30mm vs. 1” scope tubes?

CBH Australia

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@One Day... ive learned something more from there and i still think Bert jas summed up some good stuff.
 

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CoElkHunter, we need to get together sometime and look through scopes of 30mm vs 1”. Old eyes need better scopes, and young eyes can use lesser quality scope coatings. The best I have are the Leupold VX-6 models, but they have served me well. I shot for many years with an old Redfield 4x and with my young eyes it did fine.
You should visit a store in the Springs with a good variety of brands. Hold them up and compare them side by side. As AzDave said you can make a cheap rifle shoot well, but there’s nothing you can do for a cheap scope. I have some very old Bausch and Lomb scopes that do me well even today. They were a top of the line back in the day (1960s). Lense coatings and glass grinding have improved substantially, but the old B&Ls are still good in my eyes. JMO&E
JMO, but the only real use of 30-34mm lenses other than they should be stronger than 1”, is if you want an adjustable turret to shoot longer distances, you get more adjustment. Beyond that, you need a 20 MOA or better scope base. Me, I’d much rather just stalk a little closer.
 
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Bert the Turtle

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There is no need for an 8x scope on a dangerous game rifle. But I think it is perfect on a 375 because a 375 is a versatile rifle useful on dangerous game. A 1-4 is probably all you’d need on a dangerous game rifle.

As One Day correctly points out, without adequate objective diameter, you will lose low-light performance. Once you get into adequate objective diameter, the low-light performance is where the expensive glass pays for itself. An extra 15 minutes of shooting light that allows an animal to be taken that would otherwise require an extra trip saves a lot of money. But then again, another trip back isn’t exactly the worst thing to ever happen!
 

One Day...

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Thanks so much One Day for explaining this! So, for a low magnification straight tube as used for DG, a 30mm tube would be best. But for my .375, I could use a 2.5-10 x 44 (or 50) as I have been using for years in a 1” tube on my .338 and there would be no handicap as far as low light shooting goes compared with a 30mm tube? I generally hunt elk in/next to heavy timber and have never had an issue with not being able to see an animal through the scope in low light conditions AND without a lighted reticle! Maybe the heavy timber in Africa is more dense?

2.5-10 x 44, 1" = 2.5-10 x 44, 30 mm? Theoretically: yes. Practically: not always...

From a light transmission perspective, and without getting too deep in laboratory-level technical discussions, a 2.5-10 x 44 (or 50) 1" tube scope will provide the same optical services as a 2.5-10 x 44 (or 50) 30 mm tube scope, ALL OTHER CHARACTERISTICS BEING THE SAME.

Now, truth be told, as I discussed on other threads, and as pointed out by @Bert the Turtle, this is not always true because all other characteristics are in fact not the same, and even though most all reputable manufacturers now use Schott glass, coatings make a huge difference in light transmission/diffraction/refraction/reflection and all Schott glass does not result in the same coated lenses...

There is no escaping the fact that German/Austrian-made top level Leica, Swarovski, Schmidt & Bender, Zeiss are better than anything else, including Hungary made Schmidt & Bender, US made Swarovski, Japan made Zeiss, US made Leupold, Vortex, etc. because the leading edge coating techniques, compounds and vapor deposition processes are so proprietary that they are not shared with even subsidiaries outside of Germany/Austria... (Note: the same applies to photography where Leica lenses remains unsurpassed by Canon, Nikon, etc. and scientific optical instrumentation where Zeiss reign).

So, theoretically, a 2.5-10 x 44 (or 50) 1" tube scope = a 2.5-10 x 44 (or 50) 30 mm tube scope in term of 7 mm light beam transmission, but top level 30 mm scopes are still better than most 1" scopes because they benefit from the latest coating technologies.

Is the difference worth YOUR additional $2,000? Some will say yes, some will say no.... What I can say is that there IS a visible difference at dawn and dusk. High noon is different and does not count: even mildly polished Coke bottle bottoms work. To see the difference, buy in winter and test on the parking lot in the first and last 15 minutes of the light. Chances are you will go OMG :oops:

2.5-10 x 44 on .375 H&H. It depends, but mostly yes...

My own .375 H&H wears a Leica ER i 2.5-10 x 42, so I would be hard pressed to say no, right?

But observe that I do my Buffalo hunting with an open sighted double .470 NE, that I will use on Elephant too in 2022, and I will use my .416 Rigby with Leica Visus 1-4x24 i LW on Lion in 2021. What I mean to say is that I do not expect to use my .375 H&H as an up-close charge stopper (which the caliber was never designed to be to begin with).

