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Old December 31, 2013, 09:19 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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Fixed power optics.

I once read a post of someone criticising zoom scopes, saying that the numbers look cool and sound impressive, but really 99% of people just what it on max and leave it there, making all the other zoom range a waste of money, parts and leaving more to go wrong.

It seems I am one of the 99%....

So why do, ostensibly, so few optics companies make fixed power 8x/10x/12x scopes?

Looking on my preferred optics shop's site, the only one I can find at the moment is the stratospherically priced Schmidt and Bender.

Others? Brands? Models?
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Old December 31, 2013, 09:41 AM   #2
Jim Watson
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Leupold makes fixed power scope sights in 6, 10, and 12X.

Bushnell has an inexpensive 10X.
Valdada and Weaver make some fixed powers in 8 or 10X
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Old December 31, 2013, 09:46 AM   #3
AllenJ
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I don't mean to be argumentative but I don't know of anyone who hunts with their scope on its highest power. I know a couple of people who put their 3X9 on 6 power but most everybody else hunts with the scope on its lowest power, and turn it up if needed.

Now that I've said that, were you talking about target scopes? If so I feel a little silly.
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Old December 31, 2013, 09:55 AM   #4
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Frankly, there are about 3 kinds of optics buyers.

There are people who rush out and buy a 3-9x30 blister pak optic and are amazed by the deal they got then struggle with eye relief, forehead scars, zeroing, missing game, etc.

Then there are people who buy in hook, line and sinker that you have to spend $1000 or you don't have crap.

Then there is a relatively small group who really thinks through how they shoot and what they need based on that.

The first group sees no value in a 6x30 for $200. It is not as cool as a 3-9 for $40. The second group sticks their noses up to anything under $800 or so. Only an honest #3 grouper can say, "I hunt 0-300 yard deer. I never shoot under 50 yds. I won't take a shot over 350. I judge trophies with my binos. Yea, it would be great to have a compact 6x on my 257 Roberts deer rifle. Wow! What a nice light deer rifle."
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Old December 31, 2013, 10:03 AM   #5
Nathan
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Quote:
I don't mean to be argumentative but I don't know of anyone who hunts with their scope on its highest power.
Not trying to argue here either, but do you know anybody who walked into their hunting spot and accidentally had left it on max power, or bounced a nec buck only to not make the shot due to a scope on max power? I know someone who shot a 35 yd deer on 9x. Yes, it was impossible to aim that shot well.

I also know a guy who killed an antelope with like + 6 MOA dialed into his elevation turret. Amazing how an accidental spine shot will drop an antelope!

My point....simple can be better.
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Old December 31, 2013, 11:11 AM   #6
AllenJ
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Quote:
but do you know anybody who walked into their hunting spot and accidentally had left it on max power
To be honest I'm usually the guy asking if everyone has checked their scopes! I'm a fan of the KISS rule (Keep It Simple Stupid) but I also suffer from OCD when it comes to hunting and reloading. Have I made mistakes, certainly I have, but checking what power my scope is on has not been one of them.
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Old December 31, 2013, 11:47 AM   #7
SSA
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Few companies make fixed power scopes because few people buy them.
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Old December 31, 2013, 01:32 PM   #8
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
Now that I've said that, were you talking about target scopes?
Not necessarily, but that would all fall under the same umbrella for me.

Peopleget scopes because they want to shoot far away. That might be a boar at 150m, an elk at 500, a piece of paper at 1000m or an enemy at 1500m. In all but the last, people will choose and buy their own scopes, for the most part, and it seems to me that the vast majority of scope topics on here tend to offer up a whole stack of zoom power options. I can't remember the last time I saw a fixed power being suggested. It might have been Kraigw and what I think is his Weaver 10x.

In other words, fixed powers don't come up very often, yet seem to make a lot of sense in most situations. An 8x scope could do everything you need out to 400m perhaps? (I'm guessing on that last bit)
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Old December 31, 2013, 01:57 PM   #9
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No reason to do so. Years ago variable power optics were a lot less reliable and less expensive. Not so today, a variable of EQUAL quality is about the same price and every bit as reliable. If you want a fixed power 4X, 6X, 8X etc, just buy a variable 3-9X and leave it on the setting you prefer.

Quote:
99% of people just what it on max and leave it
I've found the opposite to be true. In fact the biggest problem with fixed power scopes is that they have TOO MUCH magnification. I prefer a 1-4X, 2-7X or 3-9X and leave them on the lowest setting 99% of the time. A fixed 4X is just too much most of the time.

I zero at long range on the highest setting. Then turn it down to the lowest setting and practice at shorter ranges. I cannot remember the last time I shot a game animal not on the lowest setting. If I need to take a longer shot, it goes straight to the highest magnification. I never mess with anything in between.

I don't have time to mess with the scopes magnification adjustment for close shots plus I need all the field of view I can get up close. That is why it stays on the lowest setting. You almost always have plenty of time to set up for long shots so taking the time to change to a higher setting is no problem.

Quote:
Peopleget scopes because they want to shoot far away.
Totally false.

