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  #1  
Old 10-31-2013, 02:44 AM
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Low-light hunting scope for CZ 452



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Hi guys, this is my first post here. Have got a lot of great info off this site over the last couple of years, especially regarding CZ rimfires... so thanks for that. I've looked through plenty of scope threads but couldn't find a whole lot on the low-light performance of rimfire scopes.

I live in Australia and have just purchased a new CZ 452 'Special' in 22LR, the Australian-only model which is basically an American with a beech stock. Looking at scope options now and I want something mostly for rabbit and hare shooting at night, with a spotlight or headlamp and scope mounted light. Most shots will be around 50 metres, up to around 100m at the most, in low-light conditions. I'm happy with a fixed 4x as I find this works well for my purpose and keeping things simple. A variable is another option but I like the 4x for a 22LR. I'm looking at the Weaver Rimfire Classic 4x28 and 2.5-7x28, and the new Nikon 4x32. They're a good example of what price range I'm looking in, but I haven't ruled out other options either.

Has anyone compared these scopes or others in low-light, night hunting situations? I'd be interested if there's any brightness different between the Weaver fixed 4x and the 2.5-7 variable at the same power. Any other scope recommendations are welcome, although I'm really not too interested in 'tactical' and high magnification scopes. The low-light clarity and brightness are what I'm looking for, and something that is fitting of a quality CZ rimfire.

Cheers, Matt

P.S. This is my second 452, the other is an American in 17HMR and with a Weaver Classic V 3-9x38... good scope for the calibre, but I'd rather the shorter parallax setting and something slightly more compact for the 22...

Last edited by Matt452; 10-31-2013 at 02:52 AM. Reason: Added P.S. info...
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2013, 06:41 AM
j.r. guerra in s. texas

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If your budget can stand it . . .

. . . a European manufactured high quality scope might be a good choice. Europeans often have shooting hours that include night time hunting, so reticle choice for that circumstance may be easier to find. Most of the night scopes I've seen have large objective scope and are of low power (<4x).

I got really lucky some years back, a long time CZ firearms vendor (George Tripes) was selling a CZ rebranded 4x scope for less than $100. I thought it was a Chinese scope, but it was very clear and the very heavy plex reticle was something I had never owned so I bought it. I couldn't find anything about on the web, so I emailed CZ-USA about it.





It turns out the manufacturer of it is Meopta. Pretty high class scope (no wonder it was so clear) and I have it reserved for a certain rifle in my gun cabinet when I can no longer use irons.

IOR Valdada is another possibility - they offer both tactical and hunting rifle scopes. Very clear.

I hope this helps.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:19 AM
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With scopes, as with other optics, low light conditions will separate the high quality from the low quality scopes. In other words, you get what you pay for. For hunting in low light conditions, a larger light gathering objective lens helps, but you also want good lens quality with good lens coatings for light gathering, transmission, and definition.

I like the Leupold Varii-X III series, but there are others. A good lower power variable would work. Stay away from the cheaper scopes.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:52 AM
kseatm
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I don't hunt at night, but do hunt late in the evening. Can't afford those real high end scopes, but do use a 2x7 Leupold that does really well. Actually was squirrel hunting most of the evening yesterday until almost dark. Was looking through the scope just before dark trying to see how everything looked, and it was fine. Very clear.

But, if you want something that is really nice, try one of these:
http://www.leupold.com/hunting-shoot...cludes-metric/

My buddy has one and it's simply awesome. It's the next scope I'll buy.

Kenny
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:18 AM
Model 52
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Depending on the design, a variable scope will have 2 or 3 more lenses than a fixed power scope. Those additional lenses increase the light loss in a variable scope, when all other things are equal compared to a fixed power scope of the same objective lens diameter, lens quality and coating quality.

Quality glass however makes a huge difference as does high quality lens coatings.

The Leupold VX-2 scopes for example, have high quality glass and coatings that reduce internal reflections and boost light transmission to about 94%.

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Objective lens area makes a big difference as well. A 28mm scope objective has an area of 615 sq mm, while a 33mm objective has an area of 754 sq mm (a 22% increase for just 5 more mm), and a 40mm objective has an area of 1256 sq mm (66% larger than the 33mm objective, and 204% larger than the 28mm objective).

