Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scope advice bleg:

I know very little about handgun scopes. I mean, I know good brands and bad brands, and some stuff that transfers directly from rifle optics, but I haven't had glass on a handgun since I sold my 8-3/8" Smith 586 five or six years ago.

Now I need to put glass on a T/C Encore in .243 Win with a fifteen-inch tube. The mission is most likely going to be Indiana whitetail. Tips? Pointers? Suggestions?


ZerCool said...

My Contender in .30-30 wears a 2x20mm Tasco (don't laugh, it holds zero!).

.243 will (obviously) reach out a bit better than .30-30, but if it were my pistol I'd be looking at either a fixed-power in the 3-4x range, or maybe a 2-7x variable.

Usual brands apply. Nikon, Leupold, et al.

Caleb said...

This is allegedly the king ding-a-ling of pistol scopes. Of course, that info comes from Leupold's people so they may be a little biased.

TJP said...

Use a Buick around dusk. You won't need camouflage or deer tags, and you can comfortably sit in an air-conditioned interior while you stalk your prey.

wv = "iniserv"; for when you want to share your Windows .INI files with the world.

Anonymous said...


A certain EMT in South Louisiana will testify as to the effectiveness of the .318 Dakota in harvesting deer...

cap'n chumbucket

Buffboy said...

Don't buy too much power. You'll find a 1-2.5x scope will be a lot easier to shoot than anything higher powered and still have plenty of precision for deer at sane ranges.

Kevin said...

I really like the Burris 3-12X long eye-relief scope I put on the power tool last year. I did manage to take one (1) boomer with it, at a laser-measured 640 yards.

With the Ballistic Plex reticle, you don't have to play with the elevation knob, as long as you know how much your bullet drops at range.

Tam said...


I don't know how much work this thing's going to see past 100 yards. With a 100gr bullet, .243 is at the lower end of the power spectrum for Bambi, and I ain't the world's best pistol shot, either, so unless the deer's close enough for me to feel confident, I don't know that I'll get much use out of a 12x optic...

Matt G said...

Unless the deer is on the move or over about 200 lbs and over 150 yards, I think that the 100g .243 is a superb choice, even out of the 15" bbl.

I have zero personal knowledge about handgun pistol scopes, but that's only because I live in a land where rifles are allowed. When I handgun hunt, I use iron sights and a field holster. But I understand why you're doing this silly thing, and it makes since. (So, by definition, it's not silly.)

Oh wait-- Dad's Savage Scout has a Leupold intermediate eye relief on it, so I guess I've used ONE pistol scope.

Owen said...

I believe you will find that .243 is not allowed for whitetails in Indiana. Deer must be taked with a shotgun, or with a rifle in a handgun cartridge, which is listed in the book. (currently .45 Colt, .44 Mag, .357 Mag, AFAIK)

Tam said...


.243 Winchester in a rifle is an over-powered dangerous no-no that will shoot through schools.

As best I can tell, .243 Winchester in a Encore pistol is hunky-dory and okay.

Anonymous said...

Shot metallic silhouette for years with a 4X Leupold on a Thompson Super Contender in 357 Herrett, then moved it to a Wichita in 308. Would have liked to have had 6X, but it worked. Well.

If the pigs and rams move around much the 4X beats the 6X. If they move around a lot Leupold also makes a 2.5X.

If your eyes suck and you need more X get a rifle. Whole different scope options there.

Sean said...

I didn't realize Indiana still had a rifle season- Ohio doesn't.

Caleb said...

Owen, tam's correct. Our Byzantine hunting regs allow the .243 but only from a pistol. Because you know, a 15 inch barreled pistol is somehow safer than a 22 inch rifle.

Stranger said...

Well, since you have said you are a tall lady - 2 to 3 power, long eye relief, decent brand. The Tasco on the .22 and the Burris on the Remington work fine.

Look through it and make sure it will give you a full field of view and come into focus for YOU at your arms length before you fork over any dough. Eyes vary, and I have seen some that would not - but were fine for someone else.

Use some anti-slip in the rings, pistol recoils are sharp and even sharper with rifle calibers.

Bore or laser sight, confirm POI, enjoy.


theirritablearchitect said...

Burris Scout. Made for what yer doin'.

MattG is right on; I personally think the .243 at your ranges will be perfect.

Kevin said...


Set the scope to 3X for your hunt. When you take it to the range, dial it up to 12(that's one better than eleven!) and see what you can do with it at 300+ yards!

