Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Trying to choose a rifle scope

    I have a Marlin 336 SS I'd like to scope for deer hunting. I've never purchased a scope before, but I am fairly educated about optics & lens materials & coatings in general due to my hobby of photography & 18 year & counting career as certified optician.

    So what is a good scope for PA deer hunting on this gun?

    I want quality at budget pricing. I don't want crap, but I don't need to pay for a brand name if I can get the same quality & warranty in a less populat brand.

    I have seen some lower end Leupold & Nikon scopes in my price range, but I'm wondering if there might be an off brand that I could get something better for that same price, or get the same level scope for less money.

    Optics, light transmission, and durability are the most important, but light weight & excellent warranty are also features I'd like to see present in my choice.

    Is a 3-9x40 Leupold for $180 on sale a good deal? How does it compare to the $160-170 Nikon?

    One salesman tells me he doesn't like Nikon because they wouldn't cover a scope he had that was damaged when it slid off his car seat onto the floor while in the box... but Leupold covers anything, even if you knock it around in the woods & damage it.

    The salesman at the next place tells me Leupolds are overpriced & all his scopes are Nikon & he loves them...

    There are so many scopes out there... I'm reading the brocures, scanning the net, & just getting more & more confused & frustrated!

    So what do you guys have?
    Do you like what you have?
    and lastly, Why do you like or not like your particular scope?

    Thanks in advance!
    Let us never forget the sacrifice of those who have fought for us all.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Trying to choose a rifle scope

    As you should know, in optics, you get what you pay for. Spend the most you can afford, you won't regret it.

    Stay away from the 3-9 and larger stuff, it's too big and will really screw up the balance on your rifle. In addition, there is no need for that kind of magnification on a 336, the cartridge ballistics aren't there. I would look at a straight 4X, or a variable like a 1-4 or 2-7

    Since you mentioned $180, I'm going to assume that's about your limit. I would look at:

    Nikon Buckmasters 4X,
    Nikon Pro Staff 2-7 ( I have one, good scope)
    Redfield 2-7
    Leupold VXI
    Burris Fullfield II 2-7
    Sightron SII 4X

    For more $, the Weaver Grand Slams are good, the Bushnell Elites have Rainguard, Leupold VXII (either 2-7 or 1-4) and Sightron has a fixed 6X.

    I buy most of my scopes from Bear Basin Outfitters.

    Dale
    Last edited by dk99358; August 12th, 2010 at 08:34 PM. Reason: just found the Sightron 4X

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Trying to choose a rifle scope

    Quote Originally Posted by 87th PVI View Post
    Is a 3-9x40 Leupold for $180 on sale a good deal? How does it compare to the $160-170 Nikon?
    I have zero experience with optics and don't do photography, so keep that in mind. I should also note that this is my first scope.

    I have a Nikon ProStaff 3-9x40 mounted on my CZ452(*). When I bought it, I compared it with the comparable Leupold (VX-I, IIRC, which was a little more expensive) side by side in the store. To my Mark I eyeball, the Nikon had better light transmission and clarity in the conditions I was viewing it in. I have not been disappointed on those occasions that I've used it outdoors.

    Overall, I really like it. It's easy to use, and it's clear and bright. The one drawback is that you need to use a screwdriver or a coin to make windage/elevation adjustments. For my purposes, that's not an issue. For yours, it may be. That said, each click is 1/4 MOA.

    I bought the scope new, and feel like I got my money's worth. That said, I'm not using the scope to anywhere near its full potential right now. Once my experience and needs catch up to the capabilities of my equipment, I may feel differently, but as things stand now, I feel good about my choice.

    (*) Yes, I know it's way too much scope for a 22LR. I knew that when I bought it and when I mounted it on the rifle. When I get something larger, I'll be moving the scope up to the larger rifle. When/if I start shooting distances that 9x proves insufficient for, I'll get a larger scope and "downgrade" this one back to the rimfire.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Trying to choose a rifle scope

    Quote Originally Posted by dk99358 View Post
    As you should know, in optics, you get what you pay for. Spend the most you can afford, you won't regret it.

    Stay away from the 3-9 and larger stuff, it's too big and will really screw up the balance on your rifle. In addition, there is no need for that kind of magnification on a 336, the cartridge ballistics aren't there. I would look at a straight 4X, or a variable like a 1-4 or 2-7

    snip
    Dale
    Quote Originally Posted by FNG19 View Post
    snip

    (*) Yes, I know it's way too much scope for a 22LR. I knew that when I bought it and when I mounted it on the rifle. When I get something larger, I'll be moving the scope up to the larger rifle. When/if I start shooting distances that 9x proves insufficient for, I'll get a larger scope and "downgrade" this one back to the rimfire.
    Like FNG19, I too would like something that has the flexibility to later be mounted to a higher capacity rifle.

    The 3-9x40 seems like a very popular model...I didn't think about the rifle's balance being affected by it much.
    How adversely is the balance affected on your .22 FNG?

    Based upon what I've been looking at, the leading contenders seem to be the Prostaff & Buckmaster by Nikon & the Leupold Rifleman QD Manager.

    I do have a milsurp British .303 that came with a Leapers 3-9x40 & while it needs sighted in a little better, that did pretty good the one & only time I had it out at the range... the way I had to adjust my aim, I think it had probably been sighted in for 100 yards & I was shooting at targets 50 yards & 200 yards away.
    Let us never forget the sacrifice of those who have fought for us all.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Trying to choose a rifle scope

    Quote Originally Posted by 87th PVI View Post
    The 3-9x40 seems like a very popular model...I didn't think about the rifle's balance being affected by it much.
    How adversely is the balance affected on your .22 FNG?
    I'm not sure, to be honest. I shoot primarily from the bench using a sandbag for support. I didn't consider the balance issue when I was looking into scopes, so I have no idea what it was beforehand. If I had to guess, I'd say mounting the scope moved the center of gravity further towards the muzzle end (by direction, not magnitude) of the rifle, but that's a W/A/G.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Trying to choose a rifle scope

    If you are talking a real tool that covers the price point that is above junk to serious glass take a good look at Vortex. I like Nikon but I am more biased to Vortex.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Trying to choose a rifle scope

    My Marlin is the only rifle I have that I don't want a scope on, but Leupolds are on all my scoped rifles. JMO, but for a lever action like yours, something 1-4X or there abouts would be ideal. A Leupold VX-II 1-4 will run about $300. The VX-III 1.5-5 is about $100 more.

    Just do yourself a favor & don't buy cheap optics. It's not worth it.
    "It's hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."
    Thomas Sowell

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Trying to choose a rifle scope

    Optics should be viewed in the sunlight. Store lighting is not a true indicator of the quality of the light transmission.

    Jeff
    NRA Benefactor member
    NRA 2nd Amendment Foundation
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    SANS PEUR et SANS REPROACHE

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Trying to choose a rifle scope

    We have had very good luck with Burris scopes.
    Having never hunted deer in your area I will default back to our normal terrain and say that illuminated reticles are very nice for heavy cover or low light situations. Might be worth a look.
    Courage is being scared to death--but saddling up any way. John Wayne

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Trying to choose a rifle scope

    I recommend the nikon prostate. I own three, and I'm about to buy a forth one. They have great glass and I love the duplex (nikoplex) reticle. They are good in low light. I don't think you can beat them for the price.

    *prostaff* I hate this stupid phone
    Last edited by bac0nfat; August 14th, 2010 at 10:34 AM.

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