However, lens size will only help up to the limits of your eye. In astronomical telescopes and binoculars you see the reference to "exit pupil" which is the size of the dot of light in the ocular lens created by the optic. I've had people on gun forums object to the application of that term to rifle scope given the longer eye relief, and I've seen them do it in very authoritative terms. But regardless of the presentation, it's still mostly a reflection of their ignorance of what's really going on. In a close eye relief optic like a pair of binoculars, a spotting scope or an astronomical telescope, the exit pupil is not formed or measured on the ocular lens itself but rather about 10mm-20mm away at a comfortable eye relief distance. That means an "exit pupil" is just a circular cross section of the cone of light created by the optic at the optimum designed eye relief distance. Thus, the only difference with the exit pupil in a rifle scope is the length of the cone involved - the concept is exactly the same.

Ideally, that exit pupil will be as large as the pupil in your eye to allow you to fully use the available light gathering potential of your eye. A young, fully dark adapted eye will have a pupil diameter of about 7mm, compared to about 4mm in daylight.

The exit pupil diameter is calculated for all practical purposes by dividing the objective lens diameter by the magnification. So a 3-9x40mm scope will have an exit pupil of 4.44mm at 9x and an exit pupil of 13.3mm at 3x. You'll get a 7mm exit pupil at about 5.7x, so going lower than that on a 3-9x40mm scope really won't increase the useable light gathering power of the scope, as that extra light will be absorbed by your iris around your pupil and never reach the retina.

In practice, in twilight conditions you won't have a full 7mm anyway - maybe more like 6 or 6.5mm, so the practical limit on magnification before you start starving your eye for light is about 6x in a 3-9x40 scope. Finally, as you get older your pupils won't open quite as wide as they used to, so again you're not gaining much with exit pupils greater than about 6.5mm.

As a minor aside, the actual magnification of a scope is often not an integer. For example the Leupold VX-2 3-9x40 has a maximum magnification of 8.6 rather than 9.0, so the minimum exit pupil is 4.65mm.

The fact that a 40mm objective in a 9x scope allows the eye to maximize the available light in daylight, and still allows 5-6x power in low light conditions, makes the 40mm objective a bit of a sweet spot. Anything larger starts to get excessively large, long and heavy, has to be mounted higher over the bore line, offers no real advantages in terms of light transmission, but costs a lot more as making larger diameter lenses of equal quality is much more expensive.

3-9x50mm scope get marketed mostly because companies are keeping up with other companies that make them and everyone in their marketing departments will do their best to convince people they need them when the engineers will tell you privately there is no real advantage over a 40mm scope for all the reasons listed above.

----

Similarly, 30mm tubes are a more or less recent fad. What most people don't realize is that while a 30mm tube can offer some light gathering benefits, most 30mm scopes are just 1" designs stuck in a 30mm tube. The only real benefit then is perhaps a larger range of windage and elevation adjustment allowed by the larger tube. (So be aware that while they may charge you for better optics, you may not be getting better optics at all.)

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For a 4x scope however, a 28mm objective will provide a full 7mm of exit pupil, so a larger objective does not make any useful difference, so there is no need to increase the size, weight and cost of the scope by using a larger objective lens. In that case, what will make the most difference is 1) lens quality and 2) the quality of the anti-reflective coatings. That's where you want to spend your money. You can certainly find 4x40mm scopes from several companies, but it's objective overkill and if anything is done for 1) marketing reasons (bigger is better) and 2) some possible benefit in making standard 40mm designs in series of fixed power scopes.

-----

Cheap scopes suffer from chromatic aberration - which is just the effect of the different wave lengths of light that form an image coming to a focus at different focal lengths due to the different refractive indexes of different wavelengths going through a lens.
In simple terms it means you're seeing an "average" focus in the scope with different colors of light focusing at various distances before or after the "average" focal length, and sharpness and clarity will suffer. This will also produce false color and halo effects as well and generally tends to wash out the color of the image overall.

Higher quality rifle scopes will use an achromatic doublet, with elements made of crown and flint glass that will focus two wave lengths at the same point. Apochromat lenses are also sometimes used in spotting scopes and astronomical refracting telescopes and they will focus 3 wavelengths at the same point, but the major increase in quality in rifle scopes comes from the use of low dispersion glasses in the achromatic doublet that both focus two wavelengths of light at the same point, but also reduce the error in focal length for all the other wavelengths, created much sharper focus and much greater clarity and resolution.

