View Full Version : Scope advice please

April 12, 2008, 11:09 PM
Hey all. I am in need of a better scope. I am shooting a .270 Win and want a scope that will give me good use out to the longer distances...200 yards approximately.

I am also looking for a good scope, but not too expensive. I am new to rifles and scopes, so give me some good honest advise. Thanks.

April 12, 2008, 11:18 PM
There are several good choices starting around 150.00. Not many below that, and quite a few above that.

I have had good results with Nikon's offerings. Their Pro-staff line is hard to beat at the 150.00 price point. Bushnell's Elite 3200 series starts somewhere around 200.00 I think. Then there's the Leupold Rifleman and others.

Only one I've had experience with is Nikon. I've done Simmons/BSA thing though and the experiences left a bit to be desired.

April 13, 2008, 12:32 AM
What power and size will be good for the distances I want? I am looking at a 4-12x40mm. Opinions?

T. O'Heir
April 13, 2008, 03:29 AM
What's on it now? A scope does nothing but allow you to see the target better. The higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view(the area you can see at 100 yards). Plus a larger front lens will require higher rings. 200 yards isn't that far, but think in terms of no more than a 3x to 9x variable with no more tham a 40mm front lens. That'll give you practical useage with a 12' field of view at 100 yards. You get about 9' with a 12X scope. A smaller field of view makes finding the kill zone on a deer slower.

phil mcwilliam
April 13, 2008, 06:34 AM
I can recommend leupold 3-9x40 vx11. I have 2 of these scopes on my hunting rifles. Shooting at distances of 200 yards is fine when the scope is set on 9x.

April 13, 2008, 08:20 AM
Below is some Sunday reading material. The first link will show a few dozen perspectives on scopes. The second will provide almost 50 reviews of scopes.

You don't have to spend a mint, but a good scope is never cheap. The 270 is capable of reaching out to around 300 yards without adjusting for holdover (be sure to read about MPBR), although, your hunting terrain may limit you to 200 yards. If you don't plan on ever shooting past 200 yards you might like a lower power scope to take advantage of a wider field of view. The sweet spot for value vs. cost is the 3-9x40. That standard (3-9) in hunting scopes is about right for any shoot a 270 could make under ideal circumstances.

I eschew the "bells and whistles" on scopes. I have not found a situation where a hunter needs an Adjustable Objective or special reticle (although I like a heavy duplex). Target Turrets are just something to snag on. A fixed power scope is not a bad thing, but I'm not making that recommendation.

Stick to one of the better known makers and avoid the temptation to buy extra magnification.



Art Eatman
April 13, 2008, 09:43 AM
From a "need" standpoint, a fixed-power 4X will work as good as anything else, if you're talking 200 yards as an outer limit. FWIW, my 3x9 was set on 3X when I made one of my longer one-shot kills; 350 yards.

I did just fine for a half-dozen years with a Sears & Roebuck .270 with a Weaver K4, and never felt "under-equipped". Heck, more than one Bambi might have thought I was "over-equipped", but those opinions didn't count.

April 13, 2008, 09:46 AM
Heck, more than one Bambi might have thought I was "over-equipped", but those opinions didn't count.

A case of "the victor writes the history"?

April 13, 2008, 10:35 AM
I would also go with Nikon, Leupold, Weaver, or Buris. I tried some of the more less expensive models - never again. Just go to a gun store and check out several models, one will likely seem better than all the rest.

April 13, 2008, 11:30 AM
"From a "need" standpoint, a fixed-power 4X will work as good as anything else, if you're talking 200 yards as an outer limit. FWIW, my 3x9 was set on 3X when I made one of my longer one-shot kills; 350 yards."

Most of my rifles have fixed power scopes. Know several guys who missed close in shots on hogs, deer and elk because the variable power scope was cranked up all the way.

Look at WWII snipers. With the exception of the 8X and 10X Unertl scopes used by the USMC, all the sniper rifle scopes of WWII were realtively low powered. Russian snipers killed more troops than anyone else and their PU scopes were were 3.5 power.

April 13, 2008, 04:19 PM
Go on ebay and get an older weaver-K4, K6 or a variable and you will have a friend for life.

