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#5942617 - 09/23/15 11:02 AM Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one
Texas Dan Online   content
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 11271
Fixed power scopes were once all the rage in the deer hunting community. But like so many things, hunters bought into the added features of having a scope with adjustable magnification. While they do provide added benefits, they can also lead the shooter astray from good shooting practices.

I was reminded of this yesterday during a trip to the range. I just happened to have the scope turned up to its highest setting, which many shooters might prefer since it provides a more close-up image of the paper target. While the groups were okay at best, they really tightened up once I turned down the magnification. Why so? I would equate it to keeping your car centered between the painted lines on a highway. While the lines appear closer if you don't look farther down the highway, your motor skills cause you to overcompensate to the slightest drift of the car between the lines. Focus your attention farther down the road, and you will stay centered more easily between the lines.

Still, many would argue the highest setting is best when shooting at a deer.

I prefer a 6X setting on my 3X9 scope. It seems to offer the best combination of image and accuracy.
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Dan,

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#5942623 - 09/23/15 11:08 AM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: Texas Dan]
redchevy Online   content
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Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23448
Loc: Texas
I think it depends.

If body shooting I typically use a lower power. On the other hand I was raised as a neck/head shooter and while you could, I prefer to have a little more magnification for such. With my 3x9 I shoot best at 100 yards on 9 power. With my 4x16 I do best at about 12.
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#5942629 - 09/23/15 11:11 AM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: Texas Dan]
Texas Dan Online   content
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Registered: 07/28/08
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At 100 yards, I can shoot groups with a 2X red dot that are just as tight as shooting with a higher powered scope.

If you're someone who always shoots with your scope at a higher setting, I challenge you to try a much lower setting just to compare the results.
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Dan,

Spring, Texas

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#5942663 - 09/23/15 11:37 AM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: Texas Dan]
fouzman Offline
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Registered: 08/09/10
Posts: 1014
Loc: Houston, TX
I seldom ever shoot at deer on the highest magnification. I always use the highest magnification when shooting paper, so long as lighting conditions allow for it. If light is less than ideal, a lower magnification setting is required for a clear sight picture. Texas Dan, I would be very surprised if you can consistently shoot tighter groups at a lower power setting, assuming your gun is parallax error free at 100 yards and your eyepiece is properly focused.

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#5942681 - 09/23/15 11:46 AM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: Texas Dan]
TiggerV Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 07/08/15
Posts: 71
I've been using a 3x9 variable powered scope for years. I "hunt" and shoot with it at about 5x since nearly all of our shots are in the 100 to 150yrd range.

Only time I crank it up is if I am spotting things out in the distance or just want to obseve a deer in detail. I should use a spotting scope or better binocs for that, i Know. All i have is a cheap set of binocs though.

Only time I ever shot a deer with it at full power was a deer I shot at close to 400 yards, and I had no clue it was out there that far. While I know the gun I use can do it it, with my skills, it was more an accident that I hit it.....

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#5942733 - 09/23/15 12:18 PM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: fouzman]
Texas Dan Online   content
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Originally Posted By: fouzman
Texas Dan, I would be very surprised if you can consistently shoot tighter groups at a lower power setting, assuming your gun is parallax error free at 100 yards and your eyepiece is properly focused.


Again, I find that I hold the rifle more steady at a lower power setting since I'm not constantly trying to avoid the "wiggle" that becomes more noticeable at a higher power setting.

Perhaps the difference comes into play when a more solid rest is being used to control rifle movement. The rest provides a greater amount of control than is achievable by the shooter. Without a more solid rest, the shooter does better with a smaller sight picture that creates less wiggle to impact muscle movements, much like the driver who focuses farther down the highway when driving.
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#5942734 - 09/23/15 12:18 PM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: Texas Dan]
maximum Offline
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Registered: 09/30/09
Posts: 1511
if it weren't for having to carefully
study a rack to make sure of legality,
i likely wouldn't use scopes. about 90% +
of my shots have been 100yds or under and
are easily made with irons.
i'll agree with the durability of fixed
power scopes. my .444 ate 2 scopes before
i put a fixed 4 power on it.

