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  #1  
Old 03-02-2017, 09:11 AM
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Playing Musical Chairs with a Rifle Scope


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So recently I had a scope fail on me. Well, I'm 90% sure and 100% hoping it has failed on me. So I have been shopping for a new scope. I would like some suggestions on what to try.

Here's the thing though, the new scope I am looking for is not going to be used the way most people do.

I'm an irons sights guy by nature. However, when I am working on load development, I like magnification. Take a larger percentage of "me" out of the equation. So I have a scope that often hops from one rifle to another. It gets mounted and unmounted quite frequently, zeroed and re-zeroed constantly and is always traveling to and from the range. Then when load development is successful, I go to the iron sights and practice on that.

So there is the function of the scope I am looking for. I don't really care about getting a few more minutes at dusk or sunrise, this will not be used for hunting. Also, I only shoot my load development off a bench to 100 yards, so if I can get away without having Adjustable Objective, that's okay too. I'm okay with either fixed power or variable. I think 10x is the least I would want. I don't need fancy reticles, illumination, turrets, side adjustment, or markings, just something that magnifies and can last a long time.

Basically the scope needs to put up with frequent adjustments, mountings and traveling. I think this is what made my last one fail. It's a Bushnell XLT. If I knew what I know about scopes now I probably would not have purchased it. But it worked well while it worked. I'll send it in for repair under the warranty, but it will end up on a rifle someday that needs a scope and needs to be set once and done. Only used once or twice a year.

Calibers? I have .223, 30wcf, 303 savage, 30-06. I plan on a few newer calibers in the next few years. .300 savage, 308... but I will not be venturing (with this scope) into anything that recoils more than a 30-06.

As for price? Well, I really would like to keep it under $300 bucks. I'm open to used and or vintage scopes. Currently I am looking at the Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x. I have a 2-7x from them that I like, but I have no experience with how well it may hold up.

Perhaps I should look at a used Redfield or Burris or something?
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Old 03-02-2017, 09:28 AM
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You are correct in saying that you do NOT need a scope ultra capable at very low light or with an AO (IMO). Personally, I do not think you need a scope of over 9X at 100 yards either. I find that even with my older eyes, I don't even necessarily need 9X at 100 yards and at times shoot a scope with 9X at a lower power. Of course, I also do not use 1/2" diameter dots for targets either. I like 2" squares or circles of a contrasting color and routinely shoot sub inch and even half inch groups using them.

I do not own a Vortex Crossfire II, but do own 2 or 3 Vortex Diamondback HPs and think there are an excellent quality scope. The Crossfire II is certainly a better choice if looking to shoot rifles with any type of recoil as the older Crossfire & Diamondback (non HP) all had quite short eye relief. Other scopes I'd suggest would be Nikon (as high a model as you can get) and even Leupold VX1. The new VX1 now uses the well liked positive 1/4" clicks(audible) rather then the old friction type adjustments which does make things a little less complicated when adjusting.

I own Burris scopes as well and they would be fine, but I'd go $200 on a VX1 before buying a used Burris. I wouldn't recommend a used Redfield, even though I also own several. Only the very newest Redfields (made by Leupold) would carry any type of warranty and my experience buying one was that I preferred all my Leupolds over it, including a Rifleman series. Buying used, I'd highly recommend buying Leupold with it's lifetime warranty. I'd search online sites and get the best price you can on a new OR used VX1 3-9x40 with standard duplex reticle. Please note that VXIs are not the same scopes as the newer VX1.

Good Luck!
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  #3  
Old 03-02-2017, 10:48 AM
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Tnhunter, thanks for the reply. I was hoping you would post. When researching I found the post you made about your first Vortex Diamondback. Has that held up well? I'm guessing it probably has done well since you didn't mention otherwise. Perhaps I should ask, have you given it much abuse and/or done a lot of turret turning with it? Or have you just mounted it on the specific rifle, zeroed it, and it has lived there ever since?

After reading a bunch on the Diamondback, I think I'm going to consider those over the crossfire II. I'm okay with a little less eye relief as long as the exit pupil is decent. If I recall correctly that's the spec that can tell you how forgiving a scope is if you are not lined up exactly with your eye. Either spec though is easier to compensate for at the range using a bench.

