Scoping Your Sako

Discussion in 'General Sako Discussions' started by South Pender, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. South Pender

    South Pender Well-Known Member

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    I've been curious about what members prefer when scoping their Sako hunting rifles. (Not so interested in "tactical" rifles.) Do most members prefer 1"-tube scopes, or are the newer 30mm. models gaining ground? What magnification or magnification range is preferred. I'm guessing that brand preference will tip towards Leupold, but what other brands have members found to be good?


    Over the past 30 years, my go-to hunting scope has been a Swarovski 3-9x36 (1" tube). My first ones were labelled 3-9x36 Habicht Nova, and they have evolved over the years, with improvements in lens coatings and the addition of many new reticles and ballistic turrets, to the present-day Z3 series. Here’s the current Z3 3-9x36:
    [​IMG]
    And my favorite reticle is the 4A, pictured below:
    [​IMG]
    I’ve had one of the Swarovski 3-9x36 scopes mounted on rifles used for many different kinds of big-game hunting—open country pronghorns, high-altitude open-tundra caribou, all species of deer in many different environments—and mostly with a 7 Rem. Mag. The optics are crystal-clear, and it is compact and light—12” long and 12 oz. With its 36mm objective lens, it can be mounted low (which I prefer for proper cheek weld) and keeps the rig relatively light, balanced, and manoeuvrable. At 3 power, it has a 39 ft. field of view at 100 yards—the widest, I believe, of any 3-9 scope--and, even with its 36mm. objective lens, it picks up light even in dark, wooded conditions like those encountered when hunting our Columbian black-tailed deer.

    My guess is that most members favor a 3-9 or 2-7 on their hunting rigs, but what are your preferences overall?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020

  2. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    3X to 6X fixed power depending on the rifle & it's intended purpose. Variable power scopes hold no appeal to me. 30 mm tubes just add bulk while offering nothing other than more internal adjustment range that you don't need anyway. Simple uncluttered reticles, like your 4A or one of the duplex or fine plex types, giving me one simple aiming point is my preference. Multiple cross hairs, range finder junk, & other clutter in the field of view is just a distraction for me. Don't ever remember a situation that I felt I needed more magnification. Longest shot on big game I ever took was 267 yards on a Pronghorn & that rifle didn't even have a scope on it. Win 1885 Hi-Wall in 45-70 with a venier tang sight. So, I'm not sure what purpose the high magnification variables on a hunting rifle serve. Scopes with powers of 8X and above are for varmints & prairie dogs, IMHO. To each his own, though.
     
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  3. RangerAV

    RangerAV Well-Known Member

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    I put a 3.5-10x40, 1" tube, on the .25-'06 AV when I had it. That started when we lived in Colorado and I envisioned that rifle as being primarily for pronghorn etc. with the possibility of longer shots than I'm used to here back East.

    But generally I try some zen to fit the scope to expected target size and potential range. Most often that means either a 1.5-5x20, 1" tube, or a 2.5-8x36, 1" tube. I pay much more attention to the lower end of the variable range than I do to the upper end... and I value the largest field of view I can get for normal carry.

    Duplex reticle.

    Weight can be a factor. I don't see any advantage -- to me -- for larger (than 1") tube sizes.

    I'm never going to dial anything. I just use maximum point blank range... and/or get closer... period, end of report.

    -Chris
     
  4. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Well, that's what you'd think and ought to be the case. But I've compared the specifications for a number of 30mm tubes with the same manufacturer's 1" scopes and found essentially no difference in the maximum adjustment range. If that's actually the case then the bulkier 30mm tube serves only as decoration to appeal to someone who simply likes things "bigger".

    (Soapbox warning: This may go on way too long and you may want to turn the page right now!)

    Almost all of my hunting scopes are 3-9X Leupolds, however I find the 2.5-8X (which is a little more compact) and the 3.5-10X about equally useful. I also have several 2-7X Leupolds which I like for their compactness and which make great hunting scopes. I have no use for an objective larger than 40mm -- and find the 36mm and 33mm Leupolds to be just as useful as the 40's. The high end magnification on any of these is rarely of value when hunting, but is nice when doing load development. The low end offers ample field of view for close/quick hunting situations.

