Beginner needing your recommendation on optics for rifle


New Member
Nov 27, 2015
Hey guys, first time posting here, been a stalker for a while. So today I bought my first rifle. I did a lot of looking, ready research, holding rifles. Today I ordered a Savage model 111 FCNS chambered in a .243. My goals are coyotes, out to roughly 400 yards, hogs, up to 300 yards, maybe white tail, 200 yards, and paper up to 500 yards. At first I was looking into a .308 for 1000 yards on paper but, this is my first rifle. I need a lot of practice before I worry about that. I'm from Wi so the hogs won't be a regular thing but I'm hoping the coyotes will be. I farm and have cattle and that's the main reason I bought it.
Now, on to my question, I need a scope. I wanted to keep the entire thing under $1000 but, that's prolly not going to happen. I spent $660 today. To stay under $1000 that doesn't leave a lot for a scope. At the gun shop they have a Weaver Super Slam 4X20 50 they will sell me for $650. From what I read it tops out at 800 yards so it'd work fine for what I want. Is this a smokin deal or do you guys recommend something else. I know if I spend $1500 it'll be better but remember guys, would love to be at $1,000 on the whole thing. I want to set this up right and be done with it so if the weaver is the best route let me know. I also saw cabelas has a vortex for $499 today. And other recommendations will be taken. My rifle will be in next Wednesday so I have some time. Drug a dead calf to the back of the farm today, will do it again. Hoping next weekend my father in law and I will be able to kill some coyotes. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks a lot.

PS: not against used optics at all.
Once you reach above the 14x level the price begins to increase pretty dramatically, regardless of the scope you select. Additionally, the type/style of reticle can also make a difference in price.
My advice would be to first decide on those two factors. A fixed power scope will cost much less than a variable, but for what you describe I believe you'd want a variable power model. Then decide on what maximum power you believe will work best for you. I've done some pretty good shooting out to 500 yards with a fixed 12x - but I wouldn't recommend that. IMO, you'll want a lighted an illuminated reticle for coyotes. They are often best hunted around dusk ... there are opportunities during other times of day too, of course.

If you can be patient and haunt sites like this one or perhaps you can find used scopes at a reduced price. But to find one with exactly what you need could take some time.

Hint - try to always respond to posts for scopes that are for sale rather than posting a wanted notice. You'll get a better price ....

You can learn to range targets using a MilDot or MOA reticle but, IMO, a good quality range finder is worth the investment.
(Did I forget to mention a game call for coyotes ?????)
It's really easy to get caught up in the high dollar scope game. Don't get me wrong, they have nice feature sets but they aren't needed for top performance most of the time for the ranges you are discussing.

There are so many options its hard to give you suggestions unless we know what your requirements are. Do you want target turrets, BDC style reticles or turrets? What power range, objective diameter and scope tube diameter? Does scope weight play into it? FFP or SFP?

If I were in your shoes with your first rifle I would not be spending lots of money on a socpe and certainly wouldn't spend it until I knew for sure what I wanted in features. Then you can decide if you can get by with a less expensive model or if you need to save up. Heck, you may not even stick with this and getting your money out of a low to mid range scope is very tough.

Some suggestions. In your price range you want primarily a scope that won't shift POI and has repeatable turrets. Everything else comes secondary to me.

I would look at the SWFA classic line of scopes. They have a great feature set and good reputation for a great price. Their 3-9 in their HD line is one of my favorites but the price is higher than you want to be at. They have new scopes just released and black Friday deals going on now if you can decide soon enough.

The Legend or 3500 line of scope from Bushnell are very good and right in your budget. No frills but they are solid and have a great warranty.

Weavers are very underrated scopes IMO. At one point I had an entire stable of Weaver V16 scopes. I had them on my small center fire, rimfires, and precision airguns. They are very durable, have very good glass, are very repeatable mini target style turrets, and are priced well. I never had an issue with one of them. They make a great learning scope IMO. The Super Slams I had were a few years old so I am not sure what the new ones are like. I heard they made changes. I wasn't very impressed with mine to be honest. So go careful into that scope. The grand slams are very good too but more expensive. They have a rock solid turret system. I'm not sure they have target turrets but you can go aftermarket I think from Kenton.

