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View Full Version : To scope or not to scope lever action


Sparks57
10-18-2013, 9:58 PM
I grew up shooting my grandfather's 30-30 Winchester. I just purchased a Rossi 30-30 Rio Grande. It has a great classic look to it. I pick it up next week. The Rio Grande comes with scope mounts. I'm just getting into long guns, as I've only had handguns. So, I bought an AK47 and the Rio Grande.
Sorry for the long intro, the question is, do I get a scout a scope for the Rio Grande? I think I might be breaking some John Wayne code, but my eyes aren't what they used to be, and the scope is appealing to me. If the scope is a go, what scope do you recommend?
I'd like to keep the price down.

kielbasavw
10-18-2013, 10:04 PM
This is what I did
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/ezkiel/20130831_195543-1_zpsded34321.jpg

Sparks57
10-18-2013, 10:23 PM
Thanks for sharing Kielbasavw, how do you like the scope on the rifle?
I am a newbie to scopes, what type of scope do you have?

TMB 1
10-18-2013, 10:31 PM
Rio Grande is side eject like Marlin. I would put a Vintage Weaver K2.5 on it. I see them go for $30 to $70 on ebay depending on type reticle and condition.

TURNKEY13
10-19-2013, 6:01 AM
Not a scope expert here, but two things. Scopes are like glasses, if you need them, use them. Otherwise shooting will be no fun if ya cant hit anything. Also, regarding the lower pic, looks like waaaaay to much eye relief. The rear AO should be closer to the hammer, or at least where its comfortable for you without creeping to far forward. Lastly, my opinion on the old west rifle/scope look, i think it looks best with a lower power smaller glass, maybe 32 mm OB's as to not take to much away from the rifle. Besides, in the old days, they didnt have 56mm glass!!!! Ha!

SHEPHERD321
10-19-2013, 6:03 AM
one vote for no scope

ely
10-19-2013, 6:11 AM
You will like a scope on at least one of your long guns. The 30-30 accepts a scope well, so it's a good choice. I put a scope on mine and liked it, but finally removed it. I wanted a quick handling/lightweight rifle to use as needed. My Savage 30-06 serves my scope rifle needs. Don't loose the flush screws that are in the holes tapped for the scope base, as I did.You'll need them if you decide to return your rifle to original.
Either way your going to love shooting and hunting with your levergun.

JWHuey
10-19-2013, 6:15 AM
Not a scope expert here, but two things. Scopes are like glasses, if you need them, use them. Otherwise shooting will be no fun if ya cant hit anything. Also, regarding the lower pic, looks like waaaaay to much eye relief. The rear AO should be closer to the hammer, or at least where its comfortable for you without creeping to far forward. Lastly, my opinion on the old west rifle/scope look, i think it looks best with a lower power smaller glass, maybe 32 mm OB's as to not take to much away from the rifle. Besides, in the old days, they didnt have 56mm glass!!!! Ha!

I believe that is a scout scope,that is the correct distance for eye relief. Due to the top eject of certain lever action rifles,you would be unable to use a regular short eye relief scope.

http://www.chuckhawks.com/scout_scopes.htm

theshoer
10-19-2013, 6:18 AM
No scope

Remus
10-19-2013, 6:19 AM
....Also, regarding the lower pic, looks like waaaaay to much eye relief. The rear AO should be closer to the hammer, or at least where its comfortable for you without creeping to far forward....

Lastly, my opinion on the old west rifle/scope look, i think it looks best with a lower power smaller glass, maybe 32 mm OB's as to not take to much away from the rifle. Besides, in the old days, they didnt have 56mm glass!!!! Ha!


They do make scout style scopes with extended eye relief - that could be one or a pistol scope that has significant eye relief.

I concur in general trying to keep a "period look" for lever guns, my preference is for peep sights rather than a scope but my vision is still okay.

Insofar as the Rio Grande - the pictures that I saw have the scope mount integral to the receiver. You would not put a scout scope on that - any normal eye relief scope would do fine.

