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Old January 23, 2013, 01:27 PM   #1
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Scopes - Medium Range Target Shooting

Planning on buying another target rifle sometime soon, not sure on caliber yet, but i'm trying to narrow down a scope for the rifle. Now, I'm not a competition shooter and won't be, this is just another fun range toy for medium distances with max range probably never exceeding 500yds with 200-300yds being the norm.

Calibers i'm considering are:
.223, .22-250, .243, 6.5, 7mm-08

I've used quite a few different brands of scopes over the years,
and some I'm sure I'm not remembering. Was thinking of trying one that I haven't used before. Looking to stay under $400.

Any of you have or have used any of the following brands/models of scopes?
What did you like or dislike about them?
Any other brands/models I should look at that I haven't already had/tried?

Millet: TRS or LRS
Hawke Sport Optics: Not sure on Model, just wondering how the quality and clarity are.
Konus: Which Models?

TIA for any help or insight.
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson, 1776
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Old January 23, 2013, 03:23 PM   #2
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For the calibers you mentioned I would stay with the three larger ones. My choice would be the 6.5 the 243 then the 7mm-08. Jmo though. As far as scopes go I am preparing to buy a new long range rig and I am topping mine with a Bushnell elite 6500 but that is out of your price range. For your use and budget I would suggest a Nikon buckmaster 4.5-14. They are around 300 bucks and are fantastic quality for the money.
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Old January 23, 2013, 05:37 PM   #3
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I'm getting a 6.5 Creedmoor this spring and putting a Leupold fixed 12X FXlll on it. I'll be shooting out to 300yds
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Old January 23, 2013, 06:41 PM   #4
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I have had two Hawke scopes. One was the Eclipse 30 SF in 4-16x50. It's a big scope, and the outside fit and finish left much to be desired. The adjustments were a little sloppy, and I just didn't feel right about it. Optically, it was fine, though the reticle lines were heavier than I wanted. I ended up exchanging it for a Varmint SF. It felt better, quality wise, but the reticle is just as heavy (in terms of the boldness of the lines). I decided not to use it for my AR (which I use from 100 to 600 yards), and instead mounted it on my air rifle, where it does a fantastic job.

Kilotanker22 suggested the Nikon Buckmaster, but for target work, make sure it has target or tactical turrets. I have grown to expect this from any scope -- I don't even want to hunt with a scope that doesn't have them. I have a Nikon M-223 (MSRP is $480, but I found it for $380 on sale about a year ago). The M-223 is a really good scope for the money, though it doesn't compare to the $1,000 and up range (Sightron, Vortex, Nightforce, etc.). I used it for the last year of precision rifle competitions, and it has worked well. I don't use the BDC reticle at all -- I click instead -- and the turrets, fit and finish, and optical quality are great.

I can't speak to the Millet or Konus out of experience, but I have heard better things about the Millet than the Konus.

Another one you should seriously consider is the SWFA offerings. They can be had in MOA or MIL reticles, and with the fixed power models you get some very nicely priced, high quality options. E.g., the SWFA SS 10x42 is about $299 ($399 with side-focus, which you may prefer). I have heard very little bad commentary about their quality, and they are quite popular for target/tactical use in the sub-$1,000 category. You can get a 12x and a 16x as well, but they don't seem to come in a side-focus model. Check out for details.

For my most recent build, I went with a Sightron SIII (the 10-50x60mm model). I am absolutely pleased with it so far. Comparing it to the Nightforce and Vortex scopes I've looked through on other guys' rifles at the range, it compares favorably. There might be some SII options (the next product line down) that would work well for you.
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Old January 23, 2013, 10:17 PM   #5
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I have had good luck with Burris and Alpen. They are both decent. The Alpen has a finer reticle. The Burris is built stronger. I would rate them in order of best first with some of yours that I have experience with: Leopold, Vortex, Burris, Nikon, Alpen, Bushnell, Simmons. Since you have the first 2 I will recommend
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Old January 24, 2013, 02:06 AM   #6
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If it was solely for targets I'd go for 223, for cheap ammo price, low recoil, cheap reloading, less noise.
Failing that probably 308 being my next choice.

I was looking at many of the cheaper brands of scope out there but I couldn't bring myself to buy one.

Look around for different options, I found SWFA had a big selection of scopes to consider.
You should be able to find a Burris or a Nikon scope in the same price range but for a much nicer scope, and a more reputable make, the Nikon Monarch and Buckmaster scopes are high thought of and come in different zoom ranges and reticle options.

Thats what I'd be looking at.
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Old January 24, 2013, 09:35 AM   #7
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Based on some responses, reviews, and personal experience, I think i'm going to go with another Vortex Viper or Vortex PST. Great Glass, Great Warranty...

