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Thread: The Glock 19 of rifle scopes?

  1. #1
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    Feb 2011
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    The Glock 19 of rifle scopes?

    Hi all,

    Several times on this forum the Tikka T3X has been called the "Glock 19 of practical bolt action rifles", which seems to be very true. Following that same line of thought, what would you suggest is the "Glock 19 of practical bolt action rifle scopes"? I suspect this would be a more difficult question to answer, since scopes are much more personal and tailored to more specific needs. I'm planning to purchase my first bolt action rifle: a Tikka T3X Lite (or CTR) in 6.5 Creedmoor or .308. That was the easy button choice. The hard choice is deciding which scope. There are so many good choices today, and I've considered several. My specific criteria are pretty simple: build my practical rifle marksmanship and manipulation skills, and quickly and reliably hit 2 MOA targets from 0 yards to 500 yards (max distance to which I have access at my range). Budget is $1000 or less.

    What is the current state of rifle scopes that meet this criteria and what do you look for in a scope that could be called the Glock 19 of scopes? Perhaps a 2-10x? Maybe 3-15x is more the norm now? FFP or SFP options? Basic reticle or Christmas tree? I'm thinking MRAD is the way to go (for me). It sounds like dialing for elevation and holding for wind is the most common practice these days in the precision rifle world, but not sure about a more practical rifle. I'd say I still plan to zero the rifle at 100 yards and use holdover or dial for longer distance shots. My range typically has the shooter in bright sunlight yet the targets are location in shadowed, tree-filled areas. So handling various light conditions will be important.

    I apologize if this is a bit rambling as I'm very new to bolt action rifles, but I wish to learn. I'm done analyzing and just want a solid choice to go out and shoot. That's where the real learning happens. Thanks for any experience-based knowledge you can share.

    Chris

  2. #2
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    Leupold 3-9x40 with CDS dial. Alternate is Leupold 2-7x33 or 2.5-8x36 without CDS.

  3. #3
    HAS ELECTROLYTES LittleLebowski's Avatar
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    I don't think that there's an answer to this question. There's just too many variables. It's all about your caliber, use case, and locale.
    #RESIST

  4. #4
    For me, a good quality, properly mounted, 3X9X40 is a great all purpose scope for a standard bolt action rifle like the Tika you describe. It will do everything you need and then some in a general purpose rifle. They have served me well over the years. Stick with quality, time honored brands with good warranties and customer service like Leopold, Burris and etc and you can'y go wrong.

    If you buy a specialized rifle for varmint shooting, target shooting, competition, long range and etc then a specialized scope is generally called for.

  5. #5
    HAS ELECTROLYTES LittleLebowski's Avatar
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    I'd call @CS Tactical and see what he recommends. There's a generous PF discount there as well.
    #RESIST

  6. #6
    S.L.O.W. ASH556's Avatar
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    Braselton, GA
    It totally depends on your intended use. If targets from the bench is the only think you're interested in, then lean towards higher magnification and FFP. If you intend it to be a target/hunting crossover gun, you 100% want SFP. Most FFP reticles in something like a 3-10 scope are useless below about 6X, even moreso in low light on moving game.

    To me, my default scope for what you're describing is Leupold either 3.5-10 or 4.5-14 with a TMR reticle. I especially like the M3 version of the 3.5-10 where you have a load-specific cam with zero-stop. Good SFP mil-based reticle, relatively lightweight, rugged, etc. It was the Army's M24 scope for a good long time. Yeah, you can spend more and get more application-specific features, but to me it's the Glock 19 of scopes.

