View Full Version : Scope for Combo Hunting/Long Range Precision Shooting

May 16, 2012, 03:06 PM
I am looking to purchase a new scope and I hope to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

My budget is roughly $1500 and I want the most scope for the money that will serve my purpose.

I want the scope to go on my primary hunting rifle which is a .270 which I use for deer/elk hunted primarily in Texas and Colorado where my average shots are between 100 and 300 yards.

I also want the scope to allow me to start training for long range precision shooting.

Because of the later requirement, I want it to be a mil-dot style reticle and have mil-based turrets.

I am looking at the Leupold Mark 4 ER/T 4.5-14x50 with the tactical milling reticle and M5 knobs, but I want recommendations.

Thanks in advance for your help.

May 17, 2012, 09:42 AM
Something in a Vortex, in that price range, has alot of possibilities. Plus they have Super CS, and Lifetime Warranty.

Brian Pfleuger
May 17, 2012, 09:47 AM
I'd look at USOptics, in that price range.

May 17, 2012, 08:02 PM
I'm not sure if you can get into a Nightforce at that price but you're getting close. If you are willing to drop that kind of change on glassso what if it takes another couple of hundred bucks to get one spend it it is totally worth it.

May 17, 2012, 10:17 PM
I went to Cabela's today to check out glass and the sales guy recommended I look at the Trijicon Accupoint. I tested the 5-20x50mm and it was really sweet. The reticle is awesome.

I compared it side by side to Swarovski Z5, Leupold M4, Zeiss Conquest and Nightforce NXS. Granted it was just in the store looking at stuffed animals on the opposite wall but the Accupoint had a clearer picture and brought my eye on target faster than the Leupold or the Conquest. The glass on the Z5 was, as to be expected, amazing, but the reticle is not as good and the Z5 is almost $600 more. The Nightforce was the only scope that I felt could be considered truly superior but it has some design quirks. For example, when you adjust the magnification it rotates the entire eye piece which, in addition to being odd, prohibits the use of flip lens caps. On top of that, it is $700 more.

Does anyone have any feedback on the Trijicon Accupoint? Has anyone compared these in the field under more real-world conditions?

Thanks in advance.

May 17, 2012, 10:39 PM
Leupold Mark4's are in that price range but as previously stated, Nightforce is better.

May 17, 2012, 11:00 PM
I have been contemplating on getting the Zeiss Conquest in 6.5-20x50 with #43 reticle for my new build. Check out their website and see if it is what you are looking for. Surprisingly it is within your price range. As far as quality glass, your not going to do much better.

May 17, 2012, 11:59 PM
I have Sightron SIII's (better optical clarity than NF at higher magnification... IMO) a US Optics SN-3, and various Leupolds including an older Vari-X III LR 4.5x15x50. That scope has taken many deer and helped me shoot a 194/200 in 1000 yard F Class competition. I would not hesitate to buy the Mark 4 version if I were in the market.

May 18, 2012, 12:12 AM
Something in a Vortex, in that price range, has alot of possibilities. Plus they have Super CS, and Lifetime Warranty.

x2. I'm using a Vortex Viper PST 4-16x FFP mil/mil. Zero stop on the elevation turret.

Tim R
May 18, 2012, 03:13 AM
If you are going to shoot at known ranges no need for a mil dot. A fange finder is quicker to use too.

May 18, 2012, 03:32 AM
I do not represent myself as an expert on the topic,but for a long time the standard US Army Sniper scope was a Leupolld 3.5-10 30 mm tube Mil-Dot.Brother has that scope on his AR-!0.

I have the 4.5-14 version on my Win 70 Laredo.MilDot,30mm,side p-lax,etc.

I had Kenton Industries make a set of knobs.Within reason,altitude,etc,I just twist a range.

I am not saying there are no better scopes.These have worked real well for us.

I would not do it any different,myself.

Laser rangefinders are great.

