Category Archives for "Hunting Rifle Scopes"

7 Best Thermal Scope for Coyote Hunting

A man holding one of the best thermal scopes for coyote hunting

Coyotes are fast-moving scavengers. They naturally camouflage making it hard to hunt them in daylight. The use of an excellent thermal scope work best at night to overcome this nature. Also hunting can never be fun with the use of wrong devices.

A thermal scope helps the hunter to see things clearly at night and over long distances. A good optic should show a clear picturein the dark to help you hit on moving objects. Some have extra features that enhance your shooting accuracy.

People unfamiliar with technology find it hard to make the right choice of the best thermal scope. For starters, some hunters are not sure as to whether thermal scopes are legal or for military use only. Is it legal to hunt coyote with a thermal scope? Well, this guide will help you choose a thermal optic tool that will meet your shooting needs.

How does a Thermal Scope Work?

Animals such as hogs, deer, and coyotes emit a certain amount of heat at night, invisible to the human eye. Thermal imaging sensors can easily detect this heat. Thermal imaging sensors can detect a hidden animal by creating a heat map based on the animal’s heat signature.

The surrounding environment of an animal carries some degree of heat. The thermal imaging differentiates between the temperature in the surrounding of that of the animal. The lens, inside a thermal scope, receives the heat signature of the target image. Based on the scanned signature, a thermogram The viewer can see the thermogram through the thermal scope.A thermal scope can work through haze, smoke, and debris.

Although thermal scopes are expensive,there are varieties to choose from depending on your needs. So, what is the best thermal scope on the market? Well, I will answer that by recommending at least 7 best night vision scopes that are highly effective for coyote hunting.

Below is a list of the best thermal scope you can find in the market.

1.Trijicon Teo REAP-IR Mini

 

A pair of black Trijicon teo reap-ir mini thermal rifle scope for coyote hunting

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This scope resembles a military-grade scope. People familiar with AN/ PAS-13 thermal gadgets from the US military find this scope perfect because it is relatively light. They also find it perfect because they can easily navigate settings bymany stick control thumbs.

The REAP- IR Mini enables an individual to engage targets in any kind of light as it gives a continuous day-night transition from a single quality optic. The optic uses a 640 by 480 sensor, a 12-micron cutting edge to provide clear thermal images to civilian shooters.

This thermal scope has all the features that a civilian shooter expects to find on a high-end optic. The REAP –IR Mini has a unique edge to detect mode that you cannot see anywhere else. This unique detect mode helps outline downrange targets, which reduce image brightness, preventing night blindness in the targeted environment.

REAP-IR, like Trijicon, produces rugged and dependable optics. This gadget must go through military standards for testing and design. The 6061 aircraft grade of aluminium provides upto one-meter waterproof protection to the REAP-Mini.

It is also easy to get close to nocturnal targets because of the 8x digital zoom, which comes with the REAP-IR optic. There are five different reticle designs in the market. The Picatinny rail amount feature makes it perfect for some modern sporting rifles and AR-15.

Hunters describe it as alightweight thermal scope for AR15 coyote hunting.

Pros

  • Great for the outdoor enthusiast
  • Easy to use

 

2. Pulsar ThermionXP50

A side-by-side pair of black Pulsar ThermionXP50 thermal scope for coyote hunting

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The best long-distance thermal scope available on the market is the Pulsar Thermion XP50. The thermal imaging sensor has a high quality cutting edge and germanium optics that provide 2000 yards detection range when combined even in total darkness.

Pulsar has a reputation for producing sharper, more precise, and detailed FOV, and Thermion XP50 does not disappoint. This feature enables one to identify targets more easily. Through thermal optic, the images are sharp enough even at long ranges.

It is easier to change between colours from colour palettes for more enhanced viewing. Through Thermion XP50, it is easier to store videos and thousands of still images from a digital recording.

It is perfect for coyote hunting as it has a rugged and lightweight metal that can withstand wet and harsh weather conditions. It can also mount upto 30mm scope rings on a riffle. The Thermion XP50 can recoil up to 375 H&H for hefty calibers and 12 gauge for shotguns.

Optics Warehouse describe Thermion XP50 as remarkably built with a state-of-the-art design and latest technological advancements.

