advice for an illuminated scope

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by dph1, May 7, 2010.

Help Support Long Range Hunting by donating:

  1. dph1

    dph1 New Member

    May 6, 2010
    hi everybody, first ever post on this forum, i am looking to buy an illuminated scope for night shooting foxes here in the uk i shoot from a pickup truck using a roof mounted lamp, i have tried a few good quality scopes with illuminated centre dot rets (well thats how they are advertised) but they all seem to have a haze of light around the centre dot instead of the dot itself being illuminated. the other day i was looking on the net and came across a scope that seemed a little different to the normal ones, it was made by trijicon, a 3-12x56 with a fibre optic illumination, iam looking for a reticle with a very sharp tiny centre dot and as i cannot find any companys selling trijicon in the uk i will have to buy one from the us without looking at one first. can any of you us hunters give me some advice on these scopes and tell me if you think they would be good for my type of hunting? i am trying to avoid being dissapointed again after buying another scope with supposedely an ill dot ret....thank you all for any help
  2. Chas1

    Chas1 Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2009
    Try the Nightforce CH-3 recticle. it is a perfect tiny illuminated dot. Here's the Nightforce link:

    Nightforce Optics

    click on recticles overview.
  3. NomadPilot

    NomadPilot Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2009
    I'll agree with NF, but say the NP-2DD instead.


    The CH-3 has very fine lines (and no lines illuminated to help find the dot), more for targets than field use.
  4. LouBoyd

    LouBoyd Well-Known Member

    Oct 15, 2007
    You're likely to be dissapointed again if you buy any illuminated reticle scope. You need enough light to see the target, see the reticle, and have enough light for the cones in your eye's fovea to form a decent quality image. Once the light is low enough that you no longer have color vision you're eye's resolution drops by factor of about ten.

    It's a fact of optical design that no passive lens system can produce a brighter apparent illumination on your retina than viewing the same scene naked eye. Having 10X or more magnification however can help overcome the loss of resolution from the lack of cones in the eye's fovea. Illuminated reticles can be of some use use in dusk or dawn conditions or under a bight moon where you still have some color vision, but they can't do magic. Usually an illuminated reticle just makes it more difficult to see the target even if the reticle is plainly visible.

    There are three (and other) solutions to overcome low light conditions.

    One is a night vision scope with a Gen III intensifier, but they're expensive, don't give great resolution, and provide no color information for target identification. They are a good choice when no artificial illumination can be used. They use the natural sky glow in the 700-900nm range to good effect for illumination. It's brighter than combined visible light from all the stars.

    The second is an infrared illuminated image converting scope. They may use gen I, II, or III technology or a CCD camera. They are less expensive than a Gen III passive scope. Like the gen III they provide no color information for target identification but the images can be clearer simply because more photons are available.

    The third (and what I recommend) is a rifle mounted spotlight. A white light with a standard rifle scope will give correct color images to around 300 yards at practical power levels. An illuminated reticle is unnecessary as the spot light provides sufficient illumination for a black reticle to be visible in contrast to the illuminated background around the target. It' also has big advantage of being the least expensive. It is not covert. An illuminated animal will normally "freeze" momentarily then it may run to hide or just ignore the light if it's distant. You can experiment with that. It's not necessary for the light to be mounted on the firearm. It is also possible to flood an area with light from another location. For example, vehicle headlights can illuminate a side of a hill from a long distance (half mile). If a light doesn't move and isnt' close animals usually won' sense it as dangerous. It's about the same as hunting under a full moon.

    Light sources can be
    Xenon short arc ( $800) - 1 degree beam longest range, seconds warm-up, highest power
    Green dpss laser ($500) - Adjustable (very small ) beam - instant on low total power, no color vision.
    HID arc ($300) - larger beam than short arc - less power, seconds warm up, brighter than halogen
    Halogen incandescent ($20 - 100) - cheap, instant on, 2+ degree beam. inefficient.
    LED ( $20-50) - Most compact, most efficient, instant on. beam limed by reflector size. 5 watt max Multiple LEDs are useless unless each has it's own focusing reflector.

    Power consumption isn't normally a problem if you only have the lamps on a few seconds for actual shooting.

    Check you local laws. Some places it's illegal to:
    Hunt with an artificial light. That may apply to specific animals.
    Hunt with or even possess a rifle mounted image intensifier or infrared scope.
    Hunt with a firearm at night at all.
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  5. Jon A

    Jon A Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2001
    I'm sorry, I haven't used these Trijicons so I can't comment but many users have been very pleased with them, the 2.5-10X56 as well.

    But two I have used that will work well as you described are the S&B 3-12X50 PMII and the Premier 3-15X50, both with the Gen II reticle. With this reticle only the small cross in the center illuminates and on the lowest setting it's so dim it does not wash out the target at all--there's no "glow" around it. I've used them in dark enough conditions the rest of the reticle was not visible--which is notable to me since I like to hold windage with the reticle, but at these times I had to dial windage since I couldn't see the rest of the reticle well enough to use--but the targets were still visible (white gongs can be seen when it's quite dark).

    Those probably aren't exactly what you're looking for, but they are examples of illumination systems that can work as you describe. But the Trijicons, specifically the 2.5-10X56 have gotten such good reviews for that type of use I'd suggest checking them out if you can.