Are high powered scopes really necessary for hunting?

catamountsierra

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Apr 18, 2014
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Nampa, ID
So far, I've been satisfied with the 4-16 HST that I used on my 7mm08. It gave me plenty of power, especially when you consider that 1) I'm still learning to better read the wind and so that limits my shot distance, especially on game, to ranges easily covered by 16x and 2) the factory Remington barrel was at best a 1 1/4 moa rifle. That rifle is now at the smith becoming my first custom. I bought my first ffp scope for the build, but because 1) still applies, it is also a 4-16, and it should do fine until I can both make better use of and afford a better scope. I think my absolute ideal would be 4-32, but it will be a while before I can afford that...
 

LVJ76

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Feb 2, 2019
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Tucson, Arizona
Hi all:

I believe it depends on what and where you are hunting. If you are hunting the coues deer you definitely need at least a 4x16 or 6x24 to get a good look and be able to handle a long shot. I have not had the need to shoot anything past 500 yards because I like to get closer, but still at 500 yards at a small deer, 4x or 6x, sometimes just wont cut it, especially is the deer is in the shade

Best regards

Luis
 

MachV

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May 31, 2001
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Casper Wy
I've found the old Leupold 12x works great for prairie doggin, more field of view than a variable. Along those lines The IOR 16x works good for hunting if the ranges will be past 100 yards.
Had a lot of 6-24s years ago but have found them to be too much for most condition. The last few new scopes have been 4-14s. Turn them down when walking and up for a long shot.
The mirage and wind here in Wyoming very seldom let a guy use more than 16 x anyway
 

BRENT ERWIN

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Aug 8, 2018
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Alaska
Do you have to have a high power scope to hunt - NO! With that being said, what are you hunting, where are you hunting (thick forest, the open flats of southern WYO), what rifle do you have. If you look over time the bigger the better is true with scopes. For years it was the strait 4X, then the 3-9's and so on. I say you have to get the best scope for your hunting needs. I like the 3.5-15 and the 4-16. Is this much scope a must have - NO. but as I get older it is nice to get a little bit better view, my eyes not being what they used to be. If I take a 700 yd shot I have enough scope, but not so much that all I see all fur at 100 yds. With the hunting that I do any more scope would not make sense. Is it necessary, not really but it is nice to have. Make your choice on what makes sense to you, not what make sense to Brad...
 

Saracen

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Nov 30, 2016
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United Kingdom
The more I shoot long range the less mag I seem to be using. Usually running solo and with no spotter to help call hits I need the larger field of view to spot myself, especially on game. 10x is sufficient out as far as I’m comfortable at taking game, and 14x I find maximum for efficient self spotting of hits. Anything higher can be handy for field judging antlers or horns, but a spotting scope is usually right beside me.
I waa shooting on a firing range at 900 yards here in the UK last Sunday, at zero degree temperatures and preferred winding the magnification down to 9x. The results spoke for themselves. Then, of course, there's mirage either directly due to hot weather or the heat haze from a hot barrel ( range use) , and high magnification becomes a pain in the arse
 

Mark Warner

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Apr 16, 2018
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No you don't need a great deal of magnification for the overwhelming percentage of hunting situations.

After more than 40 years of hunting I'd say that a decent 2-10, 3-12, 4-14, etc will cover about 95% of hunters needs.

I do a lot of hunting in very low light and at night so high quality glass and larger objectives serve me very well which is why all of my scopes are 50-56mm OBJ's.

Eventually all of my general purpose rifles will be wearing 3-18x50 or 4-24x52mm VX 6's.

My DG and defensive rifles will all wear either 1x red dot/laser sights or 1-6x variables.

IF/when I cut my collection down and I had to pick only one optic for all it would be the VX6 3-18x50.

Too much magnification will get you into trouble a whole lot faster than too little.
 