April 13, 2008, 07:19 PM
Leupold VX-II 2-7x33mm

Small, light and reliable. Will set you back $300. You don't really need even 7x to hit at 200 yards but it's the best compromise and gives great field of view.

April 13, 2008, 07:25 PM
I just went through this same exercise on for my .270. I decided on the Burris Fullfield II. All the research I did indicated this was the best scope for the money. I just sighted it in yesterday and I'm totally satisfied.

April 13, 2008, 07:26 PM

I am in you exact same boat. I just acquired a Browning .270. I put a Leupold VX-I 3x-9x on it. I've taken pigs and coyotes thus far, using both powers, i.e., 3 or 9. I don't find anything in between: 4-8 to be useful. I have no complaints. It cost me $208 new.


Uncle Ben
April 14, 2008, 10:32 AM
For what reason would you not want a large 50mm front lens on your scope? I guess I thought a larger front lens gave you a brighter view, but I see that most are recommending 40mm or less.

Tons of great info so far, by the way!

April 14, 2008, 10:37 AM
Companies to look at:

1. Leupold
2. Nikon
3. Bushnell
4. Burris

Stay away from:

1. BSA
2. Tasco
3. Other excessively sheap names...

I would look for something sitting in the 3-9x40 on up to but no more then the 5-15x40 range. There is no need to get any higher magnification or any larger of an objective. It's not going to gain you anything at 200 yard ranges. I HIGHLY suggest Leupold and Bushnell but Nikon and Burris are just as good. You can get all of their lower end scopes very reasonable and they still maintain the good quality. However, if you must go cheap I would suggest Konus out of all of them. BSA and Tasco do not sit well with me as I have eaten up scopes from them with moderate recoiling rifles. I have a Konus atop a 45-70 and it does just fine.


April 14, 2008, 10:49 AM
For what reason would you not want a large 50mm front lens on your scope?

I had a VX-III with a 50 mm on it. I would not go that way again because of the additional height you need to get that big front end on your rifle. I will say, it was a light-gathering machine, but other than the first few minutes of shooting light or the last few minutes, my VX-II with a 40mm is just as good.

The new Leupold with the fancy shaped 50mm front end was developed specifically to address the height problem, but it is a lot of money.

April 14, 2008, 11:34 AM
good all around scope is a Bushnell Elite 3200 with the Balisti -Plex reticle and in the 4-12X40 A/O with rainguard.

This is a great all around scope for eveything from longer ditance big game hunting to varmint hunting. Also, The burris Fullfiled II is a good scope for out to 300 yards. You really need to get out and look at the scopes personally. I prefer a Bushnell Elite, Burris Diamond, or Nikon Monarch, or a Zeiss, but others swear by their leupolds (I have a few, but the Bushnell and Nikon are more bang for your buck IMHO). Also, the Cabelas Guide (alaskan guide) are great scopes that can be had on the cheap. Lastly, the browning line of scopes (discontinued, but can still be bought new) are actually Bushnell elite 3200's with the browning logo's on them.

April 14, 2008, 12:23 PM
For what reason would you not want a large 50mm front lens on your scope? I guess I thought a larger front lens gave you a brighter view, but I see that most are recommending 40mm or less.Too big. Too heavy. Too expensive. Too high above the bore axis.

I suggest that you get Leupold VXII VX-II 2-7x33mm. That's more than enough for what you need.

April 14, 2008, 12:54 PM
I love the 270 Win and have used one for many years....the scope I have used the most is a Leupold 2.8x8x36mm....I have never wanted/needed more for big game (Deer) hunting and when necessary, I have shot Deer at distances close to 400 yards. I am now using a Tikka .270 with a Leupold 3.5x10x40 and it is more scope than I should ever need, but I do like it! At 200 yards any good 4X scope will work fine! Forget about any scope more powerful than 10 power or with a larger than 40mm objective for a big game hunting rifle, otherwise you will deal with excess weight, size, scope height, paralax, etc. It more important that you buy the very best quality glass that you can afford....better to have a high dollar scope and a cheap rifle than the other way around!

