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Thread: How to choose scope for rifle

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    Default How to choose scope for rifle

    Sorry if this question has been asked before but thought I would bring it up since I'm new here. I just bought a new rifle ( tikka t3 in 300wm) and now thinking of what scope to mount on it. I will be buying aftermarket rings. But the real question is how to choose the right scope magnification. I'm thinking of possibly a vortex or Leo others are always a option. Not super worried on prices right now since I'm wanting to have a good quality scope. What do you all think

    thanks for all the help

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    Will you be doing lots of close hunting in the brush, or mostly shooting the long stuff?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    What is your intended use? Opinions vary, but for my uses I put a 3-9x scope on my big game rifles. I like the versatility so that I can have the appropriate magnification for anything from 30 yard to 300 yard shots. Some prefer fixed power scopes, and I can appreciate that argument, but I'm sold on either 2-7x or 3-9x scopes.

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    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Tikka's are light, so make sure you get a scope with lots of eye relief. For hunting purposes it's hard to go wrong with a 3-9 or 4-12.

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    Mainly be a moose and bear and other big game hunting rifle like Brian said 30-300 yards in that area.

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    A good 3x9 is perfect.
    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

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    Member 2dawgs's Avatar
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    I run a Leupy vx3 1.5-5x on my .300 WM and really like it. I also have a vx3 3-9x set up for it both on quick detachable rings. Depends on where I'm hunting determines what scope I mount. My rifle has no iron sites.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    A 3-9x40, 2-8x36, 6x42 4x33.... they all work- I've used Leupold, Zeiss, Vortex, Nikon.

    I can tell you what I don't like easier than what I do.... Objectives over 40mm, scopes that weigh enough to change balance on the rifles, a magnification over 10x and complicated reticles.

    A Tikka 300WM would work pretty well with a 6x42 Leupold....
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    I set my rifles up for specific hunts. My goat/sheep hunting rifles carry a 6.5x20 Leupold. I can count growth rings on sheep and not have to pack a spotting scope.
    Moose rifles carry a 3x9 Leupold.
    Caribou might be a 4x12 or the 6.5x20.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    I have a tikka I put an aftermarket rail on it, with a loopy 4.5-14 vx3. very well balanced, and I like a little higher mag on scopes for personal reasons. works very well

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akhunter89 View Post
    Sorry if this question has been asked before but thought I would bring it up since I'm new here. I just bought a new rifle ( tikka t3 in 300wm) and now thinking of what scope to mount on it. I will be buying aftermarket rings. But the real question is how to choose the right scope magnification. I'm thinking of possibly a vortex or Leo others are always a option. Not super worried on prices right now since I'm wanting to have a good quality scope. What do you all think

    thanks for all the help
    Quote Originally Posted by Akhunter89 View Post
    Mainly be a moose and bear and other big game hunting rifle like Brian said 30-300 yards in that area.
    There are a few things that I demand and a few I consider overrated when selecting a scope.

    I demand a scope be as durable as mechanically possible. This is all the more important when a scope is placed on a rifle with significant recoil or when the rifle is going to be used and a backup is not a viable option. It's also more important when a rifle is going to see real use in the field and not just a few trips a year from the gun safe to the range. It's best to be honest about how you're going to use the rifle and plan accordingly. There are a large number of hunters that will not fire 20 centerfire cartridges through their rifle in a year. They hardly ever hunt where they do not sleep in their own bed, or at least in a climate controlled bed. These same hunters may own several different rifles, but once the scope is zeroed they might hunt several seasons without firing a shot with that rifle. I suggest that their demands in a scope is much less than someone that shoots 1000s of rounds per year, carries their rifle many miles upon their back (or horse, atv, skiff, plane, etc.) and submits the rifle to the elements for a week or two at a time. Discerning where your needs are will go a long ways in determining what best fits your rifle.

    I'd also suggest that a scope with a generous eye box (meaning that it has sufficient eye-relief that is non critical) that is consistent should also be a major consideration. There are a lot of scopes with too little eye relief. Worse yet, most variable scopes have eye-relief that changes as you turn the power selector. On 3X it's perfect, but turn it to 9X and its too short and ends up biting your eye during its recoil. Or if you have your eye a bit misaligned behind the scope you have to search for the target. I much prefer a scope that is absolutely consistent in eye-relief and allows a lot of latitude in eye placement to acquire a sufficient sight picture.

    Personally, I believe that magnification is the most over considered option in a hunting riflescope. Higher magnification isn't necessarily bad, it's just that it comes at too high of a cost IME. Higher magnification means that a scope is often heavier than it needs to be to serve its purpose. This can cause poor balance in a rifle or at least a rifle heavier than it needs to be. More magnification often necessitates larger objectives and adjustable objectives and neither of these contribute to durability. Fewer moving parts creates less opportunity for Murphy to visit. Higher magnification generally inhibits eye-relief and mandates that the optics are more expensive to maintain the same image quality of lesser magnification. I also think that objective size is overrated. I understand that a couple extra minutes of shooting light can make a difference, but I'll take the increased durability that always makes a difference of using mounts that are lower profile and therefor possess less leverage to move when secured to the rifle.

    I also factor cost into my decision. I simply can't afford to use scopes costing several thousands of dollars apiece on each of my rifles. What I want to do is not buy something cheap, but to buy something that is an excellent value.

    Scoping a .300 WM for big game (bear and moose in particular) at ranges up to 300ish yards I know that I'd select a Leupold 6x42 as my first choice every time. 3-9ish scopes are certainly workable and will be the first choice for lots of shooters, but I'll take the lighter weight, increased durability and the eye-box advantages it has over any variable of which I'm aware. It's hard to imagine that the fixed power is preferable and most people think having choices is better, but I've found the supposed advantages of more Xs are not nearly as significant as the measurable advantages of Leupold's 6x42.

