Reliable tactical hunting scope under $1500, impossible or not?

DartonJager

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
730
I have been beating my brains out for well over two years now researching and trying to chose and buy a tactical capable scope designed specifically for a big game hunting application and keep the cost to as close to between $1300 and preferably $1k. And I have read seemingly COUNTLESS threads and postings now, that scopes that dial that fall in the sub $1500 range equipped with target turrets, zero stop elevation and with reticles either designed specifically for or can also be used for big game hunting costing it would seam under $1500 simply are either not durable enough or not reliable enough to consistently dial accurately and consistently return to zero to be worth buying, especially not on a limited entry big game unit hunt that usually takes years if not over a decade of building PBs to get drawn for.

So is the bitter truth of the matter that simply stated tactical hunting scopes in the $1k to $1500 price point can not be made to be 95%-100% as reliable as those costing $1800- $2k and above? I have read COUNTLESS posting by persons claiming to have owned or owned tactical scopes made by major top players in the rifle scope and optics industries all in the under $2k price range being just not reliable enough to be trusted on a high $$$ guided hunt or a hunt you just used up closer to 20-24 than 15 years worth of BP/PP's getting drawn for.

What's the real reality of tactical style hunting scopes or tactical designed scopes that can also be used for big game hunting?
Is it really must buy March, S&B, Kahles, NF, US Optics etc and spend $1800-$2.5k+++ to get close to the same level of reliability in a tactical dialing scope as in a set-it-and-forget-it scope costing 1/3rd to 1/5th the $$$?
I own seven SIAFI scopes three Vari-XII's, one VX3, a WGS and a two 4200 Elite that all sit atop VERY hard recoiling rifles and turkey guns that each as seen countless hundreds and in the case of my belted magnums and smokeless ML if not well over a 1000 rounds of very harsh recoil and 20+ hard hunting seasons and not one of them has ever (knock on wood) given me so much as a shift in POI of any significance.
Do I really have to spend $1800-$2k to get that level of durability and reliability in a tactical hunting scope? If that's the truth then I just want to know. Not at all complaining just more of a matter of wanting to be properly educated.

Should have been a little clearer I actually own a total of 14 set it and for get it non-tactical style scopes. Three are on IMHO vary harsh recoiling shotguns and four are on harsh to vary harsh recoiling rifles or ML's, three are on IMHO mild recoiling rifles. Two are on 22lr rifles and two are not in use.
Of the ten I have on my centerfire rifles and shotguns none knock on wood ever gave me a single problem.

Only had two scopes ever fail. Both were red dots both were killed during their first use while getting sighted in at the gun range by my 12ga 3.5" turkey guns both croaked out in less than 10 shots each. They are actually the ONLY optics I've ever had fail me. Both were not el-cheapo $49.99 red dots but Cabela's branded shotgun turkey scopes.
After that went to my Leupold VariX-II 2-7x33 shotgun scopes for two of my dedicated turkey guns and a Sig Romeo 5 red dot on the third turkey gun.
 
Last edited:

Skimbleshanks

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Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
458
Location
Willamette Vally
I think you can stop reading so much now. What does your experience say? You have used some nice scopes on hard kickers and they still work. Better, nicer, or more expensive scopes wont do any good if you get skunked on that high doller hunt anyway. Yeah its nice to stack the deck in your favor but its hunting. Success isn't guaranteed and spending more money isnt the end all solution. To directly answer your question. I have been happy with how my $900-1000 scopes have dialed and have been happy with how my $2500 scopes dialed. The $2500 scopes do have much better glass but that has honestly never stopped my from killing deer where I hunt.
 

Tidus56

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Joined
Feb 1, 2018
Messages
1,203
I agree with the above post. I would only add that if you get your gear sussed out before the hunt you’ll know if the scope tracks reliably or not. So get your gear out and use it, if it does the job what is there to worry about?
 

Hondo64d

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2003
Messages
561
Location
The Big Country
I have been beating my brains out for well over two years now researching and trying to chose and buy a tactical capable scope designed specifically for a big game hunting application and keep the cost to as close to between $1300 and preferably $1k. And I have read seemingly COUNTLESS threads and postings now, that scopes that dial that fall in the sub $1500 range equipped with target turrets, zero stop elevation and with reticles either designed specifically for or can also be used for big game hunting costing it would seam under $1500 simply are either not durable enough or not reliable enough to consistently dial accurately and consistently return to zero to be worth buying, especially not on a limited entry big game unit hunt that usually takes years if not over a decade of building PBs to get drawn for.

