Optics Advice From Experienced Elephant Hunters or Professional Hunters

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I'd leave the scopes behind and just use the open sights, if your eyesight is capable of that. If not, an RMR or similar as @KMG Hunting Safaris suggested. I personally am putting a true 1-6x scope on my DG rifle, for Elephant I'd take it off though.

Exactly.


One elephant I shot was charging at 15 meters (16.5 yards) and I was using an EOtech red dot. I would not use a 2-7 scope at all.

On my next elephant hunt in August, 2021 I will use a 1 MOA Trijicon on top of a Heym .500 NE
 
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Scott CWO

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Without a doubt your 1.5-5 is better suited for the task, most likely set on 1.5! Your shot will probably be taken at 25 meters of less, possibly much less! Ask your PH for his advice, he knows the shooting conditions that you are most likely to encounter. Which ever scope you decide on be sure It is securely mounted. 458 Lotts are a bit unkind to scopes and mounts.

I hope you have a great hunt!
Thanks for your thoughts.

Yes, I have had the Lott for several years and did have one scope rebuilt because of it.
 

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If you are comfortable with them I would use iron sights. The shots will be close and the lighting will be good. The scope is just one more thing to snag up in that thorn scrub.

In that vein, don’t wear a pack. Put what you need on your shooting belt or in the trackers pack. Be careful on hat selection as well.
My rifle has good iron sights so I will definitely have them sighted in be prepared to use them daily.

I always wear a small pack or let a packer wear it if they absolutely insist. The ONLY day I didn’t wear it in CAR was the day I was attacked so that’s not happening again thorns or not.

I usually wear a ball cap, especially when the sun is low.
 
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Scott CWO

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Personally, I would shy away from Optics for close range hunting on animals that have a tendency to charge... I would highly recommend open sights... They allow for much faster target acquisition, which could save your life in an emergency... My 2¢ worth...
Yes, the rifle has good open sights and I can remove any scope when I get there or just leave the scope in the truck but I will bring one or two. Who knows, maybe I will decide to hunt some other species if I get done early.
 

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I'd leave the scopes behind and just use the open sights, if your eyesight is capable of that. If not, an RMR or similar as @KMG Hunting Safaris suggested. I personally am putting a true 1-6x scope on my DG rifle, for Elephant I'd take it off though.
Thanks Cal.
 

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To answer your question, I think you are perfectly fine with either Leupold you choose to use. Personally I prefer the Firedot even though it is greater magnification, and have used the exact same scope at 15 and 30 yards.

Look forward to your hunt report!
Thanks for your input. I have used my scopes for buffalo and brown bears at 10-50 yards several times but I also have used open sights and I grew up shooting without scopes.
 

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I should have included in my post that the Aimpoint with which I have experience is the Micro.

I agree with @One Day on the older tech Aimpoints being a heavy tube with a red dot. This, and the size of the dot, put me off Aimpoints until the advent of the Micro.

The Micro is a different kettle of fish. In use no part of the sight is noticeable except the dot. Far more precise and quicker than irons, and no part of the target is obscured. Reflex sights should be similar.
 

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On the technical side...

1x...

Hello Scott, as much as I hate to say this, in a best case scenario I would use neither of your scopes. Sure, anything can be made to work, but as mikecatt13 or YancyW already emphasized, you need a true 1x (zero magnification) optic in order to be able to shoot with both eyes open, real fast, real close, and calling4life is right on about so-called 1x optics that are in fact 1.25x or 1.3x etc.

Open sights...
Since you were considering purchasing a 1910 Rigby .470NE double rifle, I would assume that you would not have ruined its collector value by mounting a scope on it, right? That seems to indicate that you would have shot it with open sights, right? As WAB, DG Gunsmith, or cal suggest, nothing beats open sights for up-close & personal shooting, provided you can still see the front bead. If your eyes are going down, like mine, try a bigger front bead to see how it works. New England Custom Guns (NECG) sell some specifically for the CZ 550. These WILL make a big difference...

View attachment 381637

Optical sights...
If your eyes are so far gone that a big front bead won't do - welcome to my impending predicament! - then you have no other option than to use an optical sight. At this stage, you have two options: with or without variable magnification.

