OpticsTalk by SWFA, Inc. Homepage SWFA     SampleList.com
Forum Home Forum Home > Scopes > Rifle Scopes
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - "Budget" optics for deer hunting
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Visit the SWFA.com site to check out our current specials.

"Budget" optics for deer hunting

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
johnnybravoo77 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper
Avatar

Joined: March/04/2012
Location: MI
Status: Offline
Points: 9
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnnybravoo77 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: "Budget" optics for deer hunting
    Posted: January/04/2020 at 08:39
The choices available hurt my brain! But, so many knowledgeable people in this forum, im hoping i can get some direction. I hunt in Michigan, setting on a field edge which turns into hardwoods about 125-150yds away. I want some new glass for my 7mm wsm, currently wears an older nikon buckmasters 4.5x14x42 sf. It has been a great scope for the money, but it hold me back in low light just a bit.
I have a loopy VX-3i 3.5x10x40 on another rifle that allows me to see much, much better in low light, so i want something equal to,  or better.

Wants-
Low light performance 
Eye relief/ good eye box, my nikon is a bit finicky with eye box. Are eye relief and eye box directly related? I love having closer 4in of eye relief. 

At least 14x

Simple reticle, max range is 4-500yds. Most shots under 200.

Budget..... ive got almost $400 in gift cards to cabelas/bass pro, so id like stay under $800. If elsewhere my budget will drop a to maybe 5-600.

I have been looking at the vx-3i 4.5x14x50 sf cds zl which is $750 at cabelas. Fov is less than ideal, but it checks all the other boxes on my wants. 

Back to Top
Sgt. D View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: February/20/2008
Location: North Carolina
Status: Offline
Points: 4197
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sgt. D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2020 at 09:42
Welcome to the OT!
Look at the newer Nikon prostaff or Monarch as their lens coatings and turrets are hard to beat for the $. And they are in another dimension compared to the old buckmaster. Word is out that Nikon is going to stop making scopes so they are getting scarce. There is a monarch on the Sample list that I would use to hunt with. It is only 10X and I'd like to have 12 or 14X at 500yds but 10X would do fine if it allowed me to see in those last 30 seconds of shooting light (Link below). They also have several SWFA SS scopes on the list (too many to link here) that could meet your needs. I can't speak specifically to the SWFA low light comparison but there are several guys here that know them very well. If you see something on the sample list you can talk with the SWFA staff for a possible trade or prices. To get into the very best low light scopes you would need to spend 2K+ and that is why I so often recommend the Nikon line because they really do out preform most other scopes for low light in the under 2K budget. Other scopes to consider are Meopta, Vortex and I do like Leupold but they are seriously over priced for what you get compared to these others. And do not make the mistake that so many have and get a Ziess conquest or terra. I rather have a Simmons or Bushnell for the bad experiences I have seen so many hunters have with those two. I had to return a conquest 3 times to finally get one that would hold zero. And the one we did finally get to hold zero, the tracking on the turrets was terrible.
 
I had a 7WSM I built for competition that was stupid accurate. Great rifle but had to give it up because brass was a nightmare to get. Mine didn't have heavy recoil but it was on the heavy side. Never noticed any eye relief issues with the scopes mentioned here.
 
Lets see what some of the other guys recommend.
 
Good luck with it and let us know what you decide to get.
 
 

Nikon 2.5-10x50 Monarch 7 30mm Rifle Scope DEMO-A   16370, Matte, Advanced BDC, Side Focus      $649.95

Take care of Soldiers, Show em how its done and do it with em, Run to the Fight & and hold your ground! I die my men go home! If you're a NCO and this ain't you. GET OUT! GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Back to Top
johnnybravoo77 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper
Avatar

Joined: March/04/2012
Location: MI
Status: Offline
Points: 9
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnnybravoo77 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2020 at 12:44
Thanks for input Sarge. The deals are tempting for the Nikons, but with them getting out of the business, there is basically no warranty. Thats turns me off a bit.
Back to Top
RifleDude View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar
EVIL OPPRESSOR

Joined: October/13/2006
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 16151
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2020 at 16:29
Just curious, why is “at least 14x” on the top end a necessity for woods deer hunting with most shots under 200 yds? I have a lot of hunting rifles, and all but a couple of them have scopes topping out at no more than 10x. I’ve hunted in a lot of places over 4+ decades, and I’ve never felt the need for more magnification. In fact most of my shots at deer were taken with my scope set on 4x or 6x.

