Range vs Scope Magnification


Well-Known Member
Feb 26, 2003
What magnification is generally used at what range?

Varmint hunting:

3x9 is good out until x yards
4.5 x 14 is good out until x yards
6.5 x 20 is good out until x yards
8.5 x 25 is good out until x yards

Deer hunting:

3x9 is good out until x yards
4.5 x 14 is good out until x yards
6.5 x 20 is good out until x yards
8.5 x 25 is good out until x yards

Ok, so I have 6.5x20s on everything.

I also have a 10x40-50mm Tasco.

What are 3x9 and 4.5x14s good for?

Do I really need to go to 6.5x20 or would a 4.5x14 do just fine?

I like to see the bullet holes at the range through my scope.

Comments ...

I have a 3-9 on my 22LR!

8-32's on everything else. I did have a 20x once but I got rid of it.

As far as I'm concerned, for a carry gun, I'd rather have iron sights. There's less weight to carry around and less worry about bumping. I've shot off a bench better with match peep sights than with a 3-9 scope (by a long shot) so if the item is not far enough away to warrant more mag, I'd rather not have the low power scope to deal with.

The majority of my shooting is at paper or steel. I would say that holds true for everyone here. Please, anyone out here who reads this and DOES NOT shoot more rounds at targets in practice than they do at game, raise your hand... I've become compfortable with the scopes I have and don't mind hunting with them just the way they are. I've even used an 8-32 on a carry gun in the woods. Turn it to 8x and go. I don't shoot at stuff that's running anymore, and neither do _most- of the people on this forum, so I would get a scope that I'm happy target shooting with, and then hunt with it. If it's woodchucks or crows your after, you need something more than a 14x (in my opinion) even for the ranges of a bone stock Varmint series 22 cal. If you're trying to really place a shot at 500-1000 off a bipod on a deer, more is better, to an extent, and depending on the quality of scope. I've shot deer with a 20x, but I like to see better than that. Again, personal preference.

I read peoples posts and questions on this forum discussing "too much scope" and "how much magnification is too much" and I just have to laugh. Now, why the hell can't these people who bought a 6.5-20Leu, use a 10-40 and turn it DOWN. Are we saying that if they bought a 12-42 NF that there would come a time that 12x would still be TOO MUCH on a long range gun?? What planet is everyone from. I would say that 20x is not enough a hell of a lot more often than 12x is too much.

For the Leupold guys with an 8.5x-25 ... Did Leupold weld the power ring on at 25X???

I think the question of "what scope" can be answered by anyone who owned a 3-9x on a carry hunting rifle. How many times did you REALLY use it at 3x at say 100 yards? Hmmm, not very many huh. So now you're gonna hunt game at 10 times the range with twice the optics.

For the majority of people, they buy what they like and can afford. For some, cost is not the issue. For some, cost is not the issue even though they really can't afford what they get. I'm not to proud to say cost IS an issue and I still probably overspend like many people here. However, I don't often spend twice for the same item, though I have. I have used Burris scopes for a long time and I'm relativly brand loyal when I think what I buy is of good quality. I would like to try a NF, but I'm gonna have to see a finer reticle before I overspend myself on one of them. I simply don't like the crosshairs in them and if I'm gonna spend twice the money, i'm not going to look in it and be dissapointed in the thickness of the crosshairs, knowing I won't be happy, even before I buy. That'd be like buying a red car just to try a new brand even though you know you hate red cars. How much do you think you'll like the new car. When the day comes that I do get one, I'm not gettin a 20x because "that's enough".

I have no interest in shooting woodchucks at 200 yards, so what could I possibly want a 4.5-14 scope for, My ruger 77-22 ? Perhaps...
I use 3-9's on my calling rifles. To me they work perfect. Most of the time, I leave them at 5, but if the brush gets tight, I drop them down to 3 power. If a coyote hangs up a couple of hundred yards out, I just twist it up to 9 and take the shot.

I guess I'm one of the few here who takes running shots, from about 15 yards out to more than a hundred, a running coyote doesn't stand much of a chance. It's those ones that run past from left to right a few feet away that give me fits.
I don't see the point of changing the power of 25x from a Leupold 8.5-25X. It might as well be welded I don't move it--why take the chance of changing point of impact. If they made a scope of same quality and design (LR) in straight power of 25x, I would have bought one. I think 20x to 25x would handle deer size game out to 2000 yards.

I will chime in and say that I like the option of turning my 8.5-25 down to 8.5, because my shots present themselves at anywhere from 50-1200 yds. I don't strictly LR hunt, but but I'm usually shooting something that's capable of taking the shot, if it presents itself. Our terrain is not mountainous, so large beanfields are the ticket here. This means your deer could appear at 50 yds running, or 850, standing still feeding. Last year I had one appear at about 35 steps--so close I had to stand up on my elevated stand to see it--that was a time I was happy I had a variable and it was set on its lowest setting...
I'm game to offer an opinion...

A good scope should not change POI as you cahnge power settings.. old addage "you get what you pay for"
I don't own any fixed power scopes and never will most likely ( unless someone offers me an Unertl 10X sniper scope)
I use my rifle in all terrrain and all types of situations.. I hunt PA on 5X, same scope in WY on 15X.. when I shoot PD's and the mirage is down I wish I had 100X!!

to answer the first question..

snipers use 10X to 1000 yards and then some...
20X will kill you if the mirage is bad...
3X will most likley not work at 900 yards...

I know guys that have shot many a deer past 500 yards with the 14X lupy...

I know on 10X 500 yard groups of 4" or less is no sweat...

it all depends on your ability and how much you practice with what you have...

just buy and try..... if ya don't like it someone will....

Everyone hunts differently and have different opinions, and a high price variable "shouldn't" change POI but if someone feels they are not taking this chance then nothing is wrong with that, especially of many past experiences. Some people hunt long range with a woods (sporter) rifle handy with a low power scope for close shots. The Unertl Ultra Varmint 15x and Unertl BV20 have and still take deer and hogs out to very long ranges. The old (externally adjusted) BalVAR 24 (a variable) still does also. I and others I know keep them on 24x, I shot a nice buck at 75 yards with it on 24x-didn't bother grabbing a sporter. Some of us still use the Ultra Varmint 15x and the BV20. As far as the "old addage" you get what you pay for-years ago it might have been true with optics but today with a oriental grinding lenses in his bedroom for a couple of different companies, etc I don't believe it is. How could a person explain the Bushnell Spacemasters quality for the price compared to higher priced spotters especially with two together. Look how the Kowas compare to the high priced German stuff and the price diference. If you used a popular BR scope a few years ago you had to have two-one being fixed and the one that just got fixed for long range target shooting. The equipment lists for the matches would still have them as very plentiful, now they are redesigned-makes you wonder.
Just my opinion, everyone has them.

I use mine, whatever the scope is, at max power for the shot. The moose I took with the 416 year before last at 30-40 feet away, the scope never left ten power, helped me pick the spot right behind the ear better.
I've only had to turn the 22x NF down because of mirage twice I think, and I really didn't have to but it was clearer.

My 3-9 sucks at over 500 yards, 10 power works to about 600 well, beyond that I really find myself wanting a higher power unit. All depends on what size critter you're shooting at too. Mine will all be 20 power minimum from now on....

You know, Burris put a daylight twilight apperature on thier Signature series scopes. If you turn it to daylight, you are looking through about 20% of the lens, only the center of course. Well, you are also looking at 20% of the AIR. AIR causes mirage... Apperature the scope, and you have less mirage.
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