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Fixed Power vs variable power

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2008 at 20:07
Bonefish View Drop Down
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The current rage in scopes has been to the variable power and now with Bushnell's 6500 that has taken another step up. My question is variable actually preferable to a fixed power. The most popular variable being the 3X9, when hunting it seems that in almost all cases the scope is used exclusively on its highest power. With the wider range of magnification that might change. Wouldn't a high quality fixed power like the Kahles 6x42, or 8x56 provide equal magnification with better dependability at lower cost. I have read some "experts" who promote fixed power over the variable. What are your thoughts?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2008 at 20:11
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For me I use a variable scopes for most guns. Personal preference I guess but if I was going to setup one gun to hunt large game with a fix power would be fine I would probably stay with a 4 or 6...........
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2008 at 20:28
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I had a 6x burris on a 30-06,  I used it on a hunt about 2 yrs. ago, though I harvested a 6x6 elk with it, I replaced the scope /w/ a 3x9.  I just felt uncomfortable on this particular hunt,  the shot came at about 60 yards in heavy cover and I truely wished I could have turned down the scope to 3x. Now I can.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2008 at 21:06
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 Having guided professionally, I have come to embrace the idea of powerful variables as great conservation tools. I can't imagine how many deer and elk live to a ripe old age because hunters fail to keep them turned at or near the lowest magnification.
 
"I would shoot him if I could find him in the scope!" or "All I can see is hair!"
 
I love my variable, but I'm careful to keep it turned low until I need more magnification!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2008 at 21:09
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Bonefish -

Yes, fixed power scopes have better dependability/reliability/durability because there are far fewer moving parts.  They also provide better optics than variables at a given price point, and generally a wide FOV also.

You would be extremely pleased with a top quality fixed power.  All you are sacrificing is versatility.

You bring up something interesting, that most people have their variables set at the highest power.  I don't know, but I personally think 4x is plenty of power out to 200 yards and 6x out to 300 yards unless you are hunting varmints.

ND2000
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2008 at 22:18
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I say why limit yourself with a fixed power?  Variables these days are durable, precise and you can get amazing optics in them.  If you want a scope at 6x just turn your variable to that.  I personally carry all my hunting scopes at the lowest power which is usually 3x.  If it is a longer shot and I have time then I will turn it up to what is needed.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2008 at 22:19
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I keep my variable scopes set at 4X personally, until I need more power to make a longer shot or I'm load testing.  I think it's a bad idea to keep a variable set on its highest power.  If you need to make a really close shot, usually you have much less window of opportunity than when you're faced with a long shot.  The larger field of view the lower power offers is helpful for acquiring your target when making close shots.
 
With a fixed power scope, you can get as good or better optics for less money, and they are theoretically more durable because they are less mechanically complex than variables.  If you hunt in an area where all your shots will be limited to medium distance and under, a 4X fixed scope is plenty good enough.  I really like my 4X32 Conquest!  However, for most situations, I prefer the versatility a variable offers, which is why most of my rifles wear variables.


Edited by RifleDude - January/16/2008 at 22:21
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2008 at 22:25
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I only own 2 fixed and they are both on rimfires and I always keep my variables on 4 power while hunting..... until I encounter a situation where I want to turn it up.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 00:45
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The variable power offers more versatility than the fixed! Absolutely!......A 2.5x or 3x on the low end offers a better FOV for the closer shots as opposed to a fixed 4x or 6x!.....You gotta go with Lucytuma & Ronks posted comments on this one!! A 3x9 or a 2.5x10 are the best all around variables! One must always be prepared for the shorter shots as well as the longer shots! I personally would not use, a fixed 4x or 6x scope on any rifle!! Any dependability issues with variables, I`d worry about later, SHOULD they EVER occur or cross that bridge should I ever come to it!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 04:33
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A variable scope is certainly more versatile than a fixed power scope. And nowadays most variables are pretty dependable--they're not as delicate and prone to mess up like they may have been in the late fifties and early sixties. However, a fixed power scope is a fine choice if you match up your scope with your type of hunting. You can hunt just about anything on Earth with a 4X scope, except maybe wounded leopards and charging rhinos.  Smile   --Ed
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 07:41
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Another vote for the variables due to the fact you can tailor the power to what the situation may require. Modern variables are not the variable of your Dads time and shortcomings have been pretty much engineered out.

Another 4X user with variables.....you can go up for long shots a lot easier than lower it for an animal right close to you.

Fixed powers have fewer lenses and are probably a little more durable.

Focus
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 07:48
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Interesting.
 
I have learned over the past few years that my eyes appreciate the lower magnification.
 
I used to keep all my scopes set on 7x (same magnification as my binos) -  I hunt w/ a fixed 4x40 monarch ucc on my 30/30 and it's very very easy on the eyes. Aside from the reticle being a little too thin for my tastes, it's a very good scope for that gun.  I like both ideas, depending on what/where i am hunting.  I DO think it's a good idea to keep the magnification low, more often than not.
 
I like the simplicity of a fixed, but it's nice to have options if you need em.
the 4x and 6x from IOR and Kahles are still very attractive to me.
 
good thread.
 
J
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 07:58
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I too prefer the variables for the versatlity, except for home based short yardage, applications, then it's open sights, or low power fixed mag scopes. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 08:19
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Variable!  And that comes from a Marine who shot fixed 10X for many years.

