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View Full Version : Recommendation for a rifle scope for a high country deer hunt in Colorado



Work2hunt
03-02-2013, 07:37 AM
I think I am going to buy a new scope for this upcoming high country deer hunt I should draw for this year. Any recommendations?

Ikeepitcold
03-02-2013, 08:01 AM
Check out Vortex. Just got one for my 308 and I have a spotting scope. Been very happy with the glass for the price.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-02-2013, 08:02 AM
Rifle?
Budget?
Ranges?
Rank these qualities in how important they are too you:

Optical image quality.
Mechanical precision (tracking/zero holding)
Warranty
Low light performance
Weight
Dimensions

Work2hunt
03-02-2013, 09:14 AM
I'm think I am going to use my 280 in a 700.
My preference will probably be mechanical precision, optical quality, low light performance, then warranty.

Anything jump to mind? What magnification would you go with?

Work2hunt
03-02-2013, 09:15 AM
What magnification did you use on your vortex?

Bitterroot Bulls
03-02-2013, 09:20 AM
What is your budget?

Work2hunt
03-02-2013, 09:26 AM
Depends on what I decide I like, but I would like to keep it under 500 if possible

Bitterroot Bulls
03-02-2013, 09:35 AM
The Vortex Viper HS scopes are great values.
Meopta Meopro scopes are optically outstanding.
Sightron's S2 Big Sky series are good overall.
If you can find a deal on one of the discontinued Zeiss Conquest scopes, you are in business.

Low light performance is a priority, so lower magnifcations will be best. a 3-9 or 2-10 will be a good match.

My high country scope is a 2-7X32 Vortex Viper.

All of these scopes are optically superior to any comparable Leupold scope in features and price. However, Leupold's ultralight scopes are quite nice and very lightweight. They make very good high country scopes, but the variable eye relief is a bit annoying.

Ikeepitcold
03-02-2013, 10:29 AM
Vortex Crossfire II 3x9x50 not as good as the Viper but a decent scope for the price. I would look into the Viper since your budget can allow it.

bigmoose
03-02-2013, 12:18 PM
I have a Leopold 3X9X50, Vari XII that is great in low light on my 7WSM if you don't mind the big glass. It is in your budget.

Moose

Work2hunt
03-02-2013, 04:50 PM
I haven't heard anything about Nikon and most of my scopes are nikons. Any oughts on Nikon vs the vortex? What's the difference between the vortex viper and the viper pst?

ssliger
03-02-2013, 05:17 PM
I have the Nikon Monarch 2.5-10, it has done great for me.

Aught6Fan
03-02-2013, 05:40 PM
W2H,
Not trying to hijack your thread, but I've been thinking of getting a new scope myself. Vortex seems to be the brand to watch.

I was wondering about the durability of the Vortex, anyone have an older model that has stood the test of time?

A6F

Work2hunt
03-02-2013, 06:36 PM
W2H,
Not trying to hijack your thread, but I've been thinking of getting a new scope myself. Vortex seems to be the brand to watch.

I was wondering about the durability of the Vortex, anyone have an older model that has stood the test of time?

A6F

No worries. I'm looking for the same kind of info. I'm start to hear a lot about vortex and I've never really looked at them. I may have to look at them next time I am out and see what I may be missing.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-02-2013, 07:00 PM
I have had a couple Vortex Scopes that have held up under heavy shooting volume for three years, if that counts.

I also read a review where an engineering minded guy made a recoil sled and subjected a number of different scopes to repeated impacts until failure. I believe the scope that withstood the most impacts was a first-gen Viper. Maybe I can dig that article up.

dying to kill
03-02-2013, 08:11 PM
The only dirt i can throw on the vortex scopes is my buddy had one of the 1st ones that came out, it was a 1/8 moa turret adjustment scope, the only issue was the adjustments were so fine sometimes the recoil of his 7mm would move the turret a couple of clicks. Stay away from the 1/8 moa ( if they still even make them) and you should be fine.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-02-2013, 08:54 PM
The only dirt i can throw on the vortex scopes is my buddy had one of the 1st ones that came out, it was a 1/8 moa turret adjustment scope, the only issue was the adjustments were so fine sometimes the recoil of his 7mm would move the turret a couple of clicks. Stay away from the 1/8 moa ( if they still even make them) and you should be fine.

I bet a dime to a dollar that was one of the original Crossfire scopes. I wouldn't touch one of those. The new Crossfire II are supposed to be dramatically improved.

The Diamondback, Viper, and Razor lines are good to go.

