50mm Objective on Mule Deer Rifle?


April 27, 2012, 10:10 PM
I always let 40mm objectives set the standard for any of my lightweight hunting rifles. However, I just got back a scope that I used to own. It's a Burris Signature Series; 3-12x50mm; It has Adjustable Parallax. I bought it in 1994 when I was 17 years old. It went on a beanfield rifle. I sold the whole set up about a few years ago; and I just got the scope back on trade.

I swear to you guys the optical quality of this 1994 Burris Signature Scope is the best I've ever seen. I guess I took the quality for granted when I owned in my younger years. But I've been a loyal Bushnell Elite 4200 man, and I just recently bought a Leupold VX3 which I'm plenty happy with. But I have never seen image quality like in this Burris; and it may simply be because it has adjustable parallax and my other hunting scopes do not. I compare all my scopes by looking at a huge $350,000 house which is across a field about 600 yards or so. And the Burris Signature blows me away. I recently bought Optilock mounts for my Sako Finnlight and they will allow 48 to 56mm Obj; and I was thinking; since this will be the rifle I will take on my future western mule deer hunting adventures; I would love to have this quality scope on my Sako. I could really use that clear parallax free image quality when looking at live targets at extended ranges. I know it's very solid and accurate; because when it was on the heavy barrel 22-250; I made several shots on prairie dogs in the 350-yard range and the zero never moved. It just seems like it would make a heck of a scope on that Sako; Also, the Sako is 25-06; and some might say the Burris is a big or long scope; but at least the 25-06 is long action; so it would look a lot better on my Sako than on a Short action; I suppose.

What do you guys think of a 50mm on a Mule Deer Rifle? Is 10 more millimeters "No big Deal"; or is it "Too big and bulky for a hunting rifle." I appreciate everyone who can weigh in on this; especially those of you with Mule deer hunting experience. I see online that the majority of hunters don't like much bigger than a 40 or 42mm Objective. But I don't mind a little more scope. I want that scope on my Sako in a bad way; but I would like to hear any disadvantages that may exist; what about Advantages? Thanks guys

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fireman 9731
April 27, 2012, 10:15 PM
Mount it on there and see. If it isn't too heavy, and balances well then use it. Your guns should make you happy, not other people.

April 27, 2012, 10:25 PM
better light gathering in low light conditions,and burris is a good name in quality scopes.use it.trijicon makes a nice 3x9x56 i think

R H Clark
April 27, 2012, 10:42 PM
The only reason I like smaller objective scopes is because I can mount them lower for better cheek weld.Since you are using higher rings,take advantage of the 50mm as long as it balances well for you.

April 27, 2012, 11:53 PM
I read that supposedly a 50 mm objective is more prone to breakage since there is more mass in the glass to be jarred around my recoil. And they're bigger and heavier. beyond that, they gather a little more light.

If you don't mind the size, use it.

April 28, 2012, 12:01 AM
I recently picked up a fixed 8 power scope with a 56 mm objective.

That big objective has the potential but the glass must be up to the task. Sounds like you have a nice clear scope.

You want to put it to a real test, not that you will hunt at night, but take just the scope out at night and see if you can see that house well. I have about the same situation and with this scope under a partial moon I can clearly see details of a house that is also about 600 yards away.

Everything is bright during the day but if it works for you well under moonlight then you know you have one that will serve you at both ends of the legal hunting window.

As for the larger bell its less than an inch larger, about a quarter inch to a side. Mine lines right up when I shoulder the rifle.

I have never cared for AO scopes. I had one but my experience hunting is that you stalk, spot and take your shot. I never have had the leisure of setting the parallax. But that is just me.

I think the key to where the scope sits is in what you like. The field is different from the bench!

