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30-30: To Scope or Not and How?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Random Discharge, Dec 27, 2008.

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  1. Random Discharge

    Random Discharge Member

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    I picked up my first lever gun. A Marlin 336SS in 30-30 for deer hunting.

    What are your thoughts on scoping this beauty? I'm thinking either a fixed 4x or a variable 2-7x32. If I scope it, what do you think of the see through mounts that let you still use the fixed sights? Good idea, or stick with a "normal" mount?

    Then again, it looks so good with just the fixed sights I'm tempted to leave it as is. Decisions decisions.
     
  2. lipadj46

    lipadj46 Member

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    If you are using it to deer hunt I always would recommend adding a scope. Unless you have awesome vision acuity a good scope will always be better for low light performance in the early morning and evening and in inclement weather. Also I would stay away from those see through mounts as they usually mount the scope too high and are never used. I have a scope mount that pivots out of the way on my deer shotgun and I have never used it.

    My father has a Marlin 30-30 with a 3-9x40 Nikon Prostaff that works well for him. I can post a picture if you would like. Honestly the only reason not to use a scope is if you enjoy a bigger challenge when hunting. I guess some would argue this and say they are a better shot with irons but I don't care at 30 minutes before sunrise or after sunset sometimes the eyes just don't cut it. A proper scope will almost always make your hunt easier and more successful. Of course this is just IMO.

    And how is easy just get rings that mount in the groove on the top of your receiver.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  3. Jason_G

    Jason_G Member

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    Depends. I don't care for scopes on my hunting rifles because I mostly hunt in fairly thick brush that limits the distance of shots I can take. We have fairly thick woods here in LA, and there are no pipelines or power lines on our lease. A scope for me would just be a liability.

    Jason
     
  4. Saint Dennis

    Saint Dennis Member

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    I have a 336 my dad gave me. I installed the see through mounts and after 35 years of hunting with it, I don't ever recall using the iron sights. I hunt thick cover in Minnesota and still have never used the iron sights harvesting a deer. I always figured it would be a good back up if snow or rain messed up the scope. Never happened tho. Shot lots of deer including two this year.
     
  5. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    For my 336s, I run a fixed 2.5x or 2.75x on a forward 'scout' mount.
     
  6. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    my 336 has gone scoped, then no scope, then scoped again, etc. i was never really satisfied w/ it, but i didn't like the scope. ultimately, i pulled the factory front and rear sights, and put a good receiver sight on it (instead of the barrel), and put a good front sight on, and i found happiness there. so, my advice is to leave it unscoped and spend a couple bucks on a good receiver-mounted peep.
     
  7. DRYHUMOR

    DRYHUMOR Member

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    Try XS ghost ring sights.
     
  8. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    If you are going to mount a scope you are are on the right track with a small low powered scope. The straight 4X scopes are simple and rugged but in my opinion even 4X is too much for woods work. I like a 2-7 or even a 1.5-4 scope on a lever action.

    While scopes do not look right on a lever action to many people there is no denying they help. In good light with a deer standing in the open I have no doubts about my ability to make a kill with an iron sighted rifle at from 150-200 yards. Put that same deer in deep woods at dawn or dusk and you will not be able to make a 35 yard shot with irons. The scopes ability to transmit avalible light will allow you to identify whether it is a legal deer and see the sights. With even the best irons you will be guessing. Scopes are not just for long range work.

    Avoid the high see-through mounts like the plague. They set the scope too high to use well and make it difficult to use the irons. With a Marlins stock design you want to mount the scope as low as possible so the scope will line up with your eyes when mounted. They are not as popular as they once were but the old standard Weaver rings are cheap and in reality work just as good as anything else. If you damage your scope or just want to remove it you can use a Leatherman screwdriver, or even a knife blade in a pinch, to remove the scope in 30 seconds and us your irons. If you replace the scope I have yet to find one that did not return to perfect zero.
     
  9. woof

    woof Member

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    I have a bias against scopes on leverguns. If I had a problem with low light I'd add fiber optic sights. If I needed a scope I'd move to a bolt action.
     
  10. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    I don't deer hunt much with a rifle, but when I did, it was with a Marlin 336. I had a Bushnell 1.5 X 4X scope on it. Early and late in the day was when it really shined gathering more light than my eyes could. At 1.5X, with both eyes open it was as fast, probably faster than iron sights for me.
     
  11. moooose102

    moooose102 Member

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    if you have GOOD eyes, and hunt in thick cover, leave it as is. if your eyes arent so good, and / or you hunt in more open terrain, get the 2-7, but go larger on the objective lense. going larger there will give you way better dusk/dawn seeing capabilities. my 30-30 has the over/under scope mounts on it. it has for the past 25 years. to be totaly honest, there was only 1 time i used the open sigts hunting. the deer was about 15 feet away. my rifle has a 3-9 on it. which is fine for most hunting situations. a 2-7 would really be better for a 30-30. then you could forget about the see through mounts. you will probably never use the opens sights anyways.
     
  12. Marine_wannabe

    Marine_wannabe Member

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    Put a Simmons 3-9x40 scope on it.
     
  13. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

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    When my 336 wears a scope it is the Nikon ProStaff 2x7. Cost me all of about $120 and worth every single penny of it.

    The "see-thru" mounts are a worthless, "Rube Goldberg" item invented only to sell something else to unthnking hunters. They push the scope so high that it almost always wrecks the pressure and contact that the shooter's cheek is supposed to have on against the comb of the stock. That contact/pressure is necessary for good, consistant shooting. If you are going use "see-thru" mounts you might just as well not buy the scope OR the rifle. Save a bunch of money that way too.


