Usable range of a 4.5-14x50 scope


Jun 14, 2009
Hello all. I have been searching high and low for a sensible answer to the question - what is the realistic range of a scope such as a Leupold VX3 4.5-14X50 when used on deer ?
Will a scope with this magnification make it possible to clearly focus on a deer to 800m and allow for a possible shot or will more top end be required.
Another option would be a NF nxs 5.5-22X50 , alot more money but is it a smarter option for 800m ?.
All thoughts greatly appreciated.


Well-Known Member
Jun 12, 2001
Potomac River
For an older model V3 I would say 14X in a 50mm is about the minimum for 800 meters. For the new models it may be better. So much of it depends upon lighting conditions where the animal is standing. Some of it depends upon you and the animal. If there are two deer standing together and one is a spike and one is a doe you may not be able to actually see the small horns and know which too shoot. Iif you don't ever shoot at spikes then that may not be an issue for you. Also background contrast, fog, glare etc all create issues. The genetic characteristics of a human being includes eyes and how they function, so different people are more or less sensitive to amounts and characteristics of light.

Sometimes more magnification alone will help but mostly the only things that help very much are lens quality, coating quality and objective size. Magnification helps refine the aiming point more than anything else. A rifle scope is a poor substitute for a good spotting scope but if you have a good spotting scope with you then you can get by with less magnification on the rifle scope. If the majority of your hunting is going too be in the woods and you need a low base power then just bite the bullet and stay with a 4X and let some of the longer range bad lighting shots go.

The most likely reason your search for a sensible answer has yielded nothing is that there is no sensible answer. It all depends upon your eyes and your comfort zone and your hunting technique and style.


Well-Known Member
May 21, 2008
South of Canada and North of Wyoming
I've got a 5.5-22x50 NF and am very happy with it. I thought about going with the 3.5-15 for the lower end magnification, but I'm glad I got the other. the 3.5-15 would get the job done easily, but having that upper ennd 22x is nice for the LR factor, especially when you're tuning in a load on paper way out there. It makes it easier to fine tune your POA and easier to see bullet holes on the target out to 500 yds. On the close in shooting, it will be challenging to pick up your animal quick. 20 yds is about the bare minimum without seeing just fur. It takes a little practice with focusing your eyes on target and keeping them focused on target while bringing scope up into alignment.


Bravo 4

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2007
The South
I have used a 4.5-14 Leupold to hunt with and wouldn't hesitate to use it out to 800 on deer, never felt underpowered. We have them on our M107's and engage targets at some pretty far distances.

Trending threads

Nightforce has great tracking capabilities, they are rugged, a bunch of elevation, holds zero forever, and reticles are designed for long range shooting. So if you are looking to shoot long distances constantly, then you need a scope that can take the abuse. -- gilmillan1

Culture Of Excellence At Nightforce Optics
By Len Backus

A high level of quality both in production and in service. Read More

Nightforce is such a solid combo of reticle, available elevation, glass that is good enough to shoot at the longest range you can dial. Nightforce has bullet proof construction that can handle the incidental horse rolling or some other rodeo action. -- bigngreen

Nightforce ATACR Scope Review
By Jeff Brozovich

The new NightForce ATACR is for sure a top choice for any long range shooter. Read More

The total package. Nightforce is the best I have used as far as turret feel and solid detents. I have never had one that didn't track right on and always return to zero. Nightforce NXS is the best value for everything I need. -- Broz

Nightforce Velocity 1000 Reticle Review
By Scott Shreve

I think Nightforce knocked it outta the park with this reticle! Read More