If you dial back the magnification a bit, your options open up considerably and you can get better optical performance for less $. There are quite a few very good hunting scopes available in your budget, but very limited choices when limited to only high magnification.
Ted


Money can't buy happiness... but it's much more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.
Back to Top
Urimaginaryfrnd View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar
Resident Redneck

Joined: June/20/2005
Location: Iowa
Status: Offline
Points: 14582
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Urimaginaryfrnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2020 at 17:59
When you are comparing your 4.5-14x42 with your 3.5-10x40 there are things you need to know regarding how bright a scope looks.   A 6x42 scope will look bright.  And  at 7x a 50mm objective will be the same level of brightness, and at 8x a 56mm objective will be the same brightness so long as the glass is the same quality. Better glass always has an advantage but there is a relationship between how high the power of the scope is and how bright it appears in low light. Having a larger objective always helps.   So when the light gets close to dark simply dial the scope down to 6x or lower with a 42mm objective and watch how much brighter the image appears in the same scope. If your are using your gift cards consider stepping up in glass quality. 

Swarovski Optik Z3 Rifle Scope - 4-12x50mm

remember that ballistic reticles are used at the maximum power of the scope, but if you spend some time on the range you can figure out what the marks below center represent at 4x also by zeroing the rifle at either 100 or 200 yds then go back in 100 yd increments shoot at the center X letting the strikes on paper fall below the X then go up mark them with spray paint and go back and look through the scope with it now on 4x to see what lines match what distance.

 


"Always do the right thing, just because it is the right thing to do".
Bobby Paul Doherty
Texas Ranger
Back to Top
Urimaginaryfrnd View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar
Resident Redneck

Joined: June/20/2005
Location: Iowa
Status: Offline
Points: 14582
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Urimaginaryfrnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2020 at 18:05
For those actually  looking for Budget Optics for deer hunting:

Redfield Revolution Scope - 3-9x40mm - Accu-Range Reticle


"Always do the right thing, just because it is the right thing to do".
Bobby Paul Doherty
Texas Ranger
Back to Top
johnnybravoo77 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper
Avatar

Joined: March/04/2012
Location: MI
Status: Offline
Points: 9
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnnybravoo77 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2020 at 18:49
14x, as i hope to stretch my range a little bit. I hoping to go out west in the next 2-3yrs. I understand the brightness factor, exit pupil. The nikon i currently have is dimmer in low light, equal power. I had it side by side with the vx-3i, both on 10x. The vx-3i is probably 20-25% brighter at dusk. My vx-3i is on a 450 bushmaster ar. It has the cds dial set up.
Back to Top
Sgt. D View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: February/20/2008
Location: North Carolina
Status: Offline
Points: 4197
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sgt. D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2020 at 19:28
Haven't heard anything about whether Nikon is going to drop customer service on scopes. I'd wager that they will honor the scope line for some time. But, your concern is well founded.
As for 14x I agree with having the option of more power when you want it even if you don't need it. Many times I've set watching deer at various distances waiting on something really good to show up. I'd practice holding on the kill zone at different powers and the deer at different angles. More power also allows you to study the deer and their rack for detail. I have managed habitat on many farms and getting to know the deer on each farm is critical when deciding what is a cull and what we need to let grow.
Plus I figure if I'm gonna spend the money for a high end scope it better do what I need plus some.
 
To give respect to ted's (rifledude) question he is absolutely correct. I shoot long range competitions and I know several guys that shoot 1000 yds with a 10X fixed. Even when I am shooting I keep it on 12 or 14X for field of view sake. But, as I said if the scope has 4.5X and I want to use it great, and if it has 28X it is there if I want it.
 
Let us know what you get.
Good Luck!
 
