Opinions on optimal magnification for hunting out West

Pro2A

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Joined
May 23, 2009
Messages
242
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!
Low end magnification is important for stalking in heavy cover/close/quick shots, but don't give up magnification on the upper end. You can never have too much magnification for judging game at distance before a stalk or for that once in a life time long shot. Remember, you can always dial down magnification, but you can't dial up beyond your scope's top power. I often glass with a 25-32 top power using a phone digiscope on scope ocular eyepiece, rifle held in a lightweight graphite tripod. Allows two eye viewing, with even extra phone zooming, while avoiding eye fatigue from long periods of one eye scope glassing plus can often avoid packing a heavy spotting scope. NF 8x power range scopes offer low and top end power ranges and great glass and performance reliability. I'm a "have my cake and eat it too" kinda guy. Save a little more......buy once, cry once, be happy ever after. Scopes are a lifetime investment. Buy the best with the most features you can ever afford. Skimp and go cheap.....you will spend more in the long run.
 

Mustang72

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Feb 9, 2019
Messages
480
Location
Texas
My concern with an LPVO at 2-ish-10 is objective size. Most glass I see out there is limited to 28 or so...
Nikon Made a good 2.5-10x42 and night force. Don't discount the smaller objective lenses either. I have an older Leopold 2-7x28 on one of my rifles and at lower power it is plenty bright for low light pig shooting.
 

ducky

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Joined
Jan 17, 2016
Messages
311
Location
Colorado
10X42 binoculars
65mm spotter with light weight tripod
15X or less max magnification 40-44mm objective scope.

Binoculars to find animals, spotter to decide if they are worth pursuing, and a scope preferably 20oz or less to keep your rifle sub 8lbs all up.
 

Hugnot

Formerly 'HUGNOT'
Joined
Sep 26, 2020
Messages
68
Location
Montana
Scopes - 4.5-14X40 works well for most hunting, good enough for rodents at 400. More magnification and bigger objectives make for more weight and bulk. My favorite scopes for deers are 4.5-14X40 Leupolds either 1 inch or 30mm. All my scopes and rifles, almost all Leupolds 4.5-14's and 6.5-20's and .17HMR thru .300WM get some time shooting varmints to check things out - shooting under field conditions at various ranges.

Binocs - 10X42's. I have plans to get 15X56 but will need a tripod for that.

Spotter's 20-40X with 65mm objective and tripod.

Go for high quality glass & coatings. The 3-18X44 looks like the best all around scope, 18 X is sure nice when needed.
 
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del2les

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Oct 24, 2007
Messages
663
Location
South Central, CO
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.
The Nightforce 2.5-10 is always a good choice, but there are high quality, compact and lighter weight 3-18x out there.


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hthunter

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Feb 14, 2019
Messages
129
Location
US
SHV/NSX 3-10x42, mk 5HD 3-18x44, and vx6hd 3-18x44. I’ve seen some bad reports on the latter but I’ve never had an issue with any of the above.
 

BHC

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Joined
Oct 26, 2012
Messages
67
If you are comfortable with taking longer shots in open areas or across ridges, mtns and canyons then I think there is good advice already given 20-25 power on the top end is probably all you'll use. Depending on your scopes quality, increasing the power tends to deteriorate the image quality. This is where high end scopes do power and low end scopes don't. I personally use a Sightron scope in the 10-50 x 60mm power range. Overkill on the power and 10 on the low end with an elk up close in the timber can be challenging with 50 really not necessary for a longer shot. I laser ranged a bull several years back in CO across the canyon on the other side at 880 yds and put my scope on 20 power and looked through just as a test and it seemed fine to take a good shot, to me anyways. I wasn't going to shoot at that range through trees on my side and not a good stable platform but just to see and experiment. The main factor for going with this scope was the 60mm objective lens ie. lots of light. Sightron makes a good 8-32 x56mm for a decent price and they are known for excellent glass quality which is what you're really after. That power range might do the trick for you depending on how far you feel comfortable shooting. Good luck out there and hope you get one.
 

mlayne

Member
Joined
May 7, 2014
Messages
11
Location
Western Oregon
I really like my 2.5-10 X 42. I'm 74 and my vision's not as good as it was when I was a young helicopter pilot. I don't like to take shots much over 400 yards as they tend to involve dragging the carcass down and uphill a lot and 400 yds seems to be adequate for my needs. I also have 2.5-7x33; 3-9x40; 6-18x44 and 4-16x42. I grew up shooting a fixed 4 power so I'm pretty much ok with the lower power scopes. Enjoy your hunt
 

gerrybaker1960

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Sep 26, 2020
Messages
99
Location
newark
Why NF stopped making the 2.5-10x32 is a mystery. I have 2 and they are about the best all round hunting scope there is.
 

Hugnot

Formerly 'HUGNOT'
Joined
Sep 26, 2020
Messages
68
Location
Montana
The 3-18's are sort pf pricy. A 30mm tube 4.5-14X40VX3i SF will cost less than 1/2 as much.
 

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