But,a Mil-dot is in the scope as you look at your target.If you are skilled with a Mil-Dot,the Mil-Dot,and the skill,make the laser less necessary.True,at very long ranges,a 25 yd error means a miss,but in the 300,400,etc zone,where a reasonable trajectory forgives a little ranging error,why fumble with more equiptment?

Really,truly,if you know how to use a Mil-Dot,300,even pushing 400 yd rangefinding for gamehunting,as the op mentioned,its the laser you don't need.

OP,I have great respect for the 270 as a hunting round.At any reasonable hunting range,its a good cartridge...Actually,the Cartridge itself is not an issue.

What you may eventually run into as a limitation,the standard .270 twist is tailored to bullets that are efficient at reasonable hunting ranges.
They are not typically twisted for the long,heavy,high ballistic coefficient bullets .And,the way this works out,as there are few rifles that can stabilize such .277 bullets,bullet mfgrs do not have a market to offer long range bullets .

So,depending upon what you consider "long range",I suggest you bias your scope selection toward the hunting spectrum,a 3.5-10 is plenty.I believe I might go toward 40 or 42 mm,rather than 50.

I am not saying the 1000 yd-ish stuff cannot be done with a .270,but a 6.5,or 7mm,or 30 will give you a much better selection of long range bullets

Just my opinion.

May 18, 2012, 05:13 AM
At that price point, look at a Vortex and Bushnell Elite.
I personally think you get more features for less money with these over a Leupold.
US Optics and Nightforce are a step up, if you can find one at that price.
You also need to decide if you want First or Second Focal Plane. If you know your range or have a range finder, Second Focal Plane is fine.
May I also suggest Seekins Precision scope rings.

May 18, 2012, 06:23 AM
Nightforce is a great scope if you have $$$$$$..The one i see coming on real strong in F-Class open and FTR class now is Sightron. I have a 8-32 x50 on order now. Tracking is second to none and the glass is very crisp and clear. I also go with other post,No need for a mil dot scope.

May 18, 2012, 06:53 AM
The Swaro will serve you better in very low light conditions and I would get the 4A reticle as the BR reticles can get lost in low light and lets face it, thats when what you want to shoot comes out.:eek:

May 18, 2012, 07:15 AM
If the Trijicon Accupoint is something that fits the bill by all means buy it. I've had an interest in it myself and the reviews I've found have all been positive. Not to mention the company itself has been making solid products for a long time. Glass a lot of the time is more important than the rifle but like the rifle the shooter has to like the fit or they can't get the most out of their setup. I'm sure the quality is there and if it saves you some change in the process all the better, now you can buy more goodies. Take all of our suggestions for what it cost you and buy the scope that you find fits you the best regardless of price or opinion. Every "hunting" rifle I own is topped with Simmons scopes. Are there better? Could I afford better? Sure, but They offer what I need and like at an attractive price and they have yet to disappoint so I keep buying them even though I get the occasional "junk" comment. It's your money and in the end it's about you so buy accordingly.

May 18, 2012, 01:12 PM
I have a Bushnell Elite 6500T 4.5-30x50 and it has been a great scope holds zero, tracks well and even at 30x it's still pretty clear. The only thing I don't like about it is the blacked out markings on it makes it hard to see what settings it's on.

May 18, 2012, 01:20 PM
Check out the Bushnell Elite 6500. I don't own one but the specs are awesome.

2.5-16 magnification [this is what I find the most interesting] or 4.5-30

30 mm tube

lots of optional feature

Priced under $900

May 18, 2012, 06:27 PM
I think that's a bit of a tall order, but as long as you're willing to compromise...

I don't hunt, but if you need quick target acquisition at a 100 yard shot, you're probably going to want no more than 4x on the low end...

On the other hand, for long range (if mirage allows) more magnification is always better. I prefer 20-24x...yeah, my son shoots his 6.5 Grendel at 600 with his 3.5-10 Vortex Viper, but I don't feel it's optimal. Like I said, compromise. He can bang steel with it, but if you were trying to shoot groups, not enough magnification.