Take care of Soldiers, Show em how its done and do it with em, Run to the Fight & and hold your ground! I die my men go home! If you're a NCO and this ain't you. GET OUT! GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Back to Top
johnnybravoo77 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper
Avatar

Joined: March/04/2012
Location: MI
Status: Offline
Points: 9
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnnybravoo77 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2020 at 19:39
Thanks sarge. Your typing what im thinking. The last deer i shot was with the loopy at 10x. 150yds. The previous 2, one with the nikon at 4.5x, at about 60yds and another with a bushnell on my 450bm 1.75x4, turn up to 4x at about 125yds. I want a scope to shoot 50 to 500yds, even if i never shoot another deer outside of a 150yds. At one time i had a leupold vxL 4.5x14x56. The one with curve at the bottom to mount lower. I could see well after legal hunting times had ended. Had really pay attention to the time so i wasnt hunting illegally. Should have never got rid of it.
Back to Top
Sgt. D View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Avatar

Joined: February/20/2008
Location: North Carolina
Status: Offline
Points: 4197
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sgt. D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2020 at 20:38
You're right, The one I had wasn't that good at last light. But, by then I had my first Ziess Victory Diavari and haven't looked back. IMO the best all round scope out there.
Take care of Soldiers, Show em how its done and do it with em, Run to the Fight & and hold your ground! I die my men go home! If you're a NCO and this ain't you. GET OUT! GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Back to Top
koshkin View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar
Dark Lord of Optics

Joined: June/15/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 12880
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2020 at 23:20
A couple of points: 

1) at this stage I would not touch a Nikon riflescope with a ten foot pole.
2) If you want better optics in a lightweight scope, see if you can find Vortex Razor HD LH 3-15x42 within you price range.  You should be able to.
3) if you want to go a little bigger, Meopta Meopro 3-12x50 or 4.5-14x50 should be at the top of your list

ILya
Back to Top
Lockjaw View Drop Down
Optics Journeyman
Optics Journeyman


Joined: May/17/2016
Location: Chelsea
Status: Offline
Points: 424
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lockjaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/07/2020 at 14:03
I have a 4x16X50 Nikon Monarch, and to be honest, I don't like it one bit at "woods ranges". For some reason, I would swear it has more than 4X at 4X, but maybe its just me. I do like the higher magnification because you can zoom up on something. 

It's bright in low light. The BDC reticle is alot like a German #4. So getting on something is easy enough. 

I have 3 30mm main tube scopes now, and I will not be doing 1 inch again if I can help it. 1 is a Zeiss and 2 are Minox. 
Back to Top
johnnybravoo77 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper
Avatar

Joined: March/04/2012
Location: MI
Status: Offline
Points: 9
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnnybravoo77 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/13/2020 at 20:25
Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

A couple of points: 

1) at this stage I would not touch a Nikon riflescope with a ten foot pole.
2) If you want better optics in a lightweight scope, see if you can find Vortex Razor HD LH 3-15x42 within you price range.  You should be able to.
3) if you want to go a little bigger, Meopta Meopro 3-12x50 or 4.5-14x50 should be at the top of your list

ILya

Been on your blog reading extensively. Im gonna save a few more pennies, as cabelas options for rifle scopes are less than ideal. I would loooove to look through an optika 6 3x18x50. But of course the closest dealer is over a 150 miles away. 
Back to Top
Scrumbag View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master
Avatar

Joined: October/22/2013
Location: London, UK
Status: Offline
Points: 2317
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scrumbag Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/14/2020 at 01:07
Meoptas are great scopes for the money and really take a beating.

Scrummy
Was sure I had a point when I started this post...
Back to Top
Wadmalaw Hunter View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: November/15/2019
Location: Charleston SC
Status: Offline
Points: 9
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wadmalaw Hunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2020 at 11:23
My 2 cents is that 10x is plenty for your use. In terms of low light, I'm somewhat of a glass snob because of where I hunt. I started my quest for the best low light scope for the money I could find. My research including a lot input from this website, led me to the Trijicon 2.5-20X56. This is a fantastic low light scope that can be had for under 800.00. I decided after a full season behind the Trijicon, that I would open up my pocket book in hopes of taking it to the next level in low light conditions. I have purchased since then in order, a Meopta Meostar 50mm, Zeiss Victory/Daivari 50mm and a Schmidt Bender 8X56mm fixed scope. Here is the order in which I can see the best right at dusk:

