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· Retired Moderator & Gunsmith
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Lexington1, After looking at your desired scope specifications, you will have to make some compromises.

Let's start with the reticle ... A Mil-dot is great for long range shooting, assuming you know how to use them. They are horrible for hunting and especially "close up" shooting ... way worse in low light levels. Your best choice for a reticle is a "dual X", which has thicker outer lines and thinner inner lines. In subdued light, fine cross hairs are nearly impossible to see. Illuminated reticles make the scope's turret fat so it may not fit between the rings unless you buy an extended base.

Next is parallax, which is a very significant negative aspect with any scope ... the higher the magnification, the worse it gets. Many people blame the gun or even the ammo for poor accuracy when it's likely a parallax issue. Rimfire scopes are typically corrected for 50~60 yards. The formula for maintaining 1" or less of cross hair drift is twice the parallax corrected distance for max range and half the parallax corrected distance for the closest range. The Nikon P-22 you mentioned is parallax corrected for 50 yards so it would be fine from 50/2=25 yards to 50*2=100 yards. At distances closer than 25 yards or more than 100 yards, cross hair drift becomes increasingly worse ... up to several inches. For target rifles, the best solution is a "side dial" or AO but for hunting rifles, these devices tend to corrupt the hunt. By the time you figure out the distance, adjust your magnification, then adjust parallax correction, the critter disappeared. It just gets too busy for these devices to work well.

Yes, at closer distances, your gun will shoot low. The higher the scope is mounted above bore line, the lower it will shoot at closer distances. Here's a 22 LR trajectory chart where the center of the scope lens is 1", 1.5", and 2" above bore line and the scope is zeroed for 50 yards:


I have a 10/22 TD and found my Nikon P-22 (2~7x) with the provided Ruger base works very well. I can get it in the backpack OK but the Velcro flap won't quite reach the pocket, due to the poor design of the short flap. No problem ... I went to Wally World and bought a roll of "sticky back" Velcro. I cut a couple 4" strips then stuck the "hook" piece to the "eye" piece. This makes a nice extension that will allow the flap to secure to the pocket. Because it is not sewed in, the extensions can easily be removed.

Here's an article I posted in the forum Library called "Scope Dope". It details the issues you may want to consider before buying a scope. Click on this link: http://rugerforum.net/library/61505-scope-dope.html
 

· Retired Moderator & Gunsmith
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18,728 Posts
Lexington1,
Iowegan, out of curiosity, why are mildots not very good for hunting? I haven't done a whole lot of hunting. I just like mildot style retcules because it just what I'm uses to.
Mil-dot scopes were designed for snipers and long range target shooters where the target remains stationary long enough to do the computations for distance, which will dictate hold-over and windage compensation. Further, Mil-dots reticles don't show up well when hunting in wooded areas or brush. Mil-dot scopes are calibrated at the highest magnification, which may not be the optimum magnification for your shot. As you gain more experience hunting, you will find game animals don't wait for you to do the math or play with the scope's adjustments. If you don't do the math, there's no reason for a mil-dot. What most experienced hunters prefer is a "dual-X" reticle that is highly visible from dawn to dusk, in the woods, brush, or in an open area. If you can't see the reticle, you can't hit the target. Hunt with your scope on the lowest magnification in case Thumper jumps up at close range. If you spot a game animal in the distance, chances are you will have enough time to adjust the zoom ring for optimum magnification. If you hunt with the scope at max magnification, it's very hard to locate the animal because your width of view is so limited. Further, if you keep your scope on max magnification, you might as well use a fixed power scope.

You mentioned target turret knobs in your OP. Although they are quite useful at the range, they are a very poor choice for hunting. What experienced hunters do is to confirm sight in before a hunt using their same hunting ammo. Once the scope is sighted in, the turret caps are screwed on and not touched again. Any compensation for wind or distance is negligible at normal 22 LR shooting distances. Target knobs can easily get moved while tromping through the woods or even when the scope rubs on your clothing or carry case.

What most experienced hunters learn is an aiming technique called "point blank". This is where you place the cross hairs directly on the game animal's kill zone (or target bullseye) and let the gun's ballistics do the work for you. In the above chart I posted, you will note the bullet is never more than an inch off zero from about 12 yards out to 70 yards. This means you can aim directly at Thumper and expect a kill shot without any compensation, providing you can hold the rifle steady enough and your gun and ammo are accurate enough. After 70 yards, which is about the max hunting distance for a 22 LR, the bullet starts dropping quite a bit and by 100 yards, it is more than 6" low. The same point blank technique works well for high power rifles with larger game too. Because centerfires have much higher velocity, the point blank channel is about +or- 2" from the muzzle out to about 225 yards. So if Bambi is 225 yards or less, a dead center hold will place the bullet in the kill zone without any compensation

At the shooting range where you have all day to do calculations, a mil-dot is still pretty worthless on a 22 LR. Assuming the scope was sighted in for a specified distance you typically fire one test shot. If the bullet hole is 2" left and 4" low ... merely aim 2" right and 4" high to compensate for distance and wind. For long range high power centerfire rifles (300 yards or more) where you can't see a bullet hole, a Mil-dot is much more useful. After you learn how to judge wind, estimate distance, manage MOAs, and with a lot of practice ... eventually you can get proficient enough to meet the sniper's goal of "one shot ... one kill".

Bullet drop compensated reticles are nifty at the range but are pretty worthless for hunting for reasons similar to Mil-dots. Before a BDC reticle can be of any practical use, you must know the distance to the target and have your scope set to the highest magnification for calibration. When you are hunting, estimating distance can be very deceiving. Even laser range finders don't work well in the field unless you have a large object to reflect the laser beam. Grass, brush, smaller rocks, trees, etc just don't work.

I own many different rifles with scopes and have successfully hunted just about all game from prairie dogs to elk and learned the hard way about what works and what doesn't. Most of the frills, such as illuminate reticles, BDC, target turrets with knobs, AO, side dials, and high magnification create more problems than they serve. In other words, what looks cool or may seem to be a feature, turns out to be a disadvantage. At the range where you have the advantage of time and a bench rest, the above "features" can be quite useful.

The optimum hunting condition is when you spot a game animal then shoulder your rifle, flip the safety off, take aim, and squeeze the trigger. If you waste time playing with the knobs and dials or try to estimate distance, etc, chances are you will come home empty handed.
 
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