View Full Version : What is your scope of choice?

03-26-2008, 01:20 AM
If you shoot varmints and some targets what is your favorite scope and why?
What reticles do you like/dislike?
1/4" MOA or 1/8" MOA adjustments?
1" tube or 30mm
40mm objective? 50mm?

03-26-2008, 04:09 AM
At the moment I am using a Weaver 6-20X40 Grand Slam scope on my SAKO S491. It is in 6mm PPC and I find this scope to be very clear and easy to use. It has a FCD (Fine Cross Hair and Dot) which I like very much. It gets used more at the range than on rabbits but hopefully that will change next spring.

03-26-2008, 09:18 AM
My varmint gun sports a Nikon Buckmaster 6-18 SF with FCH-dot. I really like the looks of the Bushnell 4200 6-24X50 30MM.

03-26-2008, 11:03 AM
Of all my scopes--couple of VX-IIIs, VX-IIs, a Mueller, and a few Swfits.....and one Zeiss Conquest, the Zeiss is the best piece of glass. Its brighter than my 8.5-25x50 LR/T, the eye relief is near constant, the side focus is much better than that of the Leupolds, more FOV with same power, its just an all round better scope. It does have the drawback of not much elevation range.

My ideal scope would be:

-44-45mm obj
-large eye-box like on the Zeiss
-clarity of the Zeiss
-target knobs like Leupy
-side focus of Zeiss
-longer eye relief of Leupy, but constant like Zeiss
-fine duplex of Leupy, but etched like Zeiss
-30mm tube like Leupy for more vertical adjustment range
-1/4 moa clicks---with 1/8th you turn the knob too many times, it takes too many turns to adjust for range and you lose track of how many cranks you've made. My only 1/8 moa scope is the Mueller and it only has something like 8 moa per revolution.

So where is what I've come up with....

For field type guns where I need fast shots, fast adjustments, and will be used in low light conditions, I'm going to buy Zeiss 4.5-14x44 models and send 'em in for tactical-style target knobs. I have one for my deer rifle build and plan on another for a light-varmint/coyote rifle.

For bench varmint rifles, I'm going to buy Leupold VX-III LR series scopes. I honestly like my 6.5-20x40mm LR scopes except they need sent in for target knobs. When that power range works, that'll be my pick as they mount nice and low and have a fine duplex. I have one 8.5-25x50 LR/T that I use on a 6.5-284 for long range shooting and the 25x is nice when conditions are clear. I wouldn't mind another to put on one of my .204s, but I'd want to add an adjustable cheek-rest.

03-26-2008, 11:10 AM
My favorite scope for my deer hunting /carry rifle is a 3-9x vxII w/duplex. My varmint scope is an older Burris Signature Series 8-32x w/peep plex. Must not have sold enough peep plex because I haven't seen one for sale for some time but it is a regular duplex with a small ring in the center. That ring makes it a fantastic precision instrument because at ridiculous ranges you can still see a chuck or PD dead center in the crosshairs. The ring is also fantastic for load development because it is bigger on the OD than most target dots allowing for exact alignment on round bullseye's without covering it and the human eye naturally tries to align concentric circles.
I'll probably get some heat for recomending a Tasco but if you want a decent all-round scope and you're short on cash for about $80 the VAR2.5-10x42M has target knobs, looks good and has held up to 7mm mag & .50 mag muzzle loader recoil for about five years. I have three of these and for NON-PRECISION, up to 200yd, general purpose hunting on a budget you will be hard pressed to beat it.
I don't think that middle class America can do better than the best Leupold they can afford. If your at six figures or better and not a lot of bills then maybe NF or Zeiss, IMO.
Don't need 30mm tubes and 56mm objectives unless you're hunting at night, don't mind the extra weight and are bucks up but they are better. That's what I mean by relative to your purpose and disposable income.

