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  #1  
Old 12-09-2012, 04:20 PM
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Quickie scope comparison


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After reading and answering the post about a two scope comparison, I looked at the 3 rifles that were already sitting in my den and decided to do a little scope comparison of my own this evening. The three scopes are: Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40 (Z-Plex) on top of a M700 Ti in .270, a Bushnell 3200 2-7x32 with FireFly reticle and a Leupold VX-R 1.25-4 with Firedot #4 reticle. my comparison was done on a completely overcast afternoon (Dec 9th) here north of Nashville. Official sunset today was at 4:34, I believe. My comparison started after that time.

I used 5 different "targets"; 1. a semi-lighted grassy bank, about 30 yards from me 2. the same grassy bank, completely unlit, same distance 3. a shed (small barn) with light colored siding 4. same shed, but the dark grey 3D shingles 5. trees in my yard that have bark that's dark & light colored and located 10, 20 and 35 yards from my position

The results were actually pretty surprising. First of all, although I ONLY used legal light (as would be legal for deer, here), it was way darker than normal which actually made for a good test environment, figuring you might be hunting on a very overcast afternoon and wanting to harvest a last minute, legal deer. The Zeiss and Leupold were very similar (comaprable) at all times, during the test. The Zeiss may have had slightly better definition of the 3D shingles for a few minutes, but everything else, including a very dark target looked similar to my eyes.

Well, similar to the extent that I knew what I was looking at and the overall brightness. But, if wanting to actually shoot the noted target, the Zeiss began to become very inefficient as legal time waned. I did charge (with a flashlight) the 3200's FF reticle and it glows a soft green color. It shows the outside bars of a heavy Duplex reticle narrowing towards the center, but no glow at the intersection of the crosshairs.

At very low light, the Zeiss was bright enough to shoot at the bright grass and the light colored barn siding, just fine. BUT, the roof faded the crosshairs badly and the darker tree trunks rendered it nearly to completely useless, even at 10 yards! At the ranges I observed the 3200 and Leupold, they were just fine to see and kill an animal. The Leupold shows exactly where the aiming point is and the Bushnell 3200 had very heavy crosshairs close enough to center to be able to figure the 6" tree's center at 35 yards. Not as well as the Leupold, mind you, but plenty good enough to take an ethical shot. One must have, however, the ability to see a whole target to know where the center of those heavy crosshairs would intersect.

The Bushnell 3200 2-7x32 Firefly really impressed me tonight, for the cost vs value aspect. The Leupold impressed me even more and cemented my opinion of this very fine, new series of scopes Leupold has given us. The Zeiss continues to show me the brightest view, but barely, and the nice Z-Plex reticle is not a friend when wanting to shoot a dark target, at last light (at least for my eyes!). The VX-R came out after I purchased my three Zeiss scopes. Zeiss has no scope under 3-9x40 magnification for $400. Actually, I don't think they have one under $600. This being the case, I will buy 1.25-4, 2-7x33 and 3-9x40 Leupold VX-Rs as my needs may come about, rather then Zeiss products.

For someone wanting to spend the least coin and get the best bang for those $$ at deer, hogs or black bear at last light, go ahead and look at a Bushnell with Firefly reticle. I'll bet it will impress you.
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Last edited by Tnhunter; 12-10-2012 at 06:05 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-09-2012, 04:59 PM
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Interesting.

For low light shooting, I've always found that the biggest problem is the reticle disappearing. Most scopes are too fine in that regard.

Fine for deer, usually, but often not good enough for pigs in low light.
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  #3  
Old 12-09-2012, 06:05 PM
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Interesting read, Thanks for the report TNhunter!
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  #4  
Old 12-09-2012, 06:58 PM
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I like tests like this.

Tnhunter -

How old are you?
Were you in the dark long enough for your eyes to adapt?
What magnification settings did you use?
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2012, 06:08 AM
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I did sit in a darkened room for a bit before beginning the "test", though not nearly as long to dark adapt as I used to before flying NVGs. All scopes were set on 4X and my eyes are definitely not what they used to be, nearing 60 as I am.
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2012, 06:12 AM
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Thanks TN, good review.

The Elite trademark was originally a sold as a Baush and Lomb scope. When Bushnell bought the B&L line as the basis for getting into the scope market, they were allowed to use the B&L name. B&L stopped them about 15 years ago,, but they kept the Elite line to guide those wanting the old B&L line of scopes. Now it looks like any magic in Elite is gone, so as said, Bushnell is collapsing that trademark line.

I don't see many FireFlys around any more. Is Bushnell discontinuing them?

Since they need to be charged with a flashlight (for 10-15 minutes), many hunters think that this just gives away your position at the best time of the hunt. I've heard that you can cup your hands and shelter the flashlight. Also the light is not adjustable.

