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Old May 27, 2022, 11:13 AM   #1
Shadow9mm
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How much magnification for precision shooting?

So I test most of my reloads at 100yds, as its the closest range I have. in the past I have generally had 12 to 14 power scopes which seemed to do well for the work in general.

On my last outing I was shooting my 223 AR with a 2-7x33 scope on it. I had a poor choice of targets 1in black squares that were intended for use at 25yds. the reticle in the scope was thick enough to completely cover the squares at that distance.

I plan to make some better targets for use next time.

I am also considering getting a dedicated scope to keep around for testing so I can just swap between guns as needed. but I am unsure of how much magnification I will really want or need. Also I am 36 and my eyes are still good, but I am always trying to future proof. so I am thinking a good piece of glass will las a life time, and I want the proper power so I can still use it as I get older and my eyes start not being what they used to.

Size and weight are not huge concerns as this will only be used for load development or target practice, not carried around. Generally shooting at 100yds, occasionally out to 500yds. all recreational.

How much magnification do I need, or should I get?
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Old May 27, 2022, 04:38 PM   #2
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For varmint hunting I have used scopes with upper end of 18x and one with 24x. I use the higher power to get a "close" look, but for actual shooting I turn down to about 9x.

The reason being, I'm steadier there. Field rests, bipod, mirage and heartbeat are not too bad at 9x but get increasingly less steady the higher the magnification goes.

Quote:
I had a poor choice of targets 1in black squares that were intended for use at 25yds. the reticle in the scope was thick enough to completely cover the squares at that distance.
In that case, I'd say it wasn't a poor choice of target, or scope reticle, but a poor choice of aiming point.

When your aiming point is a black square covered by the reticle, or a black square where you can't easily see the center of the crosshairs, (because of black on black) the answer is simple, aim someplace else.

The point is to choose a spot which allows you to consistantly and repeatedly put the crosshairs in the same spot, relative to your reference point.

can't see the + in the center of a black square? Aim for the corner of the black square. Put the center of your + on the corner of the square. its an easily found, and repeatable point of reference you can see and see where the + of your crosshairs are, in relation to it.

Think of the "6 O'clock" hold in pistol shooting. You put the top of the front sight just underneath the bullseye, to avoid having to try and find the black sight on the black target bullseye.

If its important for the bullet to hit the target center, the sight is adjusted to do that, while being held on the white part so you can see the sight.

Scopes can work the same way.

High power magnification lets you SEE better but it doesn't let you SHOOT better, and can, in fact have the opposite effect.
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Old May 27, 2022, 05:18 PM   #3
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It may be a gross generalization--but I've found truly outstanding scopes I end up dialing them down to find the best magnification level--whereas inferior scopes I generally end up dialing them up to near or at max magnification.
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Old May 27, 2022, 05:20 PM   #4
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I've got "bad" eyes, so I want or need more magnification on my rifles to shoot varmints at 200-400 yds. I have several scopes in the 6-24 power range, and one 10-40. I usually have them set in the high teens or 20, seldom on max, whether it's at the range for load development, or out in the field. I also prefer a thin CX in SFP, just my preference.
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Old May 28, 2022, 05:43 AM   #5
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It reall6 depends on the type of shooting. For shooting smallest groups at 100yds, I really like my 45x Sightron.

….but for hunting, I would likely take the shot on 6-8x. This is because I want to see what the grass is doing around the animal as well as the animals reaction to the shot.

For load development, I’m always maxed out. 15x, 25x, 20x.
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Old May 28, 2022, 07:06 AM   #6
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Most of my scopes are in the 4-12, 4-14 power range for my hunting rifles.

I got a Sightron STAC 4-20X50 for target shooting. And it worked, to a degree.
I could finally observe the mirage that everyone was talking about.
But when i started shooting matches with my wife's 223 Rem, i quickly figured out that i was lacking magnification.

Ended up buying a used Sightron SIII 10-50X60 LRTD.
Now i can really see the mirage!
But i can see those tiny holes at 300 yards.
I only use 50 power before the shooting starts. I sit & observe the mirage for a while.
During shooting i'm usually dialed back to 25-32 power.

Just because it can go to 50 power, doesn't mean you have to use it!
But it's good to be able to dial it back when you need to.

Most of the scopes i see at the matches are Sightron SIII & SV. (If you can afford the ED glass, get it! ), Vortex Golden Eagle, and a smattering of Nightforce.
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Old May 28, 2022, 09:14 AM   #7
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What "kind" of precision shooting always matters. My highest mag precision scope is a 5-25 on my .22LR that I shoot out to about 350. My precision match rifles for NRLHunter/PRS have 3-15 or 4-20s on them. Hunting rifles are 3-9, 2-10 or 3-15. The scopes on the set of rifles (a bolt 6.5CM and a Carbine .223) for the Sniper Adventure Challenge are 2-10s.

