How necessary are scopes for medium/big game hunting?


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Jason_W
February 2, 2013, 03:12 PM
This is something I've been thinking about lately.

To a degree, I resent the fact that on top of saving for a rifle, I have to save, minimally, an additional $150 for a scope that is at least mediocre.

I understand that scopes amplify light which makes them a boon during the low-light hours in which game tend to move, but is there some kind of workaround? With appropriate practice can a hunter go scopeless and not be at a tremendous disadvantage when hunting medium and large game at reasonable distances?

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dbb1776
February 2, 2013, 03:26 PM
Hunting less than 200yds prob not. If you want to shoot farther probably so. Depends on your eyesight and terrain mostly.
My longest shot on game so far is 120yds. Open sights no prob. Five years later my eyesight isn't as good and I need a scope.

rcmodel
February 2, 2013, 03:28 PM
Lots of big game was killed for for century's before scopes were invented.
So yes, you can.

The key word here is "hunt" though.

You have to be able to hunt to get close enough to make a killing shot with open sights.

For most people that will be inside 200 yards.

Not snipe at game at 300-400 yards and hope they get in the way of a misguided bullet.

If you are stalking or blind hunting the deep woods, open sights are probably all you need.

If you are shooting across a mountain canyon, not so much.

rc

Andrew Leigh
February 2, 2013, 03:30 PM
Scopes do not amplify light, they are passive devices.

Scopes amplify, if you will, the target image making it easier to see and line up on your POA.

The distance you shoot at, combined with your ability, will determine your need for a scope. If your target is 200yds away and you are able to get a suitable accuracy over iron sights then you don't need a scope at that range. My dad used to shoot Bisley with a .303 up to 900yds with a peep sight.

In Africa most rangers / guides will walk with open sights as any problems they encounter will be at 50 yds or less. It is also much easier to snap shoot over iron sights.

Jason_W
February 2, 2013, 03:31 PM
I'll limit the discussion to apply to a maximum range of 200 yards.

I know that it's unlikely that I'll ever have the time and money to practice enough to be confident past that range.

Besides, I live in Maine. I don't know if there is such a thing as a 250 yard shot here.

DMH
February 2, 2013, 03:32 PM
Scopes are not necessary, but you will have to determine the need for a scope yourself. Type of rifle, shot distance and eyesight all play into the equation. I prefer open sights or peep sight over a scope. But at 50 years old and I can tell my eyes are changing using a scope on some hunts or target shoots has been a plus. Some things you just have to try and see what you like.

DMH

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-_7rBpjuVPZc/UKCPaj4CjSI/AAAAAAAACEY/ZoM0e1FxkwE/s640/IMG_1988.JPG

Open sights 75 yards 44-40 Marlin 1894. (fall of 2012)

Jason_W
February 2, 2013, 03:34 PM
Scopes do not amplify light, they are passive devices.

Poor choice of words, I apologize.

They do gather light and make dim objects appear brighter.

dubbleA
February 2, 2013, 04:25 PM
Quote:
Scopes do not amplify light, they are passive devices.

Poor choice of words, I apologize.

They do gather light and make dim objects appear brighter.
__________________


Not quite........


Scopes simply allow light to transmit through their lens, they dont "gather" anything. The better quality of the glass and it's coatings, the better light transmission. Exit pupil plays into the equation also.

Jason_W
February 2, 2013, 04:53 PM
Not quite........


Scopes simply allow light to transmit through their lens, they dont "gather" anything. The better quality of the glass and it's coatings, the better light transmission. Exit pupil plays into the equation also.

I respectfully disagree. Just as you cannot see the Orion nebula with the naked eye but you can with a decent telescope, a scope will make a dim game animal appear brighter.

rcmodel
February 2, 2013, 05:08 PM
Disagree all you want.

But no optic has perfect light transmission of 100%.

Even the best rifle scopes made do good to approch 95% light transmission.
And certainly none of them can exceed 100%.
So they are not "amplifying" light.

What they are doing is collecting the available light with a big objective lens, many times bigger then your eye, and magnifying the image using approx 90-95% of the light that started through the scope.

The other 5%-10% of the light is lost forever inside the scope.

rc

buck460XVR
February 2, 2013, 05:21 PM
This is something I've been thinking about lately.

To a degree, I resent the fact that on top of saving for a rifle, I have to save, minimally, an additional $150 for a scope that is at least mediocre.