I have a red-dot for evening hunts, the battery lasts all season , and it is adjustable. I like the lighted dot a lot and would like one on my scopes. Just bought one of the new, lighted (battery) scopes and will have to use it to decide if it is good or bad. Be nice if Bushnell just went to a battery (adjustable light) and kept the FireFly name.

If you like the FireFly, might want to get one now while they are still available.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:40 AM
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Tnhunter -

I have found it informative to do similar comparisons, but with the scopes set at the same exit pupil, instead of the same magnification. I'm about the same age as you, and my pupil dilates to a maximum diameter of about 5.7mm. That corresponds to a 32mm scope at about 5.5X, and a 40mm scope at 7X.

It might be interesting to look through your 40mm at 4X until it's too dark, then turn it up and check it at 7X.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryS View Post
Thanks TN, good review.

The Elite trademark was originally a sold as a Baush and Lomb scope. When Bushnell bought the B&L line as the basis for getting into the scope market, they were allowed to use the B&L name. B&L stopped them about 15 years ago,, but they kept the Elite line to guide those wanting the old B&L line of scopes. Now it looks like any magic in Elite is gone, so as said, Bushnell is collapsing that trademark line.

I don't see many FireFlys around any more. Is Bushnell discontinuing them?

Since they need to be charged with a flashlight (for 10-15 minutes), many hunters think that this just gives away your position at the best time of the hunt. I've heard that you can cup your hands and shelter the flashlight. Also the light is not adjustable.

I have a red-dot for evening hunts, the battery lasts all season , and it is adjustable. I like the lighted dot a lot and would like one on my scopes. Just bought one of the new, lighted (battery) scopes and will have to use it to decide if it is good or bad. Be nice if Bushnell just went to a battery (adjustable light) and kept the FireFly name.

If you like the FireFly, might want to get one now while they are still available.
I've not looked at the literature that came with the two Elites I bought with FF reticles for a while, but I don't think it takes that long to charge them. I charged the one I used for 2-3 minutes tops. When I hunt with them, I try to remember to have a scope cap (hinged) on the objective lens and also initially charge the crosshairs for a few mins at my truck, before entering the woods in darkness and then as shooting light approaches, another quick minute or two, at my stand (closing the cap as I charge it). In the evenings, I charge it between S/S and 15 mins after for just a couple minutes. The crosshairs show as very heavy duplex type during times they are not charged and I think hat might bother some. Me, I like heavy crosshairs and especially like #4 or HD reticles for hunting, if the reticle is not powered.

All that said, I really like the VX-R series with it's auto shut-off and numerous brightness levels. Not sure what difference the 30mm tube makes, but I know my favorite Leupolds (of the 20+ I own) before buying my two VX-Rs were my two 30mm Leupold Euro scopes with #4 reticles. In previous tests with them vs my Zeiss Conquest scopes with Z-Plex, the #4 reticle was much easier to see at low light levels, even though the Zeiss were brighter, overall.
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  #9  
Old 12-11-2012, 07:25 AM
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I have a Firefly 3-9x50 and really like the scope in general. Yes, the FAT crosshairs are distracting but after a few rounds you don't care. The center of the crosshair is not thick and very suitable. Mine came with a little flashlight that I attached to my scope sling. It charges up quickly and discretely enough.

I also have a VXIII Leupold 3-9x50. At the last little bit of legal shooting light (on cloudy days) the crosshairs disapear on deer (darker than a tree).

That being said, I love the BDC reticles. I have a Nikon Inline on my muzzleloader and a Burris Fullfiled on a 270. I wish both could be illuminated. I'm completely sold on the IR and BDC and waiting for somebody other than TruGlo to make one.
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Last edited by fred d.; 12-12-2012 at 05:50 AM.
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  #10  
Old 01-14-2013, 08:26 AM
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Anyone tested the Zeiss Rapid Z reticles in low light?
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:59 AM
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Tnhunter, I don't know whether I didn't see this review last month, or just failed to reply, but either way thanks for this comparision and info!
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  #12  
Old 01-16-2013, 04:48 AM
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Great comparison. Very informative.

I just put a Centerpoint 4x to 14x scope with lighted reticle on my .270 Ruger to give the newfangled lighted reticle a try. The concept makes sense to me. I've tested it a few times at dusk and the IR makes a big difference during testing at last light and beyond.

Can't count the number of times this set up would have helped me when I was a much younger man, got to my spot one hour before first light and could endure the cold and stay in the woods past last light.

Now I know better and sleep in and shoot my bucks around 1 p.m. when the sun is high in the sky and I've had a hearty breakfast! At my age I'm not sure I'll be in the woods when it's dark enough to need a lighted reticle but it gives me confidence to know I have it and it's fun showing the young guys in deer camp the old man is using new technology before them even though he's sleeping in!
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