Proper scope magnification for hunting


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TRGFTJob
August 30, 2010, 01:54 AM
I've recently noticed a trend of incredibly high powered scopes for hunting (maybe its always been that way, I don't know). My question arises from some ridicule I've received about the 10x scope i bought a week ago that i plan on using for 500 yard shots. In comp. or target shooting i can understand an "overpowered" scope, and varminting, and when your looking for head shots on heads the size of golf balls. When hunting big game though, I've always felt there is no reason to have a scope that magnifies to a closer visual range than you are comfortable shooting iron sighted i.e. at 500 yards, a scope that makes the deer appear to be 50 yards away should be plenty of scope. I was curious what other's thoughts were on the subject of scope magnification for hunting?

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dawico
August 30, 2010, 02:03 AM
3-9x is the norm, but 500 yards is a little far for that, unless you have a higher powered spotting scope or binoculars for target identification. More magnification is generally saved for smaller targets in my mind. 10x is fine if you are comfortable with it. It is what most snipers use for longer shots than that.

TRGFTJob
August 30, 2010, 02:17 AM
I actually prefer fixed powers, less to screw up less to mess with, and if you pick a fixed, i.e. 6x, its easily effective from 60 out to 250... however, I was just curious if there was an "accepted" standard magnification for certain ranges... obviously its a shooters comfort situation, but there must be some mags that are more popular, mostly I'm just new to the gun community scene and wondered what peoples preferences were

Robert Wilson
August 30, 2010, 02:40 AM
Are you being ridiculed because it's too much or not enough?

I personally find that I prefer 2.5 fixed for almost everything. I personally find 300 yards a long shot in the hunting field and prefer to limit myself to 200.

I am sure that there are people who can count on first round hits every time at 500 yards and beyond, but I don't know any of them personally. I have known a lot of people who thought they could do it, but that is only because they could do it most of the time, from a bench, at a known distance, with no time pressure, at a stationary target, after a few warm-up shots.</rant>

So for most of my hunting the 2.5 is fine. When I want more brightness for edge-of-light shooting I go to a fixed 6x with a large objective, which is brighter than almost anything, including the high-power European variables. I don't much like scopes of significantly greater power, as I have found that when I am carrying one I am almost certain to "jump" my animal at 25 yards, where my 14x scope shows me nothing but blurry fur.

When hunting big game though, I've always felt there is no reason to have a scope that magnifies to a closer visual range than you are comfortable shooting iron sighted i.e. at 500 yards, a scope that makes the deer appear to be 50 yards away should be plenty of scope. I was curious what other's thoughts were on the subject of scope magnification for hunting?

I believe this should be held up as the proper way for a hunter to think.

scythefwd
August 30, 2010, 02:47 AM
I don't own any scope over 4x. My fixed is on my .308. My 1.75-4 is on a muzzle loader that will never see 4x. My shotgun's rifled barrel has a 2.5, as well as my .30-30. If you're hunting distance is closer to 300y than 30y, then large magnification helps, but at shorter distances you just get a reticle of brown.

wankerjake
August 30, 2010, 02:56 AM
10x should be enough for shots under 500 yards I would think. For big animals anyway it should be enough. I took a fixed 4x off of my .243 because an 80lb coues deer was looking pretty small at 200-250 yards. I put on a 4-12x and the extra magnification is really nice. However, I still have a fixed 4x on my 30-06 and it is more than enough for elk at 250 yards because they are so big. 500 yards is a long way and extra magnification is nice but I don't think it's necessary. As long as you can see the animal well enough thru the scope to put a bullet in the right spot then who cares what people think!

blackops
August 30, 2010, 03:08 AM
Usually a solid 4x will do the job hunting. Magnification doesn't particulary pertain to hunting, it pertains to distance and shooter. I use a 3x9, but usually keep it on 6. Keeping around 6 ensures (for me) I can make shots between 100-400yds without having to deal with my mag knob.