(In astronomical telescopes, really high end refractors will use an apochromatic lens system with very expensive extremely low dispersion (ED) glasses, to produce very sharp focus and very high image clarity and resolution. A good 6" objective lens diameter APO with ED glass, may cost you around $7000-$10,000, so we're talking about pretty expensive lenses.)

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In terms of reticles, a fine line or fit reticle will disappear in low light. The duplex reticle design has been popular for about the last 40 years as it provides a nice fine reticule for way use, with very wide outer pickets that help you find the narrow center cross hairs in low light, or let you center the target at the point where the pickets converge even when it's too dark to see the center cross wires at all.

Illuminated reticles are becoming more common, but they are a mixed bag. On one hand they let you see the crosshairs very easily, but if the brightness level is not carefully managed, the illuminated reticle will wash out the back ground image (i.e what you are trying to shoot at).

------

Personally, I will no longer buy a scope at a quality level less than the old Leupold VX-II standard, and my preference is the current VX-2, old VX-III standard. I put the Nikon Monarch series scopes in the same general class.

Once you use a higher quality scope you'll never be content with anything less, so find a comfortably high level of performance for your needs - and then stay with it, as if you go lower, you won't be happy, and if you go higher, you'll find yourself replacing all your other scopes.

Last edited by Model 52; 10-31-2013 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:31 AM
bam-bam

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Model 52 nice write up....... Thanks


Timely....... I'm looking at a Leupold VX2 3-9x40 scope for my American 527 in .223

So if I'm reading your info correctly for max dusk & dawn shooting with 59 years old/soon to be 60 eyes......... it looks like the "sweet spot" for max low light transmission will be about 5X ????

Funny a couple of weeks ago there was a thread; IIRC " Does anyone use any setting but minimum and maximum on variable power scopes?" I think most said no.........

If I get the VX2 I'll be using 3x, 9x......... and at dusk and dawn 5X..........LOL


edit: I second Didereaux's motion !!

Last edited by bam-bam; 10-31-2013 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:37 AM
Didereaux
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Exclamation mod52 writeup should....

mod52's scope write up should be made a 'sticky'. Pure fact, and dispels many, many myths and false beliefs about scopes. EXCELLENT!
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:46 AM
AB173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pump .22s View Post
With scopes, as with other optics, low light conditions will separate the high quality from the low quality scopes. In other words, you get what you pay for. For hunting in low light conditions, a larger light gathering objective lens helps, but you also want good lens quality with good lens coatings for light gathering, transmission, and definition.

I like the Leupold Varii-X III series, but there are others. A good lower power variable would work. Stay away from the cheaper scopes.
I couldn't have said it better.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:47 AM
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Thanks for all the great replies! I don't know why but I thought I might get gunned down for wanting a fixed power or something like that. Thanks Model 52 for your informative and very complete post. A lot of it echoes what I've studied and believe in, plus a whole lot more. Outstanding collection of great info there. Cheers!

JR, that is a very interesting and unique scope you have there... I'd definitely be holding onto it if I were you!

A lot of you are suggesting the European optics and I can only imagine they're great. My local dealer has a huge passion Euro optics. I've just got back from a holiday in Europe and have an invigorated passion for European things... I even used it as an excuse to buy myself a CZ 527 .222, as a 'souvenir', even though it was when I got back to Australia...

And now I've just impulse-purchased another CZ 452, I needed another souvenir I guess. And I wanted my own 452 22LR. Dad has his, it was the rifle I first learnt to shoot with. A 452 Standard, beech hogback stock with open sights. Now I have my own beech-stocked 452 made for optics...

Anyway, unnecessary details aside, as much as I'd love a nice Euro scope most of them are around twice the price of my new 22. Hence why I was looking at the Weaver and Nikons. And as Model 52 mentioned, once you have experienced better optics you'll want to upgrade everything... I'm jealous of those who can happily invest that much in their scopes but for this little rimfire it is probably beyond my budget. At the same time I couldn't stand topping a CZ with a real cheapo $50 scope. I guess I'm looking for the happy middle ground there. Any lower prices Euro scopes that might suit?

