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Old April 19, 1999, 01:58 PM   #1
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I read an article in a mag ("uh-oh") that talked about the benefits of using a fixed power scope. I think it basically said that the fixed power is generally lighter wieght, and that for the same amount of money, you could get a very high quality fixed scope rather than a mediocre variable.

I also found, when I had a Leupold 3X-9X Variable that I never took the power off of 3X unless I was playing with it. Just for fun, I would zoom in and out, but generally for real shooting I preferred the wide view and low power (admittedly I never shot past a couple hundred yards, but never see the need to anyway).

So, being new to the scoped rifle game, I am thinking of putting a high quality, low power, light grabbing scope on my Rem700 for short to medium range work.
I was thinking something like a 4 power with a real wide field of view and great light absorbtion. I am told that if you shoot for getting the objective width to be 8 times the power, then you are doing really well as far as how the light hits your eye, and the amount of light it will gather. So, I was aiming for something like a 4X32 in a good brand. I would not mind going with more power, but I don't want to lose light absorbtion and all that, and most scopes that are 6 power, are like 6X42, and by those numbers, it seems I would lose some of the light picture and FOV. I would rather be able to get a really good, bright, wide picture in low light, then to be able to see further with more power. Nothing bothers me more than a crappy scope picture. I want the image to jump out at me the instant I put the scope up. Forget power, I want a great picture, even in low light.

I don't know a ton about scopes, I have only owned three, and only one was of decent quality variable.
How does all this sound? Am I on the right track?
If so, what are some good brands and models of what I am looking for, hopefully around $500 or so (I would be happy to spend $300 if it will do the job).

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Old April 19, 1999, 10:23 PM   #2
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Join Date: March 16, 1999
Location: So. CA Mountains
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Basically, I'm a varmint hunter. I like my variables, I like a lot of scope power. For "regular" hunting, I'd almost agree on the low power concept. BUT! A good deal of my hunting involves plains game, and relatively long ranges. With a high power available, I can make sure that the antelope I glassed did NOT swap places with another while I was acquiring a sight picture. The "better scope with a fixed" argument was valid 20 years ago, but variables have come a long way. Check out the B&L 4200 line for a good scope, Leupold has many fans, Burris has alot of admirers. I've heard good things about Nikon and Pentax scopes. I have personally had very bad experiences with Sightron, I would recommend them only to those who planned to shoot at me.

Shoot carefully... swifter...

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Old April 19, 1999, 10:45 PM   #3
Rich Lucibella
Join Date: October 6, 1998
Location: South Florida
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For a good summary of the issues, try .
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Old April 19, 1999, 11:52 PM   #4
Art Eatman
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX; Thomasville, GA
Posts: 24,798
I have found that while sitting on a stand, a variable set toward the higher power is useful, checking out deer at the over-100-yard ranges. Sure, you can carry binoculars with you, and rely on a 2.5 or 4 power scope.

When walking, low power is good. So, for me, a 2x7 or 3x9 works well. I sit from daylight to sunup, and spend the rest of the day walking. I can tell you that after ten or twelve miles, binoculars weigh some 15 or 20 pounds, and there is a noticeable difference between a nine-pound rifle and a seven-pound rifle! Again, about 15 or 20 pounds!

It is embarrassing as all get-out to have a variable set on, say, nine power, and jump a deer at 15 or 20 yards. You see an ear, or a patch of brown, and then nothing but brush...

But, I have hunted in a swamp, and had difficulty with a four power scope, on a hog at 10 yards. Sure is easy to shoot two inches high!

As usual, what scope is best is a function of where, what, and how you hunt. I really don't think there' a "one size fits all" scope...

Most of my hunting is open-country, and a lot of walking. I have a 3x9 on my .30-'06, and a 2x7 on my .243.

FWIW; hope it helps, Art
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Old April 20, 1999, 08:55 AM   #5
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I am a firm believer in low power fixed scopes. I am quite fond on the Weaver K 2.5 on my 30.06 and am thinking about a Weaver K 4 or Leupold M8 4X on my new rifle. These scopes allow you to acquire and easily sight on a close object as well as far away. Finn Aagaard has written there is little difference in sight acquisition between a low powered scope and a receiver ghost ring type sight. Maybe that is why K 2.5's and other low powered variables are often found on African dangerous game rifles.
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Old April 20, 1999, 09:31 AM   #6
cornered rat
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Join Date: November 30, 1998
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I just got a 4x32 scope that will eventually move to my .22 and a 2x will go on top of the mini14. I am not sold on the value of a scope on a defensive weapon, but it is a testing platform for now.

As for valiables/zooms, in scopes and camera lenses, they have come a long way and still lag behind the fixed brethen in reliability/sharpness, etc. for the same weight/price. Having used a "good" 3-9x, I have seen slight focus shifts over its range, not to mention much greater weight. For target shooting, maybe, or for long-range work only....but not for me.

Then again, I carry 24 or 28mm, 50 or 58mm, 100 or 135mm, 200mm and 400mm lenses rather than two lighter zooms in my camera bag. Heavy, but the results are worth it...simply cannot get same results from a zoom.

Cornered Rat Updated March 20
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Old April 20, 1999, 11:34 AM   #7
Mike Spight
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Location: Leavenworth, KS USA
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Thaddeus: If you're set on a good, 4x scope, I can recommend the Kahles 4x32 light weight. I have one on my Sako full stock and it is a great piece of glass. Superb Austrian optics with superior light gathering capability. If you want to look at a great variable (but it's heavy), the Kahles 1.5-6x by 42 is most European scopes, it's designed to really bring in the light as much of their hunting is done from stands during hours of limited light. Swarovski and Zeiss are also great, but quite a bit more expensive. Again, the downside w/european variables is their weight...big objective lenses to bring in all the light they can.
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Old April 20, 1999, 07:00 PM   #8
Rob Pincus
Join Date: October 9, 1998
Location: Hotels
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If you want to "try it out" without investing a lot, I would suggest the Nikon "Buckmaster" fixed 4x. I have one on a .22 magnum and I enjoy it very much. Nikopn makes great optics and it will give you a good idea of what you will be getting into.

The Buckmaster is not the top of Nikon's line, but it is a quality scope.

I have a lost of variables and afew fixed. I prefer the variables for hunting, except on the Scout type rifles.

I have occasssionally turned a variable wayy up to verify a deers rack, or some other such thing.. as well as having used them several times at the range as spotting scopes... But I have usually found myself back between 3 and 6 for the actually kill shot.
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Old April 24, 1999, 01:52 PM   #9
Paul B.
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Thad. I use both types of scopes, and while I have been going towards the low-powered variables,(1/3/4 to 5 or 6) I have quite a few fixed power scopes. One rifle has a 3X Leupold,(at least I think it's 3X, might be 2.5X too, doesn't say, It's an early one.)that is rapidly becoming one of my favorites. Bought it used. Someone mentioned a Nikon. I had one on a .375 H&H Magnum, held up with no problem, very bright, and was relatively reasonably priced. It's on another rifle now.
If I was forced to use only one type of scope from here on out? I'd go for a fixed power; probably a 3X or 4X tops. I,ve looked at some of those German and Austrian scopes, but between their weight,and disgustingly high prices, I passed them up. Another point about fixed power scopes. There are fewer places for moisture to leak in. I've hunted the rain forests of the Olympic Penninsula, and believe me, you need a scope that thinks it's a submarine. The area I hunted was near Lake Quinault, the wettest location in the US. 400 inches of rain a year. One of the things you have to think about. The variable I had on my rifle fogged up. Thank God I brought my peep sighted 45-70 along. Finished the hunt with that.
Paul B.
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