Why Pulsar ThermionXP50

  • A recoil activation
  • Consists of 13 electronic reticles
  • Digital zoom, double streaming to your microphone

 

3. FLIR ThermoSight Pro PTS 536

A pair of 2 black FLIR ThermoSight Pro PTS 536 thermal scopes for coyote hunting

FLIR, packed with high tech features and lightweight thermal riflescope. This thermal scope comes with a high definition FLCOS display and Boson Core Sensor that helps in delivering sharp and clear images in both total darkness and low contrast daylight.

ThermoSight Pro helps in capturing the best hunting moments through activated video recording. If you are looking a memorable hunting experience, use ThermoSight Pro PTS 536 to store 1000 still images or record a video of upto 2.5 hours.

It is easy to personalize ThermoSight Pro features by using different colour pallets, reticle colours, and reticle types. It also has a digital compass, an inclinometer, and a range finder technology.

Surprisingly this compact optic is ragged despite it weighing less than  1.5 pounds. The ThermoSight Pro consists of a durable aluminium body that can withstand bangs, drops, and bumps in the field without skipping a beat.

Tactical shooters and hunters are eagerly waiting for the quick release of Picatinny rail, making it easier to swipe out optics when the need arises.

Benefits

  • Superior value
  • Advanced image processing features

 

4. ATN ThOR 4

A pair of 2 black ATN ThOR 4 rifle thermal scopes for coyote hunting

The ATN ThOR 4 is packed with high tech modern features, although it has a traditional look of a rifle scope. It comes with an internal dual-core processor that increases thermal sensitivity after reducing image pixelation, enabling it to produce sharp contrast images, even in dark environments.

The ThOR 4 also comes with a ballistic calculator for reading humidity and temperature. It also shows and calculates angles to target adjustments, shifting the burden of calculations to the installed calculator. Therefore no need for having a paper, a pen, and a different calculator.

It can keep a record of multiple weapon profiles despite the weapon used and even giving specific reading every time it is needed. It also works on tough long-range shots perfectly.

The ThOR 4 also records internal videos where you can stream high-resolution videos to a mobile phone and, at the same time, store it on an SD card.

This compact can withstand tactical conditions and rough hunting due to its durability.  Its battery does not last long despite having an ultra-low profile.

Why ATN Thor 4

  • A ballistic calculator
  • A dual-stream video recording
  • An extra sensitive Gen sensor which is a unique feature

 

5. TheOpticGuru Thor LT Thermal Scope

two black pairs of TheOpticGuru Thor LT Thermal Scopes for coyote hunting

Budget-conscious shooters and beginners have found the optic guru to be relatively cheap compared to other thermal optics. This thermal scope lacks high tech features like ballistic calculations and wifi streaming. However, it focuses on the most critical matters of detecting heat from the target object through the fog, smoke, vegetation, and total darkness.

This optic is made of hardened aluminium alloy, making it durable. It is also rugged and dependable, where it resistant to higher calibre weapons due to its recoil. The theOpticGuru Thor LT provides the best value for money.

Why TheOpticGuru Thor LT

  • Affordable
  • A heat detection sensors
  • A traditional design
  • Uses minimum power to perform to the maximum
  • Lighter

 

6. Armasight by FLIR Predator 640

the side and front look of two black Armasight by FLIR Predator 640 thermal scopes for coyote hunting

This scope represents the latest uncooled FLIR core technology and Tau 2 VOx microbolometer from America. It can work in the snow, dust, smoke, and atmospheric humidity and detest downrange targets.

It features various colour modes, digital zoom, video recording, wireless remote control, and a warranty of 10 years. These features are consolidated in a compact, just like a shooter wants it.

The Predator 640 is easy to install and user friendly even to beginners, therefore controlling the market. It has a locking mechanism that is compatible with MIL-STD-1913, Picatinny rails, and weaver.

Why Buy FLIR Predator 640

  • A FLIR thermal imaging camera
  • Operational time extends through the operation battery feature
  • A three-year warranty and upto ten-year warranty on FLIR detector

 

7. Trijicon Teo SNIPE-IR Clip-On Thermal Sight

upclose look of a pair of black Trijicon Teo SNIPE-IR Clip-On Thermal Sight for coyote hunting

This clip-on Thermo from Trijicon has a simple design, but that does not mean that it has fewer features. The SNIPE-IR has a top-quality best optical features and a 640-680 sensor. It produces clear, crisp, and high-resolution images, even in absolute darkness. It can also be used as a standalone thermal monocular or as an independent sight.

