Best magnification for a scope

Russ66

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Oct 7, 2014
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NSW, Australia
is there such thing as a best magnification for long range hunting / shooting
Some great comments/replies on here. My thoughts? There is no such thing as 'too much' magnification - now let me explain. A 60x variable scope can be used as a 'spotting' scope or 'binoculars' AND always be dialled to a lower power for different environments - a 10x variable scope can never be dialled higher if the need arises. I suggest you look at the better quality scopes & make sure they are 'future proofed' for your needs i.e. 34mm tube, 50 or 56 objective, very good tracking, good glass ect - then find the max power range in the scopes you have short listed & save like hell to buy it.
 

Dev_L

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Jul 3, 2020
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washington us
lots of good info thanks think im going to keep running my diamond back tac 4x16x44 just making sure its focused / i relief is right
 

Maol

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Oct 14, 2016
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In the woods, a 4X with a tilt off mount and irons (1). Out to 400 a 6X (2). To 1000 a 10X, which I don't have. So a few different variables take that duty on a few different rifles.

Regarding a good quality serious variable, I went heavy first -Sightron SIII SS 10-50x60mm illuminated. My reasoning is this, as others have said, you can dial it down and the extra weight is less than large binocs or spotting scope.

I may have missed it being mentioned, but I also use the highest power for reading mirage to estimate the wind at different distances on the path to POI. BTW the large objective doesn't hurt at dawn and dusk either. But yes, as others have also said, it usually stays on 10 or 12x. It really is a telescope so I also have 2 6x24x50mm one on a 308 and another for a new mountain/canyon rifle build for sheep.
 
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Fargo
is there such thing as a best magnification for long range hunting / shooting
My rule of thumb is if you want a scope that can do everything look for 2-4 (maybe 5) power on the low end and anywhere from 18-25 on the high end. I will say this, I really like 20 power for sighting in because no matter the caliber you can see the holes very well and never have to leave the bench.
 

Pro2A

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May 23, 2009
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is there such thing as a best magnification for long range hunting / shooting
Military typically uses 1X for every 100 yards.....1000yds use 10X. But, those are typically young eyes. Having more power is great for identifying game quality, picking game out of cover, etc. Can always dial down to address mirage, find target, greater field of view, etc. Dad always said better to have and not need than to need and not have.
 

MajorSpittle

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Aug 24, 2012
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Oregon
is there such thing as a best magnification for long range hunting / shooting
If you hunt with the scope you will want a 2x-4x for lower magnification. I will hunt with my scope always on the lowest magnification. If you need to throw up your rifle for an off-hand shot you need a good eye box, FOV, and parallax. All 3 of these things diminish quickly when going over 2x magnification.

On the high end..... The sky is the limit; well actually the glass quality is the limit. Never get a scope with a higher magnification than what is useful. A 3x-21x scope which you can't resolve an image better at 21x then at 18x will just cause you issues and will most likely not last due to poor build quality. Also if getting a FFP scope you need to consider the reticle's design and ability to be used on both low and high magnification.
 

CTK

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Dec 16, 2017
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369
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Memphis, TN
I like 3-18 hunting scopes. Have never shot anything at 18x but use it to work up groups and for looking at animals. Would rather have the upper range than not. I find myself shooting in the 6-8x range <300y
 

TXTrained

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Jan 22, 2019
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Brazoria TX
For myself I like my 6.5 Creedmoor with my Delta Stryker 4.5-30x56 FFP 34mm main tube for Long Range Flat Land Hunting.However for Mountains I like my Browning 7mm Magnum with my Leupold 6.5-20×44 because of the less amount of weight.Both are adequate scopes buttons is just alot heavier than the other.I think a good rule of thumb or for me is 1.5 times per 100 meters or yards is good.I day 1.5 because at 400 meters/yards a 4 power is not enough for my 64 year old eyes.I shoot nearly every day from 200 yards to 1200 yards.Im no expert.Just retired and love to shoot and challenge myself.Six years I had never heard of a 1st Focal Plane Scope.Ice hunted all over North America and Mexico and Canada and killed everything I've hunted.Mostly with a Remington 700 BDL in 270 Win and a 6x Weaver Or a Browning 7mm Mag.and Leupold 3-9×42 until 10 years ago and up graded my scopes.
I hope this helps.Sorry it was so long.You can always dial the power down if you have it.But you can never dial up more if it's not there to get.Id get atleast a 4.5-21×50 .
Good Luck..
 

