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Scope Power

Printed From: OpticsTalk by SWFA, Inc.
Category: Scopes
Forum Name: Rifle Scopes
Forum Description: Centerfire long gun scopes
URL: http://www.opticstalk.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=8143
Printed Date: October/16/2017 at 23:00


Topic: Scope Power
Posted By: Graysteel
Subject: Scope Power
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 13:36

I figure it is time to start the Holy wars!

My question is what do folks think is the highest useful power on a scope? Yes, I know that target folks often use very high power scopes and some tactical folks (Ok, I mean me) often say moderate is better, but my thought is this:

I have often said that my limit of accuracy is around 1/4 MOA as a shooter. From a resolving detail standpoint people are typically said to be able to resolve in the neighborhood of about 0.5 MOA unaided. So I need at least 2x for it even to be possible to see well enough to shoot my best. Being more practical, I would guess on needs about 3-5 times minimum resolution to be able to get good kinesthetic feedback. That puts us in the 6-10 power range. Erring on the high side (10) and granting that bench rest shooters with mechanical rests may be able to hold 1/8 MOA and therefore may get some useful benefit out of 20 to 24 power. But, I still wonder if there is any value in the 36X scopes. Thoughts?

My guess is that perhaps it is helpful for those with issues with eyesight or moderate quality glass, but I was wondering about other perspectives...





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Replies:
Posted By: cheaptrick
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 14:43
Tagged.....


Posted By: Roy Finn
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 15:22

You don't always need high magnification to shoot little groups. This was from a custom Husqvarna 06 with a Leupold 2.5-8x36 scope. 5 shots/100 yrds.

 

 



Posted By: cheaptrick
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 15:29

Excellent shooting, Roy!



Posted By: Roy Finn
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 15:42
Thank you sir.........


Posted By: Graysteel
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 16:31

Someone has to disagree or have another opinion. :)



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Posted By: Roy Finn
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 16:34
So ya think I should hold off sending it back to Hart for a re-rebarrel.???


Posted By: Dale Clifford
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 16:49

My guess is that there are probably uncountable magazines articles dedicated to showing small groups attributed to lower ranges of power etc. however the variable you and the magazine have set is one of group size, not a combination of shooting factors. if DVC power, speed, and accuracy become the variables, (to say nothing of long range off hand silhoutte) the desirable power range takes a much larger jump. under time pressure the need to get any part of the reticle on the target favors magnifications in the higher range and is ironic that such events are usually not precision shooting, which is the area usually attributed to higher mag. optics. perhaps an approach such as what is the highest power I can still get on target in the fastest amount of time would be a more directed.



Posted By: RONK
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 17:09

Originally posted by Roy Finn Roy Finn wrote:

So ya think I should hold off sending it back to Hart for a re-rebarrel.???

 Well yeah, at least until you figger out where the other 4 shots went! 



Posted By: helo18
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 17:15

Very interesting debate, but the problem is what you are using the scope for.  As stated, those that target shoot off a rest benefit from the higher magnification scopes.  I doubt out in the field for normal big game hunting anything over about 12x is going to do much good.  In the woods, I wouldn't go over 3 or 4x.  In heavy brush I really like using open sights.  If you say that the effective range for a hunter is normally about 300 yards, then you shouldn't really need anything over 6x, although the extra is nice to have.  As already shown, you can shoot a great group at 100 yds with low power scopes.  So why would you need a 24 or 36x scope for normal hunting, unless you want to hit the tick crawling through the vital area.  So IMHO, 9-12x is tops for big game.

 

Now, if you go to varmit hunting, then it could be benefitial to go up to 16-24x depending on the range.  I enjoy shooting at 1000yds with my 300 wm, and I have a 16x on there.  I don't think anything above that is necessary, and you can't hold it still with out a rest or bipod anyway.

 

So it comes down really to what you are going to use it for.  But I think a good all around scope for close to far shooting is a 3-12x or 4-16x.  Or something in that range.



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To be prepared for War is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

GEORGE WASHINGTON


Posted By: RifleDude
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 17:17

Originally posted by Roy Finn Roy Finn wrote:

So ya think I should hold off sending it back to Hart for a re-rebarrel.???

 

I would definitely forego the rebarrel idea there, Roy.  Just from the shape of the group, specifically that dreaded 4:00 flier, I can readily see the classic telltale sign of a cracked right locking lug!  Therefore, rather than spending another dime on that rifle, thereby further risking your safety, I highly suggest you box up that ticking time bomb and ship it to me instead! 

 

...Great shooting, bud!



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Ted


Money can't buy happiness... but it's much more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.