The Trijicon SNIPE-IR is tough and can withstand harsh weather and rough use because it made of aircraft 6061 aluminium grade. It is one meter protected from water damage. It has other great features like image capture, easy thumbstick controls, and a Visrelay Collimating optic that ensures your daytime optic is a seamless operation.

The No Shot Zero sight in SNIPE-IR attracts many users and non-users as it makes it user friendly.

Verdict

  • Easy to use
  • Best for the outdoor enthusiast

What to Consider when Choosing the Best Thermal Scope for Coyote Hunting: A Buyer’s Guide

Some of the most important factors to consider before buying a thermal scope include;

Weight and Size

The internal technology installed in a new scope can make it weigh more than a traditional one. You should consider the size and weight of your thermal optic, especially if you have to carry your rifle through long distances of dense woods and rough terrain.

An excellent thermal scope should be compact and also weigh less for easy portability when hiking.

Durability

The materials determine the thermoscope durability.   The use of poor quality material means that the thermal scope will wear out very fast. Aluminium is the only material that can withstand adverse weather and rough activities.

Color  Options

Many other thermal scopes come with vibrant coloured images, although many also offer white and black options. They display heat signatures as lighter or darker on a greyscale. The monochromatic photos do not excite the eyes but are friendly to the eyes, especially in total darkness.

The setting colouring feature in some models enables you to choose your favorite color or select a brighter colour for easier identification. You can also choose black and white when working in a misty environment.

Battery Life

A thermal scope with miserable battery life may disappoint when you are ready to shoot a coyote. To avoid this, you should check on the battery life of a riffle before purchasing. A good battery should last the whole night.

Detection Range

The range at which your device can detect heat signatures from animals and objects is essential. Devices have different detection capabilities. The range of your optic should be lower than that of your riffle because thermal imaging technology has a shorter detection range.

Magnification

Some of the available thermal scopes give upto 16 times magnification while others do not have this feature. Magnification is either digital or optical, while its level depends on the shooting pursuits.

A thermal scope with an optical magnification will produce an image of high quality when zoomed to the highest levels.

Digitally magnified images will produce blurred images at maximum levels because they use software to expand an in-camera image.

Cost

The technology concerning thermal imaging is expensive, such that prices add up to five figures. It is rare to find one priced under the 100,000 dollars.

This price may seem expensive to some people, but it was much higher than this a few years back. With improved technology, these prices will be much lower and affordable in the coming years. To get a quality thermal scope, you have to be willing to dig deeper into your pocket.

Reticle Options

Reticles help at aiming accurately to the object as it is in the form of markings and patterns inside a scope. Reticle designs can either be centre dots or simple crosshairs that elaborate MIL-dot configurations.

It is easier to choose a design that you prefer or the one that suits the task at hand from the several pre-programmed reticles with a high-end thermal scope.

Some thermal scopes have one reticle, while some do not have.  Before settling on anythermal range, make sure that the reticles suit your shooting needs.

Ease of Use

A thermal scope should be easy to operate and handle. The interface that it comes with it should be easy to operate. Also, the additional camera features should not make it hard to perform the imaging camera’s core functions.

It should have at least three buttons that allow different functions to avoid going through the whole process by using a single switch when you need to perform a different purpose.

Also, it should have a minimum number ofbuttons to avoid confusion when hunting, as it can be frustrating.

Screen Resolution

The digital technology in thermal scopes digitally displays viewable images. The screen resolution determines the clarity of your pictures. When your photos are clear on your thermal scope, it means your images will also be clear. Low-resolution screens will make it difficult to achieve specific targets even though you may be using an excellent scope sensor.

Some thermal scopes come with in-built software that facilitates easy pixelation for the production of more detailed images.

You should invest in a high-resolution thermal scope. Thermal imaging’s primary use is to make it easy and quick to spot an object or an animal. This technology lacks a detailed night vision standard, which can make it hard for hunters when shooting. Higher device resolutions make it easier for hunters to make effective and quick shots.

