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OT: Rifle scope power range for varminting?

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  • OT: Rifle scope power range for varminting?

    Geez! I'm asking questions about rifle scopes on a varmint hunting board and I keep getting replies that have nothing to do with my questions. The kids on the board keep telling me which scope to get. When I ask, "Why that one?" they tell me, "Because it's a really cool scope!"

    What would be a good power range for a scope that would be used for gophers to coyotes at distances out to a maximum of about 300 yds? I also want to keep in mind that a coyote may walk in front of me 50 yds away.


  • #2
    On what caliber rifle, recoil can be a bitch. though a 4-12 or 16x50 is a "cool" choice.


    • #3
      .223 Rem.


      • #4
        To 300yds, I would use 3-10 or 4-14power. You will give a little resolution on one end and field of view on the other but everything is a compromise.


        • #5
          I have shot many hundred dogs at that range and less with just this combo Win. 70 .223 varmit Bbl.W/4-16x44 simons.


          • #6
            MY 6x18 redfield was a good choice.

            A quality scope costs as much as the rifle.. Ain't that a shame?

            David Cofer, Of:
            Tunnel Hill, North Georgia


            • #7
              Hello Dan
              I prefer the Burris 8x32. I like to be able to see very well. The optics are really good. I shoot tiny targets and this scope will perform very well.The only problem is finding a Burris 8x32,they stopped making them so they are difficult to find now.They have adjustable objectives lenses so are adjustable for parralax. their light gathering ability makes it easy on the eyes.


              • #8
                I have a book by Jack O'Connor from Outdoor Life fame. It was written in the '60s and of course scopes have changed a lot since then but he said a good varmint scope out to 250 yds is a fixed 6x scope. So my thinking is to get a 3x-9x or a 4x-12x. If 6x is good to 250 yds then 9x should be good out to 375 yds. Or for a coyote, maybe out to 400+ yds. 3x shouldn't be a problem at all for a coyote in close at maybe 50 yds.

                The kids on the other website and the salesmen in the sporting goods store keep saying I should get at least a 5.5x-16.5x and they're saying I should get a 6.5x-20x if I can afford it. (BTW, the salesmen are working on commission. )

                I think these would be fine for killing paper targets or shooting at critters that hold still if I wanted to count their whiskers before I fired. But if a coyote walks by at close range all I'm going to see is a patch of hair without a clue as to where the crosshairs are centered on its body.

                Also, with a 3x-9x parallax isn't really an issue like it is at the higher powers - no objective adjustment to fiddle with. I like the idea of keeping it simple.

                I have no experience with variable power scopes nor longer range rifles so I want some feedback to know if I'm thinking logically here.

                Any help will be appreciated.



                • #9
                  good evening Dan.

                  a lot of this depends on how well you can see.

                  i don't know if this is going to be of any help, but i like to shoot long range stuff [targets at 100, 200, 300, 500 yards] and i am getting old and don't see as well as i used to.

                  so. for what it's worth:

                  7mm magnum 8-32
                  ar tackdriver 8-24 note: new scope. bought at gun show 2 weeks ago. illuminated reticle. mil-dot. off brand scope from japan, but i like it a lot. only problem i have found with it is that it is way too long. it is hard to mount it as solidly as i would like but i have a longer rail on order. that is maybe misleading. scope is mounted solidly now. i just have a lot of it hanging on one end of the mounts. scope has 30mm tube. good glass and it gathers a lot of light. scope has 1/8 moa target knobs. i like that better than 1/4 moa clicks.

                  10-22 4-16
                  .45 muzzle loader 4x

                  i think maybe i might have missed a couple but they would be similar.

                  most of my scopes have mil dot reticles.

                  in boxes waiting on guns to put them on:

                  couple of 4x scopes

                  i guess you can see that i like zoom scopes. i also have a couple of red dot scopes around.

                  i want a trijicon or eotech to go on a 16" barrel ar carbine.

                  with your rifle i would probably look at a 6-18 or 8-24. you can always turn the magnification down, but it is nice to be able to turn it up and see where the round hit. it also saves me buying a spotting scope. less crap to carry around.

                  i hope this helps. opinions are worth what you pay for them. mine are probably overpriced at that.

                  good luck.

                  ........i dremel. therefore i am..........................


                  • #10
                    My only scoped rifle is a Marlin 881 tube fed bolt action .22 Long Rifle with a Bushnell Sharpshooter 4x scope with standard duplex crosshairs. It's a sweetie.

                    At 50yds high velocity cartridges can stay in a group smaller than my thumbnail off the bench rest. It's my squirrel rifle.

                    With my .30/30 I use the iron sights.

                    The new rifle is my first long range rifle, thus my lack of experience.


                    • #11
                      i have a 8x 18 bushnell on my hunter class silhouette rifle won won 2 years stright with it. before that i had a k10 weaver with fine crosshairs and won 2 years with that combo. the trick is the adjustable objective and learning how to use it.
                      but no scope is going to work set for 300 yards and then taking a quick shot at 50.


                      • #12
                        good evening.

