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Advice needed for a new rifle scope

This is a discussion on Advice needed for a new rifle scope within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; I realize that the question I am about to ask is going to be a bit like throwing a bone ...

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    Mtgoat's Avatar
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    Default Advice needed for a new rifle scope

    I realize that the question I am about to ask is going to be a bit like throwing a bone to a pack of hungry dogs.

    In the latest issue of Safari Times, Craig Boddington had an article titled "How Much Gun Is Really Enough?". It's a very good article (aren't his always?). If you haven't seen it, here is a link:

    How Much Gun is Really Enough? | Hunt Forever

    At the end of the article, he recommends a low power scope with a lighted reticle. I am about to buy 375 H&H (most likely a Winchester Model 70) and will want/need a scope for it. The top contenders seem to be Swarovsky and Trijicon. Leupold has a good reputation overall, but I have heard some negative things about them in low light situations. I have ruled out Burris for the same reason (but with personal experience to support that decision).

    What brand/model/power would you recommend for a DG hunt (buffalo or lion)?

    Is an illuminated reticle legal across Africa or are there countries that don't allow them?

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    David K is offline AH Member
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    Hunted with Thwane Safaris for buffalo. Used a 375HH made by Kenny Jarrett with a Swaro 1.7 x 10 illuminated.
    Buffalo dropped with one shot.

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    Both my buff taken with the .375 also wore low power scopes of 1.5-2.5X. I think a good fixed 4X may be about ideal though or a low variable, about 1.5-5 or so. About anything up to a 3-9X is appropriate for a .375 rifle depending on shooter wants and likely hunting terrain.

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    Hi Mtgoat,
    Zeiss,Swarovski and Leica are without the leaders of the twilight hunting scopes. That is why they are the preffered scope in Europe where boarhunting is done at night with twilight and moonlight. Question being though: do you specifically use the gun/ scope for Africa? Since there the sun acts as a lightswitch most of the time. It is either day or night.
    Have a good trip

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    Quote Originally Posted by bwana ndege View Post
    Question being though: do you specifically use the gun/ scope for Africa? Since there the sun acts as a lightswitch most of the time. It is either day or night.
    Have a good trip
    Yes, I will probably only use this gun for Africa. I pretty well equipped for any game in North America. I might take the .375 if I were to go for brown bear in Alaska, but, at this moment, I don't have much interest in doing that. I lean toward just using this gun in Africa and only for DG. I know that some argue for using a .375 for plains game as well as DG. However, that just seems a bit much (except possibly for eland or roan).

    The two DG that I am most likely to hunt near-term are buffalo and lion. Leopard is also appealing but the odds are pretty low. I don't see me hunting elephant, rhino, hippo or croc.

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    By no means am I an expert. After 3 trips to Africa I have became more and more a one rifle hunter (375 H&H). In regard to the scope I prefer something with more top end say 9-12 power. It is sometimes helpful in the leopard blind as well as making a difference on the small antelope often shot with solid bullets. The swaro Z6i allows you to have the low power in the bush as well as the high magnification for the tiny ten. Just a thought. Whatever you choose have fun and enjoy yourself

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    Personally, I would use a 1-4x variable scope or something else with a relatively low magnification. On my buffalo hunt, I used a fixed 4x scope and that worked great for my buffalo. However, my father wounded a buffalo that I helped follow up in thick cover and the scope was completely inadequate for that situation. If a 4x scope was bad, it would have been horrible trying to acquire a buffalo in a scope that accidentally got turned up to 9x.

    What works well on plains game is not always what you want for a quick shot at a moving target at close range. Just my 2 cents...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtgoat View Post
    Leupold has a good reputation overall, but I have heard some negative things about them in low light situations.
    I have a Swarovski and a bunch of Leupolds. I've never used a Trijicon. What I use the most are the Leupold Mark 4 models some of which have lighted reticles. I don't think my Swarovski is any better at night than my Leuoplds. Even without a lighted reticle, I could make a 300 yard shot to at least an hour after the sun went down and with a lighted reticle I have made similar shots in the middle of the night.

