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Thread: Fixed or variable zoom on deer stalking rifles

  1. #1

    Fixed or variable zoom on deer stalking rifles

    Just wondering what most stalkers use or prefer on their rifles, either fixed or zoom optics?

    I have a 3-9 zoom on my bunny bashing .22's but they always stay on 7. Is it generally the same when stalking?


  2. #2
    I always had fixed but since scopes have improved reliabilities all mine are zooms now.
    my stalking rifles wear.
    3-12x56 and a 6-24x56 both stay on 7-9 power unless dispatch or very close then 3-6 and if longer range shot on deer x10 and fox x16-18
    I also now have gone to IR crosshairs instead of the fat german rets which are very good in low light.

  3. #3
    I have 3 - 12 x 50 on my main rifle. I shoot most deer on 12x and 12 is ample for the range and zeroing. However, I stalk with it set on x7 generally or back to 3 or 4 in close woodland. If i get chance to wind it up to 12 i do so. At low light, I get more light through at about x7 which is more important than magnification.
    Fixed power is good in some ways because you get used to how big deer appear which can give you an idea of range.
    However, I much prefer the advantages of a variable.
    Edit; as per above, you can't beat a fine reticle, but it has to be illuninated for low light!
    I had a nice roe buck tonight which I'd never have got without my swaro with IR!!
    Last edited by Monkey Spanker; 09-10-2011 at 22:07.

  4. #4
    I'd always thought stick with fixed, less parts to go wrong. BUT!!! There is always a but, after being called out to a buck hung up by the back leg on a new farm fence I was forced by the lay of the land to shoot the buck from about 10 yards. When I went to look through the scope There was far to much magnification, luckily though that was my .243 which is variable so I just wound it back. Had it have been my .270 which is fixed mag I'd have had trouble. Just a something to consider!

  5. #5
    Had fixed mag' scopes for years and always got on fine with them but I have replaced them with variables over the last few seasons and I would not go back to fixed now.
    What has been said above is all correct and true.
    The value of a variable scope was apparent to me yesterday when I had a fairly long shot at a young stag on the hill in poor visibility and I was grateful that I had 12x mag'. I shot the stag and I knew there was another young cull beast in dead ground which had not reacted to the shot because the hinds had continued to cud regardless. I approached the dead stag up a burn knowing I would be really close to where I expected the unseen cudding one to be. I zoomed the scope out to 4x mag for quick target acquisition and shot him at 25yds off the shoulder as he rose. A good example of the flexibility offered by variable scopes if you do a bit of stalking.
    As always, go for the best you can afford.,

  6. #6
    For the best part of 30 years I've used fixed 8x56 25mm tubes, scopes on all my rifles, they've never failed me & I'd swear by them.
    Recently I bought a 2.5-12x50 Swarovski Z6 30mm tube & admit it's a fine piece of kit. Great optics & versatile.
    You decide....either are great if it's Swarovski, Zeiss or S&B & you have the cash to choose.
    Blaser K95 Luxus Kipplaufbüchse .25-06Rem. Zeiss 8x56, 110gn Nosler Accubond = Game Over!

  7. #7
    If you shoot in variable habitats, forest, open fields or hill side etc, then you need a variable scope. I normaly shoot in open land and use around mag 8, but in close forest recently it was wound down to mag 3 for close and quick target acquisition. As already stated, an IR is good for low light target acqisition.

  8. #8
    A fixed 6x42 is a very versitile scope, and also very good value for money as well as being light and compact. IMHO more than enough mag for a shot at 150yds which is my limit, but not too powerful for close range shots. I have them on all 3 of my rifles. But I am blessed with good eyesight.

    If I was going variable I would be so worried high mag top end but wide field of view at the lower - a 1.5 - 6 power zoom.

    Quality of optics is more important than power. What I don't like about higher powered scopes is darkness of image and they amplify every shake you make.

  9. #9
    Well I have both variable and fixed power scopes mainly as I have to buy used so the choices are more limited, at least in my price bracket, with a variable it is normally set at 6x or 7x magnification and stays there.

    As for close up, like the afore mentioned 10 yards, one does not use the scope by sights down the side of the barrel. I wonder how many realise that the height of a variable scope and let's face it most in use from what I read on these forums are of 50mm objectives at least means POI and what you see through the scope, if anything apart from blurred hair that is, will not coincide. Just sight down the side of the barrel and you will be just as close to the POA. I suggest those sceptics actually try sighting down the side of the barrel before launching their scathing attacks or comments.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Spanker View Post
    or back to 3 or 4 in close woodland
    Mine has sat on 7x for everything and I often asked myself the same question... until recently when in the woods, sat in the high-seat and a munty came to 15m or less I had to wind it back to 3x...

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