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Scope power vs. range

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by elktrout, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. elktrout

    elktrout Well-Known Member

    With so many kinds of high magnification scopes on the market with just as many "long range" reticles of various types, it brings a question to the table for all you long range shooters on this forum.

    Considering a ten inch bullseye, at what range do various magnifications become a handicap to the hunter being able to keep his shots in the 10 inch circle?

    Or, conversely, at 300 yards or 400 yards, what minimum magnification would be necessary to ensure consistent hits on a 10 inch bull?

    I have never tried this, but I am sure some of you have and hope you will add your comments to this thread. I am not looking for caliber recommendations or debate. Let's assume also that the gun would be dead on at range involved.
  2. 1858rem

    1858rem Well-Known Member

    9x kept me inside 2.5 inches at 340yds this evening

    Nikon prostaff 3-9x40mm
  3. jbkebert

    jbkebert Well-Known Member

    My personal opinion on this is the high magnification scopes both handicap and give a false sense of being a better shot than they are. Since you are refering to a 10" bull I am going to assume that we are talking about elk. High magnification scopes are great for there intended purpose. i use a 6x18 leupold on my 22-250. I am also shooting small targets usually bench or prarie dogs. The problem with carrying a scope like this in the field. The higher the magnification the less light they let in. Also the higher the magnication the more each twitch is magnified. Shooting from a bench on 18x is one this but I have never met anyone who could shoot that magnication off hand. If you are big game hunting a 3x9x40 I feel is best. Shoot at the lowest magnification that you can. Identify your target on 9x but shoot at 6x. If you need a 24x power scope to shoot a elk I would question the ethics of the shot you are about to take. I will take a 600 yard shot at a praire dog. It is either kill or miss. I havent winged a dog. I would not take a 600 yard shot at a deer or elk. Just way to much can go wrong.
  4. kb2zya

    kb2zya Well-Known Member

    i can group better at 120 yards with 5x than 9x with my 30-06 just my 2cents
  5. skinewmexico

    skinewmexico Well-Known Member

    A 10" target at 300 is pretty big. Doesn't take much, if any, magnification.
  6. trstafford

    trstafford Well-Known Member

    338 wm

    I have a 4x Weatherby on my 338 win mag. works great out to about 400 yards.
  7. farmmer dan

    farmmer dan Active Member

    I was hitting 4 inch clay targets at 430 yards with a 3-9 by 40 burris. All 4, right in a row with a 223, no wind.
  8. mparms

    mparms Well-Known Member

    I agree with many of the statements on this thread. It is true that the higher the magnification the more hinderance of light, this is overcome by a larger objective lens (to gather more light) and sun shades help. Leupold makes excellent scopes and rangefinders that are compatible especially if you use their boone and crockett reticle. I use a 3-10x50mm objective for hunting deer and elk in the rocky mountains. Honestly this is actually overkill. If you're not a former military sniper or a really hot shot taking a plink at an animal any more than 350-400 is not a conservationist attitude nor a moral shot.
    I've known many people, including myself that can shoot a 10" target at 400 yds with iron...of course using a rifle that you really know, with that said I'd still never take that shot at any large game. I've never personally learned the hard way but four mile blood trails are a bummer for the animal and you.
  9. Thingster

    Thingster Well-Known Member

    For a 10" target within 500 yards, a 4x is plenty.

    a 10" target at 400 yards with a 4x scope would look like about a 10" target at 100 yards with no magnification. With a 2.5x, you'd still be shooting roughly a 6" target at 100 yards.
  10. elktrout

    elktrout Well-Known Member

    I appreciate everyone's common sense reply to this thread. I thought, at first, that it was just me going through another maturity stage in life. But, I have a 4.5-14x44 sitting on top of a 7mm Wby magnum, and I have never shot it on any higher magnification than 10x and that (shooting on 10x) was only once that I can remember. Most of the time, I am shooting at 5x to 6x. Oh, and I shot it once at 200 meters for group on 8x at a 3 inch bullseye.

