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I do recommend Vortex. Bjorn and I have been on an epic quest for no-BS scopes for years now because we both shoot often and accurately enough to tell when one doubles our groups. It’s been a very frustrating quest, and many thousands of dollars have been wasted between the two of us figuring out what really works or not.

For long range or precision shooting, there are three scopes that I would recommend:

SWFA 10X, 16X, or 20X fixed power:

These scopes have consistently produced the finest groups on paper again and again. They are fixed, so FFP/SFP is absolutely a non issue. They are clear enough to make precision shots out as far as you can see, and they are tough as nails. Also, these scopes are the only cheap scopes that real world snipers have admitted to me they would not mind using in combat if they absolutely had to. These scopes have a reputation that is second to none at their price point. Simple. No frills. Bulletproof. The waranty on this scope is supposed to be good, but I’ve yet to hear of someone needing to use it.

Vortex Viper

There are several iterations of this scope, and I personally own and test rifles with the cheap 2nd focal plane model. This scope has impressed me as a real world performer and has delivered 1/2MOA precision on every MBT rifle it has been docked into. I’ve been using it now as my main shop optic for 2 years (maybe three?) and it is still holding the line. It bears mentioning, that my clients are using every sort of Vortex scope (even the cheap diamondback and Crossfire IIs) for precision shooting in every venue. It seems they all track, and they all hold up. Glass clarity is “mediocre to very good” and the important thing is, they do not open your groups like so many scopes do. I do believe I get better precision from the SWFA, but I have not done enough side by side tests to say that is so. I know I can deliver 1/2MOA on demand, and for my purposes, that is good enough. Vortex Warranty is becoming legendary, and the few scopes that have been abused into total destruction by my more rambunctious clients have been replaced within a week. Almost RCBS level customer service. I can’t say enough about the warranty with this company which is why I use their scopes and advertise them in my shop exclusively.


These guys have a proven track record, they are USA made (for the most part) and they work. I have had failures with these scopes, but the no BS warranty stands tall. However, to get a scope that is set up for long range shooting as perfectly as the previous two recommendations will be crowding your $1000 price tag pretty hard.  Nevertheless, this conversation cannot happen without a solid recommendation in their favor.

There are certain scopes you will hear recommended that I would caution you to carefully steer clear of. They all brag a lifetime warranty, but some of them don’t honor it like the three I recommend above do:

Burris. Tasco. Bushnell (except the Elite series which is very good). Muller. Weaver. Just don’t go there with these brands.

SO. To sum up, what I expect out of a scope is enough clarity to see my target.

1/2MOA precision even after making adjustments.

A track record of holding up to years of intense shooting.

A bullet proof, no BS, get me shooting again ASAP warranty.

That’s asking a lot from anything that costs less than a grand, but it’s absolutely necessary if you expect to call your shot and hit what you claim you’re going to hit out past 200 yards, and that’s where you have to be to learn to read wind. You simply MUST have predictable precision or you’re just going to get frustrated and burn ammo chasing your tail.

On a personal note, I would like to humbly submit that your 300 Winmag is going to be toast in about 1200 rounds and it’s going to take more than one brick of primers to learn how the worm turns out at 1000 yards. I would suggest you buy a good Savage 308 and burn  it out in 4000 shots figuring out how to chart a course through the wind out there. Then you can take your 300 Win Mag and make those 1000 shots count. I can tell you from personal experience that 300 rounds in, a 300 WinMag is already starting to get gator checked and the signs of erosion will be obvious when scoped with a Hawkeye. 300 Win Mag used to be a favorite caliber, until I burned out 1 1/2 barrels and got some real world long range experience. It suddenly dawned on me, that I was not using the caliber to it’s potential at 600 yards, and even if I backed up to 1000, I wouldn’t have the first clue how to chart a bullet through that mess of wind. So I backed up to lighter, longer barrel life calibers and that’s where I’m staying till I know I understand the weather enough to justify a 1500 yard rifle. The fact is, wind and mirage are like the Godfather at the range. You do not beat them. You do not shoot through around them. You either pay homage and become part of the family, or you fail. No rifle ever made can beat the weather, and the best long range shooters are better weathermen than they are target shooters. That’s the facts.

The old adage “He who is a slave to the compass has the freedom of the seas” holds very true with long range shooting.

Sorry if I waxed long worded. It’s just a subject I have thought a lot about and spend a lot of time working on.


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