Non-magnification optics...
In the non-magnification optics field, there are also different options:​
Tube red dots
The grand classic "tube red dot" technology, exemplified by Aimpoint, features a red dot (typically a LED) in a tube with zero magnification glass. As much as I hate to say, this technology is essentially obsolete. Basically, you get a scope for the use of a red dot. There are good reasons why the military moved away from these: too bulky, too heavy...​
Reflex red dot
These are exemplified by the Trijicon RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex), the Docter Sight, etc. They project a red dot (also produced by a LED) onto a heads-up display and fulfill the same function as the "tube red dot" but at a minuscule fraction of bulk and weight, without sacrificing anything in term of practical battery life and reliability.​
Holographic red dot
This is the technology used by EoTech, and widely adopted by the US military. The big difference is that a holographic sight is usable even if the front glass is shattered, and even if most of the glass is covered in mud. A reflex sight will not.​
Conversely, a holographic sight is bigger and more expensive. A reflex sight is small enough to mount on a pistol, a holographic sight is not. But it is perfectly proportioned for a close quarter battle (CQB) M4 carbine...View attachment 381641

Variable magnification optics...
Variable magnification optics, exemplified by low power variable scopes, offer the advantage to be usable at close range both eyes open, IF they are truly 1x at the low end of magnification, and to be also used at longer range when using the magnification. A few considerations are worth pointing out:​
  • The true low end of the magnification range MUST be a true 1x (i.e. zero magnification).
  • One would be foolish nowadays to select a scope that does not integrate a illuminated red dot. Right there, this gives you in essence 1) a tube red dot, plus 2) a scope.
  • To keep the scope mountable on magnum length actions, and reasonably light, these scopes typically do not have a front bell, but just a straight tube. It saves bulk and weight, but it also means that the front objective is very small, typically 24 mm.
  • Small diameter objectives mean that their light gathering ability is limited, therefore the usefulness of their magnification will drop dramatically at dusk and dawn. In order to retain a 7 mm light beam reaching the eye pupil in crepuscular light, no more than 4x magnification should be used (4x 7mm light beam = 28 mm objective). Sure, in broad daylight when the human pupil shrinks to 3 mm, a lot more magnification can be used even with a small objective. This explains why Swarovski makes a Z6 1-6x24 and even a Z8 1-8x24.
  • There is no "free lunch" though, a 1-6x24 or 1-8x24 is also a lot bigger and a lot heavier than a 1-4x24 (and also a lot more expensive). Choose wisely...
So.......... these are your objective options...

As to personal advices, we will each have our own, and they are worth what you pay for them, which is exactly nothing :E Rofl: , but I will offer mine as well because you are asking for input :)
  1. If your eyes are good enough, and since you have great open sights on the CZ 550 (possibly with the addition of a NECG wide and/or fiber optic bead), this is probably your most reliable option.
  2. If you need optical sights, and you favor compactness and light weight, a reflex sight mounted on the front bridge is likely your best option. The Trijicon RMR and Docter are probably the two most proven. I have a Docter III on my Mauser 66 .458 Lott, but nowadays I favor the Leica ASPH for the reason that you do not need to dismount the sight from its carrier plate to change the battery. A tube red dot (Aimpoint) or holographic sight (EoTech) are much bigger/heavier for no appreciable added feature on a DG hunting rifle.
  3. If you want dual purpose function, a variable scope WITH red dot is the way to go. I personally have no use whatsoever for more than 1-4x because I cannot think of any scenario where I would need 6x or 8x on a DG rifle, but to each our own. You can spend a lot of money on glass, but I find the economical Zeiss Conquest V4 1-4x24 ($500) to be near ideally proportioned. I personally use a Leica Visus 1-4x24 on my CZ 550 .416 Rigby because it has a longer eye relief, but this particular model is not manufactured anymore...
Just my $0.02 and I hope this helps Scott :)
@One Day... wow thanks for the option breakdowns. I always appreciate your posts. No, I would never have put a scope on any DR, let alone a 1910 Rigby!

Some more info: My eyes are still 20/20 at distance. I am now using reading glasses up close. My problem with open sights isn’t the front sight. It is in focus. My problem is the rear sight is sometimes blurry and varies depending on how tired I am. I can still use open sights but what do you all recommend with this additional info?
 

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And there is a difference between a true one power scope and one that may still claim being 1x, but isn't.

True one power allows both eyes open full sight picture shooting, with a lit reticle it is incredibly fast.

I have a CZ in 458 lott as well, iron sights for me, shallow V rear, big white dot up front.
Which manufacturers make a true 1x?
 

