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Old January 3, 2013, 09:40 AM   #1
SerenityNetworks
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Another solicitation for scope suggestions

This is very similar to hundreds of other posts (many of which I've read), but as always my details are just slightly different and (as a relative noob) I would appreciate some experienced opinions. I also asked a similar question sometime back (and got some very helpful answers), but here I'm asking about a different rifle with a different purpose.

Here are my particulars and preferences:
  • CZ-527 in .204 Ruger
  • I intend to hunt PDs (mostly) and Coyotes, as-well-as punch paper towards the purpose of being a better shooter and for fun.
  • I will be learning to reload.
  • Most of my hunting will be in Texas.
  • I currently have a Nikon 3x9-50 ProStaff with BDC reticle on my 30.06. I like it well enough, but don't like the changing drop figures as I change magnification nor the thick crosshairs.
  • (For the above reason) I really like the FFP scopes and I like scopes with fine crosshairs.
  • I've seen the Horus reticle (I think it was on a NightForce) and really like the whole concept. I can wrap my head around the math and the 'clutter' on the objective doesn't bother me.
  • For the above reason, I'm thinking of the Horus Preditor, although I haven't actually seen/used that particular scope. (Yet I'm not keen at all on having just a one year warranty.)
  • I've seen the Zeiss Rapid-Z reticles, which are somewhat in the line of what I'm looking to find (allowing easy holdover and windage), but they only come on the SFP.
  • I do want to learn longer distance shooting (500+ yards), so having a scope I could move to a larger caliber later isn't something I oppose.
  • I understand there are mounts and rings that allow a scope to be moved from rifle to rifle with relative ease and minimal loss of zero. That concept attracts me, as I could purchase and use one good scope versus several lesser scopes.
  • I don't want to overbuy, but I would like to buy something that will match the potential of this rifle (and perhaps a larger caliber for longer distances in the future).
  • I have an absolute limit of $800, although I'm certainly not opposed to spending much less.
  • I've been advised to buy something with at least 20x magnifcation, but then I've also heard 12x is all I need, due to mirage and other factors. It leaves me perplexed. I don't have the opportunity to get out and look through lots of different scopes at a long distance range, so my personal experience options are limited. I do know that even with my old 30.06, I could shoot more accurately if I either had thinner crosshairs &/or greater magnification.
I'm not sure what other information might be pertinent to making a good decision, so please let me know if I've left out some critical factor.

Any experienced advice on scope and ring options will be greatly appreciated. If I can narrow down my options then maybe I can seek out some to go look through.

Thanks in advance,
Andrew

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Last edited by SerenityNetworks; January 3, 2013 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Fix Bullets
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:17 AM   #2
big al hunter
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I have both FFP and SFP scopes. I like both, for the purpose I use each for.

I use my only FFP scope for coyote hunting. It allows me to range the animal with minimal movement. I don't have to check what power it is set at, and I don't have to move my hands to use my laser rangefinder. The only reason I have FFP is range calculation.

All of my other scopes are SFP. Some are BDC reticle, none are Nikon BDC (I detest the circles). The reticle of a SFP scope gets smaller in relationship to the target with magnification increase. This makes accurate shots on small targets like PDs easier. FFP scope reticle stays the same size in relation to the target with magnification, which makes it appear thicker. It will also cover more of the target at longer range.

If you like fine crosshairs and don't like changing BDC lines you should get a SFP standard crosshair with target turrets. You can dial in yardage precisely. You will have to learn that for long range shooting anyway. And BDC reticles are only good to 5 or 600 yards anyway.


As to what scope.... lots of good ones out there. I am happy with my Burris, Vortex, Alpen, Nikon. I don't own any Leopold or Ziess but all of them I have used are excellent. Vortex has a great warranty, forever and for any reason if it stops working, repair or replace. Descent prices too. Whatever you choose, look through the scope before buying it. Compare several side by side.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:40 AM   #3
ronl
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You really cannot go wrong with Vortex. Their customer service is second to none. I just looked through one of the Horus Vision Predator scopes a friend of mine put on a custom build by Jeff Walker. The glass was excellent. He claimed he really liked the scope, and since he is a tactical shooting instructor, set some world records, and has won more than his share of rifle matches, his word is good enough for me. Still, for your desired specs, a Vortex Viper 6.5-20 may just suit your needs and it doesn't hurt that it can be had for under $450. There are a lot of good optics out there for the money you are willing to spend. My advice; spend your time before you spend your money, and find the one that suits you.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:52 AM   #4
gk1
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For a varmint rifle, you'll (IMO) be best served by a relatively high-magnification variable, 14-32x on the top end. For an $800 budget, I think you'd be limited in FFP choices in the 4-14 and up range. FFP scopes tend to have coarser reticles in the middle of their adjustment range compared to SFP, as well. A fixed 10-12x may be a good alternative, as well, but would be a compromise for both PDs and coyotes. The savings may be worth it, though.