Aught6Fan
03-03-2013, 07:42 AM
Sound like a pretty good track record so far. I'll definitely have to give them a look. I've already been sold on the new Vortex spotter coming out! :)

Elkhunter96
03-03-2013, 07:51 AM
Watch camera land ny, they have great deals for open box items from the shows this time of year.

For 500 range, don't overlook the zeiss Conquest with the rapid z 600 or 800. That is my personal favorite for that price range and quality. In my humble opinion, it is better glass than the vortex, Nikon and even Leupold in the same price range. Just watch for the smoking deals to get a 800 scope in the 500 range from Cameraland ny...

Colorado Cowboy
03-03-2013, 09:48 AM
Scopes are like trucks....everybody likes a different type. First thing I would do is spend the most you can afford. There are a lot of great suggestions here.

I have shot Leupolds for 30 years and like them very much. That being said, I only have VXIII's and am happy with them all. One thing about Leupold, if you even think you have a problem with one, send it back and they will go over it and return it ....no charge. All you have to do is call them and send it back. My Dad had a 6x on his 30-06 and dropped the rifle on the scope and broke the lens. The sent him a new scope....no charge. They really didn't have to do that, but after calling my Dad and listening to him, he got it.

Their customer service is excellent.

I do use other optics too. My bino/range finder combo is a Swaro and it is unbelievable. My point is quality usually come at a price!

montanahunter10
03-03-2013, 10:11 AM
Go with vortex. great class for the price, and they have the best warrenty you can buy.

Work2hunt
03-03-2013, 05:01 PM
The magnifications I am seeing you guys talk about is 3-9, 3.5-10 or less. Why not a 4-14 or something else larger?

BKC
03-03-2013, 05:25 PM
The magnifications I am seeing you guys talk about is 3-9, 3.5-10 or less. Why not a 4-14 or something else larger?
I own a Ultra light arms in .284 and it is topped with a leupold VXIII 4.5-14 x 42 mm w/ 30 mm tube. I think that is a great scope for that kind of high country hunt you are talking about. Smaller scopes will work and bigger scopes will work. I had a 3.5 x 10 that I could have put on it but I wanted a little more.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-03-2013, 05:45 PM
I think in a general sense people over-magnify their scopes. Some people get along fine with higher magnification scopes, but here are the issues:

High magnification scopes have one advantage:

1. They make things look closer.

Lower magnification scopes have more advantages:

1. They have wider fields of view.
2. They have larger exit pupils and correspondingly brighter images.
3. They make small "wobbles" in the reticle harder to see, so the shooter doesn't over-aim.
4. They typically have more internal adjustment.
5. They resist mirage better.
6. You get more optical quality for your money.
7. Typically smaller, shorter, and lighter.

Now a 4-14 or 4-16 type scope is a good compromise because you can dial it down to 4.5 and gain some of the latter advantages. However, a scope like the mentioned 4.5-14 Leupold actually "tunnels" from 4.5 to around 8 power, so the FOV doesn't actually get wider under around 8 power, but the exit pupil still increases, so you get those brightness advantages.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-03-2013, 06:20 PM
On how much magnification you need:

Take 500 yards for example. A 20 power scope makes the object look like it is 25 yards away (naked eye equivalent).

A 10 power scope makes it look 50 yards away (naked eye equivalent).

That is plenty for me.

Work2hunt
03-03-2013, 06:24 PM
On how much magnification you need:

Take 500 yards for example. A 20 power scope makes the object look like it is 25 yards away (naked eye equivalent).

A 10 power scope makes it look 50 yards away (naked eye equivalent).

That is plenty for me.

That is a good point about the magnification and I didn't think of it that way. In my neck of the woods I don't mind taking a 300 to 400 yd shot but even 500 would be pushing it here. So I think a 10x at most is all that is needed.

Kevin Root
03-03-2013, 07:20 PM
I've hunted with a Leopold 3x9 since high school and to be honest I've never shot it while hunting on low power but zoomed in after aquireing the target. I don't shoot at more than a few hundred yards but I've always wanted more zoom even at the 100-300 yange. The field of view gets less when zooming so aquiring targets quickly that move or are moving it gets harder on high power. I bought a new rifle now and added a Swarovski Z5 5-25X52. I'm hoping the FOV won't bite me in keeping on target.

BKC
03-03-2013, 07:52 PM
I've hunted with a Leopold 3x9 since high school and to be honest I've never shot it while hunting on low power but zoomed in after aquireing the target. I don't shoot at more than a few hundred yards but I've always wanted more zoom even at the 100-300 yange. The field of view gets less when zooming so aquiring targets quickly that move or are moving it gets harder on high power. I bought a new rifle now and added a Swarovski Z5 5-25X52. I'm hoping the FOV won't bite me in keeping on target.I also have a 6.5 x 20 on another rig and to be honest it might be a little too much scope about 75% of the time but when you need the magnification , it is there. Just because your truck has a V8, you don't have to drive it with the pedal to the floor but it is nice to have a little more power when you want it!
I like the extra magnification. The way I look at it is with my 4.5 x 14, I also have a 10x, when I crank the scope down to 10X.

