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Thread: Getting the Most for Your Money (optics)

  1. #1

    Getting the Most for Your Money (optics)

    I need to buy two scopes simultaneously, which is squeezing my pocket slightly, and could do with some advice. I have had a read through some old threads, so hopefully I am already moving in the right direction.

    I need to kit out a .17 HMR and a 6.5x55 Swede. The former is predominantly for crows and occassionally rabbits (possibly on the lamp), the latter is a stalking rifle first and foremost and a foxing rifle as a secondary consideration (again, occassionally on the lamp). My stalking is predominantly lowland roe management stalks.

    I have a budget of somewhere around 600 for both. That is a real max and ideally I would do it for less (wouldn't we all!).

    My question is how best to squeeze the most out of my money? Do I spend 200-300 on each scope, or do I buy something like a gameking for the .17HMR and spend the rest on a second hand, fixed mag European?

    Finally, given my circumstances, what makes more sense- non-illuminated European glass, or illuminated Asian/American (Bushnell Elite "firefly", MTC Taipan, Nighteater etc)? Unfortunately illuminated European scopes seem to be way out of the question, even second hand.

    Thanks guys, appreciate any help.

  2. #2
    I use a Schmidt & Bender Hungarian 8x56, which are around 550 new. Very happy with it, a solid and reliable scope with good optics. It would be worthwhile putting a wanted post up in the classifieds section. Also have a look at Macleods of Tain's website - I've never dealt with them but they have a good reputation for second hand optics. I would go for the best you can afford on your 6.5mm. I think there was an article in a very recent edition of Shooting Times about scopes for rimfires - might be on their website.

  3. #3
    You are going to struggle to get two decent scopes for 600. Maybe spend 300-400 on a 2nd hand 8x50 Zeiss/Swaro/S&B for the deer rifle and whatever is left on something for the .17? JC

  4. #4
    Thanks for your replies. This was my instinct, but if I go down this route I am definitely forgoing illuminated reticle, which the stalker I am learning with says is invaluable. I have found a few Swaro Habichts, Leupold VX 3, Meopta Artemis and S+B Germans in a sub 500 price range, but all are non-IR.

    Is the Bushnell Elite Firefly worth a look if I can get one over from the US? They seem to love them over there.

    And forgive me, I know this is a deer stalking forum, but is an MTC/Gameking/WTC sufficient for now on the .17HMR if I spend as much as possible on my deer rifle?

  5. #5
    "forgoing illuminated reticle, which the stalker I am learning with says is invaluable"
    Why are they invaluable?

    Useful on occasions maybe, but certainly not invaluable in my opinion, given consideration of the legal hours in which you can shoot deer.
    My choice within the money restraints would be a fixed power scope possibly second hand in 6x42, 7x70 or 8x56.
    You might just be able to buy two new Meopta scopes for that sort of money if you look around and haggle.

  6. #6
    Might be worth looking at the optics warehouse to see if they have any end of lines. Suggest you look for a S/H Meopta and you might well get an illuminated one.

    I suggest you try and get a fine reticule varriable mag for the HMR ( most standard air rifle scopes would be fine) and if possible a second had 8x56 for the stalking rifle.

    One solution might to spend it all on one scope with a set of demountable mounts and swap it between both rifles.


  7. #7
    I use an MTC Mamba 3x12 44 RIR on my .243 for stalking. There is no doubt that it doesn't have the quality of a 600-1000 Swaro or S&B but it is perfectly adequate for my needs and I can quite happily spot Roe and knock em over.

    If I had the money would I spend more on a scope? Of course.

    Do I feel that the 180 I spent on the MTC was well spent? Absolutely.

  8. #8
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 View Post
    "forgoing illuminated reticle, which the stalker I am learning with says is invaluable"
    Why are they invaluable?
    +1 on that.

    If most of your stalking is lowland roe management then I would have thought an illuminated reticle is a luxury rather than a necessity. I seemed to manage okay for the first 10 years using a Zeiss 6x42 without illumination, and even though I have illumination now I haven't felt the need to use it when shooting deer in normal stalking conditions. For your foxing rifle it might be different, but others here far more experienced than me can comment on that.

    If I wanted to be controversial I'd say that - for most normal deer stalking - an illuminated reticle will only encourage you to take shots in failing light. As the light fades I think less about the view through the scope and more about the possible "what if's". The last thing I want is to face the situation where I've taken the shot but can't find the deer or missed spotting some twigs/grass through the scope.

    IMHO, go without and find a secondhand, good quality, fixed power, European scope. Keep an eye on the Classifieds or, failing that, try Macleod's of Tain or eBay.

    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  9. #9
    just found a lovely litte scope to go on your 17 hmr it a hawke map pro 6 .if you go to you can see
    how good it is on there but go to www.targetsports its only 75 so this is leaving you 500 + for a stalking scope. am going
    to put one on a 222 for foxing .hope this helps.

  10. #10
    For the .17 why not go for some thing cheep and cheerful I have just picked up two Hawke 3-10 x 44 for 80 with a 10 year warrantee, a mtc mamba is grand I have one and does a fine job, cost 150. but for the 6.5 x 55 Swede I would spend the rest of your budget.


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