Scopes - 30mm vs. 1" tubes on hunting rifles

Nevada Mike

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It seems that many manufacturers are offering their 'premium' scopes with 30mm tubes. When I bought a scope for my DG rifle I wanted a high quality scope with an illuminated reticle. I ended up choosing a Leupold VX6 1-6X with illuminated, no. 4 reticle, but this model is only available in a 30mm tube. I would preferred a 1" tube, but bought the VX6 based on optical quality and features.

All my other rifles have 1' tubes - Leupold, Swarovsky, and Schmidt & Bender scopes.

The 30mm tubes seem 'fat' and out of proportion on a slim hunting rifle and I can't really see any difference in optical quality. The S&B is a 2.5-10 X 40 Summit and has the best optics of all my scopes. It was also the most expensive. It is hard to imagine that 30mm tube could offer any significant improvement - just more weight and bulk.
 

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@Nevada Mike
Your observations are mostly correct.
30 mm tube gives only advantage by allowing more clicks for elevation, and possibly for windage.
For hunting rifle, especially DG rifle for close range work this is insignificant.

For long range hunting, or competition rifle 30 mm tube will give advantage over 1 inch tube, due to this.

So, as competition is tough in optics market, in my opnion, no decent optics maker, worht his salt, will ever want to stay behind the competition by providing "inferior" scope features, and thus we have the rise of large scope tube diameter hype.

Having said that, my personal liking goes to 30 mm scopes, for me it looks better. But, de gustibus non disputandum, as the proverb goes.
 

Red Leg

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The best quality scopes with the best quality lenses and thus light transmission are now virtually all 30 mm. In other words, buy 30mm or buy a lesser quality scope. Notice that I did not say that 30mm necessarily offers any meaningful difference in light transmission because of tube size - but the best scopes do offer superior imagery due to the quality of lens, finishes, and manufacturing - those scopes are 30mm these days.

As @mark-hunter notes, the only real potential advantage is greater adjustment range for initial mounting or extended range adjustment.

Like all those folks who had to transition from 7/8" tubes to 1" in the forties, the 30mm is the new norm. You get comfortable with it. To me a 1" tube now looks like a pencil on a rifle.
 

Hogpatrol

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The LR hunting scopes are leaning now to 34mm tubes.
 

The Engineer

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One potential advantage to the 30mm tube is room for a more robust mounting for the variable power/always centered cross hair mechanism. Not an issue on on most rifle calibers but a bit more robustness on DG rifle calibers cannot hurt. This assumes the manufacture does not use all the extra room for field of view enhancement.

An problemI have with many 30mm scopes is large large ocular/objective lens diameters that prevent mounting the scope low enough to obtain a good cheek weld. At least for me, the cheek weld is required for rapid target acquisition and a reduction in perceived recoil by preventing the stock comb from coming up and slapping your on recoil. I had a Z6i 2-12 on my plains game rifle. It was an excellent scope but the VERY large ocular lens required a high mount to clear the bolt. I put the Z6i on a single shot rifle were the ocular size was not an issue and put a Zeiss Victory HT 1.5 - 6 (30mm) on the rifle. I was able to lower the scope mounting significantly and have a much more compact scope for carrying, and I do not miss the higher range magnifications.
 

mark-hunter

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Of course, when improving the rifle platform for range first step is 30 mm scope.

34 mm is providing more clicks, and more price $$$ per click.
Cheaper solution is, scope mounts or base with inclination + 30 mm scope.
When this is not enough, 34 mm tube is next step.

So, far I have two match rifles, 30 mm scopes, and 20 MOA inclination on the mounting system. Actually, on one rifle I have piccatiny rail with 20 moa inclination + 30 mm scope (SFP), on another rifle I have standard piccatiny rail and single base scope ring with 20 moa inclination + 30 mm scope (SFP).
 

Nevada Mike

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I realize the potential benefits of a bigger scope tube, but I am a hunter, not a target shooter or sniper. I carry a rifle more than I shoot it and the vast majority of my shots will be inside 300 yards and I won't shoot at an animal that is at 400 yards or further. I'll get closer to take my shot.

The 30+mm tubes are not worth the extra weight or height of the sight line.
 

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Please let us know if you find a 1" tube scope with 110+' field of view on the lowest setting with at least 3.5" eye relief even worth mounting on a DG rifle?
 

Nevada Mike

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Please let us know if you find a 1" tube scope with 110+' field of view on the lowest setting with at least 3.5" eye relief even worth mounting on a DG rifle?
Well, you're making my point. How many people 'get by' mounting a Leupold VXIII 1.5-5X on their DG rifles? I had to go to the 30mm VX6 Leupold to get a decent scope with the reticle I wanted.
 

