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Back to what is the best power scope for Western Elk hunting: The answer depends on two things, what kind of terrain will you be hunting and how accurate your rifle is. The answer to both questions will help to fix a maximum ethical distance. First, if the terrain doesn't allow shots much over 200 yds, like in dark timber or oakbrush, then 4x will do and 6x is plenty (I do just fine with a Leupold VX-1 1-4x20mm on a .300 Savage). If the terrain offers shots across sage flats or cross canyon, then you'll need to reach out on average from 300 yds to 400 yds, and want to stretch the distance farther when you see that huge 6x6 and can't get closer... you'll need 15x to 18x to handle those situations, although 9x will get you to 300+ yds, you'll be wishing you had more beyond 400 yds. Second, I wouldn't put an expensive, feature-rich, high magnification scope on a rifle that could not shoot close to a 1 MOA group. The rifle runs out of accuracy before the scope does. At 2 MOA it isn't ethical to be shooting much beyond 300 yds, especially when you throw in wind drift, and you don't need more than 9x for that distance, or parallax adjustment, or even the bullet drop compensation or other fancy ballistic features ... just zero for 200 yds and you are good to ±3" in elevation out to 250 yds ... hold on the top of the back at 300 yds. The .30-06 Springfield is what I call a 600 yd Elk gun; with a 180 or 200 grain SPBT, it runs out of bullet terminal performance and minimum recommend KE for Elk at about 600 yds or slightly longer. If the rifle shoots 1 MOA or less, then with 15x or 18x you are good to about 600 yds, and the bullet reaches its maximum ethical kill and terminal performance (1900 fps @ 1500 ft-lbs for Elk) at about the same time as the scope with the high-magnification, parallax adjustment, etc. reaches its limit. If you want to shoot Elk farther away than 600 yds, you'll need a .300 Win Mag or better and more magnification ... along with magnification comes larger objective lenses, larger tube, and bigger price. My pre-'64 Winchester Model 70 in .30-06 shoots consistent .7 MOA groups and I hunt where 400+ yd shots aren't uncommon. I put a Swarovski Z5 3.5-18x Ballistic Turret with 4W reticule on it, and handload 200-gr Sierra GK SPBT (.552 BC) and can hold 4" groups at 600 yds using the parallax adjustment. If I were shooting 600 yds frequently, I would have moved up in magnification, and price. Now back to what brand scope: Here are some facts. At one time Meade Instruments owned Simmons, Weaver, and Redfield scopes. In 2008, Meade got into a financial bind and sold off the rifle scope business. Bushnell owns Simmons ... made in Asia ... Simmons line has been substantially upgraded to Bushnell's more expensive scopes, yet cost is kept down by overseas manufacturing, hence my comment that dollar for dollar the Simmons is a better buy than a Bushnell. ATK owns Weaver (again) ... made in Asia ... ATK has focused most of the upgrades in the Grand Slam line. Price point is rising in the other lines like the T, K, and V series, but still good value for the dollar. Leupold owns Redfield ... now again made in the USA ... Leupold moved production back to the US and has substantially upgraded all the Redfield line to Leupold quality. The clarity and brightness of my Leupold VX-1 1-4x 20mm puts my old Weaver 4x 38mm to shame. ... hope this helps.
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