Therefore, a 2.5x magnification at the low end is fine on my .375 H&H.

If my .375 H&H was my only DG rifle, and if I wanted to be able to use it as an up-close charge stopper, I would want a lower magnification of 1x (hence a straight tube scope) so I could shoot with both eyes open.

Notice that I say "if I wanted to be able to use it as an up close charge stopper," because whether I would ever "need" to use it as such is an entirely different discussion :)

In summary...

I believe that any reputable 2.5-10 x 44 scope in the up to $1,500 range: Leica, Swarovski (Austria or US made), Schmidt & Bender (Germany or Hungary made), Zeiss (Germany, US or Japan made), Meopta, Leupold, Night Force, Vortex (well, maybe not the China made low end...) will work well on a .375 H&H, whether with 1" or 30 mm tube. The real ideal would in my mind be the classic 1.5-6 x 42 but I could not do it on mine because its true magnum length action is too long and I had to go with the slightly longer 2.5-10 x 42.

For a .375 H&H, I personally believe that in the up to $1,500 range, including some amazing deals for new old inventory, most clients are better served with the light gathering ability of the 42 / 44 mm objective of a scope going down to 2.5x, rather than the low variable 1x of a straight tube scope, because most clients will benefit more from the ability to see than they will need the ability to stop.

A PH choice is likely different...

In the end, I often reflect that even a Japanese 2020 Zeiss or Hungarian 2020 Schmidt & Bender is light years (pun fully intended) ahead of my 1980's Zeiss and S&B's; and that my same era Swarovski's do not even compare to a 2020 Chinese Vortex (early Swaro glass was really lesser than Zeiss or S&B), so I fully agree and concur that one does not need to spend the upmost $3,500 on glass. I totally discourage spending $500 on glass, but in reality there are tremendously useful scopes in the up to $1,500 range and, in truth, they are plenty good for the job.

Sure, it is breathtaking to use my new Leica 10x42 Geovid HD-B 3000 binoculars, but my 1978 Zeiss 10x40 BGA binoculars worked absolutely perfectly for my three 2018 and 2019 safaris, and would have worked just as well until I die. The same goes for my 1980's Zeiss and S&B 1.5-6 x42, and my new Leica 2.5-10 x 42 and 1-4 x 24. The new Leica's were a treat, not a need...


PS: of course, if money is no consideration, and you have a loose $3,500 burning a hole in your pocket, my recommendation would be Leica Magnus 1.5-10x42 i; Zeiss Victory V8 1.8-14 x 50; Swarovski Z8i 1.7-13.3 x 42 (even though I can't see for the life of me why anyone would want more than 10x on any big game hunting rifle) but make darn sure that their tube is long enough to fit onto your action if you use a true magnum length action...
 
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CoElkHunter

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So, I just took my Browning .338 out of the gun safe and looked through the Simmons Aetec 2.8x10x44 scope in the dark. I’ve had this scope mounted on it since the mid ‘90s when I purchased the rifle. I could see a bush at 25 yds. and if it were an elk or deer, I could have shot it. THEN, I realized why low light and scopes is a moot point at least here in Colorado and probably most everywhere else in North America. I couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to tell if it was a cow/doe and not a spike bull/buck if I had a cow/doe tag! Or if I had a bull/buck tag, I couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to count the points ( four for a bull and three for a buck) to be legal! So, I guess unless it’s Africa or somewhere else I don’t know about, shooting in low/little light is a VERY moot point! Try it and see if you can count points or lack thereof (spikes) in near dark? It’s no wonder I’ve never hunted before first light or before dark! I’ve seen spike elk shot in the middle of the day mistaken for cow elk at distance! I’m sure in Africa if you shoot something with too short of horns, you’ll end up in some obscure jail in the bush! Ha! Ha! Ha!
 

One Day...

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Well, this is indeed a conclusion my friend :)

Better glass will not change legal shooting hours, of course, but, PRECISELY, what a $1,500 scope buys you over a $250 scope is the ability to resolve a dark blob into an animal, and indeed identify its trophy. Maybe not all night long, but certainly for 5 to 15 minutes earlier at dawn and 5 to 15 minutes later at dusk, which is when most truly grand animals are taken, where legal.

