This is a subject I know a little about. I have used practically every Leupold, and they are generally adequate, depending on the rest of your setup. Hunting lights are important. If you are using a pot to control intensity, or a flipper light with red and amber lenses, or just a straight red light, and the distances are modest. You can also build a light with a one ohm resister and a two pole double throw switch for the two different functions, using one aircraft landing light, which has the advantage of lite weight. The light I prefer is a dual superposed light, a little heavier, with a red flat fog over a white 100 watt pencil beam. The trick is to use bare minimum illumination for "hunting" and a good tight spot for the "burn" light; which is necessary for ID and the shot. The scope you need is determined by the sophistication of your lighting equipment....speaking of the visible spectrum. Coyotes are the most light sensitive, and bobcats are the most tolerant, but either is a possibility, so you should use a bare minimum amount of light, and know how to use it.
The best scope I have for most night hunting situations, hunting spooky coyotes with very dim red light; is a 3X12X56 Kahles. The 4.5X14X50 Leupold is also a very good scope, for my type of hunting, in open country. But, depending on the quality of your eyes and your scope, you may only require a little additional light to acquire your target. This can help you, and sometimes hurt you, under a hundred different scenarios. In other words, you can brightly illuminate gray fox and bobcat and shoot them with a cheap Bushnell Banner, once you understand what's involved. Coyotes, on the other hand, can be easy, and they can be difficult. You need good optics and dim intensity to really do well on coyotes. That is what is needed to bring them within range, but you still need adequate light to see the body, so you had better learn how to construct a decent hunting light, and also learn how to use it. Best all around color is red, but amber is very good for everything, except it is second best for coyotes. In other words, a good scope and rifle is only part of the system. BTW, a dot reticle is the worst possible choice, and I have never used a lighted reticle.
Good hunting. LB
edit: resist buying high magnification variables, no matter who makes them. You do not need over twelve power for 99% of your shots, and most shots will be taken at 5 or 6 power. A 6X24 scope is a bad choice, regardless of the tube and the objective diameter.
Light gathering is the name of the game here. The best in the world BAR NONE is IOR....Now, this may be tough to take and hard to believe but...LEUPOLD is LIKE A BUSHNELL NEXT TO IOR. IOR first off has the BEST GLASS IN THE WORLD, SECONDLY THEY HAVE THE BEST LENS COATINGS IN THE WORLD. THIRD THEY OFFER THE BEST LIGHT TRANSMISSION IN THE WORLD at a FRACTION OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD PRICE.
TUBE SIZE AND OBJECTIVE DIAMETER DO PLAY A MAJOR ROLE IN THE TWILIGHT FACTOR OF SCOPES, THE 30mm TUBE WILL GET MORE LIGHT TO YOUR EYE IT'S COMMON KNOWLEDGE,ON OBJECTIVE DIAMETER..THATS A NO BRAINER THE BIGGER THE BELL, THE MORE LIGHT ENTERS THE SCOPE, AND REACHES YOUR EYE...SIMPLE
IF ANYONE THINKS A MONARCH IS THE BEST HAS SOME SERIOUS ISSUES. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE BEST, NIKON IS NO WHERE NEAR IT. WE HAVE TESTED ALL OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED SCOPES NEXT TO IOR AND THE ONLY THING THAT CAN COME CLOSE IS SWORZSKI(SPELLING).
YOU CAN TAKE MY WORD FOR IT OR YOU CAN WASTE TIME AND MONEY FINDING IT OUT. WE ARE THE MASTER DISTRIBUTOR FOR IOR AND WILL SEND ANYONE A SCOPE TO DO A HAND HELD TEST AGAINST THESE SCOPES AND OFFER A FULL REFUND IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED AND THAT INCLUDES SHIPPING BOTH WAYS.
One more note.....Scopes do gather light they also transmit it after its is collected in the front of the scope. The actual % is higher with IOR than any other. THEIR BINOCULARS OFFER a 99.9% Light Transmission, IT IS TRUE I CAN PROVE IT TOO. NO OTHER LINE OF OPTICS CAN DO THAT PERIOD, now of course scopes are different but the same level of perfection is carried over to their scopes which I can also GUARANTEE.
You guys miss my point. The relative quality of a scope is fine, when hunting in the dark. No argument there.
Hunting predators is best done with a sophisticated hunting light, and can (I promise) be done successfully, with standard big game optics.
It's obvious from the above comments that there is not much actual experience hunting predators at night. I stand by what I previously wrote, the key to night hunting with visible light, is using a well constructed and designed light source, and not necessarily, Hubble quality glass; designed by a rocket scientist.
I think I know what is needed and what isn't. Buy what you can afford, but do not believe that a S&B, Nightforce(or some other favorite) is the only possibility. There are many serviceable scopes available.
The best advice I can give is to keep the high end magnification down below twelve. This particular game doesn't have a lot to do with the technical aspects of the finest quality instruments. We do not require a Ferrari, just to go to the store for milk.
I am attempting to correct the false impression indicated by the question, that one needs the "best twilight scope" to hunt predators at night. The emphatic answer to that question is: you don't! Other considerations are far more important.
Get a scope of reasonable quality, in the 3.5X10 or 4X12 range, with a 40mm (or higher)objective, find or build a suitable light, and you will do fine.
Trust me, "stoke" this is well intended and valuable advice. The scopes you mentioned will work fine. What you should be asking is: what about those tricked out lights? LB
Thank you all for your input!! LB I understand completely the point you are trying to make about lighting. I defenitely learned that last year. I used the nightblaster 350 with the red lens last year without alot of problems identifying and harvesting varmints. Do you have any other suggestions?