Discussion in 'Sako Short Actions' started by icebear, Mar 11, 2019.
Thanks you’re added info reinforces some of what I knew and also sheds new light.
Glad you could understand it because I just about confused myself writing it. Bottom line is, like Stonecreek said, it's not that critical a factor for most shooting endeavors. We all tend to over think this stuff, me included.
I noticed you are in Az. also. I am in Phoenix suburb for winter since 98. Not related to this post, but noticed you had asked about finding nice GUNS, particularly Sakos. There is a show coming up in Denver, May 18-19. Colorado Gun Collectors Show, which is held only once a year. I have noticed and found many nice old Sakos there myself. Take a look at there site. I will be going again this year when I get back to Co.
Speaking of compact scopes, I agree that the Leupold 3-9x and 2-7x are great choices for a small, handy rifle like a Sako carbine. I saw a 3-9x at a gun show last week for $185 and I probably should have bought it, but I couldn't think of any gun in my collection that was in need of such a scope. Leupold also used to make a compact 3-9x AO that is excellent for rimfire use.
Something else that I like is the discontinued Burris Mini line. These very compact scopes were made in 4x, 6x, and 8x fixed and 3-9x and 4-12x variable. The 4-12x, which is now very difficult to find, is perfect for a carbine or lightweight sporter in .222 or similar caliber. The 4-12x and 6x came with parallax adjustment. The 4-12x also offered target turrets as an option. Those are even harder to find. I have one stashed away for a .22 target rifle I'm building. Here's a 4-12x Burris Mini on a custom L461.
That's a beautiful little custom L461. What caliber?
I've looked at the Burris compact line, but it seemed to me as if the eye placement on them is rather more critical than the Leupolds. Do you see this same thing?
This has been an informative and interesting thread. It prompted me to go to Leupold's site and look at what they have available regarding AO, Compact scopes and parallax options. I hadn't looked at their site in 3 - 4 years, and I was amazed at the numerous scopes they have. Plus the wide variety of features they offer as options from their Custom Shop. For example, they seem to have a smaller offering of scopes with an AO, and some of the favorite models like the VX - 3i, 3.5 - 10 x 40 is no longer offered with an AO. However, for $25.00 their Custom Shop offers several different choices of parallax ranges you can choose from. If seems like the scope will either have an AO, or if it doesn't, for a small fee you can choose the parallax range you want. The default range is 150 yards. Several of their scopes are offered in gloss black, through the Custom Shop only. If you select the drop down for compact scopes you'll be amazed at what they call a compact.
The custom is a .222. It was built by E.O. Audette, a well-known competition shooter and builder of custom target rifles. From what I was able to find online, he made relatively few custom hunting rifles like mine. It does shoot like a target rifle. If I remember correctly, I bought it from an ad in the old Gun List.
It could be that eye position is a bit more critical on the Burris compact scopes. I've never done a back-and-forth comparison between guns equipped with comparable Burris vs. Leupold. I'll see what I can do on that when I get the time. I do have one each of Burris and Leupold 3-9x compacts, but the Leupold is not currently on a rifle.
The Leupold custom shop does have a cornucopia of options, but it can be expensive! One thing that jumped out at me was that on the scope I was looking at, a gloss finish was $200. That's really prohibitive unless you're putting it on a cost-no-object custom rifle. Still, the custom shop is an option if you want something very specific that isn't otherwise easily found.
Remember when Leupold charged $20 more for a matte finish? It is almost impossible to find a gloss finish in a currently produced scope. I will jump on every gloss-finished Leupold I run across at a reasonable price.
I've noticed that with the Burris scopes I've owned. I've also noticed that the Burris scopes do not seem as clear / bright as their Leupold counterparts.
Leupolds have been my go to scope for may years but I'm starting to see several other companies (Vortex, Swarovski, Zeiss and probably others) introducing what look like quality scopes in the under $800 price range. Anyone have an opinion about those other scopes clarity / brightness / glass?
Leup0lds have always seemed clear to me and worked good but you read the reviews about other scopes with fantastic glass and wonder if there is something nicer out there.
Just for fun, I took a whole bunch of scopes out in the back yard and focused them on the same object to see how much difference I could detect in perceived sharpness. There was no point in comparing brightness, as it was a bright sunny day and differences in brightness only show up in relatively dim light. The scopes included Leupold and Burris 3-9x compacts, a Burris Timberline 3-9x, Leupold Vari-X III scopes in 3.5-10x and 2.5-8x, an old US-made Redfield 3-9x, and a Zeiss Conquest 2.5-8x.
The Leupold compact is about 11" long; the Burris is about half an inch shorter. The Timberline, a recent-production scope with a BDC reticle that is made in the Philippines, is also in that size range, as is the 2.5-8x VX-III. The compact scopes were all about equally sharp, but the older Burris 3-9x had much greater apparent magnification than the others. I don't know if it actually has more magnification or if it just has a narrower field of view because of the optical compromises necessary to get it to such a small size. It did seem to me more like a 10 or even 12 power, though. It was also fussier about eye position than the others, which would be consistent with it actually having more magnification than the nominal 9x. The Redfield was in the same class as the compacts.
The VX-III's seemed to be a bit sharper than the compacts, but not by much. The 2.5-8x could be rated as a compact, as it is about 11" long and has a 36mm objective. The one scope that I could really discern a difference in sharpness was the Zeiss. The Conquest line is assembled here in the USA. It is lower priced than a German-built Zeiss, and physically larger than the equivalent Leupold.
