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Old August 28, 2018, 08:50 AM   #26
Tallest
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^^^
Agreed... I have never had to make take a shot so fast that I that I wasn't able to take a few seconds to study/assess it first. Which to me, is another reason to want sufficient magnification to determine what ALL I am seeing.

However, just last evening, in what for me is typical hunting light, I took my rifle out (boltless and ammo-less) on my in-laws' farm to look at the deer from different distances. There were a fair number out grazing the alfalfa, and leaving the scope at 4x, I was surprised how comfortable I would have been deciding on/taking a shot. I really do intend to leave it there this season and see how I do. And while target acquisition speed isn't the main objective (haha, see what I did there?!), the wide field of view really is helpful.

This is all just part of my learning journey.
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Old August 28, 2018, 10:14 AM   #27
Brian Pfleuger
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Certainly... a lot of it is simply personal preference.

I can't actually think of any shot I've ever made on a deer that I couldn't have made with a 4x. I recall two that were iffy... 175 yards, standing broadside, with my 7mm-08 Encore Pro Hunter handgun, that I wouldn't have been too comfortable with 4x... it feels "different" with the handgun... like 4x is more like 2, probably just my perception... but I'm sure I could have made the shot just the same as I did on 12x. The other was in very fading light, at about 120 yards, same Encore, the angle, terrain and lighting were such that it was very difficult to make out the deer's body against the background.... I'm not sure I would have tried that shot on 4x. While there might be more "light" on low power, that doesn't help if you can't make out the edges of the target.

On the other hand, one time I was walking out of the woods and popped over a small knoll only to see 2 deer standing not 40 yards away... I had my Encore handgun and had left it on 12x.... I made that shot just as easily, off-hand on 12x.

I like "picking spots". You know the old adage, "Aim small, miss small"? The higher you magnify, the smaller you can aim.
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Old August 29, 2018, 12:14 AM   #28
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scopes

When I started deer hunting in 1970, the going scope was a fixed 4x. I had one, my Dad had one, most everybody in our circle had one too. There were a few guys with 3-9x variables, like my uncle, but he had a big Weatherby .300 magnum that he hunted out West with too.......but his .270 pump had a .....fixed 4x. I read about low powered scopes, fixed and variable, but I never saw one in the woods.....ever. And I still don't.

The 3x9x40 still has a wide following, but it seems to me that those who can buy one are moving towards the higher 10x and 12x variables. You hear a lot about snap shots and shooting at moving or close game, but that is not they way I see deer hunting going these days. Out west....can't say, and I dunno about the hog hunters either. But I'll wager a huge percentage of whitetails are shot from stands, towers and blinds, not stalked or driven like great grandpa did. And don't get me started on this "long range hunting" business.

Me? Counter culture. I started putting fixed 6x scopes on most of my "full power" deer rifles several years back, and have never regretted it. I realized that normally, I set the 3x9's on 6x and just left them, and so why bother with more parts and weight. The extra magnification over the fixed 4x is useful for counting points on QDM hunts (you better NOT snap shoot a forkie on "3pts to a side" property). The bigger 6x42 is my low light go to for ROW's and food plots in the afternoons, the other rifles have 6x36's. I find them useful for picking holes through brush to shoot through as well. I'll add I have NEVER had a circumstance where ...."all I could see was hair"....with a fixed 6x, and I have had some deer so close when hunting from climbing stands that I could likely spit on them. .....and still certainly put a bullet where it belonged. Although the modern quality variable is a great device, I also like the fact that a fixed scope has fewer parts, theoretically in my mind anyhow, more rugged and lighter.

My light deer carbines (.44 mag, 7.62 x39 ) DO have low powered variables, a couple of 1-4x 20mm with chunky German #1 reticles, and a sole 2x7x32. They see use in very dense cover where I am certain I will be shooting 50 yds or less. I usually set them on about 3.25x and leave them.