I'd go with a 4-16 or something in that range. This would be my choice, mil-mil, FFP:


May 19, 2012, 06:28 AM
I'll fling back,one more time,then let it go.

I have a very light 257 Ackley Imp,with a 1 in 10 bblI can push 3100 with a 115 gr Ballistic tip.The BC is about .440,+-.

Generally speaking,the .270 is in the same BC league.I do not think you will find many .500+ or .600 + BC bullets for a .270.

IMO,that makes no difference at reasonable hunting ranges.For my concept of "long range" it does make a difference.

Have fun,do it your way,but,IMO,I would focus a .270 on what a .270 is excellent for.I would bias toward a hunting rifle with a good hunting scope that had some long range talent.I do not know the 3-9 Trijicon,but the ACOG s are good glass.

I also know really good optics of modest power are better than mediocre optics of high power.

IMO,for most purposes,a .270 does not need more than 10 x in quality glass.I think larger than,say a 3.5 to 10 by 40 mm or so would be out of balance on a .270 to hunt with.

Two other brands to look at(I have no experience with)Valdada and Minox.

May 19, 2012, 07:10 AM
+3 on the Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 FFP. Wonderful scope, and you'll come in $600 under your budget limit. I got this one for $899 from an outfit called opticsbestbuy.com; they were out of stock everywhere else. Wasn't a bad move at all!


I was gunning for the 6-24, but in hind sight, I like the 4-16 better for the lower power range; that'll be great for deer hunting at lower ranges (I hunted inside of 150 yards last year with a fixed 10 power..yikes! That sucked.). The 16 power hasn't stopped me from putting down 1.25" groups at 300 yards. The camera optics didn't know how to handle looking through a scope so there's some blooming, but here's an iPhone photo from the other day looking at my 200 yard target at 16x.


In the real world, the view is crystal; I can see my .308 hits on paper at 300 yards. Adjustment; I'm mounted on a EGW 20moa rail. With a 200 yard zero, I've still got 18mil of vertical adjustment left before I hit the internal hard stop. That'll come in handy if I manage to make it to Fort Knox for a 1000 yard attempt.

May 20, 2012, 10:28 PM
+1 on the Swaro. Nightforce and the Leopold Mark 4 are excellent scopes but don't compare with the Swaro for clarity and light gathering capabilities. I have all three and prefer the Swaro for hunting. Ballistic turrets are nice at the range but always not practical when hunting.

May 21, 2012, 08:01 AM
Vortex Viper PST or Nightforce. Do some reading at snipershide.net.

Overall the NF is a better scope but I think the PST is more bang for the buck. The PST is considerably less money, about 1K vs 1.5k. Either scope well serve you well and handle long range with ease. At 1000+ yards you can not have too much magnification.

May 21, 2012, 12:40 PM
I think you're spending a lot of money on a bad compromise. A good long range scope makes for a lousy hunting scope. Too heavy, and not enough low magnification options for the quick shot at under 100 yards. I at least tend to run around with the scope at minimum magnification for the fast shot, assuming that if I need to shoot at 300 yards I have time to dial up the mag. Get a Zeiss conquest 3-9 for your hunting purposes at $400, and then save up for that Nightforce. If you use decent QD rings you can swap them out for hunting season without having to do much sighting.

May 21, 2012, 02:07 PM
I think you're spending a lot of money on a bad compromise. A good long range scope makes for a lousy hunting scope. Too heavy, and not enough low magnification options for the quick shot at under 100 yards.