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    The new Leica Magnus 1.5-10x42 would be ideal, has low bottom end for up close and personal and 10x for longer shots as well as illumination.

    As far as i am aware illumination is not illegal anywhere, the tritium powered ones can be restricted.
    Overkill is underrated...

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    I recently shot a buffalo in Zim - the scope I used is a Zeiss Duralyte in 2-8x42 on a lever rifle in .375 Ruger. Great optics and not a wallet-buster. That lighted reticle allowed me to put every bullet where I wanted it to go. A versatile scope b/c you can use higher magnification for farther shots and a great bell size for light gathering.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joester View Post
    I recently shot a buffalo in Zim - the scope I used is a Zeiss Duralyte in 2-8x42 on a lever rifle in .375 Ruger. Great optics and not a wallet-buster. That lighted reticle allowed me to put every bullet where I wanted it to go. A versatile scope b/c you can use higher magnification for farther shots and a great bell size for light gathering.

    A "lever rifle" in .375 Ruger?? Please elaborate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtgoat View Post
    I realize that the question I am about to ask is going to be a bit like throwing a bone to a pack of hungry dogs.

    In the latest issue of Safari Times, Craig Boddington had an article titled "How Much Gun Is Really Enough?". It's a very good article (aren't his always?). If you haven't seen it, here is a link:

    How Much Gun is Really Enough? | Hunt Forever

    At the end of the article, he recommends a low power scope with a lighted reticle. I am about to buy 375 H&H (most likely a Winchester Model 70) and will want/need a scope for it. The top contenders seem to be Swarovsky and Trijicon. Leupold has a good reputation overall, but I have heard some negative things about them in low light situations. I have ruled out Burris for the same reason (but with personal experience to support that decision).

    What brand/model/power would you recommend for a DG hunt (buffalo or lion)?

    Is an illuminated reticle legal across Africa or are there countries that don't allow them?



    My Win70 SE wears a 2-7x33 Leupold. In fact all my rifles wear Leupold scopes. I have never had any quality issues with them in 23 years of using their products. No questions about warranty/ or repairs. A mate of mine "dropped" his Win70 in 300WSM down the side of a Mountain in New Zealand when he slipped on ice during a Tar hunt. Surprisingly only a few chips in the stock and a bit of bluing scratched off the action and barrel, the Leupold 3-9x40 copped the full brunt of the tumble. He had it in QD mounts, removed it and continued the hunt with the williams fire sights fitted to the barrel. He sent the scope back to the factory for repair and was sent back a new one- no questions asked only had to pay freight.

    Don't forget that Boddington and some other celebratory PH's are paid royalties for their comments, or are sponsored directly for advertising a particular product. Leupold scopes also have a longer eye relief than other makes so they can be mounted a little further forward reducing any possibility of "Weatherby Eyebrow".

    If you are that concerned about seeing in low light why not just fit a Williams Fire Sight front post and Williams Ghost Ring Rear? In a recent Zimbabwe Safari we weren't allowed to shoot anything in early morning or late evening until there was sufficient light to see the animal with the naked eye, so it wouldn't have mattered what type of scope you had.

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    Re: my lever rifle , BLR, in .375 Ruger. I bought a take-down in .300 Win. mag. & had my (very competent) gunsmith put on a shilen barrel. Wild West Guns in Anchorage AK does the same, BLRS in .375 or .416 Ruger are about $2,500. They are just plain cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drew416 View Post
    In a recent Zimbabwe Safari we weren't allowed to shoot anything in early morning or late evening until there was sufficient light to see the animal with the naked eye, so it wouldn't have mattered what type of scope you had.
    That is going to vary with the outfitter and the game being pursued. For example, if you are hunting leopard, even in Namibia where night hunting isn't allowed, odds are that you will want every extra photon that your scope can gather. Similarly, imagine tracking an animal shot and wounded in full light, and finally located in heavy cover as the clock ticks toward the last couple minutes of legal shooting time.

    In North America, early and late shooting is common. A few years ago, I had to pass up a nice bull elk because my Burris scope didn't have the light gathering capability like my Swarovsky binoculars did. I could see the bull with my binoculars but not through the scope. That was frustrating!

