Optics for target rifle


March 10, 2014, 06:25 AM
I'm planning a build for my first long range rifle. Recently I've joined a club with a 600 yard range, 400 yards farther than I've ever shot. I'm going to build my Savage 110 LA 30-06 for the task, but have NO idea where to start with optics. There are so many choices of power, reticle, diameter etc....starts to get very overwhelming and confusing. I'll lay out my main questions for my build. Thanks!

What power?
Fixed or adjustable power?
What reticle?
Is diameter important?
Stout enough for 30-06 recoil?

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March 10, 2014, 07:22 AM
Go with the best quality glass you can afford. Leupold VX-2 is a good starting point.

March 10, 2014, 08:04 AM
I've set my price point between $500-$800 dollars. I would like to buy this once, and not have a pile of crappy optics worth more than one good one. Any brands to look for and any brands to stay away from?

March 10, 2014, 08:55 AM
Leopold is good, I have had a few scopes from them. For the money I like Vortex. I should be taking delivery this week of their new diamondback HP scope. There are A LOT of options and choices for glass.

ole farmerbuck
March 10, 2014, 08:59 AM
I have around 15 Nikon Monarchs. No trouble with any of them. Most are 5x20x44 with 3 being 6x24x50. Good scopes.

Outlaw Man
March 10, 2014, 09:36 AM
Do you want to dial for elevation and wind or just use holds? Do you ever plan to use it in the field or just at the range with fixed, known distances?

March 10, 2014, 10:36 AM
I would like to dial elevation and windage. Rifle will be used anywhere from 100-600 yards at the range and will spend most of its time there. When I learn to shoot those distances I would consider taking it hog hunting, but not really the purpose of the build.

March 10, 2014, 10:59 AM

Any thoughts on this? Seems like decent glass at a good price. I'm worried about it not being enough magnification power though.

March 10, 2014, 11:28 AM
That Nikon doesn't have much adjustment range.
Weaver, Bushnell, Vortex, make 4-20x and 6-24x models in that price range.

March 10, 2014, 11:51 AM
What's the shooting style? Does the range have any comp's that you would be interested in? If so, you'll probably want to take a look at what everybody else is using.

Depending on shooting style, a fixed 10x would be sufficient for getting hits on steel (I'd rather have ~15x). I would want more power if shooting for groups.

You should consider a mildot (or similar) reticle. Even if you're adjusting turrets for elevation, you'll probably want to use the reticle for drift.

Larger dia. should = more elevation. Take a look at the trajectory you expect out of your rifle and what the scope has available. Assume less than half the available adjustment for dialing up. A 15 or 20 moa base will help.

Midway had a vortex 5-15x scope a while back that's a good scope for a great price. It's lacking on some features, but to me it's a good scope. I've seen them for sale used on sniper's hide. If you could find one that wasn't damaged when mounted, you would have a good scope for less than you're looking at spending.

Outlaw Man
March 10, 2014, 04:34 PM
I agree with Mtn Creek, look for a larger main tube and a mil-dot type reticle (some of the Horus style ones are great, but an added cost). With the two, you'll get increased dialing range and some additional holdover if you run out of room. Like he said, do your research, because you might decide you want a base with some elevation built in to buy you a little extra room.

Other things to consider:

Parallax adjustment is pretty much a must. If you're almost always going to be shooting from a seated position, the style won't matter as much, but if you're going to shoot prone, make sure the controls are easy to reach.

Zero-stops on the turrets are nice, but not really a must, unless maybe in competition. Same with clicks that match the subtensions on your reticle. If it's a mil-dot, try to get turrets with mil clicks. You'd be surprised how hard that actually is to find.

Decide if you want first or second focal plane for your reticle position. FFP gives you the ability to range and do holds at any magnification, but some people don't like them because they "appear" to grow and shrink with magnification. This can be exacerbated by lower quality gear. SFP, on the other hand, can only be used to range at a specific magnification. Some benchrest guys prefer SFP, and for legitimate reasons, but most other long range shooters prefer FFP.

Needless to say, get the best quality glass you can afford.

As Mtn Creek said, a 12x or 15x fixed power would be worth considering. With good glass it should let you see well enough, but it should be, all things equal, less expensive, and you won't have to worry about the focal plane. If you use it for hog hunting, though, it will likely be too much magnification.

I wouldn't steer you away from any of the brands mentioned, though with some, like Nikon, it may be hard to find all the features you want. I hit the top end of your price range pretty quick when looking for my last one. You may decide you can live without one or two features if it stretches your budget too much. I think you have the right mindset of spending on one good one rather than several cheap ones.

March 10, 2014, 09:26 PM

This Vortex seems to have more features than the Nikon, as well as double the adjustment. With a 4-16x adjustment it should be useful at the range and in the field. I'm guessing 16x would be sufficient for a 600 yard target?

March 10, 2014, 09:41 PM

This Vortex seems to have more features than the Nikon, as well as double the adjustment. With a 4-16x adjustment it should be useful at the range and in the field. I'm guessing 16x would be sufficient for a 600 yard target?

I can let ya know this weekend, I will have that scope on Wednesday. I went with the dead hold reticle. I have had vortex scopes before and loved them. Their prices and warranty are awesome!

March 10, 2014, 09:52 PM
They have some other "demos" on their site as well. I saw vortex post a picture of a shattered spotting scope, also a hand written note that explained it fell off of his truck and got run over. Vortex sent him a brand new scooping scope.

