Long Range Scopes & Magnification

hyoi5

Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2016
Messages
23
Location
Warren, Mn
I'm curious on your opinion on what scope magnification do great for longer range shooting. I grew up in a budget family so the 3x-9x scopes were all we hadand they worked great for the 150 yards shots we were taking. Now I've been getting into elk hunting and have never shot with any other magnification scope. I get parallex, MOA/Mil, and other things but for a guy that wants to get to a point where I could make a 700 yard shot, what's a magnification to go for when buying a scope? I took my 3x-9x scope to the range and sighted it in at 200 yards then found my marks for 300 yards but at 300 yards, my crosshair was about the size of the 6in target I was shooting. I know I don't want to go cheap on the scope, is 5x-25x too much, just right, or not enough? I'm even open to you saying something like 3x-9x for 250 yards and less, 4x-12x for 400 yards and less, and so on!

Thanks!
Sean
(Will be mounted on my Tikka T3 Lite .300 Win Mag)
(Bow hunting Wyoming 2017 in the snow, and rifle hunting Colorado 2016 in orange gear)
Elk1.jpg
Elk2.jpg
Elk3.jpg
 

Idaho Lefty

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Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
233
My son and I both started out with, 3x9 Burris E1's and like you said they are Ok for the shorter distances but, to work up, accurate reloads and for 400- 800 yard practice at Gongs and for Game shooting, we are now using, 4.5 X 14 Burris E1's and are putting our own "Tape's" on the elevation knob's and "dialing" for distance, in 25 yard increments. Our 100 and 200 yard groups, have SHRUNK almost 50% with, the bigger scopes ! The long range 1,000 yard and Bench rest shooters all use 36-42 power scopes, to shoot very small groups and there's, a reason, "WHY", it's so you can see the Target, better. But then again, there's also, too much of, a "good thing" so about 14-15 power is the Max we'd use as, bigger scopes get heavy/ bulky. Our Tikka's with, the 4.5 X 14's, weigh 7.5 pounds ! Good luck with, YOUR,.. "choice" !
 

hyoi5

Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2016
Messages
23
Location
Warren, Mn
My son and I both started out with, 3x9 Burris E1's and like you said they are Ok for the shorter distances but, to work up, accurate reloads and for 400- 800 yard practice at Gongs and for Game shooting, we are now using, 4.5 X 14 Burris E1's and are putting our own "Tape's" on the elevation knob's and "dialing" for distance, in 25 yard increments. Our 100 and 200 yard groups, have SHRUNK almost 50% with, the bigger scopes ! The long range 1,000 yard and Bench rest shooters all use 36-42 power scopes, to shoot very small groups and there's, a reason, "WHY", it's so you can see the Target, better. But then again, there's also, too much of, a "good thing" so about 14-15 power is the Max we'd use as, bigger scopes get heavy/ bulky. Our Tikka's with, the 4.5 X 14's, weigh 7.5 pounds ! Good luck with, YOUR,.. "choice" !
Thanks for the input! I should have mentioned that I was going for weight as well. we logged 54 miles or first hunt and 46 the 2nd hunt so weight reduction is why I bought the Tikka vs using my grandpas Remington 721 again! I'm the small guy in the pics, first hunt my pack was 63 lbs.... I'm 150lbs on a good day. 2nd hunt I dropped it down to 52lbs. That was a lot nicer but still want to shave some of that off.
 

surgeon260

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Joined
Dec 18, 2017
Messages
134
Those are some beautiful bulls! Where in CO is that? I live in Colorado Springs.

I have two dedicated long range hunting rifles (28 Nosler and 300 Norma IMP) and both rifles have 16x magnification on the top end. I have found that to be plenty, although my self-imposed limit for shooting at game is 800 yards. For the guys on here who actually shoot at game at 1000+, 25x scopes are nice. I have several of them on target rifles, but they also bring a commensurate increase in weight and bulkiness. 16x is the sweet spot for me in terms of power and portability.

The reticle is also important as you mentioned. I prefer thin, illuminated reticles for hunting.
 

imyourhuckleberry

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Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
245
Location
texas
I normally walk the mountains in west Texas looking for Aoudad or for mule deer. I find that depending on the temperatures during the summer the mirage is very prominent and useful but in doing so, I never go above 9X or 10X on distances beyond 500 yards when hunting. I do like using the extra magnification of the scope only to determine how many points the deer might have. In cooler conditions is when I can use the higher magnifications If I am shooting for a group, but if just shooting silhouettes 9X and 10X are more than adequate for me up to 1000 yards.
 

Ckgworks

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Joined
Mar 6, 2018
Messages
467
Location
Washington
I'm going to start this by saying I've never owned a truly high end scope...(over $1000) so as quality goes up, my experiences my not count. My preferred is around 4.5-14. If there is a possibility of a close range shot like we have in western Washington, 4.5x can almost seem too much! I have one leupold 6.5x20, that bounced around on different guns and now is on a target set up. This is due to 6.5x being too much for hunting, and heat waves showing bad when set above 15x....this may be due to scope quality. I think, the low end power is just as important as high end when it comes to hunting!
 

