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Old October 11, 2022, 07:33 PM   #1
ninosdemente
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Replacing Nikon 3-9x40 BDC

Currently have a Nikon 3-9x40 BDC on a Savage Model 111 30-06 that is primarily used for hunting deer. A friend will be giving me a few bucks for this scope and am looking to get a replacement. Now I have looked online trying to research hunting scopes, but there is so much overwhelming information it is difficult to narrow it down. The location I go to has open landscape and trees. I have seen online that FFP are not very ideal for hunting. If so, looking for SFP scope.

I can spend $300-500.. if something better at a bit higher price, I will save. Currently I use Vortex so I am not familiar with other brands. Was looking at a couple Cabelas has as was planning to use credits I have towards a new one but not set on buying strictly at Cabelas.

Any guidance will be helpful. TIA.
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Old October 11, 2022, 09:30 PM   #2
bamaranger
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scopes

I'm primarily a Leupold guy. My second choice is Burris. You're doing the right thing by ditching the Nikon. Nikon is out of the scope business, and I am uncertain how one would handle repairs..........Nikon was kinda goofy on how the handled scope failure/repair in the first place, now.....who knows?

The Leupold VX Freedom is their entry level 3x9x40 and suggested retail is $299.00. I hear talk that Leupold isn't what it used to be but their lifetime warranty is still good, and anything I have done with them over the years has been fast and efficient. A Burris Fullfield II is priced less at about $165 and Burris has also treated me right.

All that said, bamaboy has several Vortex scopes, has returned a couple, one due to his own mishandling, and Vortex honored their lifetime warranty as well.. I just bought an entry level Vortex for an AR, primarily because they were the only mfg that offered the combo of features for which I was searching.

I cannot advise on the superiority of one over the other, but would think that the entry level scope from all 3 mfgs are of about the same level of performance. Even a entry level scope from a reputable mfg these days is a pretty fair optic and superior to what was available in the same product line say 20 yrs ago.
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Old October 11, 2022, 10:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I have seen Leupold pop up as a choice. What reticle do you have on your Leupold?
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Old October 12, 2022, 06:31 PM   #4
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I'm primarily a Leupold guy
Yep, most guys who start out buying cheaper scopes eventually become Leupold guys!
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Old October 12, 2022, 09:06 PM   #5
ninosdemente
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Good thing mine came as a combo when the rifle was purchased. LOL.

Scorch, what do you have as a hunting rifle?
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Old October 12, 2022, 09:45 PM   #6
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I had 5 Nikon 3.5-14 that I replaced with Vortex Diamondbacks. For your rifle the 3x9 30mm Diamondback will be dandy.
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Old October 13, 2022, 07:34 AM   #7
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How do you want to use the scope? FFP scopes aren't bad for hunting if you choose the right one. They're usually a bit more than the budget you've listed.

Most scope brands have decent optics that'll survive being mounted on a .30-06. I like Leupold for scopes I'm not going to adjusting a lot, which is most of my hunting rifles. They have a generous eye box and eye relief, which makes them easier to use in hunting situations quickly.

Leupold best you can do with your budget is a VX3 HD, great scopes but you'll max your magnification at 10X and only a duplex reticle. For BDC reticle scopesBurris FFII 3-9X40 is a great cheap optic and can be had for around $100 off Amazon. Another with BDC is a Vortex Viper HS 2.5-10X44 that can be found in your budget, and that's as cheap as I'd go in the Vortex line.

Since you want to buy at Cabela's if you look at their branded scopes, look at the Euro Instinct HD or Instinct HD optics if they have them. They are built by Meopta and very good optics for the money. I don't think Cabela's is having them made anymore so it will be a NOS if you find one.
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Old October 13, 2022, 02:35 PM   #8
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I don't have too many Nikons and won't be keeping the few I have mounted on my rifles. From what I understand, Nikon will not honor their warranty now hat they have stopped selling scopes. If I'm wrong on that point, I apologize. Maybe someone knows for sure one way or the other.

