I'm having a hard time deciding what scope to put on my rifle

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by sandman0921, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. sandman0921

    sandman0921 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    I've been meaning to post pictures of my rifle for some time, and just haven't gotten around to it. I purchased this used Winchester Model 70 Safari Classic in 375 H&H Magnum a couple of years ago. My intention was to leave well enough alone, and use it as is, as the rifle was in pretty good shape. The bore seemed to be in decent shape, although in need of a good cleaning, and the stock was the basic wood that came with the rifle's of that vintage. The rest of the action, etc. appeared to be solid. I called Winchester, and was able to find out that this rifle was shipped from the New Haven, CT factory in 2001 to Wyoming, and then sold to a buyer in Michigan. Beyond that I know nothing about it's history. The rifle shoots pretty well, and with my hand-loads I got it shooting around an inch to a little better than an inch at 100 yds. Nothing spectacular, but for a DGR certainly acceptable.

    I'm a rifle nut, and that coupled with the fact that I'm a "tinkerer", got the best of me, and so I started "upgrading" the rifle. The first thing I didn't like was the trigger. I never could get the factory trigger feel the way I liked it, so I installed a new Timney trigger, and like it a lot better. Once I got the trigger the way I liked it, I thought, "I have never been a fan of the Winchester bottom metal", so I installed a new Williams one piece blued steel bottom metal. Then I thought, "While I'm at it, I might as well get a new stock made to fit me, so I had Wes Chapman at Accurate Innovations make me a new stock out of a piece of AAA English Walnut that I got to select. I decided to get it done how I wanted it, and so had it checkered with 24 LPI, wrap around checkering and a true Fleur-De-Lis and ribbons pattern. I also had Wes install an ebony fore-end tip, steel grip cap, and inletted rear swivel sling all to my LOP. It was all finished with a hand-rubbed, oiled finish. Wes has done a few rifles for me, and I am always very pleased with his work. Even though the new stock doesn't need them due to the bedding block Accurate Innovations installs, I even convinced them to re-install the Winchester filagreed cross-bolts because I liked the look.

    So, now I've invested a fair amount of money into the aesthetics of the rifle, and I figured I might as well invest in getting the action the way I want it, so.............I called Wayne at American Hunting Rifles. Wayne built me an AHR 450 Rigby that I absolutely love, so he was the first person I thought to ask because I trust him. I asked him if he'd be willing to true the action up, re-barrel the rifle with a premium 24 inch barrel, install a NECG rear and NECG front banded sight, barrel band swivel, and then finish all the metal work (action, barrel, bottom metal, sights, and Talley bases and rings) in a satin blued finish to match. He said he would, and he's also going to jewel the bolt, and nitre blue the extractor like he did on my 450 Rigby to finish it off. I'm set to ship Wayne the rifle out in the next few days.

    As such, and as usual with my firearms projects, it's gotten a little out of hand, but I've always wanted an Winchester M70 in 375 H&H Mag with the "African" look, and something that I can hand down to my children as an heirloom. Hopefully it will see Africa many times before I'm done.

    Anyway, I say all of this to ask opinions on the scope I should choose. I envisioned this rifle as being a "heavy" plains game rifle (Eland, zebra, etc.), as well as a cat rifle (leopard, maybe lion), as well as being there in case I wanted to do a Buff hunt with it as well. Sort of a jack-of-all trades type of rifle if you will. I really like the Leupold VX-6 scopes, and because I was thinking about it being a plains game rifle, as well as possibly serve as a DGR rifle, I was going to top it with a Leupold VX-6 2-12x42 scope with the FireDot reticle, and mounted in the Talley screw lock detachable 30mm rings. I also intended on shooting Barnes TSX 270 grain hand-loads out of it to give it a little more of a flat trajectory for possible longer plains game shots. I do realize it might be sacrilege to shoot anything but 300 grain bullets out of a 375 H&H Mag, but I figured that for dedicated buff, jumbo, hippo, etc., hunts I will carry my 450 Rigby anyway. The scope is really what I'm struggling with. I'm definitely going with a Leupold VX-6, but now I'm thinking of the 1-6x24 with the FireDot reticle like I have on my 450 Rigby, instead of a 2-12x42.

