Let's talk scopes

fire arrow

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I know this might turn into a Ford vs Chevy thing. But I was wondering what kind of scope everyone is using. Make and power, and what distance you guys use them for. Was also wondering at what distance does everyone prefer adjusting there turrets over using a reticle.

I am using a Leupold 4.5-14x50, B&C reticle. I have used it up to 600 yards and was wondering If I need to upgrade to a 5-20 power if I am going to shoot out to 1000 yards.
 

Coop RentOutdoorGear.com

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I'm using a 6-24X50 Vortex HS LR FFP. I can use the reitcle effectively out to 500 - conveniently, my marks work out to even MOA increments +/- 0.2 MOA.

250 = 0
300 = 1 MOA
350 = 2 MOA
400 = 3 MOA
450 = 4 MOA
500 = 5.5 MOA

That said I would still prefer to dial any range over 400 provided suffiecient time.

I haven't used it on any critters yet so I can't say what power is needed. I know shooting tagets at 500 or even 200 for that matter is nice with the higher magnifications. The drawback is that the reticle on the FFP scope is very fine at lower powers. I hunt with the scope cranked down to the lowest power so I can more easily locate an animal in the scope on a quick shot should the opportunity present itself suddenly.

I think the amount of power you end up using for a shot on game depends on how good your rest is. If you have a shaky rest, then you're going to see a lot more movement in the scope at high power that might shake your confidence. It also depends on what power your reticle is calibrated at if you're using a scope with reticle on the second focal plane. The Vortex I'm using is a first focal plane scope so the reticle is calibrated at all magnification powers. That's a big advantage to the FFP in my mind.

DC
 
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Coyote Commander

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Nightforce.

But if I was to scope a long range rifle tomorrow, it'd be wearing a Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50 SFP with the MOA reticle and turrets.

I dont hunt big game with a rifle, just coyotes. And I use my long range rigs for whatever distance the doggie happens to be at.

Im definitely a higher power fan. You can definitely shoot some long distances with a mid teen powered scope, I just feel you can fine tune the sight picture so much better on a higher power. For hunting, unless you have problems with target acquisition in the scope, IMO there is no reason to ever really be on "low" power unless its extremely low light. In which case, your shot is probably illegal for a big game animal as most decent long range scopes do a very good job of gathering light, even at high powers.

My bread and butter coyote gun (.22-250) wears a 6-18 power, and is on 18x 99.9% of the time. Dont matter if its 40 yards or 400.

My .260 wears the Nightforce and is on 22x 99% of the time. The only time I drop it to 11x (half power so my reticle comes out even again) is maybe the absolute first and last sets of the day. Even than, if theres good snow cover, shes on high power.



Darin brought up being shaky on high power with a poor rest. This is true. But considering you posted this in the long range forum, im going to assume you want to discuss long range (IMO, 500 yards or more). If your rest is shaky, you shouldnt even be considering a long range shot. Building a solid rest is the foundation of successful long range shooting. Period. Thats where practice comes in, knowing what you need to get wired down good and tight.
 

pyroducksx3

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Kitsap Co, WA
I know this might turn into a Ford vs Chevy thing. But I was wondering what kind of scope everyone is using. Make and power, and what distance you guys use them for. Was also wondering at what distance does everyone prefer adjusting there turrets over using a reticle.

I am using a Leupold 4.5-14x50, B&C reticle. I have used it up to 600 yards and was wondering If I need to upgrade to a 5-20 power if I am going to shoot out to 1000 yards.

I use a vx-3 4.5-14 x 50 with the varmint hunters reticle and had the leupold turret added by their shop. I've shop this out to 1000. Trust me you can make a shot on elk out to that range. Use your spotting scope for identifying the animals and deciding to take or not but that power is fine for taking the shot. I use only the turret or "dialing" for long range. I wanted the varmint reticle to use the hashes for windage, I don't dial the wind I hold. I think you probably have the vx-3 so you should be able to use your scope just fine. You can always have leupold change out your reticle and add a turret
 

Stinky Coyote

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I've set up several rifles to go long now, mostly lighter rifles made to climb mountains with also, i chose a leupold mark 4 4.5-14x40 target (30mm side focus tube), weighs only 1 lb, i prefer standard duplex reticle over all others and dial up. I also prefer having matching speed dial turret made up for speed and simpleness in hunting situations. I shot that scope to 920 yards and have coyotes with it at 584, 620 and 800 and found 14x plenty and the reticle size perfect for actual hunting situations...even on a coyote at 800, could still see it in low light etc. This scope i would use over and over without hesitation for mountain long range builds. It just equals awesome per once, that pretty much no scope can match. I don't think you can find more capable scope per ounce than that one. I had the windage knob replaced to standard low profile so only the elevation knob was a tall target knob. I prefer dust caps too, no chance of moving off pbz while hiking/handling etc. on big game rifle builds.

