Handgun Scope Recommendations


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VanRaily
March 19, 2010, 12:14 AM
Hello-

I'm not sure whether this post would fit better in this section or the Gear section, but this forum seems more active so I thought I'd try here.

I just put in my order for a .308 single-shot handgun (the new Freedom Arms (http://freedomarms.com/) Model 2008) and am looking for opinions on optics. The local range at which I shoot runs out to 200 yards, and I'll also occasionally have the chance to shoot at up to 400 yards. I know that the latter is a stretch with a handgun, but I'm confident that I can reach that far with enough practice. At that distance I also likely wouldn't be shooting for groups but at silhouettes/general targets.

I'm trying to keep the cost of this whole setup at around $2,000, which is made difficult by the fact that the gun and mount (three-ring SSK) are already running me just short of $1,700. That said, I'm currently considering the following two handgun scopes:

Bushnell Elite 3200 2-6x (http://www.bushnell.com/products/scopes/riflescopes/elite3200/322632M/)

Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x (http://leupold.com/hunting-and-shooting/products/scopes/handgun-scopes/vx-3-2-5-8x32mm-handgun/)

The Bushnell is sold at Freedom Arms' website so I know that it's trustworthy, but I also know that Leupold makes a good scope. In fact, its specs exceed those of the Bushnell in pretty much every area, with the catch that its ~$550 price tag would put me over budget.

What's your guys' opinion? Is the Bushnell a good enough scope or I should I just dish out the extra money for the Leupold? Or is there something else entirely that I should consider?

This will be my first scoped gun, so any input is appreciated. I should also note that this gun is currently strictly for target shooting, as I don't hunt.

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wyocarp
March 19, 2010, 12:27 AM
What does having a scope listed on someone's website have anything at all to do with if a scope is "trustworthy"?

Leupold makes a good handgun scope and I would put one of those on any of my guns over a Bushnell every day of the week.

VanRaily
March 19, 2010, 12:31 AM
What does having a scope listed on someone's website have anything at all to do with if a scope is "trustworthy"?

Because Freedom Arms makes fine guns and they wouldn't sell you garbage to put on it.

The fact that FA sells it isn't the only reason I'm considering it, either. In researching handgun scopes I found Bushnell's and Leupold's names popping up the most as scopes of choice. Sorry if I made it sound like that was my sole reason.

Buck Snort
March 19, 2010, 01:22 AM
What does having a scope listed on someone's website have anything at all to do with if a scope is "trustworthy"?

Leupold makes a good handgun scope and I would put one of those on any of my guns over a Bushnell every day of the week.
If the folks at Freedom Arms are allowing that item to show on their website then I'd bet my next few paychecks that its a quality item. It a "birds of a feather fly together" sort of thing.

Buck Snort
March 19, 2010, 01:25 AM
Having said that, I'm pretty doggoned impressed with Leupold's guarantee. You can give the scope to your son, he to his son and he to his son and they'll still fix it if it breaks. That's a heck of a lot more than an mere "lifetime guarantee".

VanRaily
March 19, 2010, 01:57 AM
You can give the scope to your son
But if my guns are my kids, then aren't I already giving the scope to my son by mounting it?

hoghunting
March 20, 2010, 12:41 AM
I use the Burris 2-7, 3-9, and 3-12 and have never had a problem, only excellent results. The Bushnell reminds me of looking through a cardboard tube as you see the tube when looking through the scope. Unless Leupold has changed, they may not be using a one piece tube for the 2.5-8, as I saw one come apart at the turrets while shooting a match.

atlanticfire
March 20, 2010, 01:06 AM
Bushnell Elite 3200
http://jaybiddle.com/GUNS/629_1.jpg

buck460XVR
March 20, 2010, 10:17 AM
The Bushnell is sold at Freedom Arms' website so I know that it's trustworthy, but I also know that Leupold makes a good scope. In fact, its specs exceed those of the Bushnell in pretty much every area, with the catch that its ~$550 price tag would put me over budget.