April 14, 2008, 01:11 PM
I topped my Sig Swiss Hunter in .270 with a Nikon Monarch 3-9x40 about 6 years ago. Frankly I use it at 4-5 power the most. I think if you stick with a quality name brand scope, you'll get a lifetime's use out of it and will be perfectly happy. Get one with a good warranty, you'll never have to worry.

April 14, 2008, 06:24 PM
Check out a well known proven brand like Nikon, Leupold, Bushnell or Burris. I like the Nikon Monarch and the Bushnell Elites. Most scopes look real good with good light conditions, but its during low light conditions when they really show their true colors.

April 14, 2008, 09:15 PM
I have had good results with Nikon's offerings. Their Pro-staff line is hard to beat at the 150.00 price point.

Nikon +1

April 14, 2008, 09:55 PM
If you want to save some $$ Natchezss.com has Bushnell Browning 3-9x40 on closeout for $130. This discontinued model is essentially a Bushnell elite 3200 (another all around great scope for around $200) but with the Browning logo on it, made at the bushnell elite factory in Japan. I recently purchased one for a Rem700 270. Same dimensions and weight as the elite 3200 on my rem 700 30-06. Optically, it appears to be even slightly brighter than the 3200. I understand Bushnell extends their warranty to this line also.

Natchezss.com also has Bushnell elite 2-7x32 for $120. I also picked up 2 of those, one for a 30-30, and the other is extra for now. I guess I will just have to get another gun to go with the scope!

Don't get a 50+ mm objective on a big game hunting rifle. They feel clumsy, are heavy, look ugly, and ruin the lines and balance of the rifle. As mentioned above, they must be mounted too high for proper aiming. I replaced the one I had with a 40 mm objective.

April 15, 2008, 12:13 AM
I would go with a Nikon Pro staff or the Bushnell Elite 3200 3-9 or a 4-12 will do you fine.

I'm an odd shooter. I like to see the white of their eyes when I shoot them. So i have high power scopes. My 223 wears a Leupold VX-II 6-18x40mm My 308 has a Bushnell Elite 4200 6-24x40mm. I would not go any lower than a VX-II in the Leupold line as your really start to lose quality much faster than price for the VX-I line and the Rifleman line. No my 308 is not a hunting rifle per-say as it weighs in at almost 17# This is a bench rifle and my sit in one spot and shoot ground hogs a long ways off gun.

In a 1" tube size the 50mm obj lens will not give you any more light over a 40mm. Plus you will then need high rings for the 50mm obj lens to clear the barrel.

I like the 40mm obj lens because it allows the use of medium height rings so I can still get a good cheek weld to the stock. Every gun I have ever shot with a 50mm obj lens I had to shoot with just my chin on the stock. Plus the further away the center-line of the scope is away from the center line of the barrel adds to the potential of less accuracy. If you buy a cheap scope with a 50mm lens or a more expensive scope with a 40mm lens that more expensive scope will more than likely out shine the cheaper one because not only does objective size matter but lens coatings matter just as much or even more.

There is a great article in the newest edition of The Varmint Hunters Magazine about objective lens size. Not everyone gets this magazine and you cannot find it on store shelves so I am going to scan it I was going to attach it but It is to large to attach it to the message post. If anyone would like to read it PM me and I will send it over to you...

AdamSean: You got mail. I sent you the article.

phil mcwilliam
April 15, 2008, 06:11 AM
I had a 2.5-10 x 45mm Bushnell that I replaced with a 3-9x40mm Leupold when I got my Sako 22-250 rebarrelled to heavy barrel. I found when set on the lower power of the Bushnell, that the barrel came into the field of view- which I found off-putting. I could have probably solved the problem by going to a higher scope mount, but I prefer to have my scopes mounted as low to the barrel as possible. A 50mm objective would force you to go for a higher scope mount. Even though the Bushnell had a slightly larger objective, In my opinion the Leupold has better clarity in the half light of dawn or dusk.

