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Starting from scratch with turret scope

Durango Mike

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Joined
Jul 25, 2020
Messages
210
Ok folks, this is a subject about which i am completely without knowledge about where to start, even after starting with numerous internet tutorials (too many options!). I have always favored high quality glass and have Leupold, Swarvoski, Kahles, Burris, Nikon, several with MIL dot system and a range of variable powers. I have mostly used Warne bases and rings so I can quickly swap scopes when traveling by having two sighted in on the same rifle if one gets messed up, easy swap. What scope would you choose for hunting and occasional long range target shooting? Can it be the same scope? Recognizing the "you get what you pay for", and "buy the best first so you don't have to trade up" arguments, but is a $3,000 Nightforce vastly superior to a $1,300 Leupold or $700 Nikon? Load specific dials seem to suggest swapping scope between different rifles as long as bases were compatible, anyone do it? Has anyone had experience with retrofitting turrets to an existing scope? Comfortable shooting targets out to 600 yards, but never needed to shoot an Elk past 350. i used to shoot silhouettes with open sights at BP cartridge matches to 500 meters, but new target games I have looked into will potentially be out to 1,200 so a dial would be handy and particularly when the match has multiple ranges of engagement (have not shot in one yet). Thanks for any help!
 

std7mag

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Aug 23, 2016
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Location
central pa
Wow! A lot all at once, but will get the ball rolling!

First, scope pricing vs quality.
For hunting & occasional target to 600 yards, the Leupolds do just fine.
Shooting 600 yard F Class matches, and occasional hunting, the Nightforce.
Don't get me wrong, Leupold makes a quality scope! But at the range, Nightforce is used for a reason. Ditto Sightron.
Those are your predominately used scopes for match shooting.
Both Sightron & Nightforce are picked for magnification range, optics quality, and tracking.
I haven't seen too many Vortex at the matches, and those that i see are the Golden Eagles. Not really any better or worse than the Nightforce or Sightrons.
The oddball of price vs quality would be Sightron. Great scopes at a decent price!

As far as CDS turrets go, i stay away from them.
They are good for THAT bullet, with THAT load, in THAT gun, at THAT enviornmental condition.
Same bullet/load out of a different gun, and your CDS may (read probably) won't match up.
Stick with MOA, or MILS.
And don't mix those! PITA doing the math if you have MIL reticle, and MOA turrets. Or vice versa.

Personally, if your set up to change scopes quickly, i'd have one for hunting (3-15, or 4-16) and change over for your 1,200 yard target shooting (4-20, or 5-25).
I have predominately 4-12 scopes on my hunting rifles.
My range/match rifle is wearing a 10-50X60 Sightron SIII LRTD.
And my match rifle weighs 14lbs.
 

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1_pointer

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Dec 20, 2000
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17,710
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Indiana
I think one of the most important things when starting is that the turrets and the reticle match. mil/mil or moa/moa. Both are just rulers and it's easier if they are both in the same units. First focal plane or fixed power, coupled with matching turrets/reticle make it a bit more easier as well IMO as you don't have to worry about the scope magnification setting.
 

Durango Mike

Active member
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
Messages
210
Wow! A lot all at once, but will get the ball rolling!

First, scope pricing vs quality.
For hunting & occasional target to 600 yards, the Leupolds do just fine.
Shooting 600 yard F Class matches, and occasional hunting, the Nightforce.
Don't get me wrong, Leupold makes a quality scope! But at the range, Nightforce is used for a reason. Ditto Sightron.
Those are your predominately used scopes for match shooting.
Both Sightron & Nightforce are picked for magnification range, optics quality, and tracking.
I haven't seen too many Vortex at the matches, and those that i see are the Golden Eagles. Not really any better or worse than the Nightforce or Sightrons.
The oddball of price vs quality would be Sightron. Great scopes at a decent price!