03-26-2008, 11:36 AM
AZ_Win52: Right now I have about 60 Rifles with scopes on them along with 3 scoped pistols!
I am currently using scopes by Leupold, Unertl, Nikon, Zeiss, Redfield, Burris, Sightron, Bausch & Lomb, Weatherby and I even have some lower end scopes like Bushnell, Tasco, J.C. Higgins and Simmons on some of my "loaner Rifles".
I much prefer Leupold scopes for range work, Varminting and Big Game Hunting - main reasons are for their reliability and performance, but in the last couple of years I have not been buying "new' Leupolds - I have been concentrating on seeking out screamer deals on used Leupold scopes.
Trying to save some monies with this tactic!
I have not warmed up to the 30mm tubes and 50mm objectives at all. I see no need for them in my year round and some times round the clock usages. Even for night Hunting my 40mm objective and 42mm objective scopes work just fine!
As far as adjustment graduations go - as long as they are click adjustments then I can make do - I do not care for friction adjustments.
For Varminting (all around usages) I prefer high power variables from 6x18 on up the availablity scale!
For Big Game Hunting one of my favorite scopes is the Leupold 4.5x14. But a couple of my Big Game Rifles have Leupold 8.5x25 and 6.5x20 variables on them (I Hunt the high plains a lot!). My spring Bear Hunting Rifle has a 4x12 Leupold on it and my woodsy Elk Hunting Rifle has a 3.5x10 on it.
For target/range work I have several fixed power Leupolds in 36 and 24 powers.
If I had unlimited funds these days, ALL, my scopes would be Leupolds - not just 70% of them, as is now the case.
Leupolds are just "to expensive" at retail anymore - but for Varminting (sometimes under harsh conditions!) and target work like you are interested in the Leupold line WILL provide you with excellent performance and superb reliability and lots of choices!
Best of luck with whichever you choose.
Hold into the wind

03-26-2008, 11:51 AM
For the price, you can't beat the Bushnell Elite series of scopes. You're just not going to find a better 6x-24x scope for under $575 with side focus. And if it comes in a 30mm tube for that price....all the merrier. The ballistic dots reticle is a fine enough line and dot that I can shoot my 1/4" target groups easilly at 100yards, and of course I can use the ballistic dots for hold-over for day time hunting.

Because I don't have the experience like other guys on these websights, I study the heck out of archives and the "search" on this websight and other websights for guidance in making sure I make a well informed and educated purchase.
I haven't been disappointed yet with my choice of rifles, gunsmiths or scopes by what others keep recommending over and over.(I go by consensus....and I don't take the word of just one or two people)I kept reading that the Elites can't be beat for the money (as I refuse to spend $1,200 for a Night Force scope that a lot of folks suggest). I bought 2 Elites, and will be buying my third Bushnell.....albeit that one for $750. A great marketing feature of the Bushnell too is that they will refund your money within 1 year if you are not satisfied with it.

For that $575 price, the Nikon scopes are the only other name that folks like just as much. I think some of it has to do with snob-appeal of the name too. But the Nikon BDC reticle is not as fine for target shooting and PD hunting, so I choose the Bushnell mil-dots. On the subject of "snob appeal" I also prefer to see "Japan" on my Bushnell, instead of "Malaysia" on other scopes.
(yes the Nikon Malaysia scopes works just jim-dandy fine too)

Enter the word Elite, and see what you find in the different websights.

Here's one sight that discusses nothing except optics:

03-26-2008, 12:16 PM
One thing I see some companies pushing is that they have 30mm tubes for "light gathering" and "brighter images". That is bologna. The objective lens and coatings determine transmission of light, not the erecter tube diameter. The reason for a 30mm tube is adjustment range. The 30mm tubes provide more room for the erector tube to move about to adjust for range. Another option is to add canted bases if you run out of travel.

My 1" VX-II 6-18x40 on a .204 Ruger runs out of travel at about 600 yards. The .204 Ruger also runs out of gas around there, so I haven't worried too much about it.

Meanwhile, I have a 30mm tube 8.5-25x50 scope on my 6.5-284 that I haven't run out of travel yet shooting 1,000 yards+.

So decide between 1" and 30mm appropriately. If its going to be close, and you want the 1", add bases with a cant.

03-26-2008, 03:18 PM
Nightforce BR's or Bushnell elite 3200 or 4200. The bushnells are damn good glass. They are better then some of my leupolds

03-26-2008, 03:18 PM
I agree with everything varminthunter says, except the bit on 30mm scopes. I really like 30mm scopes on low light conditions, and believe they have an advantage there.

