Best Rifle Scope Guide

 

In this guide, I will give my opinion on the best rifles scope to install on the classic firearms from the fifties and sixties. Of course this would include any rifles from that golden period of firearms manufacturing and also include the new rifles of today.
In most cases I will try and keep the style and look of that era. This will give the rifles from that era the authentic and nostalgic look and add a great quality scope to the firearm.

The basic scope of the 1950s would be the straight power scopes in the 2x, 4x, 6x, and 10x. There would be others but these were the basic powers. Very few variable powers were available. Supra, Kahles and the Weaver scope companies did make variable powers in the early fifties. By the 1960s the variable power scopes would be the favorite Scopes to install on hunting rifles of that time.One of the most popular variable powers would be the 3x to 9x. The second most popular would be the 2x to 7x. Of course the 4x would remain very popular also.

My high end recommendations would be the Swarovski line of rifle scopes from Austria. Has that distinct European look and of course their high quality lenses. You can get them with the standard two turret look that was so common in the 60’s and 70’s. More on European scopes below.

Swarovski Riflescope Z3 3-10x42 Plex
Swarovski Optik Z3 3-10 x 42 BRH Retic
Swarovski Riflescope Z3 3-9x36 Plex
 
The best Rifle scopes of the United States would start with the Leupold line of classic rifle scopes. They would be the number one seller of high end U S made scopes sold in the shop I would work at in the 70’s and 80’s. They would be followed closely by the Redfield scopes of that time.
 
Leupold VX-2 3x9 Rifle Scope
Leupold VX-2 2-7x Rifle Scope
Leupold VX-2 1x7 Rifle Scope
Leupold VX-2 1.5-4x28 IER Scout Scope, Duplex
Leupold FX-II 4x33mm Wide Duplex
 
The Redfield scopes of the 1960’s to 1980’s would be some of my personal favorites from that period. I just liked the style of those classic scopes. I always thought that the 3x to 9x power Redfield scope mounted on the Remington 700 series rifles, were a great combination. Just my personal opinion. I would mount many Redfield scopes on the 700 model rifles in the 70’s and 80’s.

Redfield 3x9 USA
Redfield 2x7 USA
 
Another great company would be the Burris Scope company in Greeley, Colorado. Still made in USA and a good quality scope. Would mount several of these in the 70’s and 80’s and liked the look. Company started in 1971 by Don Burris, who was an engineer for Redfield before starting the Burris scope company. A great choice.

Burris 3-9 x 40mm Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Rifle Scope
Burris Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm
 
There are other scope companies that could be considered in your quest for a fine hunting scope for your classic firearms. The Weaver scopes and Bushnell scopes are both primarily made in Japan today. Their higher end model scopes are well made and would fit nicely into the classic firearms of the 50’s and 60’s.

Weaver, 40/44 Riflescope, 3-9x40 Matte Dual-x
Bushnell Trophy Rifle Scope with Multi-X Reticle 3-9
 
A couple of other scopes that would be of interest to the person interested in a new scope for their favorite rifle. One of those would be the Vortex scopes and the other would be the Nikon scopes that are available today. The Nikon scopes have been around for many years and I have installed many of these scopes. Did not have any issues and they worked fine. I do like the look of the Nikon scopes. They do add a nice graceful look to a classic style rifle.

Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope
 
The Vortex line of scopes would start around 2002. I have not personally used the Vortex line of scopes. But having friends and people that I worked with in the firearms business I was able to get some feedback on the Vortex scopes. I worked in the retail gun business with a couple of these men and I respect their opinions. Both said that they liked the Vortex scopes and had positive feedback from their customers. The Vortex Razor model scopes are USA made. They seem to be more orientated for the tactical scope crowd and are a little pricey.

Vortex Optics Diamondback BDC Rifle Scope, 3-9x40
Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rifle Scope, V-Plex Reticle
 
Cheaper Lines of Scopes
 
A lot of the cheaper priced scopes are for those on a tight budget, I would mount a great number of Tasco scopes in the 70’s and 80’s. Simmons would become popular also. They are not the quality of the scopes mentioned above and may be fine for the young hunter just starting out. If you save and could spend a little more (Redfield 3-9x) you would have a much better product and better value over time.

The best rifle scopes out of Asia would be those made in Japan. They make many of the lenses that are installed on some of the high quality scopes sold today. Even some of the higher end European scopes can have Japanese lenses on them. They make a good product.

The inexpensive scopes that are sold by the big box stores, will likely be the cheaper line of scopes. They will be made in China, the Philippines or Indonesia. These will not be of the same quality as the better scopes made in Japan. If you need to buy the cheaper line of scopes, look for those made in Japan. This may not always be the case but would be a good way to buy some of the cheaper rifle scopes.

Tactical Scopes may be ok for the long range target and varmint shooters. They do have there place. I am old school and like the traditional style rifle scopes of the classic firearms of the 60’s into the 80’s. A good hunting scope should be sleek and lite weight and add a little character to the firearm. Most tactical scopes do not have that nice sleek look (my opinion) that a classic rifle should have. Will they work? You bet! The choice will be up to you.

The European scopes are a great asset for the classic firearms of yesterday and today. I listed the Swarovski scopes because of nice styling and sleek look they have. Not as much of the tactical look like some of the other European scope manufactures. Did install some Swarovski scopes on some classic rifles of the golden age of firearms. They are all great scopes.

FINAL THOUGHTS
 
My top choices would be the Leupold VX-2 series of scopes in the 3-9x and the 2-7x. Great quality and good reviews. Any of the Leupold scopes are great to own. Just pick the one that fits your needs. Made in the USA.
My second top choice would be the Redfield line of scopes. A little less money than the Leupold, but still made in USA. The 3-9x and 2-7x are two nice scopes for the classic firearms I talk about in the Firearmthinker.com website.
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