View Full Version : Scopes and lasers take the fun out of target shooting?

December 22, 2013, 09:32 PM
Does adding a scope or laser to your gun take the fun out of target shooting for you? I don't hunt, but have a few rifles and handguns, and thinking about adding a scope, but after you zero it in and can have a small grouping at x amount of yards, what do you do next? It would seem that after you've got it ready to go, the skill is all gone, since you're just changing the dials based on distance, and then putting the crosshairs on the target.

December 22, 2013, 09:44 PM
Your goal should be to put 5 shots into the same hole at 100 yards......then your work is done. Despite what you read on the internet most folks go their entire lives without accomplishing that feat.....that's the fun of it for me. Of course hand loading comes into play at some point or another.

December 22, 2013, 09:54 PM
^^^^^^^ What he said.

December 22, 2013, 09:56 PM
Chasing tiny groups is not for everyone. If the appeal is lost on you , then don't do it. The ability to shoot sub-MOA is not prevalent, regardless of the internet claims. Most people are going to shoot 3 to 5 MOA just starting out. The repeatability of the stable position (quality shooters talk about "building" the shooting position), cheek weld, breath control, trigger control, reading the wind, knowing the atmospheric corrections and DOPE (Data of Prior Engagements) are all individual skills that must be developed and perfected. Hitting on first round, a 10" gong at 1000 yards...if you can just dial and do that, go enter every match you can and you will be famous and rich in no time.

There is some science, some mental and some art all mixed together. About the only shooting skill that is not required at the top of the ranks in precision rifle shooting is speed. Enter an Enduro or sniper style match and now you have to have speed too.

December 22, 2013, 10:08 PM
A scope does not shoot the rifle for you. You can still jerk the trigger, flinch, fail to correctly read the wind, etc.
My offhand scores with a scoped rifle aren't much better than what I can do with a good aperture rear and blade front sight, in fact, often I do better with the metallic sights.

Hitting on first round, a 10" gong at 1000 yards...if you can just dial and do that, go enter every match you can and you will be famous and rich in no time.

Probably just famous.;)

December 22, 2013, 10:09 PM
Does adding a scope or laser to your gun take the fun out of target shooting for you?

With scopes no, it enhances it. With open sights the distance I can accurately shoot is limited to 150 yards or so. With a scope I'm able to shoot targets at 550 yards, my ranges max distance.

I've never used a laser so can't comment on that.

December 22, 2013, 10:52 PM
what do you do next?

Try and shoot a smaller group! As others have pointed out, some people (myself 100% included) live to shoot the smallest group possible. The day that I shoot a 5 shot, 1 hole group at 100 yards will be the highlight of my hunting and shooting career.

I am not there yet, and that is what keeps me going. I have spent hundred of hours (maybe even into the thousands) of hours shooting and handloading to achieve this goal. And while I have shot several hundred very impressive groups, until there is one, single hole, I know that I can do better. I am a very competitive person after being an athlete all the way through college, and in my mind this is the ultimate competition as there are so many variables to be taken into account every time you pull the press ram or touch the trigger.

Some people are happy shooting Minute of Deer and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. For example I am happy shooting a string of 17 or 18 out of 25 clays while some people consider anything less than 24 a failure. I am the same way with a scoped rifle in that if it is not less than 1/4 MOA I am not truly happy with my performance. While 1/2 MOA groups are nothing to scoff at, I know I can do better and I go to whatever lengths I can in order to do better.

December 22, 2013, 11:13 PM
If one adds a lead sled, and a remote release for the trigger then I could understand the boredom.

I can understand the lead sled to help determine the mechanical accuracy, esp. with high powered rifles.

My brother likes to brag about tight groups, but they are obtained with a lead sled. When it comes to real shooting, I hand him his ass. I am not that good, I don't own a lead sled either.

December 22, 2013, 11:33 PM
I agree 100% with the above feelings about using a Lead Sled or any other sled/clamping device. Whenever I shoot for groups, I never use a sled. I want to know that if that day ever comes that I have one hole in the paper after 5 shots that I did it without clamping the gun in place and thus removing one of the variables that needs to be perfect.