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#5942752 - 09/23/15 12:24 PM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: maximum]
Texas Dan Online   content
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 11271
Originally Posted By: maximum
if it weren't for having to carefully
study a rack to make sure of legality,
i likely wouldn't use scopes. about 90% +
of my shots have been 100yds or under and
are easily made with irons.
i'll agree with the durability of fixed
power scopes. my .444 ate 2 scopes before
i put a fixed 4 power on it.


I tried open sights after purchasing a 30-30 lever gun before last season. I soon found my vision, being both middle-aged and nearsighted, was such that I could not focus clearly on the sights when wearing corrective lenses. That's when I found a red dot sight to be the perfect solution. I suspect many middle-aged and older shooters who require reading glasses have the same problem.
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Dan,

Spring, Texas

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#5942968 - 09/23/15 02:51 PM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: Texas Dan]
Erathkid Offline
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Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 14616
Loc: Dollas,Taxes Bluff Dale Tx
Most every deer I shoot, I use 9x. Much better focus for old eyes. Works much better for me.
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#5942977 - 09/23/15 02:55 PM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: Erathkid]
clandr1 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 12/12/14
Posts: 97
Loc: Frisco
First focal plane is a must if you're going to have a variable power scope with a MIL reticle. I've seen a few guys wonder why their drop/windage was off at different magnifications. Also, the higher your zoom level, the less light is transmitted. Typically you're better off using lower magnification at dawn/dusk so you get a clearer, brighter sight picture.

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#5943100 - 09/23/15 04:23 PM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: clandr1]
Texas Dan Online   content
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Originally Posted By: clandr1
Also, the higher your zoom level, the less light is transmitted. Typically you're better off using lower magnification at dawn/dusk so you get a clearer, brighter sight picture.


That could easily lead to a separate discussion with much debate.

I've never been one to use a scope to make up for what my eyes cannot see in low light conditions. IMO, some guys really stretch this to the extreme. It's a good way to make costly or even dangerous mistakes.

When it gets too dark to see safely with the naked eye, I give the deer their due and head back to camp.
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Dan,

Spring, Texas

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#5943126 - 09/23/15 04:40 PM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: Texas Dan]
redchevy Online   content
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Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23448
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: Texas Dan
Originally Posted By: clandr1
Also, the higher your zoom level, the less light is transmitted. Typically you're better off using lower magnification at dawn/dusk so you get a clearer, brighter sight picture.


That could easily lead to a separate discussion with much debate.

I've never been one to use a scope to make up for what my eyes cannot see in low light conditions. IMO, some guys really stretch this to the extreme. It's a good way to make costly or even dangerous mistakes.

When it gets too dark to see safely with the naked eye, I give the deer their due and head back to camp.


I give the deer their due and follow the law and cut off at legal shooting hours, but ive shot numerous hogs at night with a scoped rifle and no flashlight. 1/4+ moon, no cloud cover, and an elevated stand and you can shoot almost all night long.
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#5943133 - 09/23/15 04:43 PM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: Texas Dan]
ckat Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 1072
Loc: Lubbock Area
My variables stay on 6x when hunting. I am continually on the hunt for quality, used fixed-power scopes... I like 6x the best, nice compromise between magnification and field of view.

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#5943909 - 09/24/15 06:40 AM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: Texas Dan]
Pinky3169 Online   happy
Outdoorsman

Registered: 08/03/11
Posts: 70
Loc: Walker County
Higher magnification causes you to see your "wobble" area more pronounced... By turning the magnification down, you won't see this "wobble" area as much.... The tendency, when on high magnification is to try to "ambush" the target, by waiting until the cross-hairs are moving across the intended target and jerking the heck out of the trigger.. I see it every class I teach.. The key is to get comfortable with the movement. You're not moving as much as you think. Press through the wobble.. Unless you put your gun in a rest, bagged in and step away from the gun; it will never be steady. Heart beat can be see in the scope from merely touching the rifle. It all boils down to practice. Some of us will never shoot our rifle until deer season is upon us and we go check zero... Just my 2 cents....

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#5944112 - 09/24/15 09:11 AM Re: Why fixed power scores still work well, if you can find one [Re: Texas Dan]
mreed Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 11/17/09
Posts: 611
Loc: wise county
I have an old 30-06 with a fixed 4 power scope on it and an open sight 30-30 that I like to get out ever so often and go shoot just to make sure I can still do the job without the crutch of a high powered scope
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