8x mag realistic range?

Erik Hamburger

Well-Known Member
PKL your post made me giggle, nice to read an opinion of someone with common sense and obvious deer stalking field experience, rather than an arm-chair sniper living in fantasy land fed by YouTube videos of sniping action at current conflicts, and seduced by the marketing-men..... ;)
 

ChesterP

Well-Known Member
6 x 42 is all I used for many years and I still use a 4 x 40 WA on one of my rifles out to 150 yds on rabbits! As PKL suggests, 8x may be overkill for deer but to be fair, amongst my own (growing) collection of scopes, I find that the 8 x 56 is about the most useful of the lot. Enough mag for precise shot placement, not too much magnification to exacerbate wobble and a decent field of view plus no adjustments on the fly needed on the scope such as having to re focus like you so when using zoom scopes with parallax adjustment. I agree with PKL on the use of BDC rets. Not necessary at the ranges most, if not all uk deer are shot at. Even at longer ranges, they are not precise and basically dont work very well as all ammo loads are different and there's no one size fits all (just get used to using the dials...that's what they're for). Too many you-tube vids of our Stateside cousins taking white tails or whatever at ridiculous ranges influencing optics choice this side of the pond. I can see the usefulness of high magnifications and the bells and whistles where a rifle is dual purpose and is used for targets too, but for stalking, I'd struggle to understand why anyone needs more than a 6 or 8 times magnification scope.
 

Southern

Well-Known Member
This is a theory which actually has been proven, and I bet if we took a sample of beginners to intermediate experienced deer stalkers who usually shoot high mag scopes on deer, and changed them for fixed low power scopes, that their bullet placements on deer would improve..call me crazy if you will.
Very true. That is why target shooters with iron sights shoot sub-moa groups on the range - they cannot see the tiny wobble they have, so they just focus on all the other fundamentals. They are in the right, natural position, are not "fighting" the rifle and over-controlling it. In any decent light, good iron sights are all one needs for deer inside 200 yards. Inside 65 yards, I find them better than any scope.
 

PKL

Well-Known Member
Very true. That is why target shooters with iron sights shoot sub-moa groups on the range - they cannot see the tiny wobble they have, so they just focus on all the other fundamentals. They are in the right, natural position, are not "fighting" the rifle and over-controlling it. In any decent light, good iron sights are all one needs for deer inside 200 yards. Inside 65 yards, I find them better than any scope.
Man of my liking Sir! please do share your thoughts on iron sight design and apertures as well. I personally like a wide shallow V regulated at 50yds, and if using additional leaves, then a small u notch for more distance precision work. That said, apertures and large apertures like ghost rings is something which is very quick and precise, and easy on moving game, but for some reason, I am more drawn to the traditional iron sights, not only from an aesthetics perspective, but also with leaves it's significantly quicker to adjust for distance variations than having to start screwing on knobs on the aperture.
 

joe soapy

Well-Known Member
Scopes are a bit of a never ending quest, something always looks a bit better in the shop.
i have currently got 4 set up with rings and zeroed and find with care they can be
removed or refitted without alteration.
normal shooting for me is driving round and shooting off the mirror, this can lead to lots of
shooting when the bunnies are about. usually have the 6x40 cheapo mountmaster either on rifle
or ready to fit with me whilst i often start off with the latest "must have".. Over a period of 2 years
the mountmaster has always ended up fitted to the HMR before the nite is out.
Having said that, it is good to fit the v4x16x44 for some informal target bashing from a bench
 

Southern

Well-Known Member
Man of my liking Sir! please do share your thoughts on iron sight design and apertures as well. I personally like a wide shallow V regulated at 50yds, and if using additional leaves, then a small u notch for more distance precision work. That said, apertures and large apertures like ghost rings is something which is very quick and precise, and easy on moving game, but for some reason, I am more drawn to the traditional iron sights, not only from an aesthetics perspective, but also with leaves it's significantly quicker to adjust for distance variations than having to start screwing on knobs on the aperture.
Don't get me started! I like all kinds of different iron sights, and not all rifles can wear the same ones. A saddle gun, or rifle used in thick brush, needs a more sturdy sight, or ears or hood on it. A lot of my rifles have the scopes as a back up, in QR mounts.

I find the shallow V with a flat ivory bead in an iron ring setting to give a quick alignment and is visible in bright sun as a black dot, and white against a dark background or hide. The NECG sights on my last Model 70 Express were just that. Alas, the new ones come with the Williams shallow V, which is a second choice for me.

The narrow front sight on the Enfield .303s and the pointed blade on the K98 and M48 are not as fast, but offer precision aiming for myself. The No.4 Enfield, with its ghost ring, is pretty fast and good enough for 200 yard work, and you can then flip up the ladder and its graduations match the standard ammo.

I like the sturdy blade on my Sauer 200 and my Steyr Prohunter 7x64. They are like the flat post on an AR-15 or M-14. The Steyr has a white line up the middle of the blade, which works almost as well as that ivory bead. I may try a little arrowhead below the shallow V blade in the rear to speed up alignment. I have that on my .444 Marlin.

