Lightweight scope for mountain rifle 500 yards max

MoreSalsa

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This is a lazy post in that I know I could probably find the info. I need with proper research, so I apologize. I'm asking because Cyber Monday is tomorrow, so I'm trying to get an answer in time to buy tomorrow and possibly save some cash.

Simple question (hopefully), but I'm seeking recommendations for a lightweight, low-power, low-profile scope for hunting deer and hogs with a 500 yard max range. If it matters, 400 yard is probably a more realistic max range. Given the game that it will be used for, good light gathering for dawn/dusk situations is a big benefit - so expecting objective lens size (weight/profile) vs. light gathering capability to be a trade off.

As for cost, these specs seem pretty simple to me so I'm not expecting it to cost too much, say under $600. But if you think a higher end scope offers a material benefit for these specs, I'm all ears.

For the same use case, I previously chose a Leupold VX 3 1.75-6x32mm. I have not shot it much farther than 200 yards but I found it fine at that range. I'm starting by checking out the current Leupold offerings but it seems like there are a lot of new manufacturers and models since I bought that one, and I doubt I'll have time to get my bearings by tomorrow.

Thanks in advance!
 
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JasonAL

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I’ve used a Leupold VX3i 2-8x36 mounted on a Marlin 30-30 for several years. Never shot it past 100 yards though due to I only take that rifle to certain spots. Moved it to a 1895 45-70 last year still holding up fine.

I have the newer VX3HD 2.5-8x36 on a Savage lightweight storm I put together over the summer. It is clearer and has a larger eye box then the VX3i. It also has a CDS zero lock elevation turret. Weight is 11.9oz.
 

xsn10s

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I have an old VariXIII 2.5-8 with mildots. I've shot it out to 800 yards on a 30-06. I think I zeroed it around 4-5" high at 100 to hit 800 yard steel. But my normal 100 yard zero will get you past 500 yards using 180 BT at 2750 fps. The new model with CDS locking dials sounds awesome!
 

MoreSalsa

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The Leupold VX5 series is where I would start with a budget up to $1000.00
In the $600 range I would look at the Leupold 3I or 3 HD.
Yeah, looks like the Leupold VX-3HD 2.5-8x36mm is the successor to my VX 3 1.75-6x32mm. It looks like the VX-3HD has mixed reviews, with some people thinking the older models are better. One review (I think on Cabela's) says that water got in through the screw in the CDS dial. This makes me wish it were a simpler scope -- not sure I would make any use of that feature. I wonder if the VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm would be the better choice as far as Leupold scopes go. I guess I'll look more into what this "HD" consists of (I'd guess it's some new coatings or something) and what if anything it offers.

Others talk about the declining customer service/quality control of Leupold. This makes me want to look at other manufacturers (or possibly consider picking up an older Leupold model used). I see Swarovski has a Z3 3-9x36 that could possibly work but I'd rather have a lower magnification at the wide end, it costs more than I wanted to spend, and it looks like it might be discontinued.

A lot of the other low magnification scopes don't have the larger objective lens, which makes me wonder whether they would be inferior in terms of light gathering than the "bell" scopes.
 

xsn10s

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Yeah, looks like the Leupold VX-3HD 2.5-8x36mm is the successor to my VX 3 1.75-6x32mm. It looks like the VX-3HD has mixed reviews, with some people thinking the older models are better. One review (I think on Cabela's) says that water got in through the screw in the CDS dial. This makes me wish it were a simpler scope -- not sure I would make any use of that feature. I wonder if the VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm would be the better choice as far as Leupold scopes go. I guess I'll look more into what this "HD" consists of (I'd guess it's some new coatings or something) and what if anything it offers.

Others talk about the declining customer service/quality control of Leupold. This makes me want to look at other manufacturers (or possibly consider picking up an older Leupold model used). I see Swarovski has a Z3 3-9x36 that could possibly work but I'd rather have a lower magnification at the wide end, it costs more than I wanted to spend, and it looks like it might be discontinued.

A lot of the other low magnification scopes don't have the larger objective lens, which makes me wonder whether they would be inferior in terms of light gathering than the "bell" scopes.
I really cannot say which is better. I "feel" that the older models have better fit and finish. But the new features on the VX-3HD are pretty desirable.
 

Falfreak

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I have a Leupold VX-2 CDS and windplex reticle. It is about 11 oz, has a decent size objective lense, and a repeatable turret for hold-over. A lot of features in a lightweight package.
 

MoreSalsa

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Forgot to mention…that SWFA has a really short eye relief. It may not work out well on a light gun that has much recoil.
I saw that. Looks like 2.5 inches ... at the 10X end, I'm assuming. It says 3.35''-2.56'', so guessing that means that it's 3.35'' at the 2.5X end. Most reviewers seem to think it isn't much of an issue, but looks like most of them are using it on 22-caliber guns. The rifle would be a 6.5 Creedmoor 7 lb. rifle, so recoil would be somewhere between a .223 and a .308. Not sure if it would still be an issue.

I see the Vortex Razor LH 1.5-8x32 has good reviews but is now discontinued. That said, I might be able to find one (maybe used) if that is the best option, although it's more expensive.

Now that I'm looking at Vortex reviews/comparisons however I'm seeing a lot of negativity as well. I'm starting to wonder whether this is sort of like looking at hotel reviews - every place has horror stories and in the end you don't want to stay anywhere.

It also looks like the Swarovski Z3 3-9x36 might still be obtainable, so if anyone has thoughts on that one and how it stacks up, please let me know. Like I said, I'd rather have a lower magnification on the wide end but that is tolerable if I can lower the risk of getting something that has QC issues like not tracking, moving zero, etc.
 
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fmuguira

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For good all around use the 3.5-10x40 Leupold VX3 series is great. 12.6 oz, low profile and great low and high magnification balance. With a B&C reticle you re Golden to 500 yards with most any cartridge.

I ve got 3 or 4 of them. 2 I ve added M1 dials to for grins and giggles. Have whacked steel to 1000 yards when dialing.
 

SEGARE

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For the $1000 price range, the VX5HD is a great choice- same glass as VX6. 42,44, or 56mm objective, depending on power range. Personally, I think the 3-15x44 is a very nice, light weight, hunting scope. Can be had with illumination for under $1k.

In the $600 range, I think the Meopta Optika6 would be hard to beat. 44, 50, or 56mm objective, depending on power range. They are heavier than the Leupolds by a few ounces.
 
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arch408

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Leupold VX-3HD. 2.5-8x36. Light weight and has custom dial system. I have an older model with a Boone and Crocket reticle on a M700 titanium .300 SAUM. Total weight of rifle unloaded is less than 6 1/2 pounds. Scope still works perfectly after several hundred rounds. I would have this scope on all my light weight rifles.
 
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