Scope Recommendations?

J. W.

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I'm kind of new to optics, I've shot metallic sights most of my life. A little help would be appreciated.

Rifle is a Ruger American Predator .308, 18” barrel.
Currently using a Primary Arms 4-16 x 44 SFP with illuminated MOA reticle.

I’d like a little more magnification for being able to see antlers better. I'd like to not confuse a young buck for a doe at distance, so being able to see small buttons/spikes on a deer is what I'm trying to do.

Here's what I think is important, but if any of you see fit to steer me in a different direction, I'm all ears:

  • Hunting will be the main use, occasional paper punching also, mostly just checking handload performance at 100-400 yds, but I might decide to stretch it out further at steel targets occasionally.
  • Magnification that will be sufficient for what I described earlier about seeing spikes/buttons as well as possible.
  • A forgiving eye box/eye relief to deal with small changes in length of pull/cheek weld that occur with thick/thin clothing or not-so-ideal shooting positions.
  • I don't think MOA vs Mil will be a big deal for my uses, but I think I'd prefer to not mix units for turrets and reticles. I'm used to dealing with MOA, but I can also math, and I think all the cool kids use Mils.
  • I don't know about FFP vs SFP. I've only ever shot with SFP scopes, but FFP and being able to range targets with the reticle does interest me quite a bit.
  • I have no idea about what style reticle exactly, but I would think something that is not super busy would be better.
  • Low-light conditions will obviously be a major thing, so light transmission is pretty important, and at least partial illumination would be nice at dusk/early morning.
  • I don't know about tube diameter and objective diameter. Will it be a boat anchor if I go 34mm/50-56ish mm? Would that help with light transmission?
  • Lastly, I need something that is not going to lose zero if a turret gets bumped, so some sort of locking function will be needed. I think that's pretty much standard these days, but I'm not sure.
I’m somewhat flexible on price, but the more it is, the longer it will take me to put some disposable $$ away to cover it.

Are there any suggestions for maybe a budget, a mid-range, and an upper-end scope that would fit these needs, and I can do a little looking around?
 
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gr8fuldoug

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I’m out of the store to attend SHOT this week but if you call, 516-217-1000, and speak with Neil he can discuss different options with you. We’re also running a SHOT Show week sale this week so you’ll not only get great guidance but a fantastic price as well.
 
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FuhQ

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    I'm kind of new to optics, I've shot metallic sights most of my life. A little help would be appreciated.

    Rifle is a Ruger American Predator .308, 18” barrel.
    Currently using a Primary Arms 4-16 x 44 SFP with illuminated MOA reticle.

    I’d like a little more magnification for being able to see antlers better. I'd like to not confuse a young buck for a doe at distance, so being able to see small buttons/spikes on a deer is what I'm trying to do.

    Here's what I think is important, but if any of you see fit to steer me in a different direction, I'm all ears:

    • Hunting will be the main use, occasional paper punching also, mostly just checking handload performance at 100-400 yds, but I might decide to stretch it out further at steel targets occasionally.
    • Magnification that will be sufficient for what I described earlier about seeing spikes/buttons as well as possible.
    • A forgiving eye box/eye relief to deal with small changes in length of pull/cheek weld that occur with thick/thin clothing or not-so-ideal shooting positions.
    • I don't think MOA vs Mil will be a big deal for my uses, but I think I'd prefer to not mix units for turrets and reticles. I'm used to dealing with MOA, but I can also math, and I think all the cool kids use Mils.
    • I don't know about FFP vs SFP. I've only ever shot with SFP scopes, but FFP and being able to range targets with the reticle does interest me quite a bit.
    • I have no idea about what style reticle exactly, but I would think something that is not super busy would be better.
    • Low-light conditions will obviously be a major thing, so light transmission is pretty important, and at least partial illumination would be nice at dusk/early morning.
    • I don't know about tube diameter and objective diameter. Will it be a boat anchor if I go 34mm/50-56ish mm? Would that help with light transmission?
    • Lastly, I need something that is not going to lose zero if a turret gets bumped, so some sort of locking function will be needed. I think that's pretty much standard these days, but I'm not sure.
    I’m somewhat flexible on price, but the more it is, the longer it will take me to put some disposable $$ away to cover it.

    Are there any suggestions for maybe a budget, a mid-range, and an upper-end scope that would fit these needs, and I can do a little looking around?
    I bought 3 of these for my main hunting rifles a couple months ago… I can’t recommend it enough. While it’s on sale, you will never beat it for the money.


    I use Seekins Precision rings on all my rifles. I recommend these…

     

    Rob01

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    Here's what I think is important, but if any of you see fit to steer me in a different direction, I'm all ears:

    • I don't know about FFP vs SFP. I've only ever shot with SFP scopes, but FFP and being able to range targets with the reticle does interest me quite a bit.

