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Riflescopes for Stalking | Optics Trade Debates

Hello and welcome to today’s Optics Trade Debates. We are going to discuss the common features of the products we list into the category of Riflescopes for stalking.

First of all, let us talk about usable magnifications. Most of these scopes are hunting scopes, and stalking is a style of hunting. Products in this category should begin with a magnification between 1.5 and not higher than 4 – the beginning magnification has to be minimal. The magnification is usually 1.5-6 (the most common), all the way to 16, which is the maximum in most cases – with scopes that begin with 4. In other words, the magnification range begins somewhere around 4 and goes all the way up to 16. It all depends on what kind of a zoom factor they have.

Interestingly enough, the Zeiss Conquest V4 with the magnification 4-16 is also classified as a rifle scope for stalking, but it is the upper limit. The 4x magnification is already the maximum number where the magnification should begin. That is because with stalking, first of all, a lot of shots are done from a stick, and in order to do so, lower magnification is needed – it is harder to make a hit with higher magnification. Second of all, a hunter often comes across a situation where a wide field of view is needed in order to shoot from a closer distance. All in all, on such short ranges, you need lower magnification. This is the reason why the 4×4-16 model is a bit unpractical.

On the other hand, 4×4-16 is meant for stalking in the mountains. You can also stalk with other products mentioned, which have at least 10x magnification. Magnification above at least 6 is needed for longer-distance shots in the mountains – this is why these scopes are also listed here, even though they have higher magnification.

The lens diameter from 33 mm onwards is suitable for stalking. 33 is the minimum, and 44 is the absolute maximum – the gold standard is 42. Most of the scopes for normal stalking are 1.6-42 and for mountain stalking, they can also go all the way up to 44. The main reason for this is that scopes for stalking need to be light and compact and that is why they have smaller lens diameters because when you are carrying them around, every gram counts. This can be very helpful when carrying a riflescope for 3, 4 hours. 42 mm is most suitable because it still performs in low light and it is also not too heavy.

The Zeiss model is quite long, but it is still lightweight, so it can still be used for stalking in the mountains. Basically, any scope with a lens diameter of more than 44 mm will usually be too heavy for stalking.

With these kinds of scopes, an illuminated reticle is a plus. The models mentioned all have a second focal plane reticle and stalking can also be done at low light. A riflescope with an illuminated reticle makes it better, but it is not the most important feature. This is why you can also wind scopes with non-illuminated reticles in this category. The reticles in this category are second focal plane and in almost all riflescopes, basic hunting styles (#4 reticle, Duplex reticle).

The majority of these scopes have normal, hunting, capped turrets and you adjust zero the sope once, then leave the turrets alone. They are not meant for long-range shooting by default, but for those models that are (stalking in the mountains), they are equipped with a bullet drop compensation turret (the BDC turret) – an added bonus. Overall, a BDC turret is not needed.

The size and weight do matter – they are usually extremely small and light. Sometimes we get asked if you can stalk with scopes made for driven hunts. Normally, yes, but they have their disadvantages. For example, with scopes that have a 24 mm objective, the lens is not bright enough for stalking at dusk. Another disadvantage would appear when stalking on a 150 m, 200 m distance, and having a 4x magnification – this is not enough.

Other questions deal with a bit bigger scopes but with the same magnification range (like the Zeiss Victory V8) – 1.8-14×50. Leica has a similar model – 1.8-12×50, and Swarovski has 2-16×50. Normally, you can stalk with those scopes, but they are all bigger and heavier. The weight difference is at least 20 %-30 %. You can even stalk with a 60 mm objective lens scope, but it would just be too heavy. The optimal weight for scopes for stalking is around 200 g -700 g.

This is it, thank you for watching and if you think we forgot something, you are more than welcome to leave a comment below, or send us an e-mail. Bye.

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