This is what I wished that I had purchased last night had I known it existed.
http://www.leupold.com/hunting-shooting/scopes/hog-riflescopes/

This is what I purchased in gloss: (think the gloss would keep a bit more of a period look for your rifle than a matte)
http://www.leupold.com/hunting-shooting/scopes/vx-1-riflescopes/vx-1-2-7x33mm-includes-shotgunmuzzleloader/

TURNKEY13
10-19-2013, 6:31 AM
I believe that is a scout scope,that is the correct distance for eye relief. Due to the top eject of certain lever action rifles,you would be unable to use a regular short eye relief scope.

http://www.chuckhawks.com/scout_scopes.htm


You are right.. Maybe i NEED glasses!! :eek:

VegasND
10-19-2013, 6:36 AM
Lever actions are flat and handy. Rather than add the bulk of a scope I prefer:
http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/Product_Images/015-3662215/015-3662215.jpg

Bainter1212
10-19-2013, 6:55 AM
If you can find an old Weaver tip-off base/ring combo on ebay you can use irons or a scope. I have them on two rifles and they hold zero perfectly. If you want to use your irons, just flip the scope to the side.

pennstater
10-19-2013, 7:40 AM
Lever actions are flat and handy. Rather than add the bulk of a scope I prefer:
http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/Product_Images/015-3662215/015-3662215.jpg
That is exactly what I have on my 94. As long as my eyes hold out, it stays.

Sparks57
10-19-2013, 7:45 AM
Wow great input, thanks. The Rio Grande is similar to the Marlin with side ejection. The rifle comes with a scope mount. Still torn, I am going to call my 98 year old grand dad today to get his input as well.
Started looking at the Weavers and think it's a good fit.

Mstnpete
10-19-2013, 8:00 AM
Here's what I did to mine!

Both are Marlin. Marlin 336w with Trijicon Accupoint scope. The scope works like a red dot. I can shoot at 200 yards and at an attacking pig at 5 yards with both eyes open. With out touching magnification setting. Works for both worlds. Bindon Aiming system.
Marlin 336SDT Trapper 30-30 caliber.
The Marlin 336 SDT Trapper is a 16" barrel and only 500 were made.
I was lucky to get the 93rd edition.

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f245/amgguy/IMG_1053-1.jpg

kenl
10-19-2013, 9:39 AM
Lever actions are flat and handy. Rather than add the bulk of a scope I prefer:
http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/Product_Images/015-3662215/015-3662215.jpg

+ 1. My eyes are lousy, to the point were I need bifocals. I put one of these on the win98, and can hit things again, without a scope.

smittty
10-19-2013, 12:56 PM
A scope doesn't belong on these rifles. The relationship (geometry) with the butt stock & sights work perfectly as intended. When you plop a scope on top you change this and a scope also changes the trim proportions of these rifles.

Keep it as is. If you want a scope get bolt action rifle.

TMB 1
10-19-2013, 2:11 PM
A scope doesn't belong on these rifles. The relationship (geometry) with the butt stock & sights work perfectly as intended. When you plop a scope on top you change this and a scope also changes the trim proportions of these rifles.

Keep it as is. If you want a scope get bolt action rifle.

A scope affects the trim proportions of all rifles including bolt actions. I think scopes are worth it if it helps you hit your target better.

Hairball
10-19-2013, 3:12 PM
Lever action - no
Pump action - no
Bolt action - yes
Semi - depends

But like others have said, if the eyes are beginning to fail, a scope may be needed.

kenl
10-19-2013, 4:40 PM
Lever action - no
Pump action - no
Bolt action - yes
Semi - depends

But like others have said, if the eyes are beginning to fail, a scope may be needed.

...but in my very unscientific experience, it is easier using peep sights than the standard iron sights, especially with my eyes. Maybe because the rear sight is so much closer, and is suppose to be just a blur that is naturally centered?(probably reaching here)

Hairball
10-19-2013, 5:37 PM
I think it may come down to shooting MOM (minute of man) or MOA (minute of angle) and the distance of the shot. In other words, put a 6-8 inch plate out at 100 yards and its no problem, put a 1 inch square on a piece of paper and I would be lucky to have the round in the right direction let alone putting them in a square at 100 yards. Use a scope and the situation changes dramatically. My old eyes are just not what they use to be...

M1NM
10-19-2013, 5:46 PM
....Also, regarding the lower pic, looks like waaaaay to much eye relief. The rear AO should be closer to the hammer, or at least where its comfortable for you without creeping to far forward.

