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Old January 11, 2018, 03:39 PM   #1
TrueBlue711
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Long range magnification power?

Looking to get into the 1000+ yard shooting world. At least dabble in it now that I live somewhere with lots of open desert to shoot in. I've never shot past 600 yards, so what kind of magnification would you suggest (especially for someone new in the long range world) for around 1000 yards? 18 power? 20? 24? etc. Intended targets are 12" - 24" metal plates.

Related question, how do you measure the distance to your target if you're setting up your own plates? A good rangefinder rated to 1000+ yards?
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Old January 11, 2018, 05:23 PM   #2
ms6852
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The problem with long range magnification is that you have a tendency to magnify atmospheric conditions as well. So on very hot day mirage will play havoc and as you magnify the heat waves get more pronounced as well. This will make make your target disappear in and out.

Buying a premium scope will help in correcting the problem but it is still there just not as bad. The problem with buying a variable mag scope say a 5X25X50 is that if you go cheap say about $500 or less than as magnification increases the image becomes less sharp and the clarity of the scope is limited to the lower magnification numbers. The higher end scopes ranging above 1K to 2K and above helps with that and you may be able to have the same sharp image at 25X as 5X but it will not be nearly as bright, depending on manufacturer.

Another problem with such variables scopes because of the magnification most people want the higher the zoom as noted above the less internal adjustments one has for elevations. That is why many long range shooters mount their scope on a 20 Moa base to get the extra minutes of elevation that the scope may not give them. I have the cheaper scope that I use for long range , a Sigthron 4X16X44 Big Sky and I have yet to use it above 10X when shooting beyond 600 yards. I find that I see the target better at that zoom power. The higher magnification I use as a spotting scope if I happen to see a deer and want to know if it has antlers or not or if it is a spike, nothing more. There is a reason that many military snipers use a 10X fixed power scope because that is about the max power that will give them the optimal clarity picture in 1000+ yard shots.
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Old January 11, 2018, 07:16 PM   #3
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I am currently shooting a 15-55x. Some winter days I can shoot 55x. Summertime 15x is often borderline too high. If mirage is wicked, I switch out to my rifle with a 8-32 and shoot it around 10x.
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Old January 11, 2018, 07:28 PM   #4
MarkCO
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I shoot quite a bit of long-range. Most people new to the game over magnify. You will find that on the PRS stages that we shoot out to 1000 to 1200 yards, most are running mag in the 15-20 range. The only LR rig I have more than 20X for is the 300 Norma, and that I go to 25x for shooting out to a mile.

My 6mm and 6.5mm match guns wear the Burris XTRII 4-20 SCR reticle. The .308 and my son's 6.5 wear 3-15s. They are about the best you can get in the sub $1500 range. The SIG and NF SHV line of optics are also very good. If you want to go with a $300 optic, then the SWFA Super Sniper SS series in 10x or 12x is what you want. I say this way too much, but don't waste money on cheap optics! When you get to about $1500, there are a lot more good options.

The better the glass quality, the clearer the image will be, especially at the top end. I'd rather have clear glass at 15x than hazy at 25x.

If this is your first foray, getting a standard mil-dot scope and learning to use that to range ("mil'ing" a target) is a good idea. I use a SIG KILO2000 rangefinder that is good to about 1400 yards in reality. Best LRF for the working man's budget. If you want to pop over $1000, you can get better.
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Old January 11, 2018, 09:08 PM   #5
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Similar to above, 1500 yard Bushnell Elite rangefinder, 24x Steiner scope.
Don't skimp on the optics, it's often a bigger deal than the rifle.
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Old January 12, 2018, 11:41 AM   #6
TrueBlue711
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Good info so far. I understand quality and clarity are probably more important than magnification and I'll keep it in mind while shopping.
I'm just curious to how big a 12" plate will appear at 1000yds at certain magnification levels. Such as: at 1000yds on 20x mag, does the 12" plate appear the size of bullet tip or the letter "o" on your keyboard or something so small that the crosshairs (depending on reticle) completely block it out?

Also, does it really matter whether it's first or second focal plane scope when it is just a bench gun only (not planning on hunting with it)? I don't mind doing a little extra math.
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Old January 12, 2018, 12:41 PM   #7
Jim Watson
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F class shooters working at known distances tend to high magnification. I was using 20+ depending on the light and wind, and that was several years ago.

Precision shooters working at unknown distances use a bit less magnification and are very dependent on reticle features for ranging. The mil-dot system is just the beginning. If you go that way, be sure to get a mil-mil scope with mils on the reticle and on the adjustments. People wrassled with mil reticles and moa dials for years before finally catching on. Or before the scope companies caught on.

A 12" plate at 1000 yards is 1.2 MOA. So if you have fine crosshairs, you could quarter it cleanly.
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Old January 12, 2018, 03:35 PM   #8
std7mag
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I prefer MOA. But that's just me. MOA is a slightly smaller angle than Miliradian.

Right now i'm shooting budget scopes. 4-12X42, 6-18X44 Vortex.
My newest scope is a Sightron STAC 4-20X50. (Will be giving reviews on this as i go, just got the rings today).
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Old January 12, 2018, 04:01 PM   #9
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My main long range gun wears a Vortex Razor Gen II 4.5-27x with an MOA reticle.