    The biggest complaint you'll hear about it and Leupold in general is it's not mil/mil meaning turrets are MOA and reticle is MIL. Guess what? Who cares. You're either dialing the cam or dialing a 1/4 MOA turret based on dope. Whether your 350 dial is 3.25 MOA or 2.5 MIL, you're still dialing to a set point. Who cares what units it's in.
    Food Court Apprentice
    Semper Paratus certified AR15 armorer

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris17404 View Post
    Hi all,

    Several times on this forum the Tikka T3X has been called the "Glock 19 of practical bolt action rifles", which seems to be very true. Following that same line of thought, what would you suggest is the "Glock 19 of practical bolt action rifle scopes"? I suspect this would be a more difficult question to answer, since scopes are much more personal and tailored to more specific needs. I'm planning to purchase my first bolt action rifle: a Tikka T3X Lite (or CTR) in 6.5 Creedmoor or .308. That was the easy button choice. The hard choice is deciding which scope. There are so many good choices today, and I've considered several. My specific criteria are pretty simple: build my practical rifle marksmanship and manipulation skills, and quickly and reliably hit 2 MOA targets from 0 yards to 500 yards (max distance to which I have access at my range). Budget is $1000 or less.

    What is the current state of rifle scopes that meet this criteria and what do you look for in a scope that could be called the Glock 19 of scopes? Perhaps a 2-10x? Maybe 3-15x is more the norm now? FFP or SFP options? Basic reticle or Christmas tree? I'm thinking MRAD is the way to go (for me). It sounds like dialing for elevation and holding for wind is the most common practice these days in the precision rifle world, but not sure about a more practical rifle. I'd say I still plan to zero the rifle at 100 yards and use holdover or dial for longer distance shots. My range typically has the shooter in bright sunlight yet the targets are location in shadowed, tree-filled areas. So handling various light conditions will be important.

    I apologize if this is a bit rambling as I'm very new to bolt action rifles, but I wish to learn. I'm done analyzing and just want a solid choice to go out and shoot. That's where the real learning happens. Thanks for any experience-based knowledge you can share.

    Chris

    Chris give me a call when you have a chance and I'll ask you some questions and try to find the best fit
    CS Tactical
    For the best pricing on Optics please PM or call 916.670.1103
    Dealer for Zero Compromise, Swarovski,Tangent Theta,
    Nightforce, Kahles, Vortex, XLR Industries and now turn key precision rifles!
    www.cstactical.com

  8. #8
    There’s a lot to consider.

    First is zero. You can zero either the 6.5 Creedmoor or the 308 at 200 yards and hit 2MOA targets quickly out to about 300 by holding over. For big game hunting, this will handle at least 90% of the shots you ever get. Dialing takes time, so save it for when you have time, which normally means more distant targets.

    Speaking of distance, rifle ranges tend to be clearly marked. The rest of the world is not. You can get good hits to about 250 yards by estimating range. Beyond that, you must know the range. As you learn to shoot small groups at 200 yards, save the money you’ll need to get a good rangefinder. I’m partial to Leica but others work well. If you remember trigonometry, you can calculate range with a note pad and a compass but that takes time.

    Once you know the range, you have to know where to hold. For me, bullet drop compensating (BDC) reticles have worked to about 425 yards. To do this, you have to know the spacing between the hash marks and determine the drops for your load and rifle. Yardage values that scope makers assign to hash marks are theoretical because trajectories differ for different cartridges, and they differ for different loads in the same carrtridge. You have to shoot at each distance with your load and document the drops to use this method. If you change loads, then you have to reshoot the entire set of tests.

    For instance, I have a Leupold 3-9x40 VXR with the Ballistic Firedot reticle. The owner’s manual suggests that from a 200-yard zero, the bottom of the circle is my 300-yard POI, the middle hash is my 400-yard POI, and the bottom hash is my 500-yard POI. Several pages later, fine print admits that this is ONLY true for bullets with very high BCs at velocities north (in some cases well north) of 2,900 fps.

    But I live in a 30-06 world. For a 180-grain Nosler Partition at 2,750 fps and zeroed at 200 yards, the POI for the bottom of the circle is 285 yards, POI for the middle hash mark is 370, and POI for the bottom hash mark is 470. Following the manual would leave me 0.4 MOA low at 300 yards, 0.5 MOA low at 400, and 0.9 MOA low at 500.