TRGFTJob
August 30, 2010, 03:13 AM
Mr. Wilson, I am in fact being ridiculed because its not powerful enough. I've had a least 8 people tell me i need a scope capable of powers exceeding 14x. I dont usually take shots longer than two hundred yards, due to the real worlds adverse conditions, but i bought a rifle specifically for harvesting state farm land at 300 to 500 yards (large open alf alfa fields). Most of my guns are actually iron sighted, and the only other +4x scope i own is a 6x on my .22lr, because i like to see the little squirrels eye. (lots and lots of practice is going to be involved in field conditions before attempting any 500 yard shots)

Robert Wilson
August 30, 2010, 03:16 AM
...an 80lb coues deer was looking pretty small at 200-250 yards.

An 80 pound Coues deer is pretty small at 200-250 yards! That's where I think a lot of hunters (not singling anyone out) get into trouble. A big scope can make a distant animal look like it's within shooting distance, and temptation is the first step to sin.

Robert Wilson
August 30, 2010, 03:20 AM
Mr. Wilson, I am in fact being ridiculed because its not powerful enough. I've had a least 8 people tell me i need a scope capable of powers exceeding 14x.

I once had someone tell me my .30-06 wasn't enough for mule deer. I suppose if enough people told me the same thing I would at least pause for a moment to make sure of myself, so I can sympathize with your predicament. But in all sincerity I group your scope advisers in the same category with my mule deer adviser.

I dont usually take shots longer than two hundred yards, due to the real worlds adverse conditions, but i bought a rifle specifically for harvesting state farm land at 300 to 500 yards (large open alf alfa fields). Most of my guns are actually iron sighted, and the only other +4x scope i own is a 6x on my .22lr, because i like to see the little squirrels eye. (lots and lots of practice is going to be involved in field conditions before attempting any 500 yard shots)

In my opinion you are the one who should be instructing your acquaintances about hunting rather than the other way around.

TRGFTJob
August 30, 2010, 03:43 AM
Hahahaha, the problem with that lovely idea is most them happen to fall into the category of "Dont want to listen" when it comes to disagreeing with them, but thanks for the advice

Double Naught Spy
August 30, 2010, 11:26 AM
When hunting big game though, I've always felt there is no reason to have a scope that magnifies to a closer visual range than you are comfortable shooting iron sighted i.e. at 500 yards, a scope that makes the deer appear to be 50 yards away should be plenty of scope.

If you are happy with your setup, that is fine.

I am in fact being ridiculed because its not powerful enough.

Deal with it. If you are making ethical, clean kills, then who is to argue with your setup choices? The bottom line isn't what you have, but what you can do with it. Revel in the fact that those who think you don't have enough gear are shown to be wrong every time you make a good shot.

Kingcreek
August 30, 2010, 12:46 PM
I will boldly state that many more game shots have been blown due to over-magnification than to under-magnification.
I keep my variable power scopes on the lowest setting and only a few times have I turned the power up when time and distance indicated.

Legionnaire
August 30, 2010, 12:48 PM
Just tell 'em you'll buy a higher magnification scope when you can afford it. That should shut them up ... and keep shooting what you're comfortable with.

I have several variable power scopes ranging from 1-4X to 6.5-20X. The latter is on a dedicated target setup. Most of my variables stay set on low magnification for most hunting applications--only exception is when long(er) range varmint shooting, and even in that case, a 10X is adequate out to 500 yards. And I used a 10X to shoot steel out to 900 yards with acceptable results. A number of my hunting rigs happily wear fixed 4X scopes.

So blow 'em off.

hardluk1
August 30, 2010, 12:59 PM
I also like a higher powerd scope. I have a 4x12 on my 7mag and a 2.8x10 on my 308. #08 is mainly for woods with some feld and 7mag is a clear cut rifle. The extra power helps me to besure the deer is worth shooting. I do limit my longer shots to 400 yards. but have shot deer at 25 feet with the 4 power setting. 3x9's on the BP ans slug gun.

