New scope for long range elk, $2000 budget

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by 7mmRUM, Sep 17, 2019.

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  1. 7mmRUM

    7mmRUM Member

    Mar 26, 2010
    I'm looking to replace the 8-32x50 Burris black diamond on my elk rifle with something with better glass and FFP. I can spend up to $2k, maybe slightly more, but I'd rather pay significantly less if the difference is only slight. Some things to consider:

    -I use my scope in place of a spotting scope on backpack hunts, so it needs at least 24x magnification preferably more.

    -I don't care at all about zoom. As long as I can turn down the magnification to 8-10x, I have no problem shooting at close range or moving targets.

    - A large range of adjustment isn't really important. I hunt with a 7mm ultra mag loaded hot, so it only needs about 20 MOA to get farther than I'll ever shoot at game, and I don't have the barrel life to practice outside of hunting distances with that gun.

    -I would like a christmas tree-style reticle. In the past I have dialed elevation and held windage, but I would like to start working with holds using a reticle.

    -I backpack into wilderness areas and hunt up at the treeline. With the 23oz Black diamond, the gun is already about 12lbs loaded with a sling and a bipod. I don't need a three pound scope. I'd like to keep it under 30oz unless a couple ounces past that will give some great benefit. This coupled with my indifference to zoom and range of adjustment is pushing me towards 30mm tubes.

    -I am clumsy guy walking for miles above the treeline with a 12lb gun. In the next couple decades I will probably fall and land on the gun and scope more than once. I take 20 rounds and a piece of paper so I can rezero, but having a scope that holds zero when I do something stupid is a big consideration.

    Here are the scopes I have been considering (I am open to other suggestions):

    -Athlon Ares BTR 4.5-27x50. Way under my budget, and I don't mind that at all. I have an Argos BTR that is a great scope for the money.

    -Nightforce NX8 4-32x50. Slightly over budget, and I'll never use the bottom of the zoom range, but Nightforce has a great reputation, particularly for durability. Also it is high magnification, but relatively light.

    -Leopold Mark 5HD 5-25x56. It's a 35mm tube, but it is light for one. I've looked through them and I was impressed. I think the 56mm objective will help with low light situations.

    Anybody have any experience using these scopes or something similar?
  2. Goring2358

    Goring2358 Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2019
    At that price range it becomes more difficult to distinguish view quality between scopes. You have to view them in varying conditions to know what is best for you and it may very well be a choice you would have never thought would be the winner and may not be as pricy. I had two rifles built buy a well known company about 20 years ago for a hunt in Africa. There was no budget for the scopes to go on these rifles as I wanted the best. The gun maker advised that the only way to tell what is best for me is to actually view them in different lighting conditions side by side and decide what is best for my eyes. He had all of the high end scopes in inventory and allowed me to come to his shop several times during different lighting conditions and at one sunset until it was dark. He had woods behind his shop which helped. That was the best advise ever because those two scopes I bought back then are still, hands down, my favorite rifle scopes out of the many I own including 2 S&B's. If you can find a place where you can compare the scopes you are interested in side by side you can't go wrong. The two scopes I ended up with were the Swarovski 1.5 x 6 x 42 and the new at the time and then discontinued Steiner Hunting Z scopes in 3.5 x 10 x 50. Both of these were easily better for me than the Zeiss that everyone was telling me to buy. The Swaro Z6 1x6 (and the whole line) is one hell of a scope for the money in the market now and is rapidly becoming a favorite. They can be found for less than $2,000 if you shop.I have recently discovered that the Minox ZA series 1 x 6 and 2 x 10 scopes are better for my eyes than my S&B's and they are the bargain in the higher end scope range. I can't believe the quality for the money and have them on several rifles..
    Wlfdg and rwille like this.
  3. gr8fuldoug

    gr8fuldoug Official LRH Sponsor

    Dec 3, 2007
    I would suggest either the Athlon Ares ETR or the Nightforce NX8
    It would be my pleasure to discuss this with you
    Hse0785 likes this.
  4. WeiserBucks

    WeiserBucks Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2016
    NF without a doubt
    Hse0785 and Kevin P McNeilly like this.
  5. Recon$$

    Recon$$ Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2011
    I'm very impressed with my mark5
    Sanford338 and NorsemanAlaska like this.
  6. Epirate43

    Epirate43 Member

    Feb 19, 2017
    The vortex razor AMG comes to mind and checks all the boxes you listed including the Christmas tree style reticle. I love the one I have. I also have a nx8 4-32x50 and the leupold mark 5 5-25x56. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite. All 3 are great scopes
    lgwatson and Hookdown like this.
  7. 308stillbrass

    308stillbrass SCAMMER

    Apr 19, 2019
    Vortex HD Gen II 4.5-27x56 EBR-2C MRAD
  8. NorsemanAlaska

    NorsemanAlaska Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2017
    Leupold for me every day for almost 40 years. Lived and hunted in Alaska for decades, Africa, Canada and lower 48. Only had ONE issue when a crosshair detached about 20 years ago. My current favorite is the Leupold VX III 8.5-25x50 LRP Gold Ring scope. Made in America, awesome lifetime warranty AND Leupold answers the phone each time every time...The LRP has incredible an MIL or MOA turret dialing system. Had my wife shooting 1,000 yards after only 3 dope adjustments. And if you shop smart you can find one for under $1,000......Good luck...
  9. lancetkenyon

    lancetkenyon Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2013
    Used S&B PMII 5-25×56 DT. $2000 is doable if you are patient.
    Reticle-take your pick
  10. Thaifighter

    Thaifighter Member

    Jul 14, 2019
    spend all you like, but I own a Vortex PSTII 5x25 FFP Mil/Mil and it's the best value glass for the money I've ever spent...

    I did not find the Razor to be so much better that I'd spend the extra and I worked with both under challenging conditions. Both are excellent, but the performance diff per dollar spent doesn't scan.

    I also have a Leupy III LRP per Norseman, and it is indeed a very fine scope.
    skipglo and NorsemanAlaska like this.
  11. FS1

    FS1 Member

    Dec 29, 2016
    Vortex AMG 6-24 checks nearly all your requirements. I have one and it has been excellent for a crossover match and hunting rifle. I have taken coyotes and deer from 75 yards to 700 yards.

    Per your listed requirements...

    Zoom range is 6-24 power with good glass.

    Adequate adjustment range

    Christmas tree reticle

    Under 30 oz.

    Mine has been robust. I don’t abuse my kit though but it has held tracking good and it’s fallen over a couple times leaned against my pickup or riding in a rifle case.

    The leupold mark 5 would be my next choice without jumping to an ATACR.
    Hookdown likes this.
  12. idcwby

    idcwby Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2015
    Check on March scopes. They are lighter and have big zoom ranges that would get you to 25+ zoom.
    Watch for them used because you can find good deals on them.

    Draftmule likes this.
  13. PredatorSlayer

    PredatorSlayer Well-Known Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    I have the PST Gen 2 as well mine is FFP MOA. I run mine out to 1250 and it has been flawless. I concur its one if the best values out there.
    skipglo and Thaifighter like this.
  14. Mach 1

    Mach 1 Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2018
    No question about it. The nx8 Nightforce. If for some reason you don’t like it the nightforce the resale value is always good.
    Hse0785, 7mmRUM and gr8fuldoug like this.