Author Topic: What optical power is too much?  (Read 1761 times)


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What optical power is too much?
« on: October 29, 2016, 10:13:26 AM »
The post "$200 spotting scope" brings up another issue. Bob Sterne touched on this recently, and (he) suggested that beginners should use a lower power (4X if I recall correctly) to reduce the "apparent" shaking we all suffer from when shooting (especially) off hand. I couldn't agree more (or less if you get my drift).

Most of my varmint shooting in years past was at rather long ranges; typically, 400+ yards, and sometimes over 1,000 yards. At the time, I used a boosted Leupold which would adjust up to 32 power. I don't think I was ever able to use more than 20X, 95% of the time due primarily to heat mirage. Most of the time, the power was set at around 10X even when shooting from a bench. Thus based on nothing more than my experience, I just do not get the need to buy a 20X or higher power scope, especially on an airgun. I might buy the need when shooting only from a bench, and only slow fire when you have time to dope the mirage before the next shot. But on a squirrel or pigeon gun? I think too many are fooling themselves in thinking that more power is better, with both scopes, and muzzle energy. I'll save the latter issue for later.

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Re: What optical power is too much?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2016, 10:31:12 AM »
"With Air Guns" 40 ft lbs and under being mostly .177 & 22 in the 20-30 ft range ....

In hunting / field situations seldom find myself much above 8X being good compromise in brightness, FOV and ease of shooting supported or offhand.

In Competitive shooting ... say Field target, where target range finding / estimating is BIG part of the game, higher the magnification Shallower becomes the Depth Of Field.
Shallower DOF becomes more definitive parallax adjustment can be used to range with. * Big side wheels you see on Comp rigs expand the scale to be more accurate.

In hunter class FT we have a limit of 12X and seldom if ever go lower ( offhand perhaps )
In Open class FT most will be in the 30-50X mag so there parallax ranging has the shallowest DOF.

Just some fYI  8) 8)
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Re: What optical power is too much?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2016, 11:01:26 AM »
I have a 4X fixed scope on my Grouse Gun, I need the wide field of view for close shots, although I will admit it's a stretch when I get a 50 yard shot on a rabbit, I wish I had a bit more.... but then they are often at dusk, and then I'd need a larger objective to get the brightness back up.... For my Varmint hunting I use a 3-12X x 44 SF, which even at the highest power gives me a 3.7mm exit pupil and I don't notice any drop of in brightness, even on a dull day.... I can have a 35 yd. zero, which puts me point blank out to 45-50 yards, and I don't run out of MilDots out to 100 yards, which is my limit on GS as I don't shoot from a bench (yet).... I only have one rifle with a 4-16X scope, and unless I'm shooting from a bench don't use it over 12X.... I have a couple of rifles with 5-15X Bushnell Legends on them, and they have a nice bright image at 15X, and are great off the bench.... I also have a Hawke 6-18X x 44 mm, and although the optics are good, it suffers from a bit of dimming of the image on all but the brightest days, and the maximum power is only used on the bench.... I recently got a Millet 5-25 x 60mm for my .257 Monocoque bench gun, but with the weight being over 12 lbs. it will never be used for anything else....

My point is that I don't shoot FT, so I have no use for uber-magnification for range-finding.... I can't stand it when the image brightness drops off, and unless I'm shooting off a bench I can't use more than about 12X.... So, for me, that is my practical limit for an airgun scope for anything else.... and for wandering around in the woods for squirrels and birds, a 3-9X (of which I have a few) or a fixed power scope is all I need or want....

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Re: What optical power is too much?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2017, 12:51:51 PM »
I shoot rodents around the yard, never more then about 20 metres and usually under 10 metres, and for that task use either a fixed 3x (on my home brew night vision setup), 4x on the smaller carbine, or a 2-7x on the 20fpe rifle which is also my informal HFT rig. I wouldn't be comfortable with anything over 7x (about 6.5x actual, says Leupold). I've tried guy's scopes anywhere from 9x to 16x and start feeling claustrophobic immediately from the tiny FOV. I want to see what's around my target, as I find this helps me a lot in distance estimation. Going to blur as a helper sounds like it works, but between the claustrophobia and the hugeness/weight of big scopes I'm just not interested.

Which probably puts me out of the running for serious FT competition ... but since I'm using a .22" at 700fps anyway it should be obvious I'm not seriously interested in expanding my shooting beyond the casual competition level. I've done the serious match thing with 10 metre air pistol for a few years, and it's cool in a way, but really gets to be a grind with all the training hours. I'd rather enjoy shooting my rifles. Air pistol is no spike meditation than fun. Serious business sort of thing. So yeah, a 2-7x with good glass, like my Leupold or my 2-7x Burris rimfire scope is plenty of range. I never shoot beyond about 75 yards/68.5 metres, for what it's worth. If I did benchrest I'd probably compromise and go to 10x or so.
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Re: What optical power is too much?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2017, 01:06:46 PM »
I have a 4.5-14 I like for off hand on a WARP however if I could have done it for the same price I would have gone 2-10.  You don't need more than 10.  Then again, if you have laser range finding and carry it and make all the adjustments you need to, you can shoot in the field just about as well as you can from a bench.  If you are that good, more power to you.  For me anything past 10 is really kind of a waste but I sure like seeing the pellet smack the critters in the brain bucket on 24.  Not that I need it, but it;s cool none the less.  That, my friends is why there is no one scope for each application, we all like what we like logic be damned.
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Re: What optical power is too much?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2017, 08:39:27 PM »
I am certainly a novice shooter. I shoot paper or paintballs off golf tees from a bench virtually 100% of the time as I typically shoot 50 yards on my property. Weapons of choice are my heavy Armada's which I knew would primarily be bench guns. Perhaps I don't see as well as many others or my inexperience is coming into play but I much prefer higher magnification for my purposes. Have 8-32x56AO scopes on both my .22 and .25.
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Re: What optical power is too much?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2017, 08:55:54 PM »
I was out in light rain today plinking with my HFT gang and mostly shooting paper at 61 metres (66.7 yards) with the QB78D. Mostly standing, some supported against an upright, some seated at a bench and using a bipod. My skills and the QB short barrel conspired to make my best group (from the bipod) about 2" across. Some day I'll get a better gun... Anyway, the 7x Leupold didn't let me see individual .22" holes, had to get 2 touching edges before they were visible - so I'd say 7x isn't quite adequate at over 60 metres for my right eye. Which is fine as I rarely shoot over 50 metres. This just confirmed that I should probably go to 10x if I intend to reach out further, as I do like to be able to see the holes I shoot.
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