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Old November 16, 2013, 03:52 PM   #1
baddarryl
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Scopes at short range?

At what range does a scope become a disadvantage? I eastern deer hunt with a Marlin XL7 in .270. I have a Nitrex 3x9x42 on it (heck of a package for the money). I have been looking for an excuse to buy a lever gun with irons on it. I know is the brush they are the best. So how to I justify this in regards to the limitations of scopes at close range. The area I hunt most is literally less than 100 yards visibility and they can come up quick!

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Old November 16, 2013, 04:08 PM   #2
taylorce1
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As long as your scopes power isn't over 4X on the bottom end I doubt you'll have much of a problem until the intended target is inside of 25 yards.
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Old November 16, 2013, 04:13 PM   #3
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A Leupold VX-1 shotgun scope with a variable power range of 1X - 4X would be a good choice. It will allow you to shoot accurately from almost zero yards to well over 100 yards.
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Old November 16, 2013, 04:48 PM   #4
JD0x0
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I have a 3-9x power on my .270
On 3x I can use it reasonably in my room.(no I don't actually shoot in my room ) I'm talking ~10feet or so, I can get a clear sight picture, easily good enough to hunt game, not that it's likely you'd be that close to game anyway.
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Old November 16, 2013, 06:08 PM   #5
baddarryl
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Too add to the parameters in the area I hunt it is possible to make a 250 yard shot to I don't want to drop to a lower powered scope. Sorry I should have originally stated that.
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Old November 16, 2013, 06:27 PM   #6
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There is no range too close for a scope to not be an advantage. It might be a little more difficult on moving game with scopes with powers greater than 3X or 4X, but lots of guys use fixed power 4X and 6X scopes quite successfully in the thick stuff..

A 1-4X scope set on 1X is faster at ranges measured in feet than irons or dot sights. 4X is enough to get you to 300-400 yards on large game. Probably not enough for small varmits at those ranges. A 2-7X is probably the best compromise and I cannot think of any reason to have more than a 3-9X scope for big game hunting. I use 2-7X or 2.5-8X scopes on most of my rifles, have 3-9X's on others. I keep them on the lowest setting and can't recall ever shooting an animal at another setting. Some at ranges well over 100 yards.

Iron sights are useless in low light typical in the woods. It gets too dark to see you sights 30-45 minutes before legal shooting time is over in thick woods. This is where a scope comes in handy, even at 5-10 feet.

Instead of handicapping yourself with an iron sighted rifle, spend the money on a better quality scope.
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Old November 16, 2013, 08:22 PM   #7
L_Killkenny
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The right scope is ALWAYS better than iron sights. Near/far, fast/slow, makes no difference. They are better. But you have to have the right scope. If your question is "how close is too close for a 3-9x" then that can answered. Even today I ran into a too close situation, not the first time either. With a 3-9x a running critter at 5 yards is tough. At 20 yards it's s chip shot. Unless you are gonna be having deer run in front of you at 20 yards or under then your 3-9x is fine. Personally I'd look hard at a 2-7x. Great for close, plenty of magnification for 300 yard deer.
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Old November 16, 2013, 09:20 PM   #8
lefteye
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If your maximum shooting range is 250 yards rather than 100 yards, a 1X to 4X variable power scope as I originally suggested would still work, however, I would prefer a 2X to 7X or 2.5X to 8X variable. I have Leupold Vari-X III 2.5X - 8X scopes on three hunting rifles - a .270 Win, a 7mm Rem mag, and a .300 Win mag. I got my biggest mule deer at over 400 yards with the .270 and the scope set at 8X. Hunting with the .300 I got my biggest elk (a 5 X 5) at about 20 yards (more or less) with the scope set at 2.5X, and, on the same hunt, my only black bear at more than 400 yards with the scope set at 8X. I prefer the lowest power to be 2X or 2.5X if there is chance of encountering the animal I'm hunting at less than 50 to 75 yards.

