Scope for my 30-06 Deer Rifle


November 10, 2012, 03:18 PM
I have a deer hunting trip (my first) coming up next month down in Louisiana, so I went out today and bought a Tikka T3 Lite in 30-06. The Tikka was a good price, but I let the shop owner talk me into also getting a Bushnell Trophy XLT 4-12x40 scope. This model comes with the DOA 600 bullet-drop reticle. After getting it home and doing a little research, I realized that I paid a bit too much, and I'm wondering if, regardless of price, I made a decent choice for my intended use.

4-12 seems like too much scope. Plus, I realized after reading that the BDC feature only works at max magnification. Since I'll be hunting down south, i doubt I'll ever have the kind of distance that would require the 12x setting.

I'm also wondering if it has enough eye relief. The eye relief seems ok on 4x, but it does shorten up a bit at 12x. I haven't shot the gun yet, but I know that a 6 lb 30-06 is going to have some pop to it. The last think I want to do is end up with a little sad face on my forehead after the first shot.

I'd really appreciate any opinions on the Bushnell Trophy and / or recommendations on what scope may be a better choice.

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November 10, 2012, 04:08 PM
A redfield or leupold (same company) 2x7 would do you well.

4x is to high for the lowest setting in my opinion

November 10, 2012, 04:27 PM
Yep I doubt you'll need that much magnification, and I'll second the leupold or redfield.
I own both and recommended them

November 10, 2012, 04:27 PM
Not the scope I'd have suggested, but since you have it I'd use it. The BDC is only accuate at highest setting, but that is fine. You don't need it for shots inside of 300 yards anyway, on shots longer than that you will be on 12X anyway.

I like much more eye relief, but under most circumstances what you have will work. It is not as much concern about getting hit with recoil as with quickly being able to find your target. Short eye relief scopes require your eye to be positioned at just the right distance and if not you won't see anything through he scope. Leupolds or Redfields have far more eye relief and eye position is far less critical. It can be a concern when having to mount and shoot quickly, or if you have to turn and make a shot from an odd angle if a deer comes in from a directon you do not expect. Short eye relief makes it difficult to shoot when wearing heavy clothing when you set up the scope in the summer wearing a T-shirt.

I'd have suggested Leupold VX-1 or Redfield Revolution in either 2-7X32 or 3-9X40 if you need to stay at that price point. But I'd use what you have at this point. You may find it works fine for you. Down the road you may decide to upgrade to a much better quality scope. I'd rather use what you have for now and wait until you can afford much better, rather than spend about the same amount on a slightly better choice.

Sav .250
November 10, 2012, 04:39 PM
Very subjective to say the least.

Eye relief.........stays constant. Unless you move the "scope."

Field of view changes as you change power.

R H Clark
November 10, 2012, 05:09 PM
That scope will work but I've never regretted stretching my budget for the best glass I could afford.

You could run out and get a new Leupold VX2 which is the least expensive scope I would consider,but you may be better served to use what you have for now untill you have enough experience to make an educated choice.

Personally,I'm a big fan of 2X-7X or 2.8X-8X or even a 3X-9X but most of my hunting is under 200 yards.It's easier to pick up a moving deer at 2X than 4X.

November 10, 2012, 05:28 PM
trijicon accupoint love mine

November 10, 2012, 06:35 PM
I keep going back to Leupold, but my $100 Busnell Buckhorn does almost as well when conditions are perfect- really expensive scopes shine during the first and last 20 minutes of hunting light- if you aren't regularly hunting at those times then don't overthink the purchase, see what the best deal going is and jump on it.

Also, not sure what part of the country you are in but if your shots are usually under 50 yards like the thick brush out here in NJ and NY that's another reason not to drop a bundle. If you have the money then the Leupolds are great though, and I usually find that Bear Basin Outfitters has the best prices though they can be a little snotty at times (they do a brisk business).

