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Which non-magnefying (1x) scope for Utah's muzzleloader hunt?
I am looking for recommendations for a scope for my muzzleloader for hunting in Utah this fall. The Utah regulations for muzzleloaders say:
"It must have open sights, peep sights, or a fixed, non-magnifying 1X scope". I will be going the "fixed non-magnifying 1X scope" path. Which scope would you recommend? One of the issues with a non magnifying scope is how much of the target the sight covers at say 100 or 150 yards.
Holographic sights: I am leaning strongly to an using a quality holographic site. They have a fine "dot", as small as 1 MOA. They also seem to have better low light capability. Also for my own use, I have been looking at one of these to mount to my Mini 4 for several months so I could have fun using the sight after this hunt. Some options include:
EO Tech (one MOA dot, I assume that means the dot covers only 1" of the target at 100 yards)
Aimpoint (I believe most are two MOA dots)
Traditional Scopes: Another option is a traditional 1X scope, these are lower cost (about $150), but I really have no use for the scope after this muzzleloader hunt. One of the "cons" I have heard is that thicker reticles can cover a lot of the target at longer muzzleloader ranges (150 yards). Some options include:
Nikon Buckmaster 1 x 20
Sightron 1 x 20
I'd like to keep this thread as a resource for guys looking for the same information. If you have strong opinions on not using scopes on muzzleloaders, or have strong opinions of mixing traditional (muzzleloaders) with high tech (holographic sights) please do not use this particular thread to weigh-in on those opinions. I would like keep this a constructive future resource for others who will be weighting the pros/cons of different 1X scopes.
I have hunted the utah muzzleloader deer for the past 15+ years. Several years I have done the muzzleloader elk too. I currently use a red dot sight and wouldn't use a regular scope or iron sights on an inline muzzleloader. I have several one shot kills on deer over 150yds with my White muzzleloader and red dot sight.
From my experience
Get al large objective, easier to obtain target fast.
Adjustabile intensity, early and late it's nice to be able to turn the sight way down to get a precise dot.
Smaller MOA is better, covers less of the target at distance and allows you to be more precise.
Shoot both eyes open.
If you know your MOA and animal size you can use the dot to range the animal.
Red dots give you good dawn and dusk target aqusition.
Carry spare battery on you, don't leave in camp.
Disadvantages to a regular 1x scope:
Slower to aquire target.
Crosshairs cover too much of the target at distance.
Unless you buy really good quality glass, then you get less than optimal light gathering when the animals are active.
Utah can be very warm during the muzzle loader hunt. If it is hot, the deer in the areas I hunt are typically headed to bed before the sun has crested over the mountain in the morning and are late to come out in the evening. So good low light capabilities are critical to me. Most of my muzzleloader deer have been taken either in the opening or closing moments of Utahs's shooting times.
I think you are on the right track in considering a holographic site or traditional red dot over a conventional scope.
Thanks Muleman, I appreciate your thorough post. I typically hunt Mule deer in late October or November, you are right on that the low light performance is going to even be more important on these earlier hunt dates. Which model "red dot" scope have you had good success with?
Here is what I have learned so far when comparing EO Tech and Aimpoint:
Field of view: EO Tech seems to have the edge as far as having a more open field of view then the Aimpoint.
Dot size: EO Tech has a finer dot. The EO Tech has a 1 MOA dot, while Aimpoint has the option of a 2 MOA or 4 MOA dot (I would definitely go with the finer 2 MOA dot version). The finer dot will cover less of the target at say 200 yards, the outside edge of a muzzleloader's effective range. The 1 MOA dot would cover 2" of the target at 200 yards. The 2 MOA dot would cover 4" of the target at 200 yards.
Battery Life: Aimpoint has FAR, FAR better battery life (50,000 hours, or over 5 years continuous use) versus EO Tech (1000 hours or 41 days continuous use). Aimpoint apparently uses an LED (very low power consumption) versus the EO tech which uses a laser. The longer battery life with the Aimpoint is a definite advantage for reliability. With the Aimpoint, you could accidentally leave the sight on the entire duration of the hunt, or even for the next few year for that matter without draining the battery significantly.
Mounting: EO Tech has an integrated base, with Weaver style mounting available on certain models. Aimpoint is a 30 mm tube, so it can be mounted in 30 mm rings. Some Aimpoint models come with 30 mm rings which mount to a Weaver base. For my uses, I could buy Ruger 30 mm rings and easily mount the Aimpoint to my Mini 14 after using it for my muzzleloader hunt.
Be very careful of cheap copies of these products.
I went with aimpoint on my assault rifle for the above mentioned UH. Put it this way, I leave my sight on all the time and the next AA battery I put in it isn't even made yet. I used both the eotech and aimpoint at the range, for tactical purposes, I think the eotech sight picture is awesome and easy to get on target within 25 yards. That does not apply to hunting though 9 times out of 10. The battery life on them sucks, if you are on a back country hunt and leave it on overnight, I hope you brought spare batts. A 2 moa dot is perfect I think. It is big enough to allow you to get on target quickly and 2" at 100 yards, I will take it especially for muzzleloader. 4" at 200 yards isn't bad either. Comp m2s are reduced significantly in price over the last year, heck you can find an m4 for under 500$ also the pro(patrol rifle optic) is a great bang for the buck. It is essentially same internals as a comp m3 from what I've read
If I were to purchase a new scope today I would seriously consider EOTech, Aimpoint, and Trijicon. For the most part Trijicon has large reticles. I think their SRS is sub 2MOA.
As a side not I cover the bottom half of my scope in high quality 2" electrical tape to protect it from residue.