@ 10:29 pm (GMT)
Ben Lawdoes anybody know of any 3-15, 4-16 power scopes you can recommend.
i have 2 6-24x50's, an s3 and a vortex viper pst, but i would prefer a bit less mag, most importantly at the lower end.
i'm thinking 3.5-15x50 nightforce nxs for my main rifle.
i have seen the threads on the s-tac, 3-16 reticle is too thin, 4-20 might be ok but it would be replacing the bigger sightron s3 so its really not going to be the same quality.
i'm a bit fussy, i want a good moa hash reticle for windage, and good dialling elevation turret.
i have not used a FFP scope before and am not sure how suitable this would be on low mag for hunting.
the 3.5-10x44 s3 is lower mag than i would like at the top end, if only sightron did a 3-15x50s3 or there abouts, i have emailed them, maybe oneday they will consider it if they get enough people asking.
@ 09:31 am (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHi Ben. I cant answer your primary question, but as for FFP, Id definitely rule it out if you might be shooting in low-light at low-magnification. The topic was discussed at length in a previous post, which may be helpful to you:
@ 07:26 am (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHey Ben, I see there are new IR options out in the stac range, have not done any homework on reticle dimensions nor do I know the ins and outs of hunting if relying on IR(probably still prefer a good simple SIII Mil dot myself) BUT it's something you could look into.
I'm interested in what answers come out also.
@ 11:24 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHi Ben.
A while back I was in the same position. Looking for just such a scope for the go to rifle.
Despite being warned here and there about varying quality from Vortex, I bought a Razor HD LHT 3-15x50 with the G4 BDC illuminated reticle (only option in the 50 mm). Second focal plane. 30 mm tube.
I was lucky, and it's held up through an extensive tall target test two or three times now. It tracks 2% less then it's supposed to, but that is not a problem as long as it is consistent. All scopes I have tested have anywhere from +/- 1-4% error, so it's just a matter of being aware of it (even the three s3/ s-tacs I have tested have about 1-1,5%). The reticle has subtensions that are neither mil nor moa (even though it's callad mil), but with self developed charts, they can be used for hunting out to 400-450 meters or so in a pinch. After that there is the typical missing half step of such reticles. However, the turret is very good, with a lift and turn-function, similar to zeiss. I didn't bother installing the zero stop ring, so I have more than two full revolutions of elevation (12-13 mil as I recall), without a tilted rail. The zero stop will allow one revolution, or 6 mil If I remember correctly.
The sideways subtensions can with a bit of practice be used for wind. They are 0,6-1,2-2,3 mil, or roughly 2-4-8 moa at full magnification. Works quite allright.
If you can live with 42 mm, then you get a very good and plain moa or mil reticle, which works well for holdovers and wind. Optically the 50 mm is great, so I wouldn't be surprised if the 42 is pretty good too.
The illumination is good, but a bit cumbersome with regards to adjustments. You have to klikk all the way up, then all the way down. But not a very big deal when you get used to it. It is powerful enough for daylight forrest hunting, so that's good. But it doesn't go low enough for true night hunting under the moon etc. Then the reticle tends to illuminate the interior of the scope, stealing some degere of night vision, and the dot is simply a bit to dominant in it self (I'm used to zeiss for this application).
If not for this over-illumination and the stupid BDC reticle, but the plain moa or mil instead, it would be a near perfect hunting scope.
I also bought a second hand of the 3-15x42 predecessor with a 25 mm tube and 24 moa reticle, and it did not hold zero and/ or return to zero on the tall target test (went from 0,5 moa to 1,5 moa accuracy on both occasions). It did however hold zero at normal elevation, and the reticle was plenty precise for holdovers at 30 cm steel at 5-6-700 meters.
