Yeti

Overthinking Rifle Scope Options

CB1

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Wondering if I am the only one overthinking rifle scope options. I have a Tikka T3x lite in 7 mag and bought a vortex viper hs 4x16 for it. Had to warranty the scope brand new and before attaching it I started second guessing what to put on the rifle. Options are:

Vortex viper hs 4x16 at 18 oz vplex reticle
Leupold vx freedom 3x9 with cds at 12 oz duplex reticle

Both have a similar reticle so no difference there but cds may be nice. Is the extra magnification worth the extra 6oz?
 

Farmerj

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Killed a lot of critters with a 3x9. What’s the terrain like where you will be hunting most
Yop…

I went with a 3-15X as it will work in the woods out to 800 yards for me for anything I can ask it to do.

I was all set on a vortex viper until the guy handed me one of these.

Wow, talk about differences in optics.

5596BADC-14DB-4A9F-B97B-32EF110E40AB.jpeg
 

oxn939

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Is the extra magnification worth the extra 6oz?

Only thing I personally use anything more than 3-9 for is my dedicated LR rig- if I'm shooting 300 and in, the big magnification optics are just paying more to add unnecessary weight and bulk to my rifle.

You'll hear this a lot, but Vortex is an importer of mostly foreign optics, and their Filipino-made riflescopes (the Viper and Diamondback lines) are prone to taking trips back to the factory for repair. I read that opinion a bunch of times, ignored it, and finally experienced it several times myself before culling them from my lineup. An ironclad warranty does nothing for me when the success or failure of a trip is entirely dependent on a riflescope's ability to perform in the field.
 

Don Fischer

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It's strange. Guy's buy large power variable scopes suggesting they might need them for 4-500 or more yard shots on game. Then the majority of them end up carrying around a lot more scope than they need as the vast majority of game is shot under 200 yds or so I read. I know the vast majority of mine has been and mostly in areas where people think they will really need the extra power. I had a 4 1/2-14x on my 6.5x06 early on but only used it for target shooting out to 500 yds. Had never shot it past 8x though. Hunting I put on a spare 3-9x scope. Still has that 3-9x on it and the only time I have ever used it off 3x is sighting in at 100 yds at 6x. My sighting in target's have 1" diamond aiming point's but I also have some with 2 1/2" aiming I use with rifles with low power scopes.

I think most people really do believe they need higher power and it comes I believe from all the opinions about the need to see better. Something I noticed about the 9x setting on my 3-9x scopes is that turn them up to 9x and I can watch my heart beat in the scope! I found out after I started using variable scopes that the best hunting variable for me is the 2-7x. Basically it's a bit smaller than anything bigger and balances better on my rifles and I never hunt with them over 2x! But for sighting in, I only use 6x as I do like the smaller aiming point for targets. 6x works very well for that and a big plus, I can't see my heart beat at 6x! My 2-7x's are Redfield's so not very expensive and lasting well. I don't climb into spots I worry much about falling with them, I doubt many people do!

I seldom check to see how accurate adjustment's are anymore. Sight it in, zero to max point blank range, keep shooting to under 300 yds and no reason to ever move the turret's again unless re zeroing trying out a new load.

Those BDC type reticles annoy the tar out of me. Had one in my 4 1/2-14x and never ever bothered using it, just something to distract me. On that rifle and my 243 which I mostly plink with, I made drop charts and taped them to the butt shock of the rifle. Easier by far to learn to turn the turrets than to learn that BDC reticle. Those with all the windage and elevatoion marks are no less distrubing to me. Here's the deal, zeroed for MPBR at an 8" target, every rifle I have will give me max at around 275 yds which is farther than I normally shot. I did shoot a deer one time at 330yds according to my range finder with my 6.5x06. did it just to say I had and fired the shot on 3x! So much for the need of power. I have a 1-4x variable on a 308 I only shoot cast bullet's in. never comes off of 4x! have tried it on 1x and it annoys me to sit there looking at about half my barrel. Problem goes away with my 2-7x scopes.

I'd advise give more though to what ranges you actually shoot at game and choose your scope from there. Keep in mind that the higher up in power you go the more trimble of your own you'll see in the scope, that does nothing to improve your shooting!

If I were to go out today and get a new hunting scope it would be a 2-7x with duplex crosswire's and the idea of over 300 yards shots is wasted on me to begin with. Of course if I was setting up a ground squirrel rifle and intended to shoot way out there, higher power would be nice to have. No getting around the point that smaller aiming points get harder to see the farther away they get! yea I'd shoot at a ground squirrel at 500 yds. It will either die or be missed!
 
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CB1

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Killed a lot of critters with a 3x9. What’s the terrain like where you will be hunting most
Im not 100% on where I will be hunting outside the fact I am in Colorado, plan to use it for ek and mule deer and some pronghorn in Wyoming. Would also like to be able to shoot paper out to 600-700 eventually. Hoping to make this my do it all rifle.
 
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CB1

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Only thing I personally use anything more than 3-9 for is my dedicated LR rig- if I'm shooting 300 and in, the big magnification optics are just paying more to add unnecessary weight and bulk to my rifle.

You'll hear this a lot, but Vortex is an importer of mostly foreign optics, and their Filipino-made riflescopes (the Viper and Diamondback lines) are prone to taking trips back to the factory for repair. I read that opinion a bunch of times, ignored it, and finally experienced it several times myself before culling them from my lineup. An ironclad warranty does nothing for me when the success or failure of a trip is entirely dependent on a riflescope's ability to perform in the field.
The warranty was another thing I was concerned with. Having to immediately warranty it made me question the decision a bit.
 

Greenhorn

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Overthinking this one..
 