Colorado Cowboy
03-03-2013, 08:11 PM
BKC is right. I also have a Leupold VXIII 6.5 x 20, while a good scope, not the best (IMHO) for hunting. I put it on my Ruger M77 25-06 and reasoned I could use it in place of binos. WRONG....! Once left it on 20x and spent precious extra time trying to find a buck antelope. I eventually put it on my .220 Ackley Swift that I shoot prairie dogs with. Great glass for that. Put a 4.5 x 14 on the .25 and love it.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-03-2013, 08:20 PM
Guys,

I am not trying to get down on you! Like I said, it works for a lot of guys.

I used to run a 6.5-20 Mark 4 on one of my favorite rifles, and it worked OK, but the limited FOV was a bugger. I got rid of it, and don't see myself getting another. I don't miss the magnification at all.

Kevin,

I am sure you will like the scope. It is an awesome one. That FOV at the low end is awesome! The extra magnification will be really nice when you are at the range, and you can always dial it down when you need to, like BKC mentioned. One issue you may run into hunting is that tiny 2mm exit pupil at 25x, especially if you got a ballistic or windage reticle that is subtended at the max magnification, which would restrict you to that magnification. You will have to keep us updated on how you like it in the field.

FWIW, my main hunting rifles wear a 2-7X32, a 3-9X42, a 4-12X50, and a 4-16X50. I would be happy hunting with any of them, but like that little 2-7X32 best for high country backpack stuff.

My favorite scope at the range is definitely the 4-16. Pretty hard to have too much magnification from the bench!

Work2hunt
03-04-2013, 08:00 AM
Guys,

I am not trying to get down on you! Like I said, it works for a lot of guys.

I used to run a 6.5-20 Mark 4 on one of my favorite rifles, and it worked OK, but the limited FOV was a bugger. I got rid of it, and don't see myself getting another. I don't miss the magnification at all.

Kevin,

I am sure you will like the scope. It is an awesome one. That FOV at the low end is awesome! The extra magnification will be really nice when you are at the range, and you can always dial it down when you need to, like BKC mentioned. One issue you may run into hunting is that tiny 2mm exit pupil at 25x, especially if you got a ballistic or windage reticle that is subtended at the max magnification, which would restrict you to that magnification. You will have to keep us updated on how you like it in the field.

FWIW, my main hunting rifles wear a 2-7X32, a 3-9X42, a 4-12X50, and a 4-16X50. I would be happy hunting with any of them, but like that little 2-7X32 best for high country backpack stuff.

My favorite scope at the range is definitely the 4-16. Pretty hard to have too much magnification from the bench!

I'm definetely going to need to pick your brain....your talking stuff that I'm not sure I am quite understanding. I'm good with the FOV, but what are you referring to when you state "One issue you may run into hunting is that tiny 2mm exit pupil at 25x, especially if you got a ballistic or windage reticle that is subtended at the max magnification, which would restrict you to that magnification".

I'm not sure I got the "ballistic or windage reticle that is subtended at the max magnificaiton."Is this when the sight plate is in a second focal plane and and if you adjust the magnification your eleveation lines (like with a BDC type reticle) change with the magnification?

Work2hunt
03-08-2013, 07:06 AM
Well after much deliberation and information gathering I've decided a lot have changed in the scope world since I last really investigated scopes. I'm also considering opening the wallet a little more.

Locally I was able to find a store that has both a Vortex PST 4-14x50 for $829 and a VX6 3-18x44 for $799. I like them both, but I wasn't really able to review them in low light conditions. To be honest, on the floor room floor both of them and a Nikon Monarch 3.5-10x42 (I think that is the right numbers) all looked pretty much the same to me. The Monarch did have the BDC reticle and I don't like the fact the scaling changes as the magnification does. I haven't been able to compare the PST or VX6 to a Swarovski or Zeiss, but I may try getting to my local Cabelas in the next week or two. Is it worth comparing these 3 to Zeiss or Swarovski?

What's everyones take on the Monarch vs the VX6 vs the Viper PST?

xtreme
03-08-2013, 07:24 AM
Look at the Swarovski and Zeiss. Weight is a big factor for me and my scopes are too heavy, especially the VX7L but the sure pay off when I need them. Look at a chart on age and exit pupil to see how much exit pupil you have. I know BB has a Z3, see how he likes that scope. I have a Z5 and it is just what you expect from Swarovski.

