Struggling with some of the same issues myself 10x in good light gets me to 450-500 yards on PD, but I love the low end (1-2.5) for most hunting. I know the answer is a more specialized heavy varmint set up, but I always seem to jump the track when it gets close, and veer back to a more general use rifle/scope. If I could get my hands on one to actually eval the March 2.5-25 might find it's way into the safe, but that's too much money for a leap of faith it'll work out. Currently the US Optics in the 3-17 or 18 range is causing me sleepless nights. Again I'd like to handle one.
I tried to qualify it with "good light" meaning optimum conditions mirage, and such, but yes really. Gateway Colorado has their dynamite shoots, and the pop can size targets on the "short" course 400+ yards are limited to 7x I don't run the course by any means, but targets are visible. With my Leupold Mark 4 3.5-10X LRT set at 10x the cans on the "Big Dog" course at 800 yards are visible, this is where my partners 14x starts pulling away. I've shot at the 1000 and frankly I'm just finding the stake and guessing. The Leupold mil-dot reticle is currently "hollow" in the center, and this helps me a bunch. Reticle apparent size is something worth considering in your new scope, some good threads here by folks that explain their choices in first vs second focal plane much better than I will. My eyes are over that 50 year mark and the Illuminated reticles are a help in sharpening up the crosshairs a bit as well.
Doug at camera land has some good deals on open box Minox's. (check out the sponsors forum) They have a no-fault warranty now and are built in the USA. The glass is better then a vortex IMHO and is on par with my sightrons SIII's, and my Lupey FX. I have a PST on the way also but only because I got a screaming deal on it and thought I would try a MOA/MOA type of scope within my price range.
Don't get me wrong vortex is great glass for the money, but with the open box prices on the Minox I think it's a better deal.
I have the Bushnell Legend 5 - 15 x 40 on my AR and LOVE IT especially given the price. The mil dots help with hold over over 200 yds. I didn't (and still don't) have a bunch of money for optics and this one fits the bill. I shoot very comfortably with it from up close to over 300. However, I'm not a great shot, use cheap remington corlock low BC bullets and don't hit much over 250 yds.
Yeah, the glass isn't perfect but I have wads more money for ammo and gas.
Many prairie dogs died last weekend using this scope and my AR
In my opinion the best coyote/ pdog scope for the money is the Nikon 6x18 buckmasters. The scope has all the essentials.. side focus, screw on shade, adjustable turrents.. and you can get it in mildot. It also threads for the honeycomb end cap that blocks out shine for coyote hunting. I have one on my remington 223 and wouldnt give it up for the world. the best part is the scope can be bought for around $320 with a lifetime warranty!
Thanks for everyones input. FWIW I went with the Nikon monarch 4-16x50 with BDC. I lime the 50 for pre dawn / twighlight times. The BDC paired with Nikons Spot On seems like anpowerful combination to know exactly what the yardage is for those little circles given my ammo. The ability to get a shot off quick off a yote with known holdover circles and ican dial MOA for more precise PD shooting ( and add the target turrets if I later deem necessary). And the pricewas right.