Updated in May 2020
Most really high end hunting scopes I have looked have had SFP reticles. Out of those, overall, Leica Magnus is the best I have seen. Their 1.8-12×50 is my overall choice, but they are all good. S&B’s Exos 3-21×50 has a really clever elevation turret and seems to be a very well worked out design. It is here conditionally until I do a full test (likely alter this year).
I have spent a little time with Blaser’s FFP Infinity scopes and I am REALLY impressed. Their 1-7×28 is the best LPVO I have ever seen with absolutely remarkable reticle illumination technology. A brief look at the 4-20×58 also left me very impressed. Another FFP hunting scope worth a look is Tangent Theta TT315H 3-15×50 Hunter. It is really expensive and really good. It is essentially a variant of my TT315M, but with thicker reticle for low light and turrets with free spinning collars to prevent accidental adjustment.
Personally, I mostly use Tangent Theta scopes and overall, I still think they are the best. I have TT315M with Gen 2 XR and TT525P with Gen 3XR reticle. However, new Zero Compromise Optics (ZCO) is really going after the Tangent’s crown. They have really excellent 5-27×56 and 4-20×50 models. I think there is a 4-20×50 with my name on it somewhere out there, unless March’s upcoming 4.5-28×52 is as good as it promises to be. It is still a few months out, so time will tell. March does have one new Tactical/ELR scope out that deserves to be here and that is the new 5-42×56 with FML-TR1 reticle that I designed for them (FML-3 is also my design). Lastly, S&B has gotten a little more active with reticles and I really like a few of their scopes with GR2ID reticle. The original 5-25×56 scope is still relevant and GR2ID and MSR2 reticles really bring it up to date.
Historically, I have not been separating these into a standalone category, but I think I will now. These are tactical and precision oriented scopes that are small and light enough to be used on accurate hunting rifles as well as on precision guns. Tangent Theta TT315M (3-15×50 on a 30mm tube), Vortex AMG 6-24×50 and March 3-24×52 are my choices there. I really like this category so I’ll be revisiting it as I go along.
Low Power Variable Optic:
With tactical scopes, I think S&B PMII 1-8×24 Dual CC is the new king, but Minox ZP8 is still very good and very relevant. New Vortex Razor Gen3 is right at $2k, so it is technically in a different category, but it is very competitive here still. For hunting use, Blaser 1-7×28 is the best LPVO in terms of optomechanical performance I have seen to date. If you want compact, March Shorty 1-8×24 is a freakishly small and very competent design. I ahve one with FMC-3 reticle and like it a lot. The original FFP 1-8×24 March is still the only high end scope of this type with side focus. March scopes do not have as bright of an illumination as some other LPVOs, but they excel in other areas. If you are looking at a LPVO as a general purpose design, March has a lot to offer. I really like them in a DMR role, especially on lightweight guns. They will likely have a 1-10x24FFP with side focus ready toward the end of the year.
This one is easy: any of the March High Master scopes. 10-60×56 is probably the most likely option.