As you said, once you are used to your iron sights and trust them, they are fast for range adjustment. You can set the point of aim to be just above the top of a bead at 100, right through its center at 200, and as the bead looks larger on the game at longer range, it naturally lifts your aim. I can put the top of the bead of my M700 .30-06 flush with the top of a deer at 300 yards and it hit just at the top of the heart.
 

NigelM

Well-Known Member
Just put a nice little 1-6.5*24 on my .308 for woodland. Hope to use it for Boar as well hence the 1* option.

I am used to big magnification scopes but this little one is becoming a bit of a favourite in the woods. Parked on 6.5* I am happy shooting munties out to 150 yds, not tried any further but it might be stretched a bit more.

On that experience your 8* should be fine to 200 yds.
 

Saracen666

Active Member
Realistic... forget anything over 250m without bdc reticle or target turrets. Just guesswork.
The 8x56 is a great point and shoot scope, no time wasted on changing zoom or parallax. At the end of the day you might shoot more game with this setup than something more fancy.
edi
The remark about ' forget anything over 250m', is unjustified. My 300 Win Mag with no aiming off will easily hit a fox every time with its 225 yard zero. The 273 yard / 250 metre shot would merely be me putting the crosshair on its back, side on, or it's upper chest facing me. Good night Toby, and no fancy turrets, or rangefinder needed.
 

palo

Well-Known Member
The 8x56 would be fine for the type of shooting you describe. My only concern would be that as you use a variable mag scope at the moment you might miss this feature on the 8x56. The Zeiss conquest would also be a good choice as you can use the zoom if you need it. All my scopes are vari power and all have low profile target type turrets because that's what I like.
I also enjoy shooting targets at longer ranges during the summer and my scopes are ideal for this. When out stalking I usually leave it at 6 power, if I need to take a longer shot I can always change the mag if needed.
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
The issue with an 8x isn't how far distant it is useful but how near to it is useful. Under twenty yards and all you are seeing is "shoulder of deer". Even 4x at very close range if you are literally on top of the deer which can happen with muntjac is almost too much magnification.
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
Having nothing better to do I took my 3-9x36 and as I then owned a 1.5-4.5x24, both Zeiss Diavari, to my local indoor shooting centre. It has a thirty metre range. We set up at that distance two cartridge boxes. We then moved them until the bot couldn't be seen on 9x, then 8x, then 7x and so to 3x.

Then swapped 'scopes and went down to 1.5x. At thirty metres with 9x you have a width of vision of maybe a couple of feet if that. With 1.5x you've a width of vision of maybe twenty feet. I forget exactly how much but when buying a variable or fixed power 'scope it is well to see if the width of your field of vision is adequate or inadequate at you most likely range you'll shoot it at.

It is the same snap shooting.

Ideally if you are certain that you target will only appear on a certain frontage you want to be able to adjust your width of you field of vision to encompass all of that certain frontage so you can observe "at rest" and have neither to move the 'scope a greater distance than is needed nor strain your eyes. Such as the McQueen at Bisley sniper competition. Which will happen if the width of the field of vision is too much or is too little.
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
Until very recently the 8X56 seemed to be the scope of choice for foxing and I imagine there are many people still using it for that purpose, it is also an excellent stalking scope. In the end the physical reality of shooting and optics and so on haven't changed in the last 30 years, or 50 years really, but the number of gadgets that people want to sell you has. It remains the case that what was successfully used to shoot stuff in the past will still successfully shoot stuff today.

I mostly stalk in forestry, immediately I get told that an 8X56 is no good for shots in forestry as I need a variable and... This is just the marketing men and magazine adverts speaking as the 8X56 suits me and works for me. The closest deer I ever shot was at 20 yards, probably less, I was on one side of a wall and he was on the other (to my amazement) when I stuck my head up. Again we'll hear that I needed to be able to wind my scope down to 2X magnification for such a close shot and that it would have been out of focus and all I'd have seen with 8X was fur and... The truth is that if I'd done anything other than shot it I'd never have got a shot and using the human brain I was able to compensate for things maybe being a little soft focus and for the field of view being quite small and the stag died and my 8X56 delivered the goods once more.