Scopes make shooting accurately easier for most folks.There is no lining up of anything, just put the dot or cross-hairs on the target and shoot. This is true for 50 yards or 2000. If one does not have perfect eyesight or is cross eyed dominate, there is even more of an advantage. Scopes for medium range shooting, 50-200 yards, do not need to be the big monies investment that many think. With today's technology there are many excellent quality name brand scopes out there for $150 or less that will do anything a shooter needs at ranges under 200 yards, especially on targets with the kill zone the size of a deer. Years ago, only the most expensive scopes had a light transmission of 80% or more....now transmission of over 90% is common on most $150 scopes. If one only needs a standard non illuminated reticule and magnification/zoom of 9 or less, there are many excellent options out there for $150. For $75 more, one could get a Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm and never want for anything better. I suspect here in Wisconsin, more deer are killed with scopes that cost less than $150 and open sights, than deer killed with more expensive glass. In exceptionally rugged terrain and expansive ranges where most shots encountered will be 300 yards or more, then one needs to consider better glass.

Grumulkin
February 2, 2013, 05:51 PM
1. At close range, a scope is a disadvantage and not an advantage.

2. For a person with 20/20 vision, with practice one should be able to get within the kill area for a chest shot on a deer at 200 yards with iron sights providing the gun is accurate enough.

I've taken 2 deer with iron sights. One at probably 30 yards with a 270 Winchester rifle and the other first hit at around 40 yards with a 44 Magnum handgun.

MCgunner
February 2, 2013, 06:05 PM
I'm quicker on target on a short distance moving animal with a low power scope than not. Harder to point, shoot, but aimed fire is the point. I've never had great eyes and at 60, they don't focus like they used to. But, I proved to myself this year I can still do it with irons, though the shot was only 30 yards, but on a running, snorting buck.

A scope will extend shooting light, I don't care if it GATHERS it or what it does, you can see to shoot at LEAST 15 minutes longer and with the better scopes, more. Seeing both front and rear sight AND the game is tough at dusk, especially on a dark background. Add to that old eyes, and, well, I normally shoot with a scope even if the range is short. Now, when I hunted west of the Pecos and up in the Guqdalupes, I made some shots in excess of 300 yards. That requires a scope. I wouldn't take a shot like that with irons, I don't care what the old buffalo hunters did with their Sharps rifles and tang sights.

Art Eatman
February 2, 2013, 09:01 PM
As far as killing Bambi, an old Weaver K4 is as good as anybody would ever need, from the standpoint of "need". That's if a rational 300 yards is pretty much your outer limit--although I killed a DRT buck, first shot, with my 3x9 set on 3X and out at 350 yards.

V-notch or buckhorn open sights? As far out as you can hit the end of a beer can.

Good peep sight? Probably no real problem to 300 or so, depending on your own skill. Maybe even farther, if you're really good.

I bought an old Leupold Vari-X II from here at THR for $150. Works quite nicely on my bolt-action .223 for prairie dogs to 300 yards. Hardly mediocre.

Bases and rings? Again, shop the good-used stuff at a gunshow. I've been using Weavers since 1950. They've always worked.

avs11054
February 2, 2013, 09:37 PM
Is it necessary? No. A rifle is not necessary either, as virtually all big game can be hunted with a bow and arrow. Does it give the hunter an advantage? Yup. The longest shot I have ever witnessed in person on big game was a 440 yard shot by my dad on a doe antelope. Probably not impossible with irons, but a scope greatly improves your chances of putting an animal on the ground.

jmr40
February 2, 2013, 10:06 PM
1. At close range, a scope is a disadvantage and not an advantage.



Gotta disagree.

In good light, I can easily hit deer sized targets standing still out to at least 200 yards with irons. The main reason people make comments like this is because they are using way too much scope and don't know how to use them. With a low powered scope even at the closest range it is far easier to find the target and get the crosshairs on it with a good scope than any iron sight. I find an optical sight much more helpful at 15 yards right at dawn or dusk, or on a moving target, than at 150 yards on a stationary target in good light.

Guys who shoot in the 3 gun type competitions where the shooting is fast paced at a variety of ranges as well as the military all use low powered optics with generous eye relief and found it to be the best combination for this type of shooting.

You obviously don't have to use optics. You don't have to use a rifle, you could choose to hunt with a longbow. But a quality optic, used correctly is better than any iron sight, at any range, in any situation.

Sav .250
February 3, 2013, 08:07 AM
Do what you want. Scope it. Don`t scope it. Somewhere down the road you`ll get it.