Ky Larry
November 10, 2012, 06:55 PM
You aren't married to this scope or rifle.As you gain more experience, you may find you're better served by another combo. Then again, there's nothing wrong with what you have. Experience will educate you. Shoot as much as you can before your trip and good luck.

November 10, 2012, 07:14 PM
I own Leupold VX-II 3-9x40.
Its pretty darn clear and FOV is still pretty good at x9 setting. I would recommend it.
I never tried the Redfield on a scope but looking thru one, I can tell you that it looks like some very good glass.

For now, Use what you have and if you don't like it or feel you payed to much, Than sell it on here or trade it for something you would like. Or you can always go back to the shop and try to get him to refund you your money or maybe exchange it for a scope you would like. If thats possible. ( I know my LGS did it for me.

November 10, 2012, 07:20 PM
I'd look at Leupold if I were you, I've never been a huge fan of Bushnell. I've had a few of their lower end scopes and I wouldn't trust them further than I could chuck them.

November 10, 2012, 07:33 PM
Eye relief.........stays constant. Unless you move the "scope."

Field of view changes as you change power.

False, at least with most scopes. My Leupold has 4.7" of eye releif at lowest power, 3.8" at the highest power. Many cheaper scopes will be around 3.5" at the lowest power and around 3" at the highest magnification. Longer eye relief means the distance your eye is from the rear of the scope is far less critical.

Zeiss is one of the few where eye relief remains constant, but it is a rather short 4" at all powers. For quick shots the almost 5" offered by Leupold and Redfield is a big help. The shorter eye relief is less of a concern at high magnifiction because you usually have more time to set up the shot at longer ranges where you will be using higher magnification.

November 10, 2012, 08:21 PM
nodeal, you mentioned that your rifle weigh 6 pounds so with a scope, sling and ammo your're talking about shooting a 30-06 rifle that weighs about 7 pounds. That light rifle will give you far more trouble than the limitations of a scope. Where people get into trouble with light rifles is not holding the rifle firmly to the shoulder when they shoot, shooting from a prone position or leaning forward to shoot, or shooting heavy loads. I don't know if you handload or not but a light load of 46 grains of IMR 4895 with a 150 grain bullet would be a good starting point to get you shooting right. Shooter

November 10, 2012, 09:49 PM
Thanks. I'm going to try to go back and try to return it , or at least swap it for something a bit more in line with the recommendations here. I hate spending money on something and then having that nagging feeling that I made a poor choice.

Glock Jeremy
November 11, 2012, 01:30 AM
I have a tikka in 270 and have a 3-9 x 40 Leupold VX1. Good combination and the eye relief works out very well with this combination. I would use the scope you have and replace it later if you dont like it.

November 11, 2012, 02:24 AM
2-7 or 3-9 is great for that caliber. 4-12 isn't a bad range, but it is probably more scope than is needful for a light .30-06.

November 11, 2012, 09:34 AM
As much as I love my Leupolds, Cabela's has the Zeiss Conquest on sale right now for $299.99 with free shipping. That is a smoking deal on some quality glass!

November 11, 2012, 10:07 AM
My Redfield Revolution is one tough contender to beat, and this coming from a Nikon guy.

Art Eatman
November 11, 2012, 10:36 AM
For sighting in and hunting deer, I've found that any good 4X scope works just fine. Granted, a 3x9 makes life easier at the bench, but 9X is mostly for sighting in (you can see 30-caliber holes at 100 yards) or for varminting.

I've used 2x7s and 3x9s, but when hunting I always have them set on the low magnification. It's a field of view thing.

With a light weight rig at the bench, just add some padding behind the butt pad to keep recoil from being bothersome. I use a small sandbag. In the field I've never noticed recoil when I'm shooting at Bambi.

November 11, 2012, 10:45 AM
I'm a big fan of 2-7 and 2.5-8. My biggest scope is a 3-9, but I think I like it least even though its an Accupoint.