Admittedly, this is a moot point in most of the US, which is I believe the predominant reason why the European market is (or at least has been) so far ahead of the US market for so long on this issue, because we could hunt at night... You would be amazed at what good glass lets you see on a full moon night in a field of snow, not to even mention the poetry of it...
 
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CoElkHunter

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Oh I agree you’ll be able to see horns or full antlers at low light, but can you count points on the antlers? Can you see a ten inch spike on a bull elk in broad daylight at 100meters or more against the aspens it’s standing in?That’s standing still! It’s very difficult to see that even at 6x. Unlike the African game videos I’ve seen, elk are mostly always moving when hunted and good luck counting points. In Colorado, if the bull has a five inch or longer brow tine, it’s legal regardless of the points. On a moving bull elk, I look for that first, when just looking for a legal bull. But, if it’s a spike bull, it could look like a cow at distance?
 

CoElkHunter

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Well, this is indeed a conclusion my friend :)

Better glass will not change legal shooting hours, of course, but, PRECISELY, what a $1,500 scope buys you over a $250 scope is the ability to resolve a dark blob into an animal, and indeed identify its trophy. Maybe not all night long, but certainly for 5 to 15 minutes earlier at dawn and 5 to 15 minutes later at dusk, which is when most truly grand animals are taken, where legal.

Admittedly, this is a moot point in most of the US, which is I believe the predominant reason why the European market is (or at least has been) so far ahead of the US market for so long on this issue, because we could hunt at night... You would be amazed at what good glass lets you see on a full moon night in a field of snow, not to even mention the poetry of it...
I would like to hunt at night in Africa on a full moon with snow on the ground! Maybe with a night scope and suppressor? Everything I can’t do here! I’m in!
 

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For any newer hunters reading this: I used to think of a scope as something permanently affixed to its rifle. If you follow the common NA gun shop sale of a $1000 for a rifle and $200 for a scope, I bet that scope will never be removed. When you invest in a high quality scope, it is different. The high end scope can move to a different gun. So, a $2000 scope on a $1000 gun only need be there until the next preferred rifle is purchased.
Last weekend I heard my friend’s 14-year-old son exclaim “wow, nice scope” after he sat behind a swaro z6 to shoot my rifle. He doesn’t know brands, he simply could see the difference through the glass.
 

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There are times when a 30 mm tube will allow for greater elevation adjustments but Not always.

I have a Schmidt zenith on my 375 with very limited elevation adjustment, the glass is superb though.

For my 458 Lott and 416 Rigby I have been using a vortex razor 1-6. 30 mm tube, huge adjustment range, and NOT made in China. It's been working well, and has fantastic illumination . I am going to shoot as many rounds as I can to see if it will withstand the recoil of the Lott. So far so good.
 

Dwight Beagle

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I have one scope with an IR and find it very useful in low light, especially on dark colored animals.

I didn’t coin this phrase and don’t remember where I saw it, maybe on this website:

“If one puts a five-hundred dollar scope on a two-thousand dollar rifle, one has a five-hundred dollar rifle.”

I do believe in the theory. I don’t have any $2,000.00 rifles and in fact $1,000.00 is what my most expensive rifle cost. I also own nine rifles which I know is a drop in the bucket compared to many members collections. I did pay more for the scope than I did for the rifle on most of my rifles though.

I have scopes with 1” tubes and 30mm tubes and really can’t tell a difference optically. I also believe quite a few 30mm scopes have 1” scope internals which then gives only one real advantage, stronger tube but again i don’t know that it makes much of a difference. I’m content with the strength of my 1” tube scopes.
 
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CoElkHunter

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I have one scope with an IR and find it very useful in low light, especially on dark colored animals.

I didn’t coin this phrase and don’t remember where I saw it, maybe on this website.

“If one puts a five-hundred dollar scope on a two-thousand dollar rifle, one has a five-hundred dollar rifle.”

I do believe in the theory. I don’t have any $2,000.00 rifles and in fact $1,000.00 is what my most expensive rifle cost. I also own nine rifles which I know is a drop in a bucket compared to many members collections. I did pay more for the scope than I did for the rifle on most of my rifles though.

I have scopes with 1” tubes and 30mm tubes and really can’t tell a difference optically. I also believe quite a few 30mm scopes have 1” scope internals which then gives only one real advantage, stronger tube but again i don’t know that it makes much of a difference. I’m content with the strength of my 1” tube scopes.
I’m in the same place you are. My most expensive rifle to date is $1,000. All of these experienced African hunting experts that have replied here have provided great real world information about my questions regarding this thread. I greatly value their input! I guess I just have to decide for myself what I want to pay for a quality scope?
 