Now, I don't dispute that there are situations where a variable magnification might be useful - if you wanted to use one scope and rifle for stalking and target shooting for example and if you were unable to use a target that suited the reticle on your scope then there might just be some advantage in being able to zoom right in until you can make the target work for you. Again though the human brain can produce a solution to this problem in many cases - simply print a target of a pattern that allows the stalking scope to work for you on the target and often a 4 inch diamond works well as even if you completely cover the central "bulls eye" you can centre on the corners of the diamond. The other side to this is that it would be really good to shoot targets with your stalking setup as it would give you a lot of experience ranging and aiming off and so on, sure you might not get the tiny groups that some of the internet "super snipers" post but you'd be getting good, honest, groups that you could replicate in the field and not living off the story of one lucky group you shot 15 years ago. Late one evening this saved me from a bit of a disaster - I spotted a big sika stag over ground that was new to me and both myself and my mate thought it was 120 yards. I lay down for the shot and as soon as I put the crosshair of the 8X56 on his chest I knew there was something wrong and I asked the mate was he sure on the range, he was. In the end I didn't take the shot as that deer got quite small behind the crosshairs. I was lying in a gateway and the deer was at the edge of some bushes and the next evening I came back and ranged it. I don't remember the exact numbers now but I think we were both wrong on our range estimation by over 200 yards! There was dead ground in a dip, it was right at the end of legal shooting time, and he was a very, very big stag indeed. Without the nice solid fixed mag scope that I knew well and the human brain I might have sent him off with a broken leg.

In the end there was a very good reason why most people in the UK settled, very successfully, on something around a 6X42 or 8X56 and why the marketing men had to fill magazines with adverts telling them they needed something that cost about the same money to make but could be sold for a huge sum because of "features."
 

ejg

Well-Known Member
Caorach, With the 8x56 I would not take that shot either. With a good modern scope no problem after ranging... bad light etc. is another matter and higher mag has advantages there also. The objective of stalking is normally to shoot a deer. I dropped a hind yesterday at similar range but in overcast daylight however the deer was semi covered and very well the same colour as the rough ground. Without cranking up to higher mag I might not have taken the shot. I recon I would have walked away from half the deer I shot this year if I would have had a 8x56. I have had plenty 8x56 scopes and shot with them for years in the past, now I have no more use for them although they do have their place in stalking.
edi
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paulux

Well-Known Member
for stalking, I'd struggle to understand why anyone needs more than a 6 or 8 times magnification scope.
The last roe I shot was a yearling male moving about in a field with his mother and sister. I was happy to have a 10 mag scope to identify him out of the three. For me a scope is not only an aiming device, it can help with identification. That's where IMHO high mags are also usefull for stalking.
 

Saracen666

Active Member
Realistic... forget anything over 250m without bdc reticle or target turrets. Just guesswork.
The 8x56 is a great point and shoot scope, no time wasted on changing zoom or parallax. At the end of the day you might shoot more game with this setup than something more fancy.
edi
Sorry to say, but that's utter nonsense.
4x is okay up 350 yards plus on deer, and I've used an 8x56 Schmidt on a Figure 11 target at 1000 yards. Not ideal, but absurd to suggest a maximum range of 250 yards.
 

riddick

Well-Known Member
when I was a kid with an old worn out air rifle I dreamed of one day having a scope, until then I had to learn to get close enough to the rabbit to see it and hit it fair and square, not always easy when every pellet seemed to be a different type depending from whoever I had blagged a few from. I shoot now with a scope, in addition to good iron sights, and with quality ammo, however those skills learnt early in my hunting days have stood me well and guess what, I'm still learning.
 

Dexter

Well-Known Member
Sorry to say, but that's utter nonsense.
4x is okay up 350 yards plus on deer, and I've used an 8x56 Schmidt on a Figure 11 target at 1000 yards. Not ideal, but absurd to suggest a maximum range of 250 yards.
There's nothing like dragging up an old thread is there? Anyway, 4 x at 350 yards plus is pure guesswork and a lot of luck. 350 yards is a long way on targets. It's out of range to most people when it comes to shooting live animals with a stalking rifle in anything other than perfect conditions. Now you may be a brilliant marksman and well done if you are but in addition to all my other concerns, can you really see what may be laying just behind the intended target on 4x mag at 350 yards?
 

STAN243

Well-Known Member
For the distances you describe I think an 8x56 would be fine. I have one that was on my stalking rifle. I have taken deer and fox at over the distance you describe with no issue.
I would add, I have recently purchased and fitted a 3-12x50 on the above rifle (it was a price I would have foolish to miss out on). I do find myself changing magnification a bit but towards the lower end of the range, as light falls or cover increases and ranges decrease. The majority of the time the variable stays on x8.
I would further add I have kept my 8x56, I may return to it or put it on something else, either way it it is a good scope.
There is always a continual hype on massive zoom ranges, dial able turrets, illuminated reticules and all the bells and whistles. Companies make a profit and they have to innovate to do so. It's marketing in the most part and companies are very good at it.
8x56 has been around for a good few years and will continue to be popular for a reason..........it works well
 

Koenig

Well-Known Member
I use an 8x56 S & B (Hungarian) on my .308. It’s a very solid well made piece of kit that can handle rough treatment. They excel in low light conditions. It is in my opinion well suited to the UK deerstalker. I’ve shot mine out to over 200m in Africa with no problems at all. Some of The reticles might be a bit thick for fox at longer ranges, but if you want a robust deer rifle scope with excellent glass that you can (in most instances) just point and shoot without unnecessary fiddling. You will be well served with the S & B 8x56.
 

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