I would also discourage QD mounts, as PD shooting is a precision thing, and that typically means mounting the scope as solidly as possible, plus regardless of the ease of removing the scope and rings is offset by the need to re-zero in the other rifle(s).

I'd suggest a Weaver one-piece base and Burris Signature Zee rings (still "removable"), and a Vortex SFP Viper PST with as much magnification as you can afford. Of course, any competitors would be worth comparing, too.

As another alternative, a much cheaper scope like the Mueller APT may help you get your feet wet, and is likely to be useful on another rifle later if desired.

Best of luck in your search!
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Old January 4, 2013, 09:23 AM   #5
cw308
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I have a Bushnell 6.5 x 24 x 40 has a fine cross hair, cost $ 325. It's mounted on my 308, Have a nikon 4.5 x 14 x 40 my feelings are the same as yours, the cross haires to thick. Like the bushnell much better, their not a high end scope, but I realy like the scope
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Old January 4, 2013, 10:49 AM   #6
SerenityNetworks
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Thank you all. This is excellent feedback and quite a few good points I need to carefully consider (including reconsideration of SFP scopes). Already I have more information that I would have probably gotten in a month of going to stores. I'll look into these options this weekend and also see if I can get out and look through a few scopes too.

Thanks again,
Andrew

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Old January 5, 2013, 01:22 AM   #7
SerenityNetworks
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Update:

I was able to get out a little while this evening and peek through a few scopes. I checked out the Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 and WHOA what clarity! It beat the Nikons I looked through hands down. IMO it also beat the Leupolds; and aquisition of a sight picture seemed much more difficult with the Leupolds. I couldn't see that the NightForce were any better than the Vortex.

The Vortex I looked at had the EBR-1 reticle, which was okay, but not what I had in mind. I do see on the Vortex web site that they have a Viper HS LR 6-24x50 FFP model with an XLR reticle that seems to be more of what I was looking to find. I see where they have some second focal plane models that are in my price range, but they don't have the XLR reticle.

I'll still need to give consideration to SFP scopes. Also, I'd like to look through some Burris, Alpin, and Mueller (whoa they are inexpensive) scopes. But I have to say that I'm really impressed with the Vortex. Maybe I'll just have to save awhile longer. It does seem if I went with the Viper HS LR 6-24x50 FFP that I'd be set for a lifetime with a long distance and varmint scope.

I'll keep investigating. I'm anxious, but I really don't have to be in a hurry. If I just can't stand it, I can always put my Nikon on the CZ for awhile.

Thanks again for all the input,
Andrew
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Old January 5, 2013, 03:16 AM   #8
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One possibility is a Bushnell Elite Tactical scope via Grafs. Both the 6-24x50 scopes are within your budget, have FFP, and are well reviewed. If you have a C&R, you can get a further discount of $50 to $80 (though keep in mind dealer pricing does not include shipping).

I agree with gk1 on the mounts; on most of my scopes I'm using the Burris Signature Zee's (the inserts are very nice to adjust MOA). I have one QD mount, but it is a LaRue QD104, which is above average quality and guaranteed to return to zero when detached and remounted.

I "pulled the trigger" today on the Bushnell 6-24x50 Elite Tactical with the illuminated BTR-mil reticle, and will post a short review of it when it arrives. Price was roughly $638 with C&R before shipping; my original budget was $500, but I was able to stretch it a bit. The other reticle ran $713, which was just too much for my budget. Ultimately the scope will live on a 24" varmint configured AR I'm finishing up, but until that build is finished it will live on a .308 FNAR.

Below is a photo comparing the reticles on the two Bushnell models:

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Old January 5, 2013, 05:08 AM   #9
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I couldn't even imagine paying that much for anything bushnell. I've had a few of there cheaper scopes and binoculars, I surely wasn't impressed. I would go leupold or zeiss at that kind of money, Just my opinion. Also 2 the the original OP, I wouldn't expect much out of a .204 at much more than 300 yrds, My .22-250 with a 40 grain bullet going over my chronograph at nearly 4,100 fps DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH ENERGY LEFT AT 400 YRDS TO EXPLODE A GALLON JUG OF WATER, JUST MADE IT LEAK!! Not to mention how much it drops at that range, I have recovered bullets that were stil in the gallon jug and looked like they could have been reloaded again except for the rifling grooves! Those little bullets have there place and look cool on paper but in real world they fall on there face VERY QUICKLY AFTER 300 YRDS!!
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Old January 5, 2013, 07:36 PM   #10
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Go for a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x56mm, I like the MLR reticle with mil adjustments. The horus reticles come with the shmit and benders. The horus is not good for long range though, more for 1000 yards and under and not for any hunting type situation, you would only want it for target shooting. At least that's what I've been told by people who run them.
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Old January 5, 2013, 07:39 PM   #11
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I personally run a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x56mm mil/mil MLR with high speed turrets and zerostop on my .338 lapua and .50 BMG
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Old January 5, 2013, 10:19 PM   #12
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I just put a SS 6x42 on my M1A. My budget was $600-$800 and this was by far the best optic in that class and it only cost $300.00
http://swfa.com/SWFA-SS-6x42-Tactica...pe-P53711.aspx


