Rifle Scopes FFP Hunting and Range Scope Options

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  • What is the platform for the scope? Bolt Action w/ multiple barrels
  • What cartridge are you shooting? .300WSM & .223Rem
  • What is your intended use for the scope? 50% Range use to 1,000yds /// 50% 0-800yd Elk, deer, bear hunting
  • What type of conditions will you typically shoot in? Dawn/Dusk/Rain/Snow
  • What are the typical distances you intend to shoot? Range: Up to 1,200yds /// Hunting: Up to 800yds
  • Are there any specific specifications you would like? FFP, light weight, reliable mil turrets, good FOV, Reticle (and/or illumination) that make is usable at point blank and at longer range.
  • What is the price range you can afford? $1,800, buying used is fine

I've been fairly stumped in looking for a scope I can use for a single rifle for hunting and range use and training new shooters. I've got a .223 and a 300WSM barrel for the rifle. I hunt mountain lion, black bear, deer and elk in the woods of W. Oregon and in the more open, hilly E. Oregon.

I have a Vortex LHT 3.5-15 with the HSR-5i reticle. It's a scope that I hate to love. It works great up close, it's lightweight and has fairly good glass. The illumination is ok but I don't feel confident dialing it. It also has a magnification ring that is ridiculously tight but that's not a big deal, I can get a throw lever.

I've narrowed my selection as far as I can find to the following, but none of these are really jumping out at me:

Vortex LHT 3.5-15
I already own it. It's fine. I don't trust the turrets for dialing. It's a great close range hunting scope. 19oz.

Vortex LHT 4.5-22
The FFP brother. Kind of pricey for what seems like another mediocre Vortex? I don't know that the reticle/FFP are that good for close range use. I also don't know that I trust the turrets for dialing, which I will do for longer shots and at the range. 22oz.

Vortex AMG 6-24
The base power is 6x, but the FOV is equivalent to a lot of 4.5x scopes. Good illumination, great glass. Big turrets. 28oz.

Bushnell LRHSi/LRTSi 4.5-18
I have an LRTS 3-12 and it's excellent, but the reticle is too thin for hunting. I need an illum model and they're hard to find. The FOV is also a bit narrow. 27oz.

Bushnell LRHS2
Great donut milling reticle that draws your eyes to the center, very good glass. Fairly narrow FOV with no illumination. 26oz.

Nightforce SHV 4-14 F1
Reliable, $1,200 and would check the boxes. Glass is just ok. Modestly good reticle. Illumination is by dial, but not daylight bright. 30oz.

Nightforce NX8 2.5-20
This one is ranking fairly high for me. A little expensive and heavy, and I hear they have a tight eyebox which usually isn't a problem for me. Thoughts? 28oz.

March 2.5-25 (SFP) / 3-24 (FFP)
If I could find a used one of these for a good price with a 52mm objective I'd really like to try it. Their reticles look great for hunting and range use. Expensive scopes though. 23oz.

Leupold Mk5HD 3.6-18
This one also ranks high for me. I hear they have good light transmission. Leupold's reticles suck. Illumination costs $900. Otherwise, high points. 25oz.

Leupold VX5HD 3-15
These seem well loved by hunters, but I don't like SFP outside of 300yds. I don't need another thought process in my head. Doesn't seem like an enjoyable range scope. 19oz.

Leupold Mk3HD 4-12
For $500 I could run this scope and just run a separate scope for benchrest/fun shooting. It's cheap, mediocre, SFP and has low magnification.

Steiner P4Xi
Another heavy, mediocre scope, but with a useful illuminated reticle.

Burris XTRIII
Great glass, turrets and build. Comes in an illuminated model. Affordable. 30oz.

Trijicon Tenmile
Solid contender, lightweight, good reticles, illumination.
 
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beetroot

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You'll need to decide what your maximum weight is the LHT and Mark 5 are the only ones you could consider lightweight but personally I wouldn't want either scopes (personally preference of FOV and other specs).
The March would suit but is more expensive than your budget.

Seems like you are looking for basically the same scope I am, I came to the conclusion that the only scope that meets all my criteria is the XTR3i, once it comes out I'll be jumping on a 3.3-18.

I'm more than happy to pay a weight penalty for a scope that meets my specifications on a hunting rifle and on a target rifle the weight is a good thing.

Once upon a time I'd have said the VX5hd is a good value for money option if SFP is suitable.
But Leupold has such a weird selection of reticle combinations, has been going up in price, and continues to put out scopes that don't track I'm not sure I'd bother.
Mostly out of spite because the actual scope is pretty nice all round package, so long as you test and confirm tracking.
 

