Leupold CDS or Vortex

crumy

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I am in the need of a new rifle scope. Was thinking about a Leupold VX III CDS but I am also considering getting Vortex. Has anyone had any experience with the CDS? What about Vortex scope, which one?

Thanks
 

Matt Cashell

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What is your max range?

CDS dials are calibrated for specific altitudes and temps.

You can get similar dial caps for several Viper HS models.

Optically the Viper HS and VX-3 are pretty similar, but the HS has constant eye relief, which I like. I also much prefer Vortex's BDC reticle much better than Leupold's Boone and Crockett reticle, if you are looking at a BDC reticle.
 
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crumy

crumy

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I had a VX-I withe a LR reticle and could shoot it at 500 yards pretty consistently at the range for practice. I shoot a 300 win mag and would like to extend my practice range to 600 yards for just in case. I do like the BDC reticle as it gives more options. The CDS seems very straight forward but I imagine the Vortex would be the same. I do shoot factory ammo. Federal Barnes if that makes a difference. (I just don't have the time to reload) Is AO worth it since I really try to keep shots in the 300-400 yard range and would go out to 600 only if I couldn't get closer.

I don't want to buy something I do not need but at the same time I don't want to sacrifice quality for something I might need.
 

Matt Cashell

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Out to 600 yards, the CDS system or other custom cap will work well, as long as you verify your drops. Remember the dial cap system doesn't do squat for windage. However, the Vortex BDC has windage hashes on the main crosshair - which makes it nice for dialing drop and holding wind.

I just checked the Vortex site, and it looks like they just send you to Kenton industries for caps.

http://kentonindustries.com/custom-turrets/vortex

On AO, it doesn't matter much to me in a hunting scope, because the max parallax error is pretty small (considering target size) out to those ranges, and there isn't any parallax error if your eye is centered behind the exit pupil.

Either scope will do what you want, and both companies back up their products with good customer service.
 
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crumy

crumy

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Thank you. I will do some looking at the Vortex. It looks like you can get the windage caps for it too. I know I am going to buy a vortex spotting scope. so might go with the vortex rifle scope too. This is turning into an expensive year. The cabelas points are going to come in handy.
 

wk93

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I have the CDS on my VX-3. It's a nice set up. Mines goes to 700 yards for my 300WM and actually works as advertised.
 

Whisky

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I have looked into the CDS. What I'd do is get the CDS knob, but have it marked as any other quarter MOA turret. Basically you'd be getting a lower profile M1. I'm a believer in learning either the MOA or Mil system vs a CDS system. It's just as easy, and much more versatile IMO. A VX3 CDS is a nice light scope. Their 1" scopes offer more than enough MOA adjustments for extended range shooting, which is nice when trying to keep weight down.

Vortex also makes good stuff. Buy with confidence either way.
 

dotman

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Thank you. I will do some looking at the Vortex. It looks like you can get the windage caps for it too. I know I am going to buy a vortex spotting scope. so might go with the vortex rifle scope too. This is turning into an expensive year. The cabelas points are going to come in handy.

If you go Vortex, I would checkout Elknuts pricing, may find it is better and saves you more then you have in Cabelas points or not.
 

Matt Cashell

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I have looked into the CDS. What I'd do is get the CDS knob, but have it marked as any other quarter MOA turret. Basically you'd be getting a lower profile M1. I'm a believer in learning either the MOA or Mil system vs a CDS system. It's just as easy, and much more versatile IMO. A VX3 CDS is a nice light scope. Their 1" scopes offer more than enough MOA adjustments for extended range shooting, which is nice when trying to keep weight down.

Vortex also makes good stuff. Buy with confidence either way.

Whisky, I believe the CDS scopes come standard with a MOA cap. Then you send off your data for an additional custom cap.

I agree that learning and angle measurment system (or preferably both) is the best way to become an all-around proficient long range shooter. I don't think it is as easy as a BDC turret system at the ranges the OP is talking. Instead of range-check dope-dial-shoot, it is range-dial-shoot. Custom caps are more than precise enough on game sized targets 600 and in.

I don't think BDC caps are the way to go once you get past 600. There are too many variables that start to really affect trajectory once you get past there. An angle of measurement correcting scope and good data make for better corrections at those ranges.


It looks like you can get the windage caps for it too.

crumy,

I find using the reticle to hold for wind much more efficient in the field than making a windage dial correction. The Vortex above has 8 minutes of correction both right and left in the reticle, and that should be sufficient for most decent field condiitons to get your wind held out to your stated ranges.
 

Whisky

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Whisky, I believe the CDS scopes come standard with a MOA cap. Then you send off your data for an additional custom cap.

I agree that learning and angle measurment system (or preferably both) is the best way to become an all-around proficient long range shooter. I don't think it is as easy as a BDC turret system at the ranges the OP is talking. Instead of range-check dope-dial-shoot, it is range-dial-shoot. Custom caps are more than precise enough on game sized targets 600 and in.

I don't think BDC caps are the way to go once you get past 600. There are too many variables that start to really affect trajectory once you get past there. An angle of measurement correcting scope and good data make for better corrections at those ranges.

BB, I agree with you on BDC being accurate enough for most hunting applications, 600 and in. But I would still suggest not going that route, even if you're only taking 400 yd max shots, because once you learn an angular system you're golden. 350yds, 500yds, 800yds, it don't matter. You'll know how it works, and become more efficient with it the more and more you practice.. You are right there is one less step involved with BDC. I know BDC works very well for a lot of people. I just feel guys are better off starting from the get go learning one of the angular systems. More versatility (ammo changes) and already ahead of the game should they find themselves wanting to get into longer range shooting.

It also opens up more options when scope shopping.