My next scope for med-range AR15 is the Weaver Tactical. I have always like Weaver scopes and while I have not seen this yet, the reviews are glowing.
http://swfa.com/Weaver-Tactical-Rifle-Scopes-C1815.aspx
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Old January 6, 2013, 12:48 AM   #13
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Andrew,
I was pleased to read your comments about the Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 FFP. I mounted one of those on my .308 Savage fcp hs-precision a little over a year ago and have enjoyed the heck out of it. It retired the Bushnell Elite 4200 that was on the rifle.....simply put, there was no contest between the two.

I hope you find a suitable optic for your rifle. I don't think you can go wrong with one of the better Vortex optics, as you've already discovered.
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Old January 6, 2013, 07:49 PM   #14
SerenityNetworks
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Well, one thing for sure is change. Unexpected events have just shot my budget for the moment. It looks like I'll be putting something like one of the Mueller scopes on the rifle for the time being. I don't think I'll move over my 3-9x50 Prostaff, as it's nicely mounted, all set on my BBR, and just fine for deer. So picking up an inexpensive yet decent interim scope seems the way to go until I can afford a Vortex. I have a struggling Bushnell on an old Remington Woodsmaster 742 in .243, so a Mueller has somewhere to go later. Yet I'm left with a few questions, if you fellows don't mind helping me out yet again.

1) Regarding the Mueller scopes, I'm pondering which to get. With the .204, I'm probably maxed out at 400 yards (give or take a bit) for hunting. Do I need &/or would I find value in a 8.5-25 scope or would a 4-16 serve me equally as well? Likewise, do I need a 50mm objective? And finally, which reticle? From what I can see, Mueller has three scopes I should consider:
  • 8.5-25x50 Eliminator: Microdot (not Mil Dot) Reticle, Illuminated, $220
  • 8.5-25x44: AO Tactical: Mil Dot Reticle, $165
  • 4.5-16x50: AO Tactical: Mil Dot Reticle, Illuminated, $210
I still have the budget for any of these. I'm leaning towards the 8.5-25x44 just because it has the Mil Dot and I don't see any reason to need a 50mm objective or illuminated reticle. As long as the optics have decent clarity then it seems the 44mm objective should gather plenty of light up until the close of the legal hunting hours. Am I wrong? I could see me night hunting hogs at night with it (on the .243), so maybe the illuminated reticle would be a useful feature; I just don't know. If illumination is something to consider then would the 4.5-16 Mil Dot or 8.5-25 microdot be better? I lean towards the lesser power with the Mil Dot, but with as flat as the .204 shoots is there any need for it - that is, would I be better with a microdot reticle and the higher magnification. You can see my delimma with juggling the variables of magnification, illumination, reticle style, and objective size. What do you fellows think?


2) Does anyone have a part number for a decent Weaver mount/adapter (with cutout) that will fit the 527 Varmint? I'm not finding anything (with consistently postive reviews) that I'm sure will work.

Thanks again for your time and input,
Andrew
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Old January 8, 2013, 09:58 PM   #15
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I got a Mueller APT to try out a while ago, and while it is clearly not a fine optical instrument, it's not bad, and worth what I paid new. I've heard that the Vortex Crossfire line was recently upgraded, and is supposed to be a pretty good value, as well. Of course, neither is likely to compare with a "good" more expensive scope, but not a bad compromise on a budget, IMO.
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Old January 8, 2013, 11:52 PM   #16
big al hunter
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I would go for the 4.5-16x50. You never know when a coyote will show at close range. It is very hard to pick the right spot when all you see in your scope is fur. And mirage is tough to see through at more than 12 power. Kinda puts any hunting rifle at a disadvantage to have 8 power as its lowest setting. At least where I hunt.
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Old January 9, 2013, 12:41 AM   #17
SerenityNetworks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big al hunter View Post
I would go for the 4.5-16x50.
I've (pretty much) decided on the Vortex Viper 6.5-16x44 PA. It's a budget squeeze with what's going in recently, but I can swing it and in the long run I think it will benefit me more than the Mueller. I agree that I can't go around hunting with 8 or 9x as my minimum power. If I ever go with a truly dedicated long distance or PD rifle then maybe I'll go for higher magnification. But right now this rifle will be an "opportunity" rifle and I need to keep the magnification reasonable. If I can afford a 50mm objective then I will, but most likely it will be a 44.


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Old January 9, 2013, 01:49 AM   #18
big al hunter
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The 44 mm objective will be plenty. The light gathering ability of a 50 mm is only beneficial with a 30 mm tube. On any scope the coatings are more important than the objective being a few mm larger. You will be happy with the Vortex, I know I am. I have one in 4-12 SFP and one in 6-20 FFP. Both are clear and bright.
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