UpSideDown

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You'll need to decide what your maximum weight is the LHT and Mark 5 are the only ones you could consider lightweight but personally I wouldn't want either scopes (personally preference of FOV and other specs).
The March would suit but is more expensive than your budget.

Seems like you are looking for basically the same scope I am, I came to the conclusion that the only scope that meets all my criteria is the XTR3i, once it comes out I'll be jumping on a 3.3-18.

I'm more than happy to pay a weight penalty for a scope that meets my specifications on a hunting rifle and on a target rifle the weight is a good thing.

Once upon a time I'd have said the VX5hd is a good value for money option if SFP is suitable.
But Leupold has such a weird selection of reticle combinations, has been going up in price, and continues to put out scopes that don't track I'm not sure I'd bother.
Mostly out of spite because the actual scope is pretty nice all round package, so long as you test and confirm tracking.
Yeah, the XTR3i is an option, at 30oz, and made in the Philippines. Not super stoked about it. I like the SCR reticle and would grab the non-illum model if it would be useful for hunting but that reticle is too thin.

If I can find a used March I'll grab it.

Leupold just shoots themselves in the foot with their reticles I think. Some simple stuff is necessary but they have like 9 versions of what looks like a 72 year old corporate board member took a sharpie to a legal pad and said 'here you go! Look it's a duplex, but there's a dot, too!'
 

powdahound76

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There was a bushy 4-18 in the PX a couple days ago for a good price.

Have shot a lot with one, both target and hunting.
100-1200 yds target.

Very easy to drop a deer at 450 on 10x with a wind hold, near dusk, crap light, and no illum.

Have shot several of the others.
Keeping the bushy for the balance of what it does and price.
 

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There was a bushy 4-18 in the PX a couple days ago for a good price.

Have shot a lot with one, both target and hunting.
100-1200 yds target.

Very easy to drop a deer at 450 on 10x with a wind hold, near dusk, crap light, and no illum.

Have shot several of the others.
Keeping the bushy for the balance of what it does and price.
I tried to buy it. I was like 4th in line. They're usually sold in 30 minutes.
 

UpSideDown

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Used razor AMG from the PX
6x is rough to get behind. They've got good FOV and I've considered them. I had a discussion earlier today with a buddy who has one and it was agreed the AMG isn't the solution.
 
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hafejd30

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    Used NF ATACR 4-16 F1 if your considering something in the 16X max range
     

    YotaEer

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    6x is rough to get behind. They've got good FOV and I've considered them. I had a discussion earlier today with a buddy who has one and it was agreed the AMG isn't the solution.

    My brother shot his deer this year at about 45-50
    Yards in the head with the AMG. Illumination on in thick timber. He’s not a frequent shooter either.

    It’s an excellent crossover optic
     

    UpSideDown

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    Used NF ATACR 4-16 F1 if your considering something in the 16X max range
    An ATACR is an option, those are cool scopes. A little heavy but otherwise very viable. Big turrets on them that won't be ideal for carrying a rifle though.

    My brother shot his deer this year at about 45-50
    Yards in the head with the AMG. Illumination on in thick timber. He’s not a frequent shooter either.

    It’s an excellent crossover optic
    It will stay in the back of my mind. They have good glass and turrets. I was just carrying my rifle with a razor 3-18 and the huge size of the turrets are not very conducive to carrying the gun around. The reticle is also not my flavor. I dislike tree's, I'd rather have a simple mil reticle like the Bushnell G3.
     

    hafejd30

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    An ATACR is an option, those are cool scopes. A little heavy but otherwise very viable. Big turrets on them that won't be ideal for carrying a rifle though.


    It will stay in the back of my mind. They have good glass and turrets. I was just carrying my rifle with a razor 3-18 and the huge size of the turrets are not very conducive to carrying the gun around.
    The top is a lower locking turret with a push button release. Side covered. So not to bad. Here’s mine
    869CFDFA-4D70-40F0-81D1-E5B704D3428C.jpeg
     

    UpSideDown

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    S&B klassik/precision hunter 3-12 with the illuminated p3l reticle but you only get about 3.3 mils on the elevation turret so I consider it more of a 500-600 yards scope.
    That's interesting. 3.3 mils of total elevation doesn't meet the bar for me. They're affordable but they look like they're just made to go hunting.
     

    Corfius

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    Hi,

    Meopta Optika6 3-18x50 ? I know it's well below your budget. Glass is still pretty good (better than a pst gen 2) but obviously below choices above 1.5k. It exhibits more CA than more expensive scopes but clarity and contrast are pretty close.

    Good choice of reticles with illum (must have for hunting), good low light performance and lightweight as well.

