Okay I've read all the scope recommendation threads and have learned a lot but still confused. I know I want somewhere around a 14 power at the top end, a milldot reticle in first focal plane, and it needs to be repeatable and reliable for a long time. The real confusion is the price thing. Some post say some scopes in the 300-400 range are tough and been used for years, others say not to buy anything under 800 and you get what you pay for. I can spend up to 1200 but that will put a real dent in any other hunting supply purchases. You can't hunt with a scope by itself. To me the long term reliability factor is much more important than xray visoin type clarity. I mean what am I really getting with a 1200 dollar scope that I'm not getting in a 600 dollar scope? Any suggestions with that criteria in mind would be greatly appreciated as well as any insight on the 600 vs. 1200 question.
FFP is going to limit your scope buying options anyway so I wouldn't worry too much about the $600-1200 issue for now. Some good FFP scopes to consider
Weaver Tactical- 3-15x50- probably the best bang for the buck. It has excellent glass for the price and Weaver in general has an excellent reputation for durable and repeatable turrets. Specifically this scope is earning a very good track record. Around $750
Bushnell has 2 scopes in the G2 HDMR series that would be very good options as well, a 3-12 and a 3.5-21x50. They are receiving good marks as well and have a very long history of good performance. I think the 3-12 is right at $1k
The SWFA SS line as an excellent 3-9x42 right at the $600 mark that is fantastic but may have too little top end magnification. Their 5-20 is better yet but may be too much money.
NF F1 is top tier but over budget.
Vortex PST has a 4-16 and a 6-24 that would fit the bill as well. Very good reputation. They both run about $9-950.
I think you are on the right track regarding looking for durability and repeatability first. They are the make or break it during a hunt. Most any mid to upper level glass is more than adequate in today's market. FFP scopes are more expensive to make so the price is going to be higher than SFP. I personally would feel confident with any of these scopes, they are all very good. Depending on what you are going to do with it and how far you are going to shoot will help narrow it down.
Good Luck and welcome to LRH!
Last edited by Scot E; 11-01-2012 at 12:38 AM.
Reason: forgot the welcome!
Thanks a bunch, that really helps. I'm hunting on a pipeline corner I can see about 650 yds. in 2 directions. Currently I'm shooting a 25 yr old Ruger M77 in .280 with a 25 year old redfield 3x9, handloaded with 58 grains of imr 4831 behind 140 grain accubond. I have a cheat sheet with yardages to reference points along the pipeline and another cheat sheet with hold overs and unders (zeroed at 300 so I'm 4.57 high at 170).My longest kill has been 379 yds. I'm thinking I can upgrade the scope this year, use the mildot hash marks to correspond to the yardages, maybe learn to properly use the mildots and upgrade the gun by next season.
Thanks again for the responce and taking the time to help a 50 year old beginner out.
Leupold makes a 30mm tubed scope in the 1100-1200 dollar range. I am in the group of hunters that says you better spend what you can because there is indeed a difference in glass and you DO get what you pay for.
Taking a shot in clear sunshine daylight does not lend much difference in the cheapest of scopes compared to the pricey ones but when you shoot under gray skies, early morning or last light, it makes all the difference in the world.
I agree with Scott E. about needing good mechanical repeatability and accuracy. I also agree with Derek M. about needing good optical performance, especially low glare. For long range hunting you need it all.
You will get more scope for the dollar if you give up the FFP requirement. FFP reticles are smaller than SFP and therefore cost more (smaller feature size). A lot more SFP scopes to choose from, too. SFP vs FFP is really a matter of training. Train yourself to use a good SFP scope correctly, and you won't make an error.
A 4-16x50 would work well for big game out to 800 yds. Unless you have severe vision problems (glaucoma, erc.), you don't need 24X mag. Higher glare usually comes with higher magnification.
I bought a Super Sniper 16x50 for ballistics work. Terrible glare. Until I evaluate other SS scopes, I am reluctant to recommend one for hunting.
I also bought a Bushnell 3.5-21x50 for an upcoming ballistics project. Good glare performance. A bit heavy and 34 mm rings are pricey, though. If you have to include a rail and new rings, your scope budget goes down.
I fall on the side of get the best scope you can afford, and reconsider the FFP requirement. Having used Mildot/tactical scopes for many years, I never felt handicapped without it. I'd trade the cost of that feature easily for glass quality and turret construction, and reliability. Many scopes are equal until you start spinning turrets. I have had a lot of scopes come and go, but still own all my MK 4 Leupolds. They have never let me down over many years of hard use. Buy once, cry once. iMHO.
"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready"-T. Roosevelt