fixed power scopes

Privi457

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Remember seeing "over there" in 1968 in an Air America storeroom a wooden crate containing a Winchester M 70 Target rifle in 270 WCF topped by a Lymans 10x Targetspot and many many boxes of 130 gr Silvertip ammo. Until then I was unaware the CIA was into "target shooting"🤫
 

yobuck

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Brief history of the rifle scope.

1835 to 1840 saw the development of a rifle based optic. By 1850 they were being used in a very limited number and were very low fixed power. (Normally 2x to 6x) and had adjustable mounts only.

In WW1, the Germans were quick to see the advantages in telescopic siting and used/issued up to 25,000 to special units. Most of These were 4x to 8x in some cases. The us got in on the optics game with some 6x Warner and Swase in limited numbers.

By WW 2 there were more uses by the military and the US issued (In some cases) the 2.5x Lyman and the 10x Unertl These were still fixed power scopes. Some of the more famous European snipers still used Iron sites for dependability.

In Korea, optics were not widely used or needed. And not until Vietnam did they become popular or part of training on there use. By this time the variable scope had been developed (Around 1950 and on), and many of the snipers purchased there own scopes earlier on, and many used the Civilian versions of their choice until the military started issuing them.

Variable scopes were not considered very dependable for many years and fixed power were considered the best if you life depended on it. Even up to the 90s this was mostly true and fix power was the bench mark for accurate rifle scopes even though most target scopes had adjustable mounts.

With current technology, the fixed power and adjustable systems are almost gone except in special applications.

J E CUSTOM
Well to a large degree they are gone because the scope manufacturers chose them to be gone.
Same as fixed power eyepieces in spotting scopes are for but a few exceptions gone also.
 

david g ranes

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Well to a large degree they are gone because the scope manufacturers chose them to be gone.
Same as fixed power eyepieces in spotting scopes are for but a few exceptions gone also.
Back in 1977 I had a real nice weaver 10 power scope I inherited from my neighbor that was on a real nice Remington 22 250 and I got rid of it for 10 dollars because the cross hairs weren’t centered in the bell wasn’t smart enough to know then that the cross hairs actually moved when you ajusted the scope makes me sad I got rid of reds scope every time I think about it. David
 

argeea

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houston
I think the trend to ultra high magnification is due to the increased numbers of target shooters and the decreased numbers of hunters. I would wager that target shooters comprise more than 80% of rifle owners. When target shooting with your buddies, FOV is not a consideration, only the ability to see the target as big as possible to hit it.

Most hunters are over scoped. It is hard to find a low power scope in a gun store today. Even 3-9 is becoming more rare as the trend is 12x or 16x or 20x being preferred.
I’m guilty of that. most of my scopes are 16 to 20 power and even one in 25x. planning on using less power in future
 

HARPERC

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I've had 3 fixed powers 2x Leupold EER set up "scout" style on a .30-06, a 4x Unertl with dot, and a 10X Leupold.
One can do pretty well with just 2x, or I could once upon a time. A 4x wouldn't interest me these days. The US optics 10X calls to me once in awhile.

Shooting more varmints than big game any more, the older eyes like more power when it's useable, and the ability to turn it down when conditions won't support it.
 

J E Custom

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Texas
Back in 1977 I had a real nice weaver 10 power scope I inherited from my neighbor that was on a real nice Remington 22 250 and I got rid of it for 10 dollars because the cross hairs weren’t centered in the bell wasn’t smart enough to know then that the cross hairs actually moved when you ajusted the scope makes me sad I got rid of reds scope every time I think about it. David

There have been lots of changes in scopes over the years. The centered recital was just one of them. Originally, the recital was a fine wire bonded to a lens that was movable up and down and left to right for scope adjustment. The other lens remained stationary. This type of scope was the reason for the adjustable bases. (It allowed you to better center the scope and this would minimize the offset in the recital. The fixed power scope with no moving parts used special mounts for the zero adjustments like the Unertl and Lyman.

Later they found that the recital could be aligned/adjusted optically so the recital remained centered. Now the recital is Laser etched on the lens and is dependable and crisp.