Leupold makes a pretty good scope. Personally I have had three Leupold scopes turn toe up and Leupold fixed or replaced them every time and usually less than two weeks. I will admit they were the less expensive models. Four growing kids used up a lot of expendable cash.

I have a few of the Burris Full Field 3x9s and frankly I'm impressed. I would not hesitate to recommend one to someone one looking for a scope.

The only "expensive" scope I have is a Minox 2x10x40 which I have yet to mount on a rifle. I got lucky ?? and snagged it for half price NIB. A discontinued model that was replaced by an improved version. I never had a chance to mount it as it was broken in shipping. Sent it along with the warranty card filled out and got it back about three weeks later. The elevation worked OK but the windage wouldn't move. Not an auspicious start. When I do mount it, it will be on a Winchester M70 Featherweight in 7x57. It's too short to go on my Ruger #1 7x57 even with extension rings.
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Old October 14, 2022, 12:30 PM   #9
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GeauxTide, thanks for your input.

Taylorce1, I have no experience with FFP scopes and wouldn't know which would be the right one to choose from. Being that its for hunting don't see much use. I have not gone hunting for a couple of years as I don't have property to hunt on and don't have friends who own property. After bamaranger suggested Leupold, I have been looking at them. I did get a chance to look at the VX3 HD at Cabelas. Don't mind getting a Leupold vs Vortex. I have read/seen that BDC is sometimes not the best option when distance is unknown. But then again the Nikon was BDC and was using it at unknown distances.

Paul B., thanks for the info. Is Burris considered an ok brand? I have not been in the game much but Burris hasn't been mentioned rarely.
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Old October 14, 2022, 02:04 PM   #10
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The problem with FFP scopes for hunting is usually the reticle and power range. The reticle just grows and shrinks with your power adjustment. So if your power range is to great it makes the reticle too small to use at the bottom end and too large at the top. If you're going to use a FFP optic as long as it tops out below 18X you can still use the reticle as low as 3X. Though on the low end it'll probably look like an upside-down German 3P (three post) reticle.

The good thing about FFP optics is the reticle is correct regardless of power settings. This differs from SFP scopes as their reticles are usually only correct on the max power setting. So you have trade-offs with either that you need to work around.

If you want to look at decent FFP optics for hunting look at SWFA. They have a 3-9X42 HD and a 3-15X42 non-HD that won't break the bank, but they're still over your budget. They also are bulky and add quite a bit of weight to your rifle.
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Old October 14, 2022, 08:32 PM   #11
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Thanks for those suggestions. Both are on backorder. What is HD vs non HD? How does SWFA compare to other major manufacturers?

Sure need to make up my mind fast as where I am, the dates are closing in and need to be ready.

Last edited by ninosdemente; October 14, 2022 at 08:37 PM.
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Old October 14, 2022, 09:26 PM   #12
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HD is supposed to have the better coatings on the lenses. FYI I don't use a FFP optic on any of my hunting rifles, even my Night Force scope is SFP. Most of my rifles wear VX3 2.5-8X36, 3.5-10X49, or 3-9X40 VX2 scopes and plain duplex reticles. If I was to use a FFP socpe I'd try the SWFA 3-9X40, I have a few friends who swear by them.
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Old October 17, 2022, 07:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ninosdemente View Post
Thanks for the info. I have seen Leupold pop up as a choice. What reticle do you have on your Leupold?
If you go the Leupold route, get the duplex reticle CDS. The custom dial is nice in a hunting scope.
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Old October 18, 2022, 12:03 AM   #14
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When looking for a scope I found the far East makers seemed to have lens that had more clarity and gathered light a bit better than US made optics. Although I too aim thru Leupold's on all my center fire rifles probably because at the time I could change recitals at whim. I don't know if Leupold offers that service anymore. Years ago I had a new in the box Vari x3 recital change out and re-installed with a heavy cross-hair. Can see and shoot a bit longer in the twilight with that rifle.
I have the same scope on another rifle with its original recital and there is a noticeable difference between the two. There is no need to fine tuning ones eyes to the scope recital before shooting. "Simply a quick point and shoot system"
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Old October 18, 2022, 08:48 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Sure Sor Mc Gee
I found the far East makers seemed to have lens that had more clarity and gathered light a bit better than US made optics.
Well I'm pretty sure there isn't a scope built by a U.S. manufacturer that doesn't source it's glass from off shore. Leupold admitted this many years ago. So I don't know what "far East" makers you're referring to? The only one that wasn't branded to a U.S. based company was Nikon with any name brand presence for rifle scopes. They're out of the buisness now.