I may have misunderstood your original post. My recommendations apply to your .270 bolt action rifle. If you are concerned with sights/scopes for a lever action rifle, my recommendation is a 1X to 4X variable. Such a scope would be much better than iron sights.
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Old November 16, 2013, 09:37 PM   #9
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The issue with scope at short range is that people really need to see the whole deer. Often scope field of view isn't good enough.

Also, a scope must have a very non-critical eye box up close. Game at 10 yards just reacts different and quicker than game at 100.

In this condition, I think a nice 2.5-10 or similar would be great as long as it came up to your eye quick.

You could probably be ok with your 3-9, but a 2-7 or 1-4 would be great. A pretty good scope can be had for $200ish...especially for short range work.
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Old November 16, 2013, 10:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
The issue with scope at short range is that people really need to see the whole deer. Often scope field of view isn't good enough.
The lowest power I have on any of my rifles or shotguns is x4. I agree with Nathan's quote above and I also feel that being able to see the bigger picture is part of the problem. Especially when dealing with heavy brush or a moving target. I have always been able to adjust for this by keeping both eyes open when using a scope in these situations. That allows me to still see the bigger picture and my dominant eye still see everything it should through the scope.

Jim
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Old November 16, 2013, 11:00 PM   #11
Dragline45
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The right scope is ALWAYS better than iron sights.
I disagree. In short distances, for self defense purposes, I will take iron sights and the better field of view over a scope any day.
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Old November 16, 2013, 11:04 PM   #12
PVL
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My 17HMR rifle has a Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 BDC scope on it that works well at all ranges.

Zeroed at 100 yards, the first BDC oval below the crosshairs works for both 150 yards and 30 feet.

It works at 150 yards due to bullet drop.

It works at 30 feet due to the scope being a certain distance above the bore.

When hunting, I leave the scope at 3 power unless I'm trying to take a long shot.

Works for me! - Try a scope with the BDC reticule for both long and short range shooting.

This rifle is a farm gun and has been used for short range shooting more than anything else. Using the first oval down from the crosshairs, I can shoot a bottle cap with it at 20-30 feet.

Why manufacturers never mention using the BDC reticule for close-range shots is beyond me, it works great that way with a 100 yard zero.

Last edited by PVL; November 16, 2013 at 11:11 PM.
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Old November 16, 2013, 11:38 PM   #13
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low power

The right scope will not be a hindrance in the woods, nor handicap you out in the open. And a scope, even a low powered number will let you see better in almost any condition, and you can't hit what you can't see. A good scope will gather light and allow shooting long past (or before) when you can use irons or a peep. And in point count areas, you can count points....or find holes in the brush to shot through.

Honestly, I believe a fixed 4x, or at most a fixed 6x. would work fine for much of the deer hunting done west of the MS. My longest poke at a deer has been about 225, and I did it with a fixed 4x and a .308 lever, on a ROW. Now, I know about ROW's and bean fields, slashing and cutovers. And some x power can help there. And higher x power helps with groups and small targets like varmints. That's what makes the old standard 3-9x such a useful device, but I like'em pretty trim, no bell over 40mm. But much more scope than that, (to hunt whitetails in typical N, E, SE conditions) in my book, is too much size, weight and price.

If I were to scope a lever carbine, (30-30?) I'd look hard at a fixed 4, a compact one, or a 1-4x variable. I've got a 1-4x on a Mini-30 and think its ideal. I can run targets up close in competion (at 1x) almost as fast as a dot, and wind it up to 4x and be pretty dangerous on plates out to 150-200. Pistol cals carbines would get a low powered variable, say 1-4x. , or maybe a fixed 2.5x.