April 28, 2012, 05:58 AM
I'm 47 years old & have been hunting for most of those years. Most of my hunting rifles have Leupold variables with 40mm objectives. I had always been aware of the need to mount a scope as low as possible & have been happy with 40mm objectives. A lot of gun writers in magazines also state that you shouldn't go larger than 40mm objective because of gun balance & the need to quickly focus with a deer hunting set-up.
I bought a new Sako .308 Bavarian a couple of years ago & ordered the scope from a different shop. Although I'd ordered a 2.5-10x40mm Kahles scope, I actually received a 50mm objective. For years I had been lecturing people on the merits of using scopes with 40mm objective or under for deer hunting, but after using the Kahles 2.5-10x50mm I've been converted.
The 50mm objective is noticeably clearer at dawn & dusk, & for me is just as quick to shoulder & focus. I jumped a deer at around 25 yards last year & snap shot it through the heart ,at a full run with the Kahles 50mm set on 2.5x. I also use this combination for pig hunting in thick cover & again have noticed no detriment when compared to my 40mm objective scopes.
Prior to a recent deer hunting trip I had all my mates gear & rifles stored at my place, as we were using my vehicle for transportation. I carried out a comparison between 36mm, 40mm & 50mm scopes & the difference the 50mm objective gave especially at night was amazing.
While I won't be swapping the 40mm objective Leupolds from my existing hunting rifles, you certainly won't be disadvantaged by going for a 50mm & may actually prefer it.

April 28, 2012, 07:29 AM
and it may simply be because it has adjustable parallax and my other hunting scopes do not.I think this is one thing most people overlook. If you don't set it to the proper range, notice how much different the clarity and focus is.

I just got two new VX-3's. Both have AO.

I just put my 3x12x50 Burris Black Diamond on my .308 for pronghorn. I'm looking to make me happy, not a bunch of strangers on the internet.

Taurus 617 CCW
April 28, 2012, 10:06 AM
I hunt whitetail with a Simmons 3-9x50 scope. I attribute the weight more to the wood stock than the scope. It has served me well.

April 28, 2012, 10:09 AM
(greyling)I read that supposedly a 50 mm objective is more prone to breakage since there is more mass in the glass to be jarred around by recoil

most all the scopes now made by the major scope manufacturers are 50 bmg rated.the 50 lense would have more flexibility than a 40mm depending on plastic or glass.if it breaks a 50mm,it will slso break any other lense,which means poor opticals in the first place.

Sav .250
April 28, 2012, 10:30 AM
Seeing as how you asked. If you can get it mounted up ok, why not.
As for me, it would not be my choice.

April 28, 2012, 10:41 AM
1. Who cares how it "looks?" The mulie?

2. It's obvious you love the scope. Mount it on your Sako and try it out. If it handles and shoots well, it's a happy marriage!

April 28, 2012, 11:03 AM
I don't care for the weight and bulk and don't like how high a +50mm objective scope must be mounted. But then again, I wouldn't use a 3-12x50AO on a big game rifle either.

April 28, 2012, 12:07 PM
My big (non-dangerous) game hunting rifles wear 2.5-8x-36's, 2-7x-33's and 1.75-32's and I have never needed more. This on deer, hogs, exotics, elk, moose, black and grizzly bear and African critters to eland. I build my rifles light in weight and the Leupold's above fill the need to perfection. I have never had a problem shooting in legal light.

April 28, 2012, 12:30 PM
I wouldn't go out and buy a 50, but if you have it, like it and want to use it I would. The top end Burris scopes are very good.

I personally like 40mm or smaller. A 50 lets in more light, but most is wasted because the human eye cannot take advantage of it. A 40mm scope set at 8X transmits exactly the same amount of light to your eyes as a 50mm scope set at 10X. Either scope set at 8x or less lets in more light than the human eye can use.

The quality of the glass is more important than size. Bigger lenses offer an advantage only when used past legal shooting time and when set at very high magnification. I've always been able to see well enough to make a shot with a quality 40mm glass long after I could legally do so.

April 28, 2012, 12:31 PM
It's very nice to see so many replies. I'm all for "making me happy,"; I just like a little bit of reassurance. I hope the Burris fits OK on the Sako. Sako only makes the Optilok Ring Mounts in "LOW" height; but their LOW height will mount a 48 to 56mm Objective. I think it's because European hunters are obsessed with 50mm or larger. I spent like; I think it was around $170 on the OptiLok mounts; so if the Burris doesn't fit I have to just remount my Bushnell ELite 4200 2.5-10x40mm.