November 11, 2012, 11:54 AM
The Simmons 44mag. 4x12 44 won Field and Streams field test last year and i really like mine, Natchez has them on sale.

November 11, 2012, 12:01 PM
i'm a huge fan of leupold. I have one on all my my hunting rifles, and muzzleloader. I just don't think that you can beat it for the money. once you set 'em to zero, they are dead on from year to year for me. The only time i've made an adjustment on my 300 win mag, is when i changed my recipe on the loads i'm working up. i have two that are 3-9 and one that is 4-12. again, as far as optics go, you get what you pay for. as many hunters already know, in "not so ideal" conditions is when they really perform. my 2 cents.......cheers, hvychev77

R H Clark
November 11, 2012, 03:40 PM
I don't trust any magazine review.I think their reviews are mostly based on add space purchased.

November 11, 2012, 04:05 PM
This place has a great sale on rifle scopes going on right now. I own to Sightrons and am not disappointed at all. They are great glass with great savings, on top of the sale some of them have a $50 and $100 rebate.

November 11, 2012, 05:31 PM
I put a 4.5-14x on my 270 and love it. 4x and 3x really isn't that much of a difference and I love the ability to crank it up to 14x when shooting steel or milk jugs at 400-500 yards. When I'm hunting I set it on 4.5 incase they come in close and are moving. I have hunted with 3-9x and I prefer the higher power scope for a gun that can do 500 yard shots (u should only try it if u have practiced that far and are consistent)

As I type this I'm hunting with a 2-7 on top of a 44 mag lever gun but I'm in the brush and my farthest shot is 75 yards.

IMO, you have a very versatile scope. Just because it goes to 12x doesn't mean you have to hunt at 12x. Big deal if the BDC doesn't work unless you are at 12x. If if they are far enough to actually need it (over 300 yards) you would probably appreciate the 12x.

November 11, 2012, 05:45 PM
Hey don't sweat it, if you need to crank it up to 12X then you probably shouldn't take the shot with a rifle setup (caliber?) that's brand new to you. I bet you can hit a deer at 100 yards with iron sights if you are even a semi experienced hunter or shooter, so let's say 4X makes you good out to 250 yards- well that's FAR if you don't know how much that bullet is going to drop or how high you need to aim with that setup. Keep your shots under 200 yards and you are golden- and really don't sweat the $50 or whatever you overpaid that's probably not worth your time to go back and return it. Plus you know dang well the second you walk back into that store before a big hunting trip you are going to be spending a bunch more on stuff you just gotta have :)
I always look at the pile of crap I didn't use after a hunting trip and wish I could trade it for beer.

November 11, 2012, 05:51 PM
Right now Cabelas has Zeiss Conquest 3-9 Z-Plex on sale for 299 bucks. There is a 20 bucks off 150 dollars spent code as well, and it gets free shipping.

You could spend a LOT more and do a lot worse. Especially when it comes to eye relief and low-light ability

November 11, 2012, 07:48 PM
I've got an .06 scoped with a Zeiss Conquest 3-9X40. Great scope. Clear optics and durable. If you can return the Bushnell, do it. As stated above, lower power settings are advantageous in the field. However, if you will take a loss on the return, keep it and replace it later. Doesn't hurt to have a higher power scope around for bench work in the off season.

November 11, 2012, 08:39 PM
So what happens is this; the objective lens (40MM) divided by the magnification gives you the width of the circle of light available to your pupil.

I have read 7mm is as much as any human can use. So if you divide the low setting 4 into 40mm you get a 10mm cone of light to your eye. More than you can use.

If you divide the 40 by the highest setting of 12 you get a 3.33mm cone of light. You may well have to move your eye forward a bit to get the full benefit of that light into your eye. You will also notice how much easier it is to "roll off" of the optimum view thru the scope. If you move your eye left or right even a little bit the edge of the view blurs quickly.

At the lower setting the 7mm point that is the most your eye can use will be back a bit further from the eye piece.

