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Old October 29, 2023, 10:23 PM   #1
Greybeard Classic
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How much scope is too much?

The rifle (25-06) I have on lay-away comes with a 6x18x44 Vortex Crossfire 2 BDC Dead Hold scope, much larger than I would have chosen. It seems to be a good scope and I like the reticle, so I'm going to keep it and keep the power cranked low. I live in western Pa. so I won't be shooting over 250 yards. Anyone use a scope this larger than they need? I suppose it's better to have more than enough than not enough...
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Old October 29, 2023, 11:29 PM   #2
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Also from Western Pa. For years all the guns in camp were levers and pumps, most were iron sighted, but as the bolt guns showed up so did the scopes. 1st it was a fixed 4 or 6x, the the variables made 3-9x popular on everything.

I went whole hog on my -06 bolt with a 4-12x, usually still hunted on 7x. The occasional power line or straight break in the logging road made the extra power usefull instead of carrying a pair of binos...
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Old October 30, 2023, 12:06 AM   #3
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I guess it depends on the quality of the glass too. 18x is 18x. Doesn't mean you can see anything clearly out of it. Vortex makes ok stuff, but not sure how useful 18x would be on a lower-end scope.

My first telescope advertised 500x. Jupiter was the size of a quarter. A big blurry orange-ish quarter.
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Old October 30, 2023, 07:24 AM   #4
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I suppose it depends on how you use it .

I use a 257 Ackley. Not quite a 25-06 but close enough. I suppose if my game was prairie dogs I could use 12 X but its mostly been a pronghorn rifle.

Its a walking/crawling rifle. Its built on a Mexican small ring 98 Mauser. Douglas FWT bbl. I went to school with the (then) owner of Garrett Accra Lite.
He kindly sold me a few fine light composite stocks.
I put a Leupold 6X by 42 mm standard duplex scope in it. Sling,scope and rifle weigh 7 lbs. I don't want an astronomical telescipe.

I can see( and generally hit) a 250 yd prairie dog with the scope. I don't figure I should shoot much over 400 yds (if that) at a pronghorn. The 6X magnification is plenty for that.

As a fixed power, the view is always the same. can roughly range and Kentucky almost instantly. The scope is set up so when I shoulder the rifle I'm looking through the crosshairs. Its mounted in low rings.

For how I have used that rifle, I would not change a thing...and that 6X by 42mm Leupold is perfect.

But you do you!!
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Old October 30, 2023, 08:52 AM   #5
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I've also gone to that fixed 6X Leupold FX6 on a couple rifles, one a 250-3000 that sometimes accompanies me in Penn's Woods. I don't find 6X is too much magnification. Try yours out. If you can look at a target and mount the rifle quickly while shifting your view to the scope (hopefully with both eyes open), you're good to go. I also like the compactness of that Leupold. Some of those Vortex scopes, at least the one I have, are a bit large for my taste. But it is really a personal decision, no right or wrong.
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Old October 30, 2023, 09:27 AM   #6
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Yeah, based on what you will be doing with it, the top likely won't get used. It's what I'd call a "fair" scope. Low price, great warranty, marginal clarity.

But try it out and see if it works for you. Most of my hunting rifles have 2-7, 2-10, 3-9 on them, and I live in CO and 300 to 500 yard shots with the quarter bores shooting Pronghorn, Coyotes, Prairie Dogs, etc are not uncommon.

If you don't like the low end mag, and it does not work for you (it would not for me) sell it off and get a good 2-7, 2-10 or 3-9. I would not go past 3x on the low end on a dedicated hunting rifle.
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Old October 30, 2023, 09:41 AM   #7
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Well, I have a bit of a different take, I suppose. First, Vortex makes many levels of optical quality. The Crossfire 2 is near the bottom of that heap. I have a high magnification Crossfire 2 on a 22LR and am highly disappointed over 20x. So, only you can decide if performance at 18x is acceptable in a low cost optic.

Optics at range are an interesting topic. Some claim irons to 1000….others can use 45x at 50 yards. I choose by target size. For shooting sub-quarter moa at 100 yds, I can make use of a good 36 or 45x scope.