I've seen Leupold do well in extreme weather conditions as well (blizzard)

I would have Mark 4's on everything if I could afford it.

Nikons are great for the price. Burris has some fine scopes in some models. Zeiss scopes are well built. Swarovski are good scopes, but overpriced.

308 shooter
03-26-2008, 03:24 PM
For pure target use in a variable my "old" Leupold Vari-X III 6.5X-20X 50mm is one that I have used for last 10 years or so. Sent it back to Leupold in 2006 for a target dot reticle , wish I would have done that right from the start!

A new addition just arrived last week - a Bushnell Elite 4200 6X - 24X 40mm with target dot reticle. A long scope but optically very good , especially for a $399 scope (ordered from Bear Basin in CA). The closest Leupold I could find a VX-III 6.5X-20X at $650.

Ordered a Weaver Grand Slam 6X-20X target dot last year but the dot was way too samll for me and I sent it back. But optically the scope was very sharp.

03-26-2008, 04:08 PM
I agree with everything varminthunter says, except the bit on 30mm scopes. I really like 30mm scopes on low light conditions, and believe they have an advantage there.

I've seen Leupold do well in extreme weather conditions as well (blizzard)

I would have Mark 4's on everything if I could afford it.

Nikons are great for the price. Burris has some fine scopes in some models. Zeiss scopes are well built. Swarovski are good scopes, but overpriced.

What optical advantage in low light conditions are you getting from a 30mm tube? Your objective lens is what brings in the light. Don't fall victim to the marketing hype. The only real advantage to the 30mm tube is it allows more travel for the erecter tube!:D

03-26-2008, 05:52 PM
What optical advantage in low light conditions are you getting from a 30mm tube? Your objective lens is what brings in the light. Don't fall victim to the marketing hype. The only real advantage to the 30mm tube is it allows more travel for the erecter tube!:D

The only marketing hype I subscribe to occurs in my box stands.

My monarch gold and Leupold 30mm, both give me a better sight picture at last and first light, just my observation. I don't know why. Take this observation or leave it. The only explanation I can think of, it's like a peep sight vs. a ghost ring (if you know what those are) A peep gets very difficult to see through near dark. So, people screw the orifice out and use the ghost ring. The hole is bigger, so it draws more light?

Have you ever taken a 1" and a 30mm in the stand at twilight, and looked through both? I have...Try it, sometime. Two rifles, same brand and power, different tubes.

Also, I find that the objective plays a part in the brighness, but is not as important as a good ocular lens. For instance, this is, why I believe the Diavari zeiss scopes, have such good light transmission. I have a 3-9x40 Diavari, and it is brighter than some 50mm scopes I have.

Again, just my observation.


03-26-2008, 09:10 PM
Just rid my self of a Nikon Monarch 5x20x44MM. I swear I could see bullet holes at 100 yards better with Elite 4200 4x16x40MM then I could with Nikon on 20 power. Burris Black Diamond was fuzzy. I 8sixed that,Leupold 8.5x25x50 was good but way too expensive. Didn't have any thing over the Bushnell elites. Now I'm expecting shipment of the Bushnell 6500elite 2.5x16x50MM.I'll post my reports.

03-27-2008, 12:07 AM
I have a Bushnell Elite 4200 8-32x40mm with Mil-dot. Excellent scope for varmints & the dots fit inside a 22 ca. hole at 100 yards.

Have compared the glass to friends Swarovski and Leupolds and can't tell the difference.

Got from The Optic Zone.

"Aim small miss small", :D


03-27-2008, 01:16 AM
Honestly, I believe its in your head. There is no possible way a larger outside diameter of the scope body can transmit more light as the erecter tubes are the same size! I think you'll find that the Leupold VX-III 1" tubes with AO are actually brighter as there is one less lens to pass through compared to the 30mm side focus models. Each time light passes through a lens it is diminished. If every lens transmits 95% of the light it comes into contact with, each lens loses 5% of available light. The more lens a scope has, the more light is lost.