Lloyd Smale
February 3, 2013, 09:09 AM
If you want a challange leave the scope at home. If you want to eat venison take it along! Ive been shooting deer for over 40 years and have shot them with and without scopes. My eyes may be getting a bit old but id change that 200 yard range for open sigths everyone is quoting to 100. Go and shoot a group with your deer rifle at 200 yards with open sights under field conditions (not off a bench) then come back and tell me if you still have faith. Anymore if shots could present themselves at more then a 100 yards id no more go out without ammo then without a good scope. A scope is also many times the only way you can judge what the quality of the animal is. theres not allways time to use binoculars and many times ive put the scope on a deer at a 150 yards and then lowered the gun because i could tell it wasnt the animal i wanted. Heck at 200 yards if your looking for any buck most of us couldnt tell a spikehorn from a doe without some sort of optic.

Jason_W
February 3, 2013, 09:25 AM
I guess the only real way to for me to find out is to give it a try for a few seasons and see what happens.

MCgunner
February 3, 2013, 10:06 AM
In good light, I can easily hit deer sized targets standing still out to at least 200 yards with irons. The main reason people make comments like this is because they are using way too much scope and don't know how to use them. With a low powered scope even at the closest range it is far easier to find the target and get the crosshairs on it with a good scope than any iron sight. I find an optical sight much more helpful at 15 yards right at dawn or dusk, or on a moving target, than at 150 yards on a stationary target in good light.

Guys who shoot in the 3 gun type competitions where the shooting is fast paced at a variety of ranges as well as the military all use low powered optics with generous eye relief and found it to be the best combination for this type of shooting.

You obviously don't have to use optics. You don't have to use a rifle, you could choose to hunt with a longbow. But a quality optic, used correctly is better than any iron sight, at any range, in any situation.

+1. I love my little Remington M7 in .308 with its 2x10x40 Weaver KV (modern weaver, not the old steel tube). It's very versatile, It's fast on running deer at close range when still hunting, no lining up sights on a third focal point. And, it's 3/4 MOA accurate for cross canyon shots out west. I topped it with some sights I had bought and didn't use for a contender, Millett scope toppers. they're adjustable iron sights that are fitted to the top ring. I don't use these on the gun, they being high and awkward and with the sight radius of a rather short barreled handgun, but I can group with 'em good 'nuf out to 75 or 100 yards and figure if I were to drop the gun and were worried about the scope, they'd be back up until I could get back home to grab another gun or get it benched on my range to check. Never had to use 'em, but hell, I had 'em laying around. They'd make a lot more sense on a Contender, I guess, but I wasn't using 'em for anything else. I don't think Millett even makes these anymore, probably did not sell well. I can understand THAT. :D

Zeke/PA
February 3, 2013, 11:03 AM
I've shot several deer over the years with Iron-Sighted Black Powder rifles and in Archery NEITHER of which required optics.
However I like a scope sighted rifle in the PA deer woods.
DECENT scopes can be had for around $150.00 BUT the bottom line is your ability to hunt and placing your shots.
200 Yard shots with Irons? I take issue with this.

Pistol Ranch
February 3, 2013, 11:06 AM
Most of the replys have one thing in common..you need good light for effective use of iron sights. If you hunt early or late or in deep shadows/woods you need a scope (or will wish you had one).

MCgunner
February 3, 2013, 11:28 AM
Game mostly moves early or late. You will sometimes get a shot at high noon, but it ain't the rule.

Art Eatman
February 3, 2013, 11:31 AM
Very early morning or in the last daylight for legal shooting, more than one person has been shot by mistake by a guy using iron sights. Probably more than just one stump or rock, for that matter. A few prickly-pear deer, as well.

gspn
February 3, 2013, 11:53 AM
Scopes aren't necessary...but can be very helpful under a wide variety of circumstances.

My viewpoint is that of a southern whitetail hunter...and my experience might not apply to a guy hunting antelope out west. In the south I might be in deep woods one moment and step out onto a 400 yard bean field the next.

As a deer hunter in the south most of my shot opportunities will happen in low light, and often in the woods. I can tell you that in the first or last 15 minutes of legal shooting light in the woods you won't be seeing iron sights...it's way too dark for that...let alone trying to line up your dark iron sights on a dark bodied animal that is standing amid dark trees and vegetation.

A scope allows me to accurately shoot until the last legal minute of light under actual hunting conditions. I have shot some very nice bucks in those "twilight" moments. If I'd been using iron sights I never would have had a shot.

Additionally a scope allows me to shoot with more accuracy than iron sights. If I shoot two groups through the same rifle, one with iron sights and one with a scope, the scoped group will be tighter every single time.

I'm not saying iron sights can't be used...clearly they are good under many circumstances and have killed a lot of game...what I am saying is that they might limit your opportunities to take ethical shots, and they won't allow you to place your shot as precisely as a scope will.

natman
February 3, 2013, 12:36 PM
I respectfully disagree. Just as you cannot see the Orion nebula with the naked eye but you can with a decent telescope, a scope will make a dim game animal appear brighter.