    I'd as soon have a used M8 Leupold as a new 6x42, and they can sometimes be found for sale. They're easily the best value in optics for a hunting rifle IMO.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    I'm with 1Cor15:19 except for 1 thing. I prefer a straight 3x or 4x. If you can't hit a pie plate at 300 yds with a 3x, you need more help than a higher power scope will give. Folks that use a scope to check things better with a rifle attached make me real nervous.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Folks that use a scope to check things better with a rifle attached make me real nervous.
    I'll agree with that. Although I like my 9x for shooting sometimes, a higher powered rifle scope should not be considered a substitute for binoculars or a spotting scope. The rifle scope is for preparing to fire and for making the shot, not for judging legality, counting rings, spotting for animals, or anything along those lines. It's a basic rule of firearms - only point your weapon at that which you are willing to destroy. If you don't know what's out there already, you shouldn't be pointing a rifle at it.

  14. #14

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    My all time favorite big game scope is the Leupold 2.5 X 8 variable with a 36 mm objective lens and the standard Duplex reticle and I have used the 2.5 power setting for most shots, as I found it sufficient for 300 yard shots. A close second is the Leupold 1.75 x 6 with a 32 mm objective lens and a Post/Duplex reticle from their custom shop.

    For 3 years I did a little survey on here and the average distance reported for the all important "first shot" at an animal was 180 yards, which is why my scopes are zeroed for 200 yards. So if the reported 180 yard average is true then wanting more power is a personal thing. Who can't hit a moose or caribou at 180 yards with a 4 x power scope?

    There is no better scope for the money then a Leupold. I have looked through their 3.5 x 10 with the 40 mm objective lens and it is nice. But much bigger then the 2x5 x 8 and I see no need for it for a moose and bear rifle. But, that does not mean those packing big scopes are doing some thing wrong if they are willing to carry it.

    I agree with this. A rifle scope is an "optical sighting instrument" only and should not be used as a replacement for other optics such as binoculars and spotting scopes.

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    I went to the Trijicon 3-9 scope for the lighted center dot. I use the gun for moose and bear. I had a 3-9 zeiss scope on it and tried to shoot a bear under a tree late in the evening. A black bear in a shadow was hard to make out, let alone trying to aim with the black cross hairs on a black body. The green dot helps to get on target quicker for me if my target is black or dark to begin with. I can also shoot it with both eyes open if it is on 3 power. It seems to be durable enough, and the dot is not mechanical, so no batteries or electronics. The glass is "good enough" for what I use it for.

    Good glass makes a difference in low light, especially for dark and or small animals at some distance. Like 200-300 yards. Look through a really good scope, and then a pretty good scope, and you will see a big difference. If you are going to shoot your 300 Win at goats, sheep and deer past 300 yards, you might want some magnification. It is will make a difference in accuracy.

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    I have many rifle /scope combos and over the years I have had one that seems to be my favorite out to 400 yards but really seems to shine at ranges 250 or under for 99% of the critters I have hunted. It is a Leupold VX1 LR 2 x 7 x 33....

    The xtra ranging dots seem to be very close for most big calibers out to 400 yards and gives me a solid point of reference vs just the old "hold it 4 inches over its back otta do it " method... Good solid scope, budget friendly, and great eye relief... Def my go to scope anymore on many rifles...Good luck on your decision - lots of good choices...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Light Gathering and transmission to your eye is a big deal. Go over to Great Northern Guns and use their dual scope holder-stock. It is a rifle stock with a rubber mount that can hold tow scopes, one above the other for comparison. Go around sundown and look down the street from their porch. That lets you compare one scope against another for light transmission and clarity at range. Everyone has different eyes... For me the Leupolds had better clarity and light than the affordable Zeiss scopes.
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    "Everyone has different eyes....."

    A few years back, I'm really struggling to see through the variety of 3x9 x 30-40 scopes that had served me well over the years. So I went shopping and tested several over the course of a few evenings and ended up buying a Zeiss 4-12 x 50. Yes, it's big and heavy and yes it altered my shooting posture just a tad (and yes, on the particular rifle it's on, the front sight obscures part of the scope), but man did that thing seem bright. Bright enough and clear enough that I bought another one a bit later.

    Fast forward a couple of years, Ophthalmologist says "You have cataracts". Some months (and lots of $$ later), no cataracts.

    Guess what? My "old" Leupold 3x9x40 and my old (without qualifier) Redfield 3x9x30 (IIRC the objective size) are all of a sudden much brighter and clear.

    Oh well, I'll figure out something to do with the big-***** glass.
    Back in AK

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    1cor and Hodgeman have it nailed ....

    Durability and simplicity along with light weight......that's a light rifle with sharp recoil than can abuse a scope or make a heavy scope move in the rings.....4X or 6X would be my choice......amazingly simple.....as durable as scopes get and reasonably priced.

    BUT......make the ****ed thing fit ya!.......get that eye relief correct for various shooting positions and lower/higher mounts and raise the cheek rest if needed.....

    I've heard many hunters talk about their rifles capability on charging bears etc but many of them have difficulty quickly finding a target in the scope...keep it simple.

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    I would also recommend a Leupold VX3 or VX3i 2.5-8x36mm in either duplex or Boone & Crockett reticle. I have one on my Ruger 375 Guide Gun with the duplex reticle. Has enough eye relief and compact on the rifle. Crank it down to 2.5x for brush and up to 8x for open areas when needed.

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