    :cool:
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  14. zammyman

    zammyman member

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    The see through sight mounts are ok, they do mount the scope pretty high up but if you're hunting in a wooded area probably won't be too long a shot anyway. A nice low power scope (such as a Leupold VX-I) should do fine.
     
  15. Random Discharge

    Random Discharge Member

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    See through mounts: Puts the scope too high and sounds like those with them never use the fixed sites beneath anyway. Thanks for saving me from that mistake.

    Lots of good ideas. I'm gravitating to a low mounted scope in the 1.5x-4x range now, or around 2x if I go fixed. I'm going to sacrifice some light gathering and keep the objective small enough to not asthetically overwhelm the little lever gun. Sounds like a low power scope is fast enough to acquire that I won't give up much if any of the fast handling benefit of fixed sites.

    Time for some better informed shopping! Appreciate everyone's feedback.
     
  16. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

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    It's not so traditional looking but you might consider one of the RedDot style sites. They come in 2x and are short enough and light enough that you can still carry the rifle very near the point-of-balance. Downside is you need to carry spare batteries because sooner or later (probably sooner) you are going to forget to turn it off and the battery will be D.O.A. in about 24 hours.
    Don't get anything with a dot any larger than 3 MOA. You wouldn't have to spend a lot of money on one but steer clear of the $39 specials.

    Good Luck !
    :cool:
     
  17. Seafarer12

    Seafarer12 Member

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    I never liked scopes on my lever guns but that is just me.
     
  18. lipadj46

    lipadj46 Member

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    Not exactly a 100% correct statement as there are other variables at play such as the exit pupil size, modern coatings and also glass quality. I personally like a 40 mm scope as I think the 50 mm mount the scopes a bit too high for a handy hunting rifle. A good 40 mm scope, say a 3-9x Bushnell 4200 Elite, will be more efficient when it comes to light transmission than say a 50 mm 3-9x Leupold VX-I.

    1-4x, 2-8x or 3-9x are all great variable hunting scope types. If you like the 3-9x40 configuration the Nikon Team Primos and Bushnell Elite 4200 scopes are the best bang deal going at the moment (www.swfa.com). You can get really fast with any configuration it just takes a lot of practice aquiring targets.
     
  19. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

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    "I never liked scopes on my lever guns but that is just me."


    Gotta agree with you 100%, "Seafarer12".:) My Marlin is only scoped because I am going to do a specific shooting experiment with it. My 94 isn't scoped and I would never do so with a 94 or 92.

    :cool:
     
  20. Kansan

    Kansan Member

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    Sounds like I'll be the odd one out saying this, but I just used the iron sights (under a see-through mount) two weeks ago to get my first buck. In Kansas, a scope is a good thing, but I happened to be in some thick brush and had to take a quick shot... I couldn't acquire it with the scope since all I could see was a bunch of homogeneous branches, so I just used the iron sights. Maybe I should practice my acquiring skills with a scope (or lessen the magnification?)... maybe I'll never use the iron sights again. But that was one day I was happy to have a see-through scope mount. It wasn't with a lever action, though... it was a Rem 700.
     
  21. Big Bill

    Big Bill Member

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  22. ds92

    ds92 Member

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    i've never been a big fan of scopes. here in the northeast the longest shot you'll have to take will be no greater than 200 yds, and i usually encounter game within 50 yards. It really depends on your location. midwest? definantly. northeast? not likely.
     
  23. lipadj46

    lipadj46 Member

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    I am in western NY and I would say the average shots where we hunt are about 75 yards. Some of these shots I would not have been able to take without a scope. It can get dark in the woods at dawn or dusk and a scope can only help on these situations. In my personal experience where I hunt (which is pretty heavily wooded) a scope has only made my hunts easier and more successful and has never prevented me from taking a shot or got in the way.
     
  24. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    +1,000!

    IF and thats a pretty big if, I were to scope a 30-30 carbine, it would be with an XS Lever-Scout mount and a very low power pistol scope.
    http://www.gunaccessories.com/xssightsystems/LeverScopeMounts.asp

    Heres one on my 1894P .44 Mag.
    Nothing in the world any faster!
    [​IMG]

    For sure I would never put a 3-9x50 on one!
    Unnecessarly huge & hidious on a little 30-30 carbine!

    rcmodel
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  25. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    I'm kind of surprised at how many of us think alike in terms of scoping lever-action rifles! Scopes maybe on the likes of Winchester 88s, Marlin 56/57/62s, Savage 99s and Sako Finnwolfs (wolves? :)) levers; never on "traditional" lever rifles and carbines. Scopes certainly have their multiple uses and most of my rifles have them. Some situations like poor eyesight, long-range anticipated shooting distances or target shooting may well dictate the use of telescopic sights. But no scope ever added to the handling properties of a rifle (or a shotgun for that matter and certainly NEVER of a handgun) and almost always a scope detracts from the handling qualities of any firearm to one degree or another.

    I've always believed that the 30-30 became one of America's most popular cartridges due more to the handy carbines they were chambered in than to any inherent ballistic advantage. Slap a scope on one of these lever-actions, be it a Marlin or Winchester or their ilk, and you have diminished the intrinsically wonderful handling attributes they possess. I recommend using a Williams or Lyman receiver sight to keep the carbines quick on their feet and fast to the point.

    And like most others have opined, unless you have a very specific use for them, stay the heck away from those abominations known as "see-thru" sights!
     
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