For my coyote gun i run essentially the same scope but a vx3 6.5-20x40 LR again i have standard duplex reticle installed as for hunting i find the fine duplex etc. just too fine, great for target work but not for hunting where your referencing not on little bullseyes but in middle of animals and coyotes are quite big compared to little bullseyes so the standard duplex is where its at. On a coyote gun i went with the M1 turret for elevation knob(left windage as standard low profile) as more speed to dial up for coyotes is a good thing....for big game i'll take standard elevation target knobs with dust caps.

Hope that helps. P.s. for say a 500 yard build i think you can get away without dial up using multi aimpoint reticles like the lr duplex or b and c etc. etc. and be accurate enough but for going over 600 yards go dial up 100% imo, you will want click by click precision imo as thats when the bullets are really starting to fall off the face of the planet and you need to start taking into account the atmospheric variables, temp/elevation etc. so much more, you don't want to do gapping holds, you want to dial to the exact range, make any atmospheric correction clicks necessary and then hold for your wind.
 
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fire arrow

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I've set up several rifles to go long now, mostly lighter rifles made to climb mountains with also, i chose a leupold mark 4 4.5-14x40 target (30mm side focus tube), weighs only 1 lb, i prefer standard duplex reticle over all others and dial up. I also prefer having matching speed dial turret made up for speed and simpleness in hunting situations. I shot that scope to 920 yards and have coyotes with it at 584, 620 and 800 and found 14x plenty and the reticle size perfect for actual hunting situations...even on a coyote at 800, could still see it in low light etc. This scope i would use over and over without hesitation for mountain long range builds. It just equals awesome per once, that pretty much no scope can match. I don't think you can find more capable scope per ounce than that one. I had the windage knob replaced to standard low profile so only the elevation knob was a tall target knob. I prefer dust caps too, no chance of moving off pbz while hiking/handling etc. on big game rifle builds.

For my coyote gun i run essentially the same scope but a vx3 6.5-20x40 LR again i have standard duplex reticle installed as for hunting i find the fine duplex etc. just too fine, great for target work but not for hunting where your referencing not on little bullseyes but in middle of animals and coyotes are quite big compared to little bullseyes so the standard duplex is where its at. On a coyote gun i went with the M1 turret for elevation knob(left windage as standard low profile) as more speed to dial up for coyotes is a good thing....for big game i'll take standard elevation target knobs with dust caps.

Hope that helps. P.s. for say a 500 yard build i think you can get away without dial up using multi aimpoint reticles like the lr duplex or b and c etc. etc. and be accurate enough but for going over 600 yards go dial up 100% imo, you will want click by click precision imo as thats when the bullets are really starting to fall off the face of the planet and you need to start taking into account the atmospheric variables, temp/elevation etc. so much more, you don't want to do gapping holds, you want to dial to the exact range, make any atmospheric correction clicks necessary and then hold for your wind.

If you could post some pictures of your turrets for your 4-14 scope. Had thought of sending mine back to Leupold for regular CDS turret for 1/4 MOA adjustment for both windage and elevation.

Do you find that your scope returns to Zero every time?
 

Matt Cashell

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I have posted on this subject a few times, but this is my opinion, FWIW:

I shoot regularly out to around 800 yards. I can make the 2-7X32 Viper work at these ranges. The 4-12 Swaro is more than adequate, and the 4-16 Viper is just about right, IMO. I used to have and use a Leupy Mark4 6.5-20 quite often, but really prefer the magnification range of the Viper.

Magnification is not needed to shoot long range. I prefer the 4-14/15/16 type scopes, but the 5/6-20/25 type scopes work well also. The problems with high mag scopes were touched on by Darin, but the biggest factor for me is FOV and mirage.