For clarification, when I do my tall target tests, I have measured 100 meters with a tape measure, from the target to the reticle/ turrets. Accurate to within 20 cm or 0,2%. Also good for verifying rangefinders. The target has a vertial and horizontal line, drawn/ mounted with a level. I use a 0,5 moa rifle or so, then shoot 1 shot at zero height, then dial up 10 mil/ 30 moa or whatever, fire one shot, then down again. I do this up and down for every shot till I have a 5-shot group at both elevations, of course at a very slow pace, so as to not get heat dispersion or mirage. Typically it takes me 15-20 minutes to fire those 10 shots. I've found that 3 shot groups can give a sligtly misleading impression.
By doing it like this, I am testing the scopes total tracking, it's ability to return to zero both high and low, it's ability to hold zero under recoil at high elevation, and whether the scope is canted to one side (the vertical line on the target). Canting is easilly fixed. These Razor LHT scopes don't have a vertical top post, so I use the horizontal line to control canting.
My impression is that most people just shoot a low group of 3 or 5 shots, then dial up and shoot a high group. Then the ability to return to zero is not really tested, so that can give false results.
Back to the scope - Having had one good and one half-dud (previous model), I really don't know if I can recommend it. But if you have a back up scope, and have time and will for a warranty, then perhaps it's worth a try. I'm pretty happy with mine so far.
My S-tac 4-20x50 tracks very reliably (perhaps the best out of 12-13 tested scopes this last year), and is only off by 1-1,5%. The reticle is for me just right in every way (mil ffp). Optically good, and pretty good zero stop. I taped off the windage knob, so no need for a cap. The illumination switch sucks a monumental amount of ass, so the battery is always empty. But that christmas tree is totally useless for night hunting anyway, so no big deal. I just think of it as a non illuminated scope. The eye box or perceived field of view or something is a bit narrow for quick woods hunting, so not quite an all round scope like the Razor LHT. But as a general hunting and long range scope from dawn til dusk it has increadible value for money. Will probably never sell it, unless it is to be kind to a friend in need.
@ 08:33 am (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHi Ben, like you, I find this subject quite frustrating. It is my belief that most scope manufacturers (or importers as they are these days) have lost touch with reality and that we may see a continued decline in performance for the foreseeable future. This decline comes as a result of manufacturers pursuing one variable (long range) without taking other factors (practicality) into question. Examples of these factors include eye relief, reticle thickness, bulk and the difference between shooting and hunting. The modern scopes are designed for people who spend most of their time at the range rather than in the hills. Those who spend time in the hills and who like to carry things known as backpacks, quickly realize that things like exposed turrets (no options of caps) are a major annoyance along with oversized tactical knobs (not to be confused with PRS shooting instructors).
Understand that the most recent increase in illuminated reticles did not come about due to the idea of or demand for additional features but has come about due to the fact that the reticles within many scope designs are now so thin (for the LR plinking crowd) that they have become utterly useless for bush hunting, even during the middle of the day. Illumination has been employed as a poor attempt to rectify problems created by scope makers after pursuing the market demand for paper punching optics.
There is currently very little focus on an all around scope design (bush to tops) in the 3-12 or 4-16 range you mentioned. When an example appears, ones excitement is soon lost after seeing such numbers as 3 to 3.5" eye relief. May as well just phone the scope maker and ask for a punch in the eye.
Vortex have been all over the show with quality. some good ideas (especially around power range and eye relief) but with poor execution. A local retailer here in NZ had a great run selling Vortex, but several months later found that they had more coming back for warranty claims than they were selling, also finding that with such an overwhelming number of duds, it was impossible for Vortex to honor the warranties. The only solution was to ditch the brand. Such as shame as this has been a very promising brand.
I have not spoken to Sightron for many months. The last time I had any contact, I wrote a stern email which was read aloud at a board meeting. I believe that some of this advice was taken, noting that Sightron have abandoned most of their bottom tier scopes (S1 series etc) which I stated served only to attract negative attention, sullying the brand. I still have major concerns regarding the market demand for the paper punching scopes. While I have to be realistic and accept the fact that Sightron need to make what customers 'want', I believe that is is of greater moral value to work toward the creation of scopes that people 'need', then educate the customers accordingly. It is the difference between doing the right thing and doing the easy thing.
