Featured image: Both scope styles have their pros and cons. The author used a ballistic-boost scope to bag this coyote.
You’ll find two schools of thought when you talk riflescopes among predator hunters. One group stands solidly behind the K.I.S.S. mindset of “keep it simple, stupid!” The second group embraces the ballistic technology available to the average hunter. Ballistic reticles, hotrod calibers and rifles that shoot dime-sized groups excite that bunch.
If a new predator riflescope is in your future, you might be waffling between these two groups. Although riflescope prices have dropped, even simple scopes with quality optics can set you back. If you have questions consider these pros and cons attached to each riflescope group.
Simplicity has to lead the pros for a KISS riflescope. A single, crosshair reticle with average magnification covers most shots to 300 yards without much thought depending on the caliber. When a coyote or fox runs into range you plant the crosshair and the rifle goes BOOM.
Next to consider is cost. Face it. When you add on vehicle options the price goes up. The same is true of a riflescope. Sophisticated reticles, MOA/MRAD adjustments and added magnification all drive the price of a riflescope up. A simple scope is simply cheaper.
And all those things, plus many others create mechanisms and parts that may break. Fewer working parts generally equals fewer breakdowns.
A KISS riflescope is speedy when close shots are the norm, but it can hamper long-range shots — a definite con. You won’t have the reticle technology to help so you’ll have to hold over and estimate.
A cheaper riflescope often arrives with less magnification due to cost. Instead of being able to zoom in with 12X or more you may have to look at a dot and that is your coyote target.
Finally, a KISS scope usually comes with a simple reticle. You won’t have ballistic help when you look through the riflescope and newer models even included lighted reticles for low-light predator shooting. You definitely won’t have MOA/MRAD click options to dial in an exact range.
Of course the top reason to spend more and embrace technology is to increase your long-range accuracy. If you spend the right amount of money and learn the system there’s no reason not to be able to dump coyotes at 500 yards or even further.
Ample magnification comes with newer ballistic scopes. You’ll be able to zoom a coyote up to 20 power or more. That boosts confidence and helps you on super long shots to pinpoint shot placement.
Finally, a real pro is having many reticle options. You’ll be able to choose from several on the same model, plus embrace windage hash marks to plant a bullet perfectly.
Yep, cost is a real con of a more advanced riflescope. Some models may be double or triple the cost of a basic riflescope and some could even cost as much as your rifle.
Time consumption in ranging and dialing in a target is another con to be considered. There’s no KISS when shooting long range. Nevertheless, with practice comes speed so don’t be a Grinch yet.
Lastly, with the addition of more parts and technology you have to be ready for the occasional breakdown. Predator hunting can be a rugged adventure and hard on your equipment. One bang too many and your scope could show the damage in a miss.
My most recent addition to my predator rig is a Nikon Black X1000 6-24×50 riflescope in MOA configuration. It’s quite an upgrade for me and it has definitely slowed my shooting on long-range shots, but it has also made my Bergara B-14 HMR a coyote tack driver at long range. I seldom shoot beyond 200 yards due to terrain obstacles, but I surprised myself on a 430-yard shot the other day and am ready for another. Which riflescope school works for you? Only you can answer that, but the new technology is definitely an attraction.