The adjustable bases like the Unertl and the Lyman target scopes have, are still very popular with the purest and collectors but the newer style of turret adjustments are much more precise, especially at longer distances because of the tolerance requirement for each type of adjustments.
I have to admit that even though I liked the adjustable base concept, the new adjustments are more precise. (Especially when you forget to return the scope into battery after each shot :rolleyes: )

I would guess that popularity drives sales and the newest designs are more usable and fit the needs of many different people. they can also be adjusted for different conditions and perform many different task with only one scope. So I would have to give the newest designs an A +👍.


J E CUSTOM
 
Last edited:

yobuck

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east central fl. /n.c. pa.
There have been lots of changes in scopes over the years. The centered recital was just one of them. Originally, the recital was a fine wire bonded to a lens that was movable op and down and left to right for scope adjustment. The other lens remained stationary. This type of scope was the reason for the adjustable bases. (It allowed you to better center the scope and this would minimize the offset in the recital. The fixed power scope with no moving parts used special mounts for the zero adjustments like the Unertl and Lyman.

Later they found that the recital could be aligned/adjusted optically so the recital remained centered. Now the recital is Laser etched on the lens and is dependable and crisp.

The adjustable bases like the Unertl and the Lyman target scopes have, are still very popular with the purest and collectors but the newer style of turret adjustments are much more precise, especially at longer distances because of the tolerance requirement for each type of adjustments.
I have to admit that even though I liked the adjustable base concept, the new adjustments are more precise. (Especially when you forget to return the scope into battery after each shot :rolleyes: )

I would guess that popularity drives sales and the newest designs are more usable and fit the needs of many different people. they can also be adjusted for different conditions and perform many different task with only one scope. So I would have to give the newest designs an A +👍.


J E CUSTOM
Not sure im following you on the Unertle scope base definition.
Unertle scope bases were simply a small metal block about 3/8” wide with a notch on one side for the scope
to lock onto. There were 2 types of bases, one being the standard target base, and the other a (posa) base which had a slightly different cut for locking the scope onto. The scopes themselves were set up from the factory with either a target or posa type mount. As a general rule hunters used the posa mount due to the guns having more recoil. Neither type mount base however had any adjustment ability at all.
It was also very important to have the scope mount blocks attached to the gun at a very specific distance apart for proper dialing of the scope for say 1/4 min. clicks since the scope itself wasent set up for that.
As for the scope riding forward in its mount with a shot, they were equipted with a recoil spring for that purpose which could be adjusted for different recoil needs. Some guys using the heavy recoiling guns removed them completely or loosened the tension so as to neutralize it. In that event the shooter need remember to manually pull the scope back to the proper position following each shot.
For hunters the 15x ultra varmit model Unertle was among the most favorite. I used one of those for quite a number of years on heavy recoiling guns including a 30x378, and always used the recoil spring on a light setting with no issues and no need to remember to pull the scope back.
The biggest issue with the target scopes used for hunting was the limited field of view. Experienced users as a rule had few issues, but younger or less experienced shooters could have problems getting back on target following a shot.
After about 15 years using the Unertle, i switched to a Bausch & Lomb 6x24 Balvar target model with a Kuharsky micrometer mount. That was a big improvement due to the ability to turn the power down for a much better field of view when needed. Otherwise there was little difference from the Unertle as for how they are set up and function.
About 6 or 7 years ago i swapped that scope out for a new Nightforce. Frankly for me and how i use the scope, i would be just as happy with the old B&L back on my gun.
 

bigbull

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Nov 26, 2013
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Interesting that there are so many opinions about the period scopes were not available as variables or that the optics were not at par to today's scopes (which in many cases is true) but look at the list in the video, the scopes choices shown are for today's soldiers and they are either low power fixed or low power variables predominantly.
I believe that a consistent sight picture also plays into the fixed power choice.

Interesting situation happened to me last year while moose hunting, through a series of events I had an opportunity to take a shot at a moose at long range, range 645 yds, I missed him :( , when packing my rifle I lokked down at my scope and it was still set at 3X, I never felt under powered while taking the shot........just saying!
Lesson learned.

