How do you determine what scope goes on what rifle?

Wildfan99

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I shoot a lot of milsurps w iron sights.

I have a few modern hunting rifles that have scopes and a few that I would like to buy scopes for.
I do know I'll get what I pay for.

-Do you base it on what you hunt?
-What looks proportionate?
-Other factors?
-Do you use multiple scopes on the same rifle?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Tim
 
Except for my AR, all of my rifles are for hunting. I typically choose a scope based on the hunting application.

When scoping my stainless deer rifle, I did limit my scope selection to silver scopes because I liked the look. ;)
 
Tools for tasks - the scope is for the shooter to accomplish the task at hand, it’s not for the rifle.

I’ve done the “two scopes one rifle” thing, but I just don’t enjoy the paradigm. I’m pretty fluid with moving gear around, mixing and matching, but even when I build a rifle with the plan to be set up with two scopes, I always end up sticking with one of them.
 
Bingo! What do you want to do with the rifle?
I have a few rifles that I want to set up primarily for fun target shooting out to 200 yards.

I have a couple of Vortex Vipers, a
6.5-20x44 and a
4-16x50.

I know they are adequate for targets and good hunting scopes.

What scope on what rifle?
They will be going on a .338, a .308, or a .257 Roberts.

These may be dumb questions, but I've always been curious how people pick the scopes they use on certain rifles.
 
Sometimes I spend too much time trying to find period correct scopes for old rifles. But still comes down to what I plan to do with the rifle.

So then for me, it would depend on what the rifles are because I may not personally want any of those scopes on any of those rifles.
 
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How do you determine what scope goes on what rifle?
To me, firearms are "force extenders" which telegraph my force upon targets in the way of bullet holes. Regardless of application type (Hunting, target/match shooting, recreational/plinking, etc.), firearms must produce holes on target as intended.

And scopes are essentially visual adaptive devices to help us produce bullet holes exactly where we want them on target for longer distances beyond what unaided vision could accomplish with iron sights.

So I want scopes that will do exactly that:
  • Allow me to see clear, bright and sharp field of view to maximum magnification, even under low light conditions (Because I often shoot in hilly/mountainous conditions where sun sets sooner producing low light/dark shadows under 150' tree condition of late afternoon/evening)
  • Zero of cross hair that won't move after zero
  • Turrets that will move cross hair precisely and return to zero if shooting at different ranges (Say 100 to 200/300 yards and back to 100 ... If you are shooting at fixed distance, this is less of an issue)
  • If I can't use 20/30 MOA scope rail for 22LR with bullet drop or .223 at longer ranges, I want vertical turret with enough adjustment to not max out to compensate for bullet drop (Why many prefer larger 30mm tube over 1" tube scopes)
  • Scopes that will focus to MY EYES easily/readily with comfortable/workable enough "eye box"
  • Durable enough construction so occasional bumping of scope will allow continued scope use
  • If I am switching between 50 and 100 yard targets, I prefer Adjustable Objective or Side Focus for parallax adjustment that is precise (I often use them to range distance)
  • Since I am target shooting at 100 yards, scopes that allow me to clearly see .22/.223 caliber holes on target (High enough magnification) in all lighting conditions
So while Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40 will be fine for 25-50 yard target shooting and 100 yard soda can/2L bottle plinking in bright sunlight, I prefer Bushnell Dusk & Dawn 6-18x50/Burris 6.5-20x50 for 50-100 yard target shooting for groups in bright/some sunlight. (BTW, these are all 1" tube scopes. D&D has AO and Burris has side parallax that work well)

For low light/dark shadow under tall trees without sunlight, Vortex Crossfire 6-24x50/Strike Eagle 4-24x50 provide brighter field of view to clearly visualize .22 holes at 100 yards (BTW, these are larger 30mm tube scopes. Crossfire has AO and Strike Eagle has side parallax that work well). FWIW, while I use 20 MOA scope rail on 10/22 that will center the cross hair of most scopes, T/CR22 with built-in fixed picatinny rail is used with Strike Eagle that has greater vertical turret adjustment.

FYI, until I had my cataract surgery (Yellowing, darkening of eye lens that everyone gets to a differing rate over the decades), different brand scopes looked about the same (Nikon vs Vortex vs Leupold, etc.). But after cataract surgery with 100% light transmission Vivity IOL implants, even Leupold American Marksman 3-9x40 produced super bright and sharp field of view in sunlight and dark shadow that blew away all the scopes I have including Athlon 10-40x56 so now I give nod to Leupold glass quality. So if I was looking for scope to use under low light conditions, I would use Leupold as my glass quality reference standard to compare other scopes by.

I hope this helped.
 
All of these answers help, and offers insight on a big chunk of my question...
If I understand correctly, you all are generically saying to use what helps you best based on your needs and that there really isn't a "science" behind your choices.

What works for 1 person might not work best for someone else in the exact same situation?
 
What works for 1 person might not work best for someone else in the exact same situation?
Yes.

I did a lot of renovation work growing up (Parents had several rental houses) and in my 20s after 2 year building trades program after graduating from college (As homage to my custom home building family and cabinet shop grandfather), I started renovating my two rental houses and a triplex.

While I was happy with Vaughn framing hammer, when I used air compressor powered framing nail gun, I realized I could do things like toe nailing 2x4s without moving it like with a hammer which required strikes from both sides of the 2x4 or compensating for movement.