I know that many of you have purchased S-Tac 3-16 MOA scopes and found the reticle to be utterly hopeless, in some instances completely ruining the joy of a new rifle or hunting trip. It is up to you to make contact with Sightron and to try to relay your disappointment. There is little use in me harping on at them, just one voice. Companies like Sightron need wider feedback in order to make better decisions for upcoming products.
For those looking for a very simple / basic bush to occasional long shot scope (ridge to ridge hunting), my current advice is to look toward the Leupold units, also including the very basic Freedom 4-12x40 (was VX1) which is currently available with a Tri MOA or Windplex (MOA) reticle, featuring a small / discreet CDS elevation turret. The factory turret is set in MOA rather than being matched to any caliber (the actual CDS turret can be ordered separately). The basic unit as is, is entirely suitable for hunting and is available in the most basic form (Freedom model) through to the high end units. In my experience, the Leupold scopes handle everything up to .338 Win Mag sporter level recoil. They can fall to bits internally if recoil is higher than this. Those who have read my book - LR shooting, will hopefully understand where I am going with the recommendation of the Freedom scope - see comments about my preference to use a VX1 and a coin rather than some of the junk on the market these days.
There are of course other high end brand options, it all depends on what you are willing to pay. Some however are not what they are cracked up to be and one may still encounter bulky knobs which are easily bumped when back packing, ultra fine reticles and short eye relief. Much of the industry is out of balance simply because people are spending less time hunting and more time on their computers or phones, imagining a hunting trip from an unrealistic / idealistic point of view.
For many years now I have stated that modern long range competition shooting has caused a decline in shooting skills. For a time however, the sport of long range shooting helped greatly to advance both rifle and optical designs. This ongoing demand has nevertheless run to the extremes and is now causing a decline in the quality of our hunting equipment. This subject also effects military and police users, but I do not have the time, space or inclination to go into this here.
@ 05:31 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHello,
I can't see FFP reticles on low power, and not at all in the bush. And the last thing I want is another device that needs batteries on my hunt. So Nathan your comments on Leupold cheered me up after going round in circles looking at scopes.
I'm after a hunting scope for my one rifle, to hunt from 5 to maybe 500 yards.
The 4-12 VX Freedom line has no parallax adjustment, the VX3 in 4.5-14 does.
My question is: do I need the parallax knob, and is it worth an extra $500?
@ 04:05 am (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesI dont follow, or participate in, any other online shooting forums, but I do get a kick out of watching YouTube videos to pass the time during Covid lockdown. Even the stupid ones demonstrating wound channels in melons are good for a chuckle. Heres one demonstrating a NightForce FFP scope:
@ 08:39 am (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHi Euan, for that zoom range and for those hunting ranges, no you don't need the parallax knob. You can trim it right up for bush work or go for a little extra but both work well, its entirely up to you, what you can afford etc.
From memory, I have an old youtube video or two, showing me guiding a client with a budget Savage rifle I tricked up for him, fitted with a Leopold 3-9x40 VX1 (no turrets). Rather than a kestral or phone app, the client had a coin in his pocket. See also my 7mm RUM videos (VX1 4-12x40 with retrofitted elv turret, not really any different to the current CDS jobs).
I just want to add, I still think that the Sightron 3-16 is an excellent concept. But in order to really make this into something worthwhile, I believe that hunters need to contact Sightron and give them a good tune up. That way we might all win.
@ 01:04 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesthanks for the replies everybody!
a bit more investigation is needed, 3-16 stac in duplex may be an option, along with s3 3.5-10x44 mildot although im not sure on availability as they seem to be a discontinued model.
i emailed sightron about these issues, didn't get a reply. maybe if they get more similar feedback they might decide to come up with something more usable.
@ 02:14 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopeshiram 4-16 combo scope is pretty good for beginners in love it it has a green laser flashlight as well as the scope and its reasonable on amazon about $120
@ 10:12 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesJamel............ You're taking the piss right?????