No, it will make a dim game animal appear BIGGER, but not brighter. All scopes lose some light, good scopes less than others.

351 WINCHESTER
February 3, 2013, 01:10 PM
Scopes are invaluable for us with failing vision. Even those with perfect vision can extend their hunting days by about an hour by using a scope. A decent scope allows the transmission of more light into our eyes. A good scope can also help one get a better look at the critter we are hunting (a buck's rack for instance).

ricebasher302
February 3, 2013, 01:13 PM
I find that an aperture sight is a far superior iron sight for hunting than some of the factory semi-buck horn sights. They provide eliminate contrast issues between front and rear sights, eliminate at least one focal point for your eye, and provide a much more open sight picture while not sacrificing any real accuracy (improving it in many cases).

I've successfully (and quite easily) shot deer and elk at ranges inside 100 yards. Elk would be easy beyond 150 with this setup too, but as seems to be the consensus, you will lose capability in the low-light situations.

The best thing to do would be to grab a .22 rifle with iron sights and set up simulated hunting scenarios and do a lot of shooting to see how comfortable and accurate you are in various situations, and remember that not all iron sights are created equally.

Beyond that, hunting with iron sights is fun and rewarding.

fdashes
February 3, 2013, 01:33 PM
Need..not really. Require...yup. The eyesight just ain't what it use to be. It also takes a lot better than average shooter to be an accurate shooter at 200 yds. open sight. One hundred yards not so much at all.

natman
February 3, 2013, 02:25 PM
Some comments on the topic:

No, a scope is not required, at least not in the sense that you can't kill a game animal without one. However, iron sights do have some limitations. It's a lot easier to hit with a scope. It makes the target bigger and easier to see.

A scope puts both the target and the sight in the same plane, which makes it much easier for those of us of a certain age to hit with one. (I've given up on rifle hunting with open sights. I just can't get the target and the sights into focus with the same optical prescription. I still use a peep sight occasionally, but it's getting to be more and more hunting with a scope.)

So for the OP if you hunt big game at relatively short distances, then you'll be fine with iron sights, if you can still find a gun that has them. A peep sight would be better if you can get one mounted for less than the cost of a scope.

Coltdriver
February 3, 2013, 02:39 PM
Sounds like you may be a bit younger so you can usually get a pretty decent quality fixed power for a reasonable sum. Take a look on ebay, there are a lot of deals on there if you are patient and watch daily.

On the brightness/light gathering ect comments. Here is what is happening with a top quality scope.

Light occurs in various wavelengths. Red has a wavelength of around 650 nm. Blue has a shorter wavelength and is around 475 nm. An nm is a billionth of a meter. Blue also scatters more efficiently. So what happens, before sunrise and after sunset, is the blue light is pretty much scattered and the longer wavelengths are what your eye has left.

This is where the coatings of a high end glass maker come into play. Companies like Nikon, Leupold, Swarovski, Zeiss etc are capable of very specialized coatings.

Most of them are coating to allow in the blue light wavelength and to discriminate against the other slower wavelengths. They may be encouraging the passing of other wavelengths too, I am not an optics coating guru. This passing of the shorter frequency wavelengths in fact makes it appear to you as though the image is brighter than with your naked eye. And as you point out when you look thru a good piece of glass the image is absolutely brighter to your eye than when you look at the same thing with your naked eye.

Notice you will get none of this effect with a genuinely cheap scope. A really good scope like a Swarovski or a Leupold VX-3 is almost too bright in pure sunlight, almost makes my eye ache to look thru it! But the VX II's or some of the Nikons have excellent glass that will give you an advantage.

I have old eyes so a good scope does me a lot of good. I find a good scope to be supremely useful in a shaded forest setting. I would not trust my eyes to reliably tell a young buck with small horns from a doe at 200 yards in the shade. And small tree branches invisible to your naked eye come right in with a scope. And in the shade around sunset you need all the help you can get.

I would not waste money on a truly cheap scope. I am not a glass snob, just someone who did waste a lot of money on cheap scopes. You save $100 and you are half way to pretty decent glass.

Takem406
February 3, 2013, 07:24 PM
Depends what and where your hunting.
Out here in Montana if your elk hunting in thick timber your probably ok. But I've heard guys having to reach out and touch elk.
But if you go out onto our prairie your SOL without a scope. Shots are usually at 200 yards and even a 3-9 for me isn't enough.

Try shooting prairie dogs without a scope...

But for tree stand hunting back east I'm guessing you'd be ok...

In God and Glock we Trust

Andrew Leigh
February 3, 2013, 11:33 PM
On the hunting ethics side. We have a responsibility to quickly and efficiently kill our target animal. If we are hunting at extended ranges then having a scope in my opinion greatly increases our ability for a quick kill.