BTW, the lever carbines are popular in the brush 'cause you can get through the thick stuff with them
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Old November 17, 2013, 12:26 AM   #14
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A nice 1-4 will do very nicely for everything from 2 feet to 500 yards.
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Old November 17, 2013, 01:11 AM   #15
baddarryl
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Thanks everyone. In actuality I don't have any complaints with my Nitrex TR1 scope. In fact when I was shopping it seemed as good as or better than many in that $2-3oo range. My concern was quick target acquisition at close range. Not going to change a thing on that .270.

There is something I don't like about a scope on a lever gun, but that is just me.
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Old November 17, 2013, 02:19 PM   #16
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no scopes on levers

You search my posts from 4-5 yrs ago, and I was very sassy about spouting
"No Scopes on Lever Guns". I thought a scope on a traditional saddle lever was a bit much, looks wise.......and part of me still does.

But the truth is that my eyes have turned a corner in the interim and a scope is now a useful device on a rifle for me, especially a short tubed carbine (the pity).

A see several Leupold 2.5's and 1-4x's in my future, for my beloved Marlin 1894/357 , an AK, who knows what else?
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Old November 17, 2013, 02:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
JD0x0
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I have a 3-9x power on my .270
On 3x I can use it reasonably in my room.(no I don't actually shoot in my room ) I'm talking ~10feet or so, I can get a clear sight picture, easily good enough to hunt game, not that it's likely you'd be that close to game anyway.
no man I think you are wrong, or rather I know you are wrong, at short distances with a 3x scope you will only see fur, and not know where yo uare aiming

a 1-4 or 1,5-6 will handle most hunting scenarios

if it is only shortrange then a reddot is my choice

I have my scopes on qd mounts and good irons, I still put on the reddot for driven game as it is much faster
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Old November 17, 2013, 03:32 PM   #18
Dragline45
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"No Scopes on Lever Guns". I thought a scope on a traditional saddle lever was a bit much, looks wise.......and part of me still does.
I agree, a scope on a lever gun just seems wrong, but it has never stopped me from slapping one on there. The only solution is to get two lever guns, keep one scoped and one for irons!
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Old November 17, 2013, 03:58 PM   #19
PVL
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Swift makes a 2-7x40 that gathers light better than a 2-7x32 compact scope.

Seems like an ideal setup, I might have to try one out.
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Old November 17, 2013, 04:43 PM   #20
steveNChunter
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The only time I've been in the woods with a scoped rifle and wished I didnt have the scope was when I shot a deer that was almost directly below my stand.
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Old November 17, 2013, 08:06 PM   #21
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Ditto on a 1-4x for 100 and inside.

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Old November 18, 2013, 03:42 PM   #22
pete2
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Longest shot I ever made was a deer at 400 yds, used a 4X Leupold. A 2 to 7 seems to me to be about right for a big game rifle.
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Old November 18, 2013, 05:20 PM   #23
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Some scope company's rate there variable scopes at 1-4x, but in reality it's not 1x but 1.5x.

If I had enough wampum...I would buy Swarovski's Z6i 1-6x24 Illuminated Rifle Scope, which is most sought after by three gunners; going for about $2,400.
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Old November 18, 2013, 05:42 PM   #24
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I took a two deer in about 15 seconds this season with an H&R Handi rifle chambered in 44 mag at about 20-30 yards. The rifle has a fixed 4x Weaver Classic on it, and it was no disadvantage to me to have the scope on instead of shooting with the irons.

That said, having irons wouldn't have changed the outcome (bang-flop x2) either.....

I wouldn't have wanted a variable set on 9x, but my fixed 4x and 4.75x Weavers are just fine in the timber I hunt in Northern MN.
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Old November 18, 2013, 06:27 PM   #25
AllenJ
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My concern was quick target acquisition at close range.
If your rifle shoulders correctly, target acquisition is not going to be a problem. As stated above though when an animal is really close picking the proper spot to shoot the animal is going to be a problem. Shooting at running animals, especially in the brush, is a low percentage shot and sometimes it is better to adjust the way you hunt so those animals are unaware of your presence.
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