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Old February 28, 2011, 09:45 PM   #1
antibiotic
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what is the highest power scope mostly used in long range shooting

i am looking to buy a high power variable scope. i am shooting up to about 600 yards. all i mostly see on the market are scopes that start from a power of 3X to 4X and only go to a power of 20X or 24X. Why not 30X or 32X or 36X?????
i found one brand that makes a 8x to 32x power scope. wow,! thats the one for my rifle. I am seriously concidering purchasing this scope
why is this type of high power variable scope not popular? am i missing something here? wouldnt you want a scope that has a high 32X power to shoot 500 yds+++ please explain. thank you
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Old February 28, 2011, 09:54 PM   #2
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Im shooting 600 yards plus right now. I started with a 10-40x50 scope.I did come down to a 36 power now though. 600 yards and more can be done with a smaller scope as people will chime in and tell you. I just use it because I want to see target very well and up close. I attempt to shoot small targets at 600 yards(eggs).And the only issue you would have with a smaller scope is being able to see that target from that range.Not that there are'nt those that can't. Im 50 and my eyes need all the help they can get. To me being abel to put crosshairs on a quarter size bullseye will give you tighter groups than being able to put crosshairs on,say a 12 inch target.Im not aware of them not being popular in long range shooting.
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Old March 2, 2011, 11:01 PM   #3
Ralph Allen
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3.5-15X56 Nightforce. You can see anything you wish at any range your rifle will shoot to. 600 yards is no problem. Many reticle options. I have the NPR-2 on mine. Cheap scopes will give you cheap performance. The higher power scopes are plagued by mirage. Cheap glass only increases these problems.
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Old March 2, 2011, 11:12 PM   #4
Jim Watson
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I use an 8.5-25X and it seldom gets below 20 even with the mirage acting up.

Expert benchrest and F-class shooters often use higher powers. I don't know what the high end for a sling gun is but you would not be hurt with a 12-42X.

Actually I don't know what use the low end of a 4:1 zoom ratio is to a target shooter. Something like a 15-40 would be good. The very expensive March 35-50 is a real expert's glass.
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Old March 3, 2011, 09:17 PM   #5
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I would like to say, I have no problem with 600 yrs and I don't, but I can not shoot eggs 1shot=1egg. That being said there are better shooters than I at that, I will say it will depend on the target your going to be shooting. I enjoy moa at 600 yrds but again that 6'' at moa. If your going to shoot game less is better, I can have zombie size at 500+ and hit in the targeted area at 10x fixed but anything beyond 400 at p-dogs (being about 10'' high) mirage is VERY noticeable so I will only use 12 to 14 and sometimes its too much, that I may be witness to the hit and kill of them evil p-dogs. Again everyone enjoys different power levels and you find that each time the power is ajusted the POI's are affected larger targets maybe less noticeable but they change none the less.
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Old March 6, 2011, 07:08 PM   #6
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thanks for your help.
so your saying a variable 10x to 14X power is good enough. and i dont need a variable up to 32X power scope to see my 7 inch round target @600 yds.
Next question???????
the black diamond scope is also a 30mm tube, is 8x to 32x veriable power. I still am pretty sure im going to go this route.
whats good about the 30mm tube vs. 1 inch tubes???
thanks again
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Old March 6, 2011, 10:11 PM   #7
NESHOOTER
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if its a true 30mm tube and has true 30mm innards then, what it will do is allow more light for better low light conditions.
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Old March 7, 2011, 12:42 PM   #8
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but I can not shoot eggs 1shot=1egg.-NEShooter

Let me set this straight--I can not do it either. Im working on it very hard. I have done it a few times,but eggs are on ground,so i can;t tell if it is dirt,shrappnel or the bullet that is breaking them. This year i am going to tape them on a string and that will give me a better chance. I wish i could say im hitting them 1 for 1

