Couple of sako

Discussion in 'Show us your Sako' started by dustinga, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. dustinga

    dustinga Active Member

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    Now that is interesting to me. I have also sat past dark, on a full, high moon, and can get more light on lower magnification. As I try to adjust up, I lose clarity. Now, with an ordinary pair of Nikon binoculars, I could sit all night.

     
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  2. P04R

    P04R Well-Known Member

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    I'm not an expert on optics, but something has stuck to my brain from couple of scope comparison tests from Finnish hunting magazines. There is this formula for exit pupil diameter: objective diameter divided by magnification. For example 3-12x56 scope would have 56:12=4.7 mm exit pupil at full magnification and 18.7 mm at 3x magnification. IIRC for maximum low light performance you should have that diameter match the pupil of your eye, so lowering the magnification should improve the image brightness. Young people can have as much as 8 mm pupil diameter in the dark and it's downhill from there as people get older. You can have your eyes checked by optometrist for your personal maximum pupil diameter, so you can match it on your scope settings. I remember there was a campaign about this at some hunting fair couple of years ago.
     
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  3. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Incidentally, the exit pupil explains why the 7x50mm is the standard marine binocular. 7x is about as much power as the average sailor can hold steady on a moving ship, and 50mm gives an exit pupil of 7.1mm for maximum light transmission at night. I was raised on a sailboat; 7x50 was what we used to look for a navigation buoy at night.
     
  4. FLT

    FLT Well-Known Member

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    This has been an informative thread .

    Thanks to all who contributed to it.
     
  5. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    After reading this thread a few days ago I have been searching around online for a low light scope comparison test article I read a few years ago that (from memory) used a reasonably robust methodology compared to many other comparisons I have come across - the article required translation which the the thread poster had done, if you have a copy that would be great. I think it identified the Zeiss Victory HT 3-12x56 scope as the best low light scope.

    Quite a few comments here basically stating that scopes with 50mm or 56mm objectives are not required - in most cases I agree with the reason given why, but I suggest it's context specific. I hope you might find some thoughts from an Australian perspectives I be of interest.

    Yes a 50mm or 56mm scope on a L461 or A1 action is definitely bulky and arguably can unbalance a rifle - I know, as I have two set up this way (I'll explain why in a moment).

    Yes a big objective means higher mounts and poorer cheek weld.

    Yes turning the magnification on a 2-7x32 or a 3-9x40 scope down to the lower powers can be as bright as a big scope set on a magnification of 7, 8 or 9.

    Yes bigger objective doesn't necessarily equate to better low light performance - I have used a couple of 3-9x40 Zeiss Conquest scopes that are much better in low light than a Simmons scope I had with a 50mm objective. Lens quality is a much better indicator than objective size.

    Yes all these drawbacks mean that it could be hard to justify going for a bigger scope just to get 10 or 20 minutes of legal shooting light in the US.

    But as I mentioned earlier it all depends on context, or intended use. Here is Australia it is legal to use spotlights after dark to target pest species like rabbits, foxes, feral cats, feral pigs and the like. Many Aussie hunters enjoy spotlighting as an important and much loved aspect of our recreational hunting. For many farmers it is a key part of managing feral pest animals on their properties. There is also used to be a professional fox shooting industry back in the 70's and 80's when skins were worth money, a professional rabbit industry, and there still is a professional roo shooting industry to this day.

    In all cases the ability to being able to clearly see your target, identify it correctly, choose the intended aim point, and identify any twig, stalk of grass or fence wire in front of the target that could deflect a bullet is vital for success. Sometimes - like the coyote against a snow background on a moonlit night , or a black pig in a cereal crop stubble - the intended quarry might stand out quite clearly. More often that not though the fur color can blend in with the background, particularly for smaller animals in dry grass in summer.