    The longest shot I ever took (and made, by the way) was on a mule deer at a paced 435 yards. It was on 8x.

    All of this kind of flies in the face of the current hot running fad to have high magnification scopes with complicated reticles for shooting out to 600 or even 800 yards. If someone wants to do that and can actually accomplish hits consistently, more power to them (no pun intended). But, one thing I have learned hunting here in the west is that the wind will come into play on most shots and no scope yet made can compensate for that.

    It amazes me that more straight power scopes are not offered. I guess it is just offering products that are in demand, and apparently they are not. But, I am seriously thinking of just putting a straight 6x Leupold on my next gun, before they quit making fixed power hunting scopes altogether.
  11. Random Discharge

    Random Discharge Well-Known Member

    I have a Weaver V3 (1-3X) on my 30-30. Works fine for the range of this rifle.
  12. mparms

    mparms Well-Known Member

    Well if you can have a one-shot-kill at 435 yds. that you were confident about and not lucky with, don't mess with it.

    If you're comfortable with a fixed 6x then do it and don't look back.
  13. 1858rem

    1858rem Well-Known Member

    is clarity generally better on a fixed power scope?

    i have been thinking of a fixed 10x for my .308(mostly target 100+yds), or keep using the 70 dollar 4-16x40mm centerpoint for now since it works so well anyhow.
  14. 1858rem

    1858rem Well-Known Member

    do you mean zero for 300-400yds?
  15. elktrout

    elktrout Well-Known Member

    If you took the point of impact out of the equation and simply looked at the ability to see the target and have it sufficiently large enough to see it divided into quadrants by the reticle (reticle does not blot out the whole target), how much scope magnification do we need at say 300 yards or 400 yards? Granted, these are arbitrary yardages, but most hunters I know will shoot at a big game animal at 300 yards and some even 400 yards but not beyond.

    I'm not really trying to criticize those who like and use high magnification scopes with range finding reticles. But, I can't help but notice that the scope manufacturers are bringing out more scopes of higher magnification and with reticles now good to 800 yards and beyond.

    The cost of these things is astronomical. I question their necessity for a hunter who wants to shoot an adequately powerful rifle up to 400 yards on big game. I still remember as a kid reading all the hunting magazines in which the writers nearly always recommended a straight 4x scope, maybe even 6x for open western hunting.

    I hope to get out in the next few weeks and test it myself with my variable at different magnifications and see just what works out to 400 yards on a ten inch bullseye, which is a reasonable sized target for deer and elk.
  16. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    It's funny, but it is kinda an inverse thing; super hipower scopes are great for benchrest dudes shooting rimfire, who need to see some serious close up detail.
    that is what I use them on. I have a hi power scope on a 243, but I never move it off of 6x.
  17. gdcpony

    gdcpony Well-Known Member

    Magnification means little. Your ability to aim is what matters. I had a 6-24 on my .223 and it went to 3/8"@100. I used a 1.5-5 and went 1"@100 with a shotgun (slug barrel). I swapped them because the small one impressed me so much and guess what. Nothing changed. I now am buying more of the 1.5-5's (as I can afford) and am swapping them unto every gun I own. Of course, it is the reticle that impressed me and made the scope faster and more accurate for me. Had it been a 3-9 (not offered) I would be looking for those.
    Magnification helps if your target is tiny. A 10" bull is not nearly a 3" squirrel at those ranges so any decent scope should work if you find it works well for you.
  18. hunting-scopes

    hunting-scopes New Member

    There you have it........some first hand experiences.....excellent thread.
    It is indeed interesting to learn the general consensus on "fixed" magnifications.

    My take is stick with 6-9 magnification.


  19. jbkebert

    jbkebert Well-Known Member

    The bad thing is now those same magazines feature a flashlight salesman telling you that one needs a high magnifcation scope and a $5000 dollar rifle to be a sucessful hunter.
  20. Afy

    Afy Well-Known Member

    I have a 12x42-56 That I love.
    Even shoot at 100... I love cranking it up. But that is me...

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