View Full Version : What power scope for best groups

January 28, 2010, 09:35 PM
When you folks use variable power scopes for target shooting, do you find that you shoot better groups with the power ring set on the lower side of the range?

At the lower powers, the "jitter" is not as apparent as on the higher settings. I have many scopes and groups I have shot with an old Weaver K10 seems to be easier to duplicate than those where I have for example a 6.5-20 and crank the power up to 20.

I know the jitter does not change from low power to high power but the apparent jitter is far more pronounced at the higher settings.

What do you folks do?


January 28, 2010, 09:55 PM
If it's jittering on any power the rifle's not stable. Unstable rifle = bad groups.

January 28, 2010, 11:24 PM
I have a .223 w/ A 6-24 power scope, and a 22-250 w/ an 8-32 power scope. You can pick your spot inside the X-ring of and air rifle target @ 100yds and you don't need a spotting scope. A lower power scope's cross hair will completely cover the X-ring and the 10 ring of a target. Just my .02 :)

January 29, 2010, 12:54 AM
Turn the power up (some or all the way ) than concentrate on your breathing , holding the gun stead ,trigger pull etc. In the long run if you practice enough it will make you a better marksman. And the "jitter" will become less of a factor.

January 29, 2010, 03:53 AM
I personally try and shoot with a little less magnification then i could if i turned the scope all the way up. My reasoning is that i like to have the target look just as big at 100 meters as it does at 300. In my mind it just keeps me a little more consistent :p

January 29, 2010, 07:10 AM
Noob shooter,

I think that is the point I was trying to make. I should have been clearer.

I have been shooting for over 50 years and yet I learn something new every day.

I do not drink coffee on the day I shoot in order to help minimize nervous movement.

The crosshairs are going to move as they will with your breathing and heartbeat.

If your scope is dialed down to 6.5 power, the movement is the same but is not perceived the same as it would be looking at the same target at 20 power.

I am going out to the range in a couple of hours and will try shooting a little with less magnification.

Thanks for the feedback.:D

January 29, 2010, 07:41 AM
For target shooting, I feel that a higher power scope is better. Low power scopes give you a wider field of view, which is good for picking up a target, especially a moving one. Lower power scopes are best for hunting and combat.

However, if you are shooting paper, it is fixed to one place and you have plenty of time to pick it out in your scope. You generally do not need a wide field of view for target shooting. The higher precision and ability to see where your shots land is helpful.

January 29, 2010, 09:14 AM
...do you find that you shoot better groups with the power ring set on the lower side of the range?

Sometimes I do.

We all know that there will be some degree of wobble when shooting offhand, and that we are supposed to tolerate it and not try to catch the crosshairs drifting over the bull, but that involves a degree of psychological discipline.

I find that having a scope that could double as a spotting scope makes ignoring the wobble very difficult, whereas a lower power lets me use the crosshairs merely as a sight (not a high-definition view of the target). That seems to help consistency.

January 29, 2010, 09:44 AM
When shooting with a rest, scope is usually at high magnification.
Off-hand shooting, scope is set at lower power.
My scoped rifles:
- .22 bolt with an 8-24x -- only bench
- .22 bolt with 5-15x -- mostly bench (at 5x when off-hand)
- .223 bolt with 24x -- only bench
- .223 AR with 1-4 -- mostly off-hand at 1x

Recently, i have been thinking of moving my 5-15 onto my bolt 223 with a 24x and replacing it with a lower power (2-x magnification) for more comfortable off-hand shooting.
When shooting for groups, max magnification on bench rest.

January 29, 2010, 09:52 AM
I use 20 power plus for most target shooting with a solid rest, controlling heart beat and breathing takes practice especially as we age I've found, but with work it gets better.;)

Thought I would add also physical conditioning is a part of the shooting sport just like any other, I'm 66 use a treadmill daily and weights even still after 2 hours of bench shooting I'm beat.

January 29, 2010, 10:58 AM
If you can't see it, you can't shoot it.

That said, I pretty much use lower power settings for off hand and field use and higher power settings for bench shooting.

January 29, 2010, 11:48 AM
If you are shooting off a bench rest, go with the higher power. If you are in a hunting situation, or offhand target shooting I would recommend the lowest power that lets you define your target. The jittering is the same at low power as high. The problem is that it is more perceptible at the higher scope powers and the natural response is to over-correct, stay too long on target which causes the natural tremor to increase. I have tried this on targets and found I shoot better groups doing it this way.

ackley man
January 29, 2010, 03:21 PM
When we shoot bench rest matches at 100 yards the scopes are traditionally fixed 30 - 40 power sometimes bumped to 50 -60X with fine cross hairs or 1/8moa dots. The movement that you are experiencing with the cross hairs indicates that your rest is not solid and/or your breathing and grip are incorrect. Try controlling your breathing and relax your grip. There are numerous article on both subjects.

January 29, 2010, 03:55 PM
Hm. I favor scopes in the lower power range, as I find the movement of the reticle against the target too distracting.

January 29, 2010, 04:32 PM
Not to be a dick, but

If you can't see it, you can't shoot it.

is not a true statement.

Always be sure of your target and what is behind it. Don't shoot into the air. Stray bullets are serious business.


James R. Burke
January 29, 2010, 05:21 PM
Just myself with my deer rifle, it has a 3x9x40 on it. Most of the time I just leave it on 4x. But that is just me. Next time out I am going to try someting after reading this post just to see if there is a difference for me.