Posted By: RifleDude
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 17:24
WHOA!  Wait a minute there, Roy... I just noticed that you said that rifle wears a LEUPOLD 2.5-8X36 scope... but that can't be, as everyone here knows that you HATE Leupys, right?

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Ted


Money can't buy happiness... but it's much more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.


Posted By: RifleDude
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 17:50

Good topic, Graysteel!

 

As you and helo18 allude to, the highest useful magnification all depends on the shooting application and the rifle and shooter's grouping ability.  For a benchrest rifle and a shooter capable of 1/8 MOA, you almost can't have too much magnification and you want a fixed power scope anyway.

 

For a varmint rifle, you don't need as much magnification as a target rifle, but depending on the type of varminting, you could use magnification around 24X under certain circumstances.  For the type of varmint shooting I do (PDs), even for the longest shots, I've found that magnification much beyond about 15X is unnecessary because mirage becomes such a problem during most of the day that you can't resolve extreme detail well enough to use really high magnification anyway.

 

For a big game rifle, I believe more important than the consideration of where to draw the line on upper end magnification is making sure you don't have too much magnification on the low end (assuming a variable scope).  I personally think one should never go above 4X on the low end for close quarters shots or shots at moving game in order to have decent FOV.  That generally means 12X, 14X, or 16X on the upper end, but I personally think 16X is way too much magnification to be truly useful for most big game hunting.  To my way of thinking, I want no more than 3X on the low end and no more than 12X on the upper end.  My favorite scopes are 1.5-6X and 2-7X variables, and although I prefer the low powered variables for their compactness, I believe the best all around "hunt anywhere" magnification range is 2.5-10X.  That config has plenty of FOV on the low end and all the magnification you'll ever need for all but the most extreme shots on the high end.



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Ted


Money can't buy happiness... but it's much more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.


Posted By: Roy Finn
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 17:50

I'll have to check that locking lug issue. That rifle used to wear the suspect Leupy and now wears a B&L 4000 2.5-10x40. I figured it was a bad scope that accounted for the erratic grouping.  I don't hate Leupold scopes, I just think that their pricing is a little out of wack.

 



Posted By: RifleDude
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 18:05
Really nice rifle, Roy!  Are those Buehler rings? 

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Ted


Money can't buy happiness... but it's much more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.


Posted By: Roy Finn
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 18:08
Yep, not alot of options for those Husqvarna's.


Posted By: Graysteel
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 19:51

It seems that most folks seem to agree the max useful is somewhere around 20X. There have to be a few benchrest folks out there that feel that 20-24  X is just way too low?


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Posted By: Dale Clifford
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 20:56

I don't know ----- is bench rest really shooting ?????

 

NF 8x32

 

 

 



Posted By: hot30
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 21:42

Nice one Dale.   Jammed on 32x, your target is a bullet hole, yes???  At 7 or 800yards

that is.?   Fine example of what scope power cuold be used for.



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30


Posted By: cletus85
Date Posted: October/16/2007 at 22:55
I used to think a 3-9x40 was fine for about everything...now that I am a much more picky hunter and shooter, I like a little more power under certain circumstances.  If I'm shooting my .204 from the bench for groups I like 18x. For open country deer hunting, I can justify up to a 14x max, but usually comprimise with a 3-10x or something like that.  As has already been said, when hunting, target acquision is an important factor to consider too.


Posted By: koshkin
Date Posted: October/17/2007 at 00:22
I suspect most people here are better shots than I am, so I am not sure how relevant my take on this is to everyone else. 

That having been said:

I can shoot down to half MOA or so at reasonably close range (within 300 yards) and with a decent rest (or prone with a bipod, as I have recently learned).  Through some experimentation I found that when shooting at 100yards, I shoot just as well with a decent 2.5x scope as I do with a higher magnification scope.  As the range increases, I need a little more magnification, but not in direct proportion to distance.  I am just as mediocre at 700 yards (the longest at the range where I shoot) with a 6x scope as I am with an 18x scope.  For me, a crisp reticle, ability to see the target and the shape of the target seem to make more difference than pure magnification.  I do not need to resolve the bullet hole to shoot fairly small groups.  I do not even need to see the target all that well if it is symmetric.  For example, if I am shooting at a circle or a square, if I do not resolve the edges of it clearly, I can still have a consistent aiming point without thinking about it.  However, if I am shooting at something of irregular shape (we have animal silhouettes placed at different ranges), I need to see the shape fairly clearly in order to hit  the exact spot I want.

Now, keep in mind that I said "see clearly" rather than "higher magnification".   Good glass often lets me get away with comparatively modest magnification.  A 6x42 IOR lets me see the target more clearly than a 10x40 Elite 3200 or 10x42 Super Sniper, for example.  For a while, I was using a 3x25 IOR CQB scopes and I was very comfortable shooting out to 500 yards with it at targets of reasonable size. 

