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1964 336 .30-30, BLR .308, Savage 99A .308
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy fellow hunters. I am looking for a sight set-up for my Marlin 336 which is slightly better in lowish light than my current Skinner peep and front white-face post. I have trialed a red dot sight and it works well, but I don't like the look of it on the Marlin.

My current options are a fibre optic front sight with the peep, or a LPVO like a Leupold VX Freedom 1.5-4 scope (I know a VX-3HD Firedot would solve my problem, but it's not in my budget). I also know that LPVO's are generally not thought of as "low-light" scopes, but I mostly hunt in daylight, at close range, and only occasionally until sunset or just after. I can also shoot quite precisely with a front bead (if I can see the deer and front sight, I can hit it), so I'm really only interested in the low-light properties of my options.

So my question is, what would be better in low light, a fibre optic front or the simple LPVO?
 

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A fiber optic front sight works longer then regular iron sights in low light, that said, nothing is as good as even a cheap scope in low light, and near dark.

My rig has a Williams FP and front fire sight which is as good as it gets at low light, but my son's rifle, with a 4x walmart scope can see way longer, when tested side by side.
 

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I mostly hunt afternoon and evenings so great low light performance is important to me. I noticed that the red dots seemed to attenuate light quite a bit. I discussed this with Leupold technical support. Red dots require some tinting to have something for the "red dot" to appear on. How much of the lens has this tint is what determines how much light attenuation you will experience.

Leupold went on to say that coatings on traditional rifles scopes determine the light transmission. I can tell you that the coatings listed as "twilight max" are quite excellent in this regard. I have three of the discontinued "VX3i" series scopes that are my favorites in low light. If you look around you may be able to find one.

One thing to be careful with illuminated reticles is how much "red" comes out of the front of the scope. I have two scopes from a major maker that have sort of a red ring visible from the front of the scope. I would turn the reticle up and check this by looking down the business end of the scope. Be sure to wiggle the scope a bit. I am pretty sure this red ring would be visible to game in some circumstances.

Finally my wife is a doctor of optometry. I asked her about how to make sure my night vision was as good as it can get. She said make sure your prescription is up to date. I think she is right.
 

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Fiber optics on archery sights are fantastic because you can get 6' of fiber to soak up light. They are my go time indicator in the mornings and my end of time at night signals. Unfortunately, on rifle sights, the fiber is very short and in my opinion is too big to be effective on anything at any distance farther than 50 yds. The rifle fibers are usually .060 and the archery ones are .010 to .029. That .060 covers a lot of stuff up at 100 yds. I would go with the scope.
My hope is that someday the manufacturers figure out to make a wrapped fiber optic slip on front sight with a smaller diameter fiber. It can be done.
 

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Whatever you chose (red dot or Scope), you can mount it with quick disconnect rings and take it off your rifle when not hunting. They reinstall with no noticeable change in POA.
 

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After low light (and no light) hog hunting and many trips to Maine for black bear all my hunting buddies and I have settled on a low powered scope with illuminated reticle as the best answer, by far. We've had others join us saying that their 50mm objective Nikon Monarchs or Leupolds would be all they'd need in the late afternoon, early evenings in the Maine woods. But to the person, they lost the ability to shoot 15-30 mins before legal shooting ended. Nothing can compare with a decent to good quality scope with illuminated reticle for a dark target in low light. I own about 45-50 scoped rifles and have performed numerous low light scope comparisons between models such as: Burris, Bushnell Elite, Minox, Nikon, Leupold, Hawke, Weaver and Zeiss. On all my low light tests Zeiss has been the brightest of the scopes I've owned and compared. However, the Zeiss loses the crosshairs on a dark target before even an inexpensive, but decent quality scope with IR like Primary Arms. Most any scope that's dependable will do a good job in the daytime, but very low light performance is paramount on our hog and bear hunts.

Primary Arms is the least expensive scope illuminated reticle scope I'd trust and they can be had for $150. Then I'd look to Vortex Crossfire II, a scope I've had extensive experience with, Hawke Vantage and Endeavor, Sig Sauer Whiskey 3 or 5, and of course Leupold. I have about 10 Leupold VX-Rs and VX3s with illuminated reticles. Not saying they are the best, just saying that they work well for me as have the others I have listed. I like low power, 1-4 scopes with a single center dot that illuminates when on.
 

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1964 336 .30-30, BLR .308, Savage 99A .308
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I mostly hunt afternoon and evenings so great low light performance is important to me. I noticed that the red dots seemed to attenuate light quite a bit. I discussed this with Leupold technical support. Red dots require some tinting to have something for the "red dot" to appear on. How much of the lens has this tint is what determines how much light attenuation you will experience.

Leupold went on to say that coatings on traditional rifles scopes determine the light transmission. I can tell you that the coatings listed as "twilight max" are quite excellent in this regard. I have three of the discontinued "VX3i" series scopes that are my favorites in low light. If you look around you may be able to find one.

One thing to be careful with illuminated reticles is how much "red" comes out of the front of the scope. I have two scopes from a major maker that have sort of a red ring visible from the front of the scope. I would turn the reticle up and check this by looking down the business end of the scope. Be sure to wiggle the scope a bit. I am pretty sure this red ring would be visible to game in some circumstances.

Finally my wife is a doctor of optometry. I asked her about how to make sure my night vision was as good as it can get. She said make sure your prescription is up to date. I think she is right.
Haha I went for my bi-annual eye test yesterday actually!
 

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With iron sights the peep is actually the handicap, not the front sight. If you open it up to a ghost sight it will help but the peep will only let so much light in
 

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1964 336 .30-30, BLR .308, Savage 99A .308
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
With iron sights the peep is actually the handicap, not the front sight. If you open it up to a ghost sight it will help but the peep will only let so much light in
Good point Bryan. I use the Skinner peep as a "ghost ring" - i.e. with no smaller aperture screwed in - and have noticed that even the ghost ring will only let so much light in. Thanks to all the responses, I have pretty much decided on a LPVO on my Marlin for this job, and will use peep sights on my newly acquired Savage 99 for daylight hunting.
 
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