This is a quick and informal comparison, and I do not claim it is definitive. Sharpness (a combination of resolution and contrast) can be measured, and so can light transmission (brightness). Photo magazines do it all the time, because their readers demand it. I have never seen a proper lab evaluation of a rifle scope in a gun magazine, and I do not expect to. Gun magazines are basically advertising vehicles, and they will scramble under rocks to avoid anything that suggests that one advertiser's product is inferior to another's.
With regard to Leupold vs. Burris, I have been using both for over 20 years and I consider them both to be first-rate products. Both carry a lifetime warranty. Both used to be entirely US-made, but both have farmed out some lower-end production to Asia. Burris is building scopes in the US for Steiner of Germany. I have one on my SSG-69 and it's a superb scope. I've been told that they import the glass from Germany but I don't know that for certain. Burris makes scopes under its own name that appear to be identical or nearly identical to the Steiners.
I have a number of German and Austrian scopes, and their optical quality is superlative. New European scopes are very expensive but older ones can be found at reasonable prices. I have used scopes from Zeiss, Schmidt & Bender, Pecar-Berlin, B.Nickel-Marburg, Kahles, and Hubertus (a trade name; I believe my Hubertus was actually made by Schmidt & Bender). I have found them all to be optically excellent, although I am not a great fan of the popular German #1 reticle. It's good on a moving target, but not precise enough for precision target shooting. That's really a question of the intended use for the scope; the #1 is often called the "running boar" reticle and would be quite good for such a use. Older German scopes do not have modern coatings and so tend to produce ghosts and flare when shooting toward the sun. This is usually a minor issue.
Vortex scopes have recently appeared on the scene, with a giant fanfare. I haven't used one, so I cannot comment on quality. The ones I've seen in gun shops have all been made in China, which I do not consider a plus.
I'd like to see a proper optical lab comparison of Leupold, Burris, etc. scopes and find out what the facts are. Maybe there's a blog or YouTube channel out there with somebody who has the right equipment to test scopes. One can only hope.
Thanks icebear. That certainly was above and beyond!
Do you like the timberline scope well enough to buy another one?
Superlative, like Leupold and Burris don't even come close or superlative like there is a obvious optical quality difference?
Taking the two questions in order: Yes, I probably would buy another Timberline if I had a specific use for it. I bought the one I have on impulse because I saw it at a gun show with a cheap price on it. It wound up on an AR-15 I built with a heavy barrel and fixed stock, and it works very well for that purpose. It has a matte finish, a mil-dot reticle, and a somewhat military appearance. Aesthetics would likely keep me from putting one on a Sako or similar, but then all of my Sakos are blue and wood. If I had a sporting rifle with a matte finish, the Timberline would be a valid choice. It's a nice size for use on a carbine. Optically, it's hard to see any difference between it and more expensive scopes.
As to the question of German/Austrian scopes vs. Leupold, et al - I'd say "obvious optical quality difference." The European scopes are better than the others, but that in itself doesn't make me want to spend big bucks to replace the excellent Leupold and Burris scopes on my other rifles. Euro scopes are typically hideously expensive unless you luck into a good deal on a used one. The 2.5-8x Zeiss isn't even currently mounted on a rifle; I picked it up recently at a good price on Gunbroker and I'm waiting for inspiration to strike as to what I'm going to do with it. Likewise for a 6x Kahles that I couldn't pass up at the price. I have a German-made 6x Zeiss on a CZ 455 Mannlicher-style carbine in .22 Magnum, and that scope is also noticeably sharper than comparable US-brand optics. I often will grab a European scope if I see one at a good price, even if I don't have a specific application for it. A while back I bought an L461 sporter partly because it had a 4-10x Pecar-Berlin in correct 26mm Sako rings. I decided I didn't want the gun and sold it a few months later, but the scope and rings are now on my L469 .222 Magnum sporter. Netting out what I paid for the gun, what I sold it for, and the value of the rings, I have less than $100 in the Pecar. And the Redfield Widefield that was originally on the L469 solved a problem I had finding a scope that would fit on another rifle with very specific clearance requirements. Opportunity sometimes knocks.
For a compact scope, nothing will compare to the West German Diavari 3-9X36. These scopes are very compact, too short to put on long actions without an extended ring. The optics are unsurpassed, although a Swarovski Habicht 3-9 will work very well too...
I don't have personal experience with that scope, but it is in the same line as the compact 6x32 Diatal-C on my CZ, which is the best compact scope I own. I'll keep my eyes open for a good deal on the Diavari, which would make a good replacement for the Burris that is currently on my L461 carbine.
And by the way, that's a beautiful lineup of custom rifles and Zeiss scopes.
You won't be sorry or disappointed. I buy them whenever I see them come available. They are West German and even though they are 30 years old, they will keep up with anything made to day. I asked John Barsness ( https://www.ammoland.com/2014/12/modern-hunting-optics-by-john-barsness/#axzz5iMjSBM3j ) how these scopes could hang with the modern Alpha optics of today and he told me that Zeiss was using lead in there glass in those days and the secret to good optical glass is the glass density.
Whatever it is, I can tell you that you can even see the difference in the daylight...
Not sure if a matte scope would be included in your definition of a good deal but:
Zeiss Diavari C 3 - 9x36 MC Matte - eBay - $399.99
“Good condition” - Used
Or if you'd reather have gloss.
Swarovski 3-9x36mm Habicht Rifle Scope ~Austria~ Gloss - $599.99
Yes. VERY nice. Who made the stock on the front rifle, if you don't mind me asking.
Just what I am looking for!
How do the West German Diavair scopes compare to the Zeiss Conquest scopes for hunting type of shooting?
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