I am not a competitor, so I can;t comment on the needs of competitive shooters.  For the rest of us, I think high quality scopes of reasonably modest magnification are, IMO, the way to go for most shooting n the range and in the field. 

For varmint shooting, 16x is sufficient for most conditions, but since low end is not very important there, I see no harm in fielding a 6-24x or similar scope.

ILya


Posted By: helo18
Date Posted: October/17/2007 at 00:52

From what I have seen on this forum, the people here know about optics, know about guns, reloading, and know how to shoot (and I am learning alot for all you guys, thanks for the good info).  In this case, higher magnification can help, unless, as mentioned earlier, it is a crappy scope.  Good glass makes a difference too.  It all adds up for the guys that do the research and the practice to get to this point.

 

Unfortunately, you can take the best gun, and the best scope, and it won't help the hunter that won't put the time into get better and learning.  If a guy can't hit the target with a low magnification, the higher magnifications won't help til you teach him how to shoot.  Plus if you need 16x or above to see big game, it is to far to shoot, at least for me.  I could hit an elk at 1000 yards, but will it be in the vitals?  Or does the bullet have the energy at that range?  I know that is ballistics, and I can tell you at that range, I would consider it iffy even with a 300 wm on animals that size.

 

The higher magnifications for the most part aren't going to make a better shooter, or that much more accurate.  Unless you are shooting competition, where a cm makes a difference, having anything about 16x isn't needed.  So for me, the higher magnification is nice, but not necessary.

 

My question is, Does the higher magnifications help, or does it allow people to shoot at ranges that they shouldn't be shooting at (past their capabilities, at least with hunting.  I don't care about target because it isn't animals that are getting away.)?



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To be prepared for War is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

GEORGE WASHINGTON


Posted By: 8shots
Date Posted: October/17/2007 at 04:19

My money is all on the intended purpose of the scope. For hunting to distances out to 350 yds or so a 10x power is enough and allows a good trade-off between field of view, target aquisition and visibility of the aiming point. The size of the animal is also a deciding factor. The smaller the animal the more a 14X scope would look attractive.

 For target shooting I would say that the higher magnifications come into play.

I think Koshkin is correct that the shape, size and colour of the target also determines optimum power needed. If my target is a 1MOA black dot on a white paper I need less magnification then say on a black dot 5MOA in size. Or, as in the competitions I shoot in which is at a picture of an animal. I now use a 25 magnification and can pick up a subtle dark brown horizontal colouring, where it meets the white fleck on the shoulder...... get the point? or the aiming point!!! So in this case I can find an exact aiming point in stead of genereally on the shoulder etc.

I have never seen true benchrest shooting in person, but watched a dude on Youtube demonstrate some techniques. The guy lines up, lifts his head up and does not even look through the scope when he pulls the trigger.  As Dale says, this is not shooting, but an equipment race. I would say about a 250 power scope would look great on these rifles!!!



Posted By: cyborg
Date Posted: October/17/2007 at 06:52

I would tend to agree with Koshkin, but I can see where there is need for the higher mags, but is the higher mag beneficial to you when the resolution may be lacking. (use the best glass you can get)

Personally I shoot just as good with 10x as I do with 20x, and I personally have no need for more than 20x.

If someone shoots better with higher magnification, more power to them. We each have our own preferences, and abilities.

 

Helo18, I'm pretty sure that 1000 yrds is past the ethical range for a 300 win mag for most game size animals.

I won't shoot past 650 for whitetail deer, most here I doubt would either, I like to hunt power line and gas, or sewer line easments.

I have a chart somewhere for energy at distances by bullet weight and velocity, I'll look for it. It shows the game animals ranges for calibres as well.  

 

I'm pretty sure for most people that are hunting, clarity, resolution, low light, and multi range use are more important, as higher mags also magnify even the smallest movement, and can cause you to take more time to acquire your aimpoint.

That's different for bench rest shooters. They have mechanical means to steady their rifles, not exactly a pure sport, it's more about who has the cash than who has the ability. Dale and 8shots are dead on the money there.   



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With Freedom comes great responsibility, you cannot have one without the other

An armed public are citizens. A disarmed public are subjects.

OATH KEEPER #8233 Support us, and join our cause.

