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Discussion Starter #1
I thought that it would be fun to discuss scopes for short range hunting rifles from an analytical viewpoint.

When I think of short range hunting rifles, cartridges like the .30-30, .44 Mag and .45-70 come to mind. The realistic maximum humane hunting range of these cartridges is less than 200 yards. It may be much less, but let's take the 200 yards number.

For 200 yards, we don't need 10 power. At that range, 4x will seem like iron sights at 50 yards, and as we know, at 50 yards a decent set of iron sights works plenty good. So with that information we can set 4x to 6x at the upper end of the magnification range.

Scout scopes can be mounted forward in a convenient way. Two negatives of scout scopes are their field of view and optical quality. Scout scopes gain their necessary eye relief at the expense of field of view, but this is not a big problem since your other eye can compensate if you hold it open when you shoot.

Optical quality is a concern. Far fewer scout scopes are sold than regular scopes. Makers of scout scopes do not currently build them to the same optical standards as they build their premium conventional scopes. Their lower grade coatings and small objectives can cause scout scopes to be at a disadvantage in low light hunting conditions.

Objective size on short range rifle scopes should be neither too big for a low mount, nor too small for dawn or dusk. Based on mount and ring sizes, 32mm to 40mm objectives seem about right. I like a low mounted scope so I would lean toward the 32mm objective with high quality coatings. Not only does a low mounted scope fit me better, it looks better, too. ;)

Illuminated scopes are tempting. There are three choices here: battery powered, tritium and luminous (Bushnell's Firefly). Battery powered scopes are usually better at adjusting to the light conditions. Running out of batteries sucks, tritium fades and the luminous remains to be proven by time.

Some short range hunting rifles have above average recoil. Common sense dictates that the scope be tough and have enough eye relief to not whack the shooter. Some brands are tougher than others and toughness is very important far away from a scope repair facility. Getting hit by your scope during recoil doesn't seem like fun, so I want 4 inches of eye relief. I know that gunwriters say 3 inches is fine but I like at least 4 inches of distance.

In a conventional scope, a well made 1.75-6x32mm or fixed 4x32mm seems to have a lot of virtues.

What would be your pick?
 

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I sort of like the new circle and dot system that Leupold has come out with. I think they have it both on the Mk4 CQ/T scope and the 1.5-5x VariXIII.

I'd choose either one for a short range rifle depending on it's purpose.
 

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For my #1s in .45-70, I prefer a 1-4x40mm scope. I'd prefer an illiminated, duplex reticle over a heavy reticle. 3.5-4" of eye relief is nice also. For those who want the fastest handling, a red dot makes a lot of sense.

BTW, the .45-70 is no where near limited to 200 yards for a humane kill, it's just that most sighting systems (i.e. semi buckhorn) limit it to such.
 

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i would prefer

that/a fixed 4 powerx40 objective lens with thin cross hairs and black dot in it's center, for the forward mounted scout concept[were talking 200yard range of cartridge]


i'd like it simple/rugged





thanks.
 

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There is an old Weaver 1x4 in excellent condition attached to one of the Rugers. I think I may try that one first. Can also borrow a nice red dot from one of my buddys. Still want to find somebody with a Scout scoped rifle to try though. Think I can get my Marlin by the end of next week maybe.

RIKA
 

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Have you decided on the guide gun or regular 1895 (hey, go out on a limb, get the cowboy, 26" of octagonal tube and 9-round magazine!!).
 

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Hey, that 26in Cowboy is so long that if I hurt my leg I can use it as an emergency crutch. :D

Seriously, I'll take a look but am really thinking about either the 22in or 18.5in barrel.

Does anybody have any experience with the ported models? Good or bad?

RIKA
 

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The main problem with the ported barrels is they are loud as hell, and tend to shave lead bullets.
 

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Thank you. I can live without porting.

RIKA
 

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I only have two rifles that would fit this category. (Two that wear scopes, that is...)

First is a Weatherby Lightweight Carbine in standard .308 Winchester. Black synthetic stock, 20" skinny barrel, same exact size as a Remington model Seven. It wears a Redfield Scout scope; 2.3 power by 28mm, iirc. Mount is a cantilever Ching Ring with Weaver-type slots; rings are Leupold's QRW, which allow removal and re-attachment while holding zero. Gun also has a 'normal' scope mount, a Redfield "turn-in" type, but that mount basically never gets used anymore. (I've babbled enough about the little Redfield scout scope in the "Lever Action" thread that you probably don't want to hear it again... :cool: )

Second gun is my CAR-15. Standard A2 fixed carry handle, with ARMS see-thru mount, which lets the iron sights be used as a backup. Scope is a Leupold compact 1-4x by 28(?)mm. It's marked and sold as a "1 to 4 power", but the book specs list it as actually "1.3 to 5.2 power", plenty of magnification for this kind of gun, imo. Rings are as low as possible, just enough for the rear lens bell to clear the ARMS rail. The reticle is Leupold's "shotgun reticle", which is basically just a heavier version of their standard duplex reticle. Being heavier, it's quicker to pick up than the standard reticle at close ranges (I tried them side-by-side in the store), which is important on a defensive carbine. (My opinon, again.) The scope stays between 1 & 2 power for quick acquisition, yet can be cranked up to 5+ power if more precision is needed.

I used to have a red-dot sight on the CAR, but switched due to the battery issue and desire for some level of magnification ability.

Never have used an ACOG-type sight, but a low-power (2 or 3 power??) version would probably be very versatile.

FWIW, I really like the little compact Leupold scope on the CAR. At 1-power, it's quicker for me than the iron sights, yet it still offers 5+ power magnification at your fingertips. It also is a VERY good light gatherer, which caught me by surprise in a "compact" scope. At night, I can honestly see better with the scope than without it, even cranked up to 3 or 4 power. Very impressive little unit.


Rika - if you ever come up with the "ideal" setup for a short-range levergun, please post it. I'm considering doing something for my father-in-law's .44 mag carbine. His eyesight is going, and iron sights just aren't much use to him anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
John, the ACOG's have short eye reliefs. To me that's fine on a .223, but spooky on a hard kicking rifle.

Your father-in-law might benefit from a durable red dot, specifically the Aimpoint. He could vary the dot intensity to suit his eyes. Aimpoint also makes 2x versions of their scopes.
 

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John in AR says, "Rika - if you ever come up with the "ideal" setup for a short-range levergun, please post it. I'm considering doing something for my father-in-law's .44 mag carbine. His eyesight is going, and iron sights just aren't much use to him anymore."

John, will be happy to help any way I can but offer an idea. Since you already have CAR set up with the little Leupold Compact and can easily switch out with the Red Dot, why not let your father-in-law try a few rounds shooting your carbine with both sights. That way he can tell you which he likes and can hit with the best. Unless its to be a total surprise gift, he will like the side-by-side comparison and will enjoy shooting the CAR as well.

RIKA :)
 
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