As far as CDS turrets go, i stay away from them.
They are good for THAT bullet, with THAT load, in THAT gun, at THAT enviornmental condition.
Same bullet/load out of a different gun, and your CDS may (read probably) won't match up.
Stick with MOA, or MILS.
And don't mix those! PITA doing the math if you have MIL reticle, and MOA turrets. Or vice versa.

Personally, if your set up to change scopes quickly, i'd have one for hunting (3-15, or 4-16) and change over for your 1,200 yard target shooting (4-20, or 5-25).
I have predominately 4-12 scopes on my hunting rifles.
My range/match rifle is wearing a 10-50X60 Sightron SIII LRTD.
And my match rifle weighs 14lbs.
Thank you for the insight, never thought about swapping hunting and target setups, great idea. I will look at the Sightron offerings, I have not had a chance to look thru a Vortex or Sightron scope so I will need to find someone locally who has one of these. I get your point on gear specific to the task. Looking back I remember the noticeable difference in Swarvoski vs other scopes, my sense is that differential has narrowed a bunch with computer design and CNC machining.
 

Durango Mike

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Joined
Jul 25, 2020
Messages
210
I think one of the most important things when starting is that the turrets and the reticle match. mil/mil or moa/moa. Both are just rulers and it's easier if they are both in the same units. First focal plane or fixed power, coupled with matching turrets/reticle make it a bit more easier as well IMO as you don't have to worry about the scope magnification setting.
Thank you! I get the same units for both and the first focal plane, I have looked thru a few scopes with a matrix of mil range and windage and found the clutter distracting. Then again found the first mil dot scope I used distracting with just hash marks!
 

std7mag

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Aug 23, 2016
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Location
central pa
There is one scope company that gets great reviews, but that i'm at a personal crossroads with.
Arken Optics.
Glass is made in Japan. Then sent to China, where the scope is built.
But listed as a US company by 2 veterans from Texas.
Inexpensive at $599, but people comparing them to their Schmit &Benders and other quality optics.
Tracking guarranteed to 0.5%.
Even Nightforce is 1%.
 

Durango Mike

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Jul 25, 2020
Messages
210
Thanks! more choices is not a good thing when you are in your 70's, i can forget what i went to the refrigerator for let alone to Cabelas! Woke up this morning to 30-40 cows and calves and a few small bulls in my bottom pasture at 600 yards from the ranch house, so could have either walked down to the hay barn and shot a cow at 200 or from here, i would still take the walk even if i had the gear to make the long shot. I am back to research with a new name to look at, i get your conflict and prefer US made stuff, then again I have Kubota tractors!
 

std7mag

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Aug 23, 2016
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Location
central pa
Optics wise it's hard to find stuff made in the US.
Even Leupold uses some stuff made overseas.
The best glass is coming from Japan. Still great glass in Germany, but seems to be falling off over the past few years.

For distance target scopes i lean towards MOA. MIL works, but the adjustments are courser. 2.5" for 1/4 MOA at 1,000 yards vs 3.6" for 1/10 MIL.

The Cutting Edge Bullet team for King Of 2 Miles doesn't care for the one Leupold scope they have for that reason. They love the scope itself, just wish it was in MOA.

Oh, and the 10-50 scope i have is for precision work out to 400 yards.
Shooting long range, you'll mostly see max magnification of 25X. The mirage is a killer on the really high power scopes like my SIII.
If your spending the money, better spent on better glass quality than have the higher magnification.
Not saying the glass quality is bad on the SIII. But not the latest greatest ED, etc glass.
 

Durango Mike

Active member
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
Messages
210
Optics wise it's hard to find stuff made in the US.
Even Leupold uses some stuff made overseas.
The best glass is coming from Japan. Still great glass in Germany, but seems to be falling off over the past few years.

For distance target scopes i lean towards MOA. MIL works, but the adjustments are courser. 2.5" for 1/4 MOA at 1,000 yards vs 3.6" for 1/10 MIL.

The Cutting Edge Bullet team for King Of 2 Miles doesn't care for the one Leupold scope they have for that reason. They love the scope itself, just wish it was in MOA.

