, optically excellent little compact scope that is ideal for a lightweight rifle.  I have 2 of those scopes, but mine are the VariX III models with the shorter tube length.
 
I hope the "mid range" class of scopes don't get ignored by manufacturers as shooters subscribe to the "more is better" point of view. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2008 at 13:06
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             Flame     I dare ya to gas me again, Squeezer!!  Flame%20Thrower
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2008 at 14:28
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Originally posted by Ed Connelly Ed Connelly wrote:

             Flame     I dare ya to gas me again, Squeezer!!  Flame%20Thrower
..OK then!!!!...................................Squeezer!FarterED!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/30/2008 at 16:46
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Originally posted by Big Squeeze Big Squeeze wrote:

........However, the lower powered variables have a great market place, especially when mated with DGR`s, low to moderate/medium range calibers like the popular 338 Fed., 350 Remy Mag., on the lever carbines chambered in 45/70, 450 Marlin and 30-30`s............
 
Not quite sure I would put the 338 Fed in the "Popular" category.  I'm not sure I've even seen a gun in that chamber yet!
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