Overthinking Rifle Scope Options

Greenhorn

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Let's be real, there is a point of diminishing return. The average shooter will shoot no better with a 3000.00 scope over a 1000.00 scope, cuz he is an average shooter.
40 years ago I bought my 1st rifle scope a leupold 4X. Over the years I've learned what's good and bad to spend money on, when it comes to hunting. The best option isn't always the most expensive, but the best option is almost never the cheapest.
 

OntarioHunter

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I bought my Nikon 3x9x40 BDC on sale for $99 three years ago Black Friday. It suddenly crapped on me in Africa the following August after performing flawlessly taking the first six plains game. Since returning from warranty repairs it's done everything asked. I never expected that old WWII gun to reach out further than 250 yards but after my latest trip to Africa I may need to rethink ... slightly. That Nikon scope backed up with the new barrel, Timney trigger, and the right loads should be able to accurately reach another hundred yards. I now know I can shoot that far. But that's it. A $99 3x9 scope can still do the job at that range. Glass is clear enough. Maybe the really high end stuff is clearer but so what? Viewing aesthetics won't kill the deer or plains antelope any deader. And I'm sure as hell not shooting at any animal when it's so dark out I need a lighted reticle to see what I'm doing! That's asking for a bone sour festival. Some technology is too good to be good.
 
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cahunter805

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I bought my Nikon 3x9x40 BDC on sale for $99 three years ago Black Friday. It suddenly crapped on me in Africa the following August after performing flawlessly taking the first six plains game. Since returning from warranty repairs it's done everything asked. I never expected that old WWII gun to reach out further than 250 yards but after my latest trip to Africa I may need to rethink ... slightly. That Nikon scope backed up with the new barrel, Timney trigger, and the right loads should be able to accurately reach another hundred yards. I now know I can shoot that far. But that's it. A $99 3x9 scope can still do the job at that range. Glass is clear enough. Maybe the really high end stuff is clearer but so what? Viewing aesthetics won't kill the deer or antelope any deader. And I'm sure as hell not shooting at any animal when it's so dark out I need a lighted reticle to see what I'm doing! That's asking for a bone sour festival. Some technology is too good to be good.
So a scope crapped out after less than a year and who knows how many rounds fired but you are still confident in it after said “repair”.
Serious question. Do you trust it 100%? 90%?50?
 

MTLabrador

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And I'm sure as hell not shooting at any animal when it's so dark out I need a lighted reticle to see what I'm doing! That's asking for a bone sour festival. Some technology is too good to be good.
I wish I had gone with the illuminated reticle on my VX5. I shot my bull this year in the timber in the last few minutes of legal light, and it was sure nice to have bright, clear glass to make the shot.
 

cahunter805

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Let's be real, there is a point of diminishing return. The average shooter will shoot no better with a 3000.00 scope over a 1000.00 scope, cuz he is an average shooter.
Let’s be real, The average shooter would probably shoot the same with a $200 scope.

The reasons for many hunters purchasing expensive 2-3k scopes are Durability, repeatability, zero retention and quality optics. For some it’s probably because their IG flat bill hero hunter said it’s the “best”.
 
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cahunter805

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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?
If given those 2 choices I’d take the Leupold. There is a reason Vortex and their “warranty” is so popular. It’s because it’s used so much by their consumers.
 

schmalts

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40 years ago I bought my 1st rifle scope a leupold 4X. Over the years I've learned what's good and bad to spend money on, when it comes to hunting. The best option isn't always the most expensive, but the best option is almost never the cheapest.
Definitely, hence the term diminishing return. You and I can't shoot like the other Pat S. So we ain't going to benefit much buying a 3000.00 scope over a 1000.00 scope. Would we benefit buying a 1000.00 scope over a 200.00 scope? Sure, I would say a lot more than the 1000 VS 3000 $
 

OntarioHunter

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So a scope crapped out after less than a year and who knows how many rounds fired but you are still confident in it after said “repair”.
Serious question. Do you trust it 100%? 90%?50?
100% ... like I did before the repair. I see enough guys on here with expensive scopes that also go south for no reason and have to be repaired. It happens. My old "cheap" 3x Weaver never gave me a problem over forty years of very hard use. I changed because I wanted clearer modern glass and coatings. But at the store when I bought this Nikon I looked through a comparable Leopold scope (which was not on sale) and frankly I couldn't see any significant difference in clarity. Pay more $$$ for a gold ring? Why? I can tell you if the Nikon scope fails again for any reason (including damage due to mishap), it's going down the mountain ... and I'm out a hundred bucks. But I don't expect that to happen. Since Nikon fixed it I put about 100 rounds through the gun plus a couple of nasty falls while elk hunting and it's still holding zero.
 