Cyborg


Posted By: Dale Clifford
Date Posted: October/17/2007 at 07:51
Graysteel already gave the answer to his own post when he answered 8shots question in that post. Its a question of statistics. any hunting rifle will at one time deliver that target group the shooter carries in his wallet as a hood ornament, but competitors and high volume shooters (can include hunters, but usually doesn"t) that group must be shot 10 out of 10 times event after event. (and in some cases with time pressure). Unless the course of fire, do to movement, or shooting position will usually take advantage of mag. in the higher end. (movers and "special" set ups obviously take advantage of the lower ranges). Not to say that lower powers don't have utility, but there biggest advantage is not in mag, but in wt. savings as on a hunting rifle, which causes a bias in preference on that bases and not speed power and accuracy.


Posted By: 8shots
Date Posted: October/17/2007 at 08:17
Well said, Dale.


Posted By: helo18
Date Posted: October/17/2007 at 13:06
I totally agree with you Cyborg.  I wouldn't try a shot at elk past 400 and deer 600.  I am just saying that there are people that think because they can see that far with higher magnifications (I have guided for a couple people like this) they can shoot at those ranges.  Anyway, to get back on subject, the top end for me is 12x to 16x for big game and varmits.  Target, go as high as you want.

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To be prepared for War is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

GEORGE WASHINGTON


Posted By: cyborg
Date Posted: October/17/2007 at 14:34

I too know a few people like that, I've spent a few all nighters tracking wounded animals. I still am amazed how some great shots result in a tracking nightmare. Let alone when someone pulls a long range crap shoot out of their rearend.

Glad to hear that you're ethical, how long you been a guide ?  



-------------
With Freedom comes great responsibility, you cannot have one without the other

An armed public are citizens. A disarmed public are subjects.

OATH KEEPER #8233 Support us, and join our cause.

Cyborg


Posted By: helo18
Date Posted: October/17/2007 at 17:37
Guided for 3 (archery and rifle) years so far.  I know that isn't much, but the area I am guiding in, I have hunted for 14 years.  Plus the outfitter has been hunting that area for 61 years.  I have learned more from that guy in 3 years about elk than I think I ever could hunting for myself in 30 years.  Plus you learn alot from watching other people hunt and the mistakes made.  Whether that is me as the guide or some the hunter.  Most of the people in this forum have way more experience than I do, so you should take my opinions with a grain of salt.  Of course I will still give my opinion (if proved wrong, I will change it), and continue to learn from the great advise from others in the OT.

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To be prepared for War is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

GEORGE WASHINGTON


Posted By: cyborg
Date Posted: October/18/2007 at 08:55

We're all entitled to our opinions they're based on our own experiences, No need for me to take yours with a grain of salt.

You've got alot on the ball, just as do the other cotributors here. We're all here to contribute and also learn,

Take good care of yourself. and pass along as much knowledge as you can so others can pass it along as well. 



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With Freedom comes great responsibility, you cannot have one without the other

An armed public are citizens. A disarmed public are subjects.

OATH KEEPER #8233 Support us, and join our cause.

Cyborg


Posted By: Urimaginaryfrnd
Date Posted: October/18/2007 at 09:56

I tend to agree with Koshkin it is more important to have glass capable of resolving what you are shooting at than the high magnification. On the flip side there is something to be said for having a variable in the 4-14 or 4-16 range eaven 6-20 range if you need to use the added magnification for target identification or comparison. Example: Deer hunting with sniper rifles my son was using an 8.5-25 Leu Mk4 illuminated on a PSS. I was using Leu Mk4 10x M3 on a Savage 10FP he could tell which deer were does in the antlerless only season at 500 yds and all I could see were that there were deer. One of the deer in the group was a 4 pt with small horns and not to be shot. The thing is -- there is a trade off --- because lower power scopes tend to have more internal adjustment and are naturally brighter due to the size of the exit eye pupil. I think a 6x42mm scope is ideal and larger objectives tend to be awkward. I can tollerate a 50mm objective but the larger ones just seem too awkward.  I put a 4-16x40 Bushnell 4200 on one of my muskets and as long as you hang on good the 3.5 in  eye relief is workable but my nephew got popped in the head by the scope every time he shot it so the eye relief factor and shooter ability have to be factored into purchases also. One of my favorite scopes is:

http://www.swfa.com/pc-3496-307-leupold-45-14x50-vx-iii-30mm-riflescope.aspx - LEU57140 http://www.swfa.com/pc-3496-307-leupold-45-14x50-vx-iii-30mm-riflescope.aspx">Leupold 4.5-14x50 VX-III 30mm Riflescope                                                                                Leupold 4.5-14x50 VX-III 30mm Riflescope
  • Matte
  • Boone & Crockett
  • 30mm
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  • Side Focus
  • Index Matched Lens System
  • Free One-year Membership to Boone and Crockett Club's Associates Program w/ Purchase
SWFA: $769.95
More Info...



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"Always do the right thing, just because it is the right thing to do".
Bobby Paul Doherty
Texas Ranger



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