Most people use way too much magnification for the task. Casual precision shooting to 500 yards, fine with no more than 10x. If you want to move out to 1000 yards, a 15 to 20X on the top end might be beneficial.

Yes, quality of glass matters. I RO with a 10x spotter and I can see trace, holes in targets and have a wide field of view. A heavier, more expensive variable spotter at 30x, I can't see the same hole in paper as the 10x. Quality glass at a lower mag beats cheaper glass at a higher mag.
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Old May 28, 2022, 11:50 AM   #8
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Would seriously consider balancing the effort of using same scope for different rifles, as compared to the benefits for ya. For my purposes, am not wanting to take the time to sight in and readjust. Especially with cost of everything now a days. Like others have said, depends on your purpose or target.

Some like shooting at little dots or targets at short or long range. You will likely need enough magnification to see the targets. Have gone to "bracketing" the target with hashmarks, but am only shooting out to 600 yds, and not at little dots. Am yet another believer to use as little magnification as practical to limit the bobble effect, but am not a rail gun shooter.

Don't believe there is a "right" answer, but only alternatives for your own purpose.
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Old May 28, 2022, 04:51 PM   #9
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I like 5x25 in good glass for precision, but dialed down to what gives clearest view of the target.
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Old May 29, 2022, 10:48 AM   #10
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It may do you well to go to one of the bigger stores that has a display case full of scopes and browse different brands and models for a reticle (both pattern and thickness) that meets your needs. The pictures shown on most websites doesn't really compare to looking through it and determining if it is going to be what you want, I've found that out the hard way a few times, most recently on a Leupold Mk3HD that is an awesome scope but the reticle is just a bit thicker/heavier than I'd like for the rifle I put it on.
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Old May 30, 2022, 08:31 AM   #11
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So im looking at the vortex diamondback tactical 6-24x50. Seems reasonably priced for what it is. And have heard good things about the tactical line.
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Old May 30, 2022, 08:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm View Post
So im looking at the vortex diamondback tactical 6-24x50. Seems reasonably priced for what it is. And have heard good things about the tactical line.
Hard NO for precision. The edge effects and the parallax relegate it to short range use only. Vortex, the PST line on up for precision. There are several better choices in the same range.
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Old May 30, 2022, 09:16 AM   #13
Nathan
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Not the best, but this will likely make you happy.


SWFA SS - https://www.swfa.com/swfa-ss-20x42-t....html?___SID=U

The 3-15x would be a nice step up too.

That said, the Vortex you mentioned would be a pass for me, but the vortex guys talk those Diamondback tactical optics up like you can PRS with them as an entry level.
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Old May 30, 2022, 09:54 AM   #14
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Fixed power scopes are best for precision shooting.

If you use a variable power scope, set it to maximum then tape it so it minimizes loose lens tubes moving from recoil that moves the LOS angle.

Last edited by Bart B.; May 30, 2022 at 10:01 AM.
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Old May 30, 2022, 06:10 PM   #15
Shadow9mm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkCO View Post
Hard NO for precision. The edge effects and the parallax relegate it to short range use only. Vortex, the PST line on up for precision. There are several better choices in the same range.
Not sure what you are meaning by edge effects, and the tactical line has an adjustable parallax.
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Old May 30, 2022, 06:15 PM   #16
Shadow9mm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart B. View Post
Fixed power scopes are best for precision shooting.

If you use a variable power scope, set it to maximum then tape it so it minimizes loose lens tubes moving from recoil that moves the LOS angle.
I was considering the fixed power SWFA 20x42 but I'm not a huge fan of mils. they have 2 offerings, one has moa clicks, the other mils, but both use a mil reticle.
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Old May 30, 2022, 06:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
So im looking at the vortex diamondback tactical 6-24x50
I am with MarkCO, hard pass.
I got that exact model already mounted on a used rifle last year.
One trip to the range was all I needed to know about the diamondback line.
I traded it away for a used set of snow tires, and feel like I got the better end of the deal
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Old May 30, 2022, 09:48 PM   #18
ocharry
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I just got a Arken 4-16.....glass is great, turrets are spot on. The only thing is the retical is pretty fine...just so ya know

I think it hits way above its price range...I do get 30% coupons from them after I bought this scope....BUT if you use the code Cyclops as per Joe the Cyclops you can get their accessory pack for $170 off......lots of stuff in the accessory pack