Go to a shop somewhere that has both and look thru them. Both are good scopes and will serve you well. The Elite has a longer eye relief than the Leopold, and may be a consideration depending on how the scope is mounted and how long your arms are. My experience has been with variable handgun scopes, that the eye relief is reduced as the power goes up. The Bushnell also has the "RainGuard" coating on the lens. Around here, the Leupold sells for around $400-$425 and the Bushnell in the neighborhood of $275 to $300.

wgp
March 20, 2010, 10:55 AM
I have been using a Leupold Vari-X 3 2.5 -8 on my .30-06 for years and am totally satisfied. I have moved other scopes around on my other rifles but that one stays put.
I have been reading reviews of the Busnell Elites that say they are excellent scopes. I just don't have personal experience with that line. All my stuff is Leupold, no complaints at all.

jem375
March 20, 2010, 03:17 PM
JD Jones used to use the Bushnell 2-6x on his handcannons and recommended them.

atlanticfire
March 20, 2010, 11:22 PM
And they will stand up to just about anything.
Here is a silver one on my 500 mag, with one of my 700 gr loads.
http://jaybiddle.com/GUNS/500mag1.jpg

VanRaily
March 21, 2010, 05:33 PM
atlanticfire, I don't know whether you're hurting or helping. You're just making me jealous. I suppose it doesn't matter as I already have mine, but what rings are those on your .44? I haven't seen those before.

JD Jones used to use the Bushnell 2-6x on his handcannons and recommended them.
Good to know, since I'm using his mount and rings.

My experience has been with variable handgun scopes, that the eye relief is reduced as the power goes up.
That's one of the reasons I was looking at the Bushnell, as it claims to have a constant eye relief for all magnification levels. I'm not sure about the Leupold.

Unless Leupold has changed, they may not be using a one piece tube for the 2.5-8, as I saw one come apart at the turrets while shooting a match.
Interesting. I'll have to look into that.

Thanks for all the help everyone, even those that I didn't quote.

atlanticfire
March 21, 2010, 08:12 PM
Sorry, I just love my revolvers. Would take them over any semi any day of the week. The rings on the 44 are made by weaver. I got them at a local shop for cheap and they have worked very well. I also have Bushnell sportsman, 3200, 4200 and 6500. For the money they can't be beat. Yes I could spend more but the quality of scope is not significant enough to merit hundreds of dollars more when I can have these while are good enough for me.

oneounceload
March 21, 2010, 09:09 PM
I managed to put a Redfield 4X pistol scope on my XP-100 in 7mm BR. The TSOB three ring mounts hold it securely

BigBore
March 21, 2010, 09:11 PM
Leupold is superior , I am not a fan of any bushnell product really.

jbkebert
March 21, 2010, 09:20 PM
http://i724.photobucket.com/albums/ww241/jbkebert/parker020.jpg?t=1269220632

T/C Encore Pro-hunter .308 win topped with a Bushnell Elite 3200 2-6x32. I have put a few hundred rounds down range with this combo without fail. I have a couple fixed power Leupolds 4x on a .44 mag SPR and a .357 blackhawk. They are no where near the clarity of the Bushnell. I agree that Bushnell makes some junk scopes on the low end. There Elite series however is a night and day diffrence.

atlanticfire
March 21, 2010, 10:24 PM
Leupold is superior , I am not a fan of any bushnell product really. ]
Sounds like a gun snob, its ok we get a lot of that on here.

umc180gr
March 21, 2010, 11:27 PM
I've got a T/C Encore on order so I am interested in this thread as well. Thanks for the info.

VanRaily
June 29, 2010, 11:23 PM
All right, I know this an old thread but after months of waiting I'll finally have the gun in my hands. The problem is, I still don't have a scope yet because aside from Cabela's all the places around here only have the cheap handgun scopes. With Cabela's (at least according to the person to whom I spoke) the Bushnell handgun scopes are catalog-only and they don't get them in the retail stores. All that to say, I haven't been able to look down the Busnhell yet.

