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With a price point below $2,000, what is the consensus on the absolute best compact low power variable scope for a custom lever rifle with shots most shots inside 100 yards and max shots not over 200 yards?

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"Best" is hard to define. Low light? Image quality? Illuminated reticle? Magnification high/low? Target size?


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Clarity, low light, illuminated reticle if it can be dialed low enough to be useful. Deer and hog hunting.

I have tried a Swaro Z6 1x6 and 1.5 x 6 x 42 on it, too bulky for brush and hunting out of a truck. Rifle has a 16" barrel and shooting the 450 Bushmaster. 30mm tube scopes I don't think are going to get me where I want to be. I have tried an older 1" tube Weaver V3, Swaro 1x4, Luepold 1x4, and a Nikon African 1x4 on it with the Nikon being the best for my eyes but hits a brick wall in low light compared to the Z6.

Hoping there is something out there that rings all the bells. The low power compact variable scope market seems to be slim pickens.

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You might be happy with the Leupold VX-3 1.5-5, if you can find one Sightron made a 1.5-6x40 with a 1" tube I have it on my favorite pelt hunting rifle.


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Originally Posted by FSJeeper
I have tried a Swaro Z6 1x6 ... on it, too bulky for brush and hunting out of a truck. Rifle has a 16" barrel and shooting the 450 Bushmaster. 30mm tube scopes I don't think are going to get me where I want to be.

You found that scope "bulky"?

You really are looking at a small pool of scopes.

If the VX6 1-6 Patrol is not too bulky, it might be a good pick. Not big turrets, nice heavy-ish duplex, auto-off illuminated dot. Keep the mount low and use low-profile rings.

ETA I just looked at the eyepiece dimensions, they are the same diameter.

The 30mm tube is how the objective stays big enough for good light at 5x or 6x. The 20mm obj on a 1" scope means lower low-light performance.

Just a suggestion.

You might be happy with a 2-7x scope with a 1" tube.

Last edited by plumbum; 04/08/23.
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Trijicon 1-4 is pretty compact.

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Originally Posted by plumbum
Originally Posted by FSJeeper
I have tried a Swaro Z6 1x6 ... on it, too bulky for brush and hunting out of a truck. Rifle has a 16" barrel and shooting the 450 Bushmaster. 30mm tube scopes I don't think are going to get me where I want to be.

You found that scope "bulky"?

You really are looking at a small pool of scopes.

If the VX6 1-6 Patrol is not too bulky, it might be a good pick. Not big turrets, nice heavy-ish duplex, auto-off illuminated dot. Keep the mount low and use low-profile rings.

ETA I just looked at the eyepiece dimensions, they are the same diameter.

The 30mm tube is how the objective stays big enough for good light at 5x or 6x. The 20mm obj on a 1" scope means lower low-light performance.

Just a suggestion.

You might be happy with a 2-7x scope with a 1" tube.
Any scope with a 30mm tube is too bulky for a levergun... or for any ordinary deer hunting rifle, in my opinion.

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OP, I have a Leupold 1.5-5x20 on my BLR levergun. Even a 2-7x28 and a 2.5-8x32 seemed too big on it.

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Attached is a pic of the unfinished rifle with the Nikon African on it. When I snap the rifle up, it is perfectly on target. 30 mm would require a stock change or a cheek pad which neither I want to do. The Nikon is not bad, but I want the best I can get for under $2000 as this rifle is my go-to hunting rifle for the rest of my life.

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If a 30mm isn't an option, the Leupold 1.5-5x is probably your best bet. I have a handful of the Nikon African 1-4x on Ruger No. 1's and like it for that application. I also have a Leupold 1.5-5x and feel it has better glass than the Nikon. I'm not aware of other currently available LPV's with 1" tubes other than Leupold.

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Slim pickin's


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Originally Posted by FSJeeper
Attached is a pic of the unfinished rifle with the Nikon African on it. When I snap the rifle up, it is perfectly on target. 30 mm would require a stock change or a cheek pad which neither I want to do. The Nikon is not bad, but I want the best I can get for under $2000 as this rifle is my go-to hunting rifle for the rest of my life.
Please provide the specs on that beautiful rifle! Don’t see too many custom 99’s!

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I don’t find the 30mm Trijicon Credo HX 1-6 on my Howa 6.5 Grendel to be bulky, and at 1x the amount you can see is amazing, almost like there’s no scope. For your budget, you can get two!


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Lol “consensus” smile


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Originally Posted by Pappy348
I don’t find the 30mm Trijicon Credo HX 1-6 on my Howa 6.5 Grendel to be bulky, and at 1x the amount you can see is amazing, almost like there’s no scope. For your budget, you can get two!
Agree. That is an excellent LPVO.

I’m also struggling to see the problem with 30mm. It’s only 2.2mm higher. I don’t think the meat of my cheek is that discerning.

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Originally Posted by Pappy348
I don’t find the 30mm Trijicon Credo HX 1-6 on my Howa 6.5 Grendel to be bulky, and at 1x the amount you can see is amazing, almost like there’s no scope. For your budget, you can get two!

I agree also. I really like my Credo HX 1-6x24. I wasn't sure about the 30mm tube. Once I mounted it I was glad I got it. To the OP, you really limit your options in a lpvo by sticking to a 1" tube. The Trijicon Credo HX 1-6 has really nice glass (Japan) and is built like a tank. To me it doesn't seem to be to bulky with a 24mm objective lense

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I know people bash Leupold, but all of my scopes are the old ones. I think the used 1.5- 5X is perfect for what you need. And they don't cost 2,000 dollars.

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The Trijicon Credo 1-6×24 is right at 19 oz. 19 oz atop a svelte live-action rifle? No thanks.

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Originally Posted by Triggernosis
The Trijicon Credo 1-6×24 is right at 19 oz. 19 oz stop a svelte live-action rifle? No thanks.

Good point. It would probably look and move better with a VX-3HD 1.5-5X20 CDS-ZL ILLUM. FIREDOT TWILIGHT HUNTER at 12.5 ozs. I don't own one but I have 3 Leupold VX5HD 3-15's Fire dots. I like the VX5 HD's. But the Trijicon lpvo is still one hell of a scope for the money.

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Just so happens I recently weighed my Mini after replacing the hinged floorplate with a different one. With a paracord sling and swivels, it came to 6# 11oz, hardly a burden, and balances and handles very nicely.

As JB and others have noted, one reason for building a lightweight rifle is to allow the use of good, reliable optics without the assembled rig getting too heavy. This one is a success in that way, a pleasure to tote around the woods.

[Linked Image]

Posted this pic before, but it is a good illustration…..and maybe my best dead-dear photo.

Last edited by Pappy348; 04/09/23.

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