    First, FFP IS NOT ABOUT RANGING! Ranging with the reticle is a dying skill with the cheap LRF out there now. Not something I would use in a hunting setting. FFP is about being able to use the reticle on any power for holds, corrections, movers etc. Ranging can be done with either SFP or FFP or MOA or Mils. You just need to be on the power the reticle subtends correctly in SFP.

    Actually locking elevation is not as common as locking/capped windage knobs, which usually get spun more times than elevation. I would be more worried about the windage knob. As long as the elevation has a zero stop that will make it easy to know where you are and easier to see if it has moved also. That said with a FFP reticle you can just hold over and take a shot and not have to dial at all. 400 yards is not much of a hold so it will be easy.

    That scope above is a good choice. Not really knowing your exact "too high" price you can also look at the Burris XTRIIIi in MOA or the Veracity 5-25.


     
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    J. W.

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    First, FFP IS NOT ABOUT RANGING! Ranging with the reticle is a dying skill with the cheap LRF out there now
    Point taken.

    As long as the elevation has a zero stop that will make it easy to know where you are and easier to see if it has moved also.
    A zero stop elevation turret would be perfect.
     
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    Elko42

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    I'm kind of new to optics, I've shot metallic sights most of my life. A little help would be appreciated.

    Rifle is a Ruger American Predator .308, 18” barrel.
    Currently using a Primary Arms 4-16 x 44 SFP with illuminated MOA reticle.

    I’d like a little more magnification for being able to see antlers better. I'd like to not confuse a young buck for a doe at distance, so being able to see small buttons/spikes on a deer is what I'm trying to do.

    Here's what I think is important, but if any of you see fit to steer me in a different direction, I'm all ears:

    • Hunting will be the main use, occasional paper punching also, mostly just checking handload performance at 100-400 yds, but I might decide to stretch it out further at steel targets occasionally.
    • Magnification that will be sufficient for what I described earlier about seeing spikes/buttons as well as possible.
    • A forgiving eye box/eye relief to deal with small changes in length of pull/cheek weld that occur with thick/thin clothing or not-so-ideal shooting positions.
    • I don't think MOA vs Mil will be a big deal for my uses, but I think I'd prefer to not mix units for turrets and reticles. I'm used to dealing with MOA, but I can also math, and I think all the cool kids use Mils.
    • I don't know about FFP vs SFP. I've only ever shot with SFP scopes, but FFP and being able to range targets with the reticle does interest me quite a bit.
    • I have no idea about what style reticle exactly, but I would think something that is not super busy would be better.
    • Low-light conditions will obviously be a major thing, so light transmission is pretty important, and at least partial illumination would be nice at dusk/early morning.
    • I don't know about tube diameter and objective diameter. Will it be a boat anchor if I go 34mm/50-56ish mm? Would that help with light transmission?
    • Lastly, I need something that is not going to lose zero if a turret gets bumped, so some sort of locking function will be needed. I think that's pretty much standard these days, but I'm not sure.
    I’m somewhat flexible on price, but the more it is, the longer it will take me to put some disposable $$ away to cover it.

    Are there any suggestions for maybe a budget, a mid-range, and an upper-end scope that would fit these needs, and I can do a little looking around?

    First thing to note, FFP is not about ranging... The advantage of FFP is that the wind holds and elevation holds are correct at all powers. As a newbie,tThinking that it is most advantageous to be on the highest power for all shots where you might need wind/elevation holds is wrong. Would you accept a speedometer that is only correct at 60 mph, but is off at all other speeds?
     

    mi650

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    16x should be plenty for deciding if it's a doe or young buck at 400 yards, but I'd say you need better glass. The Zeiss posted should do it, as will any number of better quality scopes. There are really good prices on some of the relatively new Leica Amplus6 scopes right now, almost like they're being discontinued already. (I have no idea if that's the case.)

    Personally, I prefer SFP for hunting, but I don't have any long shots in my woods and rarely go above 3x. I use the Amplus6 3-18 on my deer rifle. My only gripe is the reticle is busier than I need. I'd be happy with a duplex, but I don't look below the crosshair anyway so not a huge deal.
     

    acudaowner

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    since your already using a sfp scope
    the delta stryker 5x50x56 online it could be found for 1400 something never need another scope again your not paying for a fancy name brand but it's just as clear a view , well it's another option that might be worth looking into I liked it hands down over the razor we had cost less and double the usable mag . best of luck with what ever you do get .
     
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    carbonbased

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    Leupold gets a bad rap, sometimes deservedly so. But I have a SFP VX-6HD 4-24x52 and that model might work for you, assuming you want to stay SFP.