    If you are ok with heavy scopes you obviously have more choices.
     

    beetroot

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    Hi,

    Meopta Optika6 3-18x50 ? I know it's well below your budget. Glass is still pretty good (better than a pst gen 2) but obviously below choices above 1.5k. It exhibits more CA than more expensive scopes but clarity and contrast are pretty close.

    Good choice of reticles with illum (must have for hunting), good low light performance and lightweight as well.

    If you are ok with heavy scopes you obviously have more choices.
    The FOV is pretty narrow on that model which is a let down.
     

    supercorndogs

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    The Weaver Tactical 2-10x36 is around 22oz FFP, ileum, 50ft FOV. I think the Trijicon Credo is a little heavier, and can't speak for the visibility of reticle on low power on the Trijicon, but its ok on the Weaver.

    I just picked up a used 3-12 LRTSi, got it in with debris on the lens on the inside. I decided to just use it instead of risking loosing it. It looks like it wont hold zero either. Another 3-12 about to go to Bushnell and disappear forever. :cry:
     

    nightman89

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    Can you elaborate a bit more regarding why you don't feel confident dialing with the LHT, and why you don't think you would be confident dialing with the FFP LHT?
     

    wade2big

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    I really like the Nightforce 4-14 F1 for hunting and range use. It has a thicker reticle and the illumination lights up just the center crosshair which is how it should be. It is counterproductive to light the whole reticle especially when its a tree reticle (looking at you Vortex). I would not put it on a rifle chambered in a magnum round. The eye relief is half of most other scopes.
     

    jmw

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    Can you elaborate a bit more regarding why you don't feel confident dialing with the LHT, and why you don't think you would be confident dialing with the FFP LHT?
    I was curious about this as well. I’ve tested the tracking on my 3 lht scopes and they all track. The turrets don’t have the same feel as the tactical scopes, but they track true.
     

    UpSideDown

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    Can you elaborate a bit more regarding why you don't feel confident dialing with the LHT, and why you don't think you would be confident dialing with the FFP LHT?
    I have trust issues with vortex scopes. I like things that don’t have a high rate of needing to be warrantied.


    I really like the Nightforce 4-14 F1 for hunting and range use. It has a thicker reticle and the illumination lights up just the center crosshair which is how it should be. It is counterproductive to light the whole reticle especially when its a tree reticle (looking at you Vortex). I would not put it on a rifle chambered in a magnum round. The eye relief is half of most other scopes.
    That’s a great point! This will be a 9lb magnum rifle, probably not the best move.
     

    bohica17

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    Yeah, the XTR3i is an option, at 30oz, and made in the Philippines. Not super stoked about it. I like the SCR reticle and would grab the non-illum model if it would be useful for hunting but that reticle is too thin.

    If I can find a used March I'll grab it.

    Leupold just shoots themselves in the foot with their reticles I think. Some simple stuff is necessary but they have like 9 versions of what looks like a 72 year old corporate board member took a sharpie to a legal pad and said 'here you go! Look it's a duplex, but there's a dot, too!'
    The reticle is thin but it is not to thin for hunting. Just looked through mine at 5.5x and as it is small and clear I feel like I could easily make a accurate and lethal shot on any animal. That being said with the distances you have stated how often are you gonna be in the low end other than scanning? I’d say you’re typical gonna be at 8x and higher which honestly as I was just scanning back yard tree line at 40 yards on 8x the fov is still crazy on this scope.
     

    XTREM HTR16

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    S&B klassik/precision hunter 3-12 with the illuminated p3l reticle but you only get about 3.3 mils on the elevation turret so I consider it more of a 500-600 yards scope.
    Great hunting scope. Plus it’s P3 mildot so you’ve got 5 mils of elevation in the reticle.

    I just bought one….
     
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    wpeach1912

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    I’m trying to find a scope with similar criteria and the closest I’ve found is LRHS2. The donut of death makes it useable on lowest power and you have 18 for long range. The LHT does not have bright enough illumination to make the reticle useable in daylight at lowest power and the Mk5hd’s reticle is also too small at low power. I think xtriii illuminated could be good too, but it’s a little on the heavier side
     
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    UpSideDown

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    I’m trying to find a scope with similar criteria and the closest I’ve found is LRHS2. The donut of death makes it useable on lowest power and you have 18 for long range. The LHT does not have bright enough illumination to make the reticle useable in daylight at lowest power and the Mk5hd’s reticle is also too small at low power. I think xtriii illuminated could be good too, but it’s a little on the heavier side
    I may reconsider the new LRHS2, it’s not illuminated but otherwise a solid deal.

    The illum on my LHT is definitely daylight bright on the SFP 3.5-15 model, but I don’t trust vortex optics.

    The XTRi would be an option. Philippines glass, a little heavy, that definitely needs illum to function in daytime though.
     