    I was impressed by the recommendation by Spudattack of the Leica Magnus. That led me to do some more searching and I found that Swarovsky has something similar. These seem like good possibilities. Very low magnification for close shooting but a reasonable high end (10x) that is sufficient for the distances that I'm comfortable with.

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    Swarovski and Zeiss are hard to beat, and personally I've always had good luck with Leupold. The Winchesters need a scope with quite a bit of space between the eye box and the objective bell, something to take into account, when spanning that longer action of those rifles.
    For DG hunting I prefer something with 1-2 power on the low end and 6-8 on the high end.
    The swaro in 1.5-6 is just about the perfect scope for anything, low power in the thick and enough magnification to make definitive shots even at distance.

    My DG guns run the gamut of scopes.
    Swaro 1.5-6
    Leupold VXIII 1.5-5
    Leupold VXIII 2.5-8
    Zeiss Diavari1.5-6
    Leupold VXII 2-7
    Nikon African 1-4
    All have been excellent scopes. The lit reticle is a non issue for me, that's personal preference. I have used them but i have never found it necessary except for leopard at very last light.

    As a side note I would see how the Leica scopes perform before I spent my $$ on them, their last foray into the scope market did not go well. Previous scopes were not produced by them and were not very good at all, the new line is also produced by another optic company.
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    what did you end up putting on your winchester 375? I have the same rifle and currently has a Leupold VX3 2.5-8 on it, but I am considering changing to a Leupold VX6 2-12. I haven't decided whether to use an Ill Reticle. appreciate your feedback. Heading to RSA and Namibia in two months.

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    Every one here is talking about magnification. If you will be hunting a ''wild'' Lion on bait I suggest you get a scope with minimum objective size of 42mm so you can get good light. To benefit best power/light on a 42mm you must set it at 6-8 power! Swarowski z6 is the best at the moment. the 1,7-10x42 would be your best Buffalo/lion compromise!!
    Thor Kirchner
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    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    Hunted with Thwane Safaris for buffalo. Used a 375HH made by Kenny Jarrett with a Swaro 1.7 x 10 illuminated.
    Buffalo dropped with one shot.
    +1 here. Used the Swaro 1.7-10x scope on my 375H&H. After a ton of research I decided on this scope for many reasons - all of which came to fruition:

    1- Illum reticle for dawn/dusk shots for my Leopard. I ended shooting my leopard at dusk with minutes of light left. There was no way I could have taken that shot WITHOUT an illuminated reticle AND the excellent optics that Swarovski manufactures.
    2- Swaro optics for same reason above.
    3- 10X at top end for long shots. Ended up taking Leopard at 77 yards, Hippo at about 80-90 yards and various impala, baboon from 100-150 yards. Not terribly long shots but the 10X was nice to have.
    4- 1.7X on the low end for DG. I shot my Buffalo close range.
    5- Variable power for "threading the needle" type shots. Many of my shots were through thick bush - including the buffalo. It was nice to have the variable power

    I found this scope to suit all of the hunting scenarios that I thought I'd face - AND ENDED UP FACING.

    Buy the best scope you can afford - and then spend more! Spending more jack on the rifle that'll give you that extra 1/4" MOA is worthless unless you have an excellent scope. I'm sure your PH would be thrilled to see you with an outstanding scope and a decent rifle than the vice-versa.

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    I've had over 120 hunters in camp over the past 12 years. I've seen most every high end scope made come through. The most user friendly variable I've ever seen or used is the 2-12x42 Leupold VX6 w firedot duplex reticle. Awesome glass, turrets are deadnuts reliable, bulletproof warranty. Fantastic all around package.

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    Well, for my 5 cents worth, I have hunted long and hard to find the scope I want for my DG rifle. (375H&H or my 9.3x74R dbl) I eventually selected the Leupold VX3 1.5-5 illuminated with a German #4 Reticle. I have the same scope with the red dot, but find on my 375H&H at over 100m the dot is too big for great accuracy. (covers too much of the target) I can see that this will be much better.

    Its not yet fitted, but as soon as I get a chance............its off to the range to see how my dbl likes it and what accuracy I can get beyond 100m.

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