Re: low light scope question
I have the same kind of conditions, being mostly a whitetail hunter in the northeast. I have used and tried a large variety of different scopes with the hopes of finding the magical one that gives me the best low light visibility. Unfortunately my search has not ended. Some observations:
Make sure your exit pupil(objective lens dia./scope power) is 4-5mm. Example: 50 mm divided by 10x= 5mm exit pupil. Not less. Much more isn't going to do you much good as far as light gathering. That's about all the typical human eye can take advantage of.
All other things being equal, a 1" tube vs. A 30mm tube isn't going to make much difference. The image projected through the tube is less than an inch in most all scopes. The bigger tube is for turret adjustment range, not light gathering on most practical hunting scopes.
Reticle thickness or ability to light is pretty important. Don't go too fine. If the
crosshair disappears, your done hunting. Nightforce lights the Reticles because they
are so fine, and poor in low light unless lit. Don't go bright on the lighting or you will
Glass quality/coating technology after all other factors are considered is going to help but you will be disappointed, given you are already using a top quality scope, if you think you will get an extra 5 or 10 minutes of shooting in low light. I can see a bigger difference in lens quality in daylight, but in low light, the differences begin to disappear. I wouldn't spend an extra $500-2000 on trying to possibly get an extra couple of minutes of shooting if you are already using the quality level of a Leupold, Zeiss, Nightforce, Huskemaw, etc. IMO
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