Monday, July 10, 2017

Choosing a Scope for a New Rifle

One of the perils of purchasing anew rifle is that now come the expensive decisions on how to add accessories to the rifle. This easily can surpass the actual cost of the rifle.

I recently came into possession of a Weatherby Mark V in .308. I got this for an upcoming elk hunt in Colorado. Having drawn a tag for the first rifle season, I am looking forward to hunting the public ground and trying my hand at an unguided elk during rifle season. However, I need to break in the rifle and I need some optics to mount on it. 

I have a variety of scope brands on top of my rifles. I am not one that is a dedicated brand person when it comes to optics. I try and get the best I can afford at the time. I have never been able to afford, nor do I see anything in the near future that would allow me the opportunity to afford any of the German brands of rifle scopes. I am not sure I could justify spending four times the cost of the gun for the glass. But then again, good glass is worth its weight in gold when you need to make the shot. That being said, I have begun the search for a scope. 

For this mountain hunt, I am considering weight of the scope. As I get older I notice I am paying closer attention to details I did not as a younger man. So while I would normally only look for a 50mm objective, for this scope I am looking for a 40mm objective just to cut down on weight. 

I also want one that is fairly strong with its ability to adjust. Meaning, I want a large adjustment, like from 3x9 or something like a 2.5x10 or even a 4x14. This makes it hard to find. I would compromise on the upper lower end, but not much. Shooting animals in timber requires a low power. I have hunted the west enough to know that shots are just as likely at thirty yards as at 400. Therefore I need a scope that will do both. 

Some research has shown that to fit my budget and my requirements, I am looking at one of three different brands. Vortex, Nikon or Leupold. Lets look at them individually to see where we are. 

First Vortex; The Vortex DBK412B is a great value and may be the best value of the ones we are looking at for this gun. The 4x12x40 fits all of the parameters and is within my budget. The one inch tube is find and cuts down some of the weight as well. Having used Vortex in the past I know this is good glass and can be a great scope. The one thing I do not care for is the objective focus. I do not like having to twist on the end of my scope. I prefer it on the side of the scope. Plus it comes in at 19.2 ounces way too heavy for my mountain rifle. 

This leads me to the Vortex DBK-04-BDC 4x12x40 may just be the ticket. Coming in at a full two ounces lighter than the previous one, this is now moving to the top of the list. Remember we have not added the weight of the mounts and rings. 

Now the Nikon 16328 - P308 is a great value for the scope, and it is a 4x12x40 but it comes in at a whopping 17.3 ounces. 

The Nikon 6736 Prostaff 5 is a better choice since it is almost three ounces lighter and still carries the magnification adjustment I am seeking. the 2.5x10 gives me a better lower end and that helps in dark timber.

On to Leupold -  the Leupold 114404 VX-2 is the lightest of the ones researched. weighing a mere 12 ounces, this featherweight is one to strongly consider. For a reliable 3x9x40 scope, this Leupold may just be the ticket. Understanding the limitations of the scope. But still being able to maximize the weight limits. By the time I add bases and rings, I am at one pound extra. 

Selecting a scope for a mountain hunt is different than selecting one for hunting out of a box blind. In the blind, you are carrying your gun a few yards. In a mountain hunt, I will be carrying my gun miles and miles at high elevation for days on end. Every ounce matters. But in the end, you still have to have good glass so you can see your target at the moment of truth. There are other brands that may be cheaper, and perhaps lighter, but to get good glass that is also light and affordable, that is the key question. 

It looks like I will be ordering the Leupold 11404 VX-2 and the fact that is comes in Matte black is a bonus. It should really make my stainless action and barrel pop and produce a fine looking lightweight gun. 


  1. The best scopes are now a necessity for everyone. With the new technology, it's a wonder why some do not yet possess this important gear. These are practical and with the right brand - will standout in any hunting expedition. So far, I've been reading about the Vortex Viper PST and it looked so right for me. It's good looking and does the work it was cut out for. See this resource site to read more about the different reviews they had:

  2. Rifle scope is excellent outdoor gear for hunting. Mainly it needs when you are hunting deer, rabbit, fox and other animals. If you are succeed your hunting you need one of the best rifle scope.

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