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Old March 3, 1999, 12:24 AM   #1
Jeff Thomas
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Join Date: December 9, 1998
Location: Texas
Posts: 4,753
Hope you all can direct me to some more basic knowledge. I get the impression that some things I think are 'scopes' (and therefore magnify the sight image) are actually just optical sights, and don't magnify the image at all. I think the Aimpoint products are in this category, no? And, I gather even if they don't magnify the target image, they still improve accuracy somehow?

And, how does one pick the proper scope? I gather that a 4-9 x 35 (I'm making this up) would give from 4 to 9 times magnifications, and has a 35mm objective (in diameter)? And, the objective is the part of the scope closest to target, and the other is the ... eyepiece? Do you choose a scope partly based upon the practical shooting distance of the firearm?

So, if I have a .22 rimfire, like a 10/22, what scopes should I consider for plinking vs. varmint hunting vs. competition target shooting? Clearly there are price differences between Tasco and Leupold, but I don't really know where to start. Seems like most web sites and books either skip this area, or presume more knowledge than I have gleaned so far.

As you can tell, I have enough of a clue here to get myself pretty turned around. Thanks for your help.
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Old March 3, 1999, 12:38 AM   #2
George Stringer
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Join Date: October 12, 1998
Location: Earlington KY
Posts: 2,299
You're right in your descriptions. Selecting a scope should depend on the intended application. For instance personally I don't like magnification on handgun and shotgun scopes. If you are hunting thick woods where your longest shot might be 75yds high magnification hurts rather than helps. When hunting thick woods I'll go with open sights or a fixed 4X or less scope. If your hunting a mixture of woods and cropland a good variable like a 3x9 would be called for. If your shooting varmints at 500 yds you might want one of the 24x scopes. It all depends on your intended use and terrain. The best thing to do (I think) is to visit your local gunsmith or gunshop when wanting to purchase a new scope. You won't find K-Mart prices, but you aren't likely to go home with a $300 scope to shoot tin cans at 50 yds either. I hope this makes sense. It's late and I'm tired. George
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Old March 3, 1999, 12:59 AM   #3
Rob Pincus
Join Date: October 9, 1998
Location: Hotels
Posts: 3,666
Jeff, your "guesses" are pretty accurate and George's advice is good.

I might add that an "optical" sight doesn't necessarily make youmore accurate than iron sights would allow you to be, but they can often make it easier and therefore faster for you to get on target. The tube tends to focus your vision, even if it doesn't magnify the picture, and it is a heck of a lot easier to throw a red dot over an animal than it is to line up a proper iron sight picture.

As for .22s and magnification.. believe it or not, the two of my three most powerful scopes are mounted on 10/22s. I use a 32x and a 24x on competition .22s that never fire at further than 90 yards. I have another 24x scope that is mounted on a .50 BMG.
The scopes maginification should depend upon the use, not so much the weapon you are mounting it on. I like a fixed 4 power or a varible 3-9x for most Eastern hunting rifle applications, but I usually use iron sights on shotgun and muzzle loader becuase of the reduced effective ranges.. even though the actual ranges I have used all three weapons at has been about the same (50-125 yards, typically). This year I am probably going to put a fixed 4x scope or something similar on my muzzle loader.

Getting back to your 10/22 question, the best I can tell you for competition is to get the same type of scope that the people winning that type of competition are using.
For plinking, you'd probably be well suited with a lightwieght 3-9x, I would recommend "see-thru" mounts, so you can use the iron sights in low light, rain, etc....
For Varmint hunting, you would likely be well served by the type of scopes I use on my 10/22s.. maximum magnification.

Be careful abou the quality of the optics when you start getting into the higher magnifications. Once youget over 12x the type of lenses can really make a big diference. I have been very happy with Redfield's high power scopes inthe past, they were probably the best for the money, but I will be ugrading to Swarovski this year. Swarovski won't make a scope more powerful than 24x, primarily because they feel that there clarity would be less than perfect at that level of magification and they pride themselves on trying to be perfect.

I looked through a US Optics protoype 40x at SHOT and almost fell over. It was amazingly clear. You could even make out small differences in color and read small print clearly at over 100 yards. Like Big Marine Binoculars or something. They also said it would cost over $3500, so it'll be awhile before even want one of those!
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Old March 3, 1999, 09:06 AM   #4
Rosco Benson
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Join Date: October 20, 1998
Posts: 374
Always get the best quality scope that you can afford. A $500 rifle with a $29 dollar Wal-Mart special on it is as silly as a $500 pistol in a $10 nylon holster. In both cases, the user has a limited the usefulness of a very capable firearm by using it with substandard "support" equipment. Bottom line...expect to shell out some $$$.

There also seems to be a trend to purchase scopes with more magnification than is needed for their intended use. "More" is not necessarily (or even usually) better. High magnification amplifies the shooter's shakes and tremors and limits the field of view. Most people find it difficult to use a scope with magnification greater than 4x when shooting offhand. Clearly, the varmint hunter, who is going to engage small targets from a prone/bipod position can put greater magnification to good use. Bottom line...consider what the rifle is FOR.

There is also a trend toward scopes with a great big objective lens. 44mm, 50mm, and bigger are common. These big lenses are thought to help "gather light" by some folks...making the scope appear brighter. Frankly, brightness is more influenced by having GOOD glass with high-quality anti-reflective coatings thereon. The big objectives also make it necessary to mount the scope quite high, thus interfering with the shooter attaining a good cheek weld. Bigger isn't "better" in this case.

Ditto for 30mm scope tubes. These bigger tubes allow more range of adjustment within the scope. They are helpful to long distance shooters (700-1000 yards) who tend to run out of "come up" clicks when trying to adjust their elevation for such distances. For most shooters, they are simply an affectation.

In consideration of all this, your 10/22 would probably be well served with a good quality 1.5-5 or 2-7 variable or a fixed 4x. Expect to spend about the same amount you did for your rifle.


[This message has been edited by Rosco Benson (edited March 03, 1999).]
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Old March 5, 1999, 02:30 PM   #5
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Mpls, Minn
Posts: 56
Rob, just wondering, is there any place on the net that I could look at the Swarovski scopes? am looking for a scope for my .223 praire dog rifle in that 6x16 range. thanks
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Old March 6, 1999, 04:37 AM   #6
Jeff Thomas
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Join Date: December 9, 1998
Location: Texas
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Thanks for your help. Regards from AZ
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