Mountain Goat Scope

dreamingWest

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On this forum, there’s a known gap in current riflescope offerings. That is, reliable turrets for dialing elevation, top tier glass, and lightweight as to not effect balance on a mountain rifle. Over the last couple of years there have been many threads started, and never a clear answer.

Knowing this limitation, I chose a Swarovski Z6 2.5-15x44 with BRH reticle to top off a .30-06 for my first Mountain Goat hunt this fall. I feel as though I have put together an ideal mountain goat combo.

However…I’m a dialer. About 5 years ago I put together an 11 pound .260 topped with a Nightforce. Regardless if I’m shooting 300 yards or 1000 yards I love the precision granted by an accurate dialing scope and a well defined dope chart. I like this .260/Nightforce combo so much I took it mule deer hunting in Wyoming last year trying to convince myself it would be fine on my goat hunt. It wasn’t ideal. I ended up taking a deer at around 60 yards from a kneeling position. It worked, but far from the right tool for the job.

Now back to my new mountain 30-06. Confirming drops with the BRH reticle is giving me heart burn. Last night during sunset I gave myself one-shot at 445 yards to kill “the goat” (a 12” diameter plate). The reticle gives me a dot for 426 yards and a line for 471 yards. So I split the difference, squeeze off a shot and hit about half inch off the plate (maybe 4.5” high, 4.5” right). Knowing this I took a second shot and hit about an inch high of the bullseye. Now I know I can continue practicing with the BRH and become much more comfortable with it (and I know goats are larger than a 12” plate). But I really don’t like having to aim off target or between hash marks. For this example there is a 13” bullet drop between the two reference points. If I was clicking a ¼ MOA scope there would only be about a 1.2” difference between clicks. I’ll continue to practice, but here are the questions floating around in my head:

1. Most of the mountain hunting rigs I read about on this forum are using 2.5-8, 3-9, and fixed 6 scopes. I love these lightweight options, but are you guys just super experienced and comfortable with holdovers? Or are most all your shots inside 300?

2. For those of you that have experienced a mountain goat kill, what was the range?

3. After playing with Leupold ZL2 turrets and looking through the VX-5/6HD scopes, they seem ideal for what I’m looking for, but I’ve read all the negativity regarding tracking. When it’s said 2% over travel per click, does that mean if I had to dial 6 MOA (24 clicks) at 445 yards, it would move POI to 6.12 MOA? That’s just a one click error which still seems more accurate to me then holding over a target at this range. So for dialing between 300 and 500 yards, are the Leupold scopes not adequate?

4. Do we still not have good tracking data on the new Zeiss V6 or Sig Sauer Whiskey 5?

I mostly bow hunt whitetails and elk. So I’m used to getting close and obviously hope to get inside 200 on a goat. I’m just trying to cover all my bases while there is still time to prepare.
 

Formidilosus

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So right off the bat, and I only say this as information, I have seen, shot, and used more than two dozen Swarovski Z3/5/6 scopes in the last three or four years. Everyone of them developed problems (just got a Z6 back that wouldn’t hold zero, and didn’t adjust consistently). None could take an side impact from dropping and maintain zero.



The BRH reticle is actually a mil based reticle. You would be way batter off using it as such rather than using it as a BDC. Each dot is 1 mil, and each line is .5 mil. Swarovski designed it poorly as it should be reversed- i.e. the bolder lines should be 1 mil.





As for your questions-


1). I use both fixed 6x and 3-9x on mountain rifles. But they are SWFA SS scopes meant for dialing. They weigh 20oz and 19oz respectively, and that weight is the cost of having a scope that is built to work correctly and hold zero. A 20oz scope mounted on a lightweight rifle does not throw off the balance.


3). Again I have seen and used quite a few VX5/6’s. They suffer from the same issues as the Swarovski’s. They are not built to dial, and do not take side impacts. Lots have issues straight out of the box and/or within 200-300 rounds. Some work ok for 900. The problem is you never know when your “works great” scope is going to fail. The aforementioned Swarovski Z6 worked great until it shifted zero 1 mil- 3.6 inches- at 100 yards over a lunch break. Then it wouldn’t adjust even remotely correct. Then the erector system locked up, and it would adjust at all.


4). Nothing has changed on the Zeiss V6’s to correct their issues- same as Leupold and Swarovski. I am 50/50 with the Sig.






This is always contentious when it’s brought up, but it is reality seen in testing and usage when monitored and logged. This isn’t based on 1 or 2 samples (or ten), or causal use from a bench. It’s based on lots of scopes tested, evaluated, and used in the field while being measured for zero retention, tracking, correct adjustments, and return to zero. For instance, with more than 100 Leupolds in the last 5 years, somewhere around 80% will have a significant enough problem within 400 rounds to miss an 8 inch target (2moa) at 400 yards. Compare that with an evaluation of 10 new Nightforces over three weeks and 70,000 rounds. Checked four times a day, every day for zero retention using the same lot of ammo they were zeroed with. Use ranged from “normal” field use, to heinous. Not one lost zero, the tracking was within 1% for every one, and they adjusted correctly every single shot. Nightforce designed and built them to stay zeroed and work correctly.