With deer sized game, I like about 5x max per 100 yds up to how clear the optics are…..although, I like to back the magnification down to ~3.5x per 100yds when shooting to see it drop when I shoot.

On smaller varmints, I can see doubling those numbers.

Shooting eggs, 1-2 moa targets, etc also need quite a bit of magnification.

At 250yds on deer, I would look for the best quality 3-12 or 4-16 I could put my hands on.
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Old October 30, 2023, 10:36 AM   #8
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I don't care for the quality of the glass in the Crossfire/Crossfire II. I'd be looking to upgrade rather quickly.
But if it works for you, it should be good enough (optically).
The magnification, on the other hand...

I can count on one hand the number of times that I have shot a big game animal with my scope turned up to 8x or greater magnification, and two of them were unplanned. I generally prefer to turn a scope down to minimum (whether that be 1.5x, 2x, 3x, 3.5x, or 4x) while hunting.
But, occasionally, I'll forget to turn the scope back down after cranking it up to better identify something at distance. Then a quick shot presents itself, and I'm stuck trying to find the correct blob in my scope, because the magnification is too high.

The vast majority of big game animals that I've bagged were shot with a scope set to minimum magnification - including shots from to 400+ yards with magnification at just 1.5x-4x. If you can see the target, you can make the same shot - even if it appears smaller.

I do have one hunting rifle that wears a 6-24x scope, and I have no real problem with 6x for the bottom end. But you won't catch me carrying it where close range or quick shots are necessary.

I'd rather be at 3x-4x (or less) for minimum.
And for most applications I don't see much point in going beyond 10x at the top, unless the rifle doubles as a varmint popper. Then 12x or 16x might be preferred, but 10x is still fine.

Magnification can help identify targets that can't quite be made out otherwise. But I don't think you need a scope capable of picking out sage rats in grass at 450 yards, when all you're really doing is shooting deer that are 100 to 150 times larger at 250 yd or less.
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Old October 30, 2023, 11:23 AM   #9
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When we get old, our eyes become less sensitive to light. The body tries to compensate by dilating the pupil. My eye pupil has diameter of 3-4mm depending on light condition. With a scope with 44mm objective lens, max magnification is 11x to 15x. It won't help going above.

The scope is a gun sight, not a camera for taking award winning photos. Target identification is the primary purpose. Say if I can identify a target without scope at 50yd, I should be able to identify it at 500yd with 10x scope. Identification here means what the target is and which part of the target you need to hit.

Bearing this principle in mind, I lean towards scopes with lower magnifications, especially fixed magnification scopes.

-TL

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Old October 30, 2023, 01:04 PM   #10
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Sure have

Quote:
I won't be shooting over 250 yards. Anyone use a scope this larger than they need?
I have but have managed to work with it. For hunting use, I like to stay at a max of 4-10X40. Most of my midwest hunting rang is less that 60yds, on Wyoming hunts this setup is still good. On the bench, I crank it up but that is a different ball game. .....

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Old October 30, 2023, 01:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
The rifle (25-06) I have on lay-away comes with a 6x18x44 Vortex Crossfire 2 BDC Dead Hold scope, much larger than I would have chosen. It seems to be a good scope and I like the reticle, so I'm going to keep it and keep the power cranked low. I live in western Pa. so I won't be shooting over 250 yards.
If someone mentioned it then I must have missed it, but this is important so make sure you know:

If this scope isn't a FFP (first focal plane) then if you get accustomed to using that reticle for bullet drop, that drop changes when you dial up the magnification from where ever you zeroed that scope with your load.

If it's a first focal plane then the BDC reticle will change in size along with your view and the drop will be consistent.
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Old October 30, 2023, 01:51 PM   #12
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It's a 6-18X44. No such thing as a 6X18X44.

For the way, and where I hunt 6X on the bottom end is more than I'd want on a big game rifle. Although I have made a fixed 6X work in the past.

And in my experience when you get above 10X or12X on the upper end the quality of the view isn't very good unless you're using a pretty high-end scope.