Most of the comp guys i shoot with are using a straight 36 power scope.
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Old March 7, 2011, 09:29 PM   #9
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Gotcha 4rnr, I was not attempting to be sassy just envious. Some may find this a simple feat but I put clay pigons 300yrds on my range backstop so if I break them I know its not the bounce one may have. I have a scope with that much power but I never use it for my intended purpose's. Rather it is only good to use on my paper targets when I'm too lazy to setup my spotting scope. I just take that rifle and use it that way....
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Old March 8, 2011, 11:24 AM   #10
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I was not attempting to be sassy just envious- It's cool NEShooter. when i read what i posted it sounded like i was hitting too. Just wanted to make sure all knew i was not that good..Sure wish i was.
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Old March 12, 2011, 07:03 PM   #11
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Let me throw this idea into the mix. No matter of just how good your scope is you are not going to walk up to the 600 yard line and hit the in the center target right away. You need some sort of spotting scope to read wind conditions to even come close. The spotting scope will cost you about as much as a quality rifle scope. And then there is the scope stand to buy.

Once you start shooting at 600 the guy who tells you he shot his last buck at 600 yards you will know he is full of it. It takes a lot of work to hit the center of the target at 600. And the more you go out the harder it gets.
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Old March 13, 2011, 02:17 AM   #12
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Hello, guys. 36 power scopes...Kind of makes you wonder how the first United States NRA team beat the British in the 1874 Creedmoor match at 800, 900 & 1000yds. using vernier tang and windage adjustable globe fronts!
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Old March 13, 2011, 10:11 AM   #13
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You can get over kill on scope power at extended ranges. What you have out there is mirage. The high power scopes will magnify that mirage washing out the target. Of course every one's eyes are different but for me, in using glass in 1000 yard matches, I found the 10 X to be the best (again thats me, your eyes may be different).

When we shot team matches as a coach I used a 100 mm spotting scope. The scope came with a variety of eye pieces, 16-32X. I found the 20 X worked best for seen the trace and mirage.

Another problem with the higher powered scopes is heat coming off the barrel. You see this, and it interferes with your reading mirage.

Even with the 10X scope I use a barrel ban to break up the heat waves coming off the barrel.

Even when using the 10X scope, I had my spotting scope next to me for reading mirage and other environmental conditions.

Like I said, this works for me, everyone's eyes are different.
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Old March 13, 2011, 03:55 PM   #14
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Things get compromised more with lower quality scopes,but even with the ideal optics,look at the relationship between power and objective lense.Look at traditional binoculars.7x35's,8x40's,10x50's.Night-marine binocs,7x50's.
When you divide the power into the objective lense size it will give you the exit pupil size.Note the traditional binocs it comes out to 5mm,and the night/marine it is 7 mm.This is matched to the size of the pupil in the human eye.In low light,we have about a 5mm eye pupil.At night,we go up to a max of 7mm.Very bright light,we go down to maybe 2.5 mm.
You will notice a drop in image quality when the optic exit pupil is smaller than the eye pupil.
I have a pretty good spotting scope.Its a Kowa with a 77 mm flourite crystal objective lense.it has a 20-60 eyepiece.Looking at bullet holes at 300 yds,things just do not get better than something near 40 x in very good light.
According to this theory,with a 50 mm objective,and ideal light,about 20x is all that will provide better image quality.More magnification will zoom it up,but its like overzooming a photograph.Image quality does not get better,field of view just gets smaller.
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Old March 16, 2011, 03:07 PM   #15
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High Power Optics

Antibiotic,

Lots of useful info in reply to your question on popular high power optics. You didn't mention what type of rifle you are using or, if you're loading your own, what your're pushing. When shooters start reaching out to 600 yds and beyond, they're usually not shooting factory ammo (unless it is produced in the Army Marksmanship Unit "Factory").
It's tough to give you an objecitve answer with so many unknowns.
If you are using a factory produced rifle you should expect to pay almost as much for your glass as you did for your gun. My personal favorites are made by Nikon...Monarch Line. Outstanding quality and a lifetime guarentee.
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Old March 17, 2011, 12:05 AM   #16
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One thing you might consider is if u decide to purchase a range finding reticle type scope, that all ranging will be calcualted on 10x power.

Second, the biggest disvantage of extremely high power magnification is they respond to the slighest viberation. Breath, heart beat, and pulse from hands. This can be a problem with some shooters because they tend to fight the crosshairs because it becomes physically taxing to try and steady the crosshairs. I personally find high magnification to be cumbersome, unless shooting on a rock steady bench. On high magnification, "crosshair ambushing" is the norm. Thats when you watch the natural movement of the crosshairs and pick a point time when the reticle will meet the target and at the same time while breaking the shot.

