Rifle Scopes  How important is magnification for long range?

robertjhaley

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I have spent a tremendous amount of time researching scopes lately. I'm building a new custom 308 for F/TR and trying to determine the best scope to use. I want the option to shoot tactical competitions and require FFP. I had almost decided on S&B until my brother pointed out some web articles revealing some issues with S&B, even though the military uses them. Also, I prefer not to spend $3300 on a scope if I can avoid it. I prefer the $1500 to $2300 range. I'm 43 years old so I'm lucky to focus on anything within 24" of my face. I shoot 1100 yards now with a 6-24X56 Hawke scope. My new rifle in on a Stiller TAC-30 and Bartlein barrel so I want a scope to match the gun quality. I'm in Texas where mirage is a BIG issue most of the year. I feel like I need a high magnification scope but I see where so many are shooting long range with no more than 20x scopes.
My question is this, "How important is magnification and glass for long range shooting (1000 yards) and can I have too much for tactical shooting or for mirage effects?".
 

427Cobra

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  • Nov 24, 2005
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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    I have shot a 300RUM at 1780 yards with a 5-20x50 Vortex Razor, a 25 power scope might be a better choice but atmospheric conditions will always be the limiting factor, sometimes more is not better.
     

    Gray

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    Apr 28, 2011
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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    If you can't see it, you can't hit it!If your mirage is bad where you live most of the year, I would stick to a 5-25 power scope. plenty of magnification to go to 1,500 plus yards all day long, but you can still dial back if the mirage picks up. I shoot a 12-50x56 S&B, but here in NC there are only a couple of months out of the year where I can you all 50x. I mostly stay between 25-30 on my long shots during the summer. More important than high magnification is clear/ high quality glass. You can see a lot more with clear glass and lower power than crappy glass and high power.Vortex makes a good scope in your price range with their Razor HD, so does Nightforce. The clearest scopes I have used are the S&B'S, Hensolt, USO's and Premier, but they are pricey. You do get what you pay for though.
     

    tylerw02

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    May 16, 2011
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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    There are no issues with S&B. They are a great scope and consider by many to be best for this game.

    I have a pair of them, 5-25x56 with the great H2CMR reticle and love them. Though not budget friendly, they are great. If I were to spend $2300, I'd look for a used Premiere Hetitage or a new NF F1 3.5-15x.

    I've found that most of my shooting is 10-15x. I turn up to spot or to help read mirage, but seldom shoot over 20x. I shot a match last month and did the 800 yard stage on 12x.

    The important thing is getting a scope that tracks and has a usable reticle that uses the same sub tensions as the knobs. It's really hard to go wrong with any of the good brands like S&B, NF, PR, etc.

    Also the Steiber and Kahles are up and coming.
     

    pinzmann

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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    I also would recommend 25x. You can always dial it down. I've had a couple S&B's and haven't any problem with them. Just got a 5-25 and so far so good.
    Also I shoot here in the SoCal desert and I rarely go below 20x.
     

    rth1800

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  • Sep 16, 2009
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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    Issues with S&B exist chiefly in someones imagination.
     

    robertjhaley

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    "I guess it comes down to the person behind the rifle."

    I'm sure the person behind the rifle makes a lot of difference. I don't have a lot of experience shooting long range. I'm shooting a $300 270 WSM hunting rifle now and can keep it on paper at 1100 yards with a $450 scope. So far these are some great responses and very helpful. I shoot mostly at 20X because my SFP MIL reticle is calibrated at 20x. I would love 50x for long range but need to know if that creates a problem for shorter range tactical shooting or creates problems at long range with mirage, eye relief, exit pupil, etc.
     

    turbo54

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    Dec 10, 2010
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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Special Delivery</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><span style="font-weight: bold">...More important than high magnification is clear/ high quality glass. You can see a lot more with clear glass and lower power than crappy glass and high power...</span> </div></div>

    This.

    Seriously.
     

    Shoottothrill

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    Jan 26, 2012
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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    In that price range Vortex Razor HD with the reticle of your choice. Great Glass, Great Reticle selection, Great customer service, maybe the best in the industry.
     

    buffybuster

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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    Most F-Class shooters use a SFP reticle. A fine reticle with good glass allows you to be very precise in holding on which side of the "X". Most FFP reticles are too thick to do that.