Having said which, if your thing is to get up real close and personal and to use open sights this can be just as efficient.

1911Tuner
February 4, 2013, 05:34 AM
I've used both successfully. When I had younger eyes, I preferred iron or aperture sights for Whitetail deer, which...in this area...were most often taken in cover at an average of about 75 yards, and a 100 yard shot was actually pretty rare. Most of mine were 50-60 yards.

As I got older, and toward the end of my field pursuits, I started using fixed, low-power scopes. Today, I wouldn't even attempt a 75-yard shot with iron sights.

The scope lets you zero more precisely, but more importantly...especially as your eyes age...it lets you hold more exactly in the kill zone instead of "Minute of Buck" that that often comes with iron sights and less than perfect vision. It also gives you a better chance of shooting through an opening in the brush, avoiding bullet deflection that can mean the difference between anchoring your deer and having to track it into the next county.

There's a bit of romance in taking your deer like ol' Dan'l Boone did...but not at the expense of crippled game. If you're going to hunt a noble beast, you owe him a quick death at the least. Just my 2% of a buck...no pun intended.

Art Eatman
February 4, 2013, 12:46 PM
For the majority of all homo sap past the age of forty years, the eye's ability to deal with focussing on rear sight, front sight and the kill-spot on Bambi goes away. Sayonara, auf wiedersehen, adios.

Scope time. :)

Jason_W
February 4, 2013, 02:01 PM
I'm not 40 yet, but that'll happen before I know it.

may as well think ahead, I suppose.

MCgunner
February 4, 2013, 04:15 PM
It creeps up on ya. You think you're doin' fine, then one day the eye doc says you need bifocals. :banghead: When you get 'em, THEN you figure out he was right and, well, might as well use that scoped rifle or handgun. :D

I can still use irons in good light, but at dawn or dusk, just too much to deal with. And, at the range at 100 yards, takes me a while to break the sear now days. I have problems, can still group well at that range, but takes me longer per shot which really isn't a good thing in a hunting situation.

Even my front loader has a scope on it, my serious hunting one, anyway.

351 WINCHESTER
February 4, 2013, 04:21 PM
A quality scope will allow much more light transmission than any iron sight period. Yes, I know as rc has pointed that no scope transmitts 100% of light, but a quality scope will allow you to take game where iron's are totally useless.

Silent Sam
February 4, 2013, 08:11 PM
"As far as killing Bambi, an old Weaver K4 is as good as anybody would ever need"

Bingo! The new Weavers work too. I have gravitated to K4s and K6s. Less than $200 for a solid scope that is never out of adjustment and is an excellent field sight.

MCgunner
February 4, 2013, 08:49 PM
I've lost my old KV 3-5. Moves will do that to ya. It was fogged and never got a trip to El Paso. Not even sure they'll fix 'em anymore. I had an old K4, sold with a 7mm Spanish Mauser. They were good scopes, but I like my newish (about 15 years old, now) 2x10x40 KV a LOT. :D It set me back a couple hundred bucks at the time and is more scope than the price IMHO.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
February 4, 2013, 08:56 PM
The main considerations are distance, distance and distance from the shooter to the target.

If all your hunting shots are, say, within 60 yards, who needs a scope?

Robert
February 5, 2013, 09:39 AM
It depends on where you are hunting and the distances you may see shots at. Last fall I hunted Elk in an area that had stands of dark, thick timber and wide open high mountain parks. In the timber irons would have been perfect, but not so much for the parks or cross canyon. I use a VX3 2.5-8 and love it. Low enough power to use in dense timber and enough power to take any long range shot I'd be comfortable with.

MCgunner
February 5, 2013, 09:45 AM
If all your hunting shots are, say, within 60 yards, who needs a scope?

Me. I am quicker on target and more accurate with a low power scope inside 50 yards on running game. I don't have to line anything up, comes to my eye, just put the little X on the spot and squeeze. It's a lot like an aimpoint, but without the batteries. Look at all the electronic sights in action pistol shooting, Bianchi cup type stuff. They use 'em because they're fast, no lining up three focal points, just put the pipper on the target. And, then there's the fact that most came show up, move, right at dusk or dawn in low light as we've been discussing.

4season
February 5, 2013, 11:08 AM
I have killed more deer with sights than scopes. However my favorite sights are not iron but fiber-optic. They are on my muzzle-loader. Every deer I have ever shot has been under 50 yards so I certainly didn't need a scope. However even with my fiber-optic sights I can't see my front sight in as low a light as I can with my scope. As I sit in my stand early in the morning I pull my gun up every few minutes and look for my front site. I can see my fiber-optics at least 10 minutes earlier than iron sites, but my scope can see 15 minutes earlier than than that. But my scope is about twice the $150 price you mentioned. I can also hit a target out to 300 yards with my scope.