Idaho Lefty

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Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
233
After you have "found" your rifles, "load", a light weight 3X9 or 2X7, will work fine, on Game to reasonably long, distances. I drew, a Late Rifle Ariz Elk Tag and I will be Hunting out of a Tent "car Camping", and will carry an almost empty Pack with, a Kifaru Gun bearer, attached, to hold my .270 WSM, Tikka. The Pack including, water, Rifle, Game bags, bone saw, rope, Jacket, knife, etc., should weigh 20-25 pounds total, so the 4-5 extra ounces the Scope weighs, is not that big of a deal, to me. We plan on hanging 1/2 the Elk meat and carrying 1/2 back to the Camp for a total of, 2 Trips. But we will only be hunting about, 1-3 Miles, in one direction from, the Truck, each Day. PS; I'm 71 and plan on getting,.. in "good" shape !
 

hyoi5

Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2016
Messages
23
Location
Warren, Mn
Those are some beautiful bulls! Where in CO is that? I live in Colorado Springs.

I have two dedicated long range hunting rifles (28 Nosler and 300 Norma IMP) and both rifles have 16x magnification on the top end. I have found that to be plenty, although my self-imposed limit for shooting at game is 800 yards. For the guys on here who actually shoot at game at 1000+, 25x scopes are nice. I have several of them on target rifles, but they also bring a commensurate increase in weight and bulkiness. 16x is the sweet spot for me in terms of power and portability.

The reticle is also important as you mentioned. I prefer thin, illuminated reticles for hunting.

West Elk Wilderness near Gunnison. As I'm a budget guy, i don't own a GPS so the other 2 carried them so I can't find you the exact spot but we were on the border of the wilderness. As non residents we could only go in so far. We were in unit 54, 107 yard shot about 25 mins into opener. We got there a day early to scout and saw them in a meadow the night before and figured we'd see if they were still there in the morning. I, once again, was too cheap to pay for a bull license so I had a cow license and got the "privilege" of watching 3 other legal bulls trot away after Matt shot his....

Wyoming hunt:
43°48'28.5"N 110°12'30.3"W
That's the closest to where we were as I can get with google maps... haha

We trained and practiced for months up to that hunt shooting as far as 400 yards (the limit I set for myself based on ammo velocity and energy as well as scope limitations) only to see the elk around 150 yards tops...
 

hyoi5

Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2016
Messages
23
Location
Warren, Mn
After you have "found" your rifles, "load", a light weight 3X9 or 2X7, will work fine, on Game to reasonably long, distances. I drew, a Late Rifle Ariz Elk Tag and I will be Hunting out of a Tent "car Camping", and will carry an almost empty Pack with, a Kifaru Gun bearer, attached, to hold my .270 WSM, Tikka. The Pack including, water, Rifle, Game bags, bone saw, rope, Jacket, knife, etc., should weigh 20-25 pounds total, so the 4-5 extra ounces the Scope weighs, is not that big of a deal, to me. We plan on hanging 1/2 the Elk meat and carrying 1/2 back to the Camp for a total of, 2 Trips. But we will only be hunting about, 1-3 Miles, in one direction from, the Truck, each Day. PS; I'm 71 and plan on getting,.. in "good" shape !
We've been hiking in with everything and tenting. Colorado was only 4.5 miles in but did a lot of walking through the days. Wyoming we went 12 miles in. Colorado was tougher though. Higher altitude killed us. We live at 900 ft above sea level and have to travel around 2 and 1/2 hours to find the first reasonable hill... (1400 ft elevation...)
 

Idaho Lefty

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Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
233
When we Bow Hunt, I carry about a 47- 50 pound pack, when going "in" for 3-5 Days.
But we also get our Water from a Spring daily once there! yup, Heavy packs = Less Rifle,.. LOL ! I have, a cute 7X30 Waters, SS, T/C that weigh's under 6 pounds with, a 2X7 on it for those, "long Range", walk-in, Rifle hunts! In 2016, my son ( AKA, Robin Hood Jr.) killed a nice 5x5 bull, 2 miles from the Truck. My grandson 16, son 40 and ole' grandpaw (me), carried it ALL out, in ONE trip,..OMG never want, to do that, again, YIKES!
 

hyoi5

Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2016
Messages
23
Location
Warren, Mn
When we Bow Hunt, I carry about a 47- 50 pound pack, when going "in" for 3-5 Days.
But we also get our Water from a Spring daily once there! yup, Heavy packs = Less Rifle,.. LOL ! I have, a cute 7X30 Waters, SS, T/C that weigh's under 6 pounds with, a 2X7 on it for those, "long Range", walk-in, Rifle hunts! In 2016, my son ( AKA, Robin Hood Jr.) killed a nice 5x5 bull, 2 miles from the Truck. My grandson 16, son 40 and ole' grandpaw (me), carried it ALL out, in ONE trip,..OMG never want, to do that, again, YIKES!
I got "lucky" with the Colorado hunt. Matt filled his tag and Sam wasn't hunting so they packed the elk out and left me to try to find a cow.
 

bkillion28

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Joined
Feb 3, 2018
Messages
124
I like 16x or 18x max power on my hunting scopes I may not need it every hunt but I've got it if I need it, I've got 25x+ on some scopes but I don't end up going past 18x for hunting but that's me, I'm of the opinion of buy once cry once so get the one you want the first time and don't worry about it again
 

hyoi5

Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2016
Messages
23
Location
Warren, Mn
You Guys sound pretty "Hard Core", you should be fine with, the "smaller" Scopes !
If they stay the same distance and come in to our calls, ya the scope would be fine! My mind just goes back to what if we can't get them closer. I'm cheap so I don't pull the trigger unless I'm positive I'll get my money for the bullet. Same with geese hunting. Most of my geese breath have multiple holes in them because the last thing I want is a wounder animal.
 

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