    I spotlight for foxes most weekends - their fur color blends in very well with the dry grass here at the moment. We have had a good season here and the dry grass is anywhere from 2" to 12-18" high - while their eye shine under a light is easy to spot, it can be very difficult to make out their body outline to confirm they are indeed a fox and choose the aim point.

    Shooting ranges can be as close as 10m and extend out to 250-300m if the rifle and shooter are good enough - but only if you can see it clearly. Young foxes often let you get much closer, and often sit still much longer, and hence don't tend to enjoy long lives. With shooting pressure, missed shots or under certain conditions foxes get increasingly cagey and won't hang around, and longer and quicker shots become necessary to be successful. A red, orange or green lens on the spotlight can help by reducing the glare of the white light, but it also cuts down the available light for the shooter. A scope that is clear enough at high enough magnification to enable shots to be taken on small targets under these conditions is paramount.

    You could argue that perhaps such shots just be passed over, and wait for a better closer opportunity. Our sheep farmers here are getting anywhere from $150-$250 per head for prime fat lambs through the markets these days, and are very keen to see any fox shot and lamb losses reduced.

    For the pro roo shooting industry the animals must be headshot, so that's a target of 2-3". Using a scope at a magnification of 3 or 4 will severely limit the ranges that animals can be humanely taken. For the pro shooters here in Australia the older Kahles, Zeiss or Swaro 8x56 scopes were highly regarded. Quite often the pro shooter vehicle can be a beaten up looking old thing, the rifle also banged about (but accurate), but the scope is a top quality European unit.

    A couple of short articles that might be of interest:

    http://bullshooter.blogspot.com/2006/03/professional-kangaroo-shooting-part-1.html

    http://bullshooter.blogspot.com/2006/04/professional-kangaroo-shooting-part-2.html

    So while my sporter rifles don't have anything larger than a 4-12x40 (I also have three 3-9x40, and a 3-9x33) and are nice, trim balanced outfits my three spotlighting rifles have larger, bulkier scopes. They are all heavy barrel rifles so the weight of the bulky scope is somewhat offset. They are also shot from a vehicle over a bipod or bag so the bulky unwieldy nature is less of an issue. Although the use of these bigger scopes does introduce some of the drawbacks mentioned above if I can't see it I can't shoot it, and then the drawbacks become irrelevant.

    Marcus
     
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  6. Bucktote

    Bucktote Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Marcus,
    Fine article, Hunting types require varius equipment as the situation demands. At 82, I cannot use a fine reticle. At this time of life I doubt I will venture any further from home than our small farm. You have done a splendid job covering all the variables as well as scopes for their intended use. I am eager to see what our guys come up with on his side of the pond.
    Keep well and all the best.
     
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  7. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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  8. dustinga

    dustinga Active Member

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    An article that an individual writes can't change my opinion on what I think is best for me in a hunting situation. But it can make me think. This is not just a forum to celebrate, or beat our chests, about a particular brand of firearm. It's school. And I'm here to learn. I have learned a great deal from this thread. Thank you
     
  9. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Many, many years ago I used to do quite a bit of spotlight hunting for varmints (as well as unlucky bunnies and the like which happened into the beam). While excellent low light performance is useful for hunting with only natural light (moonlight or the twilight of post sunset), I don't recall it requiring much in the way of scope performance to identify a target in the glare of a spotlight's beam. I'll stipulate that ranges were always well under a hundred yards and I've never tried to shoot a kangaroo in the head, so I'll accept the usefulness of good low light performance in the circumstances described.
     
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  10. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    The writer of the Outdoor Life article knows what he is talking about. In particular, the explanation of coatings on multi-element lenses is dead on. And he points out the misleading nature of the notion of "light-gathering," pointing out that a lens cannot gather light, only transmit what falls upon it. He fails to mention, however, the problem of lens flare and the role of coatings in controlling it. Flare is the blast of light that you get when a scope, a camera, or a pair of binoculars is pointed toward a light source and the light overwhelms everything else Flare is a particular problem for nature and landscape photographers. The best modern coatings do a much better job of controlling flare than in the past, and anti-flare coatings are a point of difference between cheap optics and better ones, and between older optics and newer ones. Having done a lot of photography over the years, mostly with Nikon lenses, I've seen major progress in this area.
     