1) S&B (a tad better than Zeiss)
2) Zeiss Victory
3) Trijicon
4) Meopta

I've had the S&B/Zeiss and Meopta/Trijicon in the tree-stand at the same time switching back and forth. I was a bit surprised that I could see better with the Trijicon than the Meopta even though it was every so slight. Keep in mind this is MY eyes and everyone may be a tad different. In summary, when looking at the the price of these 4 scopes, the Trijicon IMO is the best value in terms of low light performance. Bottom line you can get better but it costs a lot to get there and to some folks on a budget, it's probably  not worth it. 
" Tight Lines and good fishing"
Back to Top
Wadmalaw Hunter View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: November/15/2019
Location: Charleston SC
Status: Offline
Points: 9
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wadmalaw Hunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2020 at 16:04
Trijicon 2.5-10X56mm 
" Tight Lines and good fishing"
Back to Top
johnnybravoo77 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper
Avatar

Joined: March/04/2012
Location: MI
Status: Offline
Points: 9
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote johnnybravoo77 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2020 at 22:53
Originally posted by Wadmalaw Hunter Wadmalaw Hunter wrote:

My 2 cents is that 10x is plenty for your use. In terms of low light, I'm somewhat of a glass snob because of where I hunt. I started my quest for the best low light scope for the money I could find. My research including a lot input from this website, led me to the Trijicon 2.5-20X56. This is a fantastic low light scope that can be had for under 800.00. I decided after a full season behind the Trijicon, that I would open up my pocket book in hopes of taking it to the next level in low light conditions. I have purchased since then in order, a Meopta Meostar 50mm, Zeiss Victory/Daivari 50mm and a Schmidt Bender 8X56mm fixed scope. Here is the order in which I can see the best right at dusk:

1) S&B (a tad better than Zeiss)
2) Zeiss Victory
3) Trijicon
4) Meopta

I've had the S&B/Zeiss and Meopta/Trijicon in the tree-stand at the same time switching back and forth. I was a bit surprised that I could see better with the Trijicon than the Meopta even though it was every so slight. Keep in mind this is MY eyes and everyone may be a tad different. In summary, when looking at the the price of these 4 scopes, the Trijicon IMO is the best value in terms of low light performance. Bottom line you can get better but it costs a lot to get there and to some folks on a budget, it's probably  not worth it. 

Thank you for the input!
Back to Top
koshkin View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar
Dark Lord of Optics

Joined: June/15/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 12880
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2020 at 12:30
Objective diameter makes a big difference in low light.

Trijicon's 56mm objective would likely give it a bit of an edge over Meostar's 50mm objective.

ILya
Back to Top
Wadmalaw Hunter View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: November/15/2019
Location: Charleston SC
Status: Offline
Points: 9
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wadmalaw Hunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 11:47
Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

Objective diameter makes a big difference in low light.

Trijicon's 56mm objective would likely give it a bit of an edge over Meostar's 50mm objective.

ILya

Agreed.....I thought possibly with the Meostar having schott glass might make up the difference, but to my eyes the Japanese glass in the Accupoint is pretty damn good. 
" Tight Lines and good fishing"
Back to Top
koshkin View Drop Down
MODERATOR
MODERATOR
Avatar
Dark Lord of Optics

Joined: June/15/2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 12880
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 12:08
Originally posted by Wadmalaw Hunter Wadmalaw Hunter wrote:

Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

Objective diameter makes a big difference in low light.

Trijicon's 56mm objective would likely give it a bit of an edge over Meostar's 50mm objective.

ILya

Agreed.....I thought possibly with the Meostar having schott glass might make up the difference, but to my eyes the Japanese glass in the Accupoint is pretty damn good. 

Where the glass comes from really does not matter.

Meopta is overall a better designed optic and it does offer performance advantages overall, but if you only look at low light, objective size really matters.

ILya
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 12.01
Copyright ©2001-2018 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.129 seconds.