Is a 3-9x40 scope sufficient for long shots?


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TCW
April 3, 2003, 02:12 AM
Hi All,

I've got a NIB 3-9x40 Leupold VX-II that will (possibly) go on a heavy-barrel target gun. I was wondering If I will be able to make decent 300-400yd shots with that power level. I'm obviously new to long-range shooting.

Should I upgrade to a 10x or 12x scope before I unwrap and mount it, or will a 9x scope work.

Thanks!
TCW

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Wildalaska
April 3, 2003, 02:19 AM
Hows your vision? Me I couldnt see anyhting with a 20 power scope at 400 Yards..

I use a 2.5x8 and limit myself to 200..

WildnearisnicerAlaska

TCW
April 3, 2003, 02:37 AM
I have good vision. Mainly, I just want to be able to hit the target at the long ranges, not necessarily bullseye. I'm discussing the longer ranges as a means of confirming that I'll have enough power for good accuracy in the more likely ranges of 100-300yds. Better to be able to go farther than you need to.

Beer Drinker
April 3, 2003, 02:47 AM
Are you shooting at elk-sized game or prairie dogs at that range?

TIMC
April 3, 2003, 03:16 AM
A good 3X9 scope is plenty to take deer sized game at 100 - 300 yards. Open sights can do it too. It is the shooters limitations that matter the most.

cratz2
April 3, 2003, 08:46 AM
I don't have anything against the higher magnification scopes. I have a couple on my play toys. But on serious rifles, I think a quality 3-9 or 3-10 scope provides lots and lots of versatility. Imagine this, a 6x riflescope allows the same shot potential at 300 yards as open sights to at 50 yards and is easier, for most people, to aim than the iron sights. What you can shoot at 50 yards with good iron sights should be what you can shoot at 300 yards with a 6x scope or a variable set to 6x. With a 9x, you should be able to shoot with the same general level of vision at 450 yards as you can with good iron sights at 50 yards.

Of course, all this assumes perfect trigger control and follow through and a solid rest. But a higher magnification scope isn't going to afford you a more solid rest.

I don't think there's much of a difference between a 3-9x scope or a 4-12x scope and if it makes you feel better to have the higher power scop, then knock yourself out. I think confidence is a good thing when it comes to rifle shooting. But It always cracks me up to see guys with a heavy barrel rifle and a 6.5-20x scope shooting from a bench and they will swear up and down that higher power allows for smaller groups. Maybe they do but if you can't take advantage of it, then it's a waste. If you have a heavy barrel rifle and a high power scope and you're shooting 5" groups at 100 yards, then... well... you need some help or training. I've seen plenty of guys shoot 1" or smaller groups with a lightweight (not sporter weight) rifles and a little 4x scope.

JohnBT
April 3, 2003, 10:10 AM
You'd die laughing if you saw my Finnfire .22 with a Weaver T-36 on it.

And I keep meaning to take the Leupold 6.5-20x40EFR off my Remington 541-S, but I like the way it shoots at 50 yards and 100.

Come to think of it, I have another T-36 and nothing to put it on yet.

I'm serious about my fooling around. :)

John

Jim Watson
April 3, 2003, 10:40 AM
Well, you don't say what size targets you will be shooting at, but bear in mind that Vietnam era sniper rifles carried 3-9x Redfields and the current Marine sniper scope is a 10x Unertl. And you have one tremendous advantage with your 3-9x; it is already there. Screw it on and go shooting. If you need more for your shooting, you will soon find out. If you don't, you have saved time, money, and worry.

cratz2
April 3, 2003, 10:45 AM
On, I'm certainly not saying there aren't valid reasons for having high power scopes. Just sometimes I think folks get hung up on the 'bigger, faster, better, more' routine when very often, lesser can be just as much. A good shooter can do as much with a carry weight .270 and a 2-7x32 scope as a mediocre shooter can do with a heavy barrel 'beanfield rifle' in 300 Win mag and a 6.5-20x56x scope. That's all I'm sayin'. ;)

Art Eatman
April 3, 2003, 11:44 AM
One of the better shots on Bambi that I made was at a good 350 yards, based on holdover and point of impact. My 3x9 scope happened to be set at 3X.

I've had no trouble getting inside one MOA at 500 yards off my shooting table, using the 10X setting on my 44Mag scope.

Art

waynzwld
April 3, 2003, 01:07 PM
When out in the field, I usually crank my variable scopes to 10x.