The jury is still out on the rifle though.
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson, 1776
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Old January 25, 2013, 11:42 AM   #8
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Sightron is often overlooked. Excellent Japanese glass and awesome lifetime warranty to back.
Stop by Kimber Shooters Forum
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Old January 25, 2013, 07:21 PM   #9
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For $400.00 you can buy a Zeiss Conquest 3x9x40 and have some real nice glass.
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Old January 26, 2013, 02:10 AM   #10
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The Vortex scopes are going to be a bit over $400, especially the PST line. However, if you can make it work then go with those.

If you are dying to stay under $400, then I currently use a Millett TRS-1 on my Remington 700. It works great, and its adjustments are accurate, tactile, and consistent. It does not have a zero stop (which would be nice), and the reticle is in the second focal plane. Those are the two main complaints I have with the scope.

For $300, it isn't bad.

The biggest thing regarding caliber is, do you reload?

If you don't reload, then you should pick a caliber that has factory produced match ammo if you are wanting to shoot out to 500 yards. That pretty much leaves .223 and .308 (which isn't on your list). If you do reload, then I would go with .243 or one of the 6.5s.
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Old January 26, 2013, 10:48 AM   #11
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Vortex Viper 6.5-20. A bit over $400, but if I had the coin that would be my choice.

I've read good things about the Millett TRS, Natchez has them on sale now.

Any of the calibers you mentioned are good choices, but I'd obviously put the .223 at the bottom of the list unless you shoot factory ammo- or the 500/600 yard shooting is minimal. It has ballistics far inferior to the others at that range.

My choice for LR is a 7-08 Savage I built, tackdriver I shoot out to 1000 with 162 grain AMax's. It's a great compromise between ballistics and barrel life.

Good luck.
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Old January 26, 2013, 02:20 PM   #12
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I guess it depends on how you hunt. If you are always on your belly, or have a shooting stand, any high-powered variable scope is fine. If you tend to walk about and can expect some offhand, sitting, or available rest shots (trees, fenceposts, etc.), you might consider a Leupold VX2 with wide-duplex reticle. Wide really means there's more fine reticle than standard duplex, so it's better for long range shooting.

I have several higher-powered variables that I dislike for hunting because the parallax adjustments slow offhand and quick rest shooting. With the Leupold VX2 or VXII, I can see blueberry harvesting lane strings beyond 300 yards (cotton kite string) and can't reliably hit that small a target at that field range, regardless of scope magnification.
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Old January 26, 2013, 05:40 PM   #13
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I've just gone through that for a couple of rifles and am happy with my results. I have an added requirement that I need the scope to have parallax adjustment since I do some target shooting at a local indoor 25 yd range so without parallax adjustment, it is a waste of time to shoot that close. With parallax adjustment, you can try to put multiple bullets in one hole.

So I took off a Bushnell ET 10x40 and replaced it with an ET6245 which is a wonderful 6-24X scope, less expensive than the ET6500 series but still more than you wanted to spend. The ET1040 would be a good scope for 100 to 300 yds if 10x is enough for you. great optics and wonderful target knobs with a very firm click for half your budget.

I bought one cheap scope and brought it home, just couldn't live with it, and took it back.

Then I found the Simmons pro-target line. I wanted a less expensive scope for a 22 and again, it needed adjustable parallax. Simmons is now owned by Bushnell and I bought a refurbished pro-target 6-18x40 and it came in a Bushnell refurb box. Awesome quality scope for about $100 refurbished. Under $200 for first quality.

I looked at nikon and while they had good optics in their more expensive scopes, the less expensive ones were not japanese glass and were fuzzy around the edges. I don't like their BDC reticles either.

I like the viper by vortex but for the money I prefer the bushnell.

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Old January 27, 2013, 07:35 AM   #14
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Two scopes in the $400 price range that I have had great experience with are the Vortex Viper 6.5-20X50 PA. The Apex XP 6-24X50 from Alpen has a unlimited lifetime warranty for any owner. I only have a few hundred rounds of 7.62 on my Apex XP but so far it's as nice as the Vortex in optic quality and features.
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Old January 27, 2013, 08:19 AM   #15
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Check out the Bushnell Elite 3200 10x40 reviews. I just ordered one and it should be here this friday. Gonna put it on my my 5R/.308.
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Old January 27, 2013, 09:54 AM   #16
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Madcratebuilder, is that Alpen made here, Not that it matters but I wondered if they were on the west coast?
I saved their website to my favorites, and I will carefully investigate them because of their prices and their warranty!
Thanks for coming!
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Old January 27, 2013, 11:39 AM   #17
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Not heard of Alpen before, with a quick check seems that their spotting scopes have some cred.

They don't provide much in the way of detailed specs for the scope.

Whatever rifle you end up with, equip it with a down-angle base. It'll give you that additional "up" elevation adjustment if you need it.

The 30mm tube is a good sign, but it's odd to see 1/8 moa clicks on the larger tube. I'd like to know amount of elevation adjustment available on that model.
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