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#5569355 - 01/28/15 12:53 PM Variable or Fixed power for long range target shooting?
BigDad Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 181
I'm in the process of building a purpose built rifle for long range target shooting (500 yds plus) and need to decide on the scope. It will be based on a Savage 110 action and one of the 6.5 mm cartridges. This will not be a hunting rifle and will only be used for target shooting from a bench or bi-pod, not off hand.

All of my current scopes are variable power. When target shooting I normally just crank them up to max power and leave them that way so I'm questioning the need for variable power on this rig. This will avoid the need for 1st focal plane decisions, etc. Also, for hunting I like a scope with very good light gathering ability. For a target rifle I’m questioning the need for real high end glass and light gathering. In my mind I would rather spend money on the mechanics (repeatable and accurate turret adjustments) than the high end glass. Am I off base? I would like to limit my scope budget to around $1000.

My questions are:
* Should I go with a variable or fixed power scope?
* What power scope?
* What type of reticle (mildot, fine cross hair, etc)?
* Do I need an illuminated reticle?
* Should I spend $$ on light gathering and high glass?
* What make & model scopes should I consider that fit my $1000 budget?
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#5569444 - 01/28/15 01:48 PM Re: Variable or Fixed power for long range target shooting? [Re: BigDad]
P_102 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 517
Loc: Grapevine
BigDad, you have a good point about not dialing power but there could be times, a timed event maybe, when you need to pick up a target quicker than you would looking through a straight 24x (or higher?) scope. With your budget you don't need to give up on variable power, the Viper PST (even the FFP model) is within that budget and an excellent scope.

P_102


Edited by P_102 (01/28/15 03:05 PM)
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#5569659 - 01/28/15 03:47 PM Re: Variable or Fixed power for long range target shooting? [Re: BigDad]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Because you have such a good budget.

Variable- find the target, zero in on it, increase magnification
20-24X on the high end
Mil.
Illumination is not needed
You need for the glass to be as clear as possible
Vortex Viper PST or SWFA house brand SS. Both are the best bang for the buck. You'd have to put another $200 with your budget to get the highest end SS made, the 5-20 FFP, it is my favorite scope of all the ones I have.
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#5569665 - 01/28/15 03:48 PM Re: Variable or Fixed power for long range target shooting? [Re: BigDad]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Oh, and when the light is fading or the mirage is awful, you will want to decrease magnification, thus the aid of FFP.

If you do go fixed power, SS makes a fixed 10X, 12X, 16X, 20X. I would not want the fixed 20 for the reasons above. 16X is as high as I would go.

But going back to variable, most of the time conditions allow for 20X, so that is where I shoot if possible.


Edited by FiremanJG (01/28/15 03:52 PM)
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#5570232 - 01/28/15 09:23 PM Re: Variable or Fixed power for long range target shooting? [Re: BigDad]
BigDad Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 181
Thanks for the feedback. I was considering the Leupold fixed power 35 x 45 Competition scope but I didn't consider having to adjust to a lower magnification to compensate for mirage.
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#5570563 - 01/29/15 07:40 AM Re: Variable or Fixed power for long range target shooting? [Re: BigDad]
BigDad Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 181
JG, is the SS 5-20 your favorite because of clarity or are there other reasons? I ask because I have a Vortex 4-16x50 Viper HS and the clarity is OK but not great.
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#5570615 - 01/29/15 07:58 AM Re: Variable or Fixed power for long range target shooting? [Re: BigDad]
FiremanJG Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Coincidentally I wrote a full review of the scope on Monday. It can be found on the cover page of Tactical Gun Review.

http://tacticalgunreview.com/
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#5572132 - 01/29/15 08:21 PM Re: Variable or Fixed power for long range target shooting? [Re: BigDad]
BigDad Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 181
Nice review, thanks
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#5575905 - 01/31/15 10:08 PM Re: Variable or Fixed power for long range target shooting? [Re: BigDad]
Graydog Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 09/30/08
Posts: 13
Loc: Texas
IVE USED BOTH AT 500 YDS I LIKE VARIABLE WHEN THE SUNS A SHINING THE MIRAGE KILLS ME AT HIGH MAGIFACATIONS

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