Personally I would stay away from Leupold for long range stuff. There reputation for tracking is not the best and there are better options out there. Night Force is the best but very pricey. Athlon is the new guy on the block and getting a very good reputation and the price point is excellent. Another great value is the SWFA Super Sniper scopes. tough as nails, track great, and price point is very good.
I have a Athlon that I've been using this past year and have been very impressed with it.
Give Doug a call at www.cameralandny.com 1-866-9-optics he has very good advice and customer service.
Cabela's has been having a Zeiss for a pretty good price periodically. My Dad bought one last year for around $800 (regular price was something like $1400 if I remember correctly) and it is really nice. It's not a Night Force, but it is a nice scope in the price range.
I have two Leupolds with CDS turret. One is on a .223 and another is on a 6.5 creedmoor. They both track well and have returned to zero every time after moving the turret. Clarity of glass is good. The thing I like best about the Leupold's is that I can line up on the target quickly. One downside on the Leupolds is the exposed turret can get turned off zero fairly easily while carrying in the field. I've had the same problem with a Nikon with exposed turret. I don't remember the exact price I paid but it was somewhere around $500 or $700 for the Leupolds.
I have two Vortex with Turrets. Paid around the same price as the Leupolds for them. Both Vortex track well and have returned to zero every time after moving the turret. I like the turret better on the Vortex because I can wedge the turret so it will stop at zero and the turret doesn't seem to bet turned off zero as easily as the Leupolds. The quality of the glass doesn't seem to be as good in the Vortex as the Leupolds. It takes me longer to get on target and return to target after the first shot with the Vortex than the Leupold. One of Vortex is on a 300 win mag and has taken a lot of abuse from recoil. The recoil on my 300 win mag has ruined the reticle on 3 other scopes.
I bought a Nightforce a couple months ago. I haven't had time to test it enough yet. My initial impression is I like the Nightforce better than the Vortex or Leupold. Besides the price, another downside to Nightforce is they tend to be "bulky" (many weigh around 30 oz). It wouldn't make sense to pay extra for a lightweight mountain rifle and then put a heavy Nightforce on it.
I'm not sure what brand my next scope purchase will be. It will depend on the function I'm looking for in the rifle. It might be a Nightforce or possible a Schmidt & Bender, Huskemaw, Swarovski, Zeiss or possibly a more expensive Leupold.
For a lightweight mountain rifle, the Leupolds with CDS are very good and for the moment would be my preferred choice. The glass quality is good and it is easy for me to get on target quick with them. Some the the Leupolds are lightweight which is nice for a lightweight mountain rifle. Leupold has a good reputation for being rugged and reliable. The Leupolds also have a lower profile than some of the others brands with exposed turrets. I would also consider Swarovski and Zeiss for a lightweight mountain rifle.
If you don't plan on shooting at more than 400 yards I think a BDC, mil dot or other reticle is better than a turret for hunting deer. Less moving parts on a hunting scope the, less likely it is to get turned off zero. This year I had the opportunity to take a quick 200 yard shot at a coues buck. The turret had been turned low by 2 MOA which caused me to hit 4 inches lower than I was aiming. I still got the deer but it required more than one shot.
Shooting beyond 600 yards with a clean kill on the first shot is beyond the skill level of almost all of the hunters that have a turret on their hunting rifle. It takes a lot of skill and a whole lot of practice to be good enough to consistently kill deer at 600 + yards,
Not sure about your budget but you should look at March. They've introduced a line of hunting scopes with a 10x magnification range. I'm looking at a 2.5x25x52. I think they come in around 23 ounces so a little heavy but not Nightforce heavy. I believe you can drop a couple of ounces and $4-500 with the 42 mm version. Quite a few of the best shooters in the world shoot March and believe they are superior to anything else made, including Kahles, NF and S&B.
I own Lieca, Swarovski, Zeiss and Leupold optics and was very impressed with the March scope I got to play with.
Just a thought if you're open to something a little less marketed.
LAST EDITED ON Jan-04-18 AT 01:14PM (MST)[p]BrianID, Thanks for the reply! There is a ton of valuable information that you've passed on. What's really prompted me to look at shooting longer range, is talking to guides from Arizona that do late season elk hunts.
I'm lucky to have a range where I can do long distance shooting, and no shortage of wild pigs running around.
I'd like to spend less than $1500, shoot steel until I'm good enough to hunt with it, FFP, MOA. I currently have a Leupold 4.5-14 on my rifle, but I think I'll need to a little more magnification. Any input would be great.
>I'd like to spend less than
>$1500, shoot steel until I'm
>good enough to hunt with
>it, FFP, MOA. I currently
>have a Leupold 4.5-14 on
>my rifle, but I think
>I'll need to a little
>more magnification. Any input would
Lot's good options in that price range.
Burris XTR II, or Veractiy in 4-20 or 5-25.
Sightron SIII 6-24
Vortex PST gen 2 6-24
Athlon Cronus BTR 4.5-27 (a little over budget, but awesome)
These are the ones I've owned or used, I'm sure there are other options that others could attest to.
My personal hunting rifles use the Burris Veracity until I get up the gumption to break into the $200+ line of top dogs.
Thanks for all of the replies!! You all have given me a lot to think about, and honestly opened my eyes to other brands that I never considered. Next stop I think is getting my hands on a few of these and see what I think of them. Thanks again!!
Unless you are just wanting another scope your 4.5-14 Leupold is adequate for the ranges you stated. 1X per 100 meters is a tried and true guideline. Not saying more magnification would not be better, just not absolutely necessary.
"One can take my life but not my faith or my
confidence. I fear none and respect all."
The option to keep and maybe retrofit my current scope sounds like a cool option. I think Leupold can put a BDC on an older scope or I can get the ballistics from my rifle and have a custom turret made.
I am going to buy a new rifle for my daughter(s) this month, so I have the luxury of doing some rifle scope shopping in the near future.
Thanks for the response guys!
I've been told that they turn easily. I've sighted in my dads rifle with the CDS scope with the exposed turret and it did turn with ease. But, I'm not sure that will stop me from buying one. However, there has been great advise from what I think are experienced hunters, so I'm going to look at some other glass. I'll let you know what I get.
If you're looking for budget conscious solution, then another nod for SWFA scopes. I've got the variable power SS on a 6.5 CM and absolutely love it. If you can scoop one on sale, it's better than a great deal - equates to robbery if you compare to similar quality optics' price point. My dad runs the fixed 10x SWFA and loves it too. I'm not a fan of the fixed 10x though, in case you get in a close range/quick opportunity scenario, it's not terribly conducive for quick target acquisition.
Loving my Huskwenmaw 4-16 42mm that sits atop a best of the West 7mm if deadly under field conditions actually shooting at game is your goal (not being a smart ass but some guy emphasis is on targets)...for me I can't imagine better set up...