It would be nice if there was a 100% American sourced and made sport optic company. However, they would more than likely have to source materials and machines from Europe or Asia. As any lense manufacturing equipment is decades behind the new technology overseas and would produce an inferior product to the cheap Chinese glass. I'd love to see an Alpha Glass American optics company, but the prices would be top tier Swarovski or Schmidt & Bender prices or higher. How many of us would be willing to pay several thousands for a scope? When most won't pay even a thousand for a rifle?

Leupold has closed it's custom shop, it will probably never reopen. I'm guessing it wasn't profitable for them anymore. All you can get now is custom CDS dials from Leupold.
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Old October 19, 2022, 05:37 PM   #16
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Scorch, what do you have as a hunting rifle?
Which one? Since I've spent the past 30+ years as a gunsmith, I have a lot of choices. But I usually hunt with a commercial 98 in 7X57 with a Leupold 2-7X on it.
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Old October 19, 2022, 08:38 PM   #17
reynolds357
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Originally Posted by Sure Shot Mc Gee View Post
When looking for a scope I found the far East makers seemed to have lens that had more clarity and gathered light a bit better than US made optics. Although I too aim thru Leupold's on all my center fire rifles probably because at the time I could change recitals at whim. I don't know if Leupold offers that service anymore. Years ago I had a new in the box Vari x3 recital change out and re-installed with a heavy cross-hair. Can see and shoot a bit longer in the twilight with that rifle.
I have the same scope on another rifle with its original recital and there is a noticeable difference between the two. There is no need to fine tuning ones eyes to the scope recital before shooting. "Simply a quick point and shoot system"
I don't know of any good glass coming out of the far east with the exception of Japan. Meoota and Schmidt are not far east.
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Old October 19, 2022, 11:30 PM   #18
bamaranger
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cheap scopes and reticles

Been away from the thread awhile, but here are the answers to the inquiry on the reticles in use on my Leupolds. In 9 (?maybe more) of my Leupolds, I am running standard duplex reticles. I shipped 3 others back to Leupold for the big bold, 3 post German #1 reticle....I hear the custom shop is not doing reticles anymore...much the pity.

Regards cheap scopes.......I have a whole drawer full of early Bushnell, Tasco and Simmons scopes that failed...., when i could start to afford them, I started buying Leupolds.

Might as well list the Burris reticles.....3 Ballistic Plex and one standard duplex. I never have used the hold off points on the Ballistic Plex scopes when shooting at game (deer), don't typically shoot that far to have to hold off.

Despite the failure of many of its older brothers, I have a recent Bushnell fixed 10x with a Mil-Dot that seems to be holding up fine on a .223 bolt rifle.
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Old October 20, 2022, 10:23 AM   #19
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I don't know of any good glass coming out of the far east with the exception of Japan. Meoota and Schmidt are not far east.
Light Optical Works or LOW is probably the source for most of your high end U.S. optics glass. I belive this is who Leupold is rumored to use on it's VX3 and up optics as well as higher end binoculars and spotters. Burris FF lineup used to be made in the Phillipines until the mid 2000's. I have an old 3-9X40 and 4-12X40 Bushnell Sportview scopes that were made in Korea, glass isn't on par with the new stuff but they keep on working.
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Old October 22, 2022, 03:02 PM   #20
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@ninosdemente…how do you hunt? What do you hunt? How far is your max shot on game now? What do you want it to be? Are there any scopes you thought had bad glass, bad reticle, or just didn’t work for you? Do you prefer to aim/shoot with a holdover reticle, turn turrets, both or …..are you thinking more like just point and shoot?

