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If you are going to have a long day of shooting and hunting, I would recommend using a long barrel 20 gauge. It is going to be less painful by the end of a long day of shooting. Many western quail hunters swear you should never hunt quail with more than a 20 gauge.
It is about the right gun for the right application.
“Best” is an ambiguous attribute… here are a few “bests” I recommend for consideration:
Also, you have to understand “best” is VERY relative when it comes to scopes. For instance, many long range shooters swear by high-end optics like Schmidt and Bender, Nightforce or such. But, VERY few shooters (or shooting scenarios) require the differences such scopes bring to the table when it comes to the next tier down. In fact, I dare say most shooters’ (even really, really good shooters) skills are way less than the glass (scope) with which they shoot. Ultimately, this means that “extra-better scope-ness” is wasted.
All of that said, here are a few pointers in what is considered to be the “best scopes”:
Warranty – This is one of my “best” criteria that I use (Note: “one”, not all). There is nothing like investing big bucks into a scope and then it breaks – even the best scopes break. From my experience with Vortex and Leupold, I have found them to both have really solid and proven warranties. While once sitting on a deer stand, I called Vortex about a battery cover that I had lost and a new one was mailed to me 2 days later.
Glass – This is where most shooters “buy up” beyond their abilities. There is largely not a lot of difference between a $200, $500, $1000, $2000 scope. Largely, but not all. The biggest things you find in good glass is the definition down range and the light gathering abilities. I pick a price range that is appropriate for the usage and then pick other “bests” after that. EVERY RIFLE DOES NOT NEED A $5000 scope. In fact, MOST DO NOT.
Durability/Weight – A lot of shooters do not realize this, but a lot of bells and whistles on a scope means (typically) that your durability goes down. Those little pieces will break/fail far easier than a solid tube and glass. Weight plays a huge role – recoil magnifies weight exponentially, thus slamming around those delicate, little parts! Lightweight is another “best” on my list.
Magnification – Magnification ranges vary greatly based on scopes, scope series and vendors. Again, not every scenario requires a 4x, 5x, 6x magnification range.
Some of my “best” choices for scopes are as follows:
AR-15/10s: 1–4s, 1–6s sub $500. I have a great review of some of these scopes here.
Hunting Rifles: 2.5–10×40(ish), 2–12×40(ish) vs. 50(ish). Vortex and Leupold have some great choices here.
Long Range: If you are reading this article for your choice, you probably should not be shooting long range (yet)! 🙂
I, also, have a great article on working up your scope once you get it and you can find it here.
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