Scopes are just as helpful at 5 feet as at 500 yards. Many make the mistake of buying too much scope. A 1X-3X scope is faster for up close rapid fire shooting than dot sights or irons. Scopes help you see the target easier. They are also a huge help in low light in helping locate your target.
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Old December 31, 2013, 02:44 PM   #10
Pond, James Pond
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I've found the opposite to be true.
Maybe I'm a 1% then. It may be because I shoot paper only at set ranges.

Quote:
Totally false.
I stand corrected. I suppose I was judging by my own standards as this is what I bought my scope for.
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Old January 1, 2014, 09:37 AM   #11
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For my 30-06 I use a 3x9 set at 3 power and have never cranked up higher. If I hunted in another part of the country I might use more. Really, a 3x shot at 300 yards is similar to a 100 yard open sight shot. Why is more power needed.
My 10/22 has a fixed 4x and has served fine for tree rats and predator control.
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Old January 1, 2014, 11:23 AM   #12
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Speaking just from Yote hunting. I have a 6-24 x56 on my Yote rifle ( 223) It stays on 24 power always. Never had a issue finding Yote in cross hairs close or far away. This ( to me ) farce about being harder to find target in high power scopes is BS. A rifle is a extension of your fingers. See target bring rifle up to target and it is in scope. If you can't do that very easy,more practice is definetly needed.
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Old January 1, 2014, 12:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
To be honest I'm usually the guy asking if everyone has checked their scopes!. . . .
I stand corrected. In the hunting party when I lived in MT, this was a running joke. They all did it once. . . .me, on the other hand had a sporterized Enfield 30'06 with a 50's Weaver 4x. . .never had it dialed to 9x!
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Old January 13, 2014, 11:45 AM   #14
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Unfortunately, scope choice (and magnification) are often predicated on the silly notion that higher magnification will enable one to shoot more accurately. Actually, within limits, the opposite is true. Magnification should be chosen based on the distances involved. A 100 yard shot needs no, or very little , magnification (unless the shooter is so blind that he/she shouldn't be shooting beyond handgun distances anyway). But, a 600 yard shot will require a good bit of magnification, for most people. Of course, the choice of magnification is an individual one. I always have to chuckle, however, at the guy using a long range target scope , cranked up to 12 or 24X, for hunting (or target shooting) at 200 yards or less. Silly.

I found, for myself, that approximately 1X, per 50 yards of distance, was optimum. Thus, 2X was perfect for about 100 yards. As my shots on game were never beyond 250 yards, I always preferred a fixed 4X scope.

I no longer hunt, but I do continue to shoot targets, out to 200 yards. I also switched back to iron sights, albeit ones of my own design. I find that I am just as accurate, on balance, at 100 to 150 yards as most people using 3X - 9X scopes.....so I guess I must be doing something right.
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Old January 13, 2014, 08:47 PM   #15
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wpsdlrg- Couple things.

A higher power scope does in fact enable you to shoot more accurate. My 200 to 600 yard target bullseye is the diameter of a pencil. Now with you 3-9- You would not even see it a 200 yards in your scope. While you are shooting at a 2 inch target at 200 yards I am shooting at a little dot inside your 2 inch target. Yes my groups are going to be smaller than yours, making me more accurate. Aim small shoot small. At 200 yards,heck at 300 yards I can put my crosshairs inside my bullet hole. This ability enable much tighter groups providing guy behind trigger can do it.
I shoot out to 1200 yards with my 6MMBR. Never seen one with a 3-9 scope.
I will give you that a 3-9 is Probably the best deer scope ever made,but for target shooting they are no better than no scope at all. Then there is this other thing I keep hearing- You wobble to much at high power. Guess what that same wobble is there at 3 power or 9 power,You just don't see it as much.. That is more harmful then seeing it in my book.
There is a difference between hitting a 6 inch target at 100 yards and hitting a 1/4 inch target at 100 yards.

One needs to keep in mind- target shooting and Hunting are 2 different sports and require different equipment most times.
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Last edited by 4runnerman; January 13, 2014 at 09:41 PM.
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Old January 14, 2014, 02:33 PM   #16
dmanisgnarly
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I have various fixed and zoom scopes and I can attest that while the fixed scopes are nice for quick engagement(think 4x) the adjustability makes hunting and target shooting easier at distances. It really depends on the application.
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Old January 14, 2014, 06:00 PM   #17
wpsdlrg
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4runnerman,

Not disputing what you say, in fact, I agree with most of it. Obviously, a smaller target, at any given distance, if that distance is too far for accurate shooting with the naked eye, will require magnification if the target is to be seen clearly. I did allude to that in my post, though I did not go into any detail (which perhaps I should have).

However, you have somewhat missed my point.....or rather, it appears that I did not make my point CLEAR. What I meant was - higher magnification does NOT make one a better shot - and THAT is the silly assumption made by far too many people. I see now that I should have stated that, in exactly those terms. "My bad", as they say.

