Scope troubles

Thread starter #1
Hey folks. I've got an inquiry. A couple years ago I bought a value priced ML (Traditions Buckstalker) and scope combo just to test the waters. I didn't know if I'd really "get into" smokepoles, so I decided not to invest too terribly much. Well, as it turns out, I love muzzleloading, so much so that I have carried mine as my primary rifle this entire season from primitive through modern firearms. I killed a buck with it on Lake Russell WMA Thanksgiving morning, and two days later, I pulled the trigger on a good bear in Union County only to have a misfire. Primer popped but didn't ignite the powder. Primers fault, not the rifle.
Back in turkey season I was hog hunting with my ML and with jBoggs from here on the forum, and took a chip shot on a nice boar hog. Took a broadside 40 yards head shot free handed and missed clean. Figured it was my aim, but checked the rifle the next day and the scope was off. When I shot the buck on Lake Russell WMA, my shot hit him pretty darned high, but dropped him in his tracks. I shot him, again +-40 yards free handed and figured the high shot was me. Then I had the primer pop on the bear. And THEN, I took another chip shot at a big hog on old Lake Burton WMA two weeks ago. Shot was maybe 40 yards, downhill, and quartering towards. I dropped the hog in it's tracks. Didn't even kick. Then about 10 seconds later, it started kicking, jumped up, ran straight at me, then veered and ran up through the gap. I followed it's tracks, and didn't find a drop of blood. Figured I dropped it by hitting it above the spine, and cut the fat on the back. I was aiming for the ear.
Took my rifle to the range at Wilson Shoals WMA, and confirmed my suspicion. Scope was off again. 1st shot was 4" high. Second was about 3.5" high. The difference was just me I guess. I'm shooting Harvester Crush Rib sabots and Scorpion Funnel Point bullets which give me consistently tight groups.
I'm having trouble with this scope falling out of zero. It is a scope with the "Traditions" brand logo on it, and came as a combo on a gun, so I'm assuming it's just some cheap Chinese made scope.
Have any of you had these troubles with a combo scope like that? I hunt the mtns, so my rifle gets worked hard, but I'm not out there banging it around.
Can you guys give me your opinions on your preferred scopes for modern inlines?! Thanks so much guys!
 
All my hunting guns wear leupolds. I use locktite on the base screws. Use the best rings available depending on your base setup. I've never had point of zero change on any rifle with a leupold. Every other cheaper scope I've used has let me down. Buying a quality optic like leupold is a lifetime investment. It has a lifetime warranty but doubt you will ever need it. With that being said, my smokepole still has iron sights because I only carry in during smokepole week and its hard to justify a 2 or 300 dollar scope to sit so much. If I were to put one on I would probably go with a vx2 3x9x40. If you watch you can by one for $200. I think alexanders in blairesville runs them on sale from time to time. My favorite scope right now is a vx3 2.5x8x36 for a woods rifle.
 

Buckman18

Senior Member
I second TreeCutter with using loctite. I have a TC Encore, and all my barrels eventually rattled the scope bases loose at some point, including my ML. Loctite solved this.

I also second TreeCutter on Leupold. On my ML, however, I just have a Bushnell. It says Banner on the side, which I think is either there middle of the road or perhaps even lower end model? It's fine though. Had it for years and have killed a truckload of creatures with it. Don't remember the price, but seems like it was less than a Benji. Alexander's has a superb deal now for Nikons and Leupold vx-1's, FYI.
 
Yep, cheap scopes will lose center. On the other hand, iron front and rear on a ML will never fail you. If you want to go "high tech" with your smoke pole and get consistent accuracy, put fiber-optic sights front and rear and have a great sight picture in almost any light.