In my research I have not read any (that I can remember) warranty claims on the Diamondback. The Crossfire I have seen some. More claims are "a friend of mine had problems with...." but there are some that are 1st hand. Hard to tell though which are claims about the Crossfire 1 vs Crossfire II. All in all, I would rather spend $50 more and avoid a warranty claim. Especially since I will be not necessarily abusing the scope, but rather giving the moving parts lots of mileage.

But I'm still open to other options.
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  #4  
Old 03-02-2017, 11:09 AM
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I have to say that I've only done a minimum of switching with the 3 Diamondback HPs I've owned. One was placed on top of a Model Seven in .270WSM, sighted in, set aside and then rechecked prior to a deer hunt in Georgia. It was dead on. That scope was/is a 3-12x42. The other two were both 2-8x32s and one was sighted in and then given atop last year's gift rifle. The second 2-8x32 was mounted on two different rifles, a Ruger #1 in 9.3x62 and then atop a M673 in .300SAUM (only boresighted there)

Both these scopes (3-12 & 2-8) have turret mounted focus knobs. While I can understand the desire for a focus-able scope in 12X, I see no need on a scope with a high magnification of only 8X (that's not a rimfire model). No real harm with it and I typically leave it set at 100 yards, which is the normal parallax setting on a big game scope.

Nothing in my owning any of these scopes would cause me to give a thumbs down to someone wanting to purchase one. I've read many claims of excellent CS and good warranty service on Vortex scopes. So far I've not needed a thing. One last thing; I use a collimator device to bore sight most all my rifles prior to initial range work. One thing I especially like about such a device is that I can check the scope's adjustment system prior to firing a single shot. I typically use the grid on the device and count clicks to see how well the scope seems to adjust. And I also check forward and then return clicks. The Vortex scopes worked great in my initial checks with the collimator.
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  #5  
Old 03-02-2017, 11:16 AM
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Been there, done that.

In particular with my Leopold VXL 2x10, (the one with the curved objective bell) took it off my 25-06, tried it on 3-4 different rifles & it's right back where it started. From the bench I usually end up using all the mag I have & in the field the least. I agree you really don't NEED much mag at 100 yards, but being able to see the holes without a spotting scope or schlepping back & forth MAY be an option. A used Leupold with the transferable warranty makes buying used less dicey & you should easily be able to stay under your 300$ budget.
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  #6  
Old 03-02-2017, 11:41 AM
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Weaver's Super Slam series is a truly excellent and durable line of scopes, with great eye relief. My Weaver Tactical, which is a variant of the SuperSlam, gets the turrets dialed A LOT, I've moved it many times from rifle to rifle, and have used it as my match scope for precision (tactical) rifle matches. It always returns to zero and always moves the same amount for a click. John Barsness has also mentioned the Super Slam as a very durable scope for exactly what you're asking about. I wouldn't be afraid of a Weaver Grand Slam, either.

I don't own a Vortex scope, but their support reputation is excellent and they provide a lot of support to the precision rifle game, so I like them.

SWFA's SS line of scopes is very durable, too.
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  #7  
Old 03-02-2017, 12:07 PM
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We hear nothing but good about Vortex.

The Nikon (Buckmasters or Prostaffs) are in your price range and both are fine scopes. They too come with a lifetime warranty.

What I have found personally, for my diminishing eyesight, about scopes powered above 9x: the closer I'm able to zoom in on my target, the more likely I'll spread the group. Why is this? I don't know, and I may be 100% alone in this. And maybe it's because it isn't only my eyesight that diminishes. But when I shoot at 9 x or less, where my bullseye (whatever shape) is not quite as defined, I shoot better. Rephrase: when I do that my groups are better. I also find that I almost can't resist dialing the power level all the way up even knowing that I should keep it at 9 or less for 100 yards. With that said, at 12x or 14x, as was said you can see your holes a little better
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  #8  
Old 03-02-2017, 12:19 PM
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For your price, I'd look REALLY hard at Primary Arms. I have a few 4-14x FFP Mil/Mil scopes of theirs.
I understand that the abilities of it are perhaps more than you are looking for, but they are $239. I dial the snot out of mine as well, and am definitely not gentle with it. Has been right as the mail for a few years so far.
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  #9  
Old 03-02-2017, 12:26 PM
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Have a good scope being used in the way you are suggesting. Mine is a M8 Leupold in 12x. Its been on more rifles than I can remember. Use it for working loads then the hunting sights or scope goes on it. Best part was I found it at a gun show for $125. It didn't track accurately when I first got it but Leupold fixed it for free.
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  #10  
Old 03-02-2017, 06:15 PM
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I meant to address this point:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimner View Post
I'm okay with a little less eye relief as long as the exit pupil is decent. If I recall correctly that's the spec that can tell you how forgiving a scope is if you are not lined up exactly with your eye.
...but I forgot, above; sorry.
You are mistaking some things. Exit pupil is the diameter of the light column that exits the scope toward your eye. Exit pupil diameter is a function of the aperture (objective lens) diameter and the magnification, and nothing else.