  11. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    True. Anti-flare coatings are probably the only genuine advancement in optics in the last 50 years. I have an original 1965 model Leupold 3-9 Vari-X on my very first Sako (a Finnbear with a born-on date of August 24, 1963). The scope performs as well as any of the later Leupolds on my rifles, but there is a significant difference if you point it within a few degrees of the sun.
     
  12. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    I too learned the hard way about flare. About 25 years ago on a mule deer hunt with a close friend we were standing about 10' apart on the edge of a ravine looking almost directly at the sun watching a nice buck about 200 yards from us climb out of the ravine. As he topped out, the sun was almost directly behind him. We both aimed at him but only my buddy could see him. The sun had my mid 1960's leupold lit up like a flashlight. My buddy's 30 year newer leupold was giving him a good view of the buck. I replaced my leupold with a new one shortly after that.
     
  13. northernlights

    northernlights Well-Known Member

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    DITTO!
     
  14. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    I can think of a few more. Let's look at the advances in design and glassmaking that have made it possible to shrink the physical size of scopes and to increase zoom ratios. These include the use of rare-earth elements in lenses and coatings and the invention of high-index glass, allowing for more magnification without adding weight and bulk. Remember when high-end variable scopes had a zoom ratio of 2.5:1? Then for a long time 3 to 1 was standard, as in 3-9x, 4-12x, etc. Now you can get scopes with ratios of 4:1, 6:1, even 8:1. Not everyone wants or needs that kind of flexibility, and it's expensive, but it's there if you want it. Aspheric lens elements have vastly reduced distortion, although this is of more interest to photographers than to shooters.

    I agree that flare-reducing coatings are an extremely important advance - I have several older German and Austrian scopes that are as sharp, bright and clear as any modern scope - but show significant flare when pointed at a light source.

    Another major advance, one especially important to hunters, is the improvement in sealing technology. No longer do we need to worry about a scope fogging up internally, even with a variable scope.

    For an example of modern design reducing the length of scopes, here's a comparison photo of two fixed-power scopes - a 12x Burris AO and a considerably more modern Zeiss Diatal-C 10x AO. The difference is actually more than it appears, as the Burris is farther from the camera. Both scopes have 1" tubes. The Burris is a bit of an oddity in that it has a true focusing objective rather than just parallax adjustment.
    Zeiss 10x - Burris 12x.JPG
     
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  15. RangerAV

    RangerAV Well-Known Member

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    Your welcome! Sorry, I didn't see this sooner! :)

    FWIW, I used that 3.5-10x40 on my .25-'06 AV... thinking that I'd use it at longer ranges than my other rifles with lower power scopes. Turns out pronghorn at about 125 paces (although after a really long stalk) wasn't all that difficult. Or javelina at maybe 140 yards, easy enough. These days, I might even have picked a 2.5-8x36.

    Cheers, -Chris
     
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  16. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Icebear: I agree that there have been a number of advancements in riflescopes, but insofar as the actual optics, not so much. The best optics I've ever seen in a scope was in a 55 year-old Rochester Bausch & Lomb 6-24 target scope. I could see .22 caliber bullet holes in the target at 400 yards.

    Probably the biggest riflescope advancements are not in optics but, as you point out, in design and manufacturing. The precision automated machine grinding of lenses, making them much cheaper and better than a half-century ago, along with advanced manufacturing techniques, has continually lowered the cost of good riflescopes in terms of constant dollars. I remember well that I paid $65 (via mail order discount) for that 3-9 Leupold on my first Sako in 1965. Run that through the inflation calculator and you get $546 in 2021. The price of a 3-9 Leupold of similar quality (but better lens coatings) today is about $250, or less than half of what I paid in 1965.
     

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