BB
 

J E Custom

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Messages
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Location
Texas
Not sure im following you on the Unertle scope base definition.
Unertle scope bases were simply a small metal block about 3/8” wide with a notch on one side for the scope
to lock onto. There were 2 types of bases, one being the standard target base, and the other a (posa) base which had a slightly different cut for locking the scope onto. The scopes themselves were set up from the factory with either a target or posa type mount. As a general rule hunters used the posa mount due to the guns having more recoil. Neither type mount base however had any adjustment ability at all.
It was also very important to have the scope mount blocks attached to the gun at a very specific distance apart for proper dialing of the scope for say 1/4 min. clicks since the scope itself wasent set up for that.
As for the scope riding forward in its mount with a shot, they were equipted with a recoil spring for that purpose which could be adjusted for different recoil needs. Some guys using the heavy recoiling guns removed them completely or loosened the tension so as to neutralize it. In that event the shooter need remember to manually pull the scope back to the proper position following each shot.
For hunters the 15x ultra varmit model Unertle was among the most favorite. I used one of those for quite a number of years on heavy recoiling guns including a 30x378, and always used the recoil spring on a light setting with no issues and no need to remember to pull the scope back.
The biggest issue with the target scopes used for hunting was the limited field of view. Experienced users as a rule had few issues, but younger or less experienced shooters could have problems getting back on target following a shot.
After about 15 years using the Unertle, i switched to a Bausch & Lomb 6x24 Balvar target model with a Kuharsky micrometer mount. That was a big improvement due to the ability to turn the power down for a much better field of view when needed. Otherwise there was little difference from the Unertle as for how they are set up and function.
About 6 or 7 years ago i swapped that scope out for a new Nightforce. Frankly for me and how i use the scope, i would be just as happy with the old B&L back on my gun.

I am referring to the External adjustable mounts that used a straight tube scope with no adjustment in it, All adjustments were made externally by the scope bases and the scope have a return spring that supposedly returned the scope to battery each time it was fired. This feature was also noted for absorbing most of the recoil that scopes normally receive during firing.

Here is a video on setting up this type of scope.


J E CUSTOM
 
Last edited:

oneeyejohn

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Nov 25, 2014
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Location
AR.
I an referring to the External adjustable mounts that used a straight tube scope with no adjustment in it, All adjustments were made externally by the scope bases and the scope have a return spring that supposedly returned the scope to battery each time it was fired. This feature was also noted for absorbing most of the recoil that scopes normally receive during firing.

Here is a video on setting up this type of scope.


J E CUSTOM
Thanks for the information and providing the video.
 

35 Whelen

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May 21, 2018
Messages
349
Location
Montana
I have all ways like fixed scopes but the options have become limited and for good quality ones the price has gone way up, and for a good all around hunting scope there just are not many good choses in fixed scopes of no more then 6x. And with the improvement in scopes today it's just more economical to get a good variable scope. I usually set it on one stetting and leave it, with the exception of a few occasions of very long or very close then I will raise or lower. But for 99% of my hunting shooting 4 to 6x works perfected.
 

ofbandg

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Jul 26, 2015
Messages
181
Variable scopes were too expensive when I graduated to scoped rifles. Most of the people in my neighbourhood used 4X Weavers which fogged when you changed elevation by more than a few thousand feet.

I once owned a WW2 British sniper rifle in .303. It came in it's own wooden case along with a detachable scope in a hard fibre case. It was a pointed post reticle with a crosshair and it was fairly low power but it sure was heavy. It shot well but the overall package had a carrying weight of around 15 pounds. My first good scopes were fixed Leupold 3 and 4 power and they worked good on animals out to 500 yards. I still have 3X on my 375 H&H and use it on moose at those ranges, but moose are a big animal. The early variables were neither as tough as the fixed powers or as bright. Variables have considerably more glass surfaces and a few decades ago we didn't have he light transmission coatings we do now. Some of those early variables were almost useless at dawn and dusk.

My favourite hunting scope is still a relatively low power 2 - 7, and I keep it on 3X unless I have the time to set up a shot.
 

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