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What scope do you have on your .17s?

70339 Views 290 Replies 195 Participants Last post by  ThisIsFun
I am trying to decide on a scope for my Ruger 77/17 VM/BBZ, I would like to keep it under $400. I have thought about the Weaver V-24 not sure I like the reticle, the V-16 is nice. I have also looked at the Leupold VX II 6-18x40. I plan on shooting paper and small fuzzy animals. Any thoughts would be great.
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OldSwede said:
The really useful thread that runs through all of these reply posts is: Look through more than one before you buy. Keep these in mind:

1. You get what you pay for, generally.
2. Your eyes are different, and probably better, than mine.
3. $150 scopes are NOT equal to $600. scopes. They may be very close, but they are NOT equal.
4. What is important to me may not be to you. I like mult-coated optics, "click" adjustments and AO, for example. Maybe you couldn't care less.

There are many fine values to be had; make a list of features you like and do your homework. Check your local gunshops and try a few of them, side by side. Buy the very best you can afford. Mount it in Burris Signature Zee rings, so when you want to trade up, it won't be all scarred up. Enjoy.
Old Swede, you write a pretty good post and bring up some very good points! I think it might be worth noting that a .17 rim-fire being recoilless allows us to use lesser priced scopes with good results. There is NEVER anything wrong with quality but I think sometimes the Law of Diminishing Returns comes into play. The $600 scope might be required and absolutely necessary on a military sniper rifle or even for hunting dangerous game in inclimate climates but my guess is that for the relatively modest needs of a .17HMR shooter, one could do as well for a WHOLE lot less. I'm talking about making hits say out to 200 yards on small varmints. A $150 is NOT equal to a $600 scope as you said and I agree with you 100% but I seriously doubt that a $600 scope would give me (or anyone else) a 4x advantage over one of $150. Would it have an edge? Yes, it would. Would that edge make a difference in hits? Perhaps in some cases it possibly might? Enough to warrant a 4x difference in price? For some, I respect the fact that it would but for me, on a .17HMR (or any other rim-fire), I believe that if I couldn't make the hits with the $150, the scope is likely NOT my fault---the fault would lie elsewhere (namely that guy I look at in the mirror every morning)! Good post Swede! ---- Mike
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mrmarklin said:
The problem one has in comparing scopes is that no one ever counts the costs of misses, and failures to pick up a good shooting sight picture after having put the binoculars down. There is also a potential failure to spot other varmints a cheaper scope (while shooting the current varmint) that would be seen in a scope with better contrast, less flare etc. I agree that there is a point of diminishing returns, but to some extent that also depends on the accuracy of the rifle used. Obviously a $1200 scope on a cheap rifle is a waste, because even on a good day, the rifle can't get the accuracy the scope can see.

If we can allow that a box of .17HMR costs $8 that's .16 a shot. Doesn't sound like much. But if you were on a ranch like I was last week, where you may make literally 500+ shots a day, misses etc. can really add up. If you have a cheap scope that leads to missing 10%, failure to get a sight picture quickly enough for a shot, and contrast failures you are wasting approximately one box a day of ammo. That's $8 per day. If you only shoot once a week in summer that's $80 per year. Project that over the life of a scope, say 10 years, and it can be easily seen that you almost can't spend enough on a good scope. And of course many of us are much more addicted to the sport than that.

Based on my experience hunting with people that have inferior equipment, I really think the miss ratio is greater than 10%. And all the guys on this forum with cheap scopes that brag about the distance of their supposed shots are full of S*%&, because they tend to over estimate distances. These are the cheapskates that are far less likely to have laser range-finders to actually measure their shots.
BTW, I find it very difficult to do serious varmint hunting without a laser range-finder.

So spend what you think is appropriate, but I really think most of you underestimate the worth of a good scope.
You make some assumptions that sound good but IMHO don't really hold up under close scrutiny. First of all, I challenge the 10% figure that you use. Ten per cent that you can isolate to the quality of the scope??? I don't think so. I WILL admit that those who use their variables AS variables (moving the power up and down instead of just leaving it on one magnification) are going to experience more inexplicable misses, especially at the far side of a .17's range. With that said though, I refer you to the Gun Digest Book of Sporting Optics written by Wayne Van Zwoll. He tested the zero retention capabilities of just about every variable on the market from Tasco and Simmons on the low end to Zeiss and Swarovski on the other, plus everything in between. Although I'd PERSONALLY want a higher end scope for a given shot, the truth was that some of the WORST performers as far as holding zero from one magnification came from the high end of scopes. Some of the lowest price scopes did very well indeed. Others did as you'd expect them too. Same with the mid-priced scopes.
I've never hunted ground squirrels or prairie dogs before but from what I've seen on video and from what others have told me, it seems that they are USUALLY shot under pretty good light conditions. Assuming the use of a 20X scope, it seems to me that a squirrel at 200 yards brought up to 10 yards (perceived by the eye) would be a pretty good aimpoint ESPECIALLY under good lighting. If the scope is properly zeroed, I do NOT see that as much of an optical challenge. Perhaps, and I use the word perhaps advisedly, a better scope with better resolution COULD provide the shooter with a more clear aimpoint on a squirrel half hidden in grass. I could see where that might be a possibility but even then I would have a hard time believing that one could not see such a tiny critter posing 10 yards away! I remember stalking a crow with a cheap rim-fire scope that made a 25 yard crow look like a big black blob (the scope was in obvious disrepair but still held zero). I got the crow I was stalking and then threw the scope away. My point? I did NOT need to see that crow clearly in order to make a good killing shot AND even cheap Tasco's and Simmon's do better than THAT!!!
The TOUGHEST conditions I've yet seen to find game with a scope have been in the woods hunting for squirrels in the early morning and evening. There you DO need good resolution to penetrate shadows. Still, a wide variety of scopes are up to those tasks and they are definitely not all in the expensive range.
Finally, your post was doing fine except for the last paragraph. Is there really any need to disparage others personally (calling them cheap skates for example) for their choice in sporting equipment. Some of us don't have the extra money to buy a high end scope and others of us don't perceive the need, especially when the scopes we DO use serve us just fine. Questioning the honesty of those who use lower priced scopes is also uncalled for. If these guys who do some great shooting with lower priced scopes are making the shots they say they are, who are we to question their integrity and imply that they are lying or exaggerating? If you can PROVE that they're lying, that's one thing. Otherwise, I say we should applaud their efforts! Kind of inspiring if you were to ask me!
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