High mag scopes are pretty restricted on the top end with FOV, and target aquisition can be a bugger. The brightness thing can also be an issue, especially in the mountains, where light can be scarce during hunting hours due to terrain, IME. Sometimes mirage makes high mag scopes at high magnification unusable. One other thing, is that most 4-16ish type models have more adjustment available than their 6-24ish brothers.

If you go with a high mag scope for long range, FFP reticles are the way to go, IMO. That way you can turn down the mag for brightness or mirage issues, and still have a calibrated reticle. The reticles do get tiny at the low end though, but I have found illumination can help substantially.

On brands, there are a lot of quality scopes out there. While Leupold makes some very nice scopes, I don't prefer the VX-3 or Mark 4 series over some of their competitors, for a variety of reasons. For instance, those scopes tunnel at the lower end of the magnification range, from around 4.5 to 8 on the 4.5-14 models. This means you don't get any more FOV as you go under 8x. They also don't have a reputation for tracking perfectly. I have seen several Leupys that had a hard time returning to zero and changed adjustment click values towards the end of the adjustment range. The last Mark 4 I most recently tested, however, did not have these problems, and tracked very well. I have heard great things about the VX-6 series, especially on constant eye relief and tunneling, so they could be a great option.

I have found a lot of value in Vortex riflescopes, Sightron riflescopes, and SWFA SS riflescopes. These scopes have excellent optical performance, less tunneling, more constant eye relief, and super reliable tracking.

Nightforce scopes are the gold standard for tracking and toughness, and are good optically, but they are expensive, and there are other options at their price point.

The Euro scopes from Swarovski, Zeiss, and Leica have outstanding optical performance, and the Swaro Z3 I tested had good tracking as well, but I like ballistic reticles in these scopes.

I am glad Coyote Commander has found a system that works for him on carrying a rifle at high magnification all the time, but I personally prefer to carry my scopes at the bottom magnification, to gain the most FOV, and turn up the power for longer shots when they present themselves, and recommend this method.
 

Coyote Commander

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The problems with high mag scopes were touched on by Darin, but the biggest factor for me is FOV and mirage.


Im glad you brought up mirage.

Mirage can be a real kicker, and can make life miserable (almost as much as wind) in some situations.

However, mirage is one of the BEST ways to get a good dope on the wind if it is present and you have enough scope to adequately pick it up and read it. Especially in the absence of foliage or long grass to read wind AT the target that might be half a mile away and have a totally different wind than the spot youre sitting at.

By having high power available (say 20+X), you have the ability to dial up, read the mirage, than dial back down to 14 or 16X (or whatever power minimizes mirage to see the target) to make the shot. Sometimes, lower powers are enough to pick up mirage well, but for most gun seasons (October/November), youre often going to need more scope to pick it up to get a good read on it.
 

Matt Cashell

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Im glad you brought up mirage.

Mirage can be a real kicker, and can make life miserable (almost as much as wind) in some situations.

However, mirage is one of the BEST ways to get a good dope on the wind if it is present and you have enough scope to adequately pick it up and read it. Especially in the absence of foliage or long grass to read wind AT the target that might be half a mile away and have a totally different wind than the spot youre sitting at.

By having high power available (say 20+X), you have the ability to dial up, read the mirage, than dial back down to 14 or 16X (or whatever power minimizes mirage to see the target) to make the shot. Sometimes, lower powers are enough to pick up mirage well, but for most gun seasons (October/November), youre often going to need more scope to pick it up to get a good read on it.

Excellent point of reading mirage for wind, CC. Personally, I haven't had trouble reading it even in mild mirage conditions @ 16x by running near focus off the target. Parallax adjustment is necessary for this technique, of course.
 
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fire arrow

fire arrow

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I have posted on this subject a few times, but this is my opinion, FWIW:

I shoot regularly out to around 800 yards. I can make the 2-7X32 Viper work at these ranges. The 4-12 Swaro is more than adequate, and the 4-16 Viper is just about right, IMO. I used to have and use a Leupy Mark4 6.5-20 quite often, but really prefer the magnification range of the Viper.

Magnification is not needed to shoot long range. I prefer the 4-14/15/16 type scopes, but the 5/6-20/25 type scopes work well also. The problems with high mag scopes were touched on by Darin, but the biggest factor for me is FOV and mirage.

