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A Classic Configuration - 3-9x40 Scope Comparisons

The 3-9x40 scopes have long been the go to scope of choice for big game hunters everywhere. At the low end of the magnification, the 3x works well in tight cover, or thick trees, and with a turn of the magnification ring the 9x can cover shots across fields or hillsides. It has been widely used by those that hunt deer or other game in heavy cover, but also want to use the same gun for predator or varmint hunting when more magnification is often needed. While there are still a large selection of scopes made with the 3-9x40 specifications, there is an increasing number of models that are very similar but a little different, for example take the Leupold VX-3 3.5-10x40 models, or Nikon Monarch's 2.5-10x42. For fairness the base model of each 3-9x40mm scope (or close variation) was compared, in this case meaning ones with matte finish and duplex crosshairs when available. It is important to note that the price of a scope can be greatly affected by the reticle, sometimes by $100 or more, and finish options such as camo can take the price higher quickly. Below you can get an idea of how these scopes stack up to on another in price and key specifications.

 

3-9x40 Scopes $300 - $500

Model Leupold
VX 3
Nikon
Monarch 3
Leupold
VX 2

Burris

C4 Plus

Zeiss

Terra

Picture Leupold VX 3 Nikon Monarch 3 Leupold VX-2 Burris C4 Plus Zeiss Terra
Est. Price $479 $389 $349 $299 $295
Mag/Obj 3.5-10 x 40mm 2.5-10 x 42mm 3-9 x 40mm 3-9 x 40mm 3-9x42mm
F.O.V 29.8' - 11' 40.3' - 10.1' 32.3' - 14' 33' - 13' 35.9' - 12.3'
Eye Relief 4.4" - 3.6" 4" - 3.8" 4.7" - 3.7" 3.8" - 3.1" 3.6"
Weight 12.6oz 15.7oz 12oz 13oz 14.8 oz
Length 12.6" 12.6" 12.3" 12.2" 12.4"

 


Leupold VX-3 - The VX-3 is Leupold’s top of the line hunting scope series and features their high end technologies such as Diamond Coat2 lens coating and Argon/Krypton waterproofing. The VX-3 configuration is offered with a gloss, matte, or silver finish and can be had with either a standard duplex reticle or Leupold’s B&C Big Game reticle. The VX-3 in the 3.5-10x40 configuration is built on a standard 1” main tube, there is one model, a matte black finish with duplex reticle, that is available with the Custom Dial System that can be ordered to match your particular cartridge/bullet combination.

 

Leupold VX-3 3.5-10x40

Leupold VX-3 3.5-10x40

 


Nikon Monarch 3 – Like the other manufactures in this price group, the Monarch series is Nikon’s high end series of hunting riflescope. The 2.5-10x42 Monarch scopes are available in a black matte finish with a mil-dot, BDC, or Nikoplex reticle, while one silver version that has gold accents is available with a BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation) reticle only. The Monarch series of scopes feature Nikon’s Ultra Clear Coat lens coating that aids in improving light transmission.

 

Nikon Monarch 3 2.5-10x40

Nikon Monarch 2.5-10x40

 


Leupold VX-2 – The VX-2 is available in three different finishes: matte black, gloss black, or silver and can be had in your choice of six different reticles. While the VX-2 does have a special lens coating for increased light transmission, it lacks some of the higher end technologies found on the VX-3 series. However, with the base model VX-2 selling for around a hundred and fifty dollars less than a comparable VX-3 many hunters are happy to mount a VX-2 on their big game rifle.

 

Leupold VX-2 3-9x40

Leupold VX-2 3-9x40

 


Burris C4 Plus – The C4 is a unique hunting scope in the Burris line up with features of both hunting and tactical scopes combined. These Burris scopes are setup up for the user to order custom elevation dials to match their favorite hunting loads. These scopes also feature a MOA wind reticle that features hold off marks for wind but not elevation; the idea is that many shooters like to dial in their elevation but prefer to hold off for wind.