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@One Day... wow thanks for the option breakdowns. I always appreciate your posts. No, I would never have put a scope on any DR, let alone a 1910 Rigby!

Some more info: My eyes are still 20/20 at distance. I am now using reading glasses up close. My problem with open sights isn’t the front sight. It is in focus. My problem is the rear sight is sometimes blurry and varies depending on how tired I am. I can still use open sights but what do you all recommend with this additional info?
One thing that may help you to see your rear sight, would be the addition o' a wee bit o' high visibility enamel paint... Bright White, Yellow, Red, Orange, or Green... Either outlining the Notch, or simply a Line or Triangle...

henry-3474-express-sight-sm.jpg
G1218-IRON-express-sights.jpg
unnamed (1).jpg
 
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mikecatt13

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Which manufacturers make a true 1x?
Leupold and Trijicon both are true 1x if advertised as 1-?x. There are definitely others but I can only speak to these two from personal experience. Vortex does as well, particularly the razor line, but while they're a truly fine company I much prefer the other two personally.

Keep in mind, you will usually have to adjust the diopter (rotate the eyepiece) to not only focus the scope/reticle but finely tune the magnification to appear as true 1x. 99.9% sure this applies to every scope regardless of brand
 

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it never ceases to amaze that some still think irons are faster than a correctly powered scope.
the scope has the target and reticle on the same plane, and therefore requires no alignment.
the other thing often overlooked in close range fast shooting is the fit of the gun to the shooter.
bruce.
 

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@One Day... wow thanks for the option breakdowns. I always appreciate your posts. No, I would never have put a scope on any DR, let alone a 1910 Rigby!

Some more info: My eyes are still 20/20 at distance. I am now using reading glasses up close. My problem with open sights isn’t the front sight. It is in focus. My problem is the rear sight is sometimes blurry and varies depending on how tired I am. I can still use open sights but what do you all recommend with this additional info?

Ghost ring receiver sight.
 

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Just for a visual comparison I took a pictures from about 4yds away looking at a zebra mount through a Trijicon Accupoint 1-6x24 and a Docter reflex sight. I apologize for not getting better focus for the scope picture. It actually has the red triangle reticle. For really close shots the reflex sight is much better. There is nothing to block your view. The Docter sight also comes with a cover that when installed shuts off the unit to save the battery.

4951F847-11A3-47DC-A0D2-FBE8AF2C498F.jpeg
E3D7A3E5-698E-4DB2-90FA-95C5BA8722AD.jpeg
 
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Have you taken a look at the Trijicon illuminated scope? I have the 1-4 and they are an interesting design at a reasonable price.
I have the one to six power 30 mm trijicon accupoint German number four on my 416 have taken elephant Buffalo and hippo with, and love it! Great for low-light close-up shots but can also whack plains game out at 200 yards or farther on six. Super accurate in a heavy recoiling gun.
 

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On the technical side...

1x...

Hello Scott, as much as I hate to say this, in a best case scenario I would use neither of your scopes. Sure, anything can be made to work, but as mikecatt13 or YancyW already emphasized, you need a true 1x (zero magnification) optic in order to be able to shoot with both eyes open, real fast, real close, and calling4life is right on about so-called 1x optics that are in fact 1.25x or 1.3x etc.

Open sights...
Since you were considering purchasing a 1910 Rigby .470NE double rifle, I would assume that you would not have ruined its collector value by mounting a scope on it, right? That seems to indicate that you would have shot it with open sights, right? As WAB, DG Gunsmith, or cal suggest, nothing beats open sights for up-close & personal shooting, provided you can still see the front bead. If your eyes are going down, like mine, try a bigger front bead to see how it works. New England Custom Guns (NECG) sell some specifically for the CZ 550. These WILL make a big difference...

View attachment 381637

Optical sights...
If your eyes are so far gone that a big front bead won't do - welcome to my impending predicament! - then you have no other option than to use an optical sight. At this stage, you have two options: with or without variable magnification.