    Depending on the scope, high mag FFP can get a bit weird in dark forests when zooming out as the ret may get ridiculously thin/small, illumination may not go dim enough (distraction), be a pain/time waste to use, or not go dim enough.

    Anyway, the 4-24x52 VX-6HD
    • 25.5oz
    • 34mm tube
    • one of the best (patented) locking turret designs I’ve run across for both elev/wind
    • if you stay MOA and want a tree ret, they have a nice Impact 23 (thin, though) and the varmint hunter is kinda nice (thicker)
    • no mrad option that I know of, but they'll make these limited availability mrad versions every so often (weird) but I've never seen one in the 4-24
    • illumination included in all VX-6HDs
    • Leupy’s tend to prioritize low-light performance
    • Great eyebox
    • If you are already successfully hunting with SFP, you’ll be fine
    • Not cheap
    I use FFP now for small varmints but I have been thinking of using my VX-6HD scope for paper because I like it. Call somewhere like Eurooptic to maybe get deals.
     
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    want2ride

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    The Zeiss I linked you to has a capped windage, and an exposed elevation turret, with a solid mechanical zero-stop. The turret also feels really nice, and tracking is spot-on and repeatable.
    My v4 conquest 4-16x44 is a very solid scope, but nothing special. the coatings are very nice, but clarity is just OK, and came in at 4.8% error when i did a 10 mil tall target test. I would say the turret feel is adequate, much like everything else about the scope.
     
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    sboone

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    If you liked the PA 4-14, the SLx 3-18 is the next logical step and a significant improvement over the 4-14. 3x low end is going to aid nicely in closer shots and 18x is more than enough to ID animal traits at a generous distance. Idk what PA offers for reticles but there's probably a MIL grid version offered and it shouldn't break the bank.
     
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    Chickentoast

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    LHT 4.5-22... also echo the VX6 HD comments above - that's bright and crisp glass in a lightweight platform as well, but I prefer the Vortex.
     

    Hobo Hilton

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    Leupold gets a bad rap, sometimes deservedly so. But I have a SFP VX-6HD 4-24x52 and that model might work for you, assuming you want to stay SFP.

    Depending on the scope, high mag FFP can get a bit weird in dark forests when zooming out as the ret may get ridiculously thin/small, illumination may not go dim enough (distraction), be a pain/time waste to use, or not go dim enough.

    Anyway, the 4-24x52 VX-6HD
    • 25.5oz
    • 34mm tube
    • one of the best (patented) locking turret designs I’ve run across for both elev/wind
    • if you stay MOA and want a tree ret, they have a nice Impact 23 (thin, though) and the varmint hunter is kinda nice (thicker)
    • no mrad option that I know of, but they'll make these limited availability mrad versions every so often (weird) but I've never seen one in the 4-24
    • illumination included in all VX-6HDs
    • Leupy’s tend to prioritize low-light performance
    • Great eyebox
    • If you are already successfully hunting with SFP, you’ll be fine
    • Not cheap
    I use FFP now for small varmints but I have been thinking of using my VX-6HD scope for paper because I like it. Call somewhere like Eurooptic to maybe get deals.
    At one time or another everything gets a "Bad Rap"... Ford, Chevy Dodge.... Blond, Brunette, Red heads.
    I own different manufacturers.. Leupold is my "Bench Mark" used to establish a reference against other optics.
    Kind of like shopping at Costco.... It's not Walmart and it's not Hermes
     

    carbonbased

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    LHT 4.5-22... also echo the VX6 HD comments above - that's bright and crisp glass in a lightweight platform as well, but I prefer the Vortex.
    Yeah, what the hell, I own that scope too. Totally forgot about it. I'm losing it. o_O

    That's a great option, crummy feeling turrets, good optics, light. Never used it at dusk, no opinion there. Stiff mag ring, only scope I needed a lever on (I have three). Not great FOV, sort of middle of the road, I feel the Leupold 4-24 is better there. FFP only, mrad or moa options. Not quite as easy to get behind as the Leupy.

    I love the thing on a lightweight gun.
     
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    Hobo Hilton

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    If it were me, would rely on binoculars for deer I'd. Higher magnification means narrower field of view. 6X is plenty out to 500 yards. Of course, you do you. Just my opinion.
    Having that conversation with my son yesterday... He is a Louisiana hunter with some powerful optics... He is considering backing down a bit to open up his field of view with a deer on the move. It is certainly a consideration when defining the region being hunted.
     
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    Mike Islander

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    Having that conversation with my son yesterday... He is a Louisiana hunter with some powerful optics... He is considering backing down a bit to open up his field of view with a deer on the move. It is certainly a consideration when defining the region being hunted.