For an all-around big game rifle something 2X or 3X on the low end and around 9X or 10X on the top end is about right for big game. For varmints or precision target work more magnification is justified.

A 25-06 is versatile enough to be both a deer and long-range varmint rifle so a 6-18X may not be out of place. Depends on how you plan to use it.
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Old October 30, 2023, 02:10 PM   #13
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Most of my rifles have 3x9X scopes. I like the X for targets and load testing but normally on a hunt the animal I've taken has just about always been done at X. My pet deer rifle has a 2x7X and a couple of older rifles still run with a 4X something. I do have a 2.5x10 Minox that I have yet to mound on a rifle. Not sure if I'll ever even get around to it or not.
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Old October 31, 2023, 08:11 AM   #14
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2.5-8x leupold has been my deer rifle scope since they came out with it.
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Old October 31, 2023, 08:59 AM   #15
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Eastbank : Natchez had a special on that Leupold some years back with a Mil-Dot. I bought one. IMO,thats a great scope! Compact, practial magnification.

Its on an AR right now.

I don't know about the latest, but consider our military used fixed 10X or 3,5 to 10X on the sniper rifles. Thats "Aim Small,Miss Small" work.

Other folks can do what makes them happy. I don't use my rifle to observe the rings of Saturn. I'm getting older and I can't do the sort of hunting I used to,but I walked. For elk,generally up,down,or sidehill. At 8000 to 10000 feet.

I don'i do the 650 yd plus artillery barrage. To place a clean shot on game can generally be done with 1X per 100 yds. For about a half century the most common scope on an elk rifle was a 4X Weaver. I don't think the elk changed.

Many folks use their rifles almost exclusively for "shooting groups" Then they take pix and post them. The big scope is fun. You can watch your bullet holes appear. I get it. Fun toy. But for hunting I DO NOT want 2 lbs and 2 feet of 2 inch sewer pipe mounted in 2 inch high rings. Its unnecessary.

One thing I hope you don't do .Don't use your rifle scope to scan and search.When you do,you point your rifle at me. Or my Grandchild. And you are no better,no different than Alec Baldwin.

I have nice binoculars for that.
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Old October 31, 2023, 01:40 PM   #16
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scopes

Something I have not seen mentioned is the size, weight and bulk of a large scope. That sort of thing doesn't matter much if your hunting style involves ATV rides and setting in box blinds, and or your're under 60yrs of age. But if one intends to carry the scoped rifle any distance, and have a portable, responsive rifle once you get there, a big scope is a hindrance. Spoils the looks and balance of many a rifle too.

Fudd like 'till the end, I still think a 1" tube 3x9x40mm of fair to good quality (Leupold ) will suffice for most of the big game hunting that most of us will ever do. As noted by others, I still run fixed 6x36mm and 6x42mm scopes on several whitetail rifles and have all the glass I need. Several of my stubby carbines run 1x4x20mm scopes as well.

Much is dependent on how and where one hunts. A beanfield guy or ROW /cutover shooter will find more use of higher magnification. Across the valley shooters out west the same. My simple scopes work for me, but perhaps not for everyone.
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Old October 31, 2023, 03:06 PM   #17
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I think 6x is about the upper limit for anything that could be a moving target, and lower is better for those.

My deer and big game guns wear scopes from 2.5x to 3x9 variables.

My varmint guns go higher. And I've got some with variables as high as 24x.

High power is good for looking at small things that don't move much, but, for me, anyway, its miserable to shoot with in the field. I may crank up to 18x to check a marmot, but to make the shot I always go down to 9x or lower.

High power magnifies everything. Your heartbeat. Mirage/heat shimmer. everything, both good, and bad.

Off a nice sturdy shooting bench, perhaps with bags, high power doesn't make as much difference as it does when shooting from field positions, and especially where you don't have a good rest.
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Old October 31, 2023, 05:58 PM   #18
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I used a 4 power for years, then a 6 power, which worked fine for years. Then on to variable scopes, where I am these days. I have 4.5-14, 4-16, and 3-15 power scopes. I hunt at 8 power on all of them (open pasture, not the heavy woods). I rarely shoot at max magnification when hunting, but the max magnification lets me shoot at 100 yards without needing a spotting scope. That’s what works for me, after decades of trying this and that, but might not be great for you.
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Old October 31, 2023, 08:14 PM   #19
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Never did varmint hunting. How far and small the are the targets?

