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Rifle Scopes Another 'what kind of scope' question from a newbie


Sep 30, 2017
I'm just dipping my toe into precision rifles and long range shooting; after many weeks of contemplation, I settled upon purchasing a Bergara HMR in .308. So far, I've installed a Badger Ordnance 20MOA picatinny base. I had a Millett 6-25x56 scope laying around from an old AR-10 that I sold so I have mounted that to the rifle in the interim so I can "scratch my itch". I intend to purchase some new glass for the rig but, having purchased 3 scopes in my lifetime, I get lost pretty quickly and don't want to make a poor decision if I'm going to be spending $800-$1,200. Relevant details:

-Platform: Bergara B14 HMR, 20" barrel, .308 Win
-Use: 50/50 deer and varmint hunting OR long range target shooting (not off of bench rest)
-Conditions: low-light, rain/snow potentially
-Distances: 100-600 yds
​​​​​​-Price range: $800-$1,200
-Other factors:
- the millett I have mounted right now added a ton of weight to the rig...would like a somewhat lighter scope being that I'll be toting on foot for 1-3 miles
-field of view as wide as possible
-rings; the crappy millett rings that I'm currently using have the scope far too elevated in my mind when combined with the BO base...recos on rings would be
Appreciated as well
-reticle: I am a fan of simplicity and prefer simple mil-dot...not familiar with FFP/SFP

Pardon my lack of savvy when it comes to these things; I've been shooting the same rifle (Win model 70, .300wsm) my whole life for deer hunting and have a $100 piece of junk scope on it, but it has served its purpose...I think that's illustrative of how ignorant I am when it comes to talking glass. Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Preston Walsh Fitness
Full Member
Feb 10, 2017
Central AL
SWFA 3-15x42 has a simple mil reticle, FFP, mil turrets, and weighs only 24 oz. Cost is $600.

If you can deal with a Christmas tree style reticle, take a look at the Bushnell LHRS family of scopes. They are 24-28 oz depending on model and are exactly what you describe besides the reticle.

Also, the PX here can have a few deals as well, look there as well.

Of course Vortex PST gen 2s are good, and a used Razor Gen 1 if you can take the weight.


Lt. Colonel
Full Member
Mar 16, 2008
none of your business
A simple dot was my favorite reticle years ago too when I was a varmint hunter and paper target shooter. I'm the opposite now. Those hashes in these modern reticles are there for a reason. They will allow for a accurate holdover/off within a clicks worth "in the reticle", in other words you don't even have to touch the turrets if you don't want to. Or ranging with the reticle, which I very rarely do anymore but it's fun to try out. The main purpose is measuring POA to POI with the reticle to determine a immediate correction.

Keep reading the sticky's here at the top of the optics forums till you get a good grasp of the why's and for's before you make a final decision.

Like most of us you'll likely end up going FFP and mil/mil.

The best value I've seen on a new scope in your price range is the Athlon Ares 4.5-27x50. Just crazy what you get for the price!

Getting a good set of rings is a high priority. The last thing you want is POI shifting!


Full Member
  • Feb 12, 2017
    For rings I'd recommend ARC m10 rings. For a scope, maybe a used NF shv 4-14 f1. NF has a great reputation for quality

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


    Basement Dweller
    Full Member
    Feb 10, 2017
    I'd go with a Nightforce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 so you also get first focal plane (which is a must for me). Put it in American Rifle Company M10 rings and you'll be set.


    Full Member
    Jan 5, 2010
    SE Georgia
    The Nightforce SHV F1 is right at the top of your budget but probably the best optic available for that price.


    Full Member
    Dec 28, 2009
    New York, USA
    Is the $800-$1200 strictly for scope? This sport gets expensive and gear starts adding up. You said you don't want to be shooting from a bench. Your going to need a quality bi-pod, shooting mat, rear bags, ammo, extra mags are handy but not necessity right out the gate. In my experience finding the right rear bag is a process. I have a NF SHV and I think its a great scope. If you plan on hunting I think the Bushnell LRHS is also a good scope to look at if your hunting and shooting long range. Good luck with your search. Let us know what you end up with. As far as rings I have never used anything but Badger and light weight NF rings on my hunting rifles.


    Furious George
    Full Member
  • Feb 18, 2017
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Another vote for the LRHS or LRTS from bushnell. Lightweight, great glass, robust and great warranty. Wish I had bought it the first time (3scopes later)


    Dark Lord Of Optics
    Full Member
  • Feb 22, 2006
    New Mexico
    Best bang for the buck is probably SWFA SS 3-15x42FFP for aorund $600. The reticle is fairly unobtrusive and the scope has been exceptionally sturdy in my experience (and I have a lot of experience with it).

    If you want illumination and zero stop, consider one of the Burris XTR II scopes. Most of my mileage with XTR II has been with the 1-8x24 and 2-10x42 (both of which I like a lot), but I have had some hands on time with the 3-15x50 as well and liked it a lot. This one should set you back right around $1k.

    Moving on up in price a little bit you have Nightforce SHV 4-14x50 and SWFA SS 5-20x50. Both are nice scopes. I have a lot of mileage with the SWFA SS and own one. This scope has been out for a few years and is very robust. Other than a zerostop, it has every reasonable feature you may need. The SHV has a bit less magnification, but it offers zerostop, which is kinda nice. That having been said, I have not tested this one, but I am familiar with the original design this evolved out of.

    Vortex PST Gen 2: I have not done a full test of this one yet, but the 3-15x44 model seems to be the best one of the line. These scopes are a bit new, so not much durability data is out there. I have high expectations of it though.

    Lastly, Athlon Ares 2.5-15x50 and 4.5-27x50 offer a lot for the money. I am testing the high mag version and it looks very promising, but I am not done with it yet.



    Full Member
  • Apr 24, 2017
    Hoover, Alabama
    Similar thread with the top end of your budget. With your price point I would strongly recommend the XTRII in either 3-15 or 4-20. I have owned 2 of the XTRIIs and would not hesitate to buy another.


    Full Member
    Oct 2, 2017
    Pittsburgh, PA
    If you want a good quality scope with the current budget, you may probably consider fixed magnification scope. Generally speaking, fixed magnification means simple, roughness, lightweight, and higher quality in glass and mechanic, the trade-off is... you lost the adjustable magnification. However, if you do not want to do bench rest shooting with extreme accuracy, 10-14 fixed magnification is enough for a clear target image and quick target orientation due to wider view (this is critical during hunting).


    Full Member
  • Apr 25, 2014
    Boise, Idaho
    The XTR II is always a strong contender in this price range. Great features and durability for the cost.

    I also like the SWFA scopes at this price point, they are good value. As are some of the Bushnells for just a little more.