Scope upgrade: thoughts on $500 for open country hunting.

JakeC

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Oct 10, 2020
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North Utah
I've got a fixed 12 target scope that I absolutely adore. It's just a 300 dollar swfa but I'd keep it under my pillow if my girl let me. That said, it's just not the scope for getting back into hunting in Utah. Long range shots are possible, but 12x is not enough FOV under 300. Plus those tall unlocked turrets are just begging to screw up in a thicket. So I'm trying to get a jump on things and get my optics to practice with now as I do load development for the new gun I've got.

My thoughts right now are that I'm not sure how to prioritize features for hunting out at range. How do you balance glass, parallax, dialing vs hash marks, and zoom? RIght now I'm having a hard time checking the boxes at any price, let along keeping it in the budget. It's really hard to get around the puzzle of first vs 2nd focal plane for hunting. Below 15 there are no ffp hunting scopes, and dialing a 15 out to 3-5 in low light, exactly when you need the lowest settings, is useless. Similarly a sfp is a rigmarole to dial/hold. I'm thinking practice and notes on a sfp is the way to go. I know a 150 yard shot is the most likely thing in the juniper hills but I've got no problem with the morality of a canyon shot and want to be able to take it if it's the right thing.

The best deal I've seen yet is a Razor 2-10 HD light hunter for 400. No adjustable objective and capped turrets but a decent ranging reticle and great great glass. I like Leupolds for a lot of reason but my gut and experience just tells me not to trust their dialing at this price point, and their reticles are trash for holding wind. (I had a tri-moa reticle. I sold it for a shotgun.) I like the burris' I've handled and their reticles a lot but have no idea how they dial. I do not like most of the vortex scopes I've looked at because they were the opposite of the razor LH, the glass was cheap and dusty looking and the money was in the features.

Anyway, I'm new to western hunting and am just looking for recommendations or thoughts. My gut is telling me that at the ranges I'll be ready to shoot (600 and under unless more supplies hit the market) this year I should give up parallax adjustment for glass quality, give up dialing for well-designed reticles, and keep the max power under 14. Maybe I'm missing something but it seems like my price bracket is right where the pinch between fads and hunting makes you really have to sort the beach sand from the pepper. But I thought that when I had 200 dollars too.
 

jpd676

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Oct 28, 2010
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Jackson Hole, WY
Picking the right scope is very personal. I have a bunch of SWFA 10x scopes; I hunt with them and shoot long with them. I think a 6x SWFA would be good for your style of hunting. I dial my long shots on game and targets because I am more accurate than using hold overs. The paralax is very important to me. You may have nice glass but if you can't adjust your paralax things are blurry. I would suggest saving just a bit and buying a Meopta Optika 6, a Sightron SIII or something along those lines
 

Hard rock

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Dec 20, 2020
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Tomball Texas 77377
Sounds like your a prime candidate for the meopta optica 6 series scopes they offer them in 1st and secomd focal plane european optics available in a #of reticle chioces and magnifications I personally use the 3x18 ffp Diachro ret really shows up at dusk and dawn check em out can't beat the price sounds like you would be in the 5 to 7 hundred dollar price range
 

JakeC

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Oct 10, 2020
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164
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North Utah
Picking the right scope is very personal. I have a bunch of SWFA 10x scopes; I hunt with them and shoot long with them. I think a 6x SWFA would be good for your style of hunting. I dial my long shots on game and targets because I am more accurate than using hold overs. The paralax is very important to me. You may have nice glass but if you can't adjust your paralax things are blurry. I would suggest saving just a bit and buying a Meopta Optika 6, a Sightron SIII or something along those lines
Interesting, I had considered getting a 6 swfa. You don't have issues with your zero wandering under hunting conditions or turrets catching on stuff? I was kinda thinking of their variable 3-9 if the reticle doesn't disappear at low power. I bet the glass is even clearer at that 6x which would cancel out some loss of zoom. And it's good to hear the parallax is a factor, my gut says that when finding the target with both eyes open that would be important but it's easy to dismiss when people have been going without that for so long.
 

JakeC

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Oct 10, 2020
Messages
164
Location
North Utah
Sounds like your a prime candidate for the meopta optica 6 series scopes they offer them in 1st and secomd focal plane european optics available in a #of reticle chioces and magnifications I personally use the 3x18 ffp Diachro ret really shows up at dusk and dawn check em out can't beat the price sounds like you would be in the 5 to 7 hundred dollar price range
I need to check them out then, I've heard absolutely zero about the meopta. And yeah, 500 is the goal but I could squeak 700 eventually. I'd be willing to invest more but my bird dog needs surgery and then better training (pigeon time). I'll look those over.
 

Ken61

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Nov 6, 2008
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In the Olden Days we used 4x and if were were really flush we got a coveted 6X. Nowadays we seem to need variables up to 20. I confess my 30-06 Rem BDL wears a Leupold 4.5-14. I carry it in the 4-6 range. Go figger.
 

davewilson

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Feb 19, 2004
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2,709
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Pennsyltucky
i think you would be better off just using the reticle and forget dialing for a while till you get used to long range. i shoot out to 700 often with my reticle and it works just fine. get a 3-15 or 4-14 type scope and learn where to hold with the reticle. dial down and use lower powers for anything normal
 

JakeC

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Oct 10, 2020
Messages
164
Location
North Utah
i think you would be better off just using the reticle and forget dialing for a while till you get used to long range. i shoot out to 700 often with my reticle and it works just fine. get a 3-15 or 4-14 type scope and learn where to hold with the reticle. dial down and use lower powers for anything normal
Yeah I need ot practice that more. Holding off for wind I do fine. Holding elevation for some reason I get confused really quickly but if I zero out to 250 or so that'll be less of a problem.
 

Eric_F

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Mar 27, 2018
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Minnesota

jpd676

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Oct 28, 2010
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525
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Jackson Hole, WY
I've never had an SWFA walk off on the zero and I've hunted pretty rough spots. I have an Optika 6 3-18 and it is pretty nice but a bit on the heavy side.
 

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