Too much magnification?


March 24, 2009, 12:05 AM
In recent posts it was stated I purchased a Remington 700 SPS Varmit (.223) that was sold at Dicks Sporting Goods as a package, meaning it came with a scope. I'm not all that crazy about said scope. So, I embarked on a search for an affordable piece of glass.
Initially, I was looking at some Mueller scopes (variable power) as I've had good results with their APV on my Ruger 10/22. Then, I read about the Bushnell Elite 3200 10x40. That got me thinking about going with a fixed instead of a variable.
It sounds like a great scope, then I made it worse.

I started reading about the Super Sniper sold by SWFA. That one seems to get kudos in most cases, it sounds like a good scope for a great price. Right now, I'm leaning towards the S.S.. But if I do go with it, or another fixed power scope... what magnification should I pick?
I'm thinking a 10x should be fine, keeping in mind the .223's maximum range, and the fact my local rifle range is 100 yards. Then I start thinking about (in the S.S.'s case) the 16x and 20x. Plus, I might be able to get occasional access to a range that maxes out at a 1000 yards with points in between.
But I only know so much about optics... which is little. So, I'm left wondering if mounting a fixed 16x or 20x is too much for what I currently have.
10x? 16x? 20x? What's a optics noob to do?

By the way, I have plans to get another bolt action in a year or two if I can afford it. Minimum, .308. I can always swap the scope...

A huge thanks to all of the members here! You've been so helpful and kind!

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March 24, 2009, 12:07 AM
I would go with the 16 or the 20... the better you can see the target the better chance you have of making the shot you want... aim small miss small.. right? aim at the tick, hit the deer....assuming the tick is just behind the front shoulder about center mass... possibly lower depending on your preference...:D

March 24, 2009, 12:23 AM
Are you using this for varmint hunting? If so I would recommend a good 4.5 - 14X at a minimum or something like a 6.5 - 20X variable power target style scope would be even better.

March 24, 2009, 12:34 AM
A lot will depend on your intended use for the rifle. 10x is actually fairly high powered and the limited field of view of higher power scopes makes target acquisition harder and following a moving target a lot harder. Higher power scopes also tend to exaggerate mirage issues at longer ranges.

Having said all that the Bushnell 4200 8-32x40 on my Savage model 12 sure helps my old eyes to shoot little bitty groups at longer ranges. I’ve also got Super Sniper scopes in 10x and 20x and I’ve got Bushnell 3200 Elite scopes in 10x40 and 3-9x40. The 10x SS scope is a brighter than the 20x. The SS scopes are both more repeatable the Bushnells. The SS scopes are also heavier. The Bushnell scopes are nice enough and a lot cheaper.

March 24, 2009, 12:40 AM
I think that you will find that 10X is pretty good all around. The fixed higher power scopes are going to make the slightest wobble/movement magnified tremendously. I would opt for something in the 3.5-10X range or maybe a 4.5-14X. I am not a varmint hunter and am not shooting off of sand bags or other platform. If you are benchrest shooting, the higher power might be better. The quality of the glass is going to be a factor also. Just food for thought.

March 24, 2009, 12:50 AM
For varminting, you would want higher magnification than big game or human-sized targets. 3x9 or 10 vs 6.5 x 20.

March 24, 2009, 12:57 AM
I won't be doing any varmiting right now, just paper punching from a bench. I'll be using my rests and whatnot.

popeyespappy, I was thinking the same thing. But when I looked through a fellow shooter's 20xsomething scope at a 100 yards a couple of years back, it reminded me of going from VHS to DVD. "Wow! I couldn't see that before!"
But like you said, higher magnification will make target acquisition and following a moving target harder. Maybe the 16x is a good balance? I have a lot of thinking to do on this one. Pro's, con's, etc.

I forgot to add, once I have it all down; I'm going to be loading my own ammunition. I have the equipment, just want to read my reloading books again before I do.

Rancho Relaxo
March 24, 2009, 12:59 AM
I started with a 3-9x leup. vxII on my heavy barreled varmint 223 (it was the only good scope I had at the time), then went to a 4-14.5x (I think that was the magnification) Nikon Buckmaster, then a 6.5-20x Nikon Monarch. I think I've found what I'm looking for now. I made a hit on a ground squirrel at 462 yards last spring off a bench in the wind. I couldn't have been able to do it with a 3-9, and at 14.5 it would have been pretty tough too. Hell, it was hard enough cranked up to 20x! 20x is too much for 100 yards, even with a solid rest for me, but dialed down to 16x and I get some fantastic groups.