That's the main reason I went with the 4-16 PST. Since I bought it, I've had the opportunity to look at a couple of suicidal deer on the rifle range through it. I feel like I'm at a rather good compromise. Field of view is just as important. Used my leftover dough to buy a Jewell trigger. ;-). Around here, you don't hunt. You wait... For the big dumb ones to walk out in front of you. So weight isn't much of a deal breaker; not packing the rifle for miles. Helps to have a tractor running in the background and a lit cigarette. Lol

May 21, 2012, 03:38 PM
A good long range scope makes for a lousy hunting scope. Too heavy, and not enough low magnification options for the quick shot at under 100 yards.

While your argument does have merit and I agree with you for the most part I will say that last year my brothers rifle was being repaired so he asked if he could borrow my target rifle for deer hunting until he got his back. Instead I loaned him my hunting rifle and I used my target rifle for deer hunting and when you have a good scope that will go up to 30x it makes 200yds seem like 20 when you are used to a 3-9x scope also identifying deer was much easier. Also I will add that for a hunting scope I think that 4-4.5x should be the max for the low end of the zoom magnification.

phil mcwilliam
May 23, 2012, 05:07 AM
I recently purchased a Zeiss 4.5-14x 50mm scope & I'm very impressed with the clarity. I mainly bought this scope to use for longer range hunting, say 100 to 400 yards, for which it works well. Only problem was last week when I surprised half a dozen pigs that basically ran from underneath my feet. I found the 4.5 minimum on the Zeiss hard to track a running pig at close quarters.
I find because hunting can be unpredictable that my 2.5-10 & 3-9 variables work better for me ,as I find myself more often selecting the lowest setting on a variable hunting scope.

May 24, 2012, 06:21 PM
I've examined much of the best glass side by side (Leupold Mark 4, Trijicon Accupoint, Swarovski Z5, Nightforce NXS, Vortex Viper PST) and to my eye, the best scope for the money is the Trijicon. The glass is only slightly inferior to the Z5 and the fiber-optic/tritium illuminated reticle is amazing. It brings my eye onto the target very quickly.

Unfortunately I feel like I have to eliminate this scope because I want a mil-dot reticle with mil-based turrets. Alas, Trijicon only offers MOA based turrets on the Accupoint. I called and asked if custom turrets could be ordered and the answer was no.

I haven't made a decision yet, but one option is out and its sad because its the option I liked the best.

May 25, 2012, 05:00 PM
Curious- why do you feel that a mil/mil scope is required for long range shooting to the extent that you're eliminating a scope that you want?

Even if you're shooting at unknown ranges, a LRF solves that problem- and does it more accurately than you can do with mil dots, and perhaps Trigicon can do a custom BDC reticle?

I checked Kenton Ind., they don't list Trigicon but perhaps there's another player that can make them.

If not, this is a really cool idea...I just came across this, and just might try to do this one myself...


May 25, 2012, 05:14 PM
^^ that really is a great idea. Might have chew on that over the long weekend.

May 25, 2012, 05:57 PM
Search an old thread"New Kreiger barrel in AR-10 shoots"

You will see a 600 yd target.That rifle has the same 3.5-10 Leupold that the military bolt sniper rifle...was it the M-40? wears.The Rem 700 .308 rifle.

This target is at 600 yds.That scope can still see just fine at 1000.

Actually,I have a spot I lasered at 1090 yds.At that range,a 5x Acog,a 6x by 42 mm Leupold,and a 6x Israelli sniper scope of unknown mfg I have can all see and resolve a target well enough to place shots.Optical quality trumps magnification.

Lets not forget some darn fine 1000 yd shooting has been done with iron sights.

With my Kowa 77 mm flourite spotting scope set at about 40 X,seeing 4 of the moons of Jupiter is easy.,300 yd sighting in with 22 holes is easy,and I have ,on the right day,seen 30 cal holes in a black bull at 500 yds.

For myself,in terms of big game hunting,at responsible ranges,a quality 6x is magnification enough.

Actually,the standard duplex in a 6x x42 mm Leupold is 2 mils,post to post.That is what I have on my .257AI.

