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Long Range Hunting & Shooting Nightforce Optics


And now for some Optics...

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Unread 09-08-2009, 12:44 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 6,068
Re: And now for some Optics...

Oh yeah.... take some time and read as many riflescope threads as you can.

Some good points have already been made. A good LRH scope will have adequate optics to get the job done (doesn't have to be the very best glass), but most importantly it will have a reticle with mil-rad or MOA graduations AND highly reliable and repeatable windage and elevation turrets. You can get by with a slight amount of slop out to mid ranges, but when you get farther, you will need perfection from your turrets.

Some guys like the mil-rad (mil dot) system and some like MOA.

A mil dot = about 3.6" @100 and adjustments are usually 1/10th of that, 0.36".

MAO = about 1.047"@ 100 yds or for practicle purposes, about an inch, and adjustments are usually 1/4 MOA.

Again, there are two camps on this, but one thing pretty much EVERYONE agrees on is don't mix and match. If you get MOA turrets, DONT get a mil dot reticle or vise vesra.

Most of the scopes in your price range will not have MOA reticle graduations and some will have mil dot, but not mil rad turrets.

The 4200 I suggested has a "multi X" reticle which can be useful for out to mid range hold overs. And it has adjustable turrets.

In my 300 WSM, I can get about 3200 fps with RL 17 and 180 E-Tips (BC of .523) - With factory ammo, Fed 180 AB's you will get about 2960 to 3000 out of your Vanguard. @ 3000 fps and 3000' of elevation and a 200 yd zero, your 300 yd drop will be 6", 400 yds - 18", and 500 yds - 36". With the multi X or similar style reticle, you can compensate for those drops without dialing. Beyond that, you will want to dial.

Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 09-08-2009 at 12:50 AM.
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Unread 09-08-2009, 02:08 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: ARIZONA
Posts: 142
Re: And now for some Optics...

Great choice on the rifle, it should not take you long to find one with a factory group of 3/4 inch or less.

I would recommend the Leupold Mark 2 tactical series for your sporter weight long range hunting rig. They can be had in a 3x9, 4x12, or 6x16. The 3x9 and 4x12 have 1/2 moa adjustments. With the 300wsm, this will allow you to go from 100yds to 1000 yds in less than one turn of the elevation turrent.

Once you decide on a load that you and your rifle likes, with one call to leupold and $60 you will have a custom lazer engraved elevation turrent to 1000 yds. Forget the long range reticles and mil-dot systems. Used in conjunction with a lazer rangefinder, it is tough to beat the custom turrent for speed and precision. You will be amazed at the user friendly foolproof long range accuracy this type of system provides. Also, the Mark 2 series is tested to the same standards as the $1000+ War Horse Mark 4.

The good news here is, if you are patient and regularly shop all the internet distributors, you can fit the Mark 2 in your budget. I recently purchased the Mark 2 3x9x40 for $389, free shipping, no tax. Last week my buddy just purchased the Mark 2 6x18x40 for $450, free shipping , no tax, for his 300 RUM. These deals can come and go pretty quick so be ready to pounce.

For rings I would recommend the Talley lightweight one piece units. These are the rings the Best of the West guys use, and they are a great value at $40 per pair. They will look and perform perfectly on your sporter weight long range hunting rig. For a 40mm scope you will want the low mount rings.

Take your time and enjoy your rifle build. It is half the fun.
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Unread 09-08-2009, 09:13 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 4,155
Re: And now for some Optics...

Sounds like that Leupy Mk 2 is a great deal. I am going to steer you toward the Nikon Buckmaster 4.5x14x40 with the side focus (own one, and the 6x18x40 with target dot for ghogs to 1000yrds). For the money and the game you are going to be shooting, it is a great deal. If you can afford the Sightron SIII, I will also point you in the direction of the Vortex Viper. The Viper is a very good quality scope that will fill the bill on any occasion for your shooting needs.

LibertyOpticsLLC Call and talk to Scott Barish. He has been doing good buisness with a bunch of other guys. I have been considering one of these when I get the money around. I would look at the 4-12 or the 6-20. The mil-dot system works pretty good if you know your drops.

Hope this helps,
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If you find your self in a fair fight, your tactics suck!- Marine 1st Sergeant Jim Ryfinger

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Unread 09-08-2009, 10:45 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
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Re: And now for some Optics...


No flame intended here, but there are some serious issues with custom turrets. They are a great idea, if.... everything remains the same, like elevation, baro pressure, temp, and shooting angle.

Let's take a 180 AB (BC, .507) @ 3000 fps load developed @ 3000' elev @ 40* temp. In ID and MT, hunting elevations can range from 3000' to 10,000'. It's not uncommon for me to hunt at elevations with a difference of 5000' or more in the same day and in a hunting season, I'll usually hunt antelope at about 3000' and elk at anywhre from 4000-9000'. Deer, anywhere form 3000-9000. Temps will range anywhere from 90* in Sep to -30* in Dec. And when you're hunting in the mountains or the canyons of the breaks your game will seldom be at the same elevation as you. Steep angle shots are a very real possibility and lower angle shots a high probability.

So back to the 180 AB. If we have a turret customized for the above info and everything but elevation remains the same but on hunting day we hunt on flat lands @ 4000' elevation our dfference in drops to 600 yds and 1000 yds respectfully are 12" and 43 " VERY big differences. This is just 1000' difference in elevation. A change of 1" in baro pressure is equivilent to about 1000' elevation change.

