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Our reticle selection covers Multi-X, MOAR, Nikoplex, BDC, Z-Plex, Mil-Dot and many more. There is also a wide selection of various passive and active illuminated rifle scope reticles available for various manufactorers including the ever famous Trijicon.
The Savage LRPV .22-250 with a 6-24x50 Simmons vari-power is an effective varminting rig.
At its most basic all a scope is useful for is to increase magnification which will allow better projectile placement, subject to the accuracy of your rifle. Extra magnification alone is no guarantee of extra accuracy; recently my best ever personal group with a rifle was shot with a 10x scope. You can spend a fortune on sights but at the other end of the scale there are now much cheaper versions that appear to be getting better in quality by the day. For most shooters/hunters the best option lies somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.
Further, the old saying that you only get what you pay for may not be exactly correct.
There are several cheap thirty-five year old scopes still in use by our family, although at the time of purchase, these sights, a straight 6x40, a 6x40 wide-angle, and a 4-12-x40 variable were considered of questionable Japanese quality.
Today it is not unusual for optical glass to be made in Japan or China, with the actual scopes being assembled in another country. Some still have a long way to go in terms of quality, but from personal observation the quality continues to get better. At the other end of the scale, our most expensive sight, costing over $1000, packed up after fifteen years of slight use, and it was not dropped or abused.
The requirements of the average hunter differ from the long range varmint hunter or the benchrest shooter; the distance to the potential target also plays a part and may influence the degree of magnification you require. The choice of reticles available at the present time is mind- numbing. There are so many variations that offering advice is fraught with danger. All I can do is offer suggestions based on experience and I would say that except for very specialist uses the clearer and less cluttered the reticle the better.
We do have fixed power sights, but the variable offers better flexibility. For general hunting possibly the most used scope is a 3-9x40; either with a standard cross-hair or a duplex reticle. The duplex has thicker cross-hairs at the edges, that become thinner near the middle, and this naturally concentrates the eye on the centre of the sight and allows for a clear picture.
The 3-9x40 size covers a range of uses and is well suited to spotlighting. On 3x it is ideal for bush and the quick acquisition of close-up targets.
Its close cousin the 4-12 vari- power is equally useful. Plain cross-hairs are useful in some circumstances, and very fine cross-hairs are popular for target and benchrest shooting.
The Plex reticle is one of the most popular for general hunting, and the Mil-Dot for long range and target shooting.
Usually sights of this type are of a fixed high power, and 36x is common when you are aiming to shoot a group only slightly bigger than a singular projectile diameter. However high magnification fixed-power scopes like 36x, due to their limited field of view, can make acquiring targets, even at long distance, an exercise in futility; a higher power variable is much more suitable. In addition, with high power sights you need to shoot off front and rear bags to get the necessary stability.
A couple of years ago a new 6.5x55 Tikka T3 arrived in the gun safe, and I could not go past a Bushnell 3-9 variable. Other American sights we’ve used over the years in this medium price range are Burris, Redfield and Weaver, and we have never had a problem with them.
Many deer are taken in poor light conditions, i.e., on dusk, so your scope should be able to make use of the minimum amount of light available. My mates recommend good quality European sights, like 3-12x50s because aside from poor light conditions, the background for dusk shots is likely to be on the dark side also.
The needs of the long range varmint hunter are different; here you have small targets (usually rabbits) that may be as much as 400 metres or more distant, sometimes over a valley with an unknown wind velocity thrown in, and we wonder why we miss even with the most accurate rifles!
For varminting a good variable sight allows quick acquisition and then you dial up the power to allow the precise shot location. Higher power variables like 6.5-20, 6-24 or perhaps an 8-32, are popular.
The cheap Japanese 6x40 wide-angle scope on this Husqvana .270 is still working okay after 30 plus years of use.
The very high power sights will show up your heartbeat, which can be a problem if you’re just using a bipod, a rear bag will allow for a steadier hold. This is a situation faced by benchrest shooters all the time.
When a Savage LRPV .22-250 appeared in the gun safe some years ago I contemplated what type and power of scope to mount.
Rifle scopes cheap: Something of reasonably high power was required to take advantage of the cartridge’s capability. Eventually I came across a US shooting web site that had a sale on Simmons 6-24x50 with a mil dot reticle for US $69.95. If the sight lasted twelve months I would have had my money’s worth.
The author’s Tikka T3 in 6.5x55 wears a 3–9x Bushnell, an ideal combination for deer.
Eight years later it’s still there! The only complaint is that the spacing of the mil dots has an incorrect value, a mil dot is 3.6 inches at 100 yards, on this sight the mil dots are spaced at 2-inches! Aside from that I have had nothing to complain about. For the price I would suggest that the sight was of Chinese manufacture.
Our 1895 Marlin .45-70 has worn a 1:3.5 variable Tasco scope for most of its life, and only recently has a newer Leupold 2-7x taken its place after the original fogged up, probably the seals leaked. However after twenty years of constant use we’re not complaining.
If your new scope is not sighted in correctly the advantages of your cartridge/ rifle combination will be lost.
In relation to hunting rifles like .243, .270 Winchester or 6.5x55, at what distance should the projectile impact meet the horizontal cross-hairs of the sight? The old understanding was that a hunting rifle should be sighted in three inches high at a hundred yards. Knowing the B.C of a particular projectile and the muzzle velocity of the same projectile it is not difficult using a computer program such as Load from a Disc (or similar) to work out the figures.
