Best magnification for a scope

FEENIX

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is there such thing as a best magnification for long range hunting / shooting
It depends on the distance, type of target, type of shooting (benchrest), and your actual vision. For instance, I have a 4-20x50 on my . 270 AI, I shot at a target (rock) at 966 yards on 12X and my son had to take it down to 8X. For most, 3-18/4-20 variable is plenty for a 1K yard, 10X fixed used to be the norm for snipers.
 

aushunter1

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is there such thing as a best magnification for long range hunting / shooting
Only the best magnification for you & your situation!

If you have to much magnification it can make target acquisition difficult & the narrow field of view can make it hard to keep viewing a moving target.

To small a magnification & you cant see & also track the target correctly.

So you need to find the correct balance but that is why so many scopes these days are variable power.

For target shooting I want pretty high magnification for myself as I want to see where I am hitting, for hunting I want less because I want a wider field of veiw but the distance to animal also will determine this for me.
 
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brcfo_outdoors

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As mentioned above, your particular setting, use, and preference will ultimately determine what works for you.

For a straight PRS style rifle, I like to go up to about 25x. My custom 6.5CM has a 4.5-27x Vortex and its for steel or two legged targets in a really unlikely scenario. For long range hunting I like to back it down to a 4-20x for easier target acquisition and tracking without giving up my ability to see what I am shooting. I also like a 50mm objective and 30mm tube as a compromise of light transmission and weight on the hunting scope.
 
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Rick Richard

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I think 3-18 is a do all for most long range hunting applications, but recently I purchased a NF 4-32 FFP. The upper end is good for zooming in to evaluate finer details such as determining size of antlers and etc., but for the shot I would zoom down for a better shot placement. Too much is lost in FOV at higher magnification in my opinion.
 

436

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I think the best magnification (power) for long-range, which we'll call 1k... is 16X in my book and 6X for just all-around hunting up to 600 yards. Obviously, I'm not talking variables because that doesn't seem to be the way the question was structured. I've owned both the older Leupold Ultra 16X-M1 and the Ultra 6X-M3 this one had friction windage and elevation with Military stadia line reticle, not sure why I sold either to this day.... my point is, even in variable scopes with those power settings 6X & 16 X in them I don't find them to be as clear and sharp. Just my 0.02 Cheers.
 

gr8fuldoug

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General rule of thumb is 1x per 100 yards. Some guys prefer 1.5x per 100 yards. This in mind a 1000 yard shot would require between a 10-15x scope.
Generally speaking, the majority of kill shots in hunting take place inside of 200 yards, so a wider FOV for inside 200 or 100 yards is best. so a 2-10x, 3-15x, 3-18x for hunting would be optimum
 

HuntnPack

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is there such thing as a best magnification for long range hunting / shooting
For me I prefer something variable, versatile,
With a useable power range.
& with a simple uncluttered Visible reticle.
NF 2.5-20x50 SFP with MOAR CF2, is my most recent. I’ve found in the past I find
Myself Cranking the dial & taking shots at
one of 3 settings, lowest, middle, Highest.
The position of the power throw lever provides a great quick visual reference,
I’ll typically carry it set on either the lowest or mid setting depending on hunt terrain.
 

Euler

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In the context of long range shooting and hunting, a 3-15 is a pretty good do-everything. I'm typically on 12x - 15x when shooting 1,000 yards. Three power will typically give you good FoV. IME a 5x magnification ratio is about the sweet spot. The larger ratios (8x, 10x, etc) will often come with compromises that I don't care to make.
 

archangel485

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Higher magnification gives you more target resolution but lower magnification gives you better field of view, as many have mentioned. I find for hunting, PRS and even ELR steel shooting I generally have my scope set between 8 and 16x depending on range, even though my scope is capable of 32x. I do like the 32x for paper punching, I use that setting for my hundred yard grouping, and suppose I would do the same if I shot long range paper targets, which I don't. The problem with too much magnification on steel and hunting rifles is target acquisition as well as spotting the shot. Zoom in too far and you won't spot the shot, recoil will bounce the target out of your scope and you'll have no clue where the bullet landed, especially critical for a miss or even worse a bad hit.
 

archangel485

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I can't bring myself to do fixed power, I mess with that zoom knob entirely too much, haha. But say the democrats were to get a law passed that declared variable power scopes as assault weapon accessories that are extremely deadly (because that's on par with most of their gun law logic), then I'd probably go with a fixed 12x. :)
 

imyourhuckleberry

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The main problem with high magnification is environmental conditions. If it is hot, hazy, and there is a lot of mirage the magnification will amplify atmospheric conditions and your reticle will keep pace with your heart beat. Normally I end up having to dial down magnification, rarely using higher power unless shooting for groups at shorter distances.
 
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