High mag scopes are pretty restricted on the top end with FOV, and target aquisition can be a bugger. The brightness thing can also be an issue, especially in the mountains, where light can be scarce during hunting hours due to terrain, IME. Sometimes mirage makes high mag scopes at high magnification unusable. One other thing, is that most 4-16ish type models have more adjustment available than their 6-24ish brothers.

If you go with a high mag scope for long range, FFP reticles are the way to go, IMO. That way you can turn down the mag for brightness or mirage issues, and still have a calibrated reticle. The reticles do get tiny at the low end though, but I have found illumination can help substantially.

On brands, there are a lot of quality scopes out there. While Leupold makes some very nice scopes, I don't prefer the VX-3 or Mark 4 series over some of their competitors, for a variety of reasons. For instance, those scopes tunnel at the lower end of the magnification range, from around 4.5 to 8 on the 4.5-14 models. This means you don't get any more FOV as you go under 8x. They also don't have a reputation for tracking perfectly. I have seen several Leupys that had a hard time returning to zero and changed adjustment click values towards the end of the adjustment range. The last Mark 4 I most recently tested, however, did not have these problems, and tracked very well. I have heard great things about the VX-6 series, especially on constant eye relief and tunneling, so they could be a great option.

I have found a lot of value in Vortex riflescopes, Sightron riflescopes, and SWFA SS riflescopes. These scopes have excellent optical performance, less tunneling, more constant eye relief, and super reliable tracking.

Nightforce scopes are the gold standard for tracking and toughness, and are good optically, but they are expensive, and there are other options at their price point.

The Euro scopes from Swarovski, Zeiss, and Leica have outstanding optical performance, and the Swaro Z3 I tested had good tracking as well, but I like ballistic reticles in these scopes.

I am glad Coyote Commander has found a system that works for him on carrying a rifle at high magnification all the time, but I personally prefer to carry my scopes at the bottom magnification, to gain the most FOV, and turn up the power for longer shots when they present themselves, and recommend this method.

I had thought that if I did go the NF route I would want a FFP scope but they don't offer it in the MOAR, but do have a NPR1. Only slight difference, but was worried that the 3.5-15 was a bit limited in power. Guess that is not the case. Sorry to be asking questions on topics that have been covered, just don't want to spend the cash to get a scope, and then have to get a different one later.

I would go and look through each of the scopes I have in mind for a comparison, but these guys are hard to come by these days for a side by side comparison.
 

HellsCanyon

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I shot the Vortex PST 4-16 for awhile but then sent it back and got the 6-24x and haven't had a situation yet that has me regretting the extra magnification. It's got a finer reticle than the 4-16x which I enjoy when were shooting out there at distance, and while a lot of times being on 24X makes target aquisition a bit tough, I hunt and shoot competition with a switchview (see link below) on my scope and it makes all the difference in the world for adjusting what power you're on. Also FFP is THE way to go. Holding wind corrections will eventually happen at many different magnifications and you'll be glad you don't have to do that extra math in your head or double check to make sure you're on the correct power.

All that said, I look for a few different qualities in a scope for long range work. Matching reticle and turrets (Mil-based reticle = mil-based turret adjustments, same for MOA), zero stop, parallax adjustment, reliable tracking and return to zero ability. Quality of glass comes in dead last for myself. There's a reason I don't actively glass with my rifle scope and carry binos and a spotter (not to mention it's a huge safety factor)... I rely on my scope to see the animal and make an accurate shot. I don't rely on it to see if that buck is going to break 180" or not... With that in mind there are some real quality scopes out there for the money. Check out the Weaver Tactical scopes, Bushnell Tactical, and of course Vortex. Leupold in my opinion are way overpriced for their features and quality of scopes. Nightforce are tough as nails but once again, expensive for a SFP piece of glass that is heavy as hell... Best of luck with your choice.

Here's that switchview I mentioned:
http://www.hellscanyonarmory.com/in...hview-levers/hca-switchview-lever-by-mgm.html

Mike
 

wk93

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Mar 2, 2012
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SW, Washington
I have a Leupold VX3 with the CDS on my 300WM. So far haven't had any troubles with it but have only used it out too 400 yards. Now I'm in market for my new Weatherby :)
 

Stinky Coyote

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If you could post some pictures of your turrets for your 4-14 scope. Had thought of sending mine back to Leupold for regular CDS turret for 1/4 MOA adjustment for both windage and elevation.

