Aug 052013

I guess this is my Q&A day…

Here is another question that just arrived here from a gentleman I have exchanged e-mails with before on other projects:

I am looking to put a scope on my newly acquired (though experienced) Kimber Montana 8400 in 300 WSM.

This is a light rifle I will be using to hunt elk in the mountains and deer in the plains of Montana.

 I would like a plex reticle with custom turret from Kenton industries – for a quick distance set without worrying about magnification setting.

 I am also avoiding the “focus” knob / objective. My primary focus is on a 2 something to 10 x scope. Weight and size are also important considerations.

 I am considering:

Vortex Viper HS 2.5-10×44

Nikon Monarch 3 2.5-10×42

Minox 2-10×40

 Zeiss and Swaro are in play if and only if you strongly recommend one over the above.


Of the three scopes you mention, I like the Minox the most.  It is a good option for a lightweight rifle.


Generally, my standard recommendation for a lightweight rifle like this is Swaro Z3 3-9×36, but it is, of course a lot more expensive, so the Minox should definitely be on your list.

Another scope I have seen work well on a lot of lightweight rifles is Leupold VX-3 2.5-8×36.

If we ignore the price for the time being, one of the more exceptional 2.5-10×42 scopes I have seen lately is Leica ER.  It is very easy to get behind.  It is expensive, though, even when discounted.

Generally, you want to be a little careful with reticle selection.  If you plan to hunt with this rifle, sooner or later you will need to use it in low light and most plex reticles out there are too thin for comfort.

All that having been said, one scope I do not see mentioned enough for this application is Leupold VX-R 3-9×40.  It is pretty light weight and compact and it has very well worked out illumination.  In addition, with the CDS version of the scope, you can get your custom dials from Leupold.  It is a little more expensive than the options you listed, but it is an under-appreciated scope.  Most importantly, when you need to get a shot off fairly quickly, that illuminated dot is quite helpful.  Same for low light.

Lastly, if it were me, I would throw another scope that is a little more expensive than you would probably like into the mix: Trijicon Accupoint 3-9×40.  To me, being able to see the reticle in any light is a big deal, so the trip and light Accupoint is one of my favourites.


 Posted by at 5:50 pm

  4 Responses to “Scoping Kimber 8400”

  1. Ilya,
    What about the VX-6 Illum #4 with CDS? It is a bit heavy and pricey, but it seems the best option – low power – high power, illum and your favorite reticle.

    • I assume you are talking about a 2-12×42 VX-6. That is the best hunting scope Leupold has built to date, in my opinion. If you can swing the price tag, it is an excellent option.


      • Ilya,

        I got the Leupold and I was unimpressed. The scope was not focused when looking at trees 200 yards away. I had to turn the diopter ring half way to get it to focus. Also, the LED did not work properly. It would not turn off automatically. My first and last Leupold. I now have a Zeiss Conquest HD5 2-10×44 with Z600 reticle. At this stage it is either that or my old Burris Fullfield II 4.5-14 with the AO and BDC. I only have time to get one zeroed in and tested. Thoughts?

        • Don’t know what to tell you. Either you got a bad sample or your eyes did not agree with it for some reason. I have seen several 2-12×42 VX-6s and they were good scopes.

          The reticle illumination in the VX-6 is supposed to turn off when the scope is not moving. Once you pick it up again it senses it and turns on again, so if you are trying to check whether the reticle turned off automatically you have to be able to look through the scope without moving it at all.

          A couple of things to point out: using eyepiece focus to adjust for image fidelity is a bad idea. Use the eyepiece to focus the reticle and then leave it alone.

          The 2-12×42 does not have side focus if memory serves me right, so either the factory focus was set incorrectly (it was supposed to be set at 150 yards or so) or you had the eyepiece in some sort of a screwy state.

          Another option is that your eyes do not adjust all that well (I am not sure how old you are), in which case you should be looking at either lower magnification scopes or adjustable focus/parallax scopes.

          What magnification were you checking it at?


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