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T Bone

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I'd be happy with the Leupold 3-9 with CDS.

Before ordering your dial, find the load your rifle likes and verify drops......THEN order your dial to match actual ballistics, not advertised.
 

oxn939

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The warranty was another thing I was concerned with. Having to immediately warranty it made me question the decision a bit.

Yeah I love Vortex's binos and spotters, but had zeros walk on two of their riflescopes. I have one of their Japanese-made Razors that has been great for the last 3 seasons.
 

Greenhorn

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You have to act on that one, thinking will just screw it all up.
Impulse buys..

I'm looking for a scope that has the best possible turret, reticle, glass, quality and durability, and for use in ALL hunting scenarios 15 - 1000 yards, FFP with reticle that is also quick onto target. Light would be nice, but bullet proof often isn't ultra light. Or cheap. It's looking like I will be picking up a second job tending bar or something to afford it.
 

ImBillT

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I like having close to 20X for judging deer antlers after shooting the wrong deer once with a fixed 6X at around 340yds. I had watched them with higher power glass, but left it behind when I started moving in on them.

For elk or for brush, there is really no need for more than a 3-9X, or perhaps a 4-12.

After getting skunked out of state two years in a row, I shot two mediocre deer this year and scope power would not have made any difference. I just wasn’t as picky as I’d planned to be, and mediocre antlers looked a lot bigger than those two unfilled tags back home.
 

buffybr

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I'd be happy with the Leupold 3-9 with CDS.

Before ordering your dial, find the load your rifle likes and verify drops......THEN order your dial to match actual ballistics, not advertised.
I have Leupold CDS scopes on 5 of my rifles. Although I don't have one, I think the VX 3HD 3.5-10x40 CDS ZL like noharleyyet posted would be my ideal hunting scope.

Like T Bone posted, "Before ordering your dial, find the load your rifle likes and verify drops......THEN order your dial to match actual ballistics, not advertised." is VERY IMPORTANT advice. I have only done that on the CDS scope that I put on my .300 Wby and it is quick, easy, and works perfectly.

On all of my other CDS scopes I have range certified the 200, 300, and 430 yard settings and painted a small white line on the top of the turret at each of those settings. I painted a white dot at the 100 yard zero setting. The white lines are very easy to see, and it only takes seconds to range the target then turn the turret to that distance.
 

Bambistew

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Impulse buys..

I'm looking for a scope that has the best possible turret, reticle, glass, quality and durability, and for use in ALL hunting scenarios 15 - 1000 yards, FFP with reticle that is also quick onto target. Light would be nice, but bullet proof often isn't ultra light. Or cheap. It's looking like I will be picking up a second job tending bar or something to afford it.
Sounds like you need a 2x7 Leupold with CDS. You'll either kill it or miss.
 

Brian in Montana

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I used an older Leupold vx-1 3x9 on a .308, Tikka T3X, for a lot of years. I've made some pretty good shots with it and killed about everything considered standard rocky mountain game animals with it. This past weekend I finished putting together a 30-06 AI, and admittedly found myself over-thinking the scope a little. I wanted light weight, like my .308 and oscillated between a 3x9x40 vx-freedom with a Hunt-plex reticle or CDS. I ultimately went simple and just got a standard Hunt-Plex.

I know myself, and how I hunt; the more I thought about, the more I just couldn't see myself wanting to twist a turret before every shot. The MPBR method has worked well for me for about 25 years, so I'm sticking with it. But that's just me. Some people like extra moving parts, and they have their uses, but I like my optics to be pretty well fixed.

But I'll also say, I believe it's in our nature as hunters to over-think this kind of thing. 👍
 

OntarioHunter

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I don't find the reticle on my Nikon 3x9 BDC distracting. I don't pay much attention to it, mostly because I'm not using that gun for long range hunting. Nikon's load and range adjustment table didn't work for me. I wasn't using the exact same bullet in the chart (I don't think there was anything but fancy mono bullets on the entire chart) but same weight and velocity. I actually got less drop at 200 yards but not enough to make a difference when shooting at a deer. BDC increments on the reticle put the shooter in the ballpark. Adjusting the reticle puts him on the button. I guess it depends on what you want to do with the gun ... and your money. Personally, I would put the extra thousand bucks towards a plane ticket to Africa. Yes, I nailed my kudu at 440 yards with my PH's ultra expensive 4x20 "tactical" scope, but it probably wasn't necessary. If that bull wanted to keep coming back to the same place, we would get him another day at half that distance (I had a running shot at him earlier that morning and missed). A decent bull waterbuck was still bedded down about a hundred yards above us in thick stuff. We had his number for sure if I wanted him. PH said his gun would kill the kudu if I wanted it instead ... and it did. Ordinarily I would pass on shooting at something at that range but getting a very good kudu off the list meant I could spend more time hunting waterbuck and other stuff. In retrospect, his gun made it too easy. At 20x on the bipod and dialed in for that range with no wind anyone could make that shot. I would much rather have taken that kudu on the run that morning at 60 yards ... like I had done for my cape buffalo a few days earlier. Not anyone can make those shots. And I would have shot the kudu on the run had it not jumped a hedge just as I fired. If I'd had time to crank my gun's scope down off 9x I still might have got him but he flushed to my left when I shot at and somehow missed a waterbuck bull 200 yards above us. I had turned the scope up to 9x to look at the waterbuck's horns while we were discussing the shape.

If OP wants to shoot paper out to 700 yards and hunt elk in Colorado, I think he might want to consider acquiring two scopes and detachable rings/mount. The extra weight and bulkiness of an ultra long range scope might not be the ticket for hunting hard in the high Rockies.
 
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