March 24, 2009, 01:17 AM
The 10x SS is good. I find 3-9x to be perfect for deer hunting. People like more mag more varmint or bench shooting but that requires a good solid rest.

March 24, 2009, 02:25 AM
I think it's hard to have too much magnification when you're shooting targets off a bench. Out in the field it's another matter entirely. Trying to quickly locate a target with a scope set on 16x is a PITA. Personally, I like a 3-12x or a 4-16x scope. That gives me fairly fast acquisition for hunting and fairly high magnification at the range.

Those high magnification scopes get dim a lot faster in low light too.

March 24, 2009, 03:06 AM
I would buy a Bushnell Elite 3200 10x40 rather than ANY Super Sniper scope based on my recent experience with one. I shot a 458 SOCOM last week at the range (wasn't mine) and it had a Super Sniper on it ... all I can say is what a total piece of crap! I'm sorry to be so harsh but that's what it was. It was like looking through the bottom of a jam jar ... just horrible ... and the mil dot reticle looked like it was painted on the glass. :barf:

March 24, 2009, 07:00 AM
unless all you are going to do is target shoot, at a fixed yardage, i would get a variable power scope. in a perfect world, all scopes would be 1-30 power variable, with a range finder, and an auto zoom feature that would select the proper zoom setting depending on yardage. but this isn't a perfect world. not by a long shot. did i mention it would also feild dress whatever you shot also?! lol.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 24, 2009, 07:08 AM
No, it's not too much for a precision rig like a turnbolt .223. Not at all. Get at least 16. I'd tend toward the 16 over the 20 for a .223 in most cases. But if you're planning on shooting targets or varmints at 150-200 yards or more, then I'd go with the 20.

March 24, 2009, 07:37 AM

with strong US dollar it's just over $300 for you. LR shooting sites all review them good. FFP, Mil reticle, Mil turrets. Very expensive to find alll that.

March 24, 2009, 08:08 AM
In my limited experience, I was started out with fixed power Redfield and Lyman scopes, as variables came of age I switched and had to learn all over again. I find with varminting that 10X is very good, higher and it magnifys the heat distortion to the point that accuracy is lost simply due to not being able to see. I like the 10X for the 223/22-250 class including the full size 17/20 calibers. For the smaller cases, 22H/218 I like 6X. Good shooting!!!!!!!!

March 24, 2009, 08:14 AM
That looks like a Barska who makes it?.

It was like looking through the bottom of a jam jar ... just horrible ... and the mil dot reticle looked like it was painted on the glass.

Must have been something wrong with that Super Sniper they have pretty decent glass. Definitely on par with the 3200 glass are you sure it was a SWFA Super Sniper? There was a time near the end when Tasco made Super Snipers where the quality took a turn for the worst.

March 24, 2009, 08:19 AM
I have the SS 20X. I am well satisfied with it. We punch paper @ 100 yds and it is deadly as sin. I use it for 500 and 700 meter also, with excellent result. The paralax markings seem to be pretty much on the money, the optics are great and clear as a bell. The paralax adjustment is on the reticle end and is easy to turn, which is nice due to I do not care for it being on the Objective end of a scope. The Mil Dots work great for a .308 or 30-06 for compensating yardage. I have used it on .308, 30-06, .223, .243, and 50 BMG. Best results came with the .308.

OK, now the cons I have with it...

The paralax adjustment goes well under 100 yds. With this being said, anything at less than a 100 is VERY hard to aquire the target. And when you do, it is like looking at something under a microscope. So I do not use it for less than 100 yards. For example, if you are looking at a target of Osama Bin Laden @ 100yds... View thru the SS 20X is his eyeball. So less yardage, the 20X is overkill on magnification.
The Mil Dot on a .223 will be off a touch if you are using it for Yardge compensation. Not alot, but enough to aggrivate you. On a .50 BMG, I have found it doesn't even go near being correct.

My observation for the 16X was ( my brother has the 16 ) more field of view @ 100, of course. I also noticed also that what I was seeing at 100 yards with the 20X, his was at 60 yards. So we could punch paper closer than 100 with it. At 500 meters, his still has a great target picture, but at those longer distances is where that ole 20X really comes alive.

Comparison - I have a Leupold Long Range Target scope, 6.5 X 20 VX III. If I set it on 20 X, I really cannot tell any difference between the two scopes, ( even though I have 800.00 tied up in the Leupold ), and the Leupold has no yardage markings on the paralax adjustment, which can be aggrivating because there is no starting reference point. The advantage with the Leupold, is I can kick her back to 6.5 X and pop squirrels out of the tree @ 50. The variable does make it nice for dual purpose.