    I use fixed 6X on every HUNTING rifle except my ARs. FFP. So simple.
     

    morningsun

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    Under 1K. SFP but has CDS and a zero stop. I bought one this summer and it is a nice scope.

    twneFO5h.jpg


    HLjDHuyh.jpg
     
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    mrmarklin

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    You don’t need more power. You need better resolution. That means $$$$ for better glass. I use a max of 16X for varmint hunting, but with a top of the line scope that’s all you need. I like Schmidt and Bender. Start saving.
     
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    J. W.

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    You don’t need more power. You need better resolution. That means $$$$ for better glass.
    Hearing some of the other comments on here, it sounds like that may be the case. Even at 16x it’s definitely tough to see short spikes on a deer’s head once you get around 200 yds or so.
     
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    Boomie

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    A few things, mostly my opinion so take it for what it's worth.

    1) If you only need the magnification for identifying antlers, you may want to consider getting a decent set of binoculars. There are a lot of reasons (from safety to less eye fatigue) why not using your scope for glassing is a good idea.
    2) As others have said, a good quality lower power scope is easier to pick out details with than a lower quality higher power scope. I've personally noticed that the scopes I hunt with now compared to when I started 25 years ago are smaller, lower magnification, but higher quality. This also keeps you from getting "lost in the scope". My eyes were never great but for deer/elk sized game I use 1-4x in Virginia and 2-7x in Colorado and have never wanted for more (shots are under 200 yards for the former, 400 for the latter).
    3) Less magnification also means you don't need a 50+mm objective which makes the whole scope smaller (there are upper limits to how much more performance you get for a larger objective lens based on the magnification). This means it's usually lighter (easier to carry in the woods/mountains) and can be mounted closer to the bore.
    4) I prefer MOA for hunting (I can do the math faster in my head), but whatever you use your knobs and anything on your reticle should match. That said I prefer simple duplex reticles for hunting.
    5) You mention "forgiving eyeboxes" - I find Leupolds tend to have more forgiving eyeboxes than most. A larger eyebox will mean a little less FOV, but I tend to find the trade-off is worth it.
    6) People may disagree, but tube thickness (1" vs. 30mm vs. 34mm) doesn't mean anything in practical hunting use. Larger may be moderately stronger and have a bit more erector travel, but in realty no one is going to be pushing that difference with hunting at 400 yards. Larger tube also means more weight. Larger tube does not mean more light transmission (that is fact, not opinion) - that is dominated by glass quality, and to a point objective lens size.

    Hope this helps.
     
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    tacoman69

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    swfa has their 5 x 20 x 50 discounted for about 800 if you want ffp. (msrp(1300)

    euro optic still has discounted trijicon tenmiles for around the same price. they're sfp. (msrp 1800)

    both will take a beating and still track reliability unlike a lot of the other optics mentioned which imo is the no 1 most important attribute in a hunting scope.

    or try and find a demo nightforce shv
     
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    MakeSawdust

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    I picked up an lht 4-22 off a prize table. The glass is very good. As good as my old amg. I have not had reliability issues with the lht, but had an amg I used to shoot matches for 4 years and had a shitload of reliability issues with it. The erector assembly came loose before a big match this last year and that was the end of that. I have an xtr 2, an xtr3 from greeley, and an xtr pro. I have beat the shit out of all of lot, with no issues and the glass in the 3 and the pro is good. For a hunting scope, I would look at the XTR3i. Some say the 3-18 has worse glass than the 5.5-30. All of mine are the 5.5-30. The field of view is huge, and I have had no problems with running coyotes inside 50 yards. For your use case I would prefer the 3-18, but based on reports, I would check one out before buying. The optical design in the 5-30 and the pro are very good for the price. If there was a noticeable difference, I would stick with the 5-30 and deal with the loss of fov. The reason I went with the 30x is because I also shoot them in matches and some match directors have gotten a little crazy with small targets on tyl stages.
     
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    Scopeye

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    After personally going through hundreds upon hundreds of different scopes throughout the decades, there are a few that stand out and do not necessarily have to be expensive. If considering the Vortex Razor LHT or Leupold VX5 HD try the Tract Tekoa 4-16x44 SFP BDC reticle with German Schott glass and with tall target turrets with zero stop and sunshade kit for $559 or $475 with law enforcement or military discount. Made in Japan and has a lifetime warranty. Way better than average image quality with this scope and clearer than the Razor LHT and about tied with the Leupold VX5 HD in glass. You could also buy their more expensive Toric line but the glass is nearly the same as this cheaper Tekoa. Here's a brand new model for pre-order at a discounted price. You can search the Tract Tekoa BDC with tall turret and sunshade kit there. It's still worth paying $559 if you don't qualify for their 15% off law enforcement or military discount.