There are advantages to fixed, but good variables are just as clear, just as dependable, just as precise.  Kinda like the "bolt actions will always be more accurate" argument of 15 years ago, before many started winning major events with  poodle-shooters.

And, as for hunting with scopes only set to highest mag; all my hunting scopes are set to lowest- having learned this lesson by experience long ago.  It's easier to acquire a target and zoom than to not see it.

"Ready, Fire, Aim": not so much!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 08:23
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I agree Rancid, and the keeping them stored at lowest power is a good idea as well. Same for the AO keep them at the recommended storage setting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 08:33
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Originally posted by Rancid Coolaid Rancid Coolaid wrote:

Variable!  And that comes from a Marine who shot fixed 10X for many years.


 
 
That is interesting but not surprising. I wonder if the Army will go variable like the Marines have with the S&B.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 09:26
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there are times when fixed just fit the situation and gun, thinking only variable is like thinking only bolt action.
4x Weaver
2.5 leo rifle
2 leo pistol
2.5 leo scout
6x burris
6x leo
4x ior
12x leo
2x burrris pistol
acog
4x leo pistol
10x ss
and they cost less!!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 19:54
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Thanks guys for the input and discussion. As I move toward rescoping a Ruger Model Number One in 308 and Rem 700 in 30-06, I wanted to give a close look at the prospect of using one of the  fixed power Kahles or bite the bullet and get the variable.
 Your experience is invaluable in acquiring a "fair and balanced" perspective.

Bonefish
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 20:07
Dale Clifford View Drop Down
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the mounting distance on ruger 1's is such that the scope is set back over the receiver more than a bolt (unless you use offsets or appel mounts) more like a blaser and the proportion of the unit is lost. fixed scopes up to six help this as the end is not as large and the distance to the saddle allows the scope to go forward more without loss of eye box.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 20:43
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I highly recommend a variable of euro design for the -06! A Kahles would be perfect.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2008 at 21:59
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I have hunded since a child with a 30.06 in SE Idaho.  I have used both Variable and Fixed.  After talking it over with my brothers we rarely used the variable power and are usually set on 4-6 X.  I have used a Leo 6X for about 10 yrs now with a Leo dot recticle.  We have used Leo's and B&L Elites.   Both of my brothers and a nephew have now switched to 6X since using mine. The fixed power to us seems to have "slightly" more light in low light conditions.  IMO I think using high X's tends to encourage unethical shots, inhances percieved ability to shoot long distance, distorts true hold over.   I have shot both deer and elk at 30 or so yards with no problem using the dot.  At longer distance I can "stack" my dot to account for hold over.  Thats just our opinion but I would never say that someone using a variable would not have the same success.    Buy what you or you will always wish it was something else.  Like the song  "its not having what you want, it wanting what you've got"   just my 2 cents and adjusted for inflation thats probably more like .0002 cents
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2008 at 08:00
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My problem with fixed powers has always been you have to choose for closer or longer shots. One will suffer due to compromise, a six seems the best compromise but the FOV at closer ranges especially with a moving target is just too small. On the other hand a 2 1/2-4 is better suited for the close range shot but at distance they make it a lot harder to thread a shot or to make out detail in lower light conditions. That to me is the inherent beauty of a variable......the ability to adapt to varying hunting conditions as they happen. Close or far, moving or stationary, good light or poor, open shot or threading thru a tiny opening, all these shots present theirselves to me during hunting seasons at differing times.The fixed are brighter than an identical level variable but the fact that you can still move up to a brighter variable also exists. One power just can't be the best for all....

Focus

Edited by Focus - January/18/2008 at 08:03
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2008 at 11:45
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Well put Focus!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2008 at 15:17
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Dale,
I have a Redfield Widefield 1 3/3x5 on the Ruger Model 1 and have been concerned about the mounting position of a new scope, considering the setback you mentioned. What scope should I be looking for to fit this gun. Any Recommendations?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2008 at 17:25
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Originally posted by jonbravado jonbravado wrote:

I like the simplicity of a fixed, but it's nice to have options if you need em.
the 4x and 6x from IOR and Kahles are still very attractive to me.
 
good thread.
 
J
 
I can relate to JB on this.  Although 95% of my scopes are variables and I recognize the versatility advantage they offer, I look at a fixed power riflescope the same way I look at a nice, falling block, single shot rifle.  Both have a certain romance and elegant simplicity to them that appeals to me.  I love my little 4X32 Zeiss Conquest!  It has very bright, clear optics, is fairly compact, and offers a nice, wide FOV.  I don't use the rifle it's mounted on for long shots anyway, and I believe for hunting in woods, 4X is a better fixed magnification than 6X personally, because it isn't overpowered for close shots, yet it also isn't too underpowered for 150 yd and under shots at deer, which is all I ever ask of it.  I never have to worry about being faced with a quick 20 yard shot and forgetting that I left my power ring set on 10X.  There's just something to be said for keeping it simple.  Even though variables these days are very durable, high quality instruments, they are still more mechanically complex and therefore, more prone to failure, even if failure is rare.  A fixed power scope will always be less expensive than a variable of equal optical quality and usually be lighter and more compact as well.  So, I say there's a definite place for a nice fixed powered scope and in some respects, I think it actually offers some advantages over a variable.  I will always own and buy way more variable than fixed power scopes, but still, a few nice fixed power scopes will always reside in my collection.
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