Really, do you honestly think your muzzleloader rifle (and you) can drop anything further than you can see without a scope? That's just a question - not an attack! I don't have scopes on my MLs. but I do have a scope on a 30-30 Win, lever carbine - and every one of my ML rifles is more accurate at 200 yards than the 30-30. So I am guilty of mounting a scope that just isn't needed!
 

jbogg

Senior Member
I am in the same boat as you Kyle. The ML combo I purchased to test the waters came with an inexpensive scope which has served it’s purpose, but I am planning on putting a Leopold on it this year. I will use it all winter hunting hogs so it’s worth the investment.

I love hunting, but am not into spending a lot of money on guns. As a result, 25 years ago I decided I wanted one gun that could be used on any game in North America so I purchased a Winchester 300 Win Mag with Leopold Vari X III. It’s a little heavier than I like for mountain hunting, but it’s super flat shooting and you can hold dead on from 0 - 300 yds and it’s in the vitals. Point being, as much as that 300 Win Mag kicks I have never had to touch the scope, rings, or mounts in over twenty five years. Iv’e even knocked it over a half dozen times over the years as it leaned against my truck and it’s always dead on. Like Cutter and Buckman said, blue Loctite with quality scope, rings and bases and you are good to go.
 
Leups on all my sho nuff huntin rifles and my Traditions wears a vx2 2x7x33. A big forgiving eyebox where the sweetspot is easy to find, and holds zero year after year. I use clear nail polish on mounting screws. In my opinion, something along the lines of a 2x7, or a fixed 4 power is ideal for a muzzleloader primarily used in the mountains.
 
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At the ranges you're talking about shooting, a low power variable or fixed 2.5X scope would be your best bet IMHO. While some will say a 4X fixed is good, I'm not in favor of it's FOV as compared to a 1-4 on 1 or 2X or a 2.5X fixed when talking a quick 10-40 yard shot.

As to the comments on fixed sights, even fiber optic types, depending on one's vision, a fixed sight will not perform as well as a quality scope in very low light. I've had to cease using anything but scopes in low light, myself (age hits us all!)

I can't think of any better choice at a moderate cost than a VX1 SG scope with Heavy Duplex reticle. In my low light tests, a VX1 with HD reticle works better than a VX2 or even VX3 in low light if they have standard duplex reticles (yes, I own all of those now).

If you'll go to $200, the Vortex Crossfire II 30mm with illuminated #4 reticle would be awesome for your uses. With the brightness adjusted to correct levels, it can work as a red dot sight at midday and better than most any other scope without IR up to $400 in low light.

Good price here on a lightly used VXI 1-4 with HD

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Leupold-VX...499887?hash=item1a3c573cef:g:i9kAAOSwhpZaK-KV

The Crossfire II 1-4x24 30mm here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00HYRGODO/ref=dp_olp_all_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=all
 
Thread starter #9
Thanks for all the recommendations here guys! Some great advice! Open sights probably aren't the answer for me. I know my gun and load can do a GOOD 150 yards if hunting food plots for hogs, and I know I am not capable of making that kind of shots with ironsights. Most of my shots on pigs will be right before last light, and my gun is much more capable than I am! No problem with a man being honest with himself! I am not practiced enough at longer distances because the range at Wilson Shoals only goes to 75 yards. I quit shooting at the house because TWO of my neighbors got horses within the last year or so I and I try to be considerate. I feel like lots of shooting right next door to the horses will spook them. I will look into the Leupold vx series as that has been the popular recommendation. Buckman, I do have a good Bushnell Banner on my .308, and so far, she has been great. Got her for free brand new in the package, and she has an optional lighted reticle. Not sure what the retail value is on her.
I appreciate you guys taking the time for giving me your input! That is a great help!
 
I have Leupolds, Nikons, Bushnell, and a older TASCO "World class plus". If I wanted another scope for my ML without having to sale off a young un to get it. I would buy a Redfield, their quality scopes backed with a Leupold warranty . Good glass for the money and good at low light.
 

Rabun

Senior Member
I have found that the bulk of the issues I have had over the years with scope zero drift have been related to the rings and/or bases. Whatever new scope you decide on, I would replace the rings/bases as I'm sure they are lower quality as well and they are the foundation of your scope's integrity. I like the one piece DNZ base/ring combo.
 