So is the bitter truth of the matter that simply stated tactical hunting scopes in the $1k to $1500 price point can not be made to be 95%-100% as reliable as those costing $1800- $2k and above? I have read COUNTLESS posting by persons claiming to have owned or owned tactical scopes made by major top players in the rifle scope and optics industries all in the under $2k price range being just not reliable enough to be trusted on a high $$$ guided hunt or a hunt you just used up closer to 20-24 than 15 years worth of BP/PP's getting drawn for.

What's the real reality of tactical style hunting scopes or tactical designed scopes that can also be used for big game hunting?
Is it really must buy March, S&B, Kahles, NF, US Optics etc and spend $1800-$2.5k+++ to get close to the same level of reliability in a tactical dialing scope as in a set-it-and-forget-it scope costing 1/3rd to 1/5th the $$$?
I own seven SIAFI scopes three Vari-XII's, one VX3, a WGS and a two 4200 Elite that all sit atop VERY hard recoiling rifles and turkey guns that each as seen countless hundreds and in the case of my belted magnums and smokeless ML if not well over a 1000 rounds of very harsh recoil and 20+ hard hunting seasons and not one of them has ever (knock on wood) given me so much as a shift in POI of any significance.
Do I really have to spend $1800-$2k to get that level of durability and reliability in a tactical hunting scope? If that's the truth then I just want to know. Not at all complaining just more of a matter of wanting to be properly educated.
I’ve used the Bushnell LRHS, the LRHSi, and the LRTSi. All have been outstanding, tracking reliably and retaining zero perfectly. They are well within your price range and are outstanding hunting scopes.

John
 

Send it 284

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Joined
Oct 15, 2020
Messages
369
Location
Conus
As the saying goes "you get what you pay for"
This is especially true with optics
Not saying you won't get reliability for $1000 but you certainly won't get optical quality
If I were only willing to pay what you are for a lr scope it'd definitely be an LRHS or LRTS
 

Euler

Active Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
32
Location
West
Burris XTR2 for $600 - $800
Bushnell LRTS 4.5-18 at Cameraland for $750
Bushnell XRS2 at MidwayUSA for $1,100
Gen 1 Athlon Cronus BTR ~$1,100 (closeout)
Gen 2 Athlon Cronus BTR ~$1,600
Leupold Mk5 at Liberty Optics for ~$1,400
Vortex Gen2 Razor at Liberty Optics for ~$1,600

The list keeps going. Generally the more you pay, the better you get.
 

Chase723

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
473
Good deals can often be found on high end used glass, that often has either a lifetime warranty or decades of warranty remaining. That said, if you’ve been looking for 2 years then hopefully you’ve been able to put away a little extra to up your budget to say $1500-1750...opens up several more options.
 

Rick Richard

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Joined
Jan 7, 2014
Messages
4,111
Location
North Carolina
Spend what you can on what you think is the best bang for the buck for you. Don’t doubt your decision later. With that said, I have been on many, for me costly hunts using optics on the low cost end up to the high cost end and never had any failures. So, I am not sure using a failure on a “High dollar hunt” is a good criteria for over purchasing. Good luck with your choice.
 

Hard rock

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2020
Messages
291
Location
Tomball Texas 77377
Burris XTR2 for $600 - $800
Bushnell LRTS 4.5-18 at Cameraland for $750
Bushnell XRS2 at MidwayUSA for $1,100
Gen 1 Athlon Cronus BTR ~$1,100 (closeout)
Gen 2 Athlon Cronus BTR ~$1,600
Leupold Mk5 at Liberty Optics for ~$1,400
Vortex Gen2 Razor at Liberty Optics for ~$1,600

The list keeps going. Generally the more you pay, the better you get.
Spend what you can on what you think is the best bang for the buck for you. Don’t doubt your decision later. With that said, I have been on many, for me costly hunts using optics on the low cost end up to the high cost end and never had any failures. So, I am not sure using a failure on a “High dollar hunt” is a good criteria for over purchasing. Good luck with your choice.
I never see anyone recommending meopta is that just no experience with meopta I own several meopro and optica6 the optica6 has zero stop zero lock and a wide range of reticle choices european glass etc light tranmission unbelievable at dawn and dusk not chinese made price range from around 6 too 1000 dollars I wouldnt hesitate to take meopta scopes on any hunt
 

Rick Richard

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Joined
Jan 7, 2014
Messages
4,111
Location
North Carolina
I never see anyone recommending meopta is that just no experience with meopta I own several meopro and optica6 the optica6 has zero stop zero lock and a wide range of reticle choices european glass etc light tranmission unbelievable at dawn and dusk not chinese made price range from around 6 too 1000 dollars I wouldnt hesitate to take meopta scopes on any hunt
I had a Meopta once. Nice glass, but too heavy for me. Also, it had the Parallax adjustment on the bell. I found better scopes for me with more features and less weight.

Not nocking Meopta because I have their binoculars and they are as good as it gets.
 

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