-TL

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Old November 1, 2023, 10:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
Across the valley shooters out west the same.
Most of those shooters don't last very long. The lesson is immediate and impactful.
Once you shoot across that valley, you have to hike across it - and usually back again - possibly multiple times.
That "easy" 650 yard shot turns into a 3/4 mile hike, just to get to the animal. Then you have to haul it out, not to where you shot from, but back to camp or the truck.
For elk, moose, big deer, and a few other animals, that might be 5+ trips.

Quote:
I think 6x is about the upper limit for anything that could be a moving target
For game, I agree.
But not for competition.
My precision rimfire rifles all wear 4-12x or 2-12x scopes.
On match day, they stay at 12x, even when shooting movers at short range (50-70 yd).
That is partly because it is (usually) far easier to identify a target on a sterile shooting range, than in the field; partly because I use SFP scopes - meaning I must be at 12x for my reticle subtensions to be accurate; and partly because movers on the range are traveling in a known direction at a predictable speed.
But even for our last field match, my son and I kept the scopes on 12x.

Quote:
Never did varmint hunting. How far and small the are the targets?
Depends.
And usually changes throughout the day(s).

Could be rats and mice at 3-30 yards.
Could be squirrels at 15-400 yards.
Could be prairie dogs or coyotes at 50-600 yards.

Once you start slinging lead at coyotes and prairie dogs, the shots get longer and longer, as time goes on.
You might be able to start the day with .22 LR at 50 yards. But, by the end of the day, you end up finishing off with something more powerful for shots at 400+ yards.
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Old November 1, 2023, 11:26 AM   #21
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Squirrel at 400yd, prairie dog or coyote at 600yd. Assuming not insisting on head shot, the target size is about 1moa worst case. Sounds like 10x should be plenty enough.

Agree with the comments "long range hunting". I highly doubt a real hunter would do such things. Say no more.

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Old November 1, 2023, 04:41 PM   #22
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It's the quality of glass lens that's most important to me--followed by precision of tracking. I don't sweat over x numbers.

25-06 is pretty darn flat shooting 250 yds on in, probably most if not all within point blank range. A quality fixed magnification lightweight scope might be a good choice if that's what your intended primary use might be. Another great hunting scope I've used (but don't own) is the Trijicon accupoint--great clarity in low light, available with battery-free perpetually on (but you can dial it down so there is no illumination at all if you wish) and adjustable red-dot.
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Old November 25, 2023, 12:22 PM   #23
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I've almost always liked variable scopes just for this reason; I can crank them up or down depending on how far most shots will be. I'd much rather have more magnification than I needed, and keep the scope turned down, than see game I could take at longer distance, but not have enough scope to feel comfortable aiming at them.
I've got some 3x-12x, 4x-16x, and some 4x-24x scopes, and a couple 3x-9x scopes. I much prefer the higher power variables for my needs.
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Old November 25, 2023, 03:52 PM   #24
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I was always a big fan of the 4-12 over the 3-9. I have a 4-14 on my 30-06, and just picked up a 6-24 for my 6mm arc, which is hopefully going to be a good long range target build. its the most powerful scope I have ever had a chance to use. Seeing as I hope to shoot it out to 1000 I dont think it will be too much, but only time will tell.
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Old November 25, 2023, 04:34 PM   #25
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I don't know. Torso size target at 1k yd is about 1.5moa. It becomes 15moa with 10x magnification. It is mighty good enough for me. I routinely shoot 2moa with iron sight. I actually can do 4x if I don't hold over with reticle. Cranking up to 10x - 12x is to see the ticks on the reticle.

Shooting tiny group at 1k yd? I can't and higher magnification will make it even more difficult.

Scope is a gun sight, not a camera to take pretty pictures with. Seeing the acnes on target's face is unnecessary.

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