I do own a lead sled and I use it for one purpose: to evaluate the performance of loads when working up a new handload. In this instance I want to purposefully eliminate as many variable as possible in order to gauge the performance of that particular load. I also never shoot for load development when there is wind that is noticeable and I always shoot my tests at the same distance so that I can compare the new results to loads I tested in the past.

December 23, 2013, 07:09 AM
Even in unlimited bench rest using a rail gun, you still have to be able to read the conditions and know when not to shoot.
Famous last words: I thought bench rest was going to be easy.
And in a way, it is easy to shoot small groups with that equipment, but, there will still be people who can do it better than you.

December 23, 2013, 07:38 AM
All a scope does is improve your ability to see the target. It doesn't necessarily help you shoot better. Most folks shoot about the same with quality irons as with a scope as long as they can see the target. Once you get a little distance between you and the target, or if lighting gets poor a scope will help you see the target.

If playing games or just plinking at the firing range and if someone wants to make it more challenging then shoot irons.

There is a lot more than just putting the cross hairs on the target. Especially once you start increasing the ranges you shoot.

December 23, 2013, 08:34 AM
Switch to reactive targets, when I shoot for plain old fun I like to find things that do something when I shoot them, swing, flip over, blow up something and move them around to unknown distances. Old vegetables like tomatoes or turnips make great targets set at unknown distances, they are small and you will know if you hit them. A homemade steel gong at a couple hundred yards in the wind can be quite a humbling experience. My only experience with lasers was on a friends AR, honestly I didn't care much for it. Since I live out in the country I can set up various targets and shoot them with no problems, might not be that way on a public range.

December 23, 2013, 08:41 AM
If you get bored with hitting the target all the time, then your target is too close.

December 23, 2013, 09:51 AM
Slow fire at a static target is just one version of shooting.
If that becomes boring, there's plenty of other forms of shooting that should get your juices flowing.

December 23, 2013, 11:57 AM
The fun isn't lost. Try to get as tight of groupings as you can. Or shoot a target beyond your zero distance. Plenty of stuff to keep you entertained.


December 23, 2013, 12:00 PM
I like technology. If you take the "traditional" thing to its fullest extent, grab a spear and start throwing it.

December 23, 2013, 12:24 PM
When are using 65 year old eyes, scopes, lasers & red dots put the fun BACK in shooting!

December 23, 2013, 12:59 PM
The fun becomes Not hitting the target only,But from how far away can you hit it. 600,800,1000 plus.

December 23, 2013, 02:29 PM

December 23, 2013, 06:09 PM
I became involved in mid-range (600yds) a while back and its anything but boring often frustrating but the peep sight really added to the fun. I have not become better than high 80% on an average but really without many many more rounds down range to think I'd be shooting high 90's is kidding myself.
The challenges with so many variables are stacked against the shooter from the git go but it really gives one a sense of accomplishment to see your scores keep getting better (most of the time). I invested significantly so there is only one excuse more and more rounds needed. Its a blast really. If you have old eyes like mine go F class and add a scope but until then my old eyes seem to be doing fine. I like the peep.

December 23, 2013, 06:26 PM
The fun becomes Not hitting the target only,But from how far away can you hit it. 600,800,1000 plus.

^^This, for us (sons and I...)

100-200 yards became very unchallenging for us once the basics were down pat. The drive sucks, but we travel nearly two hours each way now to shoot at 600-1K yards.
Get into true long-range shooting where external influences (mostly wind) make it a whole 'nother ballgame. Downside is that some days when it's howling, you gotta stay home :(

December 23, 2013, 06:38 PM
Go shooting on windier and windier days (especially when it's shifting; a steady wind can sometimes be less challenging than almost none at all). Seek longer ranges. Shoot with progressively less support (except when doing load workups; then use all the support you can get).

There will, however, be days when life sucks, and those are the days you want to be able to just blow the hell out of the centre of your target with minimal effort and have a nice little group to feel good about. In that case, bring on the scopes and the lasers. And you may yet change your mind about hunting. I did. :)

December 23, 2013, 07:03 PM
We've shot some matches at AEDC in Tullahoma Tn when the weather was
"you gotta be crazy" cold, wind blowing, raining and it was a lot of miserable fun no one did well actually you looked forward to your turn pulling targets :confused:

The drive to the Oak Ridge Sportsman Club became to long (2 hours) and TOO expensive so I had to get out of it for a while until AEDC started 600's again for a while it was 1000's only and I hadn't tooled up for that one.

