Fixed powers for Long Range


Sep 3, 2005
saskatchewan, canada
Looking for opinions on fixed power scopes for shooting at 600 - 800 yards. Used to be 20x scopes out there that I think would be perfect for me, but now I only see 35x and up. If I want to use the scope for ranging - as in this is not on a static target line, then I like the idea of a fixed 20. Ideas? Opinions? I really really do NOT want to have a variable on this rifle. For those asking, it is for a light 6mmBR crow gun currently successful out to 700 yards.
Looking for opinions on fixed power scopes for shooting at 600 - 800 yards. Used to be 20x scopes out there that I think would be perfect for me, but now I only see 35x and up. If I want to use the scope for ranging - as in this is not on a static target line, then I like the idea of a fixed 20. Ideas? Opinions? I really really do NOT want to have a variable on this rifle. For those asking, it is for a light 6mmBR crow gun currently successful out to 700 yards.

Why do do so many people think that shooting at longer distances needs large scopes with higher magnification? Drop increases faster than the square of the distance so vertical dispersion does too. WInd deflection goes up more than linearly with distance. Image bluring from atmospheric scintillation goes up more than linearly with distance and that is not helped by higher magnification and hurt by larger objective lenses. I agree that 20x is plenty at 800 yards. It's plenty at a mile and beyond too. More magnification is only helpful if you're eyesight has less than normal resolution. Too much power severely hurts target acquisition time and that's bad for hunting. I consider the 36x and up scopes as strictly for benchrest targe shooiting.

You didn't say what you want to spend.

Arguably the "best" scope made which meets your specs is the US Optics ST-22. It's 22 power with a 44 mm objective. Only $1580 (compare it to some other US Optics scopes) Many reticle options are available They also make the 17x44 ST-17. Same but lower power and costs more.

I use (and really like) the Leupold 16x40 Mk 4 M1 for long range shooting. (anything over 500 yards) I't's available with mil-dot, target dot, and duplex reticles. Sometimes on sale for around $1100. It has 140 moa elevation adjustment range.

SWFA used to sell a 20x40 model of their "Super Sniper" Mil dot. It was decent quality and around $400. Apparently SWFA has discontinued it. You might find a used one.

Leupold used to make a 24x40 benchrest socpe, They may still make the 25x40 FX-3 "silhouette" scope. I don't know much about it, Neither has much elevation and windage adjustment.

I don' know of much else between 16 and 36 power. Apparently fixed scopes haven't sold well.
4x, 6x and 10x are still plentiful as are 36x.
While I dont disagree with Lou Boyd and his" vertical despersion", and "Scintillation linearly" theroy's. The big thing is MIRAGE !!!!!!!

At 100-200yds where BR shooters use 36x on up (fixed power), the mirage is somewhat manageable, take that same scope and try and shoot a crow at 700 yards with a full boil mirage and you might not even recognize a crow.
If you really want a fixed power get it in a fairly low power to avoid the mirage but a variable is much more versatile.
And with a high powered variable, you can dial appropriately to use the mirage to help you judge wind but not be stuck with it so high you can't see the target. Neither fixed or low power scopes can do that.
First question... cost.
That really depends on the scope. Since I live in Canada, some scopes are not available, such as SWFA items.

U.S. Optics are sometimes obtainable up here, but usually at approximately 140-200% above listed u.s. prices. (no thanks) Add to that, unlike some people, I think it is easier to range with a 20x as opposed to 16x, 17x or 22x. Where do they come up with these oddball magnifications anyways?

I am using a variable now. IOR Valada 2.5-10x. It sits on 10x all the time, and for crows - my target
of choice, I would like more magnification. If I were to stay with a variable, it would be a S&B and I simply cannot afford a PMII. I like the glass, but the extra weight and complications of a variable are just not needed on this rifle. IOR's are no longer available in Canada at any price.

As a possible silly question, does anyone still make a 'Doubler'? Then I could use a high quality 10x and have it modified.

Thanks for all the input.
I also have delt with this question about four years ago. I started off with a 10X super sniper. It performed quit well out to 800 yards, with descent picture quality, and good repeatablity. I thought I needed more power in my scope, so I purchesed a 20X super sniper. Once again it had good repeatability, but I found that mirage and clearity suffered.
This past summer I bit the bullet and purchased a Nightforce 5.5X22 NP-R1, and I am never looking back.

Is the Super Sniper a good fixed Power scope. YES!

