Hello all, I just bought a Savage model 12 VLP .243 and looking for a scope. I emailed my uncle and will post the email response and would like to get some responses. A little background on my uncle, 500varmint club going for 1000, has published a few articles for Varmint hunter mag, cleaned house last summer at senior Olympic, and a great hunter. He is a retired professor and a top class musician to boot. His email response surprised me.
The 243 is not a high recoil rifle, so it is likely that any scope made today will hold up just fine and have plenty of eye relief. I have seen no evidence (in print or in my experience) that low priced scopes are worse than expensive ones, in terms of shooting accuracy. It is true that some scopes have rain/fog lens protection, which in some climates may make the extra cost worth while. And some have lens coatings which give slightly better light transmission, which may have some value during the first and last 10 minutes of the day. Again, I don't think the difference is worth the extra money (but this is just a personal belief). I currently own a variety of scopes, and most of them are BSA (purchased only at the lowest of prices via the web). If you are going to use the 243 for long range var minting, then I would recommend at least 18 power (6-18 gives a very good range of power). With that much power, you need an objective lens bigger than 40mm. The exit pupil diameter will be the objective lens diameter divided by the power setting of your scope. For the best viewing in the very early morning or late evening, the exit pupil should be at least 6 mm. (Since the actual diameter of your eyes pupils may go as high as 7mm, that may be a bit low even.) Therefore, if you have an objective lens of 50 mm, the highest power to give you that exit pupil will be 8 power. Another issue is ease of finding the scope exit pupil when you throw the gun up. The larger the exit pupil, the easier. A scope set on 24 power with a 40 mm objective lens, gives you only a 1.7 mm exit pupil. To get on target fast is tough, but if you have plenty of time and light that works just fine. And for the best in accurate shooting, you should have parallax adjustments on the scope. Most non-adjustable scopes are set for no parallax at 100 yards. If you are shooting at 100 yards and you move your eye back and forth, or up and down, the crosshair will still stay in the same spot on the target. But if you use that same scope at 500 yards, a slight movement of your eye may move the crosshair up to one foot on the target - making accuracy very difficult. I have only used the parallax adjustment on the objective lens, but to have a side turret adjustment may be a bit more convenient, and more expensive. To give you some examples on price (from Natchez), the BSA Contender 6-24x40mm with mil-dot and side parallax is $125. A refurbished BSA 6-24x44 Huntsman with objective parallax adjustment is just $35 (which I bought and find to be a good scope). Just looking at a few candidates that I would consider: Simmons 6-18x50mm $92. 6-24x44 with side focus $140 or 6-21x44 with side focus $120. Bushnell: Banner 6-24x40 or 6-18x50 $114. Tasco: 6-24x42 $70. Osprey 6-24x50 Illuminated mil-dot $130.
Happy scope hunting.
Input on scopes would be great.