 

Burris C4 Plus 3-9x40

Burris C4 Plus 3-9x40

 


Zeiss Terra – And you thought affordable Zeiss was an oxymoron. This Terra is built on a one inch tube, and while the base model with a Z-plex reticle (basically a duplex) is available for just under $300; 3-9x40 models with the Zeiss Rapid Z reticle go for about $30 more. The Zeiss Terra is also available in 2-7x32 and 4-12x42 configurations, it is worth noting standard models are set parallax free at 100 yards while models with the Rapid Z reticles are set parallax free at 300 yards.

 

Zeiss Terra 3-9x42

Zeiss Terra 3-9x42

 


3-9x40 Scopes $200 - $300

Model Leupold
VX-1
Burris
Fullfield II
Nikon
Prostaff 5
Bushnell
Elite
Leupold
Rifleman
Picture* Leupold VX-1 Burris Fullfield II Nikon Prostaff 5 Bushell Elite Leupold Rifleman
Est. Price $229 $219 $275 $239 $225
Mag/Obj 3-9 x 40mm 3-9 x 40mm 2.5-10 x 40mm 3-9 x 40mm 3-9 x 40mm
F.O.V 32.9 '- 13.1' 33'-13' 40.4' - 9.9' 33.8' - 11.5' 32.9' - 13.1'
Eye Relief 4.2" -3.7" 3.8" - 3.1" 4" 3" 4.2" - 3.7"
Weight 12oz 13oz 15.3oz 13oz 12.6oz
Length 12.2" 12.2" 12.6" 12.6" 12.3"

 


Leupold VX-1 – Compared to the Leupold VX-2, the VX-1 series of rifle scope is a more basic model aimed more at the entry level and budget shooters. However, there is still a good amount of options in the VX-1 3-9x40 line, which can be had in three different reticle options: LR duplex, wide duplex, and standard duplex. Furthermore, the Leupold VX-1 3-9x40 is probably available in more finish types than any other similarly priced scope; options include Mossy Oak Treestand, Mossy Oak Break Up, silver, matte black, and gloss black.

 

Leupold VX-1 3-9x40

Leupold VX-1 3-9x40

 


Burris Fullfield II – The Fullfield II is a mid level series of scope from Burris and is probably one of, if not the most popular series of scopes in their product line. The Fullfield II 3-9x40 version is available with a standard matte black finish only and can be had with three different reticles: a plex, a ballistic plex, or an illuminated ballistic plex. The illuminated reticle Fullfield II version is about the only option for a lighted reticle in this budget range, although the Bushnell Elite Firefly could technically be counted as well.

 

Burris Fullfield II 3-9x40

Burris Fullfield II 3-9x40

 


Nikon Prostaff 5 – The Prostaff 5 series falls between the premium Nikon Monarch series of scope and their budget standard series Prostaff rifle scope series. The Prostaff 5 scopes come in either a matte black, or silver finish and comes with either a Nikoplex or BDC reticle. The Prostaff 5 series of scopes comes with the quick reset spring loaded turrets that make it easy to return the turret marks to zero once sighted in.

 

Nikon Prostaff 5 2.5-10x40

Nikon Prostaff 2.5-10x40

 


Bushnell Elite – While now called the Elite series, the 3-9x40 models in this series appear to be the upgraded replacements of the old Elite 3200 series. The new Elite 3-9x40 is available in three reticle choices: a duplex style, Firefly, or DOA 600. The Firefly reticle is essentially an illuminated reticle that doesn’t use batteries, it is charged by shining a flashlight into the scope and that will cause the reticle to glow. The DOA 600 is Bushnell’s high end glass etched holdover and range estimating reticle and is offered on various scope throughout the Bushnell line.

 

Bushnell Elite 3-9x40

Bushnell Elite 3-9x40

 


Leupold Rifleman – The Rifleman series can be thought of like the Leupold VX-1 series minus all the reticle and finish options. However, the 3-9x40 version is the one scope in the Rifleman line that is offered in with two reticle options, either a wide duplex, or a Rifleman Ballistic Reticle, which looks suspiciously like the standard LR Duplex Leupold offers on other models. Like the VX-1 the Rifleman makes windage and elevation corrections with friction dials, which means there are no audible clicks; however, the Rifleman scope makes the adjustments in 1/2moa compared to the 1/4 moa adjustments used by the VX-1 series.

