Here's my situation. I am going to be new to western hunting and am planning all the gear I think I need. One of the most fun things for me is going to be planning and setting up some rifles for trips. I am currently a whitetail hunter here in MN and WI and have some rifles. I know I will need tons of other gear but I have a few loose ends to tie up on guns/scopes. I'm new to some of the higher end optics and am wanting some opinions from folks in the know. I used to work at a gun shop and we sold mostly pentax, burris, simmons, swift, bushnell, and other middle of the road stuff. I currently own stuff in the category of Pentax lightseeker, burris signature, and the like, $400-$800 range. I have not bought a gun or optics in a few years, and I plan on doing a pronghorn hunt in the next couple of years, followed by deer primarily thereafter and an elk hunt or two down the road in quite a few years. I foresee working up to shooting longer ranges but only talking to max 400-500 yds, so not planning on true long range hunting or need for advanced reticle/turret systems for this next scope. I will outline what I currently have below.
Sako 75 25-06 - no scope (had a Burris Eurodiamond on it but didn't like it and its been un-scoped in the safe for years)
Winchester 70 270 WSM with a Burris signature 4-16x (I am inclined to leave this alone to deer hunt with at home)
Ruger M77 25-06 old style with tang safety and semi heavy barrel and Pentax lightseeker 2-8x
- this needs some stock work to free float the barrel and I have a timney trigger for it I have been sitting on for years since it is sort of my "loaner" deer rifle that I have for guests, kind of going to leave this alone for now too
I also have a Remington 700 ADL 22-250, and a 740 30-06 that I am also planning to leave alone and never take out west unless we develop somewhere where we drive deer or something weird.
So, I figure the Sako 25-06 would make a decent pronghorn gun so I want a scope for it before I do much else. I've been shopping around the web and have found a couple options right around $1000, they are.....
A.) Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 (demo for around $850 or new for basically $1k)
B.) Zeiss HD5 3-15x50 (right around $1K)
Any thoughts on these two compared to each other. I know little to nothing about Nightforce or the upper end Vortex stuff other than that Vortex seems to have great customer service and products overall. Any other recommendations based on what I have and plan on doing?
I have also planned on building a semi-custom 7mm rem mag for deer. I am looking for a Sako L61, 691 or AV to build on - keep the barrel if it shoots well, get a stock from Accuflight, and have all but settled on putting a Swaro Z5 3.5-18x44 on it.
I also do plan to pick up a 338 at some point in the next couple of years to get set up for heavy option. I figure I will probably use the 7mm for most everything if I really get it polished but I feel that a lineup of 25-06, 7mm and 338 will take care of most hunting scenarios.
Also, any insights on the best places to look for decent pricing on higher end mass production optics like Swaro, Leica Zeiss? I am in no big rush so can wait for annual sales, demo turnover, whatever.
I think I'm already addicted to planning for hunting. I have been shopping packs, tents, spotters, binos, clothing, all of it. I can't imagine what it will feel like when I have a tag.