Other Important Features

It is wise to invest in thermal scopes that come with extra features like extra bells and whistles. These are fancier models that you may opt to based on the price tag.

Others include; ballistic calculators, digital compasses, wifi streaming, GPS location, laser rangefinders, and recoil activated videos.

7 Best Scopes For AR 15 Coyote Hunting 2020

Best scopes for Ar 15 coyote hunting

We all love a good coyote gun and therefore, a good coyote hunting scope comes in handy. The AR 15 is the right choice if you are looking at shooting at small game.  Hunters knows the versatility that comes with the AR 15 Rifle. Hunting Varmints such as coyotes is becoming a popular sport for hunters who do not want to hang their guns at the end of deer season. Interestingly, no one wants a coyote in your backyard because of their destructive nature.

Having the AR 15 is not adequate without a good rifle scope. Of course, the best scope for AR 15 coyote hunting offers you a tactical advantage if you are looking forward to enjoying shooting a varmint. As a varmint hunter, what is your best preditor scope for AR 15 coyote hunting? Below we look at some of the best scopes for AR 15 Coyote Hunting.

  1. Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 Rifle Scope, V-Brite Reticle

Vortex Crossfire II with the V-Brite reticle is your choice if you prefer hunting in low-light hunting

Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40

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The Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 is one of the best scopes from Vortex Optics. For Coyote hunters who are worried about the distance, Vortex Crossfire has got you covered with the 3-9x power that allows you to spot the game at up to 400 yards away.

Talking of Vortex Crossfire II, the V-Brite reticle is exemplary considering Vortex Optics relies on V-Plex reticle for speedy target acquisitions.

Vortex Crossfire II with the V-Brite reticle is your choice if you prefer hunting in low-light hunting and not to forget a good illumination powered by a CR2032 battery.

Vortex Crossfire II turrets have 60 Minute of Angle (MOA) of elevation, and the windage adjustment is amazing. We are talking about ¼ and 15 MOA clicks and revolutions respectively.

With amazing specs and features as well as a pocket-friendly price, you are guaranteed of a fun-filled coyote hunting escapades.

Pros

  • Illuminated reticle
  • Weatherproof
  • Multi-layered optics
  • Fast-paced V-Plex reticle
  • Pocket-friendly

Cons

  • Fixed optical bells

 

   2. Simmons Matte Black Riflescope

Simmons Rimfire

Simmons .22 Mag Riflescope series

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The Simmons .22 Mag Riflescope series is your ultimate AR 15 coyote hunting riflescope. We are talking about a riflescope that has 3/8-inch dovetail mounting rings as well as a durable coated glass.

Coyote hunters look for riflescopes with a quick target acquisition which is exactly what the Simmons Rimfire offers you. In addition to this, you experience about three and a half inches of eye relief.

Besides the Quick Target Acquisition advantages, you are looking at riflescope that gives you sight stability thanks to its SureGrip adjustments.

The Simmons .22 Mag Series riflescopes are the right one if you like making fine-tuned calculations. If so, you can use the TruZero elevation and windage adjustments to get your calculations right.

With this riflescope, you can get clear and accurate visibility at 50 yards thanks to the riflescope’s Trueflex reticle.

Durable and fully coated optics in Simmons .22 Mage Series riflescopes make the gadget weatherproof.

Pros

  • Rapid target acquisition
  • 60/60 adjustment range
  • Stability
  • Weatherproof
  • Pocket-friendly

Cons

  • Weak knobs

 

   3. Nikon Prostaff 4-12×40 BDC

Nikon ProStaff comes with multicoated glass lenses

Nikon ProStaff 4-12×40 riflescope

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Nikon ProStaff 4-12×40 riflescope should be on your list of AR coyote hunting riflescopes. Do not worry about long-range shots, for you can get the coyote at 100 yards. Some hunters say the Prosatff BDC is really good for deer season.

The Nikon ProStaff comes with multicoated glass lenses. The 150 Ballistic Drop Compensating (BDC) reticles in Nikon ProStaff makes you feel like a pro predator hunter with that mid-range to long-range shots.

Do not forget that Nikon ProAtaff uses MOA graduations for elevation.

