Rifle Scopes "Artificial" magnification range, whats the point?

bm11

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I am relatively new to this, but learning in a hurry. I would like to know, whats the point in having an "artificial" magnification range? I ask because I have had the pleasure of owning two fine optics at this point, a Schmidt and Bender PMII 4-16x50 and a Schmidt and Bender PMII 5-25x56.

I have noticed on the 4-16 that the field of view is the same from 5.3x down to 4x, just with a tunneling effect that reduces the magnification effect without increasing the field of view. The 5-25 does the same thing somewhere around 7.5x down to 5x.

I guess my question is, what is the benefit to this? I am not increasing the field of view, just decreasing the magnification, so why not have a 5.3-16 and a 7.5-25? What are the benefits to going down lower? Is this just to sell more scopes because of the "increased" range of magnification?

Keep in mind that I am new to this, so if this question seems redundant, please bare with me!

Thanks,

-Bob
 

dcjs

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Re: "Artificial" magnification range, whats the point?

There's one instance where decreasing magnification is beneficial although field of view doesn't increase, and that's where you hit 1-1.1x magnification at the low end to be able to maintain binocular vison for quick target acquisition. Here the absolute magnification is more important than the gain in FOV (while of course a tunneling effect isn't desirable in this type of optic either).

Otherwise, you pretty much answered your own question, which isn't a very popular one around here.
 

Rob01

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Re: "Artificial" magnification range, whats the point?

It's not always about FOV at lower powers. Dropping lower allows for less perceivable movement for positional shooting as well as for closer targets. I shoot alot of tactical matches and honestly the times you go below 8x is very limited so it's not really an issue. I have dialed down to 5x with my S&B for very close shots and never had any problem with FOV or hitting the target which is the most important thing.

And no it's not about selling more scopes. S&B has no problem selling their scopes as they have a very good and well earned reputation for the quality and performance of their products.
 

bm11

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Re: "Artificial" magnification range, whats the point?

Rob-

I love the scope, I wasn't trying to say anything derogatory about it! I just didn't understand the point. For me, it doesn't much matter anyhow because I rarely go below 10x.

I did check out a Swarovski z6 3-18 at the store a month or so back. It had a TRUE 3-18x range, which was pretty cool! Unfortunately, it didn't have all the other options that I would require in a "tactical" scope. Swaro seems against marketing to the tactical crown, only to the hunting crowd, which is a shame, because it seemed like damn fine glass.

-Bob
 

Rob01

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Re: "Artificial" magnification range, whats the point?

Bob I didn't think you were. I was just trying to explain it. Also the 5x is a "true" 5x. You're putting magnification and FOV in the same group. Just because the FOV doesn't grow down at 5x doesn't mean it's not 5x.
 

bm11

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Re: "Artificial" magnification range, whats the point?

I see now. Yes, I understand now that it is a true 5x. I was wondering what the benefit was to having a lower magnification without increasing field of view, and I think I understand that as well now.

Thanks very much!

-Bob
 

Pimpbot5000

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I am following this too and VERY curious. I have had more than 30 scopes between 2-4k$ and that feature is so frustrating to me that I will not buy an otherwise great scope if it has it!

I have sought this answer and heard nothing of value to me. We all understand that FOV and magnification are independent. But if FOV does not increase with decreasing mag then why have that available at all? At that point, it seems that the magnification range in the "tunnel zone" is actually a negative feature. If the tunnel starts at a hypothetical 6x and then continues down to 4X then I would FAR prefer it to just stop at 6X. I often find myself throwing the lever from max to min fairly quickly, and once I hit the tunnel I usually have to back track a bit. It feels to me like a defective scope that does not stop the erector in the correct place and something I should send in to get fixed. But once I realize its actually functioning "normally" I feel like I got scammed and the magnification range is NOT how it was advertised.

Imagine if the whole range was a tunnel. say you have a NX8 4-32 and the FOV did not increase from where it starts on 32, all the way down to a tiny useless dot at 4X. No one would find that acceptable. So why is any amount OK. I have some really nice scopes that will tunnel the tiniest bit at the lowest end and have kept them around. But to me, this feature should barely be acceptable on a scope produced by Walmart that cost sub 80$ at the most. Similar to my feelings of the pinch lock tourettes on the Leupold MK6 but that is another rant.

Maybe I am just a grumpy old man, or maybe it has not been explained to me properly. I would LOVE to hear that it makes for a dramatically more forgiving eyebox or something? Anything to truly justify it would make me feel much better, but I have tried to optimistically find benefits in my own scopes with this trait and have found none.

Until then, I will consider a scope with significant tunneling to be a marketing scam and any company producing them (probably just about all of them) to be dishonest to some extent.