I have been a LEO sniper for 6 years, and I will say it is nice to have high magnification to observe, all shots will be taken on 10 or 12 power. However, eggs at 600 yards can be diffcult to see, I still think 16x would be my top end.

Food for thought.
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Old March 17, 2011, 04:24 AM   #17
Bart B.
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Here's the compromise points one might consider:

Higher power means:

* more apparent reticule wiggle on target, harder to hold still.

* darker image.

* changes in mirage speed sometimes harder to see.

* lesser range band that'll show mirage clearly.

Lower power means:

* less apparent reticle wiggle on target, easier to hold still.

* brighter image.

* changes in mirage speed often easier to see.

* greater range band that'll show mirage clearly.

In observing the folks who win the matches and set the records, plus the matches I've won using scopes, 16X to 25X seems to be the best choice. The lower powers tend to make the mirage closer to the firing line more visible and that's where wind has the greatest effect on wind drift on the target.

I doubt any variable power scope will be as accurate as a fixed power one. The tolerances in the zoom lens' barrel/tube are such that they tend to end up in different places when the power changes. Which means they'll focus the target image at a different place on the reticule. You can see how much slop there is in a scope's zoom lens mechanics by putting a collimator in the muzzle, zeroing the scope on it, then changing power while you look through the scope. The reticule typically makes a figure 8 move about the collimator reticule. The only way I know of to eliminate this is set the scope to its highest power then leave it there.

Ever notice that benchresters typically don't use variables?

Tube diameter has nothing to do with how bright the image is. Image brightness is determined by how large the objective (front) lens is. All it does is pipe light from the target inside the scope focusing it at a fininte point. It doesn't matter how far away the tube walls are from that point; it's as bright as the front lens allows. If tube diameter did have anything to do with image brightness, then it would be part of the "relative brightness" equation used to determine exit pupil diameter.

Image quality has nothing to do with the objective lens size. Consider the 200 inch diameter telescope at Mt. Palomar, or even the 100mm (4-inch) Unertl team scopes used in rifle competition for spotting shots and reading the wind; nothing's as bright and sharp as they are.

Last edited by Bart B.; March 17, 2011 at 04:36 AM.
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Old March 17, 2011, 12:29 PM   #18
HiBC
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? "Image has nothing to do with objective lense size"?
By the examples you gave,large mirror scope and 4" spotting scope,it seems you agree,large is good for image quality,assuming we are talking quality optics.
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Old March 17, 2011, 11:42 PM   #19
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I shoot Sniper Matches with targets from 100 yards to a maximum of 800 yards on my home range. We also shoot a match we call a Multi Range F Class. We shoot 5 rounds from each shooting berm starting at 100 yards and moving back to 800 yards. Fourty rounds total.

I have two MK IV M1 16X Leupold's with TMR reticle's. I have a 6.5 - 20X M1 with Premier Reticle Gen II Mil Dots. I also have a 8.5 - 25X M1 with Premier Reticle Gen II Mil Dots. I also have 4 Super Snipers in either 16X or 20X.

Shooting to only 600 yards any of the above will work fine. They are all 30mm scopes.

Do not buy junk. A good rule of thumb if it is not made in America, Germany or Japan, it is probably junk. If it is made in China it is almost surely junk.

Super Snipers are around $300 last I checked. They are made in Japan. They are good to go for an econo fixed power 16X or 20X scope. The glass is pretty good, but not Great. Knobs are not bad with big lock screws, and they dial accurately. The rear focus works just fine. As far as I am concerned the next step up from a Super Sniper is a Leupold at triple the cost. In a Leupold get a 30mm tube, and M1 Knobs. The Milling reticles are nice, but 80% of the folks I have seen who own one have no idea how to range targets using mil's. They probably have no need to know either, for that matter. If you find a cheaper Duplex it will work fine. As for power, mine stay turned up all the way for range use, unless we have a target that is almost under foot.
In my opinion after Leupold and Night Force you are paying way to much for very small gains in quality. Just my opinion.
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