The Nikon Prostaff Rimfire weatherproof packaging is a hunter dream come true. Talk of cavities filled with nitrogen and sealed O-rings, multi-layered lens, amazing light-transmission clear glass, zero stop, HD imaging, and top-notch visibility in low light.

Pros

  • 98% light transmission
  • Has sub-tensions giving you some latitude
  • Weatherproof (fog proof, waterproof, shockproof)
  • Pocket-friendly

Cons

  • Lack of tight grouping

 

   4. Leupold Mark AR M-3. 3-9×40

Leupold is a serious manufacturer of riflescopes

Leupold Mark AR M.-3 .3-9×40

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Leupold Mark AR M.-3 .3-9×40 is for the pro hunter. Some hunters revere its performance and consider it an assault rifle scope. Yes, you had it right, Leupold Mark AR M.-3 is for the big dogs: AR 15, M-16, Standard .223 Remington, and .224 Valkyrie. I guess these admirations are because Leupold is a serious manufacturer of riflescopes.

The Leupold Mark AR M.-3 .3-9×40 is for those seeking to save time as well as take precise shots. We all know that with a Leupold Mark AR M.-9×40, you can take a coyote down at 500 yards.

The Leupold Mark AR M.-9×40 comes with a multi-coat 4 lens systems and therefore, improving your clarity. You can use this scope even at low-light conditions.

Leupold Mark AR M.-9×40 has Mark Ar Mod 1 P5 dial, and a better elevation thanks to BDC turrets that work amazingly irrespective of elevation and wind.

The Argon/Krypton glass bend ensures that Leupold Mark AR M.-9×40 is not affected by thermal shock. Yes, this makes it even better as the riflescope is 100% waterproof.

Pros

  • Outstanding accuracy
  • 100% waterproof
  • Works well in low-light conditions
  • Durable

Cons

 

    5. Trijicon ACOG Rifle Scope

Trijicon ACOG 4x magnification

Trijicon ACOG Rifle Scope

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Trijicon ACOG is one of the best scopes to ever come from Trijicon. It is a high-end scope, and that means it is a favorite for hunters and military operatives. With the Trijicon ACOG you can hunt at night since it is suitable for low light environments.

Trijicon ACOG 4x magnification is something to behold. You can gun down your coyote at 800 yards. A good eyepiece giving you the ease of viewing the target makes the ACOG your scope of choice.

ACOG has 32mm objective lens and therefore, making this scope the ultimate choice when hunting in low light. The addition Chevron .223 ballistic illuminated reticle makes you look like a real pro hunter.

Trijicon ACOG comes with a TA51 scope mount and the turrets caps well fixed on the optic body. Well, the Trijicon ACOG matte black finish makes the scope have an outstanding outlook.

Pros

  • Effective in hunting moving targets
  • Lightweight
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Wide eyepiece

Cons

  • Fixed magnification

   6. UTG 3-9×32 1̎  Bug Buster

UTG Bug Buster Rifle Scope

UTG 3-9×32 1̎ Bug Buster

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The UTG 3-9×32 1̎ Bug Buster is not your scope if you are an amateur hunter. The Bug Buster scope is for the pro hunters. It has features that bring out the best of a hunter.

The UTG 3-9×32 1̎ Bug Buster has emerald-coated lens giving you an amazing clarity. The 1-inch lens tube allows optimal light transmission and therefore, improving vision. Also, a premium zero-reset allows you to make adjustments with ease.

The UTG 3-9×32 1̎ Bug Buster is nitrogen filled, making it weatherproof.  Talking of clarity, the Bug Buster’s Emerald Coated Lens allows excellent light transmission.

True to its high-performance nature, the Bug Buster has Mil-dot reticle for great targeting. I must say, the Bug Buster comes with easy-to-adjust features. We are talking about easy adjustments of your knobs: zero-lockable and zero-reset turrets and a 1/4 MOA (Minute of Angle) per click.

Pros

  • Multi-color mode
  • Weatherproof
  • Resettable turrets
  • Great eye relief
  • Durable
  • Good design

Cons

  • Best suited for pro hunters

 

   7. Sightmark – Photon Xt Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope

Photon XT

Sightmark – Photon Xt 6.5x50mm Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope

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The Photon Xt is a high magnification rifle scope. With the 6.5x magnification, 50mm lens and 640×40 resolution, you are guaranteed of a good shot for up to 200 yards. The 50mm objective lens allows optimal light and therefore, giving you a clear view of the target.

