What to look for when choosing Optics

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by Cavemanactual, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. Cavemanactual

    Cavemanactual Member

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    I'm new to long range shooting and looking for help on what Scope & range finder to go with. I'm shooting a 338 Lapua Mag. 1000 yards is what I'm setting as my benchmark but would like to ba able to push the limits later down the road. What are some key points to look at when selecting optics.

    Any and all info would be helpful and appreciated.
     
  2. EasternNChunter

    EasternNChunter Well-Known Member

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    Determine your budget first. Then decide what you want out of the scope. Will it just be for shooting steel/targets? Do you plan on hunting with it as well? For that distance you definitely need turrets on your scope which allow you to "dial" to your correct elevatoin. Different people will tell you different things as far as what is the most important features of a scope. I don't want cheap optics. I want to get the best glass I can possibly afford whether thats a scope, binos, or rangefinder. I save as much as I can and at times sell off other guns, bows, scopes, etc. that are collecting dust. Probably the number one thing that you will hear is reliability/durability when it comes to the most important feature of an optic. My thoughts are that the optics that I am interested in are at a price point where that shouldn't be an issue. With that said, I don't have a "Target" rifle. I hunt with all of my rifles and because of that, the number one thing I look for is good glass. I am always the last one out of a deer stand because big bucks like to come out at last light when most guys are getting out of their deer stands. I bought a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x56 NPR2 with Zero Stop and High Speed Turrets and it was a great scope for shooting steel at long range but the glass was average at best for hunting in low light conditions. Even with the power turned down I was dissapointed. I have since sold the NF and bought a Steiner 5-25x56.
     

  3. Cavemanactual

    Cavemanactual Member

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    Hunting is definitely the plan. As soon as I'm proficient enough. $2000 is the neighborhood I was thinking. I've looked at Nightforce NXS, Leupold, Zeiss, Vortex.
     
  4. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    The NF scopes are excellent, and in your pricerange.

    If you will be hunting 300+ (and no less) I would look into the 8-32x56, over the 5.5-22x56, but that is simply my opinon. The 5.5-22 will work just fine, but I like the higher magnification for load development and range shooting. If I can zoom in on the bull REALLY close, I can see where my shots are traveling and how they're flying and hitting the target. It's nice to not always have to have your spotting scope when sighting in or load development.

    I have never heard anyone having issues with the NF scopes in low light, including professional snipers, sharp-shooters, pros, and comp shooters.

    However, everyone's eyes are different, so with his eyes, he could have very well had issues. I have looked through $3,000 Schmitt & Benders that looked as cloudy as a $75 BSA scope. However, that could have just been my individual eyes...

    Go to a good store that has good high-end optics. Ask the salesman if he can bring the scopes outside for you to look through b/c you can't tell how good they'll look inside. Look through as many as you can, and pick which one you like best.
     
  5. gebhardt02

    gebhardt02 Well-Known Member

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    Optical quality is a major factor in choosing a scope for any type of shooting. Precision of adjustments is also vitally important. Cost of the optic is probably one of the biggest concerns. I would determine the absolute most you could afford to spend and then look at the scopes that fall within this category.

    Several people will tell you that precision of the adjustments is more important than optical clarity and resolution. I would rate these the same, precision of the adjustments is equal in importance to the optics. I've had very high dollar scopes that couldn't resolve deer antlers at 500 yards, but the adjustments were perfect. The lack of optical quality made a potential shot useless because I was unable to determine the quality of the deer. Therefore, I put as much emphasis in optics as I do in the adjustments. If you can't determine what you are taking as shot at, what does it matter if the adjustments are perfect? Likewise, if the adjustments are not perfect but you can see extremely well, will you still take the shot? Maybe if you use elevation and wind holds with the reticle exclusively, the optics may be the biggest concern.

    Rule to live by with rifle shooting: Don't skimp on the optics (scope).

    Geb
     
  6. EasternNChunter

    EasternNChunter Well-Known Member

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  7. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    This ^^^^^^ is simply a matter of opinion. Everyone's eyes are different. And while the higher-end Steiner scopes are very nice, I wouldn't say they were better than the NF. They might be close, but it would take one hell of a scope to beat out a NF in glass quality, lens coating, and flawless repeatable function. I'm not saying NF is the best of the best, b/c there are higher quality optics out there. But for their price range, I think the NF is about top dog in its category.
     
  8. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    I look for a 30+ mil tube, then a turrets system that tracks every time with good solid clicks, 65+ moa for a mid range and 100+MOA for a long range rifle. Has to have a good functional zero stop, a Second focal plane reticle that is thin enough to use for precision shooting then glass quality. I primarily like two optics, Vortex and Nightforce and both of which I can shoot just fine in any legal hunting light and condition.
     
  9. lloydsmale

    lloydsmale Well-Known Member

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    If you have 2k to spend its pretty hard to make a mistake at that level.
     
  10. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member

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    All my scopes that cost ~ $2K have first focal plane.

    I hate first focal plane for hunting. The reticle is invisible on low scope power shooting running shots at 50 feet with a black background.

    I think some new USO scopes have a FFP reticle and a SFP illuminated dot, or something, but I don't own one of those yet. That may solve some problems.