John458Lott

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It seems that many manufacturers are offering their 'premium' scopes with 30mm tubes. When I bought a scope for my DG rifle I wanted a high quality scope with an illuminated reticle. I ended up choosing a Leupold VX6 1-6X with illuminated, no. 4 reticle, but this model is only available in a 30mm tube. I would preferred a 1" tube, but bought the VX6 based on optical quality and features.

All my other rifles have 1' tubes - Leupold, Swarovsky, and Schmidt & Bender scopes.

The 30mm tubes seem 'fat' and out of proportion on a slim hunting rifle and I can't really see any difference in optical quality. The S&B is a 2.5-10 X 40 Summit and has the best optics of all my scopes. It was also the most expensive. It is hard to imagine that 30mm tube could offer any significant improvement - just more weight and bulk.
The 30mm scope in the S&B line are much better than the 1inch Summit. I found out after buying a Summit which I thought was all I loved in a S&B but in the more compact 1" line. Not so! The eye relief is better in the Summit but the eye box is more critical, image not as crisp and the dials work more like a Leupold than a European scope. ie. It needs a shot or two to settle. So if you like the Summit you will love the 30mm tubed line. The weight penalty is not that bad unlike it's a mountain rifle
 

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To me a 30mm scope can look like an abomination on a classic stalking rifle. These new scopes are way out of proportion on a trim rifle. I wish manufacturers would put more effort into their compact offerings.
 

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These are my two 'scopes for my .375. The top 'scope is the original Zeiss, supplied with the rifle new in the late '60s. It is a 4 power with a 1" tube. The bottom scope is its modern replacement, a Swarovski, variable power, illuminated reticle, with a 30mm. tube.

Terry Wieland complains about the increasing size and weight of 'scopes, and one can see exactly what he means.

image.png
 

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It seems that many manufacturers are offering their 'premium' scopes with 30mm tubes. When I bought a scope for my DG rifle I wanted a high quality scope with an illuminated reticle. I ended up choosing a Leupold VX6 1-6X with illuminated, no. 4 reticle, but this model is only available in a 30mm tube. I would preferred a 1" tube, but bought the VX6 based on optical quality and features.

All my other rifles have 1' tubes - Leupold, Swarovsky, and Schmidt & Bender scopes.

The 30mm tubes seem 'fat' and out of proportion on a slim hunting rifle and I can't really see any difference in optical quality. The S&B is a 2.5-10 X 40 Summit and has the best optics of all my scopes. It was also the most expensive. It is hard to imagine that 30mm tube could offer any significant improvement - just more weight and bulk.
First of all congrats on the VX6. It is an amazing scope. I personally believe in the larger tubes and for me a 1” looks out of place. It does gather more light and others may point out other advantages like more elevation adjustment.
Philip
 

flatwater bill

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On scopes that have no objective lens bell, or enlargement, like a Leupold 1.5-5, the objective lens diameter on a 1" tube scope (1"=25.4mm) is usually 20mm (lens a little smaller than tube). On a 30mm scope with no objective bell, it is about 24mm. Thus gathering about 44% more light. It is only on these scopes that I prefer 30mm tubes. Allows for a larger front lens .........FWB
 
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The best quality scopes with the best quality lenses and thus light transmission are now virtually all 30 mm. In other words, buy 30mm or buy a lesser quality scope. Notice that I did not say that 30mm necessarily offers any meaningful difference in light transmission because of tube size - but the best scopes do offer superior imagery due to the quality of lens, finishes, and manufacturing - those scopes are 30mm these days.

As @mark-hunter notes, the only real potential advantage is greater adjustment range for initial mounting or extended range adjustment.

Like all those folks who had to transition from 7/8" tubes to 1" in the forties, the 30mm is the new norm. You get comfortable with it. To me a 1" tube now looks like a pencil on a rifle.
@Red Leg
Meopta scopes are supposed to have the best light transmission per lens of any scope on the market with a claimed 98% per lens.
This gives their 3.5 to 10 x44 a total light transmission of 91%.
All of this is done on a 1" tube.
30 mill scope tubes only offer more adjustment and weight with a bit more tube strength.
The only way to get more light in is with a bigger objective, that is why t the old 8x56 is such a good scope for night hunting from a stand on a moonlight night.
I'll stick with the old 1" . One of the best DG scopes was the old fixed power Leupold. Light weight, quick to use and almost bomb proof.
Bob
 

Red Leg

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@Red Leg
Meopta scopes are supposed to have the best light transmission per lens of any scope on the market with a claimed 98% per lens.
This gives their 3.5 to 10 x44 a total light transmission of 91%.
All of this is done on a 1" tube.
30 mill scope tubes only offer more adjustment and weight with a bit more tube strength.
The only way to get more light in is with a bigger objective, that is why t the old 8x56 is such a good scope for night hunting from a stand on a moonlight night.
I'll stick with the old 1" . One of the best DG scopes was the old fixed power Leupold. Light weight, quick to use and almost bomb proof.
Bob
Read what I said.