Ben. How much do you want to spend? Check out these Wellington based kiwi guys? I have never used them so don't know anything about them.... They have quite a few brands from cheap to really expenSIVE!!! NightForce ATACR 1-8X24 $6.5k wow!!!
or this Vanguard Endeavor RS IV 1.5-6x42 for $619.99 NZD including GST and shipping
No harm in looking eh? Cheers mate let us know how you get on with your search.... Cheers mate Warwick
@ 09:48 am (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesWarwick 3-15x50 is around what i'm looking for.
Nightforce 3.5-15x50 NXS MOAR is where I'm looking for my main rifle.
Sightron SIII 3.5-10x44, Stac 3-16x42 duplex, 4-20x50 Moa 2 is where i'm considering for my number 2.
@ 07:55 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHi.
Regarding the Nightforce NXS zerostop, does anyone know if it locks the turret in some way, so that it's not accidentally dialed up? For hunting puposes, I'm a fan of either capped turrets or a lift and turn or button locked zerostop like zeiss/ s&b pm2/ vortex lht (and Leupold cds?). Or something like the locking ring on the S-tac, which creates enough friction to prevent accidental upwards dialing. Does anyone know if the NF has a similar friction when the turret is dialed down against the zero stop, or is it just a sudden stop with no "stickyness"? A zero stop that only prevents downwards dialing doesn't quite cut it for hunting in my opinion. Especially with large, edgy turrets that snags on everything.
@ 12:42 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHere's another idea to add to the mix...
Over here in Victoria, the Vixen 2.5-15 x 50 scopes are very popular for hunting. They have a nice elegant design with capped turrets, good quality Japanese glass and a range of practical reticles (mil-dot is particularly popular). They also come in red-dot illuminated versions.
Vixen are not that well-known compared to other brands, they specialize in astronomy optics like telescopes and astro-binos. Their rifle scopes, binos and range finders have a quiet but dedicated following over hear among experienced sambar deer hunters who need tough, reliable, high quality gear.
The 2.5 x 50 in illuminated mil-dot can be bought for around $1100AUD if you look around.
I also have a Sightron STAC 4-20x50 which I really love, but find the Vixen a little more practical for use in the field due to the lighter weight, covered turrets and practical reticle.
@ 12:43 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHi Magnus, the NXS just stops when you dial it down to the zero stop. It cannot be locked into position. The turret dials are however very robust, the click detents are very heavy.
Talking with a client / reader today who was in the market for this power range. He bought a Vortex, but it was from their Japanese Razor line. The rest are I believe still made in the Philippines. This is a cross over hunting tacticool scope. Pluses are the Japanese manufacture, good eye relief and capped windage.
The reticle is not thick but has good leads (heavy posts) and like many, has illumination to help offset the problem of a finer reticle. This reticle is nevertheless thicker than the S-TAC. Reticle thickness of the Razor is .2 MOA (@15x) versus the 3-16 S-TAC at .08. The budget model Leupold Tri MOA 3-9x40 is around .3 MOA at 9 power. The Razor is however quite expensive.
There is a video on the page - I don't really understand the point of it. You'll get more and better info from a Russell Coight video:
I also took the time to check over the latest from Burris last week. Sorry - I deleted the exact model from my mind in disgust. Was another mid power type scope but with a very short body that may not line up to all actions. The reticle was difficult to see in daylight other than against a white background, another one catering to paper shooting but supposedly good for tactical or hunting purposes.