FinnWolf, I thought you were gonna be a hard core 40mm man the way your post started off; I was surprised to see that you were converted after getting that 50mm Kahles. I'm sold on the idea of mounting my Burris on the Sako; I just hope it fits without the objective touching the barrel.

When I see the Mule Deer Hunting Videos; many times the deer are spotted at very long distances. Guy Eastman spotted one at 5 miles with a spotting scope. But that's extreme. I just think it would be nice to have that Burris on a Mule Deer Hunt because at long ranges like that; i would be better than any other scope I have anyway. And I can eliminate Parallax. When I look at the house across the field with the Burris; it's so much clearer than other my other scopes; for that reason alone I would like that scope on the Sako.

Thanks a lot guys.

April 28, 2012, 01:06 PM
European hunters can take advantage of the light transmission, we can't.

Scopes are for sighting, binoculars and spotting scopes are for spotting. I would never scope a rifle with big glass with the intention of using it for spotting game, for myriad reasons.

April 28, 2012, 01:15 PM
That's something else I should ask about; is a spotting scope "a must" for mule deer spotting; or can I get buy with my Minox 10x40 Binoculars? I don't own a spotting scope yet.

April 28, 2012, 01:46 PM
I have grown to really like adjustable objectives but prefer a smaller objectives lens rather than a larger. This is mostly because it can be mounted lower which I think makes a rifle easier to shoot well. I also like a smaller scope on a hunting rifle because it makes the whole package lighter and less bulky.

April 28, 2012, 01:52 PM
I've only been on one hunt out west. Pronghorn hunted for two days and PD hunted the other two. I had a moderate quality spotting scope. Used it the second day to judge the size of the one we were after.

I have no idea how good of quality your binos are, but I quickly figured out that my pocket sized Pentax didn't cut it. As soon as I got back, I started looking for GOOD full sized ones. I got some Leupold 10x50 Mojave 3's.

IMO, good binos are about 10x more important than a spotting scope. The two mulies we saw were less than 200 yards. Just the way it worked out. Didn't matter, as we didn't have tags anyway.

We used our binos constantly. We had four wheelers on private ground. If I were walking, I wouldn't take the extra bulk and weight of the spotting scope. I had plenty of room and already had the scope, but I wouldn't buy one just for the trip. They are nice at the range to check targets. Saves a lot of walking.

I got one of the bino harnesses that holds them from flopping around and covers the lenses

April 29, 2012, 10:23 AM
Longrifle2506, I just want to remind you that there are two issues on a mule deer rifle scope that are more important than a 50 MM objective. First, the weight is important. A scope that weighs 12 ounces is far more desirable than one that weighs 20 ounces. And secondly, don't forget about a scope with a 30 mm tube. To me a scope with a 30 mm tube and a 40 mm objective is far more desirable than one with a 1 inch tube and 50 mm objective. BW

April 29, 2012, 10:52 AM
An important matter that needs to be pointed out about optics is compatibility, by this I mean you will suffer if your spotting scope quality far exceeds that of your scope or binos and on down the line.
I have used pretty good glass for the last 25 yrs and can say that when one leg of the stool comes up short it can make a huge difference. More than once I have seen animals in low light that were easy to distinguish with my 10x50 Swaro's but when I tried to find the one I wanted in my scope it was hopeless, same happened last year only I was just spotting for deer and brought what on their own seem like a good pair of Burris 10x42 binos but when switching from my spotting scope to the binos I couldn't find the deer on the mountainside at longer distances.
Beware the cheap rifle scope with the high magnification, big tube or bell, if the glass is cheap it doesn't matter. Same really goes for all optics, compare and used them side by side if at all possible.