So by going by the original post.... if most of your shooting is 100- 200 yards the 16X is your best shot. This scope's quality for the money is unmatched.

March 24, 2009, 09:58 AM

Made by British company called Falcon. Get's good reviews, has all the right features. But what you wanna bet the guts come from China? **** it so do Leupolds now so who cares.

..But yea I wouldn't trust it tooo far.

FFP and Mil turrets.

March 24, 2009, 10:24 AM
Too much magnification?


I will try to answer your overall question of whether or not you can have "too much magnification". Short answer: Yes. Surprisingly, this is when you are shooting at long distance (i.e. 1,000 yards), as opposed to shooting at short range or mid-range targets. At long distance, mirage comes into play. I have two scope that I current use at 1,000 yards (a 6.5-20X, and a 6-24X), and in both cases, I find myself dialing down to 18X or slightly less, so as to mitigate the effect of mirage. With a variable power scope, you can do this. With a fixed high power scope, you cannot. Just something to think about.


March 24, 2009, 10:34 AM
So, let's say a fixed scope purchase didn't happen. What would be the variable power "equal" of the Super Sniper, both in quality and price.

March 24, 2009, 12:02 PM
It's quite a bit cheaper to build a decent fixed power scope than a decent variable power scope (more moving parts). I would be looking in the $500-$600 range atleast, for a quality variable power scope. The thing you have to watch out for (aside from quality optics and repeatability of adjustments) is, the amount of windage and elevation adjustment that is available. Scopes with tube diameters of 30mm typically have more available W&E adjustment than 1" tube scopes. Hope that helps.


March 24, 2009, 12:21 PM
I have really enjoyed my Nikon Buckmaster in 6-18x. It is decent glass and has held up to a bit of use and abuse on my end. It should be pretty close to the SS in terms of price. I have never looked through a SS so I can't compare the image. I will say I have heard, key there is heard, that the glass on the 10x SS is far better than the 16x or 20x and while you don't have the magnification you have a much brighter image with better resolution and truer colors. It makes sense. They price the scopes the same. The tubes/turrets look the same. The only thing to change is the glass. It wouldn't make sense that you could make an equal quality piece of glass at 20x as you could at 10x for the same buck or everyone would do it.

I would think anything in the Bushnell 3200 line, Weaver line, Nikon buckmaster line, Leupold VXI or II, Sightron SII, or Clearidge would be right about in line optically and price wise with the SS. You may be pushing more money for one of those that turns a max magnification of 20x but for something with slightly less top end you won't be out much if any more money. Those should all be decent scopes. Nothing world breaking but certainly into the realm of decent and not the generic Chinese junk out there.

March 24, 2009, 12:45 PM
Unless you're shooting off a bench, I don't recommend more than 10x. The higher the magnification the more noticable your body shacking / swaying is to your eye. It can be very mentally defeating.
10x is what military snipers use. It's honestly enough unless you're shooting prairy dogs at 800 yards off a bench.

March 24, 2009, 12:47 PM
Unless you're shooting off a bench, I don't recommend more than 10x. The higher the magnification the more noticable your body shacking / swaying is to your eye. It can be very mentally defeating.

Very true... good point to make.

March 24, 2009, 01:58 PM
I would go with the 16 or the 20... the better you can see the target the better chance you have of making the shot you want...
There are alot more variables to consider. Mirage is one, worse as magnification increases. Under all but extreme distance shooting scenarios, a fixed 16 or 20x scope would be a bad choice for deer hunting. Very serious varmint or target work they have a place.

March 24, 2009, 02:49 PM
Must have been something wrong with that Super Sniper they have pretty decent glass. Definitely on par with the 3200 glass are you sure it was a SWFA Super Sniper? There was a time near the end when Tasco made Super Snipers where the quality took a turn for the worst.

lipadj46, that's a good point ... I took his word for it so the answer is NO ... I'm not sure it was a Super Sniper but that's what he said it was. It looked to be fairly new and he seemed knowledgeable about his 458 so I assume he knows what he has. He did describe it as a decent, cheap optic and he had it mounted with a LaRue base which is a $200 piece of kit so not too shabby. Anyway, looking through the scope made me want to check to see if the objective was covered in Vaseline or something similar. The image appeared to worsen (considerably) moving out from the center of the FOV.


Dallas Jack
March 24, 2009, 05:28 PM
If it were me I would get a variable. I shoot targets most of the year and it is nice to be able to turn up the power. My scopes are a 5x20 Nikon and two 6x24 Weaver's. I spend most of my range time shooting at 1 inch targets with my scope at its max setting. Works for me.