April 15, 2008, 09:19 AM
A lot of people have been recommending Nikon's. They are good scopes, but the reason I did not choose one is that their official weight is about 2 oz higher than either the Bushnell or the Burris. That was enough to steer me away (not because of carry weight but because of balance on my lightweight rifle)

May 6, 2008, 07:30 AM
Before I offer a recommendation I want to share some advice I received 20 years ago and it took 18 years before I heeded the advice. If you have a $1000 to spend for a deer rifle and a scope to fit it spend $300 on the rifle and $700 on the scope. At the time it just did not make sense to me...but as they say with age comes wisdom. With that being said I spent $500-$800 on guns and then put $200 scopes on them. Many times I took scopes back when the crosshairs broke because they could not handle the recoil from the gun. A couple of years ago I broke down and bought a Zeiss Conquest. It cost about $500. I now own 5. It was absolutely the best scope I had ever owned. I also have a Leupold and the Zeiss allows me to see things clearly about 15-20 minutes more in the early morning or late evening than my Leupold. For fairness to Leupold fans this is a 30 year old Leupold and I am sure the new ones are better. After trying the Conquest I have since bought a few more guns and I can tell you I simply can not settle for less than the Conquest. I have looked at more expensive scopes and one day would like to try them but for now this is as good as it gets. I get a very good quality scope at what I consider a value. As I have been told and experienced the largest deer always seem to come out just before dark and if you do not have a good quality scope you might never know about it. The expensive gun might drive nails at the range but when the light is dim...you need to still be able to see your target clearly.

May 8, 2008, 05:31 PM
Sightron S2 3x9

May 9, 2008, 12:41 AM
Google "Jeff Cooper" and "moonscopes"...... scopes help you see better...... shooting better is up to you. You can't buy skill. That must be learned.......

What do you NEED? For 200 yards? Good grief, man, if you cannot see a 180 lb. animal at 200 yards without $700 worth of glass atop you gun, you may need to have your eyes replaced!

My .270 has an ancient "Deerfield" 3x9 (Simmons made it, I think) on it. I'm confident in my skills and equipment to take shots out to 450 yards (if there is no wind) on a stationary target. Take your Suggested $700 and buy a 150-200 dollar scope (second hand, if the seller is reputable!) and spend the balance on ammo (an inexpensive handloading set-up and bulk components would maximize your bang/buck ratio!) to develop your skills...............

May 11, 2008, 10:27 PM
I upgraded an older Weaver scope for a Nikon Buckmaster 3X9X40. I too was looking for something in my budget, and did my on-line research and reviews. This scope has a 92% light grab and a convenient recticle adjustment on the back. Leopoldt has nice specs, but this one fit my need and amenities at an affordable price!

May 11, 2008, 10:28 PM
A scope will not improve someones shooting ability. As Jimbo recommended buying a relaoding press etc. can help with your groups if you will spend the time to find the right powder, bullet combo etc. and then practice. But that is not what this post was about. It was about finding a better scope for a shot out to 200 yards. That being the case, then it becomes what is it going to be used for. Plinking? Hunting? Target shooting? I do know you get what you pay for and it is never more evident than when you purchase a scope. If you are going to be hunting with it and it is going to be used early in the morning or late in the day you should spend a little more and get a great quality scope. I have bought cheaper scopes and have learned my lesson. They simply are not worth the money. You can find great quality scopes that are used for a lot less and they still perform like new. Look on google for "Used Rifle Scopes" and check out the prices.

May 12, 2008, 09:29 PM
I only read the first 2 posts.

If you are young w/ good eyes and want to shoot 200 yards-go to ebay and get an old weaver-12x or so. Should be able to do that with $150. These would be fixed power scope for the most part. Very few variables back 'in the good ole days'. There was a V up to 9x as I remember.

Reticles could be crosshair or a dot.

I did not read what you intend to shoot. The above scope would do well for most anything.

Art Eatman
May 13, 2008, 10:37 AM
langenc, a high-magnification scope is horrible for hunting. Way too small a field of view. Sure, for punching paper, generally, more is better. But in the field for general hunting, 3X to 4X is the most useful. You can pick out the particular place on the critter that's your target, rather than just "somewhere in the brown that fills the scope".

