what scope for rifle build


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Polar Express
August 11, 2009, 02:56 AM
I'm putting together a plan to purchase a rifle. I have my configuration planned, and even placed the request with Savage to 'store' my request.
.300 Win Mag, 26" bbl, all stainless.
My next step is to research the scope I plan to put on it. I've read a recent article from guns and ammo, discussing how larger rifles actually benefit from 'smaller' scopes, how the smaller, more rugged, non-variable scopes handle the punishment the larger caliber rifles dish out.

Anyway, I get the idea that you get what you pay for. (I read the whole osprey optic thread too) and I'm wondering what I should expect to pay, and what I'm guessing I should consider Leupold, and Nikon. Can I get a decent scope from Burris, or Simmons, or anyone else? Can I spend a $100 on a scope now, and plan to upgrade later?

I'm trying to build a rifle I can have for a lifetime, and hunt anything I want to on North America. I suspect the majority of my hunting will be for Elk, and I can load down for deer (yes, I know it can be thought of as overkill, but there are those that hunt prairie dogs with that too!), and up for moose and bear.

Can I get a long term answer for 300-400, or should I get a $100 entry scope, and save up for $1,100 whopper?

Anyone faced this dilemma before?

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Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 11, 2009, 11:14 AM
Of course.

Couple o' things....

1. Anyway, I get the idea that you get what you pay for. Yes, exactly. But that's generally speaking with small variations and fluctuations in value in different price ranges. So generally, you should spend more now, and spend anywhere from 50% to 125% of the rifle's cost on a good scope as a general rule of thumb. The more the better, but first determine a price range, THEN try to figure out what is the best VALUE within your general price range. You have to decide what you're willing to spend first, and then start narrowing it down. Remember, yes, the more the better, BUT you get diminishing returns. You also have to decide soon whether you're willing to buy used, or new only. You can get a much better scope for the same price off of ebay or elsewhere used. Again, we have to know the budget, and new or used, before any thoughtful recommendations can be made.

2. Can I get a long term answer for 300-400 Yes, you can. Maybe not a great scope, but a good serviceable useable one.

3. or should I get a $100 entry scope, and save up for $1,100 whopper? Well yes perhaps; that's not a terrible idea, just so you can go ahead and shoot it now and save up for a $600, $800, or $1,000 scope. BUT, I'd change the $100 in your equation to $175-$200, because then it's a good enough scope that it won't lose 50% of its value the moment you get it home (only 30% or so), and you won't mind swapping it out to put it onto other "less important" rifles later on.

4. I would submit that your rifle choice is horrible for your stated purpose, and your caliber just is just bad (not horrible). 26" rifles are heavy, long, cumbersome, unweildy, opposite of handy, whatever you want to call it. Get a lightweight rifle with a 20-22" barrel for hunting; bbl profile needs to be thin. You don't want to carry all that weight for long distances through the wilderness. Caliber is way overkill for an all-purpose rifle in my opinion, but opinions do vary widely on this. If it was decicated elk/moose/caribou/brown bear rifle, then maybe, yes. But you're better off getting two rifles - one in a smaller all-purpose caliber now for the ubiquitous deer that cover our country, and a bigger caliber later for the much less common very large game hunts. Think .260 rem, 7mm-08, .270 win, .280 rem, .30-30, .257 roberts, .243 win, .25-06.

5. The most important thing you can do if you do run with such a big boomer is get a scope with a good warranty, and a company with good warranty service. Anything with that big of a boom should get a Leupold or maybe a Nikon, so they'll replace it when/if you knock it out of commission. Leupold is the king of good warranty service; that's what I'd do in this situation, if you run with a .300 maggie.

rcmodel
August 11, 2009, 12:06 PM
+1 to #4.

Buy a 26" hunting rifle now and you will be buying a hacksaw to cut it off later.

A 2x-7x-33 or 3x-9x-40mm is way plenty of scope power for any big game hunting anywhere. You will be running it on low power way more then on high power all the time.

A wide field of view and long eye relief is much more importent on a hunting scope then mega-power with a narrow field of view, and dim image in the deep dark woods.

As for buying a cheap scope now and a better one later?
Don't waste your money.
A 300 dollar scope is enough to get you a good scope now that will last a lifetime.

You can buy a 100 dollar scope and easily waste another 200 dollars of .300 Mag ammo in a weekend screwing with a cheap scope that won't adjust properly or hold zero.

http://www.opticsplanet.net/leupold-vari-x-ii-2-7x33mm-rifle-scope-with-matte-black-finish-and-duplex-reticle.html

http://www.opticsplanet.net/leupold-vari-x-ii-3-9x40mm-rifle-scope.html

http://www.opticsplanet.net/leupold-vari-x-2-7x28mm-compact-rifle-scope-with-gloss-finish-and-duplex-reticle.html

rc

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 11, 2009, 06:26 PM
Oh yeah, what RC Model says. You want good eye relief for a big boomer like that. Leupold, Trijicon Accupoint, Sightron, Zeiss, and some Nikons have excellent eye relief. I'm sure some other high-end ones do too, which I've never owned. When you combine the eye relief and the warranty of Leupold, that's what I'd do for a .300 maggie and bigger. Just have to decide on magnification, objective lens size, and whether to run with Rifleman, VX-1, VX-2, VX-3, or VX-7.

Polar Express
August 12, 2009, 10:42 PM
thanks! It sounds like the Leupold line will be the best long-term value?

Since this section is about accessories, I didn't put too much detail in my post with regards to the reasons behind THIS rifle. You both are right, in that I believe the .300 WinMag is way more than needed for Elk and smaller.

I fully intend my 'go-to' rifle for almost all of the hunting I do will be a .308. With it being my go-to hunting gun, I plan on a 24" standard taper bbl. I arrived at barrel lengths for each platform seeking maximum velocity when the bullet leaves the muzzle, looking to maintain as much energy at distance as I can.

The WinMag will be for anything the .308 won't be prudent for, and as a backup back at camp if I were to fall and damage the .308.

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