When Leupold/Swarovski/Zeiss/Vortex/etc designed their scopes, they did not design them to hold zero regardless of impacts, and not at all designed and built them to be dialed. They were designed and built for profits, glass quality, and weight in order.





Scopes are aiming devices. They are meant to steer bullets by means of a reticle to a target. In order to do that the reticle must stay lined up with the bore. You’re going on a mountain hunt. If you slip and the rifle/scope takes an impact on rocks- how sure do you want to be that it is still zeroed? If it isn’t, how does that effect your hunt?

A 19oz scope that is bullet proof is cheap, and light, insurance.
 

WRO

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When Leupold/Swarovski/Zeiss/Vortex/etc designed their scopes, they did not design them to hold zero regardless of impacts, and not at all designed and built them to be dialed. They were designed and built for profits, glass quality, and weight in order.
I'd counter that those scopes weren't designed for the twisting long range shooter. They were designed with the regular hunter in mind and the technology used in their turrets hasn't been updated to meet the new changes in hunting styles. For the average hunter 10 years ago, 300 yards was a long shot.
 

Formidilosus

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I'd counter that those scopes weren't designed for the twisting long range shooter. They were designed with the regular hunter in mind and the technology used in their turrets hasn't been updated to meet the new changes in hunting styles. For the average hunter 10 years ago, 300 yards was a long shot.

? Exactly.
 
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dreamingWest

dreamingWest

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Form, I was hoping you would chime in with a better update on the V6. Regarding the Swaro Z6, I wasn't considering loss of zero due to a drop. I thought the issue with the Swaro Zs were simply tracking errors. The Z6 2.5-15 is actually a 19oz scope. I was trying to stay under 20 oz with a healthy FOV when I chose not to pick another Nightforce.

Regarding using the BRH with mils rather than yardage, I'm still splitting marks and holding off POI, but yes that would be a smarter use of the reticle. I practiced using hold overs with the Nightforce MOAR reticle on my .260 and never had any real frustrations. Probably because it's simply a more accurate rifle.
 

Formidilosus

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Form, I was hoping you would chime in with a better update on the V6. Regarding the Swaro Z6, I wasn't considering loss of zero due to a drop. I thought the issue with the Swaro Zs were simply tracking errors. The Z6 2.5-15 is actually a 19oz scope. I was trying to stay under 20 oz with a healthy FOV when I chose not to pick another Nightforce.

Regarding using the BRH with mils rather than yardage, I'm still splitting marks and holding off POI, but yes that would be a smarter use of the reticle. I practiced using hold overs with the Nightforce MOAR reticle on my .260 and never had any real frustrations. Probably because it's simply a more accurate rifle.

Have you used or considered the NF 2.5-10x32 or 42mm NXS? The SWFA SS 3-9x42mm is worth looking at as well.


So the difference is that with a BDC you were trying to hold between 426 and 471 yards to hit a target at 445 yards. As a mil based reticle, you instead would be holding 2.4 mils at 445, for example. Our brains and vision works better with a hard number in set increments-e.g., seeing” 2.4 mils is easier visually, than guessing where a bit shy of half way between 426 and 471. The way our brain processes the two is different. Having said that, in general one will always be faster to hit dialing elevation and holding wind, rather than holding for both.
 
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dreamingWest

dreamingWest

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Call it ignorance or indifference, but I've never considered a FFP scope for hunting (so no to the SWFA). The Nightforce was considered but I opted for a little more zoom. 15-20X is really nice for load development and 500+. I'll shoot some 400-600 yard shots at 10X and reconsider.

Good stuff regarding BDC vs holding mil. In my limited experience I could see that. That could further explain my ease of the use with the MOAR reticle on my .260. I was always holding for say X.X MOA rather a distance.
 

WRO

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? Exactly.
Not a question, just a countering viewpoint. Every manufacturer makes products for profit.

With the new push to dialing scopes, most manufacturers haven't caught up. While nightforce makes a very nice product, its heavy. I've ran a few swfa's, great turrets but the glass sucks for low light and detail IMHO. If someone ever makes a scope with a robust turret, great glass, and a weight under 24 oz, they'll own the market. I've dialed both the z series and the leupolds, if you don't dial every shot they work well enough. They aren't military grade scopes.
 

Formidilosus

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Call it ignorance or indifference, but I've never considered a FFP scope for hunting (so no to the SWFA). The Nightforce was considered but I opted for a little more zoom. 15-20X is really nice for load development and 500+. I'll shoot some 400-600 yard shots at 10X and reconsider.

Good stuff regarding BDC vs holding mil. In my limited experience I could see that. That could further explain my ease of the use with the MOAR reticle on my .260. I was always holding for say X.X MOA rather a distance.