These things all matter a lot. There are many usable scope, some better, some best…..and a few not worthy of being purchased.
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Old October 22, 2022, 04:01 PM   #21
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"Is Burris considered an ok brand? I have not been in the game much but Burris hasn't been mentioned rarely."

Gun writer John Barsness said some mighty nice things about the Burris scopes. I have a couple mounted on rifles and they've held up quite well. My .35 Whelen ate three leopolds but so far the Burris is holding up just fine. I have another on a fairly light weight .300 Win. Mag. and it to is doing just fine. I figure the best way to put it is if I need to replace a scope, I'll be looking at using a Burris again.
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Old October 22, 2022, 11:29 PM   #22
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Which Burris is working well for you?
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Old October 23, 2022, 08:10 AM   #23
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I have/use several different brands of scopes on my hunting rifles.

Burris Fullfields.
I have 4 now. 1 with the E1 BDC reticle. 3 with the "longrange" MOA reticles. All are 4.5-14X42.
Decent glass for the $200 pricing!
Lightweight. Hold their zero. Fairly fine reticle lines.
Have not had any issues with any of them.

Vortex.
I have 2 of the Crossfire II 4-12X40 BDC.
Decent glass in the $160 range. Hold zero well but with thicker reticle lines than the Burris.
Only issue i have with these is they flare out fairly easily.
I had bought 2 Diamond Backs with high hopes & was sadly disappointed.
For almost double the money i didn't see any difference from the Crossfire II.
I sold both at a loss.

Sightron.
Sightron gives bright, decent glass for affordable pricing.
SI Field Target 4-12X40 with MOA-2 reticle.
The only thing i don't care for is the adjustable objective.
Why put that on a scope aimed more for hunting is beyond me.
Reticle is fine lined.

STAC 4-20X50 MOA-2 reticle.
This is a big scope in every sense of the term.
Tall, capped target turrets.
Bright glass.

Crimson Trace.
I got a discontinued Series 2 for $300.
FFP, illuminated, MOA reticle.
Excellent glass!
Heavy!
Takes some getting used to with with the reticle size changing while changing zoom range.
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Old October 23, 2022, 08:34 AM   #24
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Interesting I had an XTR which was pretty good when released, but when the “world” finally concluded that reticle and turret out to match and dots are odd in a reticle, it became a silly scope to mess with other than good glass.

My XTR2 was ok until I just started really focusing on is the glass giving me a clear enough image on 25x. I decided no and traded for a PST Gen 2. To me, it is a nice sensible scope.

Better than the Vortex Viper PST Gen 2, I have seen more expensive optics, but not leaps and bounds better. This would be perfect with a locking turret.
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Old October 23, 2022, 09:25 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Nathan
Which Burris is working well for you?
I always used the Burris Full Field II, and usually the 2-7X35mm and 3-9X40mm. I currently don't have any because I usually sold them with the rifles, as I like to try things out. I do miss my LRS (Lighted Reticle System) 3-9X40mm which was basically a FFII ballistic plex reticle with a small red crosshair in the center. It was a very nice optic in low light conditions.

It is also the only optic I've ever had Burris warranty. The reticle wouldn't turn on when I got the scope second hand. Burris fixed the issue in less than a month, and it worked flawless after that.

My daughter does have a 3-9X40mm Burris Signature which is even older on her .300 Savage rifle. That has been a great optic as well, on par with the older VX-II Leupold scopes. She has killed quite a few deer and pronghorn with that rifle over the years.
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