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Best 3-9x40 hunting scope for $300ish?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Red State, Jan 4, 2010.

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  1. Red State

    Red State Member

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    Just like the title says, I am looking for a good scope for my bolt action 30.06. I use this gun for everything - deer, elk, pigs - and at all ranges.

    I don't need target turrets or AO, but I do want quality and I do want some kind of ranging/holdover reticle.

    So for this price range, what would you get? Here is what I am looking at:

    -Nikon Team Primos 3-9x40 with BDC reticle $250 at Midway
    -Sightron SII 3-9x42 with hunter holdover $262 at Midway
    -Bushnell Elite 3200 3-9x40 with DOA reticle $300 at Midway
    -Nikon Monarch 2-8x36 with BDC reticle $300 at Midway
    -Vortex Viper 3-9x40 with dead-hold BDC $300 at Midway
    -Sightron SII Big Sky 3-9x42 with hunter holdover $330 at Midway (clearance price for factory sample)

    Thank you in advance for your thoughts. I know that I left some good brands off the list (Burris, Leupold), but right now I am only interested in the scopes listed above.
     
  2. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    I have a .30-06 with a holdover reticle (Burris Fullfield II). It is designed to be sighted in at 100 yards, with marks at 200, 300, 400 and 500.

    I would not buy it again. The reticle is distracting, and 100 yards is too close for the .30-06, with a potential +/-3" MPBR between 260 and 285 yards. When I shoulder the rifle quickly, my eye doesn't naturally go to the center of the crosshair, where it should. After shooting it a bunch, my eye naturally looks at the tick marks instead.

    So, I know nothing about the scopes you list, specifically, but I will say this: if the holdover system of a scope requires you to sight it in for 100-yards in the middle of the crosshair, DO NOT buy it. With a .30-06, you should be able to point and shoot to at least 220 yards, without having to overthink. Hunting game at closer ranges doesn't usually give you a lot of time to ponder.

    Leupold's holdover system wants a standard 200-yard sight-in for .30-06, and the dots for 300, 400 and 500 are not obtrusive. I'd at least LOOK at the VX-II before plunking down the money for another -- just so you know what to look for. That's the kind of holdover system I'd buy, or one very similar to it, and NO OTHERS, for hunting purposes, IF I GET ANY AT ALL.

    I just bought and scoped another .30-06. It has a simple duplex reticle, and I sighted it in at 200 yards. I can learn my holdover without a special reticle, much more easily than I can aim instinctively and quickly with a bunch of lines to distract me. I don't want any extra crap in my field of vision any more, for a 0-400 yard general-purpose rifle -- BTW I got a 2-7x33mm, too. It's lighter, mounts lower for a better cheek weld, doesn't make the rifle top-heavy, and I found out (the hard way) that I want 2X for close shots.

    Food for thought, is all.:)

    I'm not trying to sell you on any particular scope, just passing on what I've paid to learn in cash and lost deer while hunting on foot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  3. HGUNHNTR

    HGUNHNTR Member

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    Nikon Monarch I like the plex reticle myself, getting a deer to stand broadside to use the BDC is sometimes difficult:) Not to mention it clutters up the image.

    1 piece tube vs. Leupolds 2 piece.

    Fully Multicoated lenses.

    Superb durability and performance.
     
  4. 257WM_CDL-SF

    257WM_CDL-SF Member

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    Definatly look t the Sightrons.I got a Big Sky and it ws wy clearer to me than the Leupold and Nikon its on par with the Ziess Conquest in optics
     
  5. Badkharma

    Badkharma Member

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    At what range did you get your last deer with that .30-06? Just curious.
     
  6. cal74

    cal74 Member

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    I don't own a Burris Fullfield II, but have a few friends with them and I think they're a very good scope for the money. Myself I like the LR duplex they offer, but can see why some people would think it would be to cluttered.

    Personally I'd just pick up a used VXII or VX-II Leupold 3-9 for the 180-210 range that they go for and call it a day. Lifetime warranty, great optics for the money.

    Keep an eye out on feebay or one of these hunting forums classifieds sections, or just make a post saying what your looking for.
     
  7. Boba Fett

    Boba Fett Member

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    $269 - Mueller Tac II 3-10X44

    Mueller scope Tac II, 3-10x44mm, made in Japan. I know it isn't on your list, but I've found that it often gets overlooked. If you've already looked at it and decided against it, from your list, I've had good luck with Nikon scopes in the past.

    http://swfa.com/Mueller-3-10x44-Tac-II-Riflescope-P9137.aspx

    You can get it for less if you shop around and find a place with a coupon or a sale. Find a few sites that have the scope and check RetailMeNot.com to see if there are any coupon codes for that site which would apply for use with your scope purchase.