    SB545

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    • What is the platform for the scope? Bolt Action w/ multiple barrels
    • What cartridge are you shooting? .300WSM & .223Rem
    • What is your intended use for the scope? 50% Range use to 1,000yds /// 50% 0-800yd Elk, deer, bear hunting
    • What type of conditions will you typically shoot in? Dawn/Dusk/Rain/Snow
    • What are the typical distances you intend to shoot? Range: Up to 1,200yds /// Hunting: Up to 800yds
    • Are there any specific specifications you would like? FFP, light weight, reliable mil turrets, good FOV, Reticle (and/or illumination) that make is usable at point blank and at longer range.
    • What is the price range you can afford? $1,800, buying used is fine

    I've been fairly stumped in looking for a scope I can use for a single rifle for hunting and range use and training new shooters. I've got a .223 and a 300WSM barrel for the rifle. I hunt mountain lion, black bear, deer and elk in the woods of W. Oregon and in the more open, hilly E. Oregon.

    I have a Vortex LHT 3.5-15 with the HSR-5i reticle. It's a scope that I hate to love. It works great up close, it's lightweight and has fairly good glass. The illumination is ok but I don't feel confident dialing it. It also has a magnification ring that is ridiculously tight but that's not a big deal, I can get a throw lever.

    I've narrowed my selection as far as I can find to the following, but none of these are really jumping out at me:

    Vortex LHT 3.5-15
    I already own it. It's fine. I don't trust the turrets for dialing. It's a great close range hunting scope. 19oz.

    Vortex LHT 4.5-22
    The FFP brother. Kind of pricey for what seems like another mediocre Vortex? I don't know that the reticle/FFP are that good for close range use. I also don't know that I trust the turrets for dialing, which I will do for longer shots and at the range. 22oz.

    Vortex AMG 6-24
    The base power is 6x, but the FOV is equivalent to a lot of 4.5x scopes. Good illumination, great glass. Big turrets. 28oz.

    Bushnell LRHSi/LRTSi 4.5-18
    I have an LRTS 3-12 and it's excellent, but the reticle is too thin for hunting. I need an illum model and they're hard to find. The FOV is also a bit narrow. 27oz.

    Bushnell LRHS2
    Great donut milling reticle that draws your eyes to the center, very good glass. Fairly narrow FOV with no illumination. 26oz.

    Nightforce SHV 4-14 F1
    Reliable, $1,200 and would check the boxes. Glass is just ok. Modestly good reticle. Illumination is by dial, but not daylight bright. 30oz.

    Nightforce NX8 2.5-20
    This one is ranking fairly high for me. A little expensive and heavy, and I hear they have a tight eyebox which usually isn't a problem for me. Thoughts? 28oz.

    March 2.5-25 (SFP) / 3-24 (FFP)
    If I could find a used one of these for a good price with a 52mm objective I'd really like to try it. Their reticles look great for hunting and range use. Expensive scopes though. 23oz.

    Leupold Mk5HD 3.6-18
    This one also ranks high for me. I hear they have good light transmission. Leupold's reticles suck. Illumination costs $900. Otherwise, high points. 25oz.

    Leupold VX5HD 3-15
    These seem well loved by hunters, but I don't like SFP outside of 300yds. I don't need another thought process in my head. Doesn't seem like an enjoyable range scope. 19oz.

    Leupold Mk3HD 4-12
    For $500 I could run this scope and just run a separate scope for benchrest/fun shooting. It's cheap, mediocre, SFP and has low magnification.

    Steiner P4Xi
    Another heavy, mediocre scope, but with a useful illuminated reticle.

    Burris XTRIII
    Great glass, turrets and build. Comes in an illuminated model. Affordable. 30oz.
    Any reason you didn't include the trijicon tenmile in your list?
     

    UpSideDown

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    Any reason you didn't include the trijicon tenmile in your list?
    It should be added, it lands nicely inside the requirements. I think the elevation travel is a little tight but good enough.
     

    NewsShooter

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    Yeah, the XTR3i is an option, at 30oz, and made in the Philippines. Not super stoked about it. I like the SCR reticle and would grab the non-illum model if it would be useful for hunting but that reticle is too thin.

    I don't think the SCR is too thin for hunting, bought the 3-18 for a 7 saum hunting/range rifle. Looking at getting another for a different rifle.
     

    MarinePMI

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    The OP might try looking at Maven Optics. The RS.1 specifically...it's not in Mils, but is geared for hunting. I sometimes think if they offered it in Mils, they'd really have a winner of a cross over optics in their line up.

     

    Jack's Dad

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    The Athlon ares etr 3-18 is pretty good too. I like the reticle and illumination better than the xtr iii.
     
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