 

Leupold Rifleman 3-9x40

Leupold Rifleman 3-9x40

 


3-9x40 Scopes $100 - $200

Model Vortex
Diamondback
Nikon
Prostaff
Weaver
40/44
Redfield
Revolution
Bushnell
Trophy XLT
Picture*

Vortex Diamondback

Nikon Prostaff

Weaver 40-44

Redfield Revolution

Bushnell Trophy XLT

Est. Price $189 $169 $155 $199 $119
Mag/Obj 3-9 x 40mm 3-9 x 40mm 3-9 x 40mm 3-9 x 40mm 3-9 x 40mm
F.O.V 44.6' - 14.8' 33.8' - 11.3' 33.9' - 11.3' 32.9' - 13.1' 40' - 13'
Eye Relief 3.5" - 3.3" 3.6" 3.5" 4.2" - 3.7" 4"
Weight 14.4oz 13.1oz 14.2oz 12.6oz 14.1oz
Length 11.7" 12.3" 12" 12.3" 11.9"

 


Vortex Diamondback – These scope fall below the Vortex Razor and Viper series of scope but above the Crossfire line. The 3-9x40 Diamondback model is offered with either a standard style duplex called a V-Plex or a Dead Hold BDC reticle which is a unique style reticle which has three dots below and one dot on either side of the center of the crosshair. Unlike most scopes in this class the Vortex Diamondback is argon purged for waterproofing which is usually not found on scopes at this price level.

 

Vortex Diamondback 3-9x40

Vortex Diamondback 3-9x40

 


Nikon Prostaff – Although the Prostaff series of rifle scope has been available for sometime this line of Nikon scopes recently went through a significant update in 2011. Two of the more noticeable upgrades were the addition of zero-reset turrets and an improved optics coating for better light transmission. The Nikon Prostaff is currently available in a matte or silver finish with the popular BDC reticle, and the matte version is also offered with a Nikoplex reticle which is the Nikon version of a standard duplex.

 

Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40

Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40

 


Weaver 40/44 – The Weaver 40/44 series consist of scope models that have either a 40mm or 44mm objective. Out of this fairly extensive line of scopes the 3-9x40 models have a 40mm objective; however a 3-10x44 model is also available. The 3-9x40 models are available in a matte finish and come with either a Dual-X (duplex) reticle or a Ballistic X reticle which has three hold over hash marks for shooting at extended ranges. A version of both options is also available with the parallax set free at 50 yards, most likely for use on shotguns so be sure to check the specifications to make sure the model you are looking at has the right parallax setting for your intended use.

 

Weaver 40/44 3-9x40

Weaver 40/44 3-9x40

 


Redfield Revolution – The Revolution series comes with a matte black finish and is available with either a duplex or Accu-Range reticle. The Accu-Range reticle is a unique set up that consists of a circle around the intersection of the crosshairs, the top of the circle is used as the 100 yard mark, the intersection of the crosshair as the 200 yard mark, the bottom of the circle as a 300 yard mark, a hash mark below the circle as the 400 yard mark, and the top of the duplex post serves as a 500 yard mark.

 

Redfield Revolution 3-9x40

Redfield Revolution 3-9x40

 


Bushnell Trophy XLT – The Trophy XLT 3-9x40 is available in a wide variety of finish options including: matte black, gloss black, silver, and Realtree Camo. Reticle options are also plentiful on this Bushnell series of rifle scope including, Multi-X (duplex), Circle-X, Mil-Dot, DOA 250, and DOA 600. Although not all reticles are offered in all finishes the Bushnell Trophy XLT easily has the largest variety of options in its category if not in the entire 3-9x40 class.

 

Bushnell Trophy XLT 3-9x40

Bushnell Trophy XLT 3-9x40

 


 

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