    I guess my question is will the 1-6x24 have enough magnification to take shots in the 100-200 yd range if need be, and the opposite of that, will the 2X on the 2-12x42 be low enough to shoot in the thick stuff? What scope should a multi-purpose 375 H&H Mag wear?

    I appreciate in advance all of your opinions.
     

  2. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Fanatic

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    I'd go 1-6 on an all-purpose rifle. The only time you NEED a rifle to work when shooting animals is up close (if you were shooting animals that can shoot back, different story) so, to me at least, I value the 1x more than the 12x.

    6x is plenty for shooting an animal in the vitals at 200 yards. Perhaps not optimal, but surely good enough.

    A 2-12 puts more value on the distance than up close, and in an all-purpose rifle, I think that is the wrong balance to make. Yes, you can shoot up close with 2x, but 1x is better when it is close enough to actually matter.
     
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  3. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Elite

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    2-12x42 , that is such a versatile scope !
     

  4. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Beautiful rifle. Thanks for the post.

    IMHO, either way you go regarding the scope is great.
     

  5. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Elite

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    yip, fantastic looking rifle. well done
     

  6. buckcurtin

    buckcurtin AH Veteran

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    I have a New Haven model 70 in 375H&H, probably one of the last. Scrambled to find one in that it is left-handed. Sent it straight to a gunsmith in Western Pennsylvania and had about 700 dollars work done on it. Finished it off with Talley mounts and a Schmidt&Bender 1.5-6X42 Zenith scope. Wonderful rifle, would hunt anything anywhere with it. Have many one shot kills up to about 200 yards with it. Cape Buffalo, Eland, Waterbuck, Mt Reedbuck, Springbok etc. The scope is beyond wonderful! Joke with my friends that I can see the hairs on a gnats ass at a 100 yards.
     

  7. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    My choice to.
     

  8. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Gorgeous piece of wood there. Wes did a great job on my .458B&M, he truly takes pride in what he does.

    Now it may seem a bit crazy, but a great all around PG/DG scope I think would be the Nikon 2-8. Not expensive but very durable.
     
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  9. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    As one who had a choice between a low power 1x4 and a higher power 4x12 I found I was actually on target quicker using the rifles open sights close in and chose a 4x12 for distance,I think a 2x12 will give you the versitility for anything that pops up close and the Luxury that a 12 power will give you. That being said Leupolds are Great scopes but I think a Nikon Mark 7 with a 2.5x10x50 with parallex adjustment will give you the best of both worlds the 50mm objective lens will give some great low light capabilities and the 2.5 power will give a larger field of view at low power I also think Nikon has the better glass.Of course this is only my opinion and I could be wrong. By the way that is a rifle any hunter would be proud to take into the field
     

  10. Redruff

    Redruff AH Enthusiast

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    Lovely wood and checkering. I have had good luck with Leupold 2-7 on my 375 H&H. She's taken a mixed bag from Duiker to Eland with up close and personal to 200m.

    Either way you'll have fun.

    R.
     

  11. shuter

    shuter AH Enthusiast

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    I have recently gone through the exact same process regarding my Winchester Safari Express .375, except I went with a McMillan stock. Scope-wise, I began with a Leupold VX3 1.5-5, which is a great scope, but will be upgrading to a VX6 1-6 very soon, which I would much rather have than the 2-12x on a rifle that might see use on DG up close. The 1-6 has double the field of view at minimum power vs. the 2-12, and I think 6x is plenty for shots out to 300 yards. Think about it, a 300 yard shot at 6x is the equivalent of a 50 yard shot at 1x, which would be a piece of cake. I will be getting the Firedot 4 reticle in mine. Good luck with your choice!
     
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  12. shuter

    shuter AH Enthusiast

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    By the way, your rifle is absolutely gorgeous! It will be even nicer when Wayne does his magic on it. He's working on a Ruger RSM .458 Lott for me at the moment as well. Great guy and a real craftsman, from all I've seen of his work.

