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Spotting scope or better rifle scope?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by wford, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. wford

    wford Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone. I have never truly hunted before and some friends want me to go out next year. I am operating on a fairly tight budget but really want to have a nice setup that does what I need it to. I recently got a tikka t3 lite in stainless .300 win mag and I have absolutely nothing for it/ on it. I am not new to guns really as I have been shooting guns for years but not too many high powered rifles (just rifles owned by people at the range). The hunting I will be doing will be mostly within 300 yards usually substantially less but being able to shoot further would be great. One thing I love about the tikka is the lightness, and want a scope that isn't overly heavy. I am wondering if i need a spotting scope for the range or if my rifle scope will be enough to see where I hit, and most importantly, what is a good scope for around 200? I'm sure most of you use scopes worth far more but I simply cannot afford a scope worth over 300 or so, but would prefer less if possible. This rifle kicks like a mule and I would like to keep my eye away from the scope at least about 3 inches. I have been looking at cheap nikons and vortex scopes. I live very close to vortex here in wisconsin and stopped by their headquarters and it would be nice to have someone to go to locally if i have issues.
  2. NELSONs02

    NELSONs02 Well-Known Member

    If your budget is only 300 then put all of that into a rifle scope (take your pick, it doesn't matter at that price point). Vortex would be a good choice since they are fellow Wisconsinites.

    You've bought a 6 pound magnum hunting rifle and it will be unpleasant to shoot more than a few times. I'm sure the zip heads who sold you that rifle didn't tell you that you don't need a 300 win mag or even a long action caliber to kill Whitetails. :banghead:
  3. Picher

    Picher Well-Known Member

    Get a 3-9x Leupold VX2. They have all the resolution you should need.

    Check the web for best prices.
  4. hunttheevil

    hunttheevil Well-Known Member

    You can get a Vortex crossfire 4-12x50 for around $200. That will be plenty of scope for 300 yards.
  5. arizona98tj

    arizona98tj Well-Known Member

    Another vote for one of the Vortex models....get the most expensive one you can afford. I've yet to meet a shooter who complained that the optic they got performed too well. ;)
  6. PlaneJain

    PlaneJain Well-Known Member

    Go to a big box gun store and look through all of them in the price range you can afford. See which ones you like, and how much eye relief the ones you like have. After choosing the reticle and model you like, do some researching on all the gun forums for pros and cons of that scope, and then decide for yourself.
  7. mjkten

    mjkten Well-Known Member

    I think you're getting good advice on a riflescope. You have a nice rifle, take your time buying a scope and bases/mounts. And later, when you are looking for that spotting scope, think about a good pair of binoculars first. Something waterproof, about 7 to 10 power and about a 40mm objective lens. It's a bit of a personal thing with me, but I really hate when someone uses their scope (therefore, their rifle) to look around at noises and movement.
  8. PlaneJain

    PlaneJain Well-Known Member

    Also, scopes like a 4x12x40 etc will work great at sitting on ridges looking across canyons and meadows, but suck in thick woods. A 1.75x6 or similar is more effective for dense woods and brush. What kind of hunting do you do?
  9. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Don't waste your money on a 50mm scope. There are plenty of negatives and no postives. You will get a much better scope in 40mm for the dollar. Vortex makes a decent scope, and you will do OK with one. But with a $300 budget buy the Leupold VX-2, 3-9X40 and don't look back. It is a better scope in every way, especially eye relief. The leupold has almost 5" vs just over 3" on the others. If you really need to save more money the VX-1 is just over $200, or the Redfield Revolution for around $175. Both the Redfield VX-1 and VX-2 are the most scope for the money. All are USA made as well vs over seas for every thing else.

    Instead of a spotting scope, I'd invest in qualiy binoculars at a later time as funds become available

    Leupold scopes are legendary for toughness and the only thing I trust anymore, espcially on a hard kicker. They are also the lightest by a fair margin. A leupold or Redfield 3-9X40 will weigh 11-12 oz. compared to 15-18 oz on many others. Heavy scopes, mounted high, like would be necessary with a 50mm scope get much more of the effects of recoil than lighter scopes mounted low and break sooner.

    A 300 win mag, especially in a lightweight Tikka, is probably not a good choice. You certainly don't need anywhere near that much power. I'd buy one of the Limbsaver recoil pads before shooting it. I'd also look into some of the reduced recoil ammo, or handload some ammo down to 308 levels. A 308 would have about 1/2 the recoil and still be perfectly adequate for 400+ yard shots at deer or elk.
  10. Abel

    Abel Well-Known Member

    Get a Leopold VX-2 3-9X40mm. Loose the OEM Tikka rings and get a set of Talley Lightweights. Save up until you have enough for spotting scope later. I have been hunting for 25+ years and I've never owned a spotting scope. If I spent more time at the range, sure, it'd be handy. But typically I zero my rifle and shoot deer with it. The 300 Win Mag a great cartridge, just not a great cartridge to learn how to shoot with. Trade her in on a 243 while you still can.
  11. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Post #9 summed up my thoughts precisely. Leupold and Limbsaver. I might recommend confining your practice sessions to 50 yds. for starters, then move to 100 yds. to zero. Most of Wisconsin won't require more than a 200 yd. shot so a 3-9X or straight 6X should do fine.