I was happy with heavy and bulky nail gun until I saw Tom Silva on This Old House use butane powered cordless Paslode nail gun. And just like that, I switched and now I have two - https://www.paslode.com/tools/cordless-xp-30-degree-framing-nailer

And now I am looking at pros/cons of cordless battery powered framing nail guns - https://www.bobvila.com/articles/best-cordless-framing-nailer/

I think it's similar with scopes. For many, we start out with fixed power or lower variable power 3-9x40 scopes that initially do what we want them to, until our needs/wants change. When higher magnification, clarity of glass and additional features are desired, we go after higher end scopes. And for some of us, we simply get tired of fussing with scopes that break, won't zero or hold zero with imprecise turrets and annoying eye boxes.

So the hammer could be the $100-$300 scopes. And the air compressor nail gun could be the $300-$500 scopes. Then cordless nail gun could be the $600-$1500+ scopes. Depending on the person, they won't part with their choice of scopes and try prying Bosch laser levels from my hands as I am done fussing with bubble levels. :)

Many people built many fine houses with hammers but you don't see too many building contractors without nail guns, especially when your joints start getting stiff. :) Into retirement, I am thinking about building a guest house/Accessory Dwelling Unit on our retirement property for wife and I (All flat without steps and attached garage) and while I will wear my familiar Vaughn hammer on my tool belt, I will have some sort of cordless nail gun in the tool belt holster for certain. ;)
 
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A science behind my choices? Given the number of times I've done the "scope dance" between rifles...."Get a better one for this rifle." "Oh, the old scope for that rifle is better than the one on this one, better switch them out." And so on down the line. So I severely doubt I've had any "science" behind it. Mostly it's what I can afford at the time and improve as I go. I never kept track, but I'll bet buying a Bushnell Matchpro for a varmint rifle caused a cascade of scope-replacement and re-zeroing that affect 6 or 8 other rifles!
 
My choice is based on the caliber and intended use. My hunting rifles have 3X9, 3.5X10 or 2.5 X10 scopes. My Varmint rifles have 3.5X15, 5.5X22, ect on them any my competition rifles have up to 10X60 on them.
 
What about putting too much scope on a gun?
Or is that just a cost thing?
Would you look at minimum magnification or maximum?
Or...
Would you consider pulling your target in as much as possible?

I guess my question revolves around why you beef up your competition scopes, unless they're 500-1000 yds or better?
 
Fit, function, then form for me.

I wont mount a scope on a rifle i dont think it fits on. The rifle has a function and the scope follows suit. I have to look at the scope as often as the gun so its form better appeal to me.

Features, including power or adjustments are decided by use and personal preference.

If im building a light package i sacrifice adjustments (focus/turrets) to gain lower weight. I also give up higher power due to the lack of adjustments.

General use optics i want more power and more adjustments (primarily image focus) but prefer to keep weight down so give up the top end of both.

Target scopes in dont care about weight and want very accurate and wide ranging tracking. I want a similar or higher magnification range and image quality to my general use scopes.

The guns are all built or chosen around similar principles.
 
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What about putting too much scope on a gun? Or is that just a cost thing?
Would you look at minimum magnification or maximum? Or...
"And scopes are essentially visual adaptive devices to help us produce bullet holes exactly where we want them on target for longer distances beyond what unaided vision could accomplish with iron sights."

You can always go bigger/higher cost.

For me, I prefer to use the smallest hammer that will do the job so I don't have to swing extra weight around. (But now shooting in retirement is mostly bench shooting, size/weight of scope is not really a factor for me ;)) And many shooters go with the minimal scope that will put rounds in the target consistently whether they are hiking/hunting or shooting from bench:
  • If your application is minute-of-deer at 100 yards hiking around and weight is a factor, lighter 3-9x40mm scope without parallax adjustment may do the job.
  • If your application is low light hunting, you will need scope/glass with coatings more suitable for low light use.
  • If your application is minute-of-deer at 200-300+ yards and hiking around, you may need higher magnification of 18x-24x and/or larger 50mm objective lens with parallax adjustment. And if weight is an issue, lighter scopes will usually cost more.
  • If your application is target shooting at 600-1000 yards, you may need higher magnification of 40x, 56mm objective lens, 30/34mm tube and best of all the scope features and weight of scope may not matter as you are shooting from bench or prone.
  • If your application is minute-of-deer at different hunting ranges (Say 100-300 yards), you may desire scope with more precise turret adjustments and First Focal Plane for calculating bullet trajectory over different ranges.
  • If your application is fixed range shooting and have older eyes needing reading glasses, you may desire Second Focal Plane with large/visible cross hair mil-dot/MOA lines/Christmas tree/BDC reticle.
  • If your application is 50-100 yard group testing in bright sunlight, 12x-20x magnification and 40/50mm objective with less precise turret adjustment/slight drifting may be OK. (Low light clarity with cheaper glass may be OK).
  • If your application is 50-100 yard group testing in low light/shade conditions, you may need scope/glass with coating more suitable for low light use.
  • If your application is 50-100 yard plinking for soda cans/2L bottles in bright sunlight, whatever will allow you to make the hits may work fine
 
"For me, I prefer to use the smallest hammer that will do the job so I don't have to swing extra weight around. (But now shooting in retirement is mostly bench shooting, size/weight of scope is not really a factor for me ;)) And many shooters go with the minimal scope that will put rounds in the target consistently whether they are hiking/hunting or shooting from bench:"


I like this thought!
Thank you!!

I have my smaller hunting scopes, just trying to find the thought process crossing into more target stuff.
 
I standardize my brand and model ,adjust magnification by caliber and distance shooting.Pa deer rifle,nj muzzleloader and nj slug gun all wear a Leupold VX-R 3-9 X 40.My 300 Win Mag wears a Leupold VX-R 4-12X40 as I shoot farther with this caliber.Scope muscle memory is standardized all around.
 
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