                        the ar tackdriver will shoot a 3/8" group at 100 yards. 20" barrel [not stainless]. nothing special done to the rifle. i am shooting my reloads. 50 gr. v-max over 25.5 gr. varget. rifle has maybe 600 rounds through barrel now and is still shooting better. breaking in if you will.

                        if you are looking for serious accuracy, you might want to look into fire lapping the barrel. if you are unfamiliar with that concept, you fire increasilgly finer abrasive coated bullets to polish the bore. it works. i do it to all my rifles, but haven't gotten to the ar yet. i am having too much fun busting caps.

                        i am also anal about accuracy and small groups.

                        google 'David Tubb' and you should be able to find them. you do have to load the ammo yourself, with a light charge of powder. the kit has 50 bullets, 10 of each abrasive grade. it works. you can see the difference in your bore as you do it.

                        i hope this helps some.


                        ETA: the next ar i build will be a 24" barrel varmint gun. ss heavy 1/8 barrel, free floated, i average probably 100 rounds a day because i like to shoot. i also like gun shows where i can pick up ammunition in 1,000 round lots reasonably inexpensively. that would be a problem for you because what i buy is 5.56mm and it is not the same as .223. i have had good luck with black hills .223 and also ultramax remanufactured .223. mostly i like to shoot my own loads when i am serious about it. difference between groups with 'good' stuff and surplus stuff is maybe 2 moa [2" at 100 yards]. i have noticed that some of the bulk ammo i have bought recently is not real consistent.

                        i am probably way off topic and should go to bed.


                        [This message has been edited by billr (edited 03-26-2005).]
                        ........i dremel. therefore i am..........................


                        • #13

                          Here some things to consider:

                          - Recoil should not be a problem with your .223

                          - For coyote, they can (will) be on the move, say in your 50 to 300 yard range. Typically, half of the game with coyote is to acquire the target quickly – that’s hard to do without practice, especially with a high power setting and the coyote is only 50 yards out.. So you might want to have a power setting anywhere from 4x – 12x to consider having a wider field of view with a lower magnification for a coyote that is 50 to 300 yards out.

                          - I assume for gophers, if they are like the prairie dogs like we have here, time to acquire the target is not a consideration, but the shots can be long. Here is where high magnifications helps, say 20x on up, but if you are a good shot you can get by with less.

                          - So ideally you would want a scope that adjusts from 4x-20x+ but when you start getting into the 20x+ powers you probably won’t be able to find something that is 4x at the low end; 6x is more realistic. I just went and looked at some of my long range scopes, four different brands, they were 6x-24x, 6x-24x, 6.5x-20x and 12x-42x. My recommendation: say 6x-24x.

                          - Now let’s talk about an adjustable objective lens vs. a fixed objective lens.

                          On the fixed objective, it is typically parallax free at 100 yards. What this means in simple terms as related to rifle scopes is that if you put the crosshairs on a target spot at 100 yards, and position your eye high, low, left or right of the center of the scope, the crosshairs and target spot will always stay coincident, provided you don’t move the rifle/scope. Now if you do the same thing at 200 yards, you will start to see the crosshairs move all over the target considerably. It just depends on where your eye is relative to the center of the scope. So if taking a three hundred yard shot on a small target, it is most important that your shooting style is consistent with regards to how you mount the rifle. The benefit to a fixed objective is that there is no adjustment to make which aids in the time to acquire the target; this could be a big deal for coyote hunting but, probably not for gophers.

                          The adjustable objective takes care of this “wanderingâ€‌ problem; however, you have to make an adjustment to the scope which is not always practical - like taking a shot on a coyote at two hundred yards on a brisk trot going away from you. For prairie dogs, gophers and such it is not a problem.
                          - One more thing to consider is how well does the scope hold center when you adjust power. Seen a lot of cheap scopes fail this test. If your rifle turns out to be a real shooter, it would be a shame to nullify this with a cheap scope. Buy what you can afford and try not to skimp on the quality – things can be frustrating enough even if the equipment is good.

                          I am not going to recommend a brand but, I have offered IMO a 6x-20x or 24x power would be good for what you want to do.

                          Maybe Lynn Standish will chime in here, he can probably offer some good advice.

                          Hope this helps. . .



                          • #14
                            I use a 2x7 on my callin' gun, set at 2x and glassin' with binos. Yotes'll come in hard and fast and it's too hard to pick them up with more power, if you do then all you see is hair. The prairie dog gun has a 4x16 on it, and it normally sits on 12x. Mirage boils too much at the higher powers and the light has to be nearly perfect. Just one more opinion to mull over... I will say this; buy the very best glass you can (or can't) afford and let the guns come and go underneath it. Confidence in your optics is essential for happy huntin'.
                            I'm here hoping to advancify my smartitude.


                            • #15
                              Just get a 4x with a fine crosshair. I hate variable power scopes. Just one more thing to have on the wrong setting. If you go with a variable power, always leave it on the lowest setting. Turn it up if you have to. Just don't forget to turn it back down!
                              Just my opinion tho, right or wrong!