OP, Im not saying there is anything wrong with BDC for your stated applications. I would say though, if you're interested at all in putting in the effort to learn an angular system, that it might serve you better in the long run. Some people don't care about that, and that's fine. Tis why they make and sell a heck of a lot of BDC stuff. :D Just showing you the options is all.
 
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crumy

crumy

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BB- On the vortex I did want to get into longer range shots would you recommend the BDC or the or go with the first focal plane xlr. Right now I have my limit as 600 because that is what I was able to do with the scope. But I think it might be fun to practice at longer ranges if I could. Definitely provide an opportunity for learning.
 

Matt Cashell

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BB- On the vortex I did want to get into longer range shots would you recommend the BDC or the or go with the first focal plane xlr. Right now I have my limit as 600 because that is what I was able to do with the scope. But I think it might be fun to practice at longer ranges if I could. Definitely provide an opportunity for learning.

In that case, I would recommend going with a tactical style scope with a reticle that matches adjustments in the same angular measurement: either MIL/MIL or MOA/MOA.

FFP designs are nice, but the reticle is super thin on low powers with most reticles, so I would recommend illumination in that case.

I think a FFP Vortex PST would be a great scope for you to learn and grow on. The FFP Leupy Mark 4's are WAY over-priced. SFP reticles in a tactical scope are suitable as well, as long as you remember where your subtensions are. Again, the PST is a good choice, and Sightron makes a nice LR scope in their S3 line. I like the 2.5-10 best from sightron. The Weaver Tactical scopes offer a lot of value as well.

If you want to spend the dough, we can start talking really really nice scopes. :)
 

big10hunter

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I fought this battle for a long time. Reticle or Dial. With the dial you always have chances of mechanical failure and with the reticles you typically need to be on the highest power (not sure about the FFL). I went with the dial simply because you can be more precise and you can get different dials depending on loads or where you are going hunting (elevation and temp).

I own a CDS, and yes they come with MOA and you send off for a free one with purchase. You can wait and it you catch it right you can sometimes find a deal for two free dials. I like the CDS vs other tactical dials because they are low profile compared to others. I like Leupold because of their customer service and history.

To be honest, in the back of my mind I will always questions mechanical failure. ALL mechanical devices fail eventually, concrete cracks, etc. I am hoping going with Leupold it will last me a lifetime and lesson the chance of MF.
 

HellsCanyon

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To the OP, you're getting great information here... and I would also recommend and matched reticle/turret scope for you to start out with. One big reason for this, even shooting 600 yards and in, you can shoot multiple different loads and still not have to change out your turrets. Just run a new dope card using any number of free or cheap (I use the "Shooter" App that cost me $10, very accurate) ballistic calculators.

I run the 6-24x50 Vortex Viper PST on my hunting/competition rig. Tracks right along with the best scopes out there, and it has adequate glass. I know some people out there want their rifle scopes to have the same "Alpha" quality glass that their binos or spotter has, but I personally don't see the point. I need a scope that tracks true, returns to zero, and has accurate subtensions on the reticle. Unless you're actively glassing with your rifle scope (Bad idea) you won't need to spend the extra $$$ on "Alpha" grade tactical scopes.

I'd look hard at the Vortex, Bushnell, Super Sniper by SWFA, or Weaver tactical lines. They all have options for matching reticles/turrets and are reasonably priced! :)

Mike
 

Matt Cashell

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big10hunter,

First focal plane (FFP) reticles are properly subtended at all magnifications, that is their advantage over second focal plane (SFP) reticles.

I am OK with SFP reticles, because if I am going to be shooting at a range where I need to use them, I am going to run it up to max power anyway.
 

Matt Cashell

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JBM ballistics is a free online calculator that pretty much sets the standard for ballistic calculators:

http://www.jbmballistics.com/ballistics/calculators/calculators.shtml

While I appreciate great glass, even in a riflescope, I agree with Mike: The precision of the reticle subtensions and adjustments are most important. Plus, while a PST doesn't have Premier/S&B/Hensoldt/March type glass, it ain't bad either.
 
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crumy

crumy

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I agree that this is great information. I wish I got into all this a few years ago.
 

big10hunter

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big10hunter,

First focal plane (FFP) reticles are properly subtended at all magnifications, that is their advantage over second focal plane (SFP) reticles.

I am OK with SFP reticles, because if I am going to be shooting at a range where I need to use them, I am going to run it up to max power anyway.

I agree with your SFP opinion. In a rush one might forget to dial up all the way, but then again one might forget to adjust the turret when in a hurry. six/half dozen argument, I guess. I guess I settled on the dial due to more detailed accuracy, but then we have to ask ourselves what we really deem necessary for hunting. I know I am not good enough to shoot accurately over 400 anyway, and would be careful about shooting that far. I also like the idea of not having to count lines on the reticle, but I do like the Ziess reticle since it had numbered marks on them. I settled for the VXIII-CDS. Good glass and a dial. To be honest, I hope I never have to use the dial! :)
 

Whisky

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crumy,

It will seem overwhelming at first, especially with the more reading and research you do. If you have access to somebody who knows a fair bit about this stuff, see if you can get them to give you a quick demo in certain things. With hands on, you could learns things in minutes vs reading about them online for hours and just getting more and more confused.

Hey BB (not to put you on the spot :D), might be another video idea for you if you get bored sometime.
MOA vs Mil
SFP vs FFP
CDS
Dialing vs holding
etc

A little demonstration goes along ways when it comes to this stuff.
 

Matt Cashell

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A video?

Great idea.

I have a written article in the works, but "seeing is believing." I will have to think seriously about that.

As far as being bored. I am never bored. If I'm not working to pay the bills, I am doing something for Rokslide. Speaking of, I got to get the camera out for some Stone Glacier stuff...
 
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