If you really like the workout the Across the Course matches really adds to the challenge physically and doesn't demand quite the expense

December 23, 2013, 07:27 PM


I would have been bored with shooting a long time ago if it weren't for competition.
Competition also has a way of showing you how good you are not.

December 23, 2013, 09:57 PM
BLE you got that right "how good Im not" !

I really enjoy the match shooting because its a chance to see some incredible marksmanship and sets goals maybe not something one may every achieve but just witnessing these guys do the incredible makes the fun ten fold.

did you see the 17yr old young lady Jr. class win the Camp Perry 1000???? She is a 3 year shooter and blew the field away (100 4x) with her .308 Seniors and F'ers she took it all!!! An amazing competitior KUDOS to her.

December 24, 2013, 01:37 PM
You still need to have a steady hold and a good trigger pull. Also, it isn't getting an MOA group or better that makes you good, it's being consistent. I'll take a consistent 3 MOA over a once-in-a-lifetime sub-MOA group (although that's fun to get every once in a while if I don't shoot more than 3 rounds, I recognize that as luck for me). I've also discovered that I don't have to do that with the most powerful cartridge out there either. .22LR and even .117 pellets at distance are quite the challenge to shoot well consistently and have made me a better shot than any magnum caliber ever has, with or without a scope. The scope does help me see the bullseye and the little holes better, though.

December 24, 2013, 05:10 PM
Lasers drive me nuts. They're a practical tool for certain applications but I don't find any fun in shooting with them. Scopes are fun if you have the distance, which I do not. With open sights, 50 yds is still a fun distance and that's the max I have available except for 1 range 40 min away.

I'd also rather shoot at the sand pit at 50yds than the busier range at 200 any day. ;)

December 24, 2013, 10:34 PM
In my case, adding scopes expands my shooting experience. Whether its close range or far, target turrets or BDC, steel chickens, paper dart boards or paper bowling pins. Adding scopes can add more fun out of shooting. Especially if you are into the fun & novelty targets where you compete with family & friends.

December 29, 2013, 05:12 PM
When your vision sucks a scope is the only way to go. It is more fun when I can see. I can barely focus on my M1 front sight and on my AR's the sight radius is just too short beyond 50 yards for my eyes. My Mosin front sight is just too fine to see at all.
As was said earlier, you can spend lots on optics and still suck.

December 29, 2013, 07:55 PM
I'm diabetic so my eyesight isn't that great but I still mostly use scopes for hunting. I'd never use a laser on anything. I abhor shooting paper. I can make small groups with a scope but that doesn't impress me. I'd much rather use iron sights and watch a coke can full of water explode or clay pigeons tied to a tree limb swinging in the wind etc.

December 29, 2013, 10:01 PM
It would seem that after you've got it ready to go, the skill is all gone, since you're just changing the dials based on distance, and then putting the crosshairs on the target.

As others have alluded to, it's not quite that easy. When you shoot past 500 yards things start to get dicier. Past 700 on up to 1k they really get interesting. It's certainly not as easy as changing the dials based on distance and putting the crosshairs on the target. As others have said, hold of the rifle, trigger manipulation, breath control, and many other factors count.

