Looking for a quality light gathering scope for .308 BLR

Discussion in 'Hunting Equipment, Gear & Optics' started by joester, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. joester

    joester AH Veteran

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    Any suggestions? ; I want to upgrade my older Leoupold 3-9x, just doesn't cut it @ dawn/dusk...looking for a not-too-long scope (BLR is pretty short)...I have a big-bell Kahles on another gun that is A-OK, just looking for other reccomendations...Thanks.
     
  2. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    joester

    you get what you pay for...in light optics...

    What is your price range?

    i would suggest you look at bushnell, leupold, nikon, weaver...they all have great scopes.

    The thing to remember the low cost scopes today have a good of optics as top line scopes a few years back (10-20).

    If your daylight is ebbing to the point that your having difficulty time trying to see your animal, i would suggest you pass on your available shot, not everyone makes on the spot kills and from past experience a follow up is never easy in the dark. Not to mention that shooting after dark is illegal even if it is at your wounded animal in most states. Does poaching ring a bell...
     
  3. joester

    joester AH Veteran

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    Thanks James,

    My best deerstand is on a wooded north slope, full of deer but never too bright even on sunny days, hence the need for as much light as I can gather--We have to count 3 tines on an antler where I hunt...My price range goes up to lower-end $ German?Austrian glass...
     
  4. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Elite

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    Well,
    First of all, you need to go for something with a bigger objective lens. So, minimum will be a 50 which should hive you enough light entry.
    But, as James said, when it comes to optics, you get what you pay for. Walk in to the shop and find the scope that you cant afford, then buy it. I have always been a great fan of Swarovski, which is high end. Just fitted a Z3 4-12x50 to the .243 Win. You can pick them up for under $1K.

    Best Regards
    Marius Goosen
     
  5. Macs B

    Macs B AH Veteran

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    As a European hunter I hunt well past last light and well before first light. I've found that the best low light scope for me is the Trijicon Accupoint in 56mm objective. The lower magnification range will run you less than 900 USD depending on where you shop. I have two of the accupoints and will never change, they have sold me.
     
  6. richteb

    richteb AH Enthusiast

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    I would have a look at the Zeiss Conquest range as I have found them excellent and great value. I own 4 and use them for hunting sambar deer. Also used one in Africa on my 375 and had no issues.
     
  7. libertarian

    libertarian AH Member

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    +1 on the Zeiss Conquest, they are very good. Only downside is they don't make an illuminated version until you get into their much-much-much-more-expensive Victory line.

    Personally I find with my eyes I greatly prefer a little illumination when things get dim - those black crosshairs just aren't clear enough for me.

    I've heard mixed things about the Accupoint - everyone raves about their illumination system, but the actual glass clarity gets mixed reviews, and I haven't found a place around here that stocks them, so I haven't been able to see for myself yet.

    I recently bought a Leupold VX-3 4.5-14X50 LR IR with the Boone & Crockett reticle; it's not small but it's an excellent scope for very-low-light work at intermediate to long ranges, and the VX3 glass is pretty good, almost as nice as the Conquest. It's on the large side, but it's not too heavy.

    The Leupold VX3L series are excellent, and they allow you to mount a massive objective very close to the bore, so those might be worth a look too if your #1 priority is light gathering.
     
  8. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    I have the Zeiss Conquest and they do a good job. 44 MM objective lens. A few years ago [7-8 or 9?] I was hunting in the wilderness area next to Yellowstone. On opening AM I killed a 5X6 bull elk. Early the next AM I went back to look at the gut pile. Had a black bear tag and hoped a bear would be there. One of the other fellows in camp had got there ahead of me. Had been a sow grizzly and cubs there earlier. He had also had a bull elk walk across the clearing just before I got there. I asked why he hadn't shot it. He said the glare from the rising sun made it so he couldn't see. I looked through my scope . It was the conquest. Very little glare. I asked him to check his scope. Still too much glare to see to shoot. I handed him my rifle and had him look through the scope. He was MAD. His words were something to the effect that he thought he had the best scope made[ Nikon Monarch] and couldn't see to shoot. My scope was no more expensive, but the anti-glare coatings were MUCH better. So here's my advice for you Joester. Go to a sporting goods store and compare several of them side by side, preferably as the sun is going down. Look through them under low light conditions. If you can't get to a sporting goods store with a selection then I'd order in 2 to 4 of the scopes that you think you might want from Cabela's. Take them out and watch the sun go down with them. See which one you like the best. Return the unwanted ones and keep the one you like best. As long as you haven't mounted them on a rifle and keep them only a few days you should be able to return them. I like the Zeiss Conquest's quite well. Minox has a scope line with a 50mm objective and good clear glass. Less than the Zeiss. I took one to Africa last May and it worked great. Good luck. Bruce
     
  9. richteb

    richteb AH Enthusiast

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    The scopes that I am currently using are: Conquest 3-9 x 40 (x3), Conquest 1.8 - 5.5 x 38 ( now discontinued), Trijicon Accupoint 3-9 x 40, Leupold VX3 2.5-8, Conquest 3-9x50. I have set all the rifles on a bench and compared them with only about 5 minutes of light left in the evening. The set up was to see which scope was the best looking into a bush tree line. Both the 3-9x40 and 3-9x50 Conquests were the best. I noticed no difference between the 40 and 50 mm objective lense as far as brighter sight picture. The next best was the the 1.8 - 5.5 Conquest this is mainly due to the lower magnification as the sight picture was just as bright as the other two. Trijicon came third and the Leupold last. I have in the past also compared the Vari-X 3 to the VX3 in the same 2.5-8 magnification and found that the older VariX3 is a step better in light gathering.