    As between the lower priced and higher priced of the Leupold lines I've found no discernible difference in optical qualities and functionality. I'd just as soon have a VX-I for a couple of hundred bucks as a VXLZMY-Mark IIII or whatever their most expensive is called these days. I buy used when I can find them and among hundreds of Leupolds I've owned have sent two back to the factory for some suspected problem. I think Leupold "tints" all of their scopes red these days (uses a lens coating which screens out some of the blue). This fools the human eye into thinking the sight picture is "brighter" because our eyes are more sensitive to the red end of the color spectrum. They used to only color-shift the "III" lines as opposed to the "I" and "II" lines in order for customers in the store (lighted with blue florescents) to compare the two and be fooled into thinking that the more expensive scope was "brighter". I prefer my scope picture to be in natural colors and find the unfiltered image to be truer provide better resolution. Good optical glass is all machine-made these days, comes from Asia, and is incredibly cheap compared to decades ago. The same lenses go into all of the scopes. Only the optical coating is different -- not necessarily better -- but different.

    Although virtually all of my hunting scopes are variables, I like the fixed powers and recognize their advantages (simpler, cheaper, lighter, more rugged, fewer places for moisture or dirt to enter, etc.) The problem is that they are almost impossible to find these days. That's a shame. A good fixed 4x has as much field of view as a variable with a low end of 3X. And if you can't see a deer well enough to shoot it when magnified four times then its too far away to be shooting at it.

    Objective size: Unless you hunt in a jurisdiction that allows you to hunt by moonlight, then the oversized objectives gain you absolutely nothing but bulk, weight, expense, and the sacrifice of properly low mounting that allows your head to rest properly on the stock when your eye is aligned with the sight picture. That's why I reject out of hand any scope with an objective larger than 40mm for a hunting rifle. On the other hand, how about using a 50mm objective on your prairie dog rifle? Well, do you shoot prairie dogs after twilight? Of course not. Long ranged "varmints", as well as targets, are shot in full daylight. Even at 36x a 40mm objective provides ample exit pupil for every daylight application. If I were sitting in a stand over an oat field in Austria watching for roe deer at midnight then I'd appreciate an 8x56 scope. Otherwise, large objectives are a folly.

    Reticles: The vaunted "Duplex" works fine for nearly everything. Since I do often hunt where I sometimes have the option of a shot at extended ranges and using a rest (the far side of a wheat field from a fixed blind, for example), I like the Leupold "Long Range Reticle". I'm not even sure if they still offer it, but it is a Duplex with two small dots on the lower stadia. The two dots represent a zero of approximately 300 and 400 yards, respectively, with the crosshairs zeroed at 200 yards for the typical high velocity round. I test and tune to the exact load, which may vary a bit from this approximation. This takes some of the guesswork out of holdover. Is it necessary? No, but I personally find some benefit from it every now and then. I don't condone "long range bombing" attempts on game, but if I see a passel of feral hogs at 400 or 500 yards that simply aren't going to get any closer I have no compunction about letting a shot fly on the chance that it might shorten the life of at least one of those critters.

    Field of view: This is important -- but even more important is your ability to instantly pick up the sight picture when shouldering the rifle. It doesn't matter how large the field of view if you can't see through the scope. And even with a very narrow field of view, if your eye aligns quickly and naturally with the sight picture then you can find and get on game very quickly. This is why mounting the scope in the right place is so critically important. Usually, because most stocks are made to use with either irons or scopes, this means mounting the scope as low to the receiver as possible. And placing the scope fore-and-aft so that it is the right distance from your eye to give you the optimal sight picture (sometimes referred to as "eye box"). Just one of the many things I like about Leupolds is that they sacrifice just a bit of field of view for a larger "eye box", meaning that you can pick up the sight picture even when your eye is a little too far, too close, or just a bit to the side of the center of the "eye box". Many (too many) high quality European-made scopes have what is called "critical eye relief", meaning that the sight picture is only visible if your eye is almost exactly the right distance from the lens. That's not so much a problem with a varminting or target scope, but is a big disadvantage in a hunting scope where your shooting position may vary and therefore your eye distance/position vary with it. Just check out the difference in where your eye ends up when you sight from various positions like prone, sitting, or especially when you have to pivot far to your right or left. Any of these will result in your eye being a different distance from the scope.

    Let's see now, what was the subject? Oh yes, what scopes do your prefer on your Sako hunting rifles? In my opinion you can't go wrong with a medium power Leupold mounted low over the receiver. But maybe you already guessed that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
  5. kevinlg

    kevinlg Well-Known Member

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    Stone..........yep!

    ........and my keyboard still has "letters" on it!! :) :)
     

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