I did not claim a 30mm tube transmitted light better. I said virtually all the best quality scopes, which offer the best optics (lens, coatings etc) are offered only in 30 mm. I would further add the best quality models of virtually all brands are 30 mm (or larger). The 1” Meopta is a good scope - as are their 30mm models. I have a couple. I probably have half a dozen of the old Leupold V6 1x6x22 scopes (they are an easy retrofit into claw mounts). They too are fine scopes. However, I do not find either of them to be same quality of a Leica Magnus, Swarovski Z6 or 8, or S&B.

But if you prefer a particular brand or tube size, by all means use it. I will stand by my original comment to the OP that “the best quality scopes with the best quality lenses and thus light transmission are now virtually all 30mm.”
 

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Probably not a lot of technical difference. Bit more travel in the erector set up if you want to shoot long range I suppose.

Most of mine are 30mm but that's because I tend to buy European glass. However, if there was a scope I liked and had a 1" tube I'd buy it happily enough.

Scrummy
 
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Read what I said.

I did not claim a 30mm tube transmitted light better. I said virtually all the best quality scopes, which offer the best optics (lens, coatings etc) are offered only in 30 mm. I would further add the best quality models of virtually all brands are 30 mm (or larger). The 1” Meopta is a good scope - as are their 30mm models. I have a couple. I probably have half a dozen of the old Leupold V6 1x6x22 scopes (they are an easy retrofit into claw mounts). They too are fine scopes. However, I do not find either of them to be same quality of a Leica Magnus, Swarovski Z6 or 8, or S&B.

But if you prefer a particular brand or tube size, by all means use it. I will stand by my original comment to the OP that “the best quality scopes with the best quality lenses and thus light transmission are now virtually all 30mm.”
@Red Leg
I agree with what you are saying. It's unfortunate that the 1" high quality scopes are lacking nowdays. Even the 34 mill tubes are becoming popular here in OZ.
I would love to be able to afford an S&B or a Leica Magnus but alas never will.
The 1 inch Meopta and Zeiss will do in the mean time.
I apologise for appearing to disagree with you , on the contrary I was just trying to say there are still some tho not many good one inch scopes around.
The obsession with scopes with a 6 or 8 times zoom ratio is hard to understand as well. Most of the time my scopes are set on 4 power while in the bush.
Bob
 

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@Red Leg
I agree with what you are saying. It's unfortunate that the 1" high quality scopes are lacking nowdays. Even the 34 mill tubes are becoming popular here in OZ.
I would love to be able to afford an S&B or a Leica Magnus but alas never will.
The 1 inch Meopta and Zeiss will do in the mean time.
I apologise for appearing to disagree with you , on the contrary I was just trying to say there are still some tho not many good one inch scopes around.
The obsession with scopes with a 6 or 8 times zoom ratio is hard to understand as well. Most of the time my scopes are set on 4 power while in the bush.
Bob
I obviously misread your post Bob. My apologies.

I suspect very rarely does anyone fool around with magnification in the presence of game. I can think I have done so maybe twice in the last decade. Like you, depending on terrain and scope, mine tend to sit at 4 or 6 power.

The two most meaningful scope developments in my lifetime have been with regard to lens brightness and clarity in poor light and the development of a dependable electronic red dot. Much whitetail hunting in the States can be a first and last light thing, and the quality of modern glass - scopes and binocular - is astounding compared to our choices a few decades ago.

But for many years a Lyman All American 6 power was my primary scope (riding a Ruger No. 1B in .270. I have no doubt both would do the job today.
 

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Agree with @Red Leg
Finding a top tier quality scope with illumination and a 1" tube is not possible.

And yes there is a price to be paid. Heavier/bulky and looks not exactly slim like the old days of 1" tubes. But you also have the pay offs of incredible glass, illumination and reticle options that did not exist on the old 1" tubes.

I wonder how this argument would have gone in the 1960's. Maybe something like "I can't believe all these new fangled scopes they are putting on hunting rifles. What the hell are those kids looking at through that shiny piece of metal that ruins the lines of a perfectly good hunting rifle. Open sights are just fine for hunting...etc, etc, etc"

We continue to evolve and adapt to ever changing times.
 

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