The objective's surface area determines how much light will make it to the next lens. The more surface area, the more light. Its that simple. The erecter tube in a 30mm and a 1" model are both the same size. Therefore, more light cannot pass through one than the other. Its simple physics. The difference is the outside tube diameter. The reason for a 30mm is that the erecter tube (same size as on the 1") will have more room to travel and give more adjustment range. There is nothing magical about it. You ocular lens is the same as any other lens. Its quality determines how much of the light in front of it passes through.

Here is an illustration that might help you get the picture of how it works. As you can see, the inside of the erecter tube will be the same size on both models. One simply has more travel. The only way a 30mm could be "brighter" than a 1" is for either a larger objective, or a larger erecter tube. A larger erecter tube inside the main body then wouldn't have the room to travel. You'll notice all the "LR" model Leupolds are 30mm. The reason why they are LR (long range) models is because they have more erecter tube travel range; more MOA of adjustment.

Here is a visual:


If 30mm is what you like, by all means by them. Just don't do it because they are marketed to be "brighter". The real advantage to a 30mm over a 1" is adjustment range. There is no real reason to pay $200 or 300 more for a 30mm if you don't need the extra moa for long range shooting.

03-27-2008, 04:20 AM
Mark 4s are the best all around for carry gun LR hunting. IMO
They are light, and low
They have sealed external turrets(no friggin caps)
Side focus
Plenty of adjustment
Alumina sunshades, filters, and flip-up covers(which are awesome)
Lit reticles(if desired)
Fine crosshair(or others from the custom shop)

You can order custom through OpticsPlanet at a reasonable cost for these features

If the March wasn't capped and lacking Alumina threading/fit, and if it had a medium fine crosshair reticle, and serious warrantee, I would consider it EQUAL-OVERALL to a Mk4, given it's higher cost.

03-27-2008, 08:08 AM
All Leupolds cost too much for what you get.

Tod Soeby
03-27-2008, 05:11 PM
All Leupolds cost too much for what you get.

I had a Leupold go bad on me on the Tuesday before deer opener (2 week season). I called them up and asked what the turnaround time was....10-14 working days. With shipping time and weekends I figured the season was shot, unless I bought a new scope. I sent the scope next day air along with my credit card # and instructions that as soon as it is fixed to send it back next day air and bill my credit card.







Just my .02 worth


03-27-2008, 05:13 PM
A big +1 to that!

03-29-2008, 05:49 PM
Lots of good info here. I agree with VarmintGuy in that Leupolds are very expensive. Never owned one but friends who do love them. The Bushnell Elite series looks interesting.

I am currently using a Tasco 8-32x 40mm. Works well but above 24x the optics dim and get fuzzy. It's made in Japan. Bought another one a year later and the design changed a bit and it came out of China...quality and function were poor.

04-07-2008, 11:43 PM
I am going with the Bushnell Elite 4200...Leupold would have been nice but finances dictate otherwise.

GT40...I looked everywhere for the 4200 with the Mil-dot it was available in the 24x version but the 32x only comes with the multi-x. Anyone know if Bushnell will swap reticles for a different style?

04-09-2008, 02:08 PM
Leupold scopes with 50mm objectives. I have a big game outfitting business and have compared scopes looking into spruce thickets and how the cross hairs stand out (or disappear) on dark colors of big game animals. The 4.5X14 power scopes are mainly what I find that works the best for hunting. For targets the 8-25 power 30mm tube is the best I've seen as I don't have anything over 25x.

Just bought a Varmint extreme scope and it is awesome. Its on a 300 ultra mag setup for hunting/shooting out to 1000 yds. Drop compensation in the reticle works great and the 1/10th MOA scope adjustments are just what is needed for this setup!

04-09-2008, 05:05 PM
I have several Leupolds in 1" and 30mm tubes, they all offer up more light at twilight than several other brands I've looked though including bushnells and nikons, thats just my opinion and opinions are like @#$holes, everyone has one!!:D That said I also believe that my 30mm tubes are brighter than the one inch models, again just my own opinion. It really gets down to just one thing, what the person behind the glass believes.
I own several "cheap" scopes on what I term my play guns and during the daylight hours they work just as good as anything as long as you ain't trying to adjust the crosshairs, very few track very well so I use hold over.