Is 20X necessary? Not unless engaging targets beyond 1000 yards

---- Also have a 10X Leopold Target scope on a 220 Swift, and I think it is a perfect match.gun)
I also like nightforce, but since their prices rival S&B up here a lot of the times..... Also, up until quite recently, they did not make a front focal plane reticle. This is important to me for ranging purposes. I like to be able to range at any magnification setting, not just one. A lot of you probably use laser rangefinders, but I do not as yet have one of those devices. Even if I did, having a different look for every shot is not my idea of an ideal scope. If I am going to spend that kind of money, then I want ..... well, what I want. Let's face it guys, a variable is a much bigger, heavier and more complicated device. I like simple - as much as I can get away with. As for only needing 20x on targets out past 1000 yards, my eyes respectfully disagree. So far, the one item I really do agree with is the issue of mirage. I simply will have to deal with it, although where I shoot crows, and when in the day, it has not been much issue so far.
Thanks for all the replies.
Take care.
hjorst, I dont mean to beat a dead horse here, but your reason for not getting a variable for ranging doesn't hold up. If you are ranging on high power anyway just crank the scope up to max magnification and use it for ranging. No diff. I made up 3 diferent charts for ranging with my 5.5-22 NP-R@ reticle. One for 5.5x - 1/2MOA, one for 11 x - 1 MOA and one for 22x - 2 MOA.

I think Jon made a very good point about mirage which is a very real issue with high magnification scopes. The worse mirage I have encountered yet was on a cold sunny day with some snow cover on the ground. I was shooting at white paper targets printed off my computer @ 300 yds and could just barely make out an undulating white blur with my NF set on 22x. It's really nice to have that lower setting to reduce mirage enough to be able to shoot. Otherwise you wont be shooting that day other than wasting ammo.

Variable power scopes aren't going to be all that much heavier for same quality build. They are slightly more complicated but once again, if you just keep it on max power for most shooting, what's the diff? At least you have some flexibility that may save you a day of shooting and hunting in the field. Cost is definitely a factor.

Anyway, I just wanted add some thoughts and hope you find what your looking for.

Good shooting,

Been back and forth in the quest of "the scope" for all of my needs.

Have come to the conclusion that GOOD glass and fixed power of 12 or 16 works rather well to 1000 yards.

Look around and buy the FX12 or FX16 power Leupolds with turrets. If they don't have turrets, send them in for a turret and/or a reticle change and be done with it.

Personally, believe a fixed 16x with a varmint hunter reticle with turrets would be THE cats meow.
I went through a similar quest fairly recently and made some surprising revelations.

I am well into my fifties and need good optics for obvious reasons. When I was deciding what power scope I needed for shots of 800-1000 yards at deer size animals, I had a pre-conceived idea of what I NEEDED which was a lot of power.

I was intrigued however by the number of fixed power 10X sniper type scopes that are fairly common from leading names. I too like the fixed power scope for its simplicity.

In order to test what power I really needed, I took several of my variable power scopes out my back porch and sighted targets in the pastures around me. You would be surprised at what you can do with either a 10x or 12x scope. At 800 yards, I could easily center the reticle on a cow pie laying on the ground. Since most of my game animals will be considerably larger than a cow pie, a 10x would easily suffice for my purposes. The critical factor here is the quality of the glass. A really good 10 or 12X fixed power with good glass will outshine a mediocre 20X any day of the week.

My only point is don't discount the lower power scopes outright. Unless you're shooting at prairie dogs or small varmints at those ranges, the fixed 10X or 12X may very well scratch your itch. These settings will also give you a reasonable amount of field of view at the inevitable shorter range shots that come your way. They are considerably less costly too.

Just food for thought from another set of older eyes.
Thanks to 'Havingfun' for the bit about older eyes. That is key. Size of target is part of it as well. This rig is for shooting crows at extended distances. Quite possibly the same or similar size to those cow patties of yours. I use aan average size of 10 - 12 height for ranging purposes. They are only about 3 inches wide though.

The glass on my IOR is very nice (much better than Leupold). I just want a bit more detail at the longer distance than what I have. The most magnification on any of my other scopes is 12x (no use for high mag on any other setup as I hunt big game not just shoot them at extended range) and that isn't quite enough. I have used an old springfield 5-20x on a friend's 50bmg, and that is very nice glass, and have not had mirage problems with it. It is left on 20x for everything I have shot with it. But those scopes are no longer available. This is where I came up with the desire for a 20x by the way. I have never used a 16x, and there is no market up here for used scopes, so if I don't like it, I have wasted my money. I would sell my IOR to finance this project, but no go up here.