    One last thought: You may want to measure and be sure a VX6 2-12x would even fit without the objective bell contacting your rear sight. On my Model 70, I tried my VX6 2-12x (from a .300 WSM) and it hit the back of the rear sight, using Burris medium 30mm signature zee rings. Higher rings might alleviate it but I can't stand a scope mounted too high. Anyway, I was only trying the 2-12 on my .375 to check for eyepiece clearance for the bolt handle, but the rear sight was definitely a problem.

    I recently picked up African Dangerous Game Cartridges by Pierre van der Walt. In it, he goes into great detail about his ideas on an African DG scope. In a nutshell, he ranks FOV, magnification below 1.5x on the low end, exit pupil, and eye relief as most important. He especially goes into the importance of having a huge FOV for everything from elephant to tracking anything charging. Just thought it might help. Again, good luck!
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
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  13. sandman0921

    sandman0921 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    That's another thing I hadn't thought about. I'm like you, I like the scope to be as close to the action/barrel as possible when mounting the rifle. I had pretty much made up my mind in getting the 2-12x42, but now I'm really rethinking that decision. I don't envision the rifle taking anything over 200 yds at best, but I wanted to make sure 6X would be OK if I had to take a poke at that distance.

    Thanks again to all for the recommendations and advice.
     

  14. shuter

    shuter AH Enthusiast

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    You bet! I've ordered stuff before only to find out it wouldn't work...and it sucks! I can say, almost without reservation, that the 2-12 will not work on your rifle without HIGH rings...and maybe not then.

    Also, I shot a blacktail deer at almost 300 yards with a sweet little Remington Model 7 in .260 Rem wearing a Leupold 1.5-5x. It's just not an issue. With all due respect, I think we've become a bit magnification-addicted these days with all the fantastic glass out there. Mounting considerations present issues that many of us don't think about till it's too late, however...as does FOV!
     
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  15. 8x68

    8x68 AH Fanatic

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    That is definitely a pretty looking rifle. Kind of a shame it's going to get all scratched up when going to work.
    Not quite sure why you would need a 30mm scope unless you really want extra light gathering abilities at dusk. Not the best time to shoot something big and nasty. Don't forget they are heavier than the 1" tube so there's a bit of extra "weight" to carry around.
    I have a old 3-9x40 Bausch & Lomb Balvar on my 375H&H. Area I was shooting in was open fields. If I was going to go for DG or hunting in cover then I would tend towards something along the lines of a 1-4x20 w/German #4 reticle, or from the custom shop at Leupold the FX2 Big Bore 3x20. Just remember when going with lower magnification scopes there has to be enough elevation adjustment range when shooting heavy bullets. Some scopes do not give enough. I had a Leupold VX3 1.75-6x32 on my 450 Rigby and had to switch it to a different rifle (CZ 550 in 9.3x62) due to that reason. Elevation was maxed out. Best to go to a gun store and look through a cross section of scopes. I do agree the VX 6's are nice and have a 6x zoom ratio just don't think the 30mm tube is necessary. Personally I think 12x is a little overkill for a 375H&H. A 2-8, 3-9, or 2-10 should be more than enough.
     
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  16. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    Beautiful rifle needs a beautiful scope, Leica ER5.
     
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  17. Spooksar

    Spooksar AH Fanatic

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    A lot of people get carried away with higher power scopes, the U.S. military rule of thumb is one power for every hundred yards. Using this analogy a six power scope is good for six hundred yards. In the real world six power would be fine at two hundred yards. The big thing I don't like is most scope over nine power have parralax adjustment on them, one more thing to play with, not great when you are excited. I tend to stay with 3x9 or 2x10 power.
     
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  18. southernidahohunter

    southernidahohunter AH Member

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    Leupold custom shop FX-II 3x
     

  19. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE AH Elite

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    Sandman0921, Man after my own heart on the the nice wood for your rifle. Life is to short to hunt with ugly rifles:cool:. I really like the work you have done on your rifle. I vote for the 1-6X. But take my advice with a grain of salt as my first choice is a double with iron's and find the challenge of stalking in close to be my hunting style.
     
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  20. matt85

    matt85 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    my vote is for the VX6 1-6x24. i use one on my Winchester Safari 416 RM and love it!

    as mentioned before, be careful as some scopes will not fit on the Winchester Safari rifles.

    -matt
     
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