Probably a long eye relief pistol scope. Put a Weaver K4 on my 1894 Winchester in the mid 70s - wish I hadn't but today with my old eyes I'd do it again.

YZINGERR
10-19-2013, 6:00 PM
Hunting or LR target shooting? Scope it.
Like peep sights? Do it.
Plinking? Iron sights
Imo

Cypriss32
10-19-2013, 6:19 PM
I tried scoping my 45-70. Right away i sold it about bought a 375 ruger guide gun. Never looked back. I would buy nice sights for it instead.

Dark Mod
10-19-2013, 6:32 PM
got skinner sights on mine and they work great. Theres something i dont like about scopes on leverguns.

kielbasavw
10-19-2013, 6:41 PM
The scope I pictured is a vintage leupold scout scope with intermediate eye relief at about 9-11inches. Its mounted using the correct matching leupold detacho mount from the 60s. Both of the rifles pictured are early 80s models and are angle eject, so this scout set up isn't really necessary, but I really like the scout concept, and do not currently own a top eject Winchester.

Pistol scopes have a lot more eye relief (long eye relief, or exteneded) at about 18"+. the correct eye relief for scout should be listed as intermediate.

The scout scope is really cool and gives you very fast sight picture, and is to be used with both eyes open. Unlike your typical scope which can sometimes be tough to actually look at what you want to aim for. The scout scope with 2x power works very well paired to the 30/30 as both have similar range abilities 50-200yards.

18Dmedic
10-19-2013, 6:45 PM
Negative on a lever action.

kielbasavw
10-19-2013, 6:56 PM
Why are people being so hard headed that lever guns should not have them. If the guy has eyes not so good such as myself, iron sights are not much of an option. The scope really helps out.

For me I cannot have all three, rear sight, front sight, target in focus, only one can be, while the rest are completely blury. Its all fixed with a scope, especially a scout scope which works just like a magnified iron sight.

lewdogg21
10-19-2013, 8:27 PM
I have a Leupold VX-2 2x7x32 on a Marlin 336 in 35 remington for hunting.

I don't see the blasphemy especially considering the deer don't stand around long enough to walk up to them.

Gavelek
10-19-2013, 8:40 PM
I have a Rossi with a cheap scope and I like it, on my other lever which is marlin I don't and I also like it, depends on the distance, target and my mood

cannon
10-20-2013, 5:53 PM
If you need a scope to be accurate at 100 yards. Get it and don't look back.

bill_k_lopez
10-20-2013, 6:14 PM
Not a scope expert here, but two things. Scopes are like glasses, if you need them, use them. Otherwise shooting will be no fun if ya cant hit anything. Also, regarding the lower pic, looks like waaaaay to much eye relief. The rear AO should be closer to the hammer, or at least where its comfortable for you without creeping to far forward. Lastly, my opinion on the old west rifle/scope look, i think it looks best with a lower power smaller glass, maybe 32 mm OB's as to not take to much away from the rifle. Besides, in the old days, they didnt have 56mm glass!!!! Ha!

I put scopes on almost all of my rifles for that same reason, I can see for sh**.

And you are right, when you can actually see what you are shooting at it makes it a lot more fun.

For the 30-30 I'd go with the see through rings, this way you can use both the scope and the sights.

rromeo
10-20-2013, 6:30 PM
I have a Marlin .30-30 that I bought with a scope and see thru rings. Up to about 75 yards I use the irons for the shot.
This is my deer gun so I don't pretend I'm looking for 1/2" groups, keeping inside a 6" circle is fine for me

NorCalFocus
10-20-2013, 8:36 PM
Aim small, miss small. That's what a scope does for you on any gun.

Ninask
10-20-2013, 9:14 PM
I agree scopes don't fit the lever particularly well
but in these times I like having an option for a scope,
in particular for an 1895 in 30-06 I have a deep affection for,
so a side mount extends my shooting range in certain situations,
allows me to use this fine lever as a general purpose firearm that can really hit at extended distances should the need arise
N

Darto
10-20-2013, 9:19 PM
Old period scopes are expensive, not sure if they mount on the Rossi

http://www.possibleshop.com/rifle-malcolm-scopes.html

ivanimal
10-20-2013, 9:22 PM
I have scopes on both my 45/70's they are hunting pig guns. I owe it to the animal when out past 100 yards to have the option.