My "long range" rifle is very plain vanilla .270, and it still wears a 3x9x40!!
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Old August 29, 2018, 05:59 AM   #29
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I have scopes from 1-3x20 to 4-12x50(I do have a 6-24x40 somewhere but it's never been used) but the ones most used are 2-7x32 or 3-9x40.
If a hunter thinks 12x is necessary for a 200 yard shot at a deer, I think there's a problem somewhere else.
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Old August 29, 2018, 06:48 AM   #30
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I have used a 4 thru 12 Bushnell trophy on my .270 for close to 20 years. This is before the Internet gurus were around to tell me I was doing it wrong and my field of view was too small. I am mainly a field hunter and my shots are typically between 150 and 400 yards. I get very few "close" shots due to my stand location. The extra magnification helps counting points in low light at distance.

When I get the chance to hunt brush or a closed in stand location I have no issues with a 2 thru 7 or a fixed 4. Those who don't like scopes over 9 power shouldn't use them but they definitely can be used effectively hunting.
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Old August 29, 2018, 07:06 AM   #31
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Ok... So I'm still testing this. I haven't paid for a range finder, but I have made a rough topo map of the land where I hunt, and with the help of satellite imagery, I've added distance circles to it showing 50 yd offsets/increments from the 4 spots I usually hunt.

Last night I was cutting firewood, and I had my 7-08 with me. From I saw a group of 7 deer grazing on the south end of the property, so I took the rifle to the southern-most stand, and scoped them out. At that point, they were around 270 yds away. I have taken shots successfully at that distance, but never at 4X. At 4X, it felt like I was more or less choosing front half or back half shots. I wasn't able to pick the 6" sweet spot without greater magnification.

So I guess I'm wondering, do folks take these shots with this setup? It seems like a lot of guess work.
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Old August 29, 2018, 07:26 AM   #32
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Tallest, I personally would not try a 270 yds shot at 4x. There are probably lots of shooters who could pull that off with high success but that is beyond my ability and eyesight (59 year old eyes aren't what they used to be). For that distance, I'd probably want double that magnification.
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Old August 30, 2018, 08:05 AM   #33
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Tallest, I personally would not try a 270 yds shot at 4x. There are probably lots of shooters who could pull that off with high success but that is beyond my ability and eyesight (59 year old eyes aren't what they used to be). For that distance, I'd probably want double that magnification.
My eyes are good, and only 32 years old, but I would have had to pass on that shot or increase my magnification to keep a clean conscience. Thanks for the feed back!
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Old August 30, 2018, 09:02 AM   #34
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My elk rifle has an old fixed power 4X Leupold on it. How I hunt elk, which is the "on the move/spot and stalk" method, makes that scope all I ever need for my wapiti gun. Last year my cow was 248 yds. by my rangefinder, and I lacked nothing for magnification. She made near 30 yards before she piled up. The year before, using that same rig, I shot my cow in her bed at right at 60 yds. (she even allowed me to use my rangefinder, too). Knowing that rifle and scope very well, and having a good rest on a tree limb, and her head giving me a perfect side profile shot, I put the hairs just below her eye and squeezed off. She never moved from her bed. I've never made a head shot on an elk before that one (and really don't condone an attempt on a head shot on any critter), but the shot was so "gimme" there was no question nor hesitation. Point here, is that the 4X scope was, and still is (to me), absolutely all I need for glass on my elk rifle.

To go with this, I do practice at close and out to the longer ranges with that rifle well before each season. I believe that's what it takes, and it wouldn't matter what one uses for a scope as long as you know your equipment completely, along with its (and your own) limitations. Knowing your hunting area, intimately, is a big bonus, too. I lucked out again this year, and have my cow tag in my same "honey hole" area again...priceless.
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Old August 30, 2018, 09:49 AM   #35
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Aside from long range bean field shot opportunities...I feel confident still or stand hunting Eastern whitetails with a 1-6x, 1.5-4x, 1-8x (more expensive) or a 2-7x.