Thread starter #12
I have found that the bulk of the issues I have had over the years with scope zero drift have been related to the rings and/or bases. Whatever new scope you decide on, I would replace the rings/bases as I'm sure they are lower quality as well and they are the foundation of your scope's integrity. I like the one piece DNZ base/ring combo.
I hadn't thought of getting new bases and rings. That is a very good point! I'll be sure and look into the ones you mentioned! I did refit my .308 with a scope a few weeks ago since the Weaver rail rattled loose, and I made sure to put lock Tite on all the threads. I'll be doing that on all of them from now on! Thanks for the advice Rabun!
 
Thread starter #13
I have Leupolds, Nikons, Bushnell, and a older TASCO "World class plus". If I wanted another scope for my ML without having to sale off a young un to get it. I would buy a Redfield, their quality scopes backed with a Leupold warranty . Good glass for the money and good at low light.
I have never considered Redfield for a scope! I honestly don't know anything about them and I've never looked into them. I didn't know about their warranty. Thanks for the tip Hillbilly! I'll be looking into these as well!
 
IMO a person is much better off buying a Vortex, than any other lower to medium priced scope made, including Nikon and Leupold. Cheap scopes that come with kits, are just cheap scopes, made with the cheapest quality parts available.

Break a Nikon or Leupold and you can plan on up to a 16-18 week turn around. People have broken Vortex scopes on hunts and Vortex has offered to over night a replacement.

I have no dog in the fight between these scopes. I've broken them all and now use bomb proof Nightforce.
 
Thread starter #15
I've never looked into vortex either! I appreciate the input! Nightforce is out of my price range for my cheap ol' ML, but I'll look into the vortex scopes. Thanks for the heads up!
 
Killer:
Never had a Leupold , but I do have a CVA Apex with a Vortex Crossfire II 3 X 9 X 40 on the ML barrel and a Vortex Diamondback 2 X 7 X 32 on the 243 barrel. I really like the clarity of these scopes and their warranty.
 
Thread starter #17
Killer:
Never had a Leupold , but I do have a CVA Apex with a Vortex Crossfire II 3 X 9 X 40 on the ML barrel and a Vortex Diamondback 2 X 7 X 32 on the 243 barrel. I really like the clarity of these scopes and their warranty.
Thanks futbol!! I have NEVER owned a good scope before. I mean, anything higher value than my Bushnell anyway. I'm sure getting a decent optic will be like night and day from the ones I have now.
Hope you're well brother, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
 
Even a premium riflescope is no good, unless you insure that you have a solid mounting system. That being said, I don't know what you have now, for rings and basis, but I would pull the riflescope, rings and bases. Decide if the rings and basis are worthy, replace if necessary, but start off by going back with blue Loctite, and torque everything well, then install a new scope.

For rings and basis, I like DNZ the best, but there are other solid choices out there too. Bottom line, they have to be sturdy, use Loctite, and properly tightened.

As far as riflescopes, usually scopes included in combo's are cheap, and sooner or later, they will fail you. For a muzzleloader scope, I'd pick one that is durable, with a good warranty. Leupold, Vortex, or a Bushnell Elite is a tough scope.
 
X2 on DNZ mounts. You work to hard up in them mountains to have a missed opportunity due to an equipment failure. Good scope and mounts is a must. Glad you didn't miss that buck!
 
If you check and re-torque you mount, make sure you use the BLUE loc-tite. No other color or you won't get them back off.

Would never say it can't be your mounts or rings, but if you believe they are tight, then the thing to do is to check your scope and make sure its tracking properly.

KNOW where your zero scope settings are currently set.

Turn the vertical adjustment up a couple turns, then back to your zero. Once you're back to its zero point, turn it down a couple turns, then back to your zero. Then shoot the rifle. If you're not back to your original zero, then the scope is likely bad. You can also do the same with its horizontal adjustment.
Its one of the positive ways to determine if your scope is junk.
 
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