I use these. (http://www.brownells.com/optics-mounting/rings-mounts-amp-bases/scope-rings/see-thru-rings-satin-blue-sku955495100-16103-36022.aspx?mc_id=12000&ch=csh&gdftrk=gdfV21820_a_7c187_a_7c7313_a_7c955495100_d_ 955495100_d_21279)



http://www.brownells.com/userdocs/products/p_955495100_2.jpg

Here they are.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v631/ivanimal/45-70003.jpg

I was given crap for doing this. I hit a Russian Sow at 130 yards and dropped her with one shot. I would not have taken it open sights. My guns, my right.

Dontlook72
10-21-2013, 9:56 AM
I was always adamant and scoffed at people who scoped their lever action rifles.

Until my eye sight started to go and I couldn't hit the side of a mountain anymore, I changed my tune pretty quickly if I wanted to have any success at hitting something at 100 yards or more.

I'm packing a Browning BLR in 308, but it's the later model that was made in Japan. Not a bad gun, up to 200 yards with a scope I can hit it easily. Past 200 yards, it's a crap shoot for me now.

My father has a Winchester 94 and I will never scope that gun, he doesn't hunt anymore so it sits in my gun safe now a days. Now a days the only hills he climbs is at the golf range.

WINGEDSWORD
10-21-2013, 11:21 AM
I go with the no scope crowd. Realisically the .30-.30 is not a long range or target round. It is best kept within 150 yards due to it's ballistic arc and the fact that you need to use round or flat nose bullets in a tubular magazine
unless you buy the plastic tipped rounds which are more expensive.
at 66 my eyes aren't that great either but prescription shooting glasses bring my eyesight up to 20-20 and that's good enough for 150 yards.
And they're less expensive than a good scope. Cheap scopes aren't worth having.

Sutcliffe
10-21-2013, 12:19 PM
Firm beleiver that scopes don't belong on levers.
I'd make an exception for the Browning BLR. It's so ugly a scope could only improve palatability.

Michael_Js
10-21-2013, 12:55 PM
I have to agree with all the posts stating, if you need one, get one. Doesn't matter on others opinions of what looks good or not on a lever gun.

On my Winchester model 1892 lever gun, in .357, I chose no scope as I wanted a light rifle, with little recoil, that my fiance would shoot - she really likes it! I didn't care for the iron sights on there, so replaced them with these: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/132532/marbles-bullseye-rear-sight-2-3-4-with-double-step-elevator-338-to-535-height-blue

Still have some issues with the inner ring on the bulls-eye, so we just painted it. we'll check it out next time. For me, I might add a scope since my eyes aren't that great any more ;) She shoots it close up, like a pistol, and it's not up to me to "correct" her or make her shoot it at a distance - since she's enjoying it the way it is ;)

I have a 6..24x50 scope on my Winchester Model 70 bolt-action in .308 :) see, i said I couldn't see!

Enjoy it!

EDIT: This is the front sight I used: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/655240/marbles-front-sight-450-height-531-width-steel-blue-3-32-fiber-optic-green

vincewarde
11-01-2013, 2:20 PM
If you have really good vision - and I don't - than open sights can be good for shooting at moving targets. When you get a little older, than a "peep sight" can improve accuracy, but it can be just as hard to pick up a target as with a low power scope. When your eyes are as old as mine, and you have a major case of "short arm syndrome", optics are a must. Even a high quality red dot can make all the difference in the world.

stevec223
11-04-2013, 8:49 PM
A 1x4 or 2x6 reciever mounted scope will do wonders for old eyes on a lever gun....skip the scout scope ... Try bushnel or nikon with the fast -eye focus,,, easy to change focus for two shooters with different vision.... Hitting your target in all light conditions more important than style or tradition.. All my rifles have scopes for a reason... Just my .02.... Cheers...

osis32
11-04-2013, 9:11 PM
cant hit what you cant see. when I need to I will scope mine without reservations.

