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There have been a couple of questions lately about which power scope, reticle, etc. is better, etc. My question is: What is the

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  • There have been a couple of questions lately about which power scope, reticle, etc. is better, etc. My question is: What is the

    There have been a couple of questions lately about which power scope, reticle, etc. is better, etc. My question is: What is the absolute best scope on the market today? Please base your answers on personal experience and not advertising and gun magazine articles and reviews. I have read most of those already for myself, thank you.

  • #2
    The best scope is going to comedown to the quality of the glass and the type and amount of lens coatings. Then, when you do have a problem or question, it will be how helpful is the Company? I have had to have service on Swarovski and Tasco and both Companies were excellent. I have had cleanings from the Weaver people in New Mexico (I think they are ex-employees of Weaver) and had a reticle change by Leupold. Questions to Burris were handled quickly. Both services were excellent.
    The problem with determining the 'best' is going to come down to knowing what and how much of the coatings are used on how many lenses in the scope. Some Companies may be reluctant to release their proprietary technical specifications. The more coatings and thicker coatings are going to be directly related to cost of the scope and therefore quality and performance. The other factor is the Companies that do not reveal their process, the final test is how good to your eye does the scope present the image. Some tests are looking at objects of two colors like black and white and looking at the definition of the edges, and a similar test is looking at bright/shadow differentiation. Third would be how good is low light gathering. You would have to have all the top scopes available to evaluate each against the other - hard to do in a store but it can be done. Or you can rely on magazine articles testing various models. I would say from reputable manufacturer this is one area where you get what you pay for. The question in my mind is do you really benefit by the added 'quality' and therefore cost of a top line scope, or are the advanced quality features more than your eye can even decern?
    If a scope does not change POI and keeps the reticle in focus when changing power and completes the four corner test, up 5, right 5, down 5 and left 5, and allows me to see my game up until the end of legal hunting hours, that is probably all the scope I need. Any more would be a waste as far as what my eye can see.

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    • #3
      Hey WAM!
      Kind of an odd question, but here goes.
      I've used just about every scope out there at some point.
      I've looked through more than one Zeiss, but never "shot" a Zeiss.
      The only two scopes I can name that I haven't "owned" is Zeiss and Unertl.
      So, with my limited experience, I'm going to say Leupold is top dog.


      The Zeiss scopes I've looked through were extremely clear and crisp, but I'm not so sure they're THAT much "better" than Leupold.

      JMNSHO

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      • #4
        Hey WAM!
        Kind of an odd question, but here goes.
        I've used just about every scope out there at some point.
        I've looked through more than one Zeiss, but never "shot" a Zeiss.
        The only two scopes I can name that I haven't "owned" is Zeiss and Unertl.
        So, with my limited experience, I'm going to say Leupold is top dog.


        The Zeiss scopes I've looked through were extremely clear and crisp, but I'm not so sure they're THAT much "better" than Leupold.

        JMNSHO

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        • #5
          jhjimbo beat me to it and gave a more technical answer than I could. I own three Burris scopes 2 rifle one hand gun. For the money shooting in NY state albeit at no great distance Burris gets my vote.

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          • #6
            I've found that for typical deer hunting reliability (i.e. durability of the scope, ability to hold zero in stress and manufacturer's warranty) and visibility (i.e. clarity, light transfer and field of view) are the most important as long as the scope is reasonably accurate. It will be difficult to tell when looking at the broad side of a dead deer whether you missed your shot by a quarter inch or not. My consistently best on that front has been the Leupold VX III through VX-3 line of scopes. I use the 2-7, 3-9, and 3.5-10. Can't say enough good about these; they are outstanding hunting scopes.

            As you know, I also do a lot of long range shooting, mainly targets and varmints. In this type of shooting accuracy is my top priority. Scopes vary widely in their accuracy. I appreciate those attributes identified above but accuracy trumps them. The most accurate scope I've used out to 1000 yards is the Leupold Vari-X III 6.5-20x40. I've shot a NightForce a bit too. It is used by national champion F-Class shooters, however I haven't used it enough to say that it is MORE accurate than the Leupold. It MIGHT be in the line of .05 MOA more accurate; I've not tested it enough to be sure. I'm now searching for accuracy experience on Leupold's replacement scope, the VX-3 to see if it is as accurate as their older version. I'd like to get a matte black version but don't want to risk accuracy so I am being cautious.

            My second most accurate scope is a Bushnell Elite 4200 Tactical 6-24x50. It shoots about .1 MOA worse than the Leupold and is not as clear. Still fine for 1000 yard prairie dogs. I had (crushed by airline) a Millet Tactical 6-24x55 that shot similar to the Bushnell 4200 but when I acquired another one, group size increased by double. The product quality apparently is not uniform.