Check out Joe the cyclops on YouTube

I got everything, scope and a accessories for $435 I think it was shipped

I put it on my new build 6.5 Grendel

I am very happy with this scope......you should check them out

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Old May 31, 2022, 07:28 AM   #19
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Europtics has vortex vipers on clearance for $669.
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Old May 31, 2022, 09:31 AM   #20
MarkCO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm View Post
Not sure what you are meaning by edge effects, and the tactical line has an adjustable parallax.
Distortion. Adjustable parallax, that does not take out the parallax.
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Old May 31, 2022, 01:36 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm
I was considering the fixed power SWFA 20x42
I don't think you would like it, I've looked through most of the SWFA SS fixed power scopes. The 6X and 10X fixed power are by far the best, and the 12X is serviable but not as bright as the lower powers. However, the 16X was extremely dark and the FOV was horrible. I haven't looked through a 20X but I can't imagine it being any better.

The 42mm objective just too restrictive for more magnification than the 12X. I only own a couple of the 6X now and they're on rimfire rifles. I'd not hesitate to use the 10X again.
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Old May 31, 2022, 02:59 PM   #22
reynolds357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm View Post
So I test most of my reloads at 100yds, as its the closest range I have. in the past I have generally had 12 to 14 power scopes which seemed to do well for the work in general.

On my last outing I was shooting my 223 AR with a 2-7x33 scope on it. I had a poor choice of targets 1in black squares that were intended for use at 25yds. the reticle in the scope was thick enough to completely cover the squares at that distance.

I plan to make some better targets for use next time.

I am also considering getting a dedicated scope to keep around for testing so I can just swap between guns as needed. but I am unsure of how much magnification I will really want or need. Also I am 36 and my eyes are still good, but I am always trying to future proof. so I am thinking a good piece of glass will las a life time, and I want the proper power so I can still use it as I get older and my eyes start not being what they used to.

Size and weight are not huge concerns as this will only be used for load development or target practice, not carried around. Generally shooting at 100yds, occasionally out to 500yds. all recreational.

How much magnification do I need, or should I get?
As much as you can use without getting mirage screwed.
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Old May 31, 2022, 03:37 PM   #23
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Have several SWFA single power 10x, 12x. For their purchase purposes, their main advantages are price and repeatable elevation/windage adjustment. Big plus if you are using the knobs for elevation /windage changes. Their glass is usable in good light for a budget, which is what i was on. Unless you are shooting little things off a dead solid rest, would not want to invest in a single 20 power. A 20X significantly increases the "wobble" factor, and the need for maintaining eye/scope reticle alignment.

While they are older models now, went to the Viper pst 6x24 and 3x15 powers. Better glass, solid/repeatable elevation/windage adjustments. They were at my upper limit for affordability, but worth it for my purposes. Mostly they are used at 12x.
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Old May 31, 2022, 05:33 PM   #24
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Don't know how much I can add to what's already been said, but here's my insight from a few years of playing the game. Buy the best glass you can afford to do precision shooting. Not the most magnification, not the biggest lense, but the clearest with the least color aberration and the thinnest crosshairs.

Years ago I used to do a lot of varmint shooting. A lot. I started out with a Weaver K6. Clear enough and thin crosshairs. Then I looked through a friend's T-10 and realized how bad my scope was. So I bought a Leupold VX-3 6.5-20. WOW! It was super clear! But it had too much magnification for what I was trying to do, so I backed off to a 4.5-14.

I knew an old guy who shot bench rest, and he shot a 36X Unertl scope. In benchrest where your targets aren't scampering all over the hillsides, more magnification works, but not so much for a varmint rifle. So figure out what you need. I keep a Zeiss scope in my shop for testing rifles I build, and it's a nice old 6-18 and very clear.

The other thing you need to figure out is what you really mean by "precision shooting". Some people mean shooting unknown distance out to 1,200 meters, others mean shooting their deer rifle for groups at 100 yards. A deer rifle at 100 yds is not precision shooting, just FYI. Typically neither the scopes nor the rifles approach presision shooting.

So if you just want a nice scope for your "really accurate" deer rifle, lots of scopes can fill that bill. If you want to scope your $10,000 custom benchrest or tactical rifle, you can easily spend $4,000 by going after a US Optics or Nightforce scope. Figure out what the purpose is, then figure out how much it makes sense to spend.
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Old June 1, 2022, 01:44 PM   #25
Jim Watson
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Quote:
So I bought a Leupold VX-3 6.5-20. WOW! It was super clear! But it had too much magnification for what I was trying to do, so I backed off to a 4.5-14.
You couldn't just dial down the 6.5-20? You wanted less than 6X?

I bought a 32X for BR50 and found it too high, even off a bench; should have been a 24.
I always used a 8.5-25 for F class, gradually worked up from 16 to about 22X as I got familiar with it.
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