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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    SE Minnesota
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    Help me choose a rifle scope

    Here's my situation. I am going to be new to western hunting and am planning all the gear I think I need. One of the most fun things for me is going to be planning and setting up some rifles for trips. I am currently a whitetail hunter here in MN and WI and have some rifles. I know I will need tons of other gear but I have a few loose ends to tie up on guns/scopes. I'm new to some of the higher end optics and am wanting some opinions from folks in the know. I used to work at a gun shop and we sold mostly pentax, burris, simmons, swift, bushnell, and other middle of the road stuff. I currently own stuff in the category of Pentax lightseeker, burris signature, and the like, $400-$800 range. I have not bought a gun or optics in a few years, and I plan on doing a pronghorn hunt in the next couple of years, followed by deer primarily thereafter and an elk hunt or two down the road in quite a few years. I foresee working up to shooting longer ranges but only talking to max 400-500 yds, so not planning on true long range hunting or need for advanced reticle/turret systems for this next scope. I will outline what I currently have below.

    Sako 75 25-06 - no scope (had a Burris Eurodiamond on it but didn't like it and its been un-scoped in the safe for years)

    Winchester 70 270 WSM with a Burris signature 4-16x (I am inclined to leave this alone to deer hunt with at home)

    Ruger M77 25-06 old style with tang safety and semi heavy barrel and Pentax lightseeker 2-8x
    - this needs some stock work to free float the barrel and I have a timney trigger for it I have been sitting on for years since it is sort of my "loaner" deer rifle that I have for guests, kind of going to leave this alone for now too

    I also have a Remington 700 ADL 22-250, and a 740 30-06 that I am also planning to leave alone and never take out west unless we develop somewhere where we drive deer or something weird.

    So, I figure the Sako 25-06 would make a decent pronghorn gun so I want a scope for it before I do much else. I've been shopping around the web and have found a couple options right around $1000, they are.....

    A.) Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 (demo for around $850 or new for basically $1k)
    B.) Zeiss HD5 3-15x50 (right around $1K)

    Any thoughts on these two compared to each other. I know little to nothing about Nightforce or the upper end Vortex stuff other than that Vortex seems to have great customer service and products overall. Any other recommendations based on what I have and plan on doing?

    I have also planned on building a semi-custom 7mm rem mag for deer. I am looking for a Sako L61, 691 or AV to build on - keep the barrel if it shoots well, get a stock from Accuflight, and have all but settled on putting a Swaro Z5 3.5-18x44 on it.

    I also do plan to pick up a 338 at some point in the next couple of years to get set up for heavy option. I figure I will probably use the 7mm for most everything if I really get it polished but I feel that a lineup of 25-06, 7mm and 338 will take care of most hunting scenarios.

    Also, any insights on the best places to look for decent pricing on higher end mass production optics like Swaro, Leica Zeiss? I am in no big rush so can wait for annual sales, demo turnover, whatever.

    I think I'm already addicted to planning for hunting. I have been shopping packs, tents, spotters, binos, clothing, all of it. I can't imagine what it will feel like when I have a tag.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    colfax, wa
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    All the scopes you have mentioned are good quality scopes. I would go to a store that has them and look through all of them you can and see what you like or dont like about each.
    "Now two flags fly above my land that really sum up how I fee. One is the colors that fly high and proud The red, the white, the blue. The other one's got a rattlesnake With a simple statement made "Don't tread on me" is what it says and I'll take that to my grave. Because this is me. I'm proud to be American and strong in my beliefs. And I've said it before but I'll say it again 'Cause my family's always fought and died to save this land. And a country boy is all I'll ever be."

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  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Ditto what Musket Man said. The search for the "perfect scope" is fun and really involves you putting your hands and eyes on as many scopes in your price range as you can. Pick what you like the best.
    Personally, I tend to like them simple; standard cross hair or duplex, 3X9 or there abouts. I have Zeiss, Leupold, Burris and Vortex and all work good.

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  7. #4
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2014
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    I bought a leupold mark iv two years ago 6.5-20x with the elevation turrets. I really like it. I shoot much better when I can dial the scope in and aim where I want to hit rather than holding over. another thing that I like about my scope is the mil reticles, they can be very useful for measuring up antelope, or any animal for that matter, when you have a known distance. I did consider the swaro z3, I think it was the z3, before I bought my leupold. i just think i can do a lot more with my leupold than i could with the swaro. also, once you start shooting 400-500 yards, you'll probably want to start shooting further, probably not necessarily in hunting situations but it is fun to just see what you can do.

  8. #5
    Senior Member
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    Bitterroot Valley, MT.
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    When you spend that kind of money on optics you will typically walk away happy.. tough to go wrong on either.

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  10. #6
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2012
    The Golden State
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    Like every one said, all good scopes you mentioned. From that point it all comes down to preference. Good luck. I have a 3.5 x 10 variable on my rifle but would like to get a 4 x 16. I personally like 50 mm objective lenses for lowlight conditions.
    -NRA Life Member

  11. #7
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2011
    Dolores, Colorado
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    I have 2 Leuplod VXlll 4x14, 2 VXlll 3 x10 and a VXlll 6x20. They all have their place. I personal don't like the 50 mm as it sits too high on the rifle for my taste. I really like the 4x14s and if I had it to do all over the 3x10s would be the 4x14, but they were bought before the 14s came out. All are great scopes and serve me well.
    Colorado Cowboy
    Cowboy Action Shooter; Endowment Life Member-NRA
    The Original Rocket Scientist-Retired
    "My Father always considered a walk in the mountains as the equivalent of church going."
    Aldous Huxley

  12. #8
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2013
    Haworth Oklahoma
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    Leupold is the golden standard in american scopes. I own several of them and the performance is unquestionable and customer service is second to none. The vx-l may be an option for a lower mount with a 50mm
    Last edited by swampokie; 04-14-2014 at 10:40 AM.

  13. #9
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    Jun 2013
    Allegan, MI
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    Ditto that Swampokie! All my "go to" rifles have Leupolds on them.

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  15. #10
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2014
    Dover, Tennessee
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    I have a lot scopes and I have tried many more, I do not think you can go wrong with a Leupold ! I have VX-II and VX- III and love them !



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