Your point about "the shakes" is somewhat correct, but not entirely. Yes, we all have them - BUT, higher magnification in fact "magnifies" them - making it harder to stay on target. That is accepted fact. Certainly using a rest for one's rifle is a compensating factor and can nullify the problem, just as a machine rest (taking the shooter almost entirely out of the equation) will virtually eliminate any such problem. That, however, serves to obscure the real issue. I seriously doubt that you spend much time shooting your "6mmBR" OFF HAND into pencil-sized bullseyes, at 300 yards (or any other distance).

A rifle rest, in this instance, merely serves to confuse the issue. Once again, however, I did not go into that kind of detail - and did not make myself clear. My apologies for that.

A simple conceptual proof for what I am saying can be constructed by only considering a basic scenario: any shooter, with a scoped rifle, shooting at any target, at any given distance - OFF HAND (so to eliminate the "crutch" effect of the rest - and place the onus entirely on the SHOOTER). 1st, assume the shooter is using 3X, with a 4" diameter target, at 100 yards. Compare that situation to the same shooter/ same rifle, etc.....using 9X, also with a 4" target at 100 yards. A true "apples to apples" comparison. Surely you don't believe that in those two scenarios, the shooter will likely be more accurate with his scope set at 9X !? I would venture to insist that there is likely NO ONE that could accomplish that.

If we consider further, the scenario above, except that the shooter is using a good, steady rifle rest in both circumstances....then he MIGHT do better with 9X. MIGHT. I myself would do better with 3X, or even less. It depends on the individual. However, that narrow example only really indicates that using a good rest makes it easier to shoot - that's all. The rest takes most of the skill OUT of the equation, in this example. There are many more variables to be considered - and it is pure fallacy to assume that, if the hypothetical individual happened to shoot better at 9X, then that proves that higher magnification is "better". Nonsense.

THAT is the heart of the matter. Higher magnification does NOT make one a better shooter, nor capable of better accuracy, except in very limited, specific circumstances, especially if using a rest. The unfortunate problem is that too many shooters assume exactly the opposite - and further assume that equipment will make up for lack of practice, etc. That is really all I meant - but, again, I did not go into enough detail to make myself clear before. Sorry.

Last edited by wpsdlrg; January 14, 2014 at 06:22 PM.
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Old January 14, 2014, 06:30 PM   #18
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wpsdlrg- Never a need to say sorry to me. You state your point very well with a lot of merit. I am just one of those people that believes a higher power scope does make you more accurate. You shoot smaller groups and that is more accurate. As for your free standing ( no rest ) shooting,,Umm I never do that and would I am sure be very very embarrassed of what I would shoot. My rifles are to heavy and I am to old.
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Old January 14, 2014, 06:48 PM   #19
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One needs to keep in mind- target shooting and Hunting are 2 different sports and require different equipment most times.

As I discovered when I took my only scope - a 6-24X - bunny hunting. I was at the local gun store within the week.

Now I am currently in load development and sighting-in, and even at 100 yards it would be nice to have that upper end (to obviate the need for a spotting scope, if nothing else) and pointless to be much below the lower end - the target isn't going to move on me, and I have all the time in the world to scan around at 6X and find it. But when load development is done and I take the same gun hunting, that target scope is coming off and my 2-7X is going back on.
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Old January 19, 2014, 10:57 PM   #20
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Quote:
People get scopes because they want to shoot far away
I get scopes because I want to hit exactly where I'm aiming.
That isn't always possible with iron sites, even at short range

Hitting a squirrel in the eye at 50 yds can be tough with iron sites, but poses little problem with a high powered scope

I keep variables set on the lowest powers unless I need to turn them up, since I hunt deer in both thick woods and huge open areas
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Old January 19, 2014, 11:27 PM   #21
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The only time I use a variable scope at full power is target or varmint shooting. Both are aids to allow me to make a better shot.

With a 3-9x scope while deer hunting, I leave it set on 4x normally and seldom change it since I will have binoculars. I used to use fixed 4x scopes a lot and I'm very comfortable with the magnification.

My Dad has had the experience of pulling his rifle to his shoulder and having it set on a high power for a quick close range shot. He was used to fixed power scopes and really didn't think about it until the moment he was going to take a shot and then he couldn't find the target in the scope.
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Old January 22, 2014, 05:36 PM   #22
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i prefer fixed power scopes. About half of my scoped center fire rifles wear them. Most are Ziess, Weaver, and Leupold. The newest is a 4X32 from IOR Valdada.

The Leupold FXII 4X33 is a fine scope. One of my AR-15 rifles wears that scope as does a .22 rifle.

Except for some Unertl scopes used by the USMC, all the sniper scopes used WWII were four power and less.

i can't remember the last time i turned the power ring on a variable power scope.
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Old January 22, 2014, 06:31 PM   #23
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Its not a battle of purely fixed power versus adjustable power scopes.

Ive seen 200 dollar adjustable scopes that had no clarity of picture or light gathering properties, meaning you saw stuff between 10 am and 4 pm, rest of the time you saw dark blobs moving in it.

yet ive seen discontinued models of both that could give beautiful clarity, light gathering, etc.

It comes down to what you actually need, its why you know the old joke of a 13 dollar rifle, with a 500 dollar scope on it.

MOST rifles just dont seem to have the ability to shoot past ranges where you need high end scopes.
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