Don’t forget to use the actual figures from your rifle, reloading manuals are only a guide to velocities. The following table was worked out using Load from a Disc and our family rifles.
I still reckon that sighting in to be 3-inches high at 100 yards is not a bad idea. However, for scopes on lever-action rifles all our shooting group members sight in for a zero range of 100 yards, using either the .30-30 Win or 45-70 cartridges.
For long-range varmint rifles the waters are somewhat muddier! It would be unusual to find a higher power scope that is not fitted with ranging marks, either mil dot or some other type.
|CARTRIDGE||PROJECTILE GR/B.C||VELOCITY||ZERO RANGE||DROP/ 300 YDS.|
A ranging reticle need not be all that elaborate, it can be as simple as a set of cross-hairs plus lower ranging marks spaced at one inch intervals below the horizontal crosshairs. Using a program such as Load from a Disc it is not difficult to produce a table of projectile impact having regard to both the B.C. of a particular projectile and its initial velocity. Usually most sights in this category also have ranging marks horizontally on the central cross hairs to allow for wind drift, and there are many variations.
With long range varminting wind is a continual problem. You can measure wind strength at your location but almost invariably it will be stronger across an intervening valley. It’s a lot easier shooting over flat country.
Shoot a hard-kicking rifle or hold almost any rifle incorrectly, and sooner than later recoil is going to cause a scope to rear back and bite you. Some shooters wear their scar from a scope cut like a badge of courage. Others hold their heads down, concealing their cuts like a disfigurement. Whatever a shooter's temperament, tattooing an eyebrow or nose with a scope is not conducive to continued good shooting.
Eye relief is the distance from the last glass surface to where the eye is positioned to see the full field of view through a scope. A generous amount of eye relief is the best protection against receiving a smack on the forehead. Attention to your shooting position also goes a long way to keep a scope's ocular lens bell at a safe distance during recoil.
"For hard-kicking rifles you want to stay within that 3-1/2 inch range of eye relief," said Dave Domin, of Leupold & Stevens. "For such rifles, you probably want to stay away from high-magnification scopes that go down to about 2-1/2 inches of eye relief."
A scope's eye relief is intertwined with its magnification and field of view (FOV). If magnification is increased, FOV must decrease or eye relief must be reduced. Enlarge FOV, and magnification must decline or eye relief is shortened. If eye relief is increased, FOV or magnification must be decreased.
A variable scope allows magnification adjustment to provide the right mix of eye relief, FOV and magnification. For example, a Leupold VX-3 1.5-5x 20mm scope set on 1.5x has 4.40 inches of eye relief and 3.70 inches of eye relief when turned up to 5x. Such a relatively low-power scope is a good choice for a hard-kicking rifle, like a .416 magnum, that will be shot at short distances. Its FOV of 68 feet at 100 yards at the lowest power and 23.80 feet at the highest power is a plus for quickly getting on target.
Increased magnification provides more exact aiming for long-range shooting. A Leupold VX-3 4.5-14x 40mm scope provides the same eye relief at its lowest and highest settings as the 1.5-5x 20mm scope. That comes mainly from the higher-power scope's objective lens that is twice as large in diameter. However, the higher magnification variable's FOV is about a third of the lower-magnification variable's FOV.
Extended eye relief scopes, commonly called scout scopes, could be the solution to preventing scope cuts, because their extra-long eye relief allows mounting them far forward on a rifle. "But these scopes usually don't have enough magnification for long-range shooting," Domin said, "and their FOV is rather narrow." Leupold's VX-2 1.5-4x 28mm IER Scout Scope has 6.90 and 6.0 inches of eye relief at its lowest and highest settings, but its FOV is a narrow 41.70 and 17.30 feet, respectively, at 100 yards.
Properly placing a scope in its rings is important to attain the maximum amount of eye relief. Domin said when mounting a scope, turn it to its highest power and slowly push it forward in the rings until the full FOV is lost. "Then slightly pull the scope back to where you can see the full FOV, and it will be correctly positioned," he said. That scope position provides some rearward leeway in placing your eye.
The shooter's position behind a scope also determines if a scope can get a running start at his eyebrow. Scopes with a 40mm diameter or narrower objective lens allow mounting it fairly low over a rifle's receiver. That helps keep a shooter's cheek in tight contact with the stock comb, the head from sliding forward during recoil and the eyebrow away from the scope. "It's best to strap a comb riser on a stock when using scopes with a larger objective lens, like a 56mm," Domin said.
"With the widespread acceptance of the 30mm scope tube in recent years, advancements have been employed that have corrected many of the problems encountered with one-inch tubes. In addition to better optical quality, light transmission, coatings, etc., 30mm tubes allow significantly greater MOA adjustment. In other words, a rifle can be zeroed at 300 yards and still offer plenty of elevation adjustment to "dial" the scope turrent for a dead zero aim at 1,000 yards and beyond."
"Other important features include zero stops, 1/4 - and even 1/8 - MOA repeatable adjustments, advanced reticles, mil-dots and other tools. Click adjustments, along with custom ballistic-matched turrets, allow the shooter to precisely adjust or dial to bring zero to a specific distance in just moments. Naturally, the shooter will need to compensate for win d drift, bullet rotation drift and earth rotation during the bullet's time of flight, but scopes with a first focal plane and various reticles help make those adjustments easier."
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