            Overall, the Leupolds have been my best across the board and they have done everything I expected of them.

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            • #7
              Swarovski and Schmitt and Bender are hard to beat, but are so expensive. There are a lot of good scopes today

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              • #8
                Real life experiences:

                Leupold VX-III 2.5-8: Good glass, nice eye relief, good eye-box. Thin reticle.

                Leupold VX-6 1-6X: Good glass, stiff power adjustment, great eye relief. Standing up to around 200 375 rounds so far. Reticle is thick (as it should be for the class of rifle I think it should be on)

                Zeiss Conquest 3-9: I have three of these: two z-plex and one German #4. The glass is really top notch. My range faces the West, and during the late evening of summer the sun can be a bear. Very good resolution. Solid and accurate adjustments. Great eye relief (4”), but a little hard to “get behind” for me on some rifles . This would be what I call eye box narrowness. This is a subjective thing for me, keep in mind.

                Also Zeiss 4.5-14. All of the above, minus the great eye relief. Biggest pro is the resolutiuon at the higher power. Much better than cheaper high-power variables I have.

                Cons for both Zeiss’: they look like they have been stretched out. Long tubes. This can be a plus for a long action, negating the extended rings or mounts and all that jazz. But they can tent to overbalance a short action, or even a compact long-action rifle.

                Meopta MeoPro, 30mm 1-4x. I bought this for the 375 tha thte Leupold now wears. Great glass, solid adjustment. I could see the bullet holes at 100 yards with the 4X setting when sighting the rifle. Biggest con: insuffeciebnt eye relief, for me anyway. No mater what I did, I still got bumped by the scope, even when shooting offhand. I have never had this problem with the Leupold. The Meopta is now on a 35 Whelen.

                I’ve had a few medium to lower end scopes, that have worked OK. But the above are the best on my rifles:

                So, best of these is probably the Leupold’s overall, with Zeiss close second. The Zeiss glass is truly impressive, but the Leupold’s is very user friendly and may be a better fit on the rifle.

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                • #9

                  DakotaMan,
                  Can you expound on a few points you made?
                  You have mentioned before 'scope accuracy'. Can you define what you mean by 'scope accuracy' and how you measure or determine it?
                  Also, how do you differentiate 'scope accuracy', from rifle accuracy and shooter capability and bullet performance? All of the above seem to have some variables built in to some degree and seem to be dependent or related to each other.
                  Also, Amflyer(above) mentioned his range faces the afternoon sun, is this light gathering or focusing overload dangerous to the eye - like a magnifying glass burning wood, could it damage the eye or optic nerve.
                  There sure is a lot more to shooting than just pulling the trigger. Jim


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                  • #10
                    Guess i really didnt finish the thought on the late sun comment: on other lesser scopes, it can get harder to see with the sun behind the targets. The Zeiss' seem to do a good job of cutting down on glare and other issues.

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                    • #11
                      Never owned or shot any of the high end scopes, but have had real good luck with Nikon products, and I put them over Leupold because, for some reason, Leupold and I just don't gee-haw together as well as other people report. On the other hand, I am really impressed with the Redfield scopes---a subsidiary of Leupold. Wouldn't trust a Tasco to beat a snake to death or mash potatoes at the camp---have had three and bad experiences with all of them.

                      Nothing scientific, it's just that the deer hit the ground with great regularity when I'm shooting my Nikons, and having confidence in your equipment is three-fourths of the battle for accuracy.

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                      • #12
                        I have a friend that has several Swarovski's and you can really tell a difference when you look through them over other scopes. I don't have that kind of dollars to spend on scopes. I have used Leupold scopes in the past but they went by the way of trade on rifles. I have used only Nikons for the past 20 years and for my use they have served me well. Could I see better with high end scopes, possibly I could but I can see well enough with my Nikons to do what I want to do and that is all that I can ask. I have never missed anything because of the scope I had on my rifle. Back to your original question of the scopes that I have looked through on the bench and shot I would have to say Swarovski is the best scope that I have ever seen.

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                        • #13
                          I have only had to send one Swarovski in for repairs. At that time they had their repair work done here in the States by Leupold. The scope was back in ten days in perfect shape. Worth considering....

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                          • #14
                            I should clarify the previous statement. Both Leupold and Swarovski are fine companies.

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                            • #15
                              Geez, WAM, almost a rhetorical question because of so many variables. Day in and day out, the best dollar for dollar value with the most varied selection to fit almost any application with really good quality (note I did not say 'Great' or the best) has to go to the Leupold line. I have had a bunch of top line scopes that were really great optics, better than Leupold and a hell of a lot more expensive, but for the 'working man' it has to be Leupold. Hard to beat for price and quality.

                              Comment

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