Also, the redfield line is now made by Leupold. They are solid scopes. No frills but they perform well and are backed by a great warranty.

Good Luck!
Part of what I think I will enjoy is the math behind shooting. Ranging, bullet drop, wind and then adjusting. I want a scope where I adjust everything within the scope turrets and have a simple reticle. I prefer cross hairs over mil-dot. Weight does not matter to me at this point. For coyote hunting I have my spot found. I'll drive right to where I'll sit and shoot across a draw. I have done very basic reading but probably not enough. I don't want junk, however my old hobby, before a wife and kids was shooting pool. I've had $50 cues and $1500 cues. I still have my $50 cue and have won several tournaments with it. I am not out to impress, but I want a decent scope.

Losing interest probably won't be an option. My father in law and brother in law are big hunters. They have my 4 year old and 2 year old hooked. I farm and work a lot so if my boys like hunting, I will hunt.

One question asked to me was scope power. I don't know what I need. I'm sure it's user preference but what is a good rule of thumb for 500 yards? I don't foresee me reaching out a whole lot farther ever with a .243. Also, I said I would not be against used however I know the Benifit to new is you can see it feel it and look thru it. I may very well be the least educated person on this board in this subject, tho I really think this will be enjoyable and challenging hobby to learn. Thanks.

Edit: I want to add thank you for your time, help and patience, I greatly appreciate it and understand the frustration of dealing with people who come and go. I have looked at rifles for two years. I truly believe this will be my new long term hobby I can do with my children. Thanks again
I like scopes on the lower end of power. I use a SWFA 3-9x42 for everything mule deer sized and up out to 1/2 of mile. But that isn't on a dedicated long range gun. It is setup to be an everything gun out to 1/2 mile or so. I often shoot past 1000 yards and don't feel under scoped. But I do think that I have a very good gift at bracketing my targets consistently which helps with a low powered scope. I would say most guys would be happy with 9-12x at 500 yards for sure.

If you are concerned about making a mistake, there is a wonderful plan available from Bushnell. If you buy a Bushnell Elite and keep your receipt for you have up to a year to send it in to Bushnell for a full refund. I would go with a 4500 4-16X40. Put it in some Burris Signature plastic insert rings so there is no ring marks and go hunting.
+1 on the Burris signature rings! They are on everything I own! Never had an issue with movement and they leave zero marks on the scope!
Try a 4 1/2-14 Zeiss Conquest that at times Camerland here on this BB advertises them as "demo". Youll love them and all I use is a cross I can see what I want to hit instead of a bunch of gobble gook in the viewfinder
Nikon makes a Prostaff 5 4.5-18 x 40 with side focus and mil-dot reticle. They can be had for under $400 on that auction site. I have owned a few Nikons for the buckmasters up through the monarchs and I was always impressed with the glass in thier scope. After all...their are one of the few companies that actually owns an optics glass foundry in the world. That with a weaver multi slot one piece base (very similar to EGW) and a set of their Skeleton 4 Hole Rings (stay away from their other rings) an you could probably get in in the $425 neighborhood. That would give you good servicable glass with a lifetime warranty and a solid mounting system. I might not be the coolest tactial rings and bases...but it would be good solid stuff. Mount it up with a little blue lock tite and I would think you be ready to go get some yotes.
Just ordered a bushnell elite 6500 2.5x16 from optics planet for under $500. Usually runs around $1200. Will be my first try with bushnell but for the price it should fit the bill for fast shots on deer and pigs plus still get me out a little ways.
Mil dot. Wasn't sure if the scope would be any good cause you don't hear about them much. But it covers a wide range of magnification. Glad to hear they are good. Feel like I should order a second one just to keep around maybe for a new Noreen 300 win mag? Wish I wouldn't have blown my load an ar stuff for Black Friday. 3 more ars I don't really need. Oh well.
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