How precisely you must place your eye to get a full & proper view is generally referred to as 'eyebox,' and there's either not a specific measurement for that or else no one ever measures or publishes it in reviews or scope literature.
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  #11  
Old 03-02-2017, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MZ5 View Post
I meant to address this point:



...but I forgot, above; sorry.
You are mistaking some things. Exit pupil is the diameter of the light column that exits the scope toward your eye. Exit pupil diameter is a function of the aperture (objective lens) diameter and the magnification, and nothing else.

How precisely you must place your eye to get a full & proper view is generally referred to as 'eyebox,' and there's either not a specific measurement for that or else no one ever measures or publishes it in reviews or scope literature.

Not totally true, sorry. Exit pupil is also a factor in what your eye can see, aligned in the scope. Maybe not a big issue in many cases, but perhaps something that can make a difference
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  #12  
Old 03-03-2017, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnhunter View Post
Not totally true, sorry. Exit pupil is also a factor in what your eye can see, aligned in the scope. Maybe not a big issue in many cases, but perhaps something that can make a difference
He was right, and I can't see that you actually said anything he didn't already.

Exit pupil is the objective in mm divided by magnification setting, nothing else.
The alignment you speak of, is exactly what he was speaking to with the comments of how precisely you must place your eye; what he called eyebox.

The exit pupil is a measurement of the cone of light exiting the scope. The Eyebox is directly related to the size of the exit pupil, but things get messy from there. The exit pupil calculation, truly gives you the Entrance calculation for your eye. Because it assumes no loss of information when passing through lenses or the erector assembly. Larger magnification erector assemblies pass less light typically, but there are many different shapes and means to build erector assemblies. So really, while directly related to the Exit Pupil, the Eyebox becomes a subjective thing.

The reality of it is that L.O.W. or any of its subsidiaries, and a couple Chinese folks have been making the bulk of the world's scopes for quite some time. You remember those Ginsu ads? "Even our German knives?!?" Yes.
I'm looking at you Zeiss, they've been sourcing from all over for a very long time. They had a Chinese factory building one of their industrial measurement machines for them, long ago.
My point is simply that our food doesn't come from the grocery store, and life is always more messy than we want to believe.
Who is going to step out and give a number, or claim a number or spec about an erector? Most come from the same parts bin in the same factory anyway. If there was a new "spec" for something, it would be for sale to everyone else shortly anyhow.
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  #13  
Old 03-03-2017, 02:31 AM
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If I was in your unique situation, and only needed one scope for all of my rifle work, I would buy a very good one, with an excellent lifetime warranty. My options would start and stop with either Leupold or Vortex, but I'd go up a step and get the Viper series. Why mess around when this is your ONE scope?

Are you young, with excellent eyes? I used to be. These days, I find that open sights are basically not an option, unless they include a peep sight to look through. However, when I use a good peep sight, I find it allows me to shoot well enough out to 50 or 100 yards that I wouldn't really need a scope to do any load development. Several of our guns have no (easy) option for a scope, so peep sights it is!

With good shooting technique and a good peep sight, you don't need a scope on a lever gun (or any other) to determine which loads will shoot well enough for hunting at short to medium ranges. If you're choosing guns that are best with open sights, and accepting the limitations of such, then shoot and sight them in as you intend to use them?
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  #14  
Old 03-03-2017, 12:32 PM
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thanks for the replies guys.

About exit pupil, I wasn't sure if that was the right spec. But regardless, It's not that big of a deal since I will be at a bench.

Stretch, I know exactly what you mean about lower magnification and better shooting. It's the same with me for all my shooting except when I'm at the bench. With the couple rifles I have that are scoped 100% of the time, I'm always using 4x. Which is why I love fixed power scopes in the field. When I practice prone, offhand, in the field at a blind or against the tree, I always do better at 4x or 6x than I can on 9 or more. I can see that cross hair moving more on higher magnification and I think I just am not practiced or educated enough to figure out where to pull the trigger. 4x just ends up with better shots. But at the bench it's different, things are rock solid so I can do just fine at 12x.