April 29, 2012, 01:43 PM
I don't go lower than Leupold's Best, Burris's Best, and Bushnells Best. I stick with the top of the line with all three companies and the quality is very acceptable to me with all three of these companies. If I need a cheap scope, I'll go with a weaver Classic variable which are made in Japan by the same people who make Bushnell Elite.

Well Guys, I don't know what Sako's thinking by saying a 48-56mm Objective will fit with those rings. I mean to tell you that a 40mm barely has clearance!! So I went with a scope I had bought recently; it was brand new in the box still. I never mentioned it before. It's a Burris Signature Select 3-10x40mm and it mounted up so perfect, it's got just enough clearance to slide a flip up cap on the objective. I really like how it turned out.

I actually have a very good pairs of binos. The Minox are made in Germany by Leica and they are better than my cousin's Zeiss binos in my opinion. The Minox are good enough to look through them all day long without any noticeable eye strain.

I think I will just keep the Burris Signature 3-12x50mm put up in a box and save it for a future heavy barrel rifle. I think it would be a good scope for a Beanfield rifle.

April 29, 2012, 05:41 PM
As I said before, I already had the spotting scope so I took it. Optics looked acceptable until you looked thru a really good set of binos. Then you could see how milky the glass is. Doesn't help that the scope is 20-60x, so the lower quality is really magnified.

April 29, 2012, 07:43 PM
If you like it use it. FYI your eye can only use a certain amount of light and the 50mm does not give you any light gathering advantage over a 40mm.

April 29, 2012, 10:11 PM
"...the 50mm does not give you any light gathering advantage over a 40mm."

That is not true, and since the OP has both, he can easily test it for himself.

April 29, 2012, 10:22 PM
a 50mm looks and feels right at home on ar-10's and some ar-15's

April 29, 2012, 11:21 PM
I don't generally go bigger than 40 for big game. When you mount them high, it's tougher to keep a good cheek weld with the stock, and errors from not having the rifle perfectly level are magnified. They're heavier than they need to be as well. I use adjustable parallax on varmint rifles, but on big game rifles, I haven't felt the need for it, and it's something else that can be set wrong.

April 30, 2012, 01:04 AM
You know, I never thought about mounting it an my AR-15. I wonder how it would mount up in my Burris PEPR mount; I have Rock River Arms Coyote Carbine: Here's a pic. Right now it has a Bushnell Elite 3200 3-10x40 Compact/Short Action Scope. It's the perfect size for an AR Carbine if you like to keep the whole package tight and compact.

April 30, 2012, 08:00 AM
Scopes don't "gather" light, they transmit it. How much depends more on the quality of the glass and its coatings than the diameter of the lens. Given equal quality glass and coatings, a 50mm objective will transmit more light than a 40mm. Whether or not the human eye can utilize it is another matter. As was said, this is really more important in Europe where hunters can hunt until dark. Most places in the US have strict shooting hours that end long before a 50-56mm objective will show any advantage.

July 15, 2012, 09:58 PM
As was said, this is really more important in Europe where hunters can hunt until dark. Most places in the US have strict shooting hours that end long before a 50-56mm objective will show any advantage.

Well, in my state the law says 30min before sunrise and 30min after sunset...but, in the river bottoms around here, it gets daylight 10 minutes later than in the area outside of the swamp and it gets dark 10 minutes earlier than in area outside of the swamp...so, a 5o or 56mm objective is a benefit to my huntiing, despite what some may say.

July 15, 2012, 10:36 PM
The quality of the glass is way more important than the size. As far as a spotting scope goes, if you want to carry one that's up to you. I only carry bino's. A pair of either 8X or 10X Stieners.

July 15, 2012, 10:56 PM
The benefit (or lack therof) regarding light gathering from 50mm+ objectives has been covered here ad nauseum, so I won't get into it. For me, the bottom line is that 50mm scopes sit too high on a conventional rifle. All of my hunting rifles are equipped with 32mm or 40mm objectives. My varmint rifles are 42mm and 44mm. Only my AR-50 is topped with something larger, a 60mm, but it has an adjustable cheek rest, and height above bore doesn't matter when you're using an elevated base and shooting to 800 yards and further.