The multi-colored digital reticle mode is an effective feature when shooting from a long distance. Besides, you will enjoy using the built-in laser and therefore, shooting at a target is easy.

The scope comes with a digital windage and elevation adjustment system. However, do not worry since you can set up scope as it comes with a full kit and rings ready to mount.

Pros

  • High magnification (6.5x)
  • Multi-colored digital reticles
  • A video output feature
  • Comes with a ready kit

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Premium price

Buyer’s Guide: What Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Scope for AR 15 Coyote Hunting?

There are some factors to look out for when choosing the best scope for AR 15 Coyote Hunting: magnification, objective lens, reticle, cost, durability, and weight.

Magnification

Magnification is everything when it comes to the best scope for AR 15 coyote hunting.  I would recommend you look for a scope that suits your hunting environment. Remember, some hunters like hunting at night while others are okay during the daytime.

Go for high magnification scopes if you are hunting at night or on open fields. A medium to low magnification is okay during day time. Besides, each hunter has a unique shooting style, and therefore, the scope’s magnification is critical.

Now, hunting in deep woods does not require a high magnification scope as compared to hunting in open fields.

In the above video, Guns and Guitars explains the magnification of some of the best budget AR 15 rifle scopes for $200. We are talking about AR 15 rifle scopes that you can trust in coyote hunting.

Objective lens

Depending on whether you hunt at night or during the daytime, you must have a scope that gives you a good sight. You do not want to miss the varmint as it crosses the field. Always go for rifle scope with bigger objective lens.

For coyote hunting, I would recommend you choose an objective lens that is at least 50mm. I can guarantee you that with a bigger objective lens, you can get a clear shot at the coyote if not better.

Reticle

A high-quality reticle is everything in a hunting rifle scope. Of course, you need a scope that helps you pinpoint a fast-moving coyote. Remember, coyotes move around nonstop, and sometimes, hiding. Fast Focal Plane reticles are commonly used in hunting coyotes.

However, Mil-Dot reticles are your choice if you want to drop the coyote from a long distance. Moreover, with crosshair reticles such as the fine duplex and wide duplex, you can pinpoint the coyotes at a longer range.

Cost

When buying a rifle scope for AR 15 coyote hunting, it all depends on your budget. As an amateur coyote hunter, do not go for the high-end scopes. Remember, a high-quality scope is slightly expensive but worth the price.

Durability

Durable rifle scope must withstand hunting the coyotes under extreme conditions. I am talking about hunting in extreme weather conditions and tough terrain. Sometimes, you crawl and move between bushes and therefore, need a rugged scope for such conditions. When buying a scope for AR 15 coyote hunting, check whether it is weatherproof; water-proof, shockproof, and fog-proof.

Weight

Hunting coyote is no easy task if you decide to carry weighty accessories. You do not need the total weight of your rifle and scope to slow you down. Choose a lightweight scope that makes your shooting experience easier.

Below is an amazing video of AR 15 Coyote Hunting by Tim Wells Bow Hunter. With a good rifle scope you can take down a fast moving coyote with AR 15 in any weather condition or terrain.

Best Rifle Scope for Varmint Hunting

Best Rifle Scope

Your definition of “varmint” may be different than mine. To me, a varmint is any inedible critter that may potentially cause damage to the ecosystem if its numbers are left unchecked.

However, we’ll probably both agree that one of the most effective ways to keep them in check is with a small-caliber centerfire rifle. And the only way to do this with any amount of success is with the help of quality optics, both to find these critters and to place bullets accurately.

The class of optics you might use in varminting can be separated into two groups: those designed for shooting and those designed for hunting.

Those designed for shooting–long telescopic riflescopes with large objectives, whisper-thin crosshairs, and high top-end power ratings, and monstrous binoculars that jiggle when you blink your eyes–don’t necessarily roll over into the hunting aspect of varminting.

But optics designed for hunting applications–low-power variable scopes and binoculars that you can handhold–can get the job done whether you’re after coyotes, prairie dogs, groundhogs or whitetails.

