The 1 Thing You Learned- Scopes for Hunting

Oregon Hunter

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Aug 30, 2013
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Beaverton, Oregon
Hey Roksliders! I’m back with another installment of the “1 Thing” theme, this time focused on the huge topic of hunting scopes. I think most of us make a mistake over and over again. We go on a hunt, but don’t make the effort to think critically about 1 thing we learned and will do different next time.

Think about it, how often do magazines write about a hunt, but fail to single out an action item to change in the future? Just 1 thing, maybe something you learned about elk behavior, your rifle setup, clothing, or camping system. We can consume all the information we want, but if we don’t change anything, did it really do us any good? I’d like to continue the series of discussions to get us in the habit of reviewing our hunt, and share highlights about the 1 thing we learned on a particular topic. To start, 1 thing I learned is about SCOPES.

About 10 years ago I jumped on the bandwagon of scopes with externally adjustable turrets. With a new Vortext PST mounted atop my 300 Win Mag, I eagerly chased after mule deer and elk. Then to my disappointment I noticed the windage and elevation turrets getting moved once a day as the rifle rode around in vehicles and went in and out of gun cases. Even if the turret wasn’t moved, my confidence was shaken. The hard lesson I learned was to leave scopes with exposed turrets to target shooting or varmint hunting, and only use glass with locking turrets like the new Leupold VX5 or Vortex LHT.

So what is the 1 thing you have learned about selecting the right scope for hunting? Is it simple is better, the most useful magnification range, or even specific gear suggestions so that we can make the most out of our time in the field!


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Zappaman

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Mar 9, 2021
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Eastern Kansas
IF you REALLY intend to use an expensive "dialer"-- KNOW how (and when) to use it.

I hunt with great guys, but a couple of them have shown up with these scopes and didn't have the (many) "variables" down well to effectively get the scope dialed and make a fast (enough) shot. One guy showed his off day one... "ooo cool!" -then came back after a 350 yard kill... he just held over because he was "too nervous" to try and dial the shot ;)

If it's a mountain gun I am going to be hauling all over the place... I'll take a good lightweight fixed or basic lower power variable scope at 12-14oz. (on a 7 lb gun) Vs a "dialer" weighing 2 lbs. more on a heavier gun-- they get more "heavy" after the first 10 miles.

BUT... I have a "long-range" dailer and when I get the 600 yard shot... I'll KNOW where to dial (because the gun/load WAS WELL tested at that range (not just in my calculator) and thus be able to actually make that shot (given WIND isn't a factor- and it often is... so know when to PASS because you can't "dial" the wind).

Point... KNOW your scope (and gun) well (practice a lot) before doing the "long range" thing.
 

Rifles And More

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Joined
Feb 8, 2014
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235
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Wyoming
Curious- what models of BDC scopes do you like? Thanks!

Currently, the Z3 BRH. It's just a MIL reticle with wind holds.

I've tried to find just a capped 3x9 with mil reticle, but it is rare (or I'm bad at looking). Trijicon and the Z3 are all I've dug up. Found the Z3 local at a discounted price, plus it has the wind corrections as you look down the tree - so away we went.

It is just easier in my head to think xxx yardage = x.x mils and look at the glass. Using my RF and Kestrel I can account for environmental changes. Also, I feel like it gives me more flexibility if I switch loads.

I never have claimed to think logically!

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OP
Oregon Hunter

Oregon Hunter

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Beaverton, Oregon
Fixed magnification makes your life easier.

Familiarity of target size at range, brighter image, lighter weight, simplicity, wider field of views, smaller eyepiece, etc..
How far can you shoot with some of your fixed power scopes?
 
OP
Oregon Hunter

Oregon Hunter

Well Known Rokslider
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Joined
Aug 30, 2013
Messages
825
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Beaverton, Oregon
IF you REALLY intend to use an expensive "dialer"-- KNOW how (and when) to use it.

I hunt with great guys, but a couple of them have shown up with these scopes and didn't have the (many) "variables" down well to effectively get the scope dialed and make a fast (enough) shot. One guy showed his off day one... "ooo cool!" -then came back after a 350 yard kill... he just held over because he was "too nervous" to try and dial the shot ;)

If it's a mountain gun I am going to be hauling all over the place... I'll take a good lightweight fixed or basic lower power variable scope at 12-14oz. (on a 7 lb gun) Vs a "dialer" weighing 2 lbs. more on a heavier gun-- they get more "heavy" after the first 10 miles.

BUT... I have a "long-range" dailer and when I get the 600 yard shot... I'll KNOW where to dial (because the gun/load WAS WELL tested at that range (not just in my calculator) and thus be able to actually make that shot (given WIND isn't a factor- and it often is... so know when to PASS because you can't "dial" the wind).

Point... KNOW your scope (and gun) well (practice a lot) before doing the "long range" thing.
It's so easy to get excited about the newest, latest dialer scope, and not look at how much it weighs. Cracks me up when we spend thousands of dollars to get a light rifle, then saddle it down with a telescope
 
OP
Oregon Hunter

Oregon Hunter

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Aug 30, 2013
Messages
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Beaverton, Oregon
Really, keep it simple for hunting. A basic 3x9 will do 99% of what I need. Drops on the glass do the other 1%.

I have moved back to basics over time when it comes to hunting rifles/glass.
I think he hit the nail on the head when you said do you move towards simple for hunting. There's a big difference between target shooting and hunting
 
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