Riflescopes: Over $2000 / No Price Limitations

 


Updated in December, 2017

The recommendation I made two years ago are at the bottom of this post, so you can see how things have changed.  Here is my take on this as of today:

Low-range variable for hunting:

Swaro Z8i 1-8×24 Z8i looks superb, as does LEICA MAGNUS 1-6.3×24.

With Swarovski and Kahles being imported by the same people again, I do not know what happens with Kahles K16i.  I do think Swaro and Leica have better hunting reticles.

I still have not had any serious hands on time with Zeiss’ V8 1-8×30, but I had some and I am not sure I like what I see.  I need to do a thorough test, since it could have been a fluke.

If you can live with exposed turrets, Minox ZP8 1-8 x 24 should be on your list.

Allround hunting use:

With hunting scopes, I continue to be impressed with Leica Magnus and Swarovski Z8, although on the high end the differences are minor between most contenders.  If you put my back against the wall, my vote goes to LEICA MAGNUS 1.8-12×50 illuminated with exposed elevation turret and ballistic reticle.

 

Long Range Hunting/Target shooting:

Long range hunting and target shooting are not really the same thing, so I am not sure if I should continue lumping them into the same category.  For the time being, I am simply looking at this as a high magnification SFP scope, since all the high magnification tactical stuff should be FFP in my opinion.

Honestly, whenever someone start talking expensive high magnification scopes, I start thinking about March Optics.  Last year, March introduced their High Master series.  While I think the name is a little awkward, the scopes themselves look pretty good.  In this category, I think that MarchX High Master 10-60×56 is the one to beat, but for my money, I am likely to be looking at the Sightron SV 10-50×60 with its innovative dual speed parallax.  The original model was pretty impressive, but I think they have just updated it with ED glass to boot.

 

Low Light Hunting:

Zeiss no longer offers the huge 6-24×72 scope and I am not sure what is happening with Hensoldt.  However, the 56mm scopes out there just keep getting better.  For low light, contrast is important and the way Leica renders contrast really agrees with my eyes.  My vote goes to LEICA MAGNUS 2.4-16×56 (although this just a personal preference over the Swaro;  both are excellent).  Also worth mentioning that I have not seen Zeiss Victory V8 4.8-35X60

 

Low-range Tactical:

Overall, I think  Minox ZP8 1-8 x 24 is still the one to beat.  However, Elcan SpecterTR 1-3-9 is arguably a better battle sight and is what I use.

S&B now has a 1-8×24 Short Dot that I need to spend more time with and the new Nightforce ATACR F1 1-8×24 looks promising, so stay tuned.

 

Allround Tactical:

Tangent Theta TT315M 3-15x50mm

Honorable mention: Minox ZP5 3-15×50

Note: I plan to look at S&B Ultra Short scopes in the not too distant future.

 

Long-range Tactical:

Tangent Theta 5-25x56mm It is expensive.  However, this scope has the bet turrets ever made to date and spectacualr optics.

If you are trying to save weight: Vortex Razor HD AMG 6-24×50  I think this is the best precision scope Vortex has made to date.



Updated in March, 2016

The recommendation I made two years ago are at the bottom of this post, so you can see how things have changed.  Here is my take on this as of today:

 

Low-range variable for hunting:

Swarovski Z6 1-6×24 illuminated is still superb, but the lower priced Meopta R2 1-6×24 is up there as well and in some ways I actually prefer it to the Swaro.

However, all things considered, I think Kahles K16i 1-6×24 may be the one to beat here.

Also, Zeiss’ V8 1-8×30 scope is worth mentioning.  It looks excellent and a 30mm objective offers a meaningful low light performance advantage.

If you can live with exposed turrets, Minox ZP8 1-8×24 would still be my pick though.

 

Allround hunting use:

Leica ERi 3-12×50

Swarovski Z6i 1.7-10×42

If you want the most versatile scope on the market: March 2.5-25×42 with illuminated reticle or Zeiss V8 1.8-14×50

 

Long Range Hunting/Target shooting:

Zeiss Victory FL 4-16×50, 6-24×56 and 6-24×72

Swarovski Z6i 3-18×50

March 5-32×52 or 5-50×56

 

Low Light Hunting:

Zeiss Victory HT 3-12×56

Swarovski Z6i 2.5-15×56

Zeiss Victory FL 6-24×72 (if you are really serious about low light and do not need to lug this thing around, this scope is spectacular)

 

Low-range Tactical:

Minox ZP8 1-8×24

 

Allround Tactical:

Tangent Theta 3-15×50

Honorable mention: Minox ZP5 3-15×50, Kahles K312i 3-12×50

 

Long-range Tactical:

Tangent Theta 5-25×56

Honorable Mention:  Hensoldt 6-24×72, Vortex Razor AMG 6-24×50

Note: S&B has some new scope I have not seen yet

 

 

Updated in December, 2014

If you are buying a scope in this price range, then you have probably done your research, and do not need my advice.  Ultimately, there are no bad scopes here anyway, so your choice depends on personal preference above most other factors.

 

This price range is dominated by scopes with illuminated reticles from Leica, Zeiss/Hensoldt, Swarovski, Schmidt and Bender, March and Tangent Theta.  However, Minox is making a pretty solid push into this space.

Overall, my selection for hunting scopes will look very similar to my “under $2000” picks, except here these scopes have illuminated reticles.  Also, you will notice that in most cases I prefer Zeiss and Swarovski to S&B.  Mostly, that is just personal preference.  However, I feel that most current S&B designs have a bit too narrow of Field of View at low magnifications.

 

Low-range variable for hunting:

Swarovski Z6 1-6×24 illuminated (this is probably the king of the hill)

March 1-10x24SFP and 1-8x24FFP

 

Allround hunting use:

Leica ERi 3-12×50

Swarovski Z6i 1.7-10×42

If you want the most versatile scope on the market: March 2.5-25×42 with illuminated reticle (yes, it has a 10x magnification ratio and it is superb both optically and mechanically).

 

Long Range Hunting/Target shooting:

Zeiss Victory FL 4-16×50, 6-24×56 and 6-24×72

Swarovski Z6i 3-18×50

March 5-32×52 or 5-50×56

 

Low Light Hunting:

Zeiss Victory Varipoint 3-12×56

Swarovski Z6i 2.5-15×56

Zeiss Victory FL 6-24×72 (if you are really serious about low light and do not need to lug this thing around, this scope is spectacular)

 

Low-range Tactical:

There is a new crop of 1-8x scopes and I have not tested them all.  For the time being, I like March 1-8×24 and Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8×24.

 

Allround Tactical:

March 3-24x42FFP is the ultimate light weight and compact tactical scope with Marhc 3-24×52 not far behind.

Hensoldt 3-12×56 or 4-16×56 offer the best eyepiece in the business and superb low light performance

Tangent Theta promises to take the original Premier Heritage 3-15×50 and 5-25×56 optical designs to new heights with iproved mechanics.

 

Long-range Tactical:

Hensoldt 6-24×72

Tangent Theta/Premier Reticles 5-25×56

 

 

 Posted by at 11:51 pm