You'll find that jumping whitetails under 25 yards with a 4x is very difficult to pick out the running critter; by using such a magnification on the scope. I always start out hunting (whether still or stand hunting) with the variable scope set up on it's lowest power, since I can always crank it up later.
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Old August 30, 2018, 10:42 AM   #36
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Good points....

Reinert - You're definitely correct about having a good rest, stability is hugely important when aiming small at distances. However, an elk 248 yds is still a significantly larger target than a whitetail at 270 yds.

Erno86 - I can imagine that any magnification on a moving target at 25 yds is a difficult shot to pull off. That's one reason I have a personal rule against taking a first shot at a running deer. I don't have an issue with others doing so, but it's not for me.
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Old August 30, 2018, 12:04 PM   #37
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"...not usually range/target optics..." That's mostly due to the forum name being 'The Hunt'. Hunting and target optics aren't the same thing.
Anything greater than about 9X is far too much magnification for hunting anything but varmints. The Field of View gets smaller as magnification increases.
"..."Getting hits the fastest" is not a universal measure of optics..." Absolutely. Optics do nothing but let you see the target better. They do not increase accuracy or let you shoot faster. Speed rarely applies to a hunting shot.
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Old August 30, 2018, 02:03 PM   #38
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Please explain why over a 9x isn't good for anything other than varmints. I have not found that to be the case in my hunting at all.

What if I am looking to hit a varmint size area on my deer?
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Old August 30, 2018, 02:34 PM   #39
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Point taken, Tallest; size matters, and needless to say, shot placement trumps it all on any critter.

Since I believe I saw you don't have a range finder yet, I'll stick my neck out a bit here. I think that once you've come to the decision to purchase one, you just may wonder why you didn't get one sooner...and that's just my opinion.

Through the years chasing Wyoming critters, I've used archery equipment, muzzle-loaders (both flint and percussion) and also black powder cartridge in a 45/70 Sharps replica. These hunting tools all served me quite well until my 67 year old eyes started showing me too many front sights, especially in the timber. Once I knew that I'd needed a scope on a rifle to make the best shot I could make on a critter, my old Leupold has served me very well so far, along with how I do my hunting in the mountains for elk.

Now on my deer rifle, another '06, I use a fixed power 6X Leupold out on the plains where I hunt mule deer. I'm really fond of that rig, too, especially out where there's lots and lots of light around the critter. That season starts on the 1st of October, and I just shot that rifle today; it's ready to go. BTW, the farthest I've ever killed a deer with that rifle was just a bit over 200 yards. I do practice with that one, as well as my elk rifle, at a 300 yard target, too. I feel a hunter really needs to shoot at that distance to really see how their equipment works out.

My daypack is my very best friend when out hunting (either on the mountain or on the plains). Everything's in there to take care of me throughout a day's hunt (even if I have to spend a night out unexpectedly), and provides a fine rest when taking a prone shot. Also, it's a very rare thing that I would ever take a running shot at any game animal anymore. My policy is to see the critter first, before it sees me, so I can set up a shot (walking/glassing/spot and stalk; love it). Being retired, I have the time to hunt whenever I want to, throughout the season, so I can be quite picky on a shot on a critter (and pass on it if need be; no problem). And mostly, now, I'm just a meat hunter, so antlers aren't the reason they used to be for me. My wife and I still find the elk and deer the staple of our meat supply from season to season, and it's very satisfying when we can share some of it, too.
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Old August 30, 2018, 03:24 PM   #40
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reinert - I think if we were in similar hunting settings, our tendencies would be similar. I'm hoping to add a range finder to the kit this Christmas, if not this hunting season. I have the trajectories of my hand loads fairly well memorized, so knowing distance to target makes a huge difference in confidence and the decision to take the shot or not. I'm really trying to see how I fair with 4X, but if I ever get a fixed power, I'm thinking I'll lean toward the 6X and keep a revolver on my belt for anything inside 50 yds. 8-)