When I had a $150 scope on my muzzle-loader I missed several deer. Turned out my mounts went to crap and were letting the scope move around. Then when I got that fixed the scope went to crap and I missed 2 more deer. That is when I took the scope off and haven't missed since. I also have missed a longer shot chance on a deer a few years back when I accidentally breathed on my scope and fogged it up.

My point is while a scope can let you take much longer shots and you can be more accurate there is a lot that can go wrong with a scope and it certainly adds lots of cost for a good setup.

MCgunner
February 5, 2013, 01:05 PM
When I had a $150 scope on my muzzle-loader I missed several deer. Turned out my mounts went to crap and were letting the scope move around. Then when I got that fixed the scope went to crap and I missed 2 more deer. That is when I took the scope off and haven't missed since. I also have missed a longer shot chance on a deer a few years back when I accidentally breathed on my scope and fogged it up.

Simmons or Tasco?

Weaver, Leupold, Burris, Nikon, all good scopes along with others too numerous to mention.

I bought a 50 dollar chinese scope just on a lark at a "tool sale" in Victoria once. It has lighted reticule and didn't have that on a scope. It's been on my CVA wolf through several hundred rounds, now, since doing duties on an SKS. It's got good optics and hasn't broke. I'm pretty amazed at that. Could break any time, I guess. I'll put something else on it better if it does. :D I've taken one deer with it so far.

To each his own. I've taken deer with irons. Did it just this year, but scopes are better, I'll admit that readily, and I don't mind spending money on a good optic. Bare in mind, too, I'm retired on a semi fixed income at the moment. But, the scope is more important than the rifle IMHO on a good rig. No need to get crazy, though. I knew an old German fellow, gone now, that would own NOTHING, but Schmidt and Bender. Well, I ain't that well off. :rolleyes: Would be nice, though, they were pretty awesome.

To each his own, though. I have two places to hunt, now. One is deep, dark woods and the other could allow for a 150 yard shot, though all, but one deer taken there over the years that I can think of were 100 yards or less. Scopes help in either situation. Of course, as I've said, when I hunted west Texas and the mountains of New Mexico, scopes were more a necessity than an option. I made a 370 yard cross canyon shot on a mulie once with my 7 mag which didn't even come with iron sights or holes to mount any. A Weatherby Supreme 3x9x44 sits atop that one. GREAT scope and the best optics of any of my scopes.

4season
February 5, 2013, 07:45 PM
Simmons or Tasco?

Weaver, Leupold, Burris, Nikon, all good scopes along with others too numerous to mention.


My scope that went to crap was a Bushnell TRX. I put a Burris Fullfield II in its place and had to send it off twice to have it fixed. I guess everyone makes a lemon sometimes.

Cocked & Locked
February 6, 2013, 09:16 AM
The only big game hunting I do is with a scoped rifle unless I'm using a shotgun & buck shot.

Being somewhat nostalgic, I do like most of my rifles to have iron sights zeroed at 50 yards and a detachable scope zeroed 1.5" above point of aim at 100 yards.

The scope stays on but I like the option of removing the scope in the field if I drop the rifle. With 70 rolling up for my next birthday I'm not wanting missed opportunities. :scrutiny:

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/17383006/375630575.jpg

MCgunner
February 6, 2013, 09:44 AM
My favorite iron sight arrangement is a ghost ring aperture. I like to have it up on the barrel, too, rather than on the receiver, gives me more visual around the sight. That kinda goes against convention. Most think the receiver aperture is the way to go, but there's a lot of hardware in the way on those sights.

I should get a pic of the sight on my .357 lever carbine. I got it off an old single shot .22. It's a really cool set up on that gun. I pulled the aperture out of it and made it a ghost ring. It's click adjustable for windage which is quite repeatable and that allows me to easily adjust it for my light .38 special loads (small game) or rip roarin' .357 magnums pushing a 165 grain Keith style SWC near 1900 fps.

22-rimfire
February 6, 2013, 10:15 AM
I like scopes and my shooting precision increased immediately upon using scopes. The main thing I like about scopes is that you are looking at a single plane of focus rather than looking at a front and rear sight and target.

Many buy "more scope" than they need, thinking that they might need that extra power down the road. The typical buyer gets a 3-9x and slaps that on his rifle. My experience suggests that the high power (on variable power scopes) is mostly used for target shooting. But for varmint shooting, I think a scope is very important at ranges beyond 75 yds. If you can't see it, you can shoot it. A 2-7x scope is an excellent overall choice and tends to be smaller than a 3-9x scope. For most situations, a 4x scope is plenty.

