Opinions on optimal magnification for hunting out West

blueshirt2

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Oct 3, 2020
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New York
3-15 power variable for me with an objective lens of no bigger than 44 mm. As mentioned, most shots will be under 300 yards if you're in forested terrain, as far as you comfortable shooting when you're in open country.

Personally I've never shot enough rounds to create a problem with mirage while hunting - no more than 3 shots should do the job and most often one is all you'll have time to take in forested country.
why do you say no bigger than 44mm objective?
 

blueshirt2

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Oct 3, 2020
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New York
A lot also depends on your hunting style and max shooting range. Like others somewhere in the 3-18 range is good. Like Memtb I 'll give up top end to keep the bottom end down to 4 or less. I have no issues shooting 500 yards with a simple fixed 6. One of my favorite all around scopes is a 2.5-10. Great for up close and plenty for the longer stuff on game.
My concern with an LPVO at 2-ish-10 is objective size. Most glass I see out there is limited to 28 or so...
 

Scposey

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May 31, 2017
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I'm sure this has been covered ad nauseum, but truthfully I am new here and looking for feedback from experienced hunters. So with that out of the way...
I am planning to get out West next season for some hunting, hopefully Elk. I've learned enough to understand that ranges are generally greater than white tail hunting in NY. I don't want to carry a telescope on my rifle, but also want to be comfortable knowing I have enough to produce a good shot at range. I'm 51 now, so my eyes aren't what they once were.

Thanks!
We have been running some 6-24 and seems to work well
 

archangel485

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Sep 17, 2016
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Location
Wyoming
You planning to hunt long range or do a timber hunt? Lots of elk never even go in the trees. Where I hunt elk there is timber but not super thick, that said I elk hunt with an 8-32 with a 30mm tube and 56mm objective, 8 power is plenty low for the closest shots I'd take although others make an excellent point that low end is very handy for timber hunting. I have said before that while I have 32x as an option I almost always do long range hunting shots on around 12-16x. I only use 32x for getting shots on paper at 100yards. Too much magnification and you'll miss where your impact is. The more important thing than magnification IMO is light gathering ability and glass clarity. I'd recommend 30mm tube and large objective lens, although I know some like smaller for the ease of carrying it around. Also do research on quality glass, don't buy a cheap scope, better to get a lower mag scope with a reputation for quality than a $200 4-50x Chinese junker.
 

del2les

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Oct 24, 2007
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South Central, CO
Unless you are planning and can shoot very well beyond the 6-800 mark, you will be better served with the lower power variables. For decades, we hunted with 3-9x, 4-12x's and a few 4.5-14x, and still for most of my elk hunting, I use the 4-12 and 4.5-14x. My 890yd bull was shot using the 4.5-14x, and I have shot numerous 5-600yd coyotes and P-dogs with a 12x. Of course I do have several rifles that wear 5-25, 6-24, 8-32x and even a 10-40x, but most of the time, I have never used the top of the power range for elk nor deer.

That said, I give my vote for the 3-18x as one of the best suited for 99% of all elk/deer encounters.
 

JC in Calif

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Jul 1, 2007
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I'm sure this has been covered ad nauseum, but truthfully I am new here and looking for feedback from experienced hunters. So with that out of the way...
I am planning to get out West next season for some hunting, hopefully Elk. I've learned enough to understand that ranges are generally greater than white tail hunting in NY. I don't want to carry a telescope on my rifle, but also want to be comfortable knowing I have enough to produce a good shot at range. I'm 51 now, so my eyes aren't what they once were.

Thanks!
I live in the west and hunt a Wyoming and Tezas in addition to my own state. I use a Swarovski 3x18. I must admit, I haven’t had it close to 18 when taking a shot however.
 

blackburbot

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Feb 21, 2011
Messages
21
Pick up a brand that starts with "M" they have incredible range of power. Usually 10x. So get a 5-50 and you will have pretty much any shooting condition covered. Yes, you don't NEED 50x to see targets, but does it make it so much nicer. Instead of pointing at the top half of an animal at 300 or 400 yards, you AIM at the hair that you want to hit. Big targets-big margin of error, small targets-small margin of error
 

bengineer

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Sep 10, 2011
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N WY
If you aren't accustomed to shooting high powered scopes, familiarize yourself with the narrow field of view in a high-power scope. More than one hunter has fallen prey to marketing and hype of high power and ended up either not finding an animal in the scope, or, worse, shot the wrong animal/shot a second animal because they couldn't see.

The old school fixed 4x and 6x scopes were sufficient for years. The standard 3x-9x covers most situations for most hunting situations and most hunters. If you want higher power and better reticle features, welcome to the club. But don't forget, lots of game has fallen quickly and cleanly to hunters using scopes with magnification set lower than 10x.
 

COBrad

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Jan 4, 2004
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1,268
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Western Colorado
All my elk hunting has been in western Colorado where I live. Leaving as soon as I complete this post for my 46th season. The new 3-18’s are superb IMO... but unless you get a good one with accurate and reliable turrets and/or a good ballistic type reticle there’s no point in high magnification and extra weight and bulk. I use a 2.5-10x42 Nightforce. It’s compact, the MOAR reticle is quick and accurate the turrets are an industry standard and it’s served me well on marmots out to 800 yards. There’s lots of other scopes similar to this but this one is my choice on my ultralight elk rifle.
 

mpayne

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Oct 26, 2012
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Eastern Washington State
I live about as West as you can get out here in Washington state, my eyes are almost 55 and I get things killed every year with a peep sight on my Muzzle loader. Get what ever scope makes you happy. Spend most of your money on the best binoculars and boots you can afford. Then in your spare time before you head west work in being sneaky 😉
 
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orifdoc

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Aug 2, 2020
Messages
31
Location
Idaho
Great question. Some of this depends on how much experience you have shooting/hunting through a scope. If you do all of your hunting with open or peep sights, I'd absolutely recommend something with a wide field of view. I used a 2-7X for many years and it did me fine out to 300-400 yards. These days, I'm more likely to use a 6.5x20, but I'm also routinely shooting way out past 400 yards. Up close, without a TON of hours looking though it, the field of view will be a significant handicap when shooting at 100-200 yards. Realistically, that's probably where 80% of the game is killed, even out here in the wide open spaces.

If you're hunting in timber, just remember to crank the magnification down to the low end. There's nothing so frustrating as missing a quick shot opportunity when you can't find the critter in the scope. If the animal is a ways off, you'll have plenty of time to dial up the magnification.
 

FEENIX

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Dec 20, 2008
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14,275
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Great Falls, MT
Feenix, I wear a contact in my left eye (right eye dominant) for reading. I've considered lasik to make it permanent but am just a bit squeamish about it. It's crazy how the brain gets used to that so quickly.

I use 4-16 for hunting and 5-25 for most everything else. 18 would great, too, for hunting.
My wife watched the entire operation via video terminal and the "actual" lasted <2 minutes. My recovery time was less than a week with LASIK. My buddy did PRK and took 3 weeks for him. I wear contact on my right for bow season only.
 

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