July 25, 2012, 11:10 PM
The quality of the glass is way more important than the size.

If you want to pay triple the price for that quality...be my guest. In Wyoming, the glass may be worth the price, but in the south...if it cost more than a VX-2, my money won't buy it.

July 25, 2012, 11:15 PM
I have a 6-18x50 on a .243 rifle and don't know if it is reall all that different in low light conditions than any of my Rifles with a 40mm objective lens.
For a low end Scope, (Bushnell Banner) it is a fair piece of glass.

July 25, 2012, 11:32 PM
I have a 6-18x50 on a .243 rifle and don't know if it is reall all that different in low light conditions than any of my Rifles with a 40mm objective lens.

I think that it is like a lot of things, relative to the individual. Every person's eyes are different and light can have more or less impact on their eyes. In my case, more light helps me see better.

July 25, 2012, 11:49 PM
im kinda getting the vibe that you like that scope of yours....;)

mount it up and enjoy the heck out of it! :)

July 26, 2012, 07:33 AM
The mounting height argument doesn't hold water. A 50mm Obj mounts 5mm higher than a 40mm. That's .197 (3/16) inch, pretty insignificant. A 50mm is generally heavier and longer and should have better light gathering if it has quality glass.

July 26, 2012, 08:35 AM
A 50mm scope will let in more light, but your eyes cannot use it all. The average human eye will only open up to 5mm. If you divide the scopes front objective in millimeters by the power setting you determine how many millimeters of light are coming through the scope. A 50mm scope set on 10X lets in 5mm of light, all the light your eyes can use. Any more is wasted.

A 1-4X20mm scope set on 4X or less will appear just as bright in low light as a 3-9X40mm set on 8x or less, and the same a 4-12X50mm when set on 10X or less. And this assumes scopes of equal quality. 50mm glass costs a lot more than 40mm. A 50mm scope of equal quality will cost $50-$100 more. If you are paying about the same for the 50mm scope you are getting a lower quality scope. I will guarantee a Zeiss Conquest, or Leupold VX-2 or VX-3 with a 40mm lense will be much brighter than a Simmons 50 mm scope. And you don't have to spend a fortune. There are a lot of decent $200-$300 scopes with 40mm or smaller glass that will do all you need to do legally.

If you need more than 8X of scope power a 50mm scope will offer a tiny bit of useable light transmission, but only between 8X-10X. If your power setting is set at 8X or less it won't do a thing a 40mm won't do. If you need more than 10X, you need an even bigger scope. I can make hits on deer size game at 400 yards easily with a 4X scope. That is as far as I need to shoot in any light so I have no need for more power or bigger glass.

The negatives far outweigh any positives. If you buy cheap, big glass you won't see anything. I also hunt in some pretty thick woods right up till dark, 30 min after sunset, and can still see well enough to make hits several minutes after legal shooting time with any of my 20,32, and 40mm scopes.

July 26, 2012, 08:40 AM
The mounting height argument doesn't hold water. A 50mm Obj mounts 5mm higher than a 40mm. That's .197 (3/16) inch, pretty insignificant.

3/16" is huge. To hold and shoot well the more solid contact points you have between the stock and your body the more solidly you hold the rifle. Having a solid cheek weld is vital to accurate shooting. That 3/16" is enough that with most stocks your cheek is not even in contact with the stock. You can make it work from a shooting bench, but not from field positions.

It is possible, but only with stocks designed (or modified) to raise your head that high. With typical factory hunting rifle stocks mounting that high is a horrible idea.

Art Eatman
July 26, 2012, 01:45 PM
If you can get a good cheek weld with the scope, there's no reason not to use it. I wouldn't go out and buy one, but if one came on a rifle and the weld was okay, why worry?

Binocs? I've had no problem with 7x35s and 8x40s, these last 40 years. Quality for sharpness or clarity is more of a criterion than bunches of magnification.

I now have a lightweight Nikon 8x20. Not be best for field of view, but they are razor sharp.

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