Ok, let's keep everything the same and shoot uphill @ a 30* angle from 3000' elevation. our drop differences @ 600 and 1000 yds are 12" and 39". Again, VERY big differences. Let's shallow out the angle to a mild 10*. At 600 and a 1000 yds, we get 2" and 9". 2" incehs isnt the end of the world but if you factor in other varriables such as rifle accuracy which amy be say .75 MOA @ 600 yds which for a factory rifle is very good as well as feild conditions, doping wind, etc., 2" might mean a bad shot. 9" of error is unacceptable, especially @ 1000 yds.

Now let's keep everything the same except temp. Let's go antelope hunting @ 80*. Temp difference isn't as crucial. At 600 and 1000 yds we get 1" and 5" differences in POI. 1 " is probably acceptable but 5" @ 1000 yds is not IMO.

So let's get extreme now. Elk hunting @ 9000', 0* temp and shooting down hill at 30*. 16" and 67" @ 600 and 1000 yds. The colder temp was actually in our favor offsetting the thinner air at higher altitude.

No way will I ever use a custom turret for LRH.

Another problem is you are stuck with one load with custom turrets. If you decide to try a different new and improved powder and/or bullet, you need a new turret @ $60 a pop, not to mention your custom turret is pretty much useless for load development of a different load. Yet another issue is that factory ammo can and will sometimes change form lot to lot. Another very good reason for handloading for LR. That's really a moot point because most factory ammo just does not have the neccessary consistancy for LR shooting.

Dont mean to step on anyone's toes, but these are the very real facts. Custom turrets only work if you shoot at the same elevation, and same baro pressure, and same temp, and same angle. That's a hard cold fact.

My $.03


BTW, last year I shot my 3 antelope on the same day in temps ranging from about 50* to 75* @ about 3000" elevation and I shot a cow elk @ about 7000' elevation and a temp of -10*. Angles were relatively flat.

Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 09-08-2009 at 07:18 PM.
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Unread 09-08-2009, 04:31 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Jamestown, North Dakota
Posts: 70
Re: And now for some Optics...

The Bushnell 4200 is a good scope in that price range. Sightron is also real good, I had a 4x16x42 mildot Sightron SII, very clear optics. The only thing I did not like was the 1/8" adjustments. I just put a Nikon Monarch 4x16x42 mildot on my 308, it too is a nice scope and is $450 at The Optic Zone. If it were me I'd get another Monarch.

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Unread 09-08-2009, 11:43 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: ARIZONA
Posts: 142
Re: And now for some Optics...

Montana man,

Wow! I guess the Best of the West guys don't have a clue about what works best for long range hunting. They are just a bunch of jokers who have their own TV show and sell $5000 rifles and $1200 scopes like hot cakes. Jeeze, I've been fooled again.

Ha Ha, I'm just busting your balls. I appreciate your strong opinion and you are a huge asset to this web site. You are obviously well schooled in long range shooting and prefer a different system.

Those are all valid issues that in most cases, can be compensated for by making extra up or down adjustments from the base yardage setting on the custom turrent. You still have to know how to dope the conditions and adjust accordingly. And if you know you will be hunting at major differences in elevation it is not a bad idea to have two turrents say for example one for 2000ft and one for 7000ft, as the BOTW folks recommend.

To each his own, but for all out down and dirty, get a bullet in the kill zone quick and confidently, for me, the custom turrent and lazer range finder is the simplest most effective system.

In closing, everyone has to use the system they like best, each has its pros and cons.
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Unread 09-09-2009, 09:03 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 6,068
Re: And now for some Optics...

BIG MO, thanks for the kind words but I dont consider my self anymore well schooled than most guys with an interest in LR shooting. I think most guys know a whole lot more than me and what I do know are the essential basics for this type of shooting.

As for the BOTW guys abd their system, I think it's a really great and cool idea. However, it has some shortcomings. I do have a strong opinion on the subject but we should separate opinion from fact. My opinion is that I will never use the BDC turret (as it is currently designed) for LRH and the reason is because of the *facts* that I stated. The facts are based the physical laws of science which do not bend and can not be altered. There is a reason that LR hunters take wetaher staions, software and/or drop charts into the field with them. The reason is because things like baro pressure, temp, and altitude have an affect on bullet drop as does shooting angles. And the farther you shoot, the bigger the effect.

Their BDC turret only compensates for distance. It does not compensate for differnce in atmospheric conditions. Soooo, if you are shooting at an animal under conditions different than what the reticle was set up for, you will miss, plain and simple. I supose you could always walk the bullet in. The turret should get you close enough for a second or third shot hit. As for using different turrets, IMO, that is both a pain and imprecise. I actully walk up and down mountians when I hunt or drive to different locations during the day. Continually changing out turrets is very impracticle. And in the conditions I hunt, you would need dozens of turrets and you would still need a weather station to detrmine which turret to use. Why should I go through all that when I can simply dial in the elevation the software or drop chart tells me to?

If any of the BOTW guys want to answer the issues that I've mentioned, great! I would love to hear how they compesate for different atmospheric conditons. If they come hunt with me, and all they have is their BDC turret, I can guarantee you that they will miss the long shots, unless they are really, really good at fudging Montana windage.

If you've never played with a ballistic calc, here's one you could try to mess around with. It's an eye opener.

JBM - Calculations - Trajectory (Drift)


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