I'm with you there. I need at least one 18x and another 30x. Ideally though I should get two of the 18x.
I would'nt let illumination be a deciding factor for me. I'll probably try to get one for next year with it included. But the simple fact of the matter is I've been avidly hunting everything that runs, jumps, or swims since 1978. I used to take 3 weeks off every year with my dad and haul the horses from Idaho, to Wyoming, and Montana, hunting Elk and mulies. I've chased coyotes and wolves, lions, bears, you name it. If it lives in the northwest and you can buy a tag, I've hunted it.
In all that time my illumination has been turned on for a total of five minutes. I used it once about 3 years ago on a black bear at about 400 yards in heavy timber, first thing in the morning. I dont think I needed it even then. I've found the "low light" dusk and dawn scenario to not really play out in real life the way it does on forums. Low light glass technology is becoming awfully good these days, which helps offset the need for it.
But I understand people wanting it. Its another tool in the bag. And it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Maybe I'll eat my words someday and have a shot opportunity at first light heading for No Tell'em Ridge and fill my tag before I've finished my first cup of coffee.
With SFP scopes to,where the reticle is always usable, I have never seen the need for illumination. I will agree with you guys there. On these FFP scopes especially with the trend of thinner and thinner reticles better suited for higher magnification shooting this is not the case. I have been burned on a group of hogs. At 175 yards last year. When I turned the mag up to see the reticle, I couldn’t see through the scope. Turn it down to where I could make out the pigs, and I couldn’t see the reticle. I took a pot shot and missed.Agreed! I've been hunting for over a couple decades and never once needed/wanted illumination. I've only owned a couple scopes with illumination over the years, and those were only turned on when I first purchased to make sure it worked.....then never needed it. Same as you, maybe I'll eat these words, but I'd rather save a few bucks and forego illumination. Frankly, if illumination is the make or break on a shot, I'm not doing my job well enough anyways.
I'm getting excited for the 3.3-18 to be released for a hunting rifle build I currently have in the works.
99% of the time illumination is not needed, but I think of it as 4wheel drive on my truck. Not used often at all but I will always have it for those few times that I REALLY need it.