scope for first elk hunt

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by dmax1800, May 19, 2013.

  1. dmax1800

    dmax1800 Well-Known Member

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    I'm going on my first rifle elk hunt in October. I'm using a 300 win mag. The outfitter said the average shot is 250 to 350 yards, but I want to be prepared to shoot 400 yards at a 400 class elk :). I've got a Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x50 with a Zplex reticle which does not have any elavation or windage marks. I've also got a Nikon BDC 4.5-14x40 that does have the elavation circles under the crosshairs. The Zeiss is very clear and the Nikon has a thick cosshair.

    I'm wondering if I should get a different scope and do things right the first time. I'm 62 years old, so I don't have 20 years to experiment with scopes.

    Since its my first rifle hunt, is there a better scope I should get???
     
  2. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    The distance from brisket to top of back on a good size bull is about 30" If you zero your rilfe @ 300 yds your point blank range will be out to 350 yds (3.5 - 5 inches low @ 350 depending on bullet and load) At 400, your bullet drop will be about 8-10" which is an east hold over just below top of back. You should not need a special scope for that.
     

  3. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    I'd rather shoot with the Zeiss set up you have, at a known range, than dial turrets, or use a reticle system and guess. Most guides these days will have a range finder, but if yours won't, invest there first. Good range finders are what makes longer range shooting possible whatever scope/reticle system you choose.
     
  4. Sully2

    Sully2 Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately Im not an elk hunter...and too dammed old at this point to start...but from all that Ive read...and people that Ive talked with...Montana Rifleman lead you right down the primrose path. Follow his advice to the T


    ??? About how large is a 400 class bull???
     
  5. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    I agree with investing in a rangefinder if you don't already have one. Range estimating can be very difficult and deceptive as in a shot that looks 400 could easily be 500 or more. If I were you, for this elk hunt, I would zero @ 300 and have a drop chart from 350 to 500 for the average elevation you are hunting. You should easily be able to make a 500 yard shot with your Zeiss if you and your rifle are up to it.
     
  6. dmax1800

    dmax1800 Well-Known Member

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    What about a Burris eliminator scope with a built in range finder that automatically adjusts the dot for aim? When I spend $300 to $400 for a laser range finder, I could sell my Zeiss for $300 and it would only cost me an addition $400 to $500 to get the Burris. But is it worth it??? While a 400 yard shot is not to bad to put the cross hair just below the back, shooting 500 yards is a lot more difficult to judge where to aim.
     
  7. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    These guys have given you solid advice. I would stick with the Zeiss and learn it well with practice beforehand. So where are you going after this 400 class bull? Is this a hunt in a fenced area? Did the guide say there would be 400" opportunities?

    Jeff
     
  8. dmax1800

    dmax1800 Well-Known Member

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    Broz,
    I'm going to New Mexico. The guide says that most bulls are 330 to 380 class, but there have been some 400 class bulls killed. Since this is my first rifle elk hunt, I just hope to have a good shot at a decent bull. He says that in the mornings its not untypical to hear 50 bulls bugling. I'm having a new match grade barrel put on my rifle and trying to learn some advanced techniques for reloading and making sure I've got a scope that is good enough. I'm trying to cover all my bases for this hunt.
     
  9. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    Those are great bulls. 50 bulls bugling would be something to hear. That would be cool. So it is a game farm?

    That 4.5x14 Zeiss is all you need to get to 400 yards with a 300 win and a good load.

    Jeff
     
  10. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    I don't know much about the Eliminator but I would not buy one. Especially until they've been used more and more feed back is available.

    I am a little skeptical about putting range finding technology into a scope that is enduring 300 WM recoil for one. I am also skeptical as to how reliable it is in actually being able to range and in what conditions. Also, to the best of my knowledge, you can not customize YOUR load and environmental conditions. I would never use this scope for more serious LR shooting.

    IMO, you are better off with a good rangefinder like a Leica 1600, which under good conditions will range to 1700+ and easily range to 500 under almost any conditions, and a good basic scope. If you have more than one rifle then you will have a range finder for each.

    Not hard to hold over to 500 yds. Let's walk through it. Elk body is 30" deep. Mid body is 15" from top of back. If you are shooting a 180 gr bullet with a BC of .5 @ 5000' elevation and a temp of 30*, your bullet will drop 14.8 inches @ 450 yds. Place your windage (vertical) reticle on the seem of the shoulder and the elevation reticle on the back and you are smack in the middle of the vitals. At 500 yds, your bullet will drop an additional 7". Hold over the back an estimated 7" (or about 1/4 the body) with the windage reticle on the shoulder seem. This should be very routine if your rifle is capable of MOA or better. At 500 yds, 10 mph of wind will move the bullet about 12".

    You could maybe get a BDC turret for your scope and simply dial the yardage. That would be a better investment than the Eliminator IMO

    A bull elk has a large kill zone. Google elk anatomy.
     
  11. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    I'd have target turrets put on the Zeiss with a Kenton Industries turret matched to your load. You can have Zeiss put the turrets on, or I believe that Kenton will do it as well. Check lead time and pricing from each.

    Having said that, I sighted in my 340 Wby with the same scope as yours at 250 yards last fall. That puts you with a dead elk out to 300 yards and based on previous hunts I thought I'd probably be fine.

    Of course, my only shot was at 400-450 yards. I pulled out my trusty iPhone, inputted the range into the Shooter program, unscrewed the regular cap from the dial and dialed up the right number of clicks for the shot. Got my elk, too. :D I will not do that next time, though. I've already purchased another Zeiss with target turrets for my 340 so that I don't have to wonder if I dialed the little adjuster the correct number of clicks.

    http://kentonindustries.com/

    What outfitter are you using?
     
  12. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    It is. I've heard it :) Someday during the rut, drive down to 4 Corners and get on the River Road on the West side of the Gallatin and drive South toward the Canyon. Turner owns almost all that land and there are some big hay fields that usually hold up to 1000 elk or more. They will be out there bugling at first light. Really cool!
     
  13. Snowfighter

    Snowfighter Well-Known Member

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    Based on your post in the reloading section, I would find a load your are confident in. Then practice with it. Find the setup you are comfortable taking a clean 500 yrd. shot with. If its a laser range finding rifle scope or a scope with circles and lines all over. It comes down to practice. My dad is 62 and he makes shots with his ol 270 with a 3x9 leupold vx1 that surprise the heck outa me. He just knows his rig very well.
     
  14. marioq

    marioq Well-Known Member

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    What unit in Nm???? I may be wrong, but I think Nm prohibits any electrical mount on the scope. ie eliminator is illegal. Even if not, I think you are better off following these guys' advice and learn a load and be comfortable out to 400 yards. You will be fine. The guides should get you to with in that range.

    I'll be in 6b in October. Good luck