Lenny Foffa

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Mar 6, 2017
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I Went with a Leupold VX -3 8.5X to 25 X with a 30mm Tube. This model is a the one with the custom Bullet drop dial. Once you find your "Magic Load, " you send Leupold all the numbers, and the send you a dial to replace the one that came with the scope. Then , in theory, you dial the range instead of counting clicks. I have only shot it once at the 300 yard range, but I would be very comfortable shooting the out past 600 yards!! Its very bright and clear. I think it was under $900.00
 

jarnold37

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Dec 21, 2010
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I will start by saying I know I am not the norm and not saying the rest of you are wrong. But for me, but for me, I use a 12-42 scope with a fine crosshair and a dot. I have other scopes, but when I am shooting at anything past 400 yards, I don't want to "guess" and will not shoot without a rest. If the target is moving I will not consider attempting a shot. Thus, I have scope on 12X and can turn up power and see details and can place crosshairs on specific area. Usually at optimum hunting times I am not bothered by mirage but can dial down to 20-25 power if needed. My rifle is heavy and can watch my hit. I feel spoiled. If I was hiking in mountains looking for elusive animals would probably scale down in scope, rifle weight and case capacity, but shooting whitetails and even groundhogs, this is my preferred method. I suppose I am not much of a hunter.
 

Maol

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Oct 14, 2016
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I will start by saying I know I am not the norm and not saying the rest of you are wrong. But for me, but for me, I use a 12-42 scope with a fine crosshair and a dot. I have other scopes, but when I am shooting at anything past 400 yards, I don't want to "guess" and will not shoot without a rest. If the target is moving I will not consider attempting a shot. Thus, I have scope on 12X and can turn up power and see details and can place crosshairs on specific area. Usually at optimum hunting times I am not bothered by mirage but can dial down to 20-25 power if needed. My rifle is heavy and can watch my hit. I feel spoiled. If I was hiking in mountains looking for elusive animals would probably scale down in scope, rifle weight and case capacity, but shooting whitetails and even groundhogs, this is my preferred method. I suppose I am not much of a hunter.
@Jarnold, guess I am not the norm either. I agree you can always dial down, but not up if it ain't there.

Myself, I use binocs for scanning and my scopes to spot. For safety the rifle (is DBM) is unloaded and I have all ready scanned the area with binocs so I know what the hell I am pointing a rifle at. One time I saw a guy that forgot his binocs, point a rifle at me on the hood of a metallic light blue Dodge pickup. I stood up and flipped him off w/both hands and picked up my pack and slung my rifle. By the time I glassed him again with the binocs he was making good time somewhere judging from the dust off the ridge top.

Different purposes and distances = different scopes. The weight of equal LR binocs or a decent spotting scope are at a min of 2-3+lbs, so I feel like I am saving overall weight in my gear. If I need to carry a tripod (have 2)and a spotting scope (2) we are talking horseback and that is rarely my situation. Or a Sherpa which never is. If I have to carry the weight I would rather it was on the rifle where it is useful (spot hits, recoil, and steadiness)

There is only so much magnification that is useful in scopes/binocs due to mirage, but at a high x you can read the mirage/wind and then dial back to whatever x is most useful.

The LR scope I use the most is on a Savage 10BA SE, which with the 2lb scope, folding stock, padded sling, loaded mag, and break weighs right at 14.75 lbs. Pretty dang heavy, even worse with bipod and loaded 10 round mag. The rifle was heavy naturally at 11 lbs from the factory. With a DBM Target receiver it was never meant as a Stalker/Mountain/Sheep Rifle lol. It is a 6.5C with everything ready to switch it to 6.5 PRC (original intent) I don't think the weight will change, same length (24") and profile barrel.

Like Jarnold it is what I use for really long shots, and the scope stays on 12x most of the time and rarely take any shots over 24x. Unlike Jarnold I use pack instead of a rest, and it took me longer to say the same basic thing...
 

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