May 22, 2008, 01:31 PM
I think Burris and Nikon are best bang for buck.

They are excellent glass.

I bought a Burris Fullfield II 4.5-14x scope for my 7mm mag for deer/pig hunting in Texas. It was around 320$, and came with 12-24x spotting scope. I usually keep it on 6x, unless I need to reach across a field, then I crank it up.

I was really surprised how much better this scope was compared to the Tasco 3-9x it replaced. With the Burris, I could hunter earlier in the day and later into the evening. But that Tasco, is older than me and was on when I shot caribou at -35 in Alaska. I wanted more magnification, so I replaced it.

Big bells and objective are popular now, but you may have to get taller rings. Many like having the scope on a rifle as low as possible.

Higher magnification will result in less field of view. A bigger bell and tube helps.

Several in my hunting party use 6-18x power scopes and we hunt up to 300 yards for deer.

Going to a gun show or place you can check out the scopes will help with picking a magnification.

My dad and brother like their Cabela's scopes.

May 31, 2008, 11:22 PM
Nikon 3-9X40. Prostaff
You can find them everywhere. About 10 people in this thread agree.

You should be able to buy it and mount it for under $150.

check ebay or your local gunsmith or pawn shop.

I use nikon on all my rifles.

W. C. Quantrill
June 1, 2008, 09:41 AM
I dont buy anything off of Thiefbay. I would propose that I have successfully hunted and killed as much game as anyone on the forum. I have an exceptionally good rifle. I am a one rifle hunter. I know it pretty well. I shoot a couple thousand rounds a year from it. I know exactly where that bullet is going to go at 250 yards. Scopes,,,,the subject was scopes wasnt it?

I dont get along with the gun snobs very well-- Throwing around the popular brand names. I have a 50 mm sniper scope on a M700 Remmy for special engagements. It sets 3" above the bore, and it weighs 2#. It requires higher priced 30mm scope rings, and on and on. The rifle with scope and a full magazine is pushing 12#. It will do real nice out to 500 yards and it doesnt kick much. It is a bitch to have to cover several miles with though.

I am fond of Simmons Scopes. I have probably a dozen of them from the lighter ones on .22's for the grandkids to the good ones on my rifles. They are mostly 3x9x40's. They are purchased on the midnight sales at Midway for less than $100 each. They work. They work fine. Simmons has the best warranty in the industry. I have only sent one scope in for repairs in 20 years and it was old when I dropped it but they replaced it with a new one. How good is that? And they did it in 7 days. Paying outrageous prices for a scope that you will actually only use for 3 seconds a year is simply a game of my dick is bigger than your dick.

I went to a snob gun store a while back. I asked to look through several scopes. Laid out about 5 and then looked through them. I could not see the optical difference, and certainly not $500 or $1000 difference over the good Simmons. It is just a game of I am able to spend more money than you are, so you are less than I am.

FWIW, I am a close personal friend of a regular at Whittington center competitions, and you know what he has on his custom 7mm? Oh for the shame........he has a BSA that he has been using for about 6 years now. Same scope. He has not been able to shake it loose, and he told me that he has well over 10,000 rounds of 7mm Mag through it.

Go to Simmonsoptics dot com and look at the scopes, then go to that dreaded Walmart who sells them the cheapest and get one for about $100 and spend the rest of your money on ammo for practice. The extra $$ spent is not buying you any extra quality. The difference in the money you spend will be necessary to fill your gas tank to get home.

Jack O'Conner
June 1, 2008, 04:05 PM

Simmons AETEC and Simmons 44MAG are high quality with affordable pricing. I've had very good luck with Simmons products; we get tough weather in western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. Yet these products hold their zero(s) year after year.

Good hunting to you.

June 1, 2008, 09:29 PM
IMHO $150. for scope and rings isn't snob or my johnson is bigger than your johnson compared to the quoted $100. for a simmons.
i have used simmons and no complaints. I have used Nikon and no complaints. I prefer Nikon. Personal preference.
I wouldn't put a BSA on a stick. The difference in price may be paying for accross the board quality. One good one out of, say 12, isn't the odds I am willing to pay for a scope at any price. I have put a BSA on a .243 and the horizontal reticle came loose after about 25 shots. Fluke maybe? Replaced it with another and the same thing happened a few months later.