    Read the review over at Sniper Central:
    http://www.snipercentral.com/muellertac2.htm

    I even ordered the "tactical" knobs from Mel at Sniper Central. I don't know if he has anymore of them, but if you get the scope and want some nicer knobs, send him an email. Don't get me wrong, the standard knobs are nice and will work for most people's applications...I just wanted the bigger / more tactile knobs.


    The scope has been good to me so far. Put it on my Savage 10FCP and I can do 0.5 MOA or better with the setup.

    http://www.muelleroptics.com/
    Scope:
    mueller-tac2b.jpg
    mtac31044.jpg

    Factory knobs:
    mueller-tac2a.jpg

    Knobs from Sniper Central:
    mueller1.jpg
     
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    For the record, I would get a drop reticle for a dedicated long-range antelope rifle or something, with two requirements.

    1. It would have to be a FLAT-shooting round, so my initial sight-in would be 300 yards (e.g., Leupold's BDC with a .257 Weatherby Magnum). If I KNOW the rifle is primarily for 400+ yards, I don't want to sight it in at 100 or 200, and I want to walk around with it set to low magnification, knowing that I can point-and-shoot out past 300 yards if I see game. (Drop reticles generally require the scope to be cranked up all the way.)
    2. I'd want the drop marks to be unobtrusive, so that the scope doesn't become a PITA for closer shots on running game.

    Here's what happened to me this year, after I got a nasty flu for most of mule deer season, after I pulled a controlled tag:

    I went out, still not feeling all that great, with only a couple of days to spare, in nasty weather and heavy wind. Thank god for the ATV hunters, because they drove all the deer into sheltered canyons, and the ATV guys don't go where they can't drive.:D

    So, I climbed to the tallest peak in the area, waited for the sun to start coming up, and started glassing. I found deer in the bottom of a canyon. I hiked around to see how close I could get, but the walls were too steep and covered with shale hidden under sparse vegetation. The best spot I could reach safely was 289 yards by laser to the deer. So I got into position on a boulder and tried to steady the rifle against the gusts.

    Problem #1. To use the drop reticle, I had to crank the scope to 9X. To make a 289-yard shot at about a 30 degree angle downward, with a .30-06 sighted in at 200, you just hold a few inches high, if that, and shoot. You can set the scope however you want. But with the BPLEX, the primary crosshair is sighted in at 100 yards. That means I pretty much HAD to use the drop reticle for an effective 250 yard shot, since the drop is around 10", not the 3" or so it would be on a rifle sighted in at 200. That's right: a shot well within the .30-06 MPBR capabilities, and I had to use the stupid reticle because the gun had to be sighted in at 100 yards. Dumb.

    Problem #2. The wind was really blowing, so I chose not to take the shot. I also figured that, if I couldn't climb down, I could never get that deer anyway if I hit it. So, I took my bearings, hiked back down to my Jeep, drove around the hill, and found a spot where I could try to climb up from the other side. I was still not feeling all that well, but I wanted to hunt, so my head was probably not quite clear. As I was hiking in, I jumped a deer at 20 yards or less. Before I could shoulder the rifle, it was gone. So I followed it up the canyon. Sure enough, I got another chance, so I shouldered the rifle and #$%^ if it the !@#$ thing wasn't set to 9X with that stupid bunch of lines in it! No time to do anything, so I took a premature shot, and missed. Worked the bolt, shot again, missed.

    Having practiced a lot out to 325 yards with the drop reticle, my eye naturally went to the 300 yard marker, and between that and nervously trying to find the !@#$ deer in the 9X scope at 50 yards, I flat-out missed. Again.

    Would that have happened if I were feeling 100% instead of getting over the flu and running on sudafed? Maybe not. NEXT TIME I sure will remember to carry the rifle at 2X or 3X. Without the BPLEX in the gun, I probably would never have had it on 9X to start with, though... And with a more standard 200-yard zero, I would never have had to fool with anything at all.

    Again, food for thought.:)
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  9. Grassman

    Grassman Member

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    I just got a Leupold VX-1 3.9X40 at Academy for $239.00. I like it.
     