Larry Ashcraft
April 3, 2003, 01:19 PM
My shots in the last 6 months with a 25-06 and an old Weaver Wideview 3-9x40:

Pronghorn at 300 yards in October.
Coyote at 450 yards in October.
Coyote at 300 yards in February.
These are all at known or measured distances.

And my 53 year old eyes aren't very good either. :D

Art Eatman
April 3, 2003, 02:23 PM
waynzwld, the problem with that setting is the narrow field of view. I once jumped a buck at fairly close range and learned the hard way that I had my scope on 7X. I saw an ear, a patch of brown, a tine, and then nothing but brush.

Had I been on 2X, I'd have killed him.

(I got him a little later in the morning, but that's another story. :) )

Anything far enough off that you feel you need the higher magnification, you most likely have enough time to change the setting. A 300-yard or 400-yard deer probably doesn't care much about you, and will likely keep on with his doings...

Art

Andrew Wyatt
April 3, 2003, 02:27 PM
I find it's better to go a little under, magnification wise than a little over.


for the kind of shooting i do (which is sometime out to 600+ yards) a fixed 4 power or a 1.5-5 variable are about ideal.

cratz2
April 3, 2003, 02:48 PM
I've been shooting with variables set to 6x quite a bit lately. I have two nice scopes that are fixed 6x.Granted, I only shoot at paper and small critters, no big game.

In the scheme of things, I'd be willing to bet more big game has been missed or wounded due to too much power rather than too little, regardless of what optics adds might have you believe.

Soap
April 3, 2003, 04:08 PM
On my Kimber .22, 700P in .308, and my 700 in .270, 95% of the time I'm looking through the scope on the lowest setting. This is 3x or 4x depending on the rifle.

yzguy
April 3, 2003, 05:05 PM
I am by no means an expert, or even a hunter (just biasing my opinions on paper punching).....

I like the higher magnification. I can see that when hunting much lower would be better, but I like being able to clearly see where I am aiming. What I mean is that I can easily see if I am aiming 1/2" off center with a higher power scope. After all it does not matter how accurate the rifle, if your aiming 1/2" off center your shot will be 1/2" FURTHER off than it could have been. (again when hunting that does not matter). Also I find it more clearly shows me how much I am moving the rifle around (again beginner here) and also shows me when I'm doing my part and holding it still.

I have no doubt that others hear could take a 2 or 4X and out shoot me with my 5-15, but I also have no doubt that when paper punching I can shoot SLIGHTLY better groups with the higher magnification. Also it's nice to be able to see the holes through the scope.

it just seems that no one hear liked the higher power ones at all, so I had to through my .02 in. I like mine!! :)

SodaPop
April 3, 2003, 06:33 PM
I have a 3-9x40 on my Mini 14 and on my Winchester model 70-30/06. Both can hit what I aim at out to 500yds. I don't think the military uses anything more than a 10x scope for rifles. I believe some of the 50bmg rifles may have 16x fixed scopes,but I'm not sure.

Watchman
April 4, 2003, 11:40 PM
One thing that you must remember ...

The higher the magnification, the more "distortion " you will see on a hot day.

In the summer "mirage" is a killer. I often shoot at 600 and 1000 yards with my .50, .300 and .308.

I have a scope that goes up to 40X but on a hot day its is almost usless as the mirage is so evident that it completely screws the target. I often find myself reducing the magnification on it to get the mirage to a managable level.

On a 9 inch steel gong at 600, a 4x14 tactical Leupold is about maxed out. Shooting at 1000, higher mag is a must just to see the target.

TechBrute
April 4, 2003, 11:51 PM
A. For 300-400 yard shots on large animal sized targets, the 3-9x is fine.
B. 300-400 yards is only "far" for hunting, not target shooting.

:D

I have a scope that goes up to 40X but on a hot day its is almost usless as the mirage is so eveident that it completly screws the target. I often find myself reducing the magnification on it to get the mirage to a managable level. Have you tried a Mirage Tube or Mirage Band?

Watchman
April 4, 2003, 11:58 PM
YEP...BTDT...:)

TechBrute
April 5, 2003, 12:20 AM
Just checking. :D

cratz2
April 5, 2003, 09:22 PM
On a 9 inch steel gong at 600, a 4x14 tactical Leupold is about maxed out. Shooting at 1000, higher mag is a must just to see the target.

For many shooters, I would agree. Have you ever seen the guys shoot 1,000 yards with arperture sights? Don't know how they do it.

Aren't the 50 BMG rifles equiped with 'just a 10x scope'?

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