IME, the Europeans have the glass grinding biz down best.
I have no idea on prices these days, but we used to hunt Idaho yotes all night, moon or no-moon and the Swarovski and Schmidt & Bender and Zeiss get the nod.
Leupold M8 6x42 with a heavy duplex. We call it the spotlight because you can see to shoot with it way past legal. Any of the European fixed powers is going to be brighter then any variable will ever be. The fixed 6x scopes with a 42 mm objective will be more then bright enough
I have a Swarovski Z5 that I picked up for around $1100. I can practically see at night with it. I used to use some lower end brands and they would halo badly as the sun started to drop and they were normally useless before legal shooting was even over. Now I'm good until the very last minute of legal shooting if needed.
That's a decision each person has to make. However I would counter that when hunting an animal that is primarily nocturnal as most mature bucks are, that first couple minutes of legal shooting light or those last few minutes can make the difference between getting that target buck and not. I'm not saying you can't kill big bucks without it, it just maximizes the shooting window inside the legal limits.
I've used a lot of different scopes in my slow progression to upgrading to Swarovski and most caused me to lose 10-15 minutes on each end at sunrise and sunset because of poor light transmission. I've never regretted buying quality optics but have numerous times regretted wasting money on lower end brands.
I've never had a problem seeing good through a regular Leupold VX-II 3x9x40 right up to legal and even 10-15 minutes after...The problem is seeing the crosshairs, I fixed that by sending them back and having a heavy duplex installed...If you need to see a deer later, buy a better set of binoculars...If you are going to shoot them after legal, buy a better light....LOL
Now, for us older fellows, you do need to realize that after 40-45 your pupils don't dilate larger than 4mm...So, spending a ton on a light gathering scope won't help matters...
In that price range you should be able to find a scope that works for what you are doing. I totally understand wanting those extra few min to be able to see clearly.
When hunting the woods LST is often way after when you would be able to see through a lesser scope. If it’s cloudy you could be adding 10-15 min of hunting time with a good optic.
Many years ago I purchased my first ZEISS conquest. Now every one of my rifles has a ZEISS on top of it with the exception of my ML and bolt.22. Once you hunt with a high end optic is hard to even look through lower end glass.
There are plenty of great scope recommendations that have been mentioned here and I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them except the Leopold. I am not a fan of them. If I’m dropping $1000+ it’s going to be on A ZEISS, Swavorski, Meopta, Ext.
Last Friday I was sitting a field in SC (can shoot 1hour after sundown) and it was cloudy. 7mm-08 with a ZEISS conquest HD 5x25x50 Had 30-50 hogs behind me that never came out until 45 min after sundown. I could see them relatively clearly through scope until almost 7:30 at 50 yards. Never shot because I did not feel like dragging a hog 500+ yards that late. It was tempting though.
I agree and I dont think anyone so far on this thread is talking about poaching. We're just talking about light transmission and quality and the fact that a scope can see at dark is just impressive in my book as it shows how well it performs.
In optics, glass quality and coatings trump everything else, including objective size and tube diameter. Fixed powers are going to be better lowlight performers then variables due to less lens and less reflection on each surface.
Nope. I didn't say I knew them, just that they were not specifically "talking" about poaching in the thread above. If someone wants to poach, there are easier and cheaper methods than buying the high quality scopes everyone is recommending.
It was $1980......tough pill to swallow but the performance the last couple of weeks in the pine thickets I have been hunting has made it worth every penny.
I mainly bought it for the durability and the reliability of the adjustments. I shoot all my rifles at long range (500 to 1k) and dependable, repeatable adjustments are one of the top priorities for me. The tracking on it has been perfect. That being said, the 6X super snipers and leupold 6Xs I have are all acceptable in low light performance.
Most scopes will get you well past LST on most days. Where alpha glass comes in is on those dark dreary days when the big bucks are on there feet and moving. I have a couple of stands in pine thickets and also in dark swampy areas and those areas require better lowlight performance then average scopes provide. This is where alpha glass is head and shoulders above lower priced optics.
It's still legal shooting time when I have to set my rifle down, lest I kill a spike or button buck mistaken for a doe or I shoot a substandard antlered deer, since I use a cheapie scope. However, my wife's Zeiss Conquest? She's still in the game. [I didn't upgrade because I got a bow instead; she got Zeiss.]
Plus, the clarity of a $1600 scope is even more helpful in full light conditions for the same reasons I've described already.
Brother, I used to think just like you until I looked through my bride's scope. Even in regular daytime woods, the clarity is night and day better.