When I was a kid, deer hunting in the Texas Hill Country, just about all of us used some sort of iron sights on our rifles. I can remember the first one of our friends that showed up with a scope on his deer gun; we were pretty sure he was a sissy.
Since those days, however, scopes have become much more common on hunting rifles. In fact, today you seldom see a hunting rifle that isn’t wearing some sort of glass optics. I don’t think a hunting scope needs a lot of magnification; in fact, over magnification can cause a real problem with target acquisition. And, to be honest, good optics help make up for a set of eyes that are getting older, year by year.
When you compare quality to price, Leupold optics are just hard to beat. I’ve got a Leupold 1.5×5 scope on my Ruger #1H, in .375 H&H. I mounted that scope in 2008 and have killed nine head of Australian buffalo since then. And, if the red gods are willing, I will take a cape buffalo with the combination in a little less than a month.
I like the 1.5x setting for working up close in the brush. At close range, the last thing you want is any magnification, but you do need good target clarification. When hunting in thick stuff, I keep the scope set on 1.5x, figuring I will generally have time to dial it up when game is encountered at longer distances.
For our Africa trip, I’ll also be using a Leupold BX-3 Mojave binocular, in 10×42 power. This binocular is light weight and a small enough package that packing it around all day shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’ve been using the binocular to look at the deer and javalina here at our little ranchito and really enjoy the clarity.
You can certainly spend more on optics with other companies. But I really don’t think you can beat the quality and value of Leupold’s products. They build good hunting gear.