Oh, and the 10-50 scope i have is for precision work out to 400 yards.
Shooting long range, you'll mostly see max magnification of 25X. The mirage is a killer on the really high power scopes like my SIII.
If your spending the money, better spent on better glass quality than have the higher magnification.
Not saying the glass quality is bad on the SIII. But not the latest greatest ED, etc glass.
I get that, I am used to fighting mirage in my bench rest days out to 100-200-300 it was a real issue, still have the Lyman 25x with fine cross-hairs somewhere in the shop. Mirage is even an issue with long range BP and open sights it will move your focus a bunch.
 

VikingsGuy

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Aug 2, 2017
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5,808
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Twin Cities
For hunting hard to beat a Leupold VX-5HD from @schmalts for the money. Similarly, the Sightron SIIIs are a great value for target. I have both Sightrons and Nightforce - Nightforce is a tiny bit better, but dollar for dollar the Sightron can't be beat.
 

Durango Mike

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Jul 25, 2020
Messages
210
For hunting hard to beat a Leupold VX-5HD from @schmalts for the money. Similarly, the Sightron SIIIs are a great value for target. I have both Sightrons and Nightforce - Nightforce is a tiny bit better, but dollar for dollar the Sightron can't be beat.
Thanks! I do not know about Schmalts do they have a website? I looked at both a Nightforce tactical (very heavy but brilliant glass), and the SHV version (30mm tube 3X12, could not tell the differences in the glass). The Arken, but availability looks to be 3-4 months, the price is super reasonable and the reviews have been excellent that I have seen. I find research is half the fun so more looking ahead. The comments here have certainly helped give me a better starting point. I have a friend who has a Sightron and we may have a trip to the range for some side by side comparisons.
 

Oak

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Dec 23, 2000
Messages
13,204
Location
Colorado
As far as CDS turrets go, i stay away from them.
They are good for THAT bullet, with THAT load, in THAT gun, at THAT enviornmental condition.
Same bullet/load out of a different gun, and your CDS may (read probably) won't match up.
Stick with MOA, or MILS.
CDS turrets work the same as any other MOA turret out of the box. No need to send in for the custom dial if you don't want to do so.
 

huntin24/7

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Jul 25, 2010
Messages
668
Location
Eastern Montana
CDS turrets work the same as any other MOA turret out of the box. No need to send in for the custom dial if you don't want to do so.
Definitely. I just developed my own drop chart for a vx3 cds this summer knowing that I’ll probably develop another load for it at some point.
 

the444shooter

Active member
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
229
A main point that you should consider when getting a scope with turrets, is that a zero-lock, or mechanical zero-stop is worth more than you know. I've had a hunt screwed up because of my turret being spun, and I've seen a guy in competition be a full revolution of his turret off because he didn't know where his zero was. Now any of my scopes that have exposed dials have a zero-stop. My main hunting rifle has a VX5-HD on it, which has a zero lock with a button that needs to be depressed in order for it to spin, and Vortex Viper PST GenIIs and Viper HST and HS-LR all have shims that you add so you can't go past your zero the wrong way. When you're walking, it's far too easy to brush the turrets of your scope and have them rotate.
 

LongCut

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Jul 26, 2020
Messages
68
Location
N/E Ohio
I am pretty sure all of my hunting scopes are Leupold right now. That being said, I owned a Nightforce for many years. Made a big difference shooting past 4, 5, 600 yards... Bigger difference past 1K. My buddy couldnt keep up with his Leupold. (Leupold does make some better stuff nowadays)

I have used S&B, Kahles, USO, Vortex's high end stuff, etc. They all have their ups and downs. By that, I mean features that you may or may not need/use. Lots of personal preference involved.

This discussion could go on and on and on, but to answer your basic question, yes I think you will be better off with a higher-end scope. Can you do it with that $700 Nikon in your example? Probably, but why tow a boat with a Camry when you can do it with a truck?
 
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