@ 04:28 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesok resident Bush Hobbit here,going to chuck my 2c worth in.
you say,intermediate range...so 0-400mtrs/yards ..... well thats fine n dandy just right up my alley.....
talking hunting,so ASSUMABLY red hind be usual target ......
well for last 30 years a 3x9x40mm has been my go to scope....was nikko stirling gold crown (older Japanese ones) then leupold vx1 the nikko stirling has best field of view of any scope Ive tried....shot hundreds of animals using them...new ones arent a patch on old ones.
mt 270 now wears my awesome fixed 4x M8 loopy and to be honest it probably wont come off again.... I dont often shoot past 300 yards....can count on one hand the amount of times I have shot deer that far so 4x will do it ,just.
still have 3x9x50 on 223 as often shoot wallabies out past 200 yards,bit of magnification helps for those sitting shots where have time to get down n steady.
have an older higher speced loopy on another varmit rifle but in poor light the top end isnt any good...anything past 7x and gets too dark...shot two hares the other evening 200-300 yards and was following 2nd one through scope waiting for it to stop..it was a dark blur when it did,then fluff n steam cloud as 50grn berger hit LOL.
I agree 100% with idea that simple is often better........heck I hope it is or no hope for a simple man like myself.
I dont dial up or use range finder.....I have confirmed distance using google earth when arrived home...my guestimation wasnt far off.
@ 07:27 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHi.
Thanks for the reply on the NXS, Nathan. Very useful. Will spend that money elsewhere then. Those clicks would have to be heavy enough to be un-clickable for me to trust it for hunting (snap shooting).
That Razor you linked to is the one I've got, but in 50 mm and that other reticle. I used it as my main scope last hunting season, and also got quite a bit of range time before, during and after. I stand by my statement that it is or could be a near perfect hunting scope (if long range hunting and target practice is part of the equation). I also stated that G4 BDC reticle is stupid. With that I was reffering to the subtensions. The thickness of the posts and cross is very similar to a standard Duplex (Leupold etc). Good for hunting. It works well into the twilight under a thick canopy. No need for batteries for such purposes. One can also just make out the reticle against the animals under a good moon, without the illumination on. But for accurate shooting, light must be on. It is of course not nearly as thick as a classic German 4 reticle (first focal plane), which it gets it's name from. But those are over the top and over the hills, and with a more narrow field of use. If Vortex could only make this exact reticle with clean 0,5 mil or 2 moa subtensions down to 5 mil or 16-20 moa, and half that to the sides..
On the other hand, in that previous model with the 25 tube I had that clean moa reticle (no illumination), and it was thick enough for hunting in the woods, as kind of implied by your talk with that other reader. And like you say, the horizontal posts/ leads were good. But i would prefer vertical leads up and down as well. Don't know if the previous model was made in the Philippines or Japan. Anyway it is possible that the whole Razor line is generally more reliable than the rest from Vortex.
These hunting Razors (LHT) are a bit cheaper than the purely tacticool Razors, and here in Norway they cost roughly the same as a Sightron S3 6-24x50.
I could not see the point with that video either. In fact, that music with the standard heroic chord progression made it impossible for me to finish the damn thing. That other video you posted was time better spent.
There is a good chance I will try out the 3-15x42 with the mil-hash reticle one day. If so, I will post the verdict.
Hannah - I will check out Vixen scopes. Sounds interesting. Do you know how they are on tracking and holding/ returning to zero? That is make it or break it for a scope where dialing is on the menu.
@ 12:02 am (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHannah that 2.5-15x50 vixen doesn't look too bad, ill have a closer look at that, i have a pair of vixen bino's that are nice.
Mike, my expected range is 20-700m, i should have been more clear, otherwise i do like fixed power idea for closer stuff.
Magnus, exposed turrets will turn in the bush, i check mine every so often. the most mine have moved is about 2 moa so no big deal for a <50m snap shot on a deer.
Russel Coight, one of my all time favorite bushmen!
How is the 4-20x50 moa2 s-tac on 4x in thick bush at 30m, usable or crap? i've heard the field of view is a bit narrow on the s-tacs?
The 3-16 duplex s-tac could be the go, negative is there no holdover marks for windage.
@ 04:25 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesHi there Magnus. I haven't personally done any tracking tests with my Vixen, however a friend who is an ex-army rifle trainer and gear reviewer for Australian hunting publications has on a number of models of their scopes. They seem to perform very well in these tests. I will be taking mine to the range this weekend so will try to do some box and vertical tests and post the results.