However, Cabela's did have a Burris 2-7 that they recommended to me. It's actually about $50 more expensive than the Bushnell (which doesn't necessarily indicate anything), but hoghunting also recommended it in his post. I looked through it and it seemed to be a pretty good scope. Does anybody else have any opinions on it?

Thanks for your help.

jbkebert
June 29, 2010, 11:49 PM
I had a burris fixed 4X on a .44mag SRH. The bad thing I found about Burris is also a good thing. The scope requires precise eye releif each and every time. Which is a pain the butt while trying to shoot off hand. A variation of 1/2" or less the scope goes from crystal clear to you can't see a thing. Now the good part of this scenerio is that it forces you to be very very consistant. Which is fine off of a bench or shooting rest. In a hunt situation sometimes you just can't get the perfect rest and form. So as a whole if I was using the gun for shooting pasture poodles or target. The Burris is a great scope no question about it. If the gun is to be used to tromp around the woods in pursuit of deer, elk, hogs ect where a quick shot maybe required. I may look for another setup IMHO.

xphunter
June 30, 2010, 12:47 AM
Van,
Bob lists those scopes on his site because they have been very durable for him.
Can a Bushy give up on you? Yes, but so can a Leupy.
Leupold has a great warranty
I have more Leupold's than anything else.
Shooting 400 yards shouldn't be a problem with the FA.
Bob was shooting it at 500 yards, 750 yards, and 1,000 yards this past Thursday-Saturday.
For longer distances I would choose the 260 Rem any day over the 308.
In fact, that is what Bob shot at the MOA long-range pistol match near Sundance WY, this past week.
http://www.moaguns.com/

I use muzzle brakes on most of my single-shot specialty handguns, since all of them wear riflescopes.

My 6.5 Swede FA barrel is currently at Holland's Shooting Supply getting one of the Radial Quick Discharge brakes.

KBintheSLC
June 30, 2010, 01:54 AM
I have had great luck with Burris pistol scopes. They are not outrageously priced, yet they are as rugged and precise as they come.

kludge
June 30, 2010, 02:20 PM
I have the Burris 2-7x32mm on my SRH .454 Casull, and I like it just fine. I have long arms, so I wish it had more eye relief, but since it's used for huting, I'm usually in a sitting position, or resting my forearms on the tree stand so it isn't an issue.

The "18 inches" of constant eye relief quoted for the Bushnell is not quite enough for me either. I would need like 22", so I might not notice the difference, if there is one. At low power on the Burris, I can get a full arm extension. At high power it's probably like 12" or14".

If you really can get 18" of eye relief from the Bushnell at all magnifications, that might swing it for me. I don't like the thought of a .308 12" from my face.

xphunter
July 1, 2010, 11:49 AM
Van,
Are you going to put a brake on your FA?

VanRaily
July 1, 2010, 09:09 PM
Van,
Are you going to put a brake on your FA?
At the moment I hadn't planned on it, but who knows what I'll do once I start shooting it.

xphunter
July 1, 2010, 10:17 PM
This thread will explain more of the options you have:


http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=529721

VanRaily
July 3, 2010, 07:50 PM
I was at my dealer's today and I came across an old Leupold Vari-X 2.5-8x scope, model number 47198. I played around with it a bit and I really liked it. This brings up two questions:

1. What are the differences between the old Vari-X and current VX-3 lines, and how to they compare to each other?

2. What would you say is a good price for an old scope like this? It was stuck up in the stockroom with no tag on it, so I don't know what he'd ask for it. I might be able to bargain with him on the price.

SharpsDressedMan
July 3, 2010, 08:22 PM
Man, I must be in the minority, but for pistol shooting , a 2x or 4x are all I need. If I can see the target, I can hit it....more magnification just makes me look shakier. If I need a spotting scope, or need to glass an area, I use binoculars. These fixed, lower power scopes are less expensive, and have less to fail under harsh recoil. Anyone else less than enthused with variable power pistol scopes?