WV - fawarp: When your target's so far away you need warp speed to get the projectile there!

Kristopher said...

Before you buy glass, you need to look at the barrel.

Is it a custom barrel, or a factory barrel?

The TC factory barrels I bought have extremely long bullet jump chambers, in order to prevent improperly sized handloads from accidentally going off when the action is closed.

If it is a factory TC barrel, have it slugged. I ended up buying two extra factory barrels for mine before I finally got clued.

Kristopher said...

Oh, and I recommend a 4x fixed Burris for glass.

Darrell said...

Nikon EER 2.5-8x28. Great scope.

WV: tatsms lol Buy this scope and you'll have tatsms! :^D

DJ said...

Been there, done that, sort of.

I have a 6" 686 Smith with a Leupold M8-2X extended eye relief (EER) scope on it. I've had it and hunted with it for some decades now. That being said, I'm no expert on hunting with handguns, but I do have a few pointers.

A 2X scope is more than enough. The more magnification there is, the harder it is to convince yourself you're on target. Remember, hunting shooting is not target shooting.

Likely you will need a rest to shoot from, and likely you won't have a good one. A pair of shooting sticks, a pair of shooting gloves, and possibly a bit of padding are in order. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

I used to hunt deer with a Remington Model 6 in .243. Mine was lightened and shortened for use in hilly country and had an 18.5" barrel. So, I have considerable experience shooting deer with a slower-than-normal .243 round. At one end of the spectrum, the biggest deer I ever killed was a 10-pointer that field-dressed at 172 pounds. A heart shot with that .243 dropped it within 20 yards, but I don't remember what bullet I used. At the other end of the spectrum, a 100 grain Nosler Partition did NOT expand at all, drilling a pencil-thin hole broadside through both lungs on a nice doe at only 35 yards, after which a follow-up running shot at 75 yards clipped its spine and dropped it. Thus, the primary tip I can give from this is to choose your ammunition carefully. Make sure the bullet will perform properly at the lower velocity you will be shooting it at.

Now for a funny anecdote.

The first time I ever took that 686 Smith out for deer, I sat on a ridge top that was clear of undergrowth and had a trail that came up one side and down the other. Sure enough, a marvelous buck came up that trail and crossed slowly in front of me at about 25 yards. He had a 14-point rack: his brow tines were split and V-shaped. Quite literally, this was the biggest set of whitetail antlers I ever saw on the hoof, but otherwise he was a small deer. I fired, with a very clear sight picture of the crosshairs on his boiler room. He lit up his afterburners and was out of sight in about three seconds. I walked to where he was when I fired and found no sign whatever that I had hit him. No blood, no hair, nothing. I walked slowly back to my stool and came across a tiny hickory sapling about three feet tall, halfway between my stool and where the deer was when I fired. I was shooting half-jacketed semi-wadcutter bullets; my round had clipped two tiny limbs off that sapling and been deflected, leaving nice half-moon cutouts on their cut ends. A really nice doe came running up the same trail about a half hour later, and she didn't stand a chance.

So, this ain't easy. But do your homework, get it right, and it's a lot of fun.

Davidwhitewolf said...

I'd second Kevin on the Burris 3-12x. I have one on most of my specialty pistols. For short-range stuff, crank it down to 3x and you still have a very nice field of view and lots of light due to the 32mm objective lens. IIRC most of the fixed-power handgun scopes don't have objectives that big. FWIW, some of the newer pricier versions at SHOT 2010 had an electronic red dot for those darker times.

Anonymous said...

I have a Burris 2X pistol scope on a Contender in .357 Rem Maximum. I wouldn't want any more magnification. The Burris has been on the Contender for years with no problems.

Recently took a Tasco 4X off of a S&W 657. I bought a 2X Burris to replace it but haven't got it on the gun yet.

I also own a low-powered Leupold Scout Scope that is going on a Marlin Guide Gun in 45-70 after a while. (I want to try it out with the XS peep sights a bit more first.)

IMO you can't go wrong with either Leupold or Burris low-powered pistol scopes.

DMP said...

2X-2.5X you can hold. 4X and greater has to be rested in a pistol scope. Any of the big names will work fine.

Vinosaur said...


I use a Leupold 2.5-8 X 32 and love it. The Leupold can be a bit more expensive, however, Cabelas has an error on thier pricing for the newest 2010 shooting catalog, and the scope can be had for $399 instead of $549. I called and they will honor the catalog price and ship free to your door. The variable isn't for everyone.