Mark Warner

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I am with on the 3-18 vx6 I have 1 with the 50 mm and 2 with the 44 mm and 1 4-24, my others are spread from 3-9, 4-12, 4.5-14, 6.5-20's and 8.5-25, for PD's shooting. I love them all and all of them have a specified job from 22 to 338 win mag....m
 

FS1

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Dec 29, 2016
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I am finding the 3-18 power range is becoming my favorite. I hunt deer in the fall and coyotes around the area most of the rest of the year. I like the 18x top magnification for zeroing my rifles and zooming in on something suspicious at distance to see if it’s wiley coyotes head sticking through the brush. Some guys prefer a 4-20 mag range but I prefer the FOV of the 3x when calling because those suckers can appear out of nowhere.

Some reticles are too fine to see quickly on low power in a FFP scope. I’ve been through several optics in the last year and the MD1 reticle on the eotech VUDU has been a good compromise in a hunting scope.

The military is trending towards higher magnification optics due to the need to ID whether or not an individual in the mountains is a farmer with a hand tool or a bad guy with a Mosin Nagant. The tests that they did showed that 15x was the lowest magnification snipers could do it with reliably at 800 yards if memory serves. correctly. As mentioned before a higher mag scope can eliminate the need for a spotting scope when deciding what to leave at home.

YMMV we all do things that work for us.
 

KyCarl

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May 10, 2017
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Petersburg Kentucky 41080
My answer to the OP is that NO you do not need a high power scope!
I have taken several deer with iron sights no scope at all. It's still hunting!
But a good scope is nice!
 

Charley Morgan

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Mar 3, 2019
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Petal, MS
I recently jumped on the high magnification bandwagon but quickly realized I did not need it and sold that scope. I am currently using a 4x16x50 on one scope and a 3x18x50 on the other. Even with those I typically shoot well under the max magnification just to have a better field of view.
 

Mark Warner

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Apr 16, 2018
Messages
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Location
Middle Tennessee
I am finding the 3-18 power range is becoming my favorite. I hunt deer in the fall and coyotes around the area most of the rest of the year. I like the 18x top magnification for zeroing my rifles and zooming in on something suspicious at distance to see if it’s wiley coyotes head sticking through the brush. Some guys prefer a 4-20 mag range but I prefer the FOV of the 3x when calling because those suckers can appear out of nowhere.

Some reticles are too fine to see quickly on low power in a FFP scope. I’ve been through several optics in the last year and the MD1 reticle on the eotech VUDU has been a good compromise in a hunting scope.

The military is trending towards higher magnification optics due to the need to ID whether or not an individual in the mountains is a farmer with a hand tool or a bad guy with a Mosin Nagant. The tests that they did showed that 15x was the lowest magnification snipers could do it with reliably at 800 yards if memory serves. correctly. As mentioned before a higher mag scope can eliminate the need for a spotting scope when deciding what to leave at home.

YMMV we all do things that work for us.

When I was young (I am 67 now) I only had a few guns to cover all my hunting needs 1 22 pistol w/open sights, an 870 Remington 12 guage and a 22-250 and a 22 rifle the 22-250 had a 3-18 Redfield and my 22 had a 3-9 Weaver, as you said a wide FOV and variable power scope was the only way to fly. One of the comments above said that 3-9 and a 4.5-14 would cover most hunting needs but shooting at a Pdogs at 4,5,6,7,8 hundred yards sorry a 6-18 is on the lite side. My 22-250 and 243 varmint HB rifles have VX3 8.5x25 on them, not much FOV needed when shooting Pdogs, my coyote rifles have VX6 3-18 scopes, plenty of FOV on them, squirrel rifle has a VX2 4-12 on it, tactical AR has a 1-5 on it, deer rifles have both high and lower variables on them depending on if I am hunting heavy woods or open fields. Now a days It is too easy to set up your rifles with your PERSONAL PREFERENCE to what you use them for. Happy hunting !
 

Misha

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Mar 6, 2019
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Location
Midwest
this is personal choice and application based decision - shoot what you like...
3-15 or 3-18 seem to get it done for a wide range of things
 
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