04-10-2008, 08:51 AM
The Bushnell 4200 series and the 4000 series offer optics that are simply unreal for the money. I have been shooting Bushnell (B&L)scopes since the
late 80's and have never had to return one to the factory and I am still using quite a few of those scopes today from 1989 in the 12-32x configuration. One thing for sure, the target turrents are some of the best on the market with 1/8" clicks with 40mm Objective.

I also use quite a few of the old Burris Signature series in 6x-24x & 8-32's with the 1" tube and 44mm objective; I have no experience with the newer Burris Scopes.

The Pentax light seeker scopes in 6-24 & 8-32 are a real find; while these scopes are assembled by Burris, they have a different set of lenses in them.

For shooting p. dogs, chucks, and ground squirrels, I prefer the 1/8" clicks over the 1/4" clicks due to the fact that the vast majority of the time the 1/4" click ends up being a .300-.400 click instead of a 1/4" click.

05-10-2008, 05:10 AM
All Leupolds cost too much for what you get.

Until you need service and get more than you expect. I have no quibble with Leupold prices given the great support after the sale.

05-10-2008, 10:33 AM
As listed above there are many options, I was wondering for which type of rig do you intend to mount this scope, short range, mid range or for long range?

05-10-2008, 11:09 AM
I was looking for a scope to shoot out to 300yds.

I ended up with the Bushnell Eleite 4200, Leupold universal mounts and Burris Signature Zee rings. I would have chosen a I had a set of leupold rings on the temp scope but when I mounted the 4200 I couldn't get it shooting to POI until I had the internal adjustments maxed out for elevation and windage. The scope is mounted on a Savage 12 LRPV. Whien I started the thred I was looking to see what types of setups people were using and for what purposes...along the way I figured out what I wanted to mount :-)

05-10-2008, 12:46 PM
Well I was in Nv in the middle of a ocean of Nevada sage brush. A coyote came running to the call.I had zero problem placing my cross hairs on its neck at 104 yards.Blew big hole through him. Those elite 6500s are awesome way better then a Leupold what ever. Mine is a 2.5x16x50MM smooth as silk side focus, super clear optics, and in fact I compared mine to Swarovski and a Zeiss conquest I couldn't tell the difference. But the difference in price is distinct.

Fireball Fred
05-10-2008, 03:29 PM
lately i have been using swift premier scopes from E. Arthur Brown in minnesota. i think my deer scope is 4 to 12 variable in a 1 inch tube with 40mm objective. the woodchuck scope is 8 to 32 power, 1 inch tube on a 50 mm objective. these are bright and clear for the job needed to get r done. Greg Moyer


05-11-2008, 12:35 PM
I have an old steel tube T12 Weaver that I shot a lot of targets and varmints with before the days of cyberspace. Then I found out I couldn't do that. :D.
I think you can get too much power on a scope for varmint shooting. And I think for varmint shooting a variable is much preferable to a fixed although you give up a tiny bit in clarity. And you need an AO. I've tried V24's and V36's and they were just too much. The mirage and haze defeated the power. AND YOU CAN'T THROW ENOUGH DOLLARS AT THE PROBLEM TO MAKE IT GO AWAY! IMO, a 4x16 or a 6x18 would be ideal. With a standard 1" tube and somewhere around a 40mm bell. If for no other reason, appearance. Regardless of what the folks that have bought them try to tell you to justify their purchase, those "men in black" scopes bring nothing to the table except added torque on your mounts, greater incident of rifle cant, and the need to have your head bobbing around in the air like a turkey instead of nestled on the stock for a good shot.
As far as which scope to buy, all I'm gonna say is there are a lot of good ones out there. And, IMO, a $1000 scope is not twice a good as a $500 scope. Often they are not any better, they just have a better marketing department or the "I can spend more for my stuff than you can" boys think they just have to be better. I'd go to a big box sporting goods store and have the guy lay out several on the counter and look thru them at the far side of the store. Run the power rings back and forth. Are they clear to the edge? Just maybe they'll go with you out to the parking lot to look thru a couple. I don't own either but FWIW there has been a whole lot of varmints killed with BSA's and Tasco's despite what the above mentioned boys will say about them.