    Mind you this is all only relevant to my eyes and could differ for someone else. Having said this my scopes are used about 99% of the time in the first hour or two of daylight and the last hour of daylight almost every weekend through the whole year. During winter months this can mean fog, rain and generally damp mountain conditions. So I guess that if the scope survives the year then the quality is pretty good.
     
  10. Shakey

    Shakey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    As most have said, look at the Zeiss Conquest. Swarovski and Nightforce are awesome, but the Zeiss Conquest, in my opinion, offers incredible performance for a fraction of the price.
     
  11. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    +1 or whatever on the Conquest series. I have a 3-9, 4.5-14 and a 6.5-20. The 4.5-14 did go down on me shortly before my safari in 2010. I sent it off to Zeiss' service center in Virginia and had a brand new one back to me in a couple weeks. Just a great value for the money. Are there better? Yes, but the return on investment is quickly dwindling.
     
  12. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I am a low light scope fanatic.
    Very much of my hunting is in low light conditions.
    I have tried lots of different scopes and wasted much money on low and medium quality scopes.
    Also some so called high quality scopes that just don't cut it in my opinion. Specially when it comes to low light conditions.

    There are 2 brands(German made Zeiss and Swarovski), that are clearly better than the others in my opinion.
    Then you have some other brands fighting for 3rd place.
    They are pricey, but well worth it in my opinion.

    Zeiss is now making a German made lower priced high quality scope called Zeiss Duralyt. They are not so good as the top models of Zeiss and Swarovski but I think they are the most value for cost scope you can buy today. The 3-12x50 with lighted reticle being the best of them for low light conditions and I think it will be a good choice for your gun.
     
  13. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Enthusiast

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    MY Swarovski z6i is fantastic in low light. The ergonomics of the illuminated reticle are excellent, but if the battery dies or if you forget to turn it on, it is still a regular non-illuminated reticle. I can't see any downside to it.
     
  14. GaryO

    GaryO AH Senior Member

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    All the previous answers are good counsel. However, anything over 40mm objective is a waste of your money. Scopes don't "gather" light. They allow it to be used. The better the coatings and glass, the more useful they become. I like the Leupold VX-3 line. Good balance of cost and quality. Outstanding customer service and they back thier stuff forever. Those German scopes are great, but somewhat more costly...
     
  15. Macs B

    Macs B AH Veteran

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    Large diameter scopes may not "gather" light but they certainly due transmit light, and the more light that is allowed to pass thru the objective lens the better, and larger lens allow more light to pass thru. Anyone who tells you differently is simply incorrect.

    You can debate the exit pupil diameter, lens coatings, and any other aspect of the physics and engineering of optics. One simple rule always applies, a big lens and tube allow more visible light to pass thru the scope to the eye.
     
  16. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Large objectives might require you to adjust the stock of your gun, they also lift your vision away from what is right in front of you...be it a rock or twigs. They gather more light at a high price...my two cents. I wouldn't put anything more than 40 mm on my gun. It make the gun harder to carry...more bulk and weight.
     
  17. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    German Zeiss and Swarovski are miles ahead of Leupold when it comes to use in low light condition. They are just in totally different leagues.
    If you don't hunt when it is low light conditions, then a Leupold is a very good choice and I have that myself on my 375 Ruger.
    One of my friends has a Leupold Vx-3 with 50 mm objective and he always also said the difference between his scope and a Zeiss was so small that it was not worth the money.
    One evening he borrowed one of my guns I had a Zeiss with a 50 mm objective and he could not believe the difference when it started to get darker.

    The Zeiss Conquest is not better than the Leupold in low light conditions and I rather buy a Leupold than a Zeiss Conquest, but if I want a scope for low light conditions, I always buy a German Zeiss.
    A German Zeiss with 40 mm objective is miles ahead of a Leupold with 40 mm objective.
    So if you don't want a scope with larger objective than 40-42 mm, but want it to be as good as possible for low light conditions, buy a German Zeiss or Swarovski.
     
  18. Shakey

    Shakey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I must disagree with the comment that "The Zeiss Conquest is not better than the Leupold in low light conditions". I have a Leupold VX-3L with a 50mm objective (4.5 - 14) and 2 Zeiss Conquests with 44mm objectives (4.5 - 14). I've used both makes under many conditions, even feral hogs by moon light, and the Conquests have consistently been clearer and brighter under all conditions. Normally differences in performance in matters such as this are close enough to remain silent on, but not in this case. Maybe there are newer Leupold models that are in fact better in low light conditions than the Conquest, but the VX-3L is not.
     
  19. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I too echo the accolades for the Conquest line. I personally find Leupolds somewhat over rated as to overall quality but their return and repair policy is great. Interestingly though, it is my understanding that the Conquest scopes are put together by Leupold using German parts. If that was stated somewhere above I missed it. Have used a 4X and 3-9x50 Conquest in Africa and love them.
     
  20. GaryO

    GaryO AH Senior Member

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    I have owned the Zeiss and Leupold and could never make out enough difference to matter. Leupold has always been the standard against which all the rest are eventually compared.
     

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