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#6170106 - 02/04/16 08:32 PM Handgun Scope
Sherpa Dog Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 213
Loc: NB, TX
I'm looking for any feedback/ reviews from THF members that have any experience with hunting scopes on handguns. There are a couple of handguns that I am looking to put optics on, one smaller caliber (5.7) & the other a large caliber (.454). According to what I have found online the choices are very limited.
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#6170147 - 02/04/16 08:59 PM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Sherpa Dog]
syncerus Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 1993
Loc: Dallas, TX
The variables are more flexible and better for zeroing but are heavy and alter the balance of the pistol. In a handgun scope, I really like the Leupold fixed 2x and 4x scopes, depending on application. If you go variable, take a look at the Burris and Nikon models.
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#6170156 - 02/04/16 09:13 PM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Sherpa Dog]
BigPig Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/27/09
Posts: 9549
Loc: Forney, Tx
For any pistol scope keep it under 4x, anything more and I have found it hard to get a clean sight picture, often above 4x I have to bend my elbows and pull the scope closer to my head. I have since sold both my pistol scopes in favor of a Burris FF3 on my S&W 460XVR
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Originally Posted By: bill oxner
Ever spit it out rather than swallow it?

Originally Posted By: pegasaurus
Enjoy it while you can. One day you might be complaining about NOT getting random pop-ups in the morning. grin

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#6170657 - 02/05/16 10:56 AM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: BigPig]
Lone Ranger Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/17/04
Posts: 1324
Loc: Irving, Texas
I have been a handgun hunter for over 30 years and I prefer variable scopes by far. I have several different models, but my favorites are Nikon 3x7 on S&W 460XVR, Leupold 2.5x8 on Freedom Arms 454 and Burris 2x7 on TC Encore pistol .308.

When you have a variable you can still put it on 4 power, but if you have a fixed scope that is your only choice. Also, the pistol doesn't move anymore when shooting a variable or a fixed scope, it may only seem to, but if you have a solid rest it doesn't make any difference.

I would definitely go variable, I leave mine on 6x most of the time and they all work great!!

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#6170671 - 02/05/16 11:06 AM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Sherpa Dog]
Elpatoloco Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 283
I have solely used a handgun on deer and hogs for the last 15 years or so. All mine are .44s and only one scoped. It wears a Loopy 4x.

Maybe need more magnification with some of the encore/contender flatter shooting rounds. Not needed with a true handgun cartridge.

A scope will show you how much sway you really have with a handgun. It took me a bit to get over that as I recollect. Id imagine its a but worse with the higher magnifications, unless you hunt off a rest....which is rare for me.

My deer rifles


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#6170688 - 02/05/16 11:16 AM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Sherpa Dog]
Elpatoloco Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 283
I did go through a phase where I hunted with a regular old .45 acp with home hardcast as well. I keep reading how hard pigs are to kill etc... if you have graduated up to handgun hunting, you already know that bullet placement is everything.

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#6170729 - 02/05/16 11:47 AM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Lone Ranger]
BigPig Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/27/09
Posts: 9549
Loc: Forney, Tx
Originally Posted By: Lone Ranger
I have been a handgun hunter for over 30 years and I prefer variable scopes by far. I have several different models, but my favorites are Nikon 3x7 on S&W 460XVR, Leupold 2.5x8 on Freedom Arms 454 and Burris 2x7 on TC Encore pistol .308.

When you have a variable you can still put it on 4 power, but if you have a fixed scope that is your only choice. Also, the pistol doesn't move anymore when shooting a variable or a fixed scope, it may only seem to, but if you have a solid rest it doesn't make any difference.

I would definitely go variable, I leave mine on 6x most of the time and they all work great!!


How do you overcome the parallax when above 4x? I had both a 2x7 Nikon and Loopy and couldn't use either above 4x
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Originally Posted By: bill oxner
Ever spit it out rather than swallow it?

Originally Posted By: pegasaurus
Enjoy it while you can. One day you might be complaining about NOT getting random pop-ups in the morning. grin

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#6171070 - 02/05/16 04:03 PM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Sherpa Dog]
Sherpa Dog Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 213
Loc: NB, TX
Did recoil effect any of the optics on the larger calibers? I am also curious about eye relief & different sight picture techniques with variables on different settings. Or is it pretty much the same as rifle variables?
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#6171091 - 02/05/16 04:13 PM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Sherpa Dog]
Elpatoloco Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 283
Originally Posted By: Sherpa Dog
Did recoil effect any of the optics on the larger calibers? I am also curious about eye relief & different sight picture techniques with variables on different settings. Or is it pretty much the same as rifle variables?