Do you find that your scope returns to Zero every time?

I'll see what I can dig up, the scope was on same rifle for 4 years, always tracked perfectly, clear. I'm not super fussy about optical quality in scopes like binos but the mark 4 was excellent, just making a general point about optical quality, it is an optic yes but don't use it to find animals or judge them...just to shoot them so with scopes I place other features higher, warranty, functions, weight, u get the idea. One doesn't really spend that much time with eye in scope, I don't, some new rifle development would be the bulk of it, otherwise a couple minutes a year of pre season of zero confirmation and then some kills. I have a leupold warranty and custom shop one town away from me, and I like scopes almost always different than they come out of the box. Leupold is my brand because I can get exactly what I want for each project I put together, the reticle, the knob configurations, parallax corrections etc., and that warranty is the bomb, no other scope manufacturer can give me exactly what i want like that...a lightweight dial up with plenty of moa range for an 800 yrd sheeper like the mark 4 i talk about above to whatever u can think up. Anyhow, I'm brand loyal simply because nobody else makes exactly what I want with such good service.

Oh, and I tried a vx3 4.5-14 1" tube with CDs....did not like that scope, wither higher than say 9-10x u want adjustable parallax, and hated the cds, had to ask for mine without the detent ball inside cap which gives it zero stop as they couldn't get the zero mark to line up perfectly and u lose a few clicks if it's there, u can only dial up 57 clicks....so lessons learned, standard target knob my preference with m1 for predator rig. The mark 4 was 10x the scope IMO.

As the years have gone by I'm not feeling the long range need anymore and on a simpleness sleeker lighter kick at moment so my two current big game rifles wearing vx3 2.5-8x36 with custom shop putting lr duplex reticle in for me and correcting parallax for 300 yards. As my goal is for something I can be competent to say 500 and good enough. Scope weighs 11.5 oz, has nothing I don't want and everything I do. So far one is sitting on the gun the mark 4 used to sit on and I never shot groups bigger or smaller than 3/4 moa wit it until I took brake off and switched to this scope, now I'm seeing moa like groups, so interesting but adequate for my goals, if I want to shoot further I will go back to dial up and likely that mark 4 again.
 
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Sunspot

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Mar 27, 2012
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I am looking hard at the Leica ER 3.5-14x42 ballistic reticle and the Swaro Z5 3.5-18x44 with BRH reticle.
 

Sam Millard

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I run Nightforces on all my LR rifles. I treat a 300 yard shot like a 1200 yard shot...dial and hold on. With speed turrets, most hunters would never need to turn a full revolution! I looked at the Swaros before going with NF. Amazing glass as always, but I didn't like the reticle or the turrets.
 

In God We Trust

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I am shooting with the Weaver Tactical 3-15X50 FFP Illuminated EMDR. It is a good scope. If I had it to do over I would have gone with the Vortex PST 4-16 with FFP.
 

gelton

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Leupold. Here is why - my Dad recently gifted me a rifle that he purchased in the early 1980's. It had a Leopold VX3 4-10x35 on it (gold ring). After racking my brains at the range trying to get it dialed in I realized that the scope wasn't adjusting properly. Sent it in to be repaired about 2 months ago and after taking a look they decided that it couldnt be repaired and gave me a $685 credit. Even offered to customize an adjustable reticle since the vx3 that I sent in had one but they quit offering it for scopes 10 power or less. Instead I got them to throw in a customized CDS turret system for free. Just installed it yesterday.

With customer service like that, as long as the quality is still there, and it is, I will always give them first shot on my optics purchase. This doesn't mean I will always go with them but I will certainly give them a look before anyone else.
 

seand

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I use (2) leupold 3-9x40's on my fun guns, and (2) leupold 6x42's on my big game rifles. All have turrets, CDS MOA, T2, M1. I prefer the M1. The 6x has a better reputation for tracking than any of leupold variables. And its lighter than about anything out there. And its enough magnification for 600-700 yard big game shooting, even if 95% of the hunters dont believe it.
 

Chad44

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Castle rock, co
I use leupold on all my rifles and like them. I only have one long range rig and use the vx3 6.5x20x50 LR. I really wish they would get on the ball and make an MOA reticle. That's the bad part. From what I'm researching you can't beat the vortex.
 
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