I have not totally discounted lower mag scopes. I just don't like the leupold glass - a friend uses nothing but, so I have looked through or shot with a LOT of them, and they just don't do it for these old eyes. And leupold is just about all you can get up here unless you want to special order scopes.

Would like to ask where abouts you are 'Havingfun'. What reticle did you use for ranging? I am thinking that it is easier to center a duplex or mil-dot than a fine crosshair. I like hash marks instead of the dots, but mil systems are good. I definitely agree with you about good low powers being better that mediocre high magnification. I am getting a S&B 6x for my big game rifle. I can see much more with that level of optic. That is why I said in an earlier post that I would take a PMII if I could afford it. S&B fixed mag scopes cost less than their variables, but they don't have high fixed powers.

This post was about trying to find good fixed power scopes not set myself up for lambasting because I choose to use fixed scopes. I also use single shots exclusively.... but that rarely gets people going to the same extent. I do not live in the dark ages, but I do choose to try to do things with simple systems to try to reduce future problems. Thank you for all the replies regarding variable power setups, but you have not helped.

Take care all
hjorst, I wasn't trying to lambast you and I dont think anyone else was. I was just trying to share my experience with you so you could make an informed decision. If you choose a high power fixed scope, there will be days you just will not be able to shoot due to mirage. If you are set on a fixed power scope, my recommendation would be to get one with the lowest power setting you think you can live with. My eyes aren't as good as they used to be, but they're not real bad either. I cant speak for you, but 10x is more than adequate for me for 1000 yd shooting. The quality of glass you choose will make a big diff. Lower power is also better to mitigate parallax.

Again, I didn't mean to step on your toes. A lot of guys come into these forums looking for advise on a plan they have and end up changing their minds after hearing more info and experience. And I think it's a good read for anyone else considering a fixed power scope as far as the real benefits and drawbacks are concerned.



You're a man close to my heart. My perfect rifle (which I don't own) would be a single shot with a fixed power scope. I had a Dakota Model 10 but me and that particular rifle didn't get along too well so I sold it. Someday, I'll own another.

In regards to my field tests (no pun intended), I actually used three scopes. One S&B, one Kahles and a Nikon. Non of them had ranging reticles but my purpose was to see what I could see at that range so the reticles didn't matter knowing that the actual scope I ended up with would have a ranging reticle.

Now having said all the great things that I said about the fixed power scopes, I actually ended up with a variable power simply because the rifle that it ended up on was going to be used for everything from hunting at long distances to shooting small targets at even longer distances. I actually purchased a Premier Reticles 3X15 with their Gen II reticle. I went with the Premier Reticles because of their quality and the production facility happens to be about 10 miles from where I live.

Ultimately though, I would love to have a Dakota Model 10 with a 10X power scope for all around hunting. By the way, my scope of preference for most of my rifles is a fixed 6X for the hunting here in VA and WV.

Sounds like you're on pretty firm ground whichever way you go. If you have a particular rifle for a particular purpose (crows and the like at extreme distances) I think even I might opt for a little more than the 10X/12X that are suitable for larger game at that range.

Hope this helped.

Fair enough Montana. You are entirely correct in the statement about limitations of fixed power scopes. I am ( I hope ) one of the first to admit to them. Mirage is an item to be considered, as are the considerable limitation of field of view at close range. Trying to find that little target at close range, high mag, and non-existent field of view..... pain in the backside. No big deal for me since this rifle / scope combination won't be used inside of 450-500 yards. That is the distance I have found that I need to be from crows to get multiple shots on them from a 308. Now this rifle is a 6mmBR, but I will continue to use the above distances as my guideline. Since I have been unable to sell my IOR, it will serve should I decide to use this as a carry gun for coyotes or the like.

As for 'Havingfun', you would enjoy my main hunting rifle. It is an 1885 Winchester in 300WSM. The glass will be a S&B Klassik with their #1 reticle of 3 tapered posts. Should be good for pretty much anything I want to hunt up here. Deer, elk, bear.

Right now, I do think there is one advantage to variable scopes, but I an not convinced it is enough of one to convert to variables. That is the side paralax adjustment on some scopes. For that matter, paralax adjustment on fixed power scopes is rare.

oh well.....

take care all
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