From what I have looked into the past week, there are several Vortex dealers up here but supply is low. The Vortex scopes seem to be hit and miss on quality also. If I up my price range which it sounds like I will have to, Leupold, Nightforce, Zeiss and Swarovski I can get from several hunting and shooting shops here in Calgary. Canadian Gun Nutz site like this one gives me access to many suppliers around the entire country. Once again thanks again for all the info.
This thread got sidetracked by the import issue. Now that that is over... If I were in the OPs shoes I think I would by a 20 MOA base and rings, a dedicated LR scope and a boresight collimator. There are plenty of decent scopes in the $400-500 range. I would stick to the basics and go with a mildot type reticle and turrets. Mil/mil or mil/MOA doesn't matter if you're starting out.
I would install the new base, rings and scope and run with that until the first moose hunt. Then I would install the boresight collimator, record my 100 yd zero, and switch scopes back to the 3-9X.
I've used an arbor type boresight collimator to change scopes several times. You have to change scopes without disturbing the collimator, so you need a good rifle vise and work area. When using a collimator this way, I can get within 1" of my previous 100 yd zero. You wouldn't have to confirm your zero for a moose hunt, but I would anyway. If you disturb the collimator and have to re-seat the arbor in the muzzle, you will end up being as much as 2-3" from your previous zero.
Also, I recommend you consider a Hawke Sidewinder 30 - very good glare performance and aberration correction. Much better than the Vortex Vipers in this regard. Sidewinder scopes also have low return rates and solid turret mechanical design.
I am not sure how you are comparing your Hawke 30 to anything else, but I do have a quote from Ilya Koshkin's review of the scope:
"Hawke Sidewinder 30 is a good scope from a mechanical standpoint that has the worst glass I have seen in this price range recently"
You may or may not know who Ilya is, but he is a very good reviewer of scopes. Go google for Ilya and the Hawke 30 for the review. He likes the Vortex Vipers and, particularly the Viper PST. I have never tried a Hawke and I probably wont just based on the fact it comes out of China and I have never looked through a Chinese scope I liked. I'm not about to start on one when the better scopes come out of the US, Japan, or Germany. The Hawke review puts is right down at the bottom for image near BSA or other junk. I'm sure yours is great, but I won't be trading in my Swarovski for one. Maybe you want to compare it to a "counter sniper." :-)
Hawke optical designs have evolved a lot during the last three years. Some of their initial rifle scope products were not great. Hawke now offers quite good optical performance in the Sidewinder and Endurance models. Their Frontier ED binos are outstanding.
I attend the SHOT Show every year for my work and get to spend time with most of the rifle scope products in the mid to high price range. I’m interested in discovering good value at an affordable price, and I report what I see with my own eyes. I don’t parrot what other people say about optics products. I only speak about models that I have spent some time with under lighting conditions that let me do a decent evaluation. I also don’t own either Hawke or Vortex products, so I don’t have a bias between the two.
My recommendation to consider Hawke is based on my own observations with the product at the last three SHOT Shows. I’ve developed a method of evaluating chromatic aberration and glare performance using the bright overhead lights in the big hall at that show. I’ve found that the latest versions of Hawke Sidewinder 30 and Sidewinder TAC 30 scopes have above average optical performance for their price point. Vortex Vipers are average or slightly below average in glare performance, depending on the model. Average glare performance is not a problem for range or target shooting, but definitely something to consider for a hunting scope, if you have other options.
Lightwind quoted a review of an early Sidewinder 30 model by Ilya Koshkin. If you read all of the reviews on Hawke products by him you will find that he believes their optics have improved during the last three years, and he recommends the Sidewinder TAC 30 and Endurance 30 models that he reviewed.
My main complaint with Chinese made products has been quality control and the resulting high product return rates. That’s a stigma that may fade away with time, just as it did for being made in Japan in the early sixties. Chinese made products are improving, but it’s a big country with lots of factories. A few US and UK companies have found Chinese factories that produce high quality sport optics and maintain good quality control. Hawke and Zen-Ray Optics are examples. Their products have good value at their price-point (<$500 MAP).
I generally agree with lighwind that the "better scopes come out of the US, Japan or Germany” (Vortex Vipers are made in Philippines).
Thanks for all the info guy's, really giving me some things to things about and wishing I had an unlimited budget!! Really starting to contemplate not trying to use my STW as a multipurpose and just dedicate it to long range to simplify things. Secondly I think I am better off holding off and saving up to get a higher end scope, Leupold Mark 4, Nightforce ect...
I am putting the Swarovski Z5 (Thanks to my wife) on my Sako 75 Finnlight .270 WSM and setting it up to shoot for 500 yards. It is my go to Deer, antelope and sheep gun.