Fremmer
August 30, 2010, 01:25 PM
3-9 is just fine. Enough for the woods or a long field, and the 9x helps when you sight in. Above 9x (heck, even at 9x) you get a lot of reticle wobble.

And most people can't shoot well enough to take a 500 yard shot, regardless of what scope they've got.

Use what you've got and don't worry about the idiots.

wankerjake
August 31, 2010, 08:51 PM
...an 80lb coues deer was looking pretty small at 200-250 yards.

An 80 pound Coues deer is pretty small at 200-250 yards! That's where I think a lot of hunters (not singling anyone out) get into trouble. A big scope can make a distant animal look like it's within shooting distance, and temptation is the first step to sin.

I agree! Even though I have a 4-12x I've spent enough time at the range to know that 250 yards is my limit. Past that, I'd just be holding over and guessing which I wont do. I think too many animals get gut shot doing that. This year though I'm planning to upgrade to a scope with some sort of bullet drop compensating dashes to extend my range. The nature of the terrain these little deer are in often times requires a longer shot. I've missed out on several bucks in two seasons because of my limited range.

I shot my buck last year at 225 yards on 9x. I would have turned it up to 12x if I would have thought about it but I didn't. I could see the buck well enough on 9x.

jimmyraythomason
August 31, 2010, 08:57 PM
If 10X works for you at the ranges you shoot,why care what others think about it? It's nobody's business but your's.

Ankeny
August 31, 2010, 09:14 PM
I do a lot of long range rifle work...it is my passion. I have a Sako 75 in 6.5x55 that I bought as a back up rifle for mid-range work. When I was developing a load/drop chart that will correspond to the Zeiss 600 reticle, the dope indicated a scope setting of 8.5 power. I verified the dope out to 6oo yards on an 8 inch gong and I didn't have any trouble with the magnification. That said, I really do prefer my 4.5x-14x Leupold or my 3.5x-15xNightforce for big game at long yardage. It is easier for me to hold windage at higher magnification.

T.R.
September 1, 2010, 11:32 AM
This .243 rifle is fitted with Simmons AETEC 2.8X - 10X. Easily the BEST scope I've ever owned; amazing clarity and brightness.

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/sdremington1.jpg


This 30-30 carbine is fitted with Simmons 2X - 8X scope. Built very tough and sturdy. It held its zero well below zero degrees while hunting in rough country.

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/Glenfieldroughcountrymuley.jpg

I usually hunt with the scope set on 4X. But I might crank it up to higher number for long shots of 150 yards or more.

Good shooting to you.
TR

Captcurt
September 1, 2010, 04:32 PM
An 80 pound Coues deer is pretty small at 200-250 yards! That's where I think a lot of hunters (not singling anyone out) get into trouble. A big scope can make a distant animal look like it's within shooting distance, and temptation is the first step to sin.
I did this in Colorado on a monster mulie. I was used to a 1-4X and could use it for a rangefinder but when I went out west I thought that I needed more glass. To make a long story short I cranked the volume up on the scope when I saw Mr. Big. At 9X he looked hittable. I held 6" or so above his back and touched one off. He never even looked up. When I tried to get closer to him I bet that I walked over a half mile. That buck never knew that he was shot at.

Now I have several scopes with most of them 2-7 or 3-9 but I have noticed that most of the time they are set on the low end.

HGUNHNTR
September 1, 2010, 11:35 PM
I prefer a nice 2-7x32 for the '06 while chasing NE whitetails. The Nikon Monarch is very nice as is the Kahles on the .270. Varmint wise I have a 4-16x40 Nikon Monarch on the Savage 17HMR, that is my priarie dog gun. The AR's all have 1X magnification, and seem to be sufficient.
I have shot one deer past 400 yards, but my buck fever is too bad to even think about 500. I'll leave that to the rest of y'all.

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