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Location: Villa Rica, GA
Joined: 06/06/2004
Posts: 4
Need optics input/advice

:-? I have been reading this forum for a few months and just registered tonight so I could pick the brains of the "experts" here. I hunt whitetail in dense woods in east & west Georgia. I am looking for some advice on what type of scopes to put on my three favorite hunting rifles. I have a model 70 .300 Win Mag (not short mag), a Remington 7400 in .30/06 & a Ruger M77 MkII Compact in .308 Winchester. (I like .30 cals, can you tell?) I am pretty well set on a Nikon 3-9x40 for the .300 because I rarely use it around the house. (bought it for an elk/mule deer hunt out west) The other two will be called upon to make shots anywhere from 20' out to about 100 yards, so I think a 3-9 is a bit more power than I need. I have a couple of questions though: How important is a 40mm objective lens for light gathering capability and how important is a variable power scope. I am thinking of a fixed 4x Nikon or Leupold, but I can't find a Leupold 4x with a 40mm objective lens. I am also looking at 2-7x variables from the same two manufacturers, but neither one seems to make one with a 40mm objective lens. I would like the versatility of the variable power, but I'm not sure the 32mm objective lens will serve me well in the shadows of the early AM or late PM. Any thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks,
Jeremy

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Location: Sunny San Diego
Joined: 09/02/2003
Posts: 165
scopes

Good call on the .300 wm. I just picked up a .300wm too - and I'm considering either the Nikon 3-9x40, Weaver Grand Slam 3-9x40, or Bushnell Elite 3200.

The pupil of your eye is approximately 5mm in diamater. If you have an "exit pupil" on your scope that's less than 5mm you can not take full advantage of your own eyes. To find the exit pupil on any scope or binoculars, divide the magnification by the objective.

For example, 2-7x32. 32 divided by 7 = 4.57 That's very close to 5mm, the most your eye can use, and should work fine. If you're using 6 power, you've got an exit pupil of 5.3mm which is bigger than you're own eye... Now let's compare that to a 3-9x40... 40 divided by 9 = 4.4mm exit pupil. The exit pupil on the 2-7x32 at full magnification was 4.57. Therefore, if all things are equal (same quality glass and full multi coatings), the 2-7x32 at full magnification will be brighter than the 3-9x40 at full magnification. Of course a 2-7x40 would provide an exit pupil of 5.7mm on max zoom, which is more than your eye can use, and probably why I've never seen a 2-7x40.

It's like looking at a room that has 3 lamps turned on, through a keyhole in the door, with your eye flush up against keyhole; versus holding your eye a little farther from the keyhole and turning on 4 lamps in the room.

NOW CONSIDER THIS... if you're hunting from 20-100 yards, I would SKIP a scope entirely. I'd get a peep sight. Not only will you save a couple hundred dollars, You get much faster close range target acquisition than a scope will allow, and you can just as easily kill a deer or bear or anything 100 yards unless you've got poor eyesight that contacts won't cure.

If you're concerned about low light (who isnt?) I'd still buy a peep sight, but get a Williams Firesight, if it's legal where you live. It's a standard williams peep sight but it has Tru Glo fiber optics built in to it, so in low light it looks exactly like standard fiber optic iron sites!!! That's what I'll be putting on my 30-30 one of these days.

I am no expert, but you now know everything I do about this subject.

Jesse

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Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
Need optics input/advice

I prefer a scope over iron sights. Simply because I can get a more positive sighting. The old eyes aren't what they used to be.
I bought my first 3x-9x 40mm HUNTING scope for a rifle I had built, because I know it will put a bullet within an 1 1/2" of where it's pointed at 400 yds. All of the other working hunters I own wear 2x-7x with 32mm or 1x-4x with 20mm. The lower magnification gives me the option of a wider field of view and light gathering capabilities under extreme conditions. The disadvantage to any scope is, wet weather and lenses don't mix well.
The 2x-7x 32mm on either the 30-06 or 308 would be very good optics with more than enough magnification and light gathering capability and set at 2x would give a wide field of view for those close in shots. If you set the scope so that it comes up to your eye without moving the rifle after it's shouldered. You won't have any problem getting the target in the crosshairs at any range.
Take a look at the Bushnell Elite 3200 Series or the Burris Fullfield II in 2x-7x. Burris is building some very good scopes with lifetime warrantees, fully coated optics and one piece tubes. At an affordable price.
The Bushnell Elite series are the Bausch and Lomb scopes under the Bushnell label. The medical industry was giving Bausch and Lomb pressure about selling hunting scopes. So they sold the rights to Bushnell.

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Location: Sunny San Diego
Joined: 09/02/2003
Posts: 165
Need optics input/advice

I have to anti up again... In your situation, I agree, a scope is the way to go. I have the Burris Fullfield II 3-9x40 on my 30-06 and couldn't be happier. Burris makes one of the BEST scopes for your dollar, BAR NONE.

