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Scope Recommendation for 270WSM to 500m

18 Apr 2012
@ 12:06 am (GMT)


This question is on behalf of a mate of mine. He has ordered a 270WSM and after discussion I think the best he will shoot out to is 500m for Tah in a pinch. Most hunting would be done from 50m to 250m for pigs and Red Deer. He has a penchant for illuminated reticles and Leupold scopes. After reading advice from Nathan he will most likley use a load that includes 150grn SSTs.

What scope would you recommend. Would you use an illuminated reticle? What reticle would you use? Given the range of hunting distances what do you think of a 6500 Bushnell? What Leupold would you recommend?

Thanks in advance


19 Apr 2012
@ 07:30 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Scope Recommendation for 270WSM to 500m
Hi Deerndingo, if you look through the site, you'll see that I am a Sightron dealer, so I am biased in this regard. I was a fan before I became a dealer, I used to fit these to client rifles at cost, now I am the agent so we get a little something back out of the trade.

Right, 500 meters (U.S spelling), is 549 yards. It can be hard to understand this so you'll have to trust me a bit, but once your mate starts shooting out to 500 meters, its not really any different than shooting out to 900 meters. The scope requirements are the same. Actually, it reminds me of farming a bit. You need the same farm equipment for 10 acres as you do for 100 acres. So with an understanding of this, shooters need to be mindful of intermediate scope designs that are neither fish nor foul, those that utilize ballistic reticles and funky scope dials of proprietary designs. What is required, it a simple dial capable turret.

OK, the Bushnell brand is fairly good. The major factor to be aware of, is that the turrets are not true to MOA, they are quite out of whack. But- they are repeatable. When using this brand of scope to take long shots, the user has to learn how to make turret error conversions on microsoft excel. Some phone apps have scope error conversions in them but you need to realize that this can be slow, I recommend shooters always have printed charts at hand.

The Leupold turrets are also mis calibrated for MOA. On the high end units (including the Mk 4), the turrets give 1" per 4 clicks rather than 1 MOA which like the Bushnell, can ruin a shot at 500 meters. So again, the user has to be proficient with Excel. For this reason, I tend to recommend the VX 1 line as I don't see the point in paying big money for a dial scope that is not true to MOA. The user may as well use the coin slot on a VX 1 and use that for longer shots.

The calibration of the modern VX1 is 1.3" per 1 supposed MOA of travel. Its cheap, its a good start for guys on a severely limited budget. If they ant a high end scope later, they can purchase a proper dial capable scope, either Sightron or Nightforce. In between these scopes, there is the potential for a whole lot of disappointment, especially with the expensive Euro brands. Remember though, this is with regard to being able to take long shots with the .270 WSM.

I rate the Sightron SIII 6-24x50 MD as being of much higher quality in every regard than the Leupold Mk4. I have past clients who have traded from the Mk4 to the SIII who will back that up.

The Nikon Tactical brand is good if you can find something at the right price.

Illuminated reticles are the last factor on my priority list. As you can see from the above, there is not much point in having an illuminated reticle if the scope isn't up for the shot in the first place. Both Sightron and NF offer illuminated reticles. I don't use them myself and I shoot till its well dark but that's what I am used to. I think, if you want to get into illuminated reticles, be prepared to spend big bucks because it is a feature that needs to be on a long list of/with other good features as opposed to a strand alone feature.

This post may be a bit hard to digest from the outset. Most guys will understand what I am explaining from a mechanical stand point, but less will understand just how relevant this is. Unfortunately (from a financial standpoint), understanding is often achieved via hind sight. The trick is to take one step at a time, don't run before you can walk.

Extreme budget long range rifle. A Savage .308, sniper taped to improve grip on the stock, Leupold VX 1 4-12x40 scope. A tack driver out to about 650 yards in the hands of an intermediate experienced user.

My Sightron 6-24 MD in the evening light, set on 6 power. Range from memory is 350 yards. Note the long eye relief, bright picture, the 6 power is actually stronger than the 6 power setting in the scope below. Its also a much stronger zoom than than the Leupold brand as well. Note also the crisp cross hairs. The Mil dots are very handy for windage.

A Swaro on 6 power. The eye relief is very short (hence the red eye setting on my camera giving off a reflection). The cattle appear smaller than in the pic above.

A Nightforce on 22 power. Lenses come from the same factory as Sightron so the two are optically identical. Again, good to have windage hash marks. Nightforce give the user options of 1 MOA or 2 MOA elevation and windage stadia within the reticle. Sightron now use a similar reticle in the MOA models.



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