"As far as killing Bambi, an old Weaver K4 is as good as anybody would ever need"

Bingo! The new Weavers work too. I have gravitated to K4s and K6s. Less than $200 for a solid scope that is never out of adjustment and is an excellent field sight.

I agree with this.

The more power.... the larger the scope... more weight... more chance of damaging it in the field....

I have a 3-9x scope on my "deer rifle". Some get 4-12x or larger variables. I generally leave it set at 4x unless I am trying to take a shot beyond 100 yds and I have time to adjust the scope. I generally hunt in the woods and shots beyond 75 yds are rare. How many deer have I shot beyond 100 yds? Zero. But I feel confident out to 300 yds if need dictates and it is a safe shot.

That is why I have pretty much shifted almost all of my deer hunting to revolver use in the woods. It's just a lot more fun and challenging. And yes, I have a 2x scope on my primary hunting revolver although I take others sometimes.

You buy a scope to match your normal hunting environment. If you are trying to shoot elk at 500 yds, then, I would still probably be using a 3-9x, but would understand why some would want more power. Again, the dominant use I have for a scope is aiming convenience and shot placement. I have never been a great open sight shot. I tend to shoot not for center of mass or even the "heart lung" area, rather I tend to aim at a more precise spot. The scope makes all the difference from thinking... I can hit a paper plate "somewhere" to I can hit a squirrel at 75 yds.

Daniel
February 7, 2013, 02:40 AM
I can only give you my experience:

I only use a scope on small stuff, like rabbits (.22LR); at 100 yards their heads are mighty small and the tips of all the front sights I've seen are bigger than such at that range!

For boar, open sighted .44 Magnum Handi and Foster slugs from shotguns; no need for a scope over here, as I just plug them in the shoulder area and they go down quick. 50 to 100 yards.

I don't feel like ever shooting over 100 yards on game; just what I prefer, so apart from rabbit heads, I don't need a scope.

inclinebench
February 7, 2013, 08:44 AM
This past season I hunted with a K31 with the Swiss Products scope mount. This mount is offset becasue of the way you load and eject shells. The offset allowed me to use the open sights when a deer was running pretty wide open about fifty yards in front of me. I tried looking therough the scope at first, but the magnification was such that I did not see the deer at first glance through the scope, and rather than spending time trying to aquire a view in the scope (and letting the deer run into the thick stuff), I calmly looked through the iron sights and dropped it in its tracks. So, I would reccomend elevated rings that allow you to use both open and scope. I had never used these types before, but that offset scope on the K31 gave me a chance to try, and I am now a big fan of being able to use both scope and open sights.

Bud Tugly
February 7, 2013, 09:54 AM
The term "light-gathering ability" is one that astronomers commonly use when talking about telescopes. The pupil of the human eye is about 8mm wide when fully dilated (in dim light) and the theoretical light gathering power for any telescope is the size of the objective (front) lens (in mm) divided by eight.

So a 40mm (about 1 5/8") front lens would theoretically gather 5 times as much light as the unaided eye, which would make dimly lit objects look brighter. As others have mentioned, even the best lenses are only 90-95% efficient (and cheap ones much less) so the real effect is less than that.

Since rifle scopes and binoculars are just modified telescopes the same would be true for them, except they generally use at least 3 lenses so the losses of light add up to reduce it even more. I'm not a scope user myself, but I know from experience that a good pair of binoculars with large front lenses lets you see things more clearly in low light.

MCgunner
February 7, 2013, 10:37 AM
This past season I hunted with a K31 with the Swiss Products scope mount. This mount is offset becasue of the way you load and eject shells. The offset allowed me to use the open sights when a deer was running pretty wide open about fifty yards in front of me. I tried looking therough the scope at first, but the magnification was such that I did not see the deer at first glance through the scope, and rather than spending time trying to aquire a view in the scope (and letting the deer run into the thick stuff), I calmly looked through the iron sights and dropped it in its tracks. So, I would reccomend elevated rings that allow you to use both open and scope. I had never used these types before, but that offset scope on the K31 gave me a chance to try, and I am now a big fan of being able to use both scope and open sights.

Got a buddy that thinks the same way, but I don't agree. Putting the scope way up there does two things I don't like. One, it gets the scope so high I cannot get a proper cheek weld with it. Too, the lower the scope, the less affect it has on hold over. Hard to verbalize I guess, but if you look at any drop calculation, there'll be a variable for scope height above bore. The higher the scope, the wonkier the trajectory table. I guess it doesn't affect something like deer at 100 yards, but deer at 400, maybe. I CERTAINLY wouldn't put a scope way up there on a squirrel rifle. Keeping the scope as close to the bore as possible assures the bullet hits closer to the POA.