Greenhorn

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Trade offs are understood-but these are order of importance for this rifle, a lightweight hunting rifle in 6.5 prc. Quality and durability are more important than weight and price to some extent.

PROVEN turret, as in bomb proof rock solid from top to bottom, back and forth and after being dropped off a cliff. Always back to zero with enough usable elevation travel to get me past 1000m.

Simple, easy to see and get on target quickly reticle. No chance I’d consider some cluttered up BDC reticle. Clear and visible at all power ranges if scope is variable. Ideally I’d like a 3 or 4 to 12 to 15 variable. But that likely require an additional parallax adjustment and more moving parts/weight/cost and maybe worth it.

Exceptional glass, doesn’t have to be Swarovski NL pure quality but UPPER echelon. Good light transmission so likely 44-50mm. It won’t be compact.

It’s going on a lightweight rifle that will total under 8lbs even with the suppressor, so I don’t want a beast, Under 30 ounces preferably a lighter.

The word in bold is not one derived from sales and marketing but preferably from time in the field and from usually those that have spent recent years in the Middle East where there lives depended on it working ALL the time.
 

schmalts

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Trade offs are understood-but these are order of importance for this rifle, a lightweight hunting rifle in 6.5 prc. Quality and durability are more important than weight and price to some extent.

PROVEN turret, as in bomb proof rock solid from top to bottom, back and forth and after being dropped off a cliff. Always back to zero with enough usable elevation travel to get me past 1000m.

Simple, easy to see and get on target quickly reticle. No chance I’d consider some cluttered up BDC reticle. Clear and visible at all power ranges if scope is variable. Ideally I’d like a 3 or 4 to 12 to 15 variable. But that likely require an additional parallax adjustment and more moving parts/weight/cost and maybe worth it.

Exceptional glass, doesn’t have to be Swarovski NL pure quality but UPPER echelon. Good light transmission so likely 44-50mm. It won’t be compact.

It’s going on a lightweight rifle that will total under 8lbs even with the suppressor, so I don’t want a beast, Under 30 ounces preferably a lighter.

The word in bold is not one derived from sales and marketing but preferably from time in the field and from usually those that have spent recent years in the Middle East where there lives depended on it working ALL the time.
That is very light. I'm past the whole lightweight/long range combo thing, cuz I just can't shoot one for crap compared to a rifle that weighs 2-3 pounds more unless I'm on a bench with bags. If super accuracy was my concern, I would not be skimping a ton on weight but that is me. Glad to hear you got the PRC in mind, that's what the Seekins Havok I been using is in. I like it so far, with the factory rounds it shoots better than I can. I just need to get some brass and do some hand loading now. I talked with Jake about a few things before I put things together. I ended up with a 3-18X44 Mark5 for it. It is really compact and it is really light to offset a bit of the weight of the rifle. I am at 9.5 pounds without a can. I am waiting for that to come in yet but that will put me a put over 10 pounds. As I posted before, I just think with my shooting skills and vision slowly getting old I don't think spending more is going to get me anything more at where I am at. Your situation might be different.
 

CB1

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If given those 2 choices I’d take the Leupold. There is a reason Vortex and their “warranty” is so popular. It’s because it’s used so much by their consumers.
That’s what I was concerned about, I have had a pair of diamondbacks for a while with no issues and thought I’d try the scope also, potentially rangefinder. Chances are it’s probably ok but would hate to have a scope fail when I needed it.

Based on the comments it sounds like it might be worth selling the vortex and buying something else.
 

schmalts

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That’s what I was concerned about, I have had a pair of diamondbacks for a while with no issues and thought I’d try the scope also, potentially rangefinder. Chances are it’s probably ok but would hate to have a scope fail when I needed it.

Based on the comments it sounds like it might be worth selling the vortex and buying something else.
I'd definitely go Leupold over Vortex...
 
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Don Fischer

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I wonder who's buying all these junk products that allows the manufacturer to stay in usiness? If I was new to shooting sport's reading what I'm reading, I would not dare spend less than about $1000 on a scope! Company's that sell products to the public like to make a profit on their product. If they make a bad product, they don't last long. If they don't have an honerable guarantee, again, they don't last long. For myself I think a lot of people spend a lot more than needed on products simply to let you know they have the money! I think the moto of shooting sport's should be "buy once, cry once"! Seems to be a popular saying amoung a number of people.