CoElkHunter

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For any newer hunters reading this: I used to think of a scope as something permanently affixed to its rifle. If you follow the common NA gun shop sale of a $1000 for a rifle and $200 for a scope, I bet that scope will never be removed. When you invest in a high quality scope, it is different. The high end scope can move to a different gun. So, a $2000 scope on a $1000 gun only need be there until the next preferred rifle is purchased.
Last weekend I heard my friend’s 14-year-old son exclaim “wow, nice scope” after he sat behind a swaro z6 to shoot my rifle. He doesn’t know brands, he simply could see the difference through the glass.
Great points!
 

BeeMaa

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I've just put scopes on my 375H&H & 416RM...both have 30mm tubes.
The 375 has a Swaro 1.7-13x42 with a 4A-IR illuminated reticle.
The 416 has a Swaro 1-8x24 with the same reticle.
I also opted for the rail mount, so there are no scope rings.
Makes mounting much easier and reduces stress on the scope tube.

As for light transmission...I've never noticed a difference between 1" and 30mm tubes.
The quality of the glass is where I've see a huge difference in lower light conditions.
Getting those last few minutes of legal light comes at a price.
It's up to you if you want to pay for it.
 

C.W. Richter

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'Have the 1-6x (30 mm tube) 24 mm lens Trijicon on my .416; it's always illuminated (no batteries req'd.) and helps the gun shoot 1 hole groups. 'Have downed buffalo, elephant and hippo using it. 'Highly recommended. And, they make a companion 1-8x for longer shots with the .375. They even sell discounted demo models (never shot, just used for display in-store and at shows) at EuroOptic. Comes in a variety of reticles. Good luck! The 30s may have a slightly wider FOV in most scopes and do appear to have slightly better light gathering capability with the much larger objective lens models. I prefer 30 mm for close-up applications in low light (i.e. DG, hunting in the forests,) but typically use 1" on lightweight PG or Mtn. rifles (and have made some spectacular shots 700 yds or less with 'em.) As the much larger obj. lens 30 mm scopes (i.e. 50-56) typ. require higher rings and/or bases, they can sometimes wreak havoc with scope-eye alignment on classic-stocked guns. 'Going back to 1" on one that's creating a problem. Too much of a good thing....
 

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On the larger scopes for longer-range applications, I believe there's an advantage of having one of the few available, first focal plane scopes (i.e. Burris Veracity & higher end models). Simply put, it minimizes changes to the aiming point at different magnification levels when using a ballistic reticle. If you don't have those high-end (2nd focal plane) BR scopes on the correct power at the right time, it may have cost you more than extra money.... ;) Not an issue at all for a DG scope (which will typ. be 1-4/5/6 or 8 power.
 

One Day...

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This is likely true from a glass composition perspective (i.e. most every reputable manufacturer nowadays use Schott glass, or at least BaK4 (barium crown) glass - with some exceptions for the lowest cost scopes / binoculars that still use BK-7 (borosilicate) glass), but this is not quite true overall.

A $250 scope today gets you glued plastic internals. A $750 scope 10 years ago, and certainly a $1,000 scope 20 years ago got you screwed metal internals. This does make a big difference in the ability to withstand recoil and retain zero; predictability, repeatability and consistency of the clicks value; and long term durability.

As to glass treatments, yes today's cheap coatings are yesterday's high-tech coatings, no discussion about that, but what has not changed though is the polishing. I would speculate that highest precision polishing of a 1980 Zeiss with cost-is-no-object West German focus on quality is probably every bit as good, and likely (much?) better, than 2020 mass produced make-it-as-cheap-as-possible continental Asia low cost optics.

As stated before, I agree that a $3,500 scope is likely not needed for hunting, although very pleasurable indeed, but I would not reduce the market to two tiers: $3,500 and $250. My personal sense is that there is an intermediate tier in the $1,000 to $1,500 where I would venture to state that you get 95%+ of the high end quality at 35% of the high end price. This, to me, is the sweet spot if you cannot afford / do not want to afford the very best.

Just my $0.02
 
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5shot

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One Day...

How does Twilight Factor play into all of this, or is that a fictional measure from the past? I know decades ago it was used to compare scopes, binoculars, etc., but I haven't looked into it for a long time.
 

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