As was mentioned: some days you can use 27x, other days you need to dial it way back. It's nice having the option of higher magnification and the ability to dial it down.

The rest of my rifles that I use for long range have fixed 16x SWFA SS scopes on them simply because I don't want to spend the money for nicer/higher end optics at this time. However the 16x scopes work fine for what I do (which is very similar to what you say you are going to do).

FWIW: I started out using a Weaver T-36 scope that I had lying around. And in early spring, it worked well. In the middle of summer, the mirage made it very difficult to use.
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Old January 12, 2018, 08:06 PM   #10
ms6852
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Quote:
Originally Posted by std7mag View Post
I prefer MOA. But that's just me. MOA is a slightly smaller angle than Miliradian.

Right now i'm shooting budget scopes. 4-12X42, 6-18X44 Vortex.
My newest scope is a Sightron STAC 4-20X50. (Will be giving reviews on this as i go, just got the rings today).
My newest scope is a Sightron STAC 4-20X50. (Will be giving reviews on this as i go, just got the rings today).

I am interested on this scope as I want to use it on a 22lr rifle, the Remington 513T. Will be looking forward to your review.
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Old January 15, 2018, 07:50 PM   #11
Txhillbilly
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Depending on your budget,the entry level of optics that I'd suggest would be the Sightron SIII series,Athlon Midas & Ares,or Vortex Viper PST scopes.
After these,you step up into a lot better scopes.

If you're shooting at known distances,a Second Focal Plane scope will work great,plus the reticle stays the same size at any magnification,and doesn't cover up the target as much as most First Focal Plane reticles do.

Besides having good optical clarity,a long range scope must have excellent tracking,if a scope doesn't track true with your turret adjustments,you're wasting your time/ammo trying to shoot.
You also have to get a scope that has the adjustment range that can get you to your target range. A 20 MOA scope rail will help with that,but the scope must also have enough adjustment capability.
Like other's have said,make sure you get a scope with matched reticle/turrets - MOA-MOA or Mil-Mil.

Buy the best scope that you can afford,you will never regret buying an expensive scope when it comes to shooting.
I have 4 Sightron SIII 6-24x50 scopes and an Athlon Midas BTR 4.5-27x50 that are SFP scopes,and an Athlon Cronus 4.5-29x56 & a IOR Valdada Recon 4-28x50 that are FFP scopes. They all serve me very well at shooting long range.

For a Range Finder,I'd suggest getting one of the Sig Kilo RF's. They are a damn good range finder.
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Old January 16, 2018, 04:20 AM   #12
Viper225
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If working on a budget, take a look at a 20X Super Sniper from SWFA. They adjust in MOA, and have quite a bit of adjustment. When used in conjunction with a 30MOA base you should be able to go past 1000 yards with no problem at all. They have a 30mm Tube. They are also made in Japan not China.
The Click Adjustment is very good. They will do the Box Test with flying colors.
They have a Mil Dot Reticle that is accurate.
The only down side is in low light. It is not as clear in low light as a $1000 > scope.
For what they cost, they are a very good buy in a fixed power scope. I have several of them.
I also have a couple Leupold 16X Mark IV M1 TMR scopes, and Leupold Long Range Tactical's in 6.5 X 20 and 8.5 X 25. I do know what quality scopes are.

A Super Sniper will get you in the game without spending a fortune. You could then save up for something more expensive if you decide that you want some better glass.

Just My 2 Cents

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Old January 19, 2018, 12:12 PM   #13
TrueBlue711
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Thanks for the info! I'll look for a scope with a max zoom at around 20-24x ballpark. I do prefer a variable zoom over a fixed power so I can find my target easier, then focus in on it. Shooting at those long ranges, I'll probably need at least 50 MOA adjustability in the turrets right?

Ok, now for the next can of worms. Looks at what brand now. So I'm definitely on a budget. So what are good choices at the $500 range (or less than $500 if the quality is there)? I've seen a few suggestions so far and the ones that stood out to me the most so far in that price range was: Vortex, Bushnell, Athlon (never heard of them until this thread), Nikon, etc. Another one I saw in the price range that nobody mentioned is Leatherwood. Anybody have experience with them? I hear good things about their 1-4x scopes.

Please don't take this as "skimping out" or just trying to be cheap. I flat out can't afford $1000+ scopes at this point in my life. I will upgrade to better glass down the road.

Last edited by TrueBlue711; January 19, 2018 at 12:20 PM.
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Old January 24, 2018, 04:29 PM   #14
std7mag
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Trueblue,

For about $569 i think you can pick up a decent Vortex Viper. Maybe the HST.
Not a bad scope. I'd like to get one, still over my price range to stay married.

I'm really liking this Sightron STAC. I did get this one on Amazon as an open box special for $350.
Normally their in the mid $400.


If your looking at 1000 yards a 20MOA base is probably recommended. Some scopes have the adjustability, but why chance it?
Plus it would put you closer to the middle of your adjustment range.

I guess i'm trying to say, with some research you can get the job done without spending a fortune.


For range finder again i got an Amazon demo special. I got the SA Sports Dragoneyez 1500. Price $180, if i remember right.
Has 7 power eye magnification.
Regularly range deer in the 600-800 yard range. Had one silhouetted on a hill top. 1160 yards off of a deer.
Side of truck i've done to 1400 yards.
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