RCJeeper
11-09-2013, 11:14 AM
I have a 336. Scoped it with a Nikon 2-7 x 30. Found it to be very accurate. Shooting 1.5" at 100. Took it to the field and hated it. Too heavy and all the great lever handling qualities disappeared. I could never get with the aesthetics of it either so it was an easy decision after that day in the woods.

Took the scope off and am now looking for a nice bolt gun.

rm1911
11-09-2013, 12:47 PM
Look into the marbles bullseye sight. I have one on an old bolt 22. Really like it.

Knife Edge
11-09-2013, 3:20 PM
T-1

bubbagump
11-09-2013, 3:52 PM
No Scope

XVIga_Rob
11-10-2013, 8:27 AM
I go with the no scope crowd. Realisically the .30-.30 is not a long range or target round. It is best kept within 150 yards due to it's ballistic arc and the fact that you need to use round or flat nose bullets in a tubular magazine
unless you buy the plastic tipped rounds which are more expensive.
at 66 my eyes aren't that great either but prescription shooting glasses bring my eyesight up to 20-20 and that's good enough for 150 yards.
And they're less expensive than a good scope. Cheap scopes aren't worth having.

I'm a little younger, but agree with WingedSword. My Win94 is top eject and the irons are getting tougher to see. Looking at going to fiber.

CK_32
11-10-2013, 8:59 AM
How accurate do you need it to be?

To me I don't think it looks good or is that practical. At least not for my uses as a lever gun. But again lever guns aren't tack drivers for me.

Tom-ADC
11-10-2013, 10:42 AM
I'm 72 so old eyes etc, but I like Williams peep sights on my lever actions.

rm1911
11-10-2013, 10:58 AM
I'm 72 so old eyes etc, but I like Williams peep sights on my lever actions.

I agree

There's a lot of difference between "iron" sights and apertures. Old style dovetail sights are hard to shoot. Your eyes have to focus on too many things but aperture sights actually force your eye to focus and unless you are like legally blind or have cataracts or something will really improve your shooting. You don't line up the rear sight and I fact don't even look at it but rather through it. You look at the target and focus on the post. Even old eyes will appreciate apertures.

Apertures on a lever are a great choice.

donw
11-10-2013, 7:09 PM
i, personally, prefer the irons on my levers...but it's your firearm and your decision. max distance i get is 200 yards*...that is with the rear buckhorn set in the top notch of the elevator ramp.

*(I'd also like to point out my lever is the Marlin 39A 22 rimfire...200 yds is a LOOOOONG shot for a 22 rimfire)

levers are designed with irons in mind...when you shoulder one, the sights fall directly in line with the eye's line of sight.

have you considered the peeps or a tang sight? or perhaps a set of tru-glo fiber optics?

you will never get the 'pinpoint' accuracy using irons as with a scope...but levers were, also, primarily intended as an short to intermediate distance firearm. (but that's not to say they cannot shoot long distances accurately.)

the 'scout' type set-up may prove to be ideal in your application.

let us know what you settle on.

thomashoward
11-16-2013, 1:37 PM
one vote for no scope

I scoped mine until I worked up a load it liked then put the Williams Fool Proof back on

russ69
11-16-2013, 4:30 PM
If I had a lever gun, it would be full rifle length with a tang sight. Some guns just beg to be used in a traditional way. Maybe you would have to pass up some shots but you could be proud to be able to shoot that gun the way it was intended to be shot.

http://www.lymanproducts.com/lyman/sights/1894.php
http://www.marblearms.com/improvedPeepTang_info.html

GraveTPO
11-16-2013, 9:05 PM
I've used all approaches with great success. My Marlin guide gun in .45-70 is scoped with a Weaver V3 using Leupold quick release rings. This setup doesn't give up a thing in aesthetics and it allows me to shoot 1 3/8" groups at 100 yards all day long. I could never do that with the open buckhorn sights.

I have a Winchester 1892 in .32-20 that shoots just fine with cast lead loads using the original iron sights.

I have a Marlin 1894cl and a 1894 Cowboy in .32-20 and .45 Colt respectively that work great with the Williams peep sights.

And finally, I installed a Montana Vintage Arms mid-range vernier tang sight on an USRA 1886 chambered in .45-70 so I could lob heavy bullets at distant steel targets.

As more that one poster suggested, they're your guns, do what you want with them.