A properly heavily handloaded .44 magnum with "Ruger Only" loads generates more HP and recoil than a .500 smith. Not sure about the calibers mentioned. I have never had scope issues or POI shifts. No clue about the variable stuff.

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#6171094 - 02/05/16 04:16 PM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Sherpa Dog]
syncerus Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 1993
Loc: Dallas, TX
Variables are heavier which increases stress on the mounts / rings and increases the chance the scope will slide within the rings unless you take steps to prevent it. The eye relief also changes radically when you alter the magnification, at least on the more powerful models. I haven't had noticeable parallax problems, but I've also limited my shooting to 200 yards and less. I did have profound parallax problems when using scout scopes on rifles, so it's definitely something that I would test before trusting.

Again, I'm not necessarily opposed to variables, but it should be understood that they're more ... complicated.
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#6171101 - 02/05/16 04:21 PM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: syncerus]
Elpatoloco Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 283
Originally Posted By: syncerus
Variables are heavier which increases stress on the mounts / rings and increases the chance the scope will slide within the rings unless you take steps to prevent it. The eye relief also changes radically when you alter the magnification, at least on the more powerful models. I haven't had noticeable parallax problems, but I've also limited my shooting to 200 yards and less. I did have profound parallax problems when using scout scopes on rifles, so it's definitely something that I would test before trusting.

Again, I'm not necessarily opposed to variables, but it should be understood that they're more ... complicated.


So....you basically have to change your grip or head placement after moving a variable power scope? This would render it useless to me. I RARELY shoot over 150 yards, so I never tinkered with one. Handgunning is like shooting a bow, any change in grip pressure, posture, etc can wreak havoc

Your POI will shift when free handing, creedmore position vs off bags, ransom rest btw.


Edited by Elpatoloco (02/05/16 04:22 PM)

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#6171105 - 02/05/16 04:24 PM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Sherpa Dog]
syncerus Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 1993
Loc: Dallas, TX
If you crank up the magnification, you must move your head forward. But adjusting the scope for more magnification is sufficiently awkward while shooting that the effort to move forward isn't a big deal; it's one piece in a clumsy puzzle.


Edited by syncerus (02/05/16 06:37 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
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#6171118 - 02/05/16 04:31 PM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Sherpa Dog]
Elpatoloco Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 283
I guess that if you are in a shooting house or blind with a sufficent rest, you could adjust.

Not conducive to accuracy in my style of ground hunting.

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#6171123 - 02/05/16 04:33 PM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Sherpa Dog]
Lone Ranger Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/17/04
Posts: 1324
Loc: Irving, Texas
I started out with a 44mag and open sights back in the early 70's and graduated to the 454 Casull when it came out and started using scopes then. I thought the same thing about variables at first, but after I started using variables and got use to them, I would never go back to a fixed power. I have never had any parallax problems with any of my scopes. I ALWAYS use a shooting stick or a solid rest and I try to center my eye in the eyepiece so that the crosshairs are centered in the scope.

I have had a few issues with eye relief, depending on the scope and handgun and power of scope at the time, but I just adjust my arm length and rest to accommodate it.

Even with a variable scope set on 6x I try to limit my shots to 100 yards or a little more. I know that some people can do that with open sights or a 4x but my eyes are a little older now and don't work quite as well as they use to! With my TC Encore 308 pistol, I am comfortable out to 150 yards or so, but the handgun and cartridge combination is capable for longer than that.

As far as durability with big handguns, my favorites are the Freedom Arms .454 Casull and S&W 460XVR. I use Nikon and Burris and Leupold and have not had any failures with any of them.

Whether you shoot with open sights or a scope, the most important factors for me in handgun hunting is a good trigger pull on my handgun and a steady rest of some kind, whether it is a shooting stick or window in a stand.

Handgun hunting is not as difficult as bow hunting, but much harder and more exciting than rifle hunting. You should definitely give it a try.

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#6171280 - 02/05/16 06:28 PM Re: Handgun Scope [Re: Lone Ranger]
MoTex Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 09/11/12
Posts: 297
Loc: Allen Texas
I have used fixed and variable scopes on my encore and contender handguns and will always use variable from now on. My shots are 20 to 200 yards from a box stand. I have Bushnell, Burris, and Simmons. All have been good scopes. Handgun hunting is challenging but very enjoyable.

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