March 10, 2014, 09:56 PM
I will look forward to a range report of the diamondback hd. Looks like a great scope at that price point.

March 10, 2014, 11:30 PM
$430 with free shipping, I couldn't say no. I was going to wait to order it but midway was back ordered on them in less than a week, so I found them on on amazon from camera land.

Outlaw Man
March 11, 2014, 07:03 AM
Keep in mind you won't be dialing elevation with that scope. You'll be able to do some hold covers, but you'll have to learn what the subtensions represent. They're not in standard, consistent increments. It would be workable, though.

March 11, 2014, 08:25 AM
After reading all the advise given, I think this will be my choice. I don't know if it will be the end all be all, but it should serve me well. Any thoughts or reasons to choose something else?


March 11, 2014, 09:05 AM
^ Mil/Mil, side adjust parallax, glass etched reticle, 19 mil total adj. Sounds like a winner to me.

EGW (I think that's right) make a rail w/ 20moa for savage at a good price. Add a nice set of rings and get a smith to lap / mount and you'll be in business.

Outlaw Man
March 11, 2014, 01:20 PM
I think you'll be very happy with that one. I looked very closely at that one for myself. It just came down to which features were more important. I'm certain I'd have also been satisfied with that one.

March 12, 2014, 03:01 AM
I'm new to mils, but I figure no better time than the present to learn. MOA seems like there are fewer choices, especially with spotting glass.

I hand load so any advise on what to use for ballistics charts? Should I work my loads up at a closer range, working my way up to 600 yards?

March 12, 2014, 05:38 AM
I am kinda in the same boat. My old Bushnell has worked for deckades but I am thinking of changing it out for a Leatherwood ART. The new ones are a 3-9 power plus they also have mil dots so you can use both methods to hit your target out to 1000m. I am not concerned with drilling holes in paper but deer size torso targets.

March 12, 2014, 08:08 AM
Work up at ~300 yds. If you have a chronograph, set up where you can shoot for groups through it. You'll probably notice SD's & ES's go down at the same point groups tighten up. If you have your velocity, plug that into a simple ballistic calc like the one at handloads . com and that'll get you close enough to be able to walk shots in at longer range. Otherwise, assume a couple velocities and plug them into the calc and use that info to start moving back a little at a time.

March 12, 2014, 08:13 AM
Since you reload, if you have access to a chrono, consider a scope like one of the Leupold's with the CDS turrets. Once you settle on a load, send the ballistic data to Leupold, and they can custom laser engrave a new turret cap marked in yardage for that round. 400 yards? Just turn the dial to the number 4 and you're good to go.

March 12, 2014, 08:40 AM
I read a bit further on the HS-T and found it is not a FFP. How big of an issue is this? I would consider jumping up to the Viper HS 6-24x50 which has the option of a FFP. Worth a couple hundred dollars more?

March 12, 2014, 08:53 AM
If you think you'll be using the reticle for holds (or ranging) on targets that range from close to pretty far out and need to do it quickly, than yes. FWIW, my long range rifles are typically set to max power (hunting rifles typ set to lowest power).

Outlaw Man
March 13, 2014, 07:07 AM
That's odd - the middle of the description at that link says FFP. I wondered why it was cheaper than when I looked at them.

March 13, 2014, 08:14 AM
I read the same thing on Midway....but have a look at Vortex's own site


If you read the breakdown on Midway, it says the focal is the second position. This is a copy and paste of Midway.

Technical Information:

Tube Diameter: 30mm

Adjustment Click Value: .1 MRAD (1/10 MIL)

Adjustment Type: Click

Exposed Turrets: Yes

Finger Adjustable Turrets: Yes

Turrets Resettable to Zero: Yes

Zero Stop: Yes

Turret Height: High

Fast Focus Eyepiece: Yes

Lens Coating: XR Fully multi-coated

Warranty: VIP Unconditional Lifetime Warranty

Rings Included: No

Sunshade Included: Yes

Sunshade Length: 4"

Lens Covers Included: Yes

Power Variability: Variable

Min power: 6x

Max power: 24x

Reticle Construction: Glass-etched

Reticle: VMR-1 MRAD

Illuminated Reticle: No

Battery Type: N/A

Holdover reticle: Yes

Reticle Focal Plane Location: Second

Parallax Adjustment: Side-focus

Finish: Matte

Water/Fogproof: Yes

Shockproof: Yes

Objective Bell Diameter: 57.4mm

Ocular Bell Diameter: 41.40mm

Eye Relief: 4.0"

Exit Pupil Diameter: N/A

Weight: 22.6 oz

Max Internal Adjustment:
•Windage: 19 MRAD
•Elevation: 19 MRAD

Field of View at 100 Yards:
•17.8' @ 6x
•5.1’ @ 24x

March 13, 2014, 11:08 AM
SWFA SS in 3-9 or better yet 3-15 would be my choice.

Not to take away from this forum, but my advice for long range shooting is to head on over to Snipers Hide. You will find a lot more guys that actually do this on a regular basis.

March 13, 2014, 11:29 AM
^ If you do, hand your CC's to you wife and tell her to hide them! :D

March 16, 2014, 07:24 PM
Well I ordered my scope....

And its a viper pst 6x24x50 ffp mrad. Life is short so why not!

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