That fellow that has the Nikon that failed him and he got fixed and still uses, would he have been better off if he'd bought a $1000 scope and had the same thing happen of after the $1000 scope bite's the dust or does that brand suddenly turn to junk?

I had a Nikon give up the ghost on me one time, Nikon made it good. Still have a few more Nikons that are doing well! Imagine that. Equipment snobs bore the hell out of me!
 

Fire_9

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I wonder who's buying all these junk products that allows the manufacturer to stay in usiness? If I was new to shooting sport's reading what I'm reading, I would not dare spend less than about $1000 on a scope! Company's that sell products to the public like to make a profit on their product. If they make a bad product, they don't last long. If they don't have an honerable guarantee, again, they don't last long. For myself I think a lot of people spend a lot more than needed on products simply to let you know they have the money! I think the moto of shooting sport's should be "buy once, cry once"! Seems to be a popular saying amoung a number of people.

That fellow that has the Nikon that failed him and he got fixed and still uses, would he have been better off if he'd bought a $1000 scope and had the same thing happen of after the $1000 scope bite's the dust or does that brand suddenly turn to junk?

I had a Nikon give up the ghost on me one time, Nikon made it good. Still have a few more Nikons that are doing well! Imagine that. Equipment snobs bore the hell out of me!
The intended use of the optic makes a huge difference. If you want to twist turrets, you’re wasting you time and money with a $100 optic. A $1000 or $3000 scope can still fail but that failure rate will be a fraction of what the $100 scope will be.
 

rjthehunter

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That’s what I was concerned about, I have had a pair of diamondbacks for a while with no issues and thought I’d try the scope also, potentially rangefinder. Chances are it’s probably ok but would hate to have a scope fail when I needed it.

Based on the comments it sounds like it might be worth selling the vortex and buying something else.
I have 2 sets of vortex binos, 2 scopes, 1 spotter. Never sent any in for warranty. Scopes track reliably all the time.

Do yourself a favor and google leupold scope tracking and see what it auto fills with... Looks like they leupold has problems with scopes tracking true.

It's not like a scope is going to spontaneously combust in the field. If you have a scope on a rifle and you've practiced with it and used it, it'll work for a hunt. If you take a scope out of the box, zero it, and go on a hunt and expect to be accurate out to 1000 yards then you're stupid. No matter what kind of scope you buy, you should test it before relying on it. Make sure it tracks true, make sure it returns to 0 reliably. Expose it to some water. Have confidence in your optics performance in harsh conditions.

I've owned different vortex optics for 7 years now and never had to send anything in for repairs. Call vortex and see how many times it rings before someone (real person) answers... Haters will hate as they always do. But don't shy away from vortex because people on a forum have a vendetta against them. I like the warranty as a peace of mind. If I trip on a rock and fall on my scope and it breaks, I won't be out 1k. I can send it in and get a new one.

I have nothing against Leupold. I have one on my .270. But they're not the "best" option in my opinion. Vortex is popular for a reason.
 

cahunter805

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I wonder who's buying all these junk products that allows the manufacturer to stay in usiness? If I was new to shooting sport's reading what I'm reading, I would not dare spend less than about $1000 on a scope! Company's that sell products to the public like to make a profit on their product. If they make a bad product, they don't last long. If they don't have an honerable guarantee, again, they don't last long. For myself I think a lot of people spend a lot more than needed on products simply to let you know they have the money! I think the moto of shooting sport's should be "buy once, cry once"! Seems to be a popular saying amoung a number of people.

That fellow that has the Nikon that failed him and he got fixed and still uses, would he have been better off if he'd bought a $1000 scope and had the same thing happen of after the $1000 scope bite's the dust or does that brand suddenly turn to junk?

I had a Nikon give up the ghost on me one time, Nikon made it good. Still have a few more Nikons that are doing well! Imagine that. Equipment snobs bore the hell out of me!

If he would have bought a $1000 scope it’s much more likely he never would’ve had a failure with the optic.

The optics debate will never be settled and is always a great one.
IMO the major differences are there are hunters who practice with their rifles for most of the year, shoot a few hundred rounds a year, some twist turrets, some hunt 60+ days a season in the field in some adverse conditions. These hunters usually require a higher standard for their scope and it’s feature also.
The other group which I feel is the majority of hunters takes their rifles to the range a month or so before season to sight in or check their rifle. Maybe they shoot 5-10 rounds and they are ready for the season.
 

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