Hi Ben, yeah there are not many reviews but have a look at some of the materials available on Australian hunting forums, sites like Errol Mason's Secrets of the Sambar, etc.
I concur with the comments and ongoing discussions re: Sightron FFP reticles. My 4-20x50 is in mil-hash and illumination is a must pretty much all the time (except when at the range at medium/high magnification). At low magnification the reticle is almost useless without illumination, especially in the bush. Always a bummer if the battery runs out and I don't have a spare on me!
@ 07:47 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesIve just purchased my first Sightron, a S Tac 3-16x42 FFP mil/mil with illuminated reticle . I had the same problem
Trying to choose a scope! the recticle on my scope is a nice simple hash marked crosshairs that are a good thickness. Also
It is in mil/mil which is the same as my vortex Diamondback FFP 4-16x 44 so they are consistent when swapping between Rifles.
@ 05:03 am (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesThe cost of having Leopoldo make you a CDS turret is built-in to the cost of the scope. You give them your zero-distance, MV, BC, sight-height, average altitude and temperature (plus, oddly, caliber, weight, and bullet type, which seem superfluous). They make you a no-brainer turret etched with yardages. Say you zero at 100 yards. What are the chances the turret they make for you will be correct at 500 yards? The BC you give them will likely be manufacturers published BC, which may not be correct to begin with, or coming out of your gun. Magnus would calculate the actual BC by shooting groups at 500 yards. Then he would simply tape a drop chart on the scope or stock and be done with it. The CDS system seems like a marketing gimmick with game-wounding ramifications.
@ 06:07 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopes
The cost of having Leopoldo make you a CDS turret is built-in to the cost of the scope. You give them your zero-distance, MV, BC, sight-height, average altitude and temperature (plus, oddly, caliber, weight, and bullet type, which seem superfluous). They make you a no-brainer turret etched with yardages. Say you zero at 100 yards. What are the chances the turret they make for you will be correct at 500 yards? The BC you give them will likely be manufacturers published BC, which may not be correct to begin with, or coming out of your gun. Magnus would calculate the actual BC by shooting groups at 500 yards. Then he would simply tape a drop chart on the scope or stock and be done with it. The CDS system seems like a marketing gimmick with game-wounding ramifications.
It gets worse than that for the custom dial systems, even if you do the drop testing at longer ranges to verify BC and MV. I just checked on the app I use to produce drop charts comparing 2 places in NZ that I shoot long range, Galatea for Rusa Deer and Tekapo for Tahr. The difference in drop at 500 yards based on "likely" temperatures and altitudes was 5 inches. Not good!
@ 07:53 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesThank you Nathan for explaining the demise of decent hunting scopes, may stop me banging my head against a wall when I see a potential suitor only to have my hopes dashed by the reasons explained.
Any experts on crowd funding here? What would it take to get a Foster designed scope line going in this day and age? Or am I dreaming?
That is if of course if the Fosters were interested.
@ 09:20 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesLeupold VX-5HD 3-15X44 look ok and have a few different reticle options.
The Vortex Razor hd LHT 3-15x44 mentioned earlier in this thread looks ok too, that g4 reticle WTF?
Both fairly lightweight, i'm happy to carry something a bit heavier.
@ 11:52 am (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesJust reposting a link to a reticle vid (S-Tac 4-20) for those interested:
@ 06:38 pm (GMT)
Re: intermediate range scopesThat is a very useful video. That s-tac moa reticle looks almost as hopeless as the moa reticle in the s
S3 3,5-10×44, which is utterly hopeless. It can somtimes be difficult to see aginst a dark background in broad daylight.
The s-tac 4-20x MIL FFP reticle on the other hand, has fairly thick leads/ posts on the sides and top. It is no problem to see the reticle at 4x in the woods in the morning and evening, and at 6x the leads are quite heavy. Still not a very good night scope, though.
Has anyone compared the the MIL FFP reticle in the 4-20x and the 3-16x s-tac?