    You'll need mounts and rings as well, best to budget for those as well (and don't cheap out too much). Mounts are firearm specific so you'll need Tika T3 LA (Long Action) and rings for a 1" or 30mm scope depending on model. Have the scope mounted by a professional lest it be ruined by a "helpful" friend.

    Plant that buttstock firmly low and inside where it belongs and let it push. Buy that Limbsaver and a shoulder pad too if needed but it shouldn't be too much to handle if approached correctly. When you're ready, trade it for a .243 and exhale.
  12. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Well-Known Member

    For that distance a fixed 4x is more than adequate. By going fixed over variable you should be able to get more scope for your money.
  13. Birdhunter1

    Birdhunter1 Well-Known Member

    Nikon Pro-Staff or Buckmasters.. alot of eye relief and my Buckmasters on my slug gun has good light gathering at dawn and dusk. 3-9X40 has a good field of view. Important part is a long eye relief.

    Any of the Sightron S II series would be good, I like the 4-14 X42 myself. All the same reason as the Nikon stated above. They track remarkably well and hold zero. I have several Sightron's and I don't have anything bad to say about them.

    Bushnell Elite series if you can find them in the price range. They hold a zero well but I don't think they track as good as a Sightron. I had one on my .243 in straight 10x, good scope, very clear, price is in your range. I went with the Sightron SII to get a variable power.

    Leupold, nothing at all wrong with a Leupold. The VX-1, VX-2 and Rifleman series all have good glass and will hold a zero. Good eye relief and they will take the recoil. Probably the strongest name and reputation is Leupold, I also own a few.

    If you can find a Weaver to suit your fancy made out of El Paso, Texas you would have a winner.
  14. Mobuck

    Mobuck member

    If you have $300 spend 1/2 on a rifle scope and 1/2 on binoculars. Sightron S-1 3-9x40 will give good service and there are several $150 binoculars on the market. You need to be able to look at game w/o pointing your rifle at everything you want to see better.
  15. Birdhunter1

    Birdhunter1 Well-Known Member

    Mobuck will the SI hold up to the recoil on a 300 win mag? I would highly recommend that particular scope (S I 3-9X40) if the scope can take the recoil. I am unsure if it will, but if it will I would be hard pressed to say there is a better scope within a $100 price tag of it.
  16. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    My view of objective lens size is just the opposite. Objective size is critical for light gathering. A 50mm objective well add close to a hour of hunting over a 44mm. A larger diameter objective increases light transmission and improves resolution. The resolution is very important at higher magnification if you want to see bullet printing on the target at longer ranges.

    For the straight info on rifle scopes spend some time reading here.


    Don't waste your money on a spotting scope, you need to spend as much or more than a quality scope in order to have good resolution. I good 6-20X50 scope well have better resolution than a cheap spotting scope.

    Vortex and Alpen Optics offer a very nice high power variable scope that are reasonably priced. The Alpen Apex XP model at just over $300 is a lot of optic for the money. I would rate it as good if not better than my $500 Vortex Viper.

    The new Bushnell Elite Tactical 10x40mm is getting a lot of very good feedback from long range guys. It's a mil/mil scope and very easy to learn ranging with, and it's very affordable at $250.
  17. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    It's a bit hard to see 30-caliber bullet holes in a target at 100 yards with only a 4X, but it's doable. A 3x9 will work just fine. 9X for sight-in, 3X when hunting for Bambi. Adequate magnification, plenty of field of view unless really up-close and personal. :)

    Binoculars are THE answer for glassing an area when sitting and looking for Bambi. Super wrong to use your scope and then find out that the Bambi you thought you saw is actually another hunter. He might be seriously upset with you.
  18. Furncliff

    Furncliff Well-Known Member

    When I've been tight for cash, I've haunted the pawn shops for a Leupold. Prices are generally half what a new one cost and Leupold has always refurbished any scopes that would not hold zero. Fantastic clarity in the Leupold scopes.
  19. firme67

    firme67 Active Member

    Another vote for the NIkon Buckmaster. Just bought one on Saturday for my Savage .243. 3x9-40 w/BDC for $229.99 @ Cabelas, and roughtly another $50 for mounts/rings. I compared the Vortex Viper, Leupold VX2, and the Buckmaster and I personally thought the Buckmaster was the clearest sight picture of the 3. Also I liked the Nikon BDC reticle over the Leupold LR Duplex, and Vortex Dead Hold BDC. However I think they are all 3 a good quality scope for the money.
  20. dagger dog

    dagger dog Well-Known Member

    Why not try one of the Burris optics packages buy a Fullfield II 4.5 X 14 AO ballistic plex reticule $ 379.00 and get a free 4X25X60 spotting scope.

    The Fullfield II is very clear, fully multi coated and repeatable, has a forever warranty, they are assembled in the Phillipenes,ther home is state side, excellent buy for the $$$.

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