What you are wanting as far as weight with reliability doesn’t exist. I, and everyone I work and shoot with are fine with 6x to 600 yards, and most farther on 12” targets. 9 or 10x is easy at 600-800 yards on deer sized vitals.





Not a question, just a countering viewpoint. Every manufacturer makes products for profit.

With the new push to dialing scopes, most manufacturers haven't caught up. While nightforce makes a very nice product, its heavy. I've ran a few swfa's, great turrets but the glass sucks for low light and detail IMHO. If someone ever makes a scope with a robust turret, great glass, and a weight under 24 oz, they'll own the market. I've dialed both the z series and the leupolds, if you don't dial every shot they work well enough. They aren't military grade scopes.

I most be missing something as I literally wrote that most scopes weren’t built to dial.

The Nightforce 2.5-10x NXS is 19oz. The SWFA SS 3-9x42mm is 19oz and has resolution and color rendition that is better than Leupold VX3’s. The 5-20x50mm HD SS has ridiculously good glass that is Z5 level.

Regardless, I and others have talked with most of the major manufacturers about the issues, and they all refuse to admit there is a problem even when shown. Swarovski is the only one that admitted it, and they designed the X5’s as the Z series isn’t suitiple for dialing. The X5’s are pretty decent but they still have issues.
 

WRO

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What you are wanting as far as weight with reliability doesn’t exist. I, and everyone I work and shoot with are fine with 6x to 600 yards, and most farther on 12” targets. 9 or 10x is easy at 600-800 yards on deer sized vitals.








I most be missing something as I literally wrote that most scopes weren’t built to dial.

The Nightforce 2.5-10x NXS is 19oz. The SWFA SS 3-9x42mm is 19oz and has resolution and color rendition that is better than Leupold VX3’s. The 5-20x50mm HD SS has ridiculously good glass that is Z5 level.

Regardless, I and others have talked with most of the major manufacturers about the issues, and they all refuse to admit there is a problem even when shown. Swarovski is the only one that admitted it, and they designed the X5’s as the Z series isn’t suitiple for dialing. The X5’s are pretty decent but they still have issues.
I do suck at reading sometimes:).

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Decker9

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Out of the 11 goat harvests Iv been apart of, the longest shot was about 350 yards, all the others were 200’ish or less. Quality is most important imo with a mountain goat rifle scope, between the weather and the terrain, a scope can take a beating.
 
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dreamingWest

dreamingWest

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Shame on me for thinking I couldn't kill a goat with a Z6! That said, my mountain rifle has been with my gunsmith this past week, giving me time to shoot my .260 with 5-20 Nightforce SHV. Specifically focusing on 500 yards at 10 power. No problems there at all. I'm leaning towards swapping the Z6 for the 3-10x42 SHV or possibly the 2.5-10 NSX. I'll shoot at least one more session practicing holdovers with the Z6 BRH reticle before deciding.

Any experience dialing the Maven RS.1? The 2.5-15 looks ugly, but if it dials accurately I may want to consider it. A 2.5-15 accurate dialing lightweight scope is the unicorn I'm looking for.
 

JP100

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I think a common misconception(no offence) is that 'mountain' hunting and 'long range' hunting are often lumped together and are seen as one in the same at times.
You dont need to shoot 800 yards to 'mountain' hunt, I have guided goats, and guide Tahr and chamois here for a living. Over the last few years I worked out average shots for the season, most seasons our averages were around 150-200 yards. Odd shot out to 350, but most under 250.

Most the guys that shoot alot of alpine game shoo them at closer ranges. This month the animals I have shot/guided were Tahr 70 odd yards, Chamois 100 odd yards, Tahr 200 yards, Tahr 160 yards, Tahr 150 yards x2.

Things with goat hunting that people over look.

1) sure you can shoot em a mile away, but you still got to get there!
2) terrain can be deceiving, animals(and people) are lost every year because guys shoot animals in places they cant go.
3) trophy judging is very difficult, you need to be close to see whats what.
4)alot of alpine game is not over 'afraid' of people, cliff dwellers use cliffs as their defense, they feel safe there and often dont bother much with people
5)planning and executing the stalk is 90% of the fun/attraction to this type of hunting

We have clients turn up every year with 'big/heavy' scopes and rifles, thinking they are some long range sniper, and end up carrying a rifle thats too heavy and end up shooting animals at 150 yards.

If you want to shoot 'long range' thats fine, but I would not use goat hunting as an requirement for it.

Nightforce is king for dialing, they are built for it and built heavy. Schmitt and Bender might be along the same lines, ive never used one but they make some top end scopes.

But for a 'mountain' hunting scope they are not necessary. you can get away with a basic 3-9 or 4-12 scope for 99% of hunting uses and plenty of brands make a scope that will fit the bill. Seems you all ready have a 'long range' rig set up, and want to built a light and fast set up. Keep it light, keep it simple. Dont over think it.
 
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