I deer hunt on a ranch where the rule is doe's only. First year I hunted there I was using a 2.5x10 Weaver. Shot what I thought was a doe, turned out to be a button buck. 10 power didn't get it for checking out the head of the animal. This year I used the 5x20 Nikon, looked over the animal at 20x then turned it down to 8x and shot her. Worked great. People mention FOV, not a problem with a high power set at it's lower settings.
Dallas Jack

March 24, 2009, 07:01 PM
I think you should be very happy in the 14 to 18x power range for your shooting. I would choose a variable power scope. I think you're over thinking what you need at 100 yds or even 200 yds shooting.

I used to make 200 yd shots on wood chucks with a fixed 4x scope. Then I started using 3-9x variables and loved them. The trend seems to be toward higher magnifications. Certainly that is the case if you look at what is available in the longer range target scopes.

March 24, 2009, 07:18 PM
I have found that mirage is much worse in a varmint situation since I am close to the green vegetation and so is the small target. As the day heats up the mirage generated by the humidity given off by the plants compounds the mirage factor. 10X has been my limit unless its a very cool day, its amazing what a difference moving down from 12X to 10X makes on those warm days.

March 24, 2009, 08:06 PM
lipadj46, that's a good point ... I took his word for it so the answer is NO ... I'm not sure it was a Super Sniper but that's what he said it was.

Who knows could have been something wrong with it but my own personal experience of the SS I owned that was on a Serbu .50 BMG was that it was a more than decent scope. Obviously not the end all and be all but for $300 you get a really tactical scope that offers a ton of adjustment (120 MOA), rear parallax adj, repeatable turrets and it is pretty tough.

To the OP though I would look at the Bushnell 3200 or SS 10x. I have heard too many negatives about the Mueller tactical. There are a couple other budget tacticals that other sites swear by (falcon menace etc) but I have only experience with SS. Also both the SS and Bushnell are made in Japan where the others are most likely made in China. This is important to me but not so much others.

March 24, 2009, 10:05 PM
Wow, you guys and gals are awesome!
Considering what I have gathered so far from all of you, and the questions I have asked of myself...
If I went with a variable, how about the Bushnell Elite 3200 5-15x40 325154T model (the one with target turrets, an A.O., etc.). Perhaps it would be a good balance of price, quality, and features?

Could this finally be the one for me?!? :D

Zak Smith
March 24, 2009, 11:36 PM
I shoot 1300+ yards with 3-12x scopes.

The downsides of high magnification: mirage, hard to locate targets, very small exit pupil, very critical eye relief.

March 24, 2009, 11:58 PM
1300+ yards with a scope of that type of magnification?!? That's amazing. :D
It's funny, I was just about to check out your website

A big thanks to Zak and everyone else here! :D
In light of what I've gathered, and my budget, I'm pretty sure I'll go with the Bushnell Elite 3200 5-15x40 325154T.

March 25, 2009, 03:41 PM
Well now I did it, I'm in trouble. This will probably lead to more expensive setups in the future. :D
I went ahead and purchased the Bushnell Elite 3200 5-15x40 (325154T).
Now, I'm in the process of selecting rings, a base, and some Butler Creek lens covers.
Now before I break out my calipers, I read that someone was using a #11 cover for the eye and a #33 for the objective. But that person did state he always has his sunshade on, so it's attached there. Do those numbers/models sound right for that scope?

I'm still looking at the Burris 1" XTR rings and XTB Solid Steel Bases, but am not counting out their Signature Zee rings (with the pos-align inserts). A member here, MAX100, suggested using an EGW 20 MOA elevated base (1-Piece Picatinny-Style - Manuf. Model # 2004 / Midway USA #147376?) matched up with the XTR rings (low). Any opinions on that particular setup and suggestions on others?

Plus, if I went Burris all the way with the above mentioned Burris products; can I use the "low" XTR rings (1/4") with the XTB two piece Solid Steel Base on my particular rifle (Remington 700 SPS Varmit)? Or would I have to bump it up to a "medium" (1/2") size ring?
Oh, and I have to ask this too... I don't want to sound lazy. But if I don't go with the Burris Signature Zee rings with inserts and go with "insert brand name/type rings here". Am I looking at a first time ring lapping session? I'm not adverse to the whole idea. Midway USA sells a full scope mounting/lapping/aligning kit, and it sounds kind of fun. But I don't want to buy some thing I may not need and/or have to do.


March 25, 2009, 11:34 PM
Pleeeease halp.

But I found my multipass! :D

March 26, 2009, 01:02 PM
Oooo! Almost forgot.
Would this case fit a Remington 700 SPS Varmit outfitted with the scope I selected and a Harris bipod?

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