Non-magnification optics...
In the non-magnification optics field, there are also different options:​
Tube red dots
The grand classic "tube red dot" technology, exemplified by Aimpoint, features a red dot (typically a LED) in a tube with zero magnification glass. As much as I hate to say, this technology is essentially obsolete. Basically, you get a scope for the use of a red dot. There are good reasons why the military moved away from these: too bulky, too heavy...​
Reflex red dot
These are exemplified by the Trijicon RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex), the Docter Sight, etc. They project a red dot (also produced by a LED) onto a heads-up display and fulfill the same function as the "tube red dot" but at a minuscule fraction of bulk and weight, without sacrificing anything in term of practical battery life and reliability.​
Holographic red dot
This is the technology used by EoTech, and widely adopted by the US military. The big difference is that a holographic sight is usable even if the front glass is shattered, and even if most of the glass is covered in mud. A reflex sight will not.​
Conversely, a holographic sight is bigger and more expensive. A reflex sight is small enough to mount on a pistol, a holographic sight is not. But it is perfectly proportioned for a close quarter battle (CQB) M4 carbine...View attachment 381641

Variable magnification optics...
Variable magnification optics, exemplified by low power variable scopes, offer the advantage to be usable at close range both eyes open, IF they are truly 1x at the low end of magnification, and to be also used at longer range when using the magnification. A few considerations are worth pointing out:​
  • The true low end of the magnification range MUST be a true 1x (i.e. zero magnification).
  • One would be foolish nowadays to select a scope that does not integrate a illuminated red dot. Right there, this gives you in essence 1) a tube red dot, plus 2) a scope.
  • To keep the scope mountable on magnum length actions, and reasonably light, these scopes typically do not have a front bell, but just a straight tube. It saves bulk and weight, but it also means that the front objective is very small, typically 24 mm.
  • Small diameter objectives mean that their light gathering ability is limited, therefore the usefulness of their magnification will drop dramatically at dusk and dawn. In order to retain a 7 mm light beam reaching the eye pupil in crepuscular light, no more than 4x magnification should be used (4x 7mm light beam = 28 mm objective). Sure, in broad daylight when the human pupil shrinks to 3 mm, a lot more magnification can be used even with a small objective. This explains why Swarovski makes a Z6 1-6x24 and even a Z8 1-8x24.
  • There is no "free lunch" though, a 1-6x24 or 1-8x24 is also a lot bigger and a lot heavier than a 1-4x24 (and also a lot more expensive). Choose wisely...
So.......... these are your objective options...

As to personal advices, we will each have our own, and they are worth what you pay for them, which is exactly nothing :E Rofl: , but I will offer mine as well because you are asking for input :)
  1. If your eyes are good enough, and since you have great open sights on the CZ 550 (possibly with the addition of a NECG wide and/or fiber optic bead), this is probably your most reliable option.
  2. If you need optical sights, and you favor compactness and light weight, a reflex sight mounted on the front bridge is likely your best option. The Trijicon RMR and Docter are probably the two most proven. I have a Docter III on my Mauser 66 .458 Lott, but nowadays I favor the Leica ASPH for the reason that you do not need to dismount the sight from its carrier plate to change the battery. A tube red dot (Aimpoint) or holographic sight (EoTech) are much bigger/heavier for no appreciable added feature on a DG hunting rifle.
  3. If you want dual purpose function, a variable scope WITH red dot is the way to go. I personally have no use whatsoever for more than 1-4x because I cannot think of any scenario where I would need 6x or 8x on a DG rifle, but to each our own. You can spend a lot of money on glass, but I find the economical Zeiss Conquest V4 1-4x24 ($500) to be near ideally proportioned. I personally use a Leica Visus 1-4x24 on my CZ 550 .416 Rigby because it has a longer eye relief, but this particular model is not manufactured anymore...
Just my $0.02 and I hope this helps Scott :)

@One Day... and everyone,

Thanks for all the great advice. After reading your recommendations, I was also able to get in touch with one of my employees who recently retired from the 7th Special Forces Group as a Sergeant Major in August after 20 years in with 9 years and 9 months deployed. He recommended the Trijicon RMR or the Docter red dot sight with the 3 MOA dot. He said the military had trouble with the EOTECH and discovered that it changed point of aim and impact with changes in temperature. Supposedly, the DoD is litigating this issue with EOTECH. He mentioned that the RMR or Docter worked great and that they are much faster and easier than lining up both the front and rear sights with iron sights in the heat of battle or a DG charge. Seems to make sense to me.

For the CZ 550 Safari Mag rifle, I think I found a QD mounting plate that attaches to the 19mm dovetail on the CZ bridge. This would allow me to use the red dot sight or a scope. Does this make sense to you guys? See below.

 

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