Better, and much faster on target, to use a low mount scope of low power, 1-3 power. Me, I have a 2x10 variable on my favorite rifle, versatile. I've shot running rabbits with a low power scope, so do tell ME it can't be done faster than with irons. Someone posted that many folks get scopes with too much power. I agree 100 percent. For me, the LOW power on a variable is much more important that the high. I want lower the better on the low end.. I have a 1.5x4.5 I'd LOVE except that the 22mm objective just ain't big enough for low light in the woods. My 2x10x40 Weaver is pretty awesome. For me, 4x is getting a might much. Fixed power, I'd much rather a 2.5x. I can make hits at 300 yards with a 2.5x and it's still pretty quick to the eye.

One thing I have not tried that folks say is great on quick running close range shots is a LER forward mounted low power (IE 2.5X) scope. I've noticed a lot of "scout scopes" don't have much of an objective lens, so I'm not sure how much utility one would have in the woods other than being fast to the eye. I prefer my rifles with conventionally mounted scopes with adequate objective lens size and a good low power on the low end. A 3x9 works, a 2x10 works better for me. :D Of course, on my hunting rifles, I have no problem mounting 'em low since they're not compromised by bolts that get in the way and such. One of 'em is a Savage 110, set me back 200 bucks 20 years ago, granted a little over a hundred bucks more than some of my milsurps bought at the time, but it out-shoots ALL my milsurps I own and have ever owned. Even out-shoots my SIL's K98. Add to that it needed no gunsmithing before taking to the range and sighting in. I had a scope mounted on a 60 dollar Spanish Mauser in 7x57 once, was a 50 dollar job. That can eat up the difference in cost right there. Yeah, I went through the milsurp bubba phase, but I quickly figured out keeping the value of those guns means leaving them alone and a low end hunting rifle is a better hunting rifle. Oh, I don't mind modifying my milsurps, though. I probably should say that. I don't think it's blasphemy to modify a milsurp, both my SKSs are modified for use, not for value. I mean, it's YOUR gun, so set it up for you. If you like your scope 5 inches above bore (I exaggerate a lot to make a point, sorry), go for it, but I took the scope and case deflector OFF my SKS rifle, found it makes a much better knock around truck beater gun than it does a hunting rifle and I have 2 Remington and one Savage hunting rifle that are scoped that are go tos if I really wanna KILL something. :D Got BP stuff, hunt with pistols and revolvers, even. So, you know, whatever floats your boat I guess. I can't say I never use anything, but a scoped rifle to hunt with. I have used an iron sighted 6.5" Blackhawk in .357 magnum to take two hogs and one deer with over the years. It ain't a go to when I'm after meat, though.

Anyway, if your scope is not RIGHT OVER the bore axis, if it's offset due to a straight bolt or something, I can see your problem. Fit with a rifle is nearly as important on quick shots as a shotgun. I say "nearly", hell, probably MORE important to get the sight in front of the eye quickly. Just that I POINT shotguns on flying birds and I AIM rifles, so it's not completely analogous. However, point being, if the scope is hanging off one side of the gun, you're going to have to search for it just like if it's so high you can't get a proper cheek weld. If it's sitting 1.5" over the bore axis in traditional manner and the stock is proper proportionally, it will come to the eye almost instinctively, without thought, and not having to line up iron sights makes it much faster than irons. I think the reason you like the irons is they're right where your eye is when you mount the gun. If you'd try a normal sporting rifle optic set up, I think you might learn to appreciate the value of a low power optic on those close shots.

Art Eatman
February 7, 2013, 12:25 PM
Yeah, low comb for irons, higher comb for scopes.

The deal is, close your eyes and mount the rifle to your shoulder in normal shooting usage, and get a good cheek weld. If the stock is correct for your body's dimensions, you'll be looking right through the sights with no head movement.

If no scope on a rifle without irons, you should be looking right down the line of the barrel.

If the fit is proper, you can snap shoot with a scope as fast as with irons.

inclinebench
February 7, 2013, 01:56 PM
I understand about the lower the scope, the better and faster the sighting as well as the wonkiness of bullet drop etc. However, this is the first gun I have hunted with that I could use both scope and irons, and I must say, even if I could lower the scope and center it (which I cannot on a K31), I would probably continue to hunt with the current setup. I dropped four deer this season with that gun, all between 50 and 120 yards, and I had more fun with it than any other rifle I have ever hunted deer with.

I am also making he point that one does not have to choose between iron or glass, it is possible, and sometimes darn handy to have both.

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