With a 300 yd zero,the tip of the upper duplex is on at 100 yd,and the tip of the lower duplex is on at 420 yds.

If an antelope fits withers to brisket in the duplex he is around 220 yds.center crosshair to post,400+ yds(too far)

The .257 AI is similar in trajectory to a .270.For HUNTING in open country,I find that fixed 6x ideal.I can prairie dog to 300 with it.

I also have a take off B+L Elite 4000 somewhere.Pretty good scope,4.5-14.I would not put it on a hunting rifle.Too big!!

I walk when I hunt.

One more consideration,will you get a first focal plane reticle?If not,your Mil Dot only reads true at one power,typically high power.

Mirage becomes more of a problem at higher X.

If for any reason you turn the power down,you lose your Mil-Mil adj connection.

May 25, 2012, 06:24 PM
.I do not think you will find many .500+ or .600 + BC bullets for a .270

Don't underestimate the 270 as a long range round. Berger's 150 grn VLD has an average BC of G1 .514, G7 263.

If you have a faster twist there are 165 & 175 grn bullets pushing a BC over .600.

The 140 Bergers get about .500.

I shoot the Bergers out of my Model 70 with good long range results. My only problem is my Model 70 is a Featherweight so I can't do a lot of shooting before it gets warm.

May 26, 2012, 05:27 AM
Thanks,kraigwy.I appreciate your feedback.

I grew up,as a kid,reading John Jobson,Ted Trueblood,Jack O'Connor,etc.

When I walked into Mountain Armory as a teen kid to buy my rifle,I asked for a Rem 700 .270.(this was post 64)

Frank would have you test fire them out back,so you were sure the worked.This one had a problem,and spit all the rounds out the mag.He did not have another 270,so I walked out with a 7 Rem Mag.

I have never owned a .270,but I respect the knowledge of the men who wrote about them.I do respect the .270 as a hunting cartridge.

If I use my own .257 AI as an example,I know what it will do.It is a lot like a little 270.A killing machine!And,sure,with a 115 Ballistic tip,a BC about .440.It wiil shoot 1000.So will a .308 155 Palma bullet.I certainly do not intend to discourage the OP

I do not not,in any way, put down on the .270 ctg.

You are right,Berger offers some good bullets.Really,all a fellow needs is one good bullet.

It is also true a 45-70 flung by black powder with pig lead and iron sights has made some amazing 1000 yd groups.

In my cartoon,which really does not matter,maybe a Leupold 3.5 to 10 30 MM tube,40 mm obj ,side focus would be as big of a scope as I would want on a hunting rifle.But that is just me!!

Its a balanced package ,based on my preferences.How big af a reel do you want to put on a 6 and 1/2 ft medium light spinning rod?If you think 300 yds of 12 lb test line is the way to go,knock yourself out.Get the big reel.I might be happy with 140 yds of 6 lb.

We can all still have fun fishing!

God Bless America!!!

May 26, 2012, 08:43 AM
I think I would try to get a U.S. optics. In my opinion they are the best. I really like your Leupold choice though. You can never go wrong with Leupold.

May 26, 2012, 11:46 AM
Yep, mirage can certainly be a problem- esp here in FL over the hot sand in July... but you can always dial down- and I'd always rather have more power at my disposal for those times when it can be used.

May 27, 2012, 10:17 AM
Probably be hard to beat that Leupold that you've mentioned in the first post!

May 27, 2012, 03:04 PM
I think small improvement would be a Nightforce NXS 3-15x50 Mil/Mil with zero stop for around $1900.

Another alternative would be an IOR riflescope.

I have a IOR 4-14x50 Mil/Mil riflescope which I got for a little over a grand.

Its glass quality (Schott glass from Germany) is definately better than the Leupold Mark4 (Japanese optics) but I am not sure the turrets are as robust. I'm still testing it out. Another downside to IOR is that its made overseas in Romania resulting in potential long turnaround times for waranty problems.