    Ungood.

    This scope has a second-focal plane (SFP) reticle, so changing the power setting changes the reticle dimensions relative to the image. You can—in theory—manipulate the scope’s power ring to give the right drop but this is hard to repeat precisely, especially in haste. In a first-focal plane scope, the reticle stays the same in relation to the image, so holdovers have the same value at every power setting.

    Most hunters carry a variable scope set at the lowest power (or somewhere around 4x). That’s because if you carry the scope set at 9x, you’re pretty much guaranteed to jump a trophy buck at 40 yards and see nothing in the scope but hair. With an SFP scope and a BDC reticle, work out your drops with the scope set at the highest magnification and make your longer shots with it cranked all the way up.

    3-9x is a good place to be for a GP rifle. A little higher (usually) gets you a bit more reach. A little lower (usually) is faster up close. I set up rifles for big-game hunting so I carry the scope set at the lowest power, test loads at the highest power, and rarely if ever shoot with them in between. YMMV.

    MRAD vs MOA is an ongoing debate with most shooters favoring MRAD. Both work well. What matters is that your adjustments and your reticle both use the same system. Some scopes have MOA on one and MRAD on the other. Again, ungood.

    Leupold's CDS system works well in theory but I'm unaware of serious organizations using it in the real world. Leupold also has had some pretty well documented QC and customer service issues recently and there are a rash of counterfeits on the gray market. I’d hold off on them until those things get resolved. With your budget, I’d look at SWFA. They’re back ordered right now but that should clear up soon.

    I have no experience with Christmas Tree reticles so I can’t comment on them.

    Let me know if you have questions.


    Okie John
    “The reliability of the 30-06 on most of the world’s non-dangerous game is so well established as to be beyond intelligent dispute.” Finn Aagaard
    "Don't fuck with it" seems to prevent the vast majority of reported issues." BehindBlueI's

  9. #9
    THE THIRST MUTILATOR Nephrology's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    West
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris17404 View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm planning to purchase my first bolt action rifle: a Tikka T3X Lite (or CTR) in 6.5 Creedmoor or .308. My specific criteria are pretty simple: build my practical rifle marksmanship and manipulation skills, and quickly and reliably hit 2 MOA targets from 0 yards to 500 yards (max distance to which I have access at my range). Budget is $1000 or less.

    What is the current state of rifle scopes that meet this criteria and what do you look for in a scope that could be called the Glock 19 of scopes? Perhaps a 2-10x? Maybe 3-15x is more the norm now? FFP or SFP options? Basic reticle or Christmas tree?
    I would ultimately defer to @CS Tactical, but with those criteria in mind, I would probably go with a Vortex Viper PST gen 2 3-15x44 FFP as that would fit under your budget of $1000 if you're buying new. I like their EBR2C reticle a lot ; have it on the Gen 1 5-25x. Illumination and clarity in the gen 2 is a big step up from the first gen too.

    That said, I have also been REALLY impressed with Meopta. I have the 1-6 Optika6 SFP and love it. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend their 2.5-15 or their 3-18 Optika6 models either, if you can find them, caveat being that I have only used the 1-6. Can be challenging to get your hands on them as it seems like they are imported in small batches which sell out fast.

    edit: I think whatever make/model you decide, you're going to want an FFP scope with about 3-15 magnification and some sort of good milled reticle. Do not settle for a duplex or similarly spartan reticle if your goal is to work on marksmanship. I also do like illumination - not exactly totally required, but I would make it an important priority. The Viper PST Gen 2 3-15 FFP with the EBR2C reticle ticks all these boxes and retails for about $900 - should leave you enough to throw in a LaRue or Warne mount for about $1000 all told.
    Last edited by Nephrology; 12-02-2020 at 03:32 PM.

  10. #10
    I'm a big fan of my swfa 3-9x

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