I eagerly await the day I can fill a freezer with elk! Whitetail is fine, of course, but elk is better than beef in my book! :-P
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Old August 30, 2018, 03:55 PM   #41
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Good luck in the field this fall, Tallest. This has been a good thread; lotsa good input and method sharing; good all around.
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Old August 31, 2018, 08:03 AM   #42
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You guys do realize that for a long time, 2.5 to 4x was the norm and 6-8X was the high end of magnification for hunting scopes?
Use what you want but don't make it seem like a requirement to have 12X on the dial to plunk a deer @ 300 yards under normal conditions.
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Old August 31, 2018, 08:39 AM   #43
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Tallest-

If you only wound an animal...and start tracking it --- You should be ready for a close range running shot; be it running away or charging at you.
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Old August 31, 2018, 09:18 AM   #44
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After trying almost everything from a 2X to a 6.5-20, I settled on a 2.5-6X42.

Anything that I can't hit with 6X, I need to stalk closer.
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Old August 31, 2018, 10:18 AM   #45
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Tallest-

If you only wound an animal...and start tracking it --- You should be ready for a close range running shot; be it running away or charging at you.
You'll note that I said a first shot at running deer.
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Old August 31, 2018, 10:22 AM   #46
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You guys do realize that for a long time, 2.5 to 4x was the norm and 6-8X was the high end of magnification for hunting scopes?
Use what you want but don't make it seem like a requirement to have 12X on the dial to plunk a deer @ 300 yards under normal conditions.
Never did I state, or even intend to imply that 12X, or even 9X, was a requirement. My intent in starting the thread was to know why so many seemed averted to using magnification at those levels.

Back in the day, people didn't drive over 35 mph. Should we stop going 70 mph on the interstate because it's "not needed?"
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Old August 31, 2018, 10:23 AM   #47
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If a high magnification scope was so wonderful for fast close shots, the army would put them on all of their M-16 rifles.

One thing I learned about scopes when hunting small game with a .22 is that you have to be aware of the bullet drop that occurs when you are too close to the target. You can be closer than "point blank". Since the scope is about 1 1/2 inches above the bore, you have to aim above the squirrel's head if you want to make a head shot on a squirrel that's only about 10 ft away.

A lot of people have also shot their chronographs by forgetting that the bore is 1 1/2 inches below the scope.
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Old August 31, 2018, 10:29 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by B.L.E. View Post
If a high magnification scope was so wonderful for fast close shots, the army would put them on all of their M-16 rifles.

One thing I learned about scopes when hunting small game with a .22 is that you have to be aware of the bullet drop that occurs when you are too close to the target. You can be closer than "point blank". Since the scope is about 1 1/2 inches above the bore, you have to aim above the squirrel's head if you want to make a head shot on a squirrel that's only about 10 ft away.

A lot of people have also shot their chronographs by forgetting that the bore is 1 1/2 inches below the scope.
That's a good point... in that context. But I would argue that being ill-equipped is different than being careless.

And in the context of deer/big game hunting, which seems to be where the spirit of the argument exists, the 1 1/2" to 2" of Optic LOS over bullet trajectory shouldn't ruin a shot made on the vitals region. It's definitely good to be aware when you're that close, but it certainly won't be a total miss like shooting squirrels or woodchucks in the head.
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Old August 31, 2018, 12:11 PM   #49
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For a 10 yard shot on a squirrel with my scoped Kimber Classic 22...I aim about 3/4" above the squirrels head.
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Old August 31, 2018, 02:43 PM   #50
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The biggest thing about those powerful scopes that concerns me is the propensity of far too many hunters to use their rifle scope as a spotting scope.

If you've ever looked through your binoculars or spotting scope and seen some jackass pointing his rifle directly at you, you'll know what I mean.
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