  10. homers

    homers Member

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  11. chas08

    chas08 Member

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    I would personally spend a little more and buy a Leupold VX II. But of the ones you have listed I would pick the Nikon Monarch.
     
  12. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Member

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    WEAVER....Can't beat them for the money. They have been good sellers for us, with no problems.
     
  13. Red State

    Red State Member

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    Thank you all for your responses.

    Nothing against Leupold or Weaver, they just dont have exactly what I am looking for at this price point.
     
  14. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    Save few bucks & look at the Nikon Prostaff 3X9X40 BDC. I just picked up my second for $149.00 on ebay, no tax, no shipping. I cannot tell the difference between the monarch & prostaff other than prestige & price. Brilliant scope for the money.
     
  15. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Member

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    I have a Burris Fullfield II and unlike the poster above I love mine. I normally sight in for 100 yards as that's just what works for me. The little dots under the crosshair doesn't distract me and I really like them as they do help you if you are taking longer shots. It's the clearest scope I've used and quite a bit clearer looking to me than the Leupold VX-I I have. It's also the best I've used in low light situations too. Overall, I love it and would highly recommend it.

    The others you listed are supposed to be great too I just have no personal experience with them.
     
  16. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    SWFA has a lot of the scopes, shipped, for a bit less than you have listed. Good reputation, just call first to see if the model you want is in stock before ordering, it isn't realtime stock status. Those are all good scopes.
     
  17. Wirenut1212

    Wirenut1212 Member

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    I have a Burris on my tikka in 7 mag and love it top line at 200 yards rest fall in at 100 yards each, they don't distract me in the least. Have taken Arkansas whitetail out far enough to make my hunting buddy say gezz after going to pick up the deer and looking back at my stand. But I think a scope is like a gun confort and trust are the two main things if you like it and believe in the set up you will shoot better or atleast I do.
     
  18. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

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    My vote is for the Nikon Team Primos or the Bushnell Elite 3200, both are equally good; IMO Bushnell has better CS, and the Nikon costs a little less, take your pick. FWIW, none of your choices are at all bad.

    :)
     
  19. Redneck with a 40

    Redneck with a 40 Member

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    I also have a Burris Fullfield II on my mini-14 and I love it. Bright and clear, good low light performance, best scope around for $200 in my opinion, performs as well as some scopes that cost twice as much.

    I have a Nikon Pro-Staff on my .308, its good, but the Burris beats it for a little more money, its noticeably brighter and the image more crisp.
     
  20. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    I was gonna say leupold mk IV, or the nikon team primos, but the big sky
    by Sightron is proly too good to pass up.
     
  21. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Member

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    well if the Leupold and weaver are not what your after, then I would have to agree with ranger and say look at the Sightron SII
     
  22. Victor1Echo

    Victor1Echo Member

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    I noticed that the Monarchs and Buckamasters were sleeker looking, and I think they have knobs to grab,rather than using a dime for elevation. Great scopes! Be sure to check em out, I think you will be surprised.
     
  23. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    If I hunted from a stand, and laser ranging points along all possible shooting lanes was a good way to ease the boredom while waiting for a deer, a scope with a 100 yard zero and tick marks for 200, 300, etc. probably wouldn't bother me. It does work great for reactive targets that don't run away, too. It's fun for popping faraway balloons.

    However, for hunting on foot, in the open West, a 100 yard zero, a distracting reticle, and the requirement that the scope is cranked to maximum power to determine the drop, are all significant downsides IMO. Like I said, some of the scopes in question use a 200 yard zero for .30-06 and their drop reticles. If you're convinced you want the extra tick marks, at least make sure you're not limited to a 100 yard zero -- unless you only hunt from a stand, in which case you can be a lot less picky about your rig in general.
     
  24. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Member

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    Seems like there are a truck load of fancy pants reticles to be had nowadays.
    So let's see, hmmm...the average high power rifle round, we'll pick the 30-06, it is pretty popular....

    Launching say a ....165gr SST, at 2800FPS, and all things equal, you will drop off a whole 3.4" at 200y..... 13" at 300y..... 29 or so at 400y and so on.

    Can you tell what 3" is on the side of a deer? If at 300y hold at the top of the back...it gets trickier at 400y and on, but instead of all that reticle clutter why not use some good ol' kentucky windage?
     
  25. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    +1 on ebay. I got a couple Leupolds for 25% under retail, and recently got a Buckmasters for $91, brand new.

    Out of the options given in the OP, I'd go with either of the Nikons. Good stuff.
     
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