Bam-bam, I have a Leupold VX3 3.5-10x40 on my 527. It sits nicely in the CZ rings and is a great scope. For my standards anyway!

Keep the great replies coming!
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:49 AM
arky22
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In my opinion the Leupold VX-II or the new VX-2 are very good options for the money spent. My case in point was when deer hunting last year. I thought I might have seen movement in front of some bushes about 100 yards away just before dark but couldn't see a thing. I had my 3-9X40 VX-II set at 4 power. When I looked through it I could see a doe in clear sharp detail.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:17 AM
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re

There is a like new Leupold FXI 4x28 in the classifieds now at a great price.
28 divided by 4 is 7 for a exit pupil. Great in low light.
I own 2 of them but sold a rifle that I had one of them on.
the scope in the classifieds is mine.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:40 AM
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Matt, I've had good luck with all things Nikon. If you can spend a little more, I suggest the Nikon Omega (or Inline Muzzleloader, they call it now) They're very compact, and the clarity and light gathering are great, for what they cost. The smaller size is 1.65 - 5 power with 36mm objective. The 5" of eye relief makes it easier to position and get a good sight picture. There are better scopes for sure for the right money, but I'd rather spend that $$ difference on other things. Best regards,
Steve

I'm not normally a fan of the camo colored ones, but I got a great deal on this one. The scope cost more than the rifle, so I guess it should be OK with the scope snobs!!

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Old 10-31-2013, 07:03 PM
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I've looked at the Nikons for a while, I can't find the 1.65-5x Nikon you show there. It may have been discontinued? Seems a lot of the lower power scopes, fixed and variable, have been discontinued in the last few years.

I have looked through a few Nikons, they've all been quite clear. The thing I least like about them is the eyepiece, especially on the newer models. It's quite a large diameter for the size of the smaller scopes, which is a pain on the CZs with the high bolt lift. I've also never understood ocular adjustment, you can't lock it off and I find it too easy to move. I've always thought this was a set-and-forget thing, but it seems popular these days to have this style of ocular. I still like the Nikon, but this is one consideration with the CZ.

I've looked through one of the older Leupold (VX-II?) 33mm EFR rimfire scopes and it was quite nice in daylight. They might be bit pricey for my budget but if it really offers a lot better night performance I'd consider it.

I agree with the larger objectives being unnecessary on lower powered scopes, although a lot of people seem to be convinced that bigger is better. I understand the reason for variables with higher power, and also being slightly more forgiving with eye positioning with a larger exit pupil, but 28mm would seem enough for a 4x fixed. Still looking for people's experience with this.

The thing is I haven't been able to compare any of these scopes at night, and haven't found much info on the net about that. I'm still interested if what Mod52 said about the fixed scopes having better light transmission than the equivalent variable, wondering makes a noticeable different in low light for the Weaver 4x28 and 2.5-7x28 as they might seem of comparable design and quality. If anyone can chime in with first-hand experience on this it'd be much appreciated.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:06 PM
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My latest 6.5-20 Leupold EFR is amazingly clear once I got the focus correct on it I also have an older 6.5-20 Nikon Monarch that is very very clear I would say its as clear as the Leupold even in low light conditions.I am probably going to switch to a straight power scope eventually as I dont really need the variable scopes anymore.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:42 PM
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Thank you so much Model 52 for your very informative and interesting post!
I wish I'd read it a couple of months ago when I purchased a Leupold VX3 4.5-14X50 - unfortunately believing the hype about 50mm being superior for light gathering. Of course it soon became obvious that the scope didn't let in any more light... Well, I don't know if I got a lemon, but sharpness at maximum magnification at infinity is terrible anyway. And as you all know, a 50mm objective is a pain to mount - especially since I now know there is no advantage to such a large bell.
Oh, well... It will teach me not to believe hype without thorough checking.

The point about high end scopes is absolutely spot-on. In my younger days, el-cheapo's were all I could afford. All it needs is a side-by-side comparison of high-end and el-cheapo and it is impossible to be satisfied again. It has been something of a relief to be able to afford high-end scopes... At least since the kids left home!
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