Elkhunter96
03-12-2013, 06:29 AM
Clearance on Zeiss Conquest as started at camera land ny

http://www.monstermuleys.info/dcforum/DCForumID49/6386.html#.UT8ea4y9KSM

Not to promote another website, simply where I found the info...

packmule
03-12-2013, 12:28 PM
I like to match up scopes based on the rifle it's on. The majority of mine wear Leupold VX3 and go from there. Some will have the CDS, some the B&C reticles and some that I don't plan on shooting but to 500yds will be plain jane. Majority are 4.5-14x40 and haven't had any issues with any of them. The extra magnification helps you on the bench to shoot groups and work up loads so you know what the rifle & you are capable of. I haven't had any low light issues, my experience has been when it's too dark to tell much through the scopes, it's too dark to tell much through the Euro binocs and spotters.

BillH
03-14-2013, 08:52 PM
I have used Leupolds all of my life - until a few years ago - when I bought my first Zeiss Conquest 3x9. After mounting it on one of my .308s, I spent a couple of dusky evenings looking across the meadow in front of my house. I "thought" the Zeiss might be a little brighter/clearer, but I wasn't sure.
Then I went to the range to sight it in; it was on the bench, shooting the Leupold VX-III gun then the Zeiss gun, where the difference became abundantly clear. In my opinion, without a doubt, the Zeiss beat the Leupold in clarity and brightness!
Since then, I've topped another .308 and my .222 with Zeiss Conquests...while I still love Leupold, I'm totally sold on Zeiss scopes.

Work2hunt
03-15-2013, 08:09 AM
I like to match up scopes based on the rifle it's on. The majority of mine wear Leupold VX3 and go from there. Some will have the CDS, some the B&C reticles and some that I don't plan on shooting but to 500yds will be plain jane. Majority are 4.5-14x40 and haven't had any issues with any of them. The extra magnification helps you on the bench to shoot groups and work up loads so you know what the rifle & you are capable of. I haven't had any low light issues, my experience has been when it's too dark to tell much through the scopes, it's too dark to tell much through the Euro binocs and spotters.


Packmule,
How do you like the CDS option on the Leupolds? Do they work fairly similar to a tacticle turret?

LaHunter
03-15-2013, 07:20 PM
I personally have used Leupolds all of my life also. Currently using a VX3 4.5-14 X 50mm LR. Also, I had the custom shop install an
M1 adjustment dial for the elevation. This magnification range is hard to beat for hunting, and it is pretty good for fairly long range target shooting, IMO. The CDS dials are good but they are calibrated for a bullet type, bullet wt, muzzle velocity, and elevation at which you are sighted in, and for a specific rifle. If you change any one of these, then they are not very precise. Also, you are limited to 1 revolution of the adjustment dial with the CDS. That will limit how far you will be able to shoot targets. That is why I went with the M1 adjustment dial.

You mentioned looking at some of the Euro scopes. I have never owned one, but have hunted with and shot some rifles with the premium Swaro scopes and there is no doubt, they are better in every way, except maybe weight and size. The sight picture is significantly better. But you will pay for the quality.
Just my opinion, you could buy a very good rifle scope in the $700-$1000 range. There have been several brand names mentioned in this thread that are very good.
If you want European glass, spend that money on binoculars. I have Swaro SLC 10X42 binos and I use them at least 100X more than my rifle scope during a hunting season.

Good Luck

mntnguide
03-15-2013, 08:42 PM
I have a leupold VX3 4.5-14x with CDS on my 7 mag. Great scope. I have always put leopolds on top of my rifles. I am thinking of investing in a new saddle hunting rifle.. A Browning BLR in .300 WSM which i will put quick release mounts on top so i can keep it open sight for lots of my jump type hunting situations, but have a Leupold 4.5-14x VX3 with B&C reticle just in case i need to open up the range. Thats the next project build this summer for me

packmule
03-15-2013, 10:09 PM
Packmule,
How do you like the CDS option on the Leupolds? Do they work fairly similar to a tacticle turret?

They're a tactical turret. Like stated in the post prior to this, you run out of dial in a hurry, but for me they do fine. If I recall correctly my 7mag runs out around the 740 mark, 30-06 in the 600s just for comparison/example. You do need complete load data and MV to send off for your turrets though. I sight in at 100' above sea level in very humid conditions and have noticed POI changes up around 10k', but it's not a big enough change for it to matter for hunting purposes. I typically will just set the turret to 300 and be good hunting from 100-500, past that I quit being able to use cheats and have to dial.