Not just that, though. You have to calculate your adjustments based on wind speed. Oh, and don't forget that when you're shooting 800 yards the wind could be blowing at different speeds (and even different directions) along the bullet's path. This has to be accounted for. If you don't feel much wind, but you see tree limbs swaying hard around your target you have to adjust differently than normal. Oh, and also don't forget that the angle of fire plays a pretty huge role at this distance. If you're shooting at an upward angle, you have to adjust elevation significantly more. Temperature also plays a role as well. The first shot out of a cold bore on a cool/cold day will shoot lower than normal. How much lower? Well, it's up to you to know your rifle/ammo combo. It's not just cold days that trip you up though. With the summer heat you have mirage effect, and that can really make a smallish target dance when it's 1000 yards away. Oh, and my favorite part. Judging distance. If you really want a challenge, shot unknown distance targets past 600 yards. At 600 yards, my load drops around 80 inches (yes, that's over 6 feet) from my 100 yard zero. At 700 yards, it drops around 120 inches (yes, 10 feet). So... is that target 650 yards away or 700? It makes about a 2 foot drop difference. Lets go to 900 yards. It drops around 250 inches (over 21 feet). At 1000 yards it drops around 350 inches, or nearly 30 feet. So, is your target 970 yards away or 1000 yards? The difference can mean a drop of 2 feet or so. Certainly shooting with a scope under 300 yards isn't all that challenging, even for a novice who educates himself. Shooting unknown distance targets past 600 yards is not for the novice though... especially if you do it the old school way and take away that laser range finder. Hope you're good with a mil reticle.

And then there's the fact that a consistent, day in and day out, 1 moa rifle (which is the military standard for a sniper rifle) still will only hold a 10" group at 1k yards IF you accurately estimate the distance, accurately estimate the wind speed, determine what effect the temperature/cold bore will have an adjust accordingly, make every calculation perfect, hold the rifle the same way you did when it was zero'd, do not flinch, and do not shoot as your heart beats (this absolutely matters when taking a shot like this, at least it does for me... maybe I have high blood pressure). Yes, you do everything right and a 10" group is the best you can hope for. Of course, some rifles are capable of better accuracy. It still depends on the shooter to play his part.

I once heard an associate talk about his experience when he went to blackwater's training ground in Northeastern NC (Blackwater has changed names, don't know what they are now and don't really care). I wouldn't say that the guy was known for fish tales, but he's been caught stretching the truth a little here and there. He described how everything there was amazing, and how he saw a guy there that could hit an egg at 1400 yards every time he pulled the trigger. I didn't explain my background to him (let's just say I've been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, then sold the T-shirt at a yard sale), but I know that what he described isn't possible... not first round hits every time. Heck, not even 25% of the time. A 2" egg at that distance means you have to have a rifle that will shoot .15 moa consistently, and then your math has to be perfect every time. It's certainly not as easy as "set your scope and pull the trigger."

December 29, 2013, 10:17 PM
What 5whiskey said. Once you get to that distance 800 yards and more,the scope is just so you can see the target:D. So very much comes into play.

Changing the settings and putting crosshair on target is the statement someone who has no idea what he is talking about would say. In theory - yes, In reality-Not even close to true.

December 30, 2013, 12:57 AM
I reckon it does, that being said there are heaps of manufacturers now interfacing ipads and riflescopes (http://bestriflescopereview.net)to "auto aim". http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/145332-real-world-aimbot-the-17000-rifle-with-a-linux-powered-scope kinda sad really.

Josh Smith
December 31, 2013, 03:43 PM

At 100 yards with open sights, I can pick off a tin can.

At 100 yards with a 'scoped rifle, I can pick off Chef Boyardee.

I can hit faster with open sights.

I can hit further with more confidence with a 'scope.

When I use the right tool to do the job I set out to do, I am satisfied.

I'm disappointed if I use a superior sighting system and I do an inferior job.

I'm ecstatic if I use a more primitive sighting system and shoot circles around folks using 'scopes.


December 31, 2013, 05:55 PM
Reactive targets as someone said. And quickly finding targets spread out, flat targets is enuff.

Try movin targets prefarbly fullsize deer stuff stuff or boar! That is a challenge

December 31, 2013, 08:42 PM
I sight-in and find the best load from the bench, but really enjoy shooting offhand at various targets. Today, we were shooting at 50 feet and I could hit a 5/8" mailing dot 9 out of 10 times with my scoped rifles. One a Marlin 39A with a 4x scope and the other, a customized Remington 581 with scope set at 8X.

Also have a steel handgun turkey silhouette that I routinely shoot at 290 yards offhand or various field positions, and hit it about every shot with .223 Rem and .243 Win.

And yes, I do enjoy shooting 1/4 min. groups with my .223 Rem Tikka 595, but it gets boring after a couple.