So the highest magnification you could use and get about the 7mm cone of light would be right around 6X (40/6 = 6.66). Actually 5.7X would get you the 7mm wide light to your eye. Any higher magnification and you will be moving your eye forward a bit.

November 11, 2012, 10:46 PM
Right now Cabelas has Zeiss Conquest 3-9 Z-Plex on sale for 299 bucks. There is a 20 bucks off 150 dollars spent code as well, and it gets free shipping.

You could spend a LOT more and do a lot worse. Especially when it comes to eye relief and low-light ability
Thanks for the heads up. I have always wondered how good the Zeiss Conquests really are. Many people rave about them. Now I have one on the way. The rebate code almost covered the tax, and free shipping to boot! And I haven't even received my new Leupold VX-2 3-9X yet. But this Zeiss deal is just too good to miss.

November 12, 2012, 01:59 PM
I think you should stick with what you have for now and check out leupold, trijicon, zeiss and the nicer nikkons in a year or so. I have always used leupold exclusively until this year when i bought a trijicon accupoint and its easily my best scope but at a much higher price. Cabelas has a great deal online right now for Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40 Z-Plex scopes for $299 and free shipping. They're normally $499 and i ordered one as a spare just because it was such a good deal.

November 12, 2012, 02:14 PM
I agree with several of the others that 4x might be too much magnification at the low end. I know it is for me.

November 12, 2012, 08:34 PM
It depends on the terrain you hunt. If you expect fairly long shots in lower light you might have the right scope. Moving deer at close range in cover may make you wish you had a 1-4, or 2-7.

Kayaker 1960
November 12, 2012, 09:35 PM
I have a light weight .308 with an old Redfield "Widefield" 2-7 as well as a 30-06 with a Luepold VariX III 3-9 scope. Due to size and weight I prefer to 2-7 scope. I've yet to use the 3-9 cranked all the way up. Most of the time when hunting I have them set on 4x. In brushy areas having the 2x magification is nice.

November 12, 2012, 10:01 PM
+1 more on a Redfield, I have a 4-12 power about 2 years old mounted on my .300 WM and it is a darned good scope for a rifle IMO.

November 12, 2012, 10:36 PM
I think the power range is a pretty decent choice, but I'm also not a Bushnell fan at all, and I certainly wouldn't trust a scope like that on my main hunting rifle.

November 13, 2012, 02:52 PM
is 9x enough magnification to see .30 cal holes at 100 yards when shooting paper?

November 13, 2012, 03:07 PM
If the game laws are such that you must count points on your buck, then high magnification is helpful. At 120 yards if I had not cranked mine up to 12 last night, I would have taken an illegal deer. Little spikes are hard to see even at 80 on 4 power to me. That's why I sprung for a 2-12 scope, cause I like most leave it set low mostly.

November 14, 2012, 04:55 PM
is 9x enough magnification to see .30 cal holes at 100 yards when shooting paper?

It can be yes if you are using targets that have the color backing to show where your bullet hit. if you are just using plain paper targets with the black rings in the center then it will be slightly harder depending on your backdrop color.

November 14, 2012, 07:24 PM
Seeing a hole at 100 yards depends largely on the quality of the glass you have.

If you have very high end glass, you can easily see the holes and you do not need contrasting backing.

If you have less you may have a hard time even with contrasting backing.

November 15, 2012, 12:25 AM
I have 2-7 scopes on all 3 of my main hunting rifles. Number 1 rifle CZ 527 ( 7.62x39 ) has a Vortex Viper 2-7x32 my Marlin 336 in 30-30win. has the same scope as the CZ. My H&R Handi rifle in 45-70 has a Leupold VXII 2-7x33 All are great scopes for hunting. And the Vipers can easly hang with the Leupold at half the money. If I were you I'd jump all over that $299 Zeiss Conquest 3-9X40.

November 15, 2012, 12:31 AM
a good 3x9x40 always works and a fixed 6 power Leupold has worked for me for years.

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