As others have mentioned, I really would rather have the 12x or 14x so I can see the bullet holes. Often I will have an array of loads made up for the specific range session. If I can see the holes, I can determine if I should skip a charge weight or skip to a different bullet/powder. I would rather not have to use a different device to view the holes.

So far, I'm really considering the following brands:

Vortex
Leupold
SWFA

I need to research more about Nikon Buckmaster. Price point is really nice. How do they compare with Vortex is what I would like to know. Primary arms looks interesting, but I really don't need a FFP scope for this application. But I have that brand in mind for a long range shooting rifle I would like to put together some day.


Broom_jm. I hear you about peep sights. All my center fire hunting rifles without a scope use peeps. Last fall I tried to do load development with just a Williams FP receiver sight on my Win94. I really think I ended up expending a lot more reloading components using a peep sight rather than a scope. It's just that nagging felling in the back of my mind (named OCD) that makes me think that perhaps that bad group is a good load after all and it was my shooting that ruined it. This OCD is what I was talking about with removing as much of me from the equation as I can.

Conversely though, I do have lower standards for what constitutes a good load if the hunting application uses a peep sight. During load development, if I get a load with 1" groups with the scope, I don't bother to further refine that load. I know that with a peep at 100 yards in the field it's highly unlikely that I'm able to shoot as well as I did at the range on a bench with a scope. Hope that makes sense.
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:36 PM
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I think your choice of Vortex is the right choice, I have four of them. The important thing for you is twofold; you need good quality glass for proper sighting. You also need something dependable that going to be constantly readjusted and moved from rifle to rifle.

The Vortex comes with a life long warranty, no questions asked. You can make all the adjustments you want and if something fails you're covered. In short, you get great glass for the money.
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Old 03-03-2017, 03:22 PM
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I have a 10X Leupold with target knobs that is at least 35 years old and is used for testing whatever needs it. It's been re-mounted at LEAST a hundred times. I've also got a target knob 6.5 to 20 Leupold used much the same way but its too big and unhandy for most rifles.
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Old 03-03-2017, 05:33 PM
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Midway is having a sale on the 30mm Vortex Viper scope for $329. It's a 6.5-20x44mm with a side focus and a standard reticle.
Vortex Optics Viper Rifle Scope 30mm Tube 6.5-20x 44mm Side Focus
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Old 03-03-2017, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StretchNM View Post
Midway is having a sale on the 30mm Vortex Viper scope for $329. It's a 6.5-20x44mm with a side focus and a standard reticle.
Vortex Optics Viper Rifle Scope 30mm Tube 6.5-20x 44mm Side Focus
4.5 out of 5 stars from 48 reviewers...the Vipers are great glass, for the money.
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Old 03-08-2017, 05:29 PM
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I'm going to recommend a couple of scopes that most here will probably laugh about. But I've shot lots of rounds downrange with mine with zip problems with them, turrets are reliable, and optics are pretty good too. Anyone of my fellow shooters at range I'm a member, that has sat down with one of them mounted on my rifle has been favorably impressed with them. Chuckle, I talking gents that own Nightforce, Sightthrons, the better Vortex and etc. They'd never ever entertain buying either one.

One is the Leatherwood 6x24x44 sold only by Sportsmans Guide....you will not find it on Leatherwood's web site. Sells for around $120 plus shipping.
The other is a Mueller Eradicator 8.5-25x50 that sells for around $160. I think the glass in the Mueller is better than the Leatherwood and I really like its target dot crosshair.. Have it on one of my more accurate rifles that I often use in our range's monthly rifle competition when its held at 100 or two hundred yards.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:20 AM
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quick update.... for the past few weeks I have been monitoring places to see if any of the scopes I am interested in will go on sale.

Lo an behold! Cabela's is the first to do it.

Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x44 AO with the V-Plex reticle went on sale down to $119 regular at $179. Using the code 37FREE and I get it shipped to my store. Not a bad deal at all as far as I am concerned. I would have preferred the BDC reticle, but it was not on sale. Not that big of a concern though.

Also, the 6-18x44 AO is on sale as well. $139 regular at $219. But I didn't want that much magnification.
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