Yes you can pay for brand names on everything in the world. From refrigerators to shoe laces. Is one better than any other? Well, trial and error or trust reputation are your two choices.

W. C. Quantrill
June 2, 2008, 07:21 AM
I will grant you that...........any $100 scope still has to have rings, and any decent rings these days will cost you $50 if you buy them retail. I get my stuff wholesale, but good solid rings still cost $40. I am having a set of custom rings made for the sniper scope and I fear they will be $150 or more, so you still end up with a $10 horse and a $40 saddle.

So, even the better Simmons scopes bought on the midnight sales around $100 will also have to have rings and will end up in the $150 range by the time you get them on.

My shooting pard has a Nikon on his .270WSM, and he likes it--I think he gave about a hundred and a half for it, and that's OK.

I'm just saying that my take is that $500/$1000/$1500 for a scope doesnt impress me. Another friend who is eyeball deep in money thinks that if he doesnt spend $1000-$1500 for a scope, that he isnt respected at his range....well nice. He doesnt kill any more game than anyone else.

Back to the subject. If you are able to afford a Custom built $3500-$5000 rifle, then it needs an imported European high dollar scope to complete the image. If you are shooting a brand name American rifle, and want the best bang for your buck, then Simmons is an option.

I have a neighbor who drives a Cadillac Escalade. She feels it makes her more important. I drive a Yukon XL-- It doesnt have leather seats nor pearl paint, nor the little gold doo hicky on the tail gate. I do not have the social rank that she does, but I can go places she cant go, and I still have $25,000 that she spent on the ride that came off of the same assembly line as mine did.

June 2, 2008, 09:12 AM
The idea that paying more for a quality scope is all about looks and the only value is about making you feel better is really not what it is about...at least not for me and that is what you compared when you compared the Escalade to the Tahoe suggesting they go hand in hand.

I have lived long enough to know you get what you pay for...it is no different with clothes, Cars, Guns or scopes. The only thing that really matters here is that the person doing the buying is happy with the purchase.

We all have different criteria when making a purchase and that goes with scopes. I have had a lot of different scopes and yes I am a little older now and can afford to purchase more expensive scopes. But the idea that I do so to look good is simply not accurate. I do so for the performance. I can honestly see deer better longer with these scopes. It allows me to literally looked into deep cover to determine what the deer is and how many points it has so I can make a good judgment as to whether it is a shooter or not. That is the only reason I purchase the more expensive scopes.

I do not have custom rifles. I do not see the need for it based on what I do with my guns...I hunt with them. I reload and by doing so can shoot groups under an inch with every hunting gun I own and that is all I am trying to do. If I was trying to shoot 1/2 inch groups or better and it was that important to me then I might look at spending $3,500 for a custom made gun.

So to lump everyone into the group you identified above is simply inaccurate. And I will say this and it is not me saying but a friend who manages a group of guns stores and allowed me when I was a lot younger see the difference a quality scope can make. If you have a $1000 to spend for a rifle and scope you will be much better off paying $300 for a gun and $700 for a scope. I can attest to this personally now. Half the rifles I own I have scopes on them that cost more than the gun did and the performance I get sith the scopes are fantastic. I have taken my other scopes into the woods to compare the difference at first light and last light and I get at least 20-30 minutes more hunting light in the deep woods simply because they deliver much better visibility than the less expensive scopes. That does not mean you can not get good optics that perform well at a cheaper price.

So the real question is how much can someone AFFORD to spend and what are you looking to do with it? If all you are going to do is to go to the range and target shoot with it then perhaps you do not need to spend much even if you can afford to do so. If you are going to hunt with it and you are trophy hunting...yes I believe it is ok to trophy hunt as long as you do so and use the meat, then perhaps you should look at spending a little more and get a scope that performs exceptionally well in low light.

I can go on and on about other examples but I would be here all day and that is not what I need to be doing.

So good luck with choosing the best optics for yourself that matches what you want to accomplish.