Fleetman
July 4, 2010, 10:36 AM
I have a Contender with a .444 Marlin barrel (chambered by SSK more than 20 years ago) with a Burris 4x scope that has never failed me....approx 900 rounds through it in that time and without ports or muzzle brake.

papa_bear
July 5, 2010, 12:29 AM
You need to shop around. I have a busnell elite 3200 2-8x32 (great for rifle not so much for pistol) picked it up for $150. It's a good scope however I found the POI changed quite a bit when magnification was changed. I would go with a fixed 10x32 by any maker. the 32mm sits closer to the bore reducing parallax. Nothing significant is gained going to the 40mm.

I would get a scout scope made for handguns and scout rifles. They usually have infinite eye relief or upto 24"

scope choice has alot to do with intended use. There are some good optics forums out there. Opticstalk.com is one of them. I cant remember the other one I used to go to....

For scopes check optics planet, gunbroker, and ebay. Thats where the best deals seem to be.

jbkebert
July 5, 2010, 12:41 AM
Wow there is alot of talk abot some pretty high magnification scopes here. I don't know how much experience the OP has with handgun scopes but a 8x and 10X wow that is alot. Off of a bench maybe and I kind of stress maybe. For a hunting situation even with shooting stix or the best tree branch mother nature has to offer that is way to much IMHO. My scope is a 2-6 and most of the time its set at 4X. 6X is way to much for most hunting applications to hold still enough no matter the rest.

papa_bear
July 5, 2010, 12:52 AM
He mentioned shooting at the range out to 400 yards. 10x is just about right 2-4 comes into play when hunting. Larger field of view for a moving target. Beside fixed 10x is the standard army scope for the 308 bolt action

xphunter
July 5, 2010, 03:12 AM
If you practice with higher magnification scopes, it is not a big deal, since you are used to the smaller field of view, and understand the more critical eye relief.
Used to be I had either 4 or 5 Burris 3-12's LER's with the Ballistic Plex reticle.

Now since I use riflescopes on all of my specialty handguns, I only have one left.

CraigC
July 5, 2010, 03:22 PM
Scope height has nothing to do with parallax. A 10x scope on anything but a target gun???

The Bushnell Elite series should not be confused with other Bushnell optics. This is the old Bausch & Lomb line and are VERY well reputed. Every bit as good as Leupold. IMHO, they should have kept the B&L name so folks wouldn't confuse them with the cheap stuff.

Harvey
July 6, 2010, 08:15 AM
In addition to the suggestions above, you may want to consider the red-dot scopes. Although they are 1X magnification, they are quick as the devil in sight picture acquisition, and often used in handgun competition.

Oddly enough, Burris make one of the best: the Burris FastFire.
FASTFIRE II ô RED DOT REFLEX SIGHT

The FastFire dramatically increases speed and accuracy. It simplifies the act of aiming, eliminating the need to focus on and align the front sight, rear sight and target. With the FastFire, the aiming red dot and target are always in focus and properly aligned for the ultimate in accuracy.

The FastFire II provides the only fully waterproof unit in its product category.

The FastFire sight is very small, mounts very low, and weighs a mere 1.6 ounces. And it has repeatedly proven itís toughness on the slides of high power semi-autos, on slug guns, on shotguns and on high power rifles.

The FastFire housing is made of metal for strength and durability. Itís lenses are precision ground and polished to exacting geometries to virtually eliminate parallax and to provide a very clear crisp sight picture. It is fully windage and elevation adjustable and lockable. It features both an on/off switch and a light sensor that automatically adjusts the dotís brightness to the available light. The included plastic hood covers the light sensor and puts the unit in sleep mode when the on/off switch is set to ďon.Ē

FastFire is powered by a lithium CR2032 battery, which is commonly available and long lasting because of the highly efficient electronics and the battery-saver mode. A battery can last as long as five years.

The Picatinny Mount allows mounting on just about any rifle. Special bases are available for the most common firearms.

Visit the Burris Tactical Website
scopes by Burris Optics 4

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