    Since the rifle is going to be a bit of a compromise between F-CLass and tactical, your scope choice is also going to be a compromise, you just have to decide which has a higher priority. Dedicated F-Class seem to run NF12-42, March 5-50/8-80, Sightron 5-50, all SFP. That's too much glass for tactical. A good compromise would probably be a 5-25.
     

    sib1948

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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    No one has mentioned the March F 3X24 42mm FFP scope. Great reticle for LR competition shooting in mil/mil with easy low zero stop turrets. Been around for a few years and $2330 + $30.00 shipping from Kelbys Rifles. Just ordered one and will have to figure out correct 30mm ring height with 30 MOA rail when it arrives in a week or so. You should check out their reviews. One review done by fireguyty in this Forum section on 02/14/12. Much smaller and lighter than other premium scopes and fits your price criteria.
     

    The_FNG

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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: sib1948</div><div class="ubbcode-body">No one has mentioned the March F 3X24 42mm FFP scope. Great reticle for LR competition shooting in mil/mil with easy low zero stop turrets. Been around for a few years and $2330 + $30.00 shipping from Kelbys Rifles. Just ordered one and will have to figure out correct 30mm ring height with 30 MOA rail when it arrives in a week or so. You should check out their reviews. One review done by fireguyty in this Forum section on 02/14/12. Much smaller and lighter than other premium scopes and fits your price criteria. </div></div>

    Amazing, that same scope is $2700 in Australia...$3300 illuminated, I'm betting Kelby wont send to Australia because he'll upset the local distributor.
    confused.gif
     

    texasbrian66

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    Oct 2, 2012
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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    TexarkanaHunter

    Magnification and glass were two of my main concerns when I was choosing the scope for my .308. I eventually chose the Sightron SIII SS 10-50X60 LR TD.

    I also live in Texas and have to work with the mirage but I still like a lot of magnification. When the mirage gets to heavy I just crank the mag down a bit. I believe that it is better to have more mag and not use it than want more mag and not have it to use.

    I shoot a Savage 10 FCP LE HS Precision Stock in .308. It has a Sightron SIII SS 10-50X60 LR TD riding on top. The scope is mounted on an EGW 20 MOA base with Burris Zee rings. I am Very happy with the rifle / scope combination. It is a heavy scope but works for me.

    I was at the range today between 4 - 5 o'clock and could clearly see (not shoot) an 18" red steel plate at 1,000 yards. Can you see it with less magnification? Yes. Do I want to see with less mag? No. I prefer high mag.

    I like the Sightron SIII SS 10-50X60 so much that I am ordering one for my Stag Model 6 Super Varminter 24" in .223. It will replace a Vortex Viper 6.5-20x50 PA.

    I hope this helps
     

    5RWill

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  • Oct 15, 2009
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    Re: How important is magnification for long range?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: tylerw02</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

    I've found that most of my shooting is 10-15x. I turn up to spot or to help read mirage, but seldom shoot over 20x. I shot a match last month and did the 800 yard stage on 12x.
    </div></div>

    How i tend to shoot my USO SN-3 3.2-17x44mm as well. Took a 500yd shot last year hunting at 10x (missed but that's my fault).
    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: TexarkanaHunter</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I have spent a tremendous amount of time researching scopes lately. I'm building a new custom 308 for F/TR and trying to determine the best scope to use. I want the option to shoot tactical competitions and require FFP. I had almost decided on S&B until my brother pointed out some web articles revealing some issues with S&B, even though the military uses them. Also, I prefer not to spend $3300 on a scope if I can avoid it. I prefer the $1500 to $2300 range. I'm 43 years old so I'm lucky to focus on anything within 24" of my face. I shoot 1100 yards now with a 6-24X56 Hawke scope. My new rifle in on a Stiller TAC-30 and Bartlein barrel so I want a scope to match the gun quality. I'm in Texas where mirage is a BIG issue most of the year. I feel like I need a high magnification scope but I see where so many are shooting long range with no more than 20x scopes. </div></div>

    12-18 is how i like magnification for rounds such as the .308 and it's relatives, i'm not sure why. For magnums i would want the 20-25x. That being said with increasing age i can see where the need higher magnification presents itself. Friend of mine runs 6.5-20x50mm on all his rifles, he's 50 IIRC. 1500-2300$ range would scream Vortex Razor to me. They're great scopes. You can always dial down to lower magnification if need be
    wink.gif