RIFLESCOPE VERSATILITY

Though I enjoy spending a few hours on any given sunny day overlooking a prairie dog town with a bull barrel .22-250 and a scope that weighs nearly as much as the rifle and is almost as long, my real passion is in hunting–not necessarily in shooting.

So it follows then that on my varminting rigs, excepting guns designed specifically for shooting from a bench, I prefer optics more suited to the former. It’s a matter of versatility.

 

I decided this several years ago on a prairie dog shoot in western Colorado. I didn’t bring my own gun along on that shoot and used a heavy barrel Ruger M77 in .223.

It’s the exact type of gun you’d expect to have on a prairie dog shoot, but it featured a 3-9X Simmons V-TAC variable (which has since become a Weaver product, marketed under the name Tactical).

At first, I was concerned that it would be inadequate for the small, distant targets, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, during the midday heat, I actually had to turn down the power to 6X or 7X to see through the heat waves when squeezing off on ‘dogs at ranges up to 300 yards.

Since then, I’ve had good success using a number of low-power variables on small targets, preferring nothing with more than 16X at the top end–even when using scopes with specialized reticles.

A Pentax Lightseeker AO in 4-16X with a mil-dot reticle was an excellent performer two summers ago, and more recently I enjoyed shooting a Weaver V16.

Either of these scopes would be at home on a heavy barrel varmint rig or a flat-shooting big-game rifle along the lines of a .300 Win. Mag. or 7mm Rem. Mag.

If your varminter is a sporter-weight rifle used to hunt a variety of small game, then I’d suggest an even smaller variable with no more than 10X at the top end and 3X or less at the bottom end. Quite often, the versatility you’ll need will come at the lower end of the power range, not the top end.

See our content on- 7 Best Scopes for AR 15 Coyote Hunting.

High-power binoculars, such as these Pentax PCF III 20x50s, are great for long-range shooting. However, the same binoculars in 8X are more useful over a broader range of varminting scenarios.

I have a little tack-driving Savage 16FSS in .223 and fancy it mostly as a coyote rig. While calling coyotes in Texas one afternoon, a gray fox scampered from the heavy cover in front of me and stood at 20 yards.

Fortunately, I had a 1.5-6X Swarovski scope mounted on the rifle and had a precious few seconds to back the Xs down for a decent sight picture.

I took that fox home, but only because I could see it through the scope at low power. With the same scope turned up to 5X or 6X, the rig becomes fully capable of potting prairie dogs out to 200 yards. You probably have a scope capable of such versatility on your deer rifle.

VERSATILE BINOCULARS

Because all spotting scopes are used with a tripod and feature a great deal of magnification, they don’t really fit into my argument for fewer Xs.

Binoculars definitely do, though. But remember, I’m basing my bias on one point: versatility. If you’re an ardent prairie dogger or groundhog shooter with little interest in other types of varminting, you definitely are best off with the largest, brightest glass you can afford. Mount it on a tripod, and you’ll have an optimal binocular setup.

However, large, high-power binoculars are uncomfortable to carry, and they offer a smaller field of view in most cases, as well as shallower depth of field.

The higher you go in power, the worse these conditions become. So if you need binoculars that you can wear around your neck while calling coyotes in the back woodlot and also spot small critters at 300 yards with, you’ll have to step down in power and size. Utility demands this.

Roving for rockchucks in the Rocky Mountains is not unlike hunting deer or elk. For this type of varmint hunting, the author prefers lightweight binoculars and a variable-power scope in the 3-9X range.

Medium-size binoculars, something along the lines of the Pentax PCF III series in 8×40, are an excellent choice for all-around use. Binocs in this power range offer great field of view and depth of field. I had the chance to use the PCF binoculars for a couple of days two summers ago when they were still relatively new on the market. They proved to be a good mix of durability, brightness and price.

For more mobile varminting situations, you may even want to go with lighter, more compact binoculars. Weaver has a line of relatively inexpensive binoculars that worked well for me last summer while roving around the Colorado countryside searching for prairie dogs–and I’ve since had them along in the far north and was pleased with their use in spotting caribou.

There’s nothing wrong with high-power optics for use in varminting. They are the most efficient tools for some forms of the sport. But by stepping down in Xs, you’ll find that you can be much more efficient at keeping varmint populations in check–under a variety of field conditions.