After 3 years of hunting I was finally able to do an honest scope comparison. I did a VERY "low light" comparison at my local gunstore the other night, I was totally objective in my findings. They were sold out of the Weaver Grand Slam and the Nikon (I wish I could have compared those two). They only had the Burris FFII, Leupold VXII and Bushnell Elite 3200 and 4200. All in 3-9x40. The Leupold was so dark I couldn't see what I was looking at, let alone the reticle. I could not have taken a shot. The Burris was much brighter, noticably better. But still difficult to see the reticle. I probably would have taken the shot. The Bushnell Elite was a hair brighter than the Burris, but the real difference was the reticle. It was crisp and easy to see. Dead Deer. By the way, I found no difference between the 3200 and 4200 at all. Only in design and size. Brightness was the same.

Unless I am really impressed with the Weaver Grand Slam or the Nikon, as it stands now, my 300wm will be outfitted with the Bushnell Elite 2.5-10x40

Jesse

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Location: Colorado
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Re: Need optics input/advice
jdrslyr75 wrote:
How important is a 40mm objective lens for light gathering capability

If low light power is what you seek, the bigger the objective the better. You wouldn't think an extra 10mm makes a difference but it does. Does that mean 32mm is insufficient, maybe/maybe-not depends on how dark quitting time is for you. But the bottom line is that the extra 8-18mm will help in an apples-to-apples comparision. FYI: Bushnell has 3200 and 4200 scopes out with firefly (light up) reticle. Haven't tried it myself, but maybe something to look into. Might not be able to see the game, but you definitely be able to see the reticle ;-)

jdrslyr75 wrote:
and how important is a variable power scope.

At up to 100 yards, it isn't important in my book. Indeed if most of your shots are under 60 yards and fast, I would find a scope cumbersome. I'd stick with a fixed power or get a variable and just get used to it "stuck" at one power for all conditions.

jdrslyr75 wrote:
I am thinking of a fixed 4x Nikon or Leupold, but I can't find a Leupold 4x with a 40mm objective lens.

I'm not aware of one either in the most recent product line up. There is an M8 straight 6 with 42mm objective, though.

Good luck.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
Need optics input/advice

Good explanation by OZSTRIKER22. I'll elaborate on one additional point. The reason you don't see any fixed 4x40 scopes is because it would be a waste.

Now, OZSTRIKER22 says the larges exit pupil your eye can use is 5mm. I have heard it is up to 7mm, but those last 2mm suffer greatly from the law of dimishing returns. In other words, you get very little practical improvement from the extra 2mm. Regardless of which number is correct, a 4x40 would be a 10mm exit pupil and that SURELY is more than is useful.

In the end, a 4x20 is probably as good as most people need and a 4x28 is definitely as much as you could use. Practically speaking, a lot of manufacturers make 4x32 scopes just because a 32mm objective is a standard size for their smaller variables and they save money by not adding yet another size of objective.

I use a 4x32 on my .30-06 general purpose rifle and it gives quite adequate magnification out to as far as I'm ever going to shoot--which is about 300 yards--for a very reasonable price.

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Location: Villa Rica, GA
Joined: 06/06/2004
Posts: 4
Need optics input/advice

Thanks for the wealth of info folks. You have helped me to decide on the 2x-7x variable power scope. Now I just have to figure out which one. I had not considered the Burris or the Bushnell Elite because I heard the Burris had some quality issues and I thought Bushnell made a decent scope but not one that really compares to the Nikon. I will probably go to Bass Pro Shops and look through them all before I buy. (none of my local sporting goods stores carry all of the brands mentioned above) By the way, is there anywhere to find good, objective reviews for scopes?

Thanks,
Jeremy

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Location: Sunny San Diego
Joined: 09/02/2003
Posts: 165
Need optics input/advice

All scopes look the same in the store. You will not notice a difference. the only difference will be in a very low light situation. Then it'll be easy to see the differences!

My local shop has a device. It's a long wide black cylinder with a tinted hole on both ends and a picture of a deer at the tip. It's mounted to a Blank cutout of a rifle stock and has clips to fit any type of scope easily.

You pop in a scope, point the device at a light and take a look. They're all the same. Then you point the device at the corner of the room where there's not a light source. There's a HUGE difference with low light clarity.

As far as independent reviews - I've never seen one that wasn't biased in some manner or another.

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Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
Need optics input/advice

Remember. High magnification on a scopes only brings the target to a larger picture in the lense not closer to the rifle. The trajectory of the bullet remains the same.

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Location: Villa Rica, GA
Joined: 06/06/2004
Posts: 4
Need optics input/advice

Do any of you use Nikon Buckmasters scopes? They look pretty appealing to me. They are a little cheaper than the Monarchs but still have the Ultra Clear Coated lenses, unlike the Pro Staff models. Just Wondering.

Thanks,
Jeremy

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Location: centennial, co
Joined: 03/24/2003
Posts: 59
Need optics input/advice

Jeremy,

I too was considering the Nikon Buckmaster for my .300 win. mag. I posted the same question, in fact. I was told that the Buckmaster isn't as tough as the Nikon Monarch, which is what I ended up putting on my rifle. I love it. It was worth spending the extra money for the peace of mind in knowing that I had a quality scope that I wouldn't question.

If you're so inclined, there's actually a good article in this months Rifle Magazine about 'tough scopes.' It kind of runs through all the good quality ones that will last a long time and why. Very helpful.

Dan

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