Best Scope Magnification for Stalking

rem284

Well-Known Member
Modern zoom scopes are an advantage because the extra magnification helps you to see more of what you are shooting at and helps you to extract more accuracy from your rifle. I have Nightforce zooms on my rifles and certainly would NOT go back to 4x, 6, or 8x. The only advantages that I can see with the non-zoom scopes is they are cheaper and lighter.
 

Dalua

Well-Known Member
The only advantages that I can see with the non-zoom scopes is they are cheaper and lighter.
Both are quite useful points - as is the one about getting a proportionately-better scope for less money if is lacks unnecessary and mechanically vulnerable facilities such as zoom mechanisms and twiddly turrets.
6x42 S&B for me, please!
 

PKL

Well-Known Member
What amuses me is that I know a couple of top guys within some of the top optics brands, and have spoken with them about optics developments.

They all hunt with smaller optics and fully do not believe their own optical ranges are of any need not benefit..

I recall one exec from XYZ brand stating “yes, we’ve well and truly pulled the wool over peoples eyes, so these days it’s all about baiting them with the newest biggest and fanciest”....goes on to say “I’d personally never touch such modern optics, it’s overkill and just a commercial phenomenon”

Shooting a big stag at 200+ with a 4x is very simple and effective indeed..in fact I recall listening to a presentation by a highly regarded special forces sniper who argued that for practical purposes, there is no need for anything over 6x for shots out to about 800yds.

EJG - thing is a scope at under 50 yds isn’t more accurate than irons..With practice, groups off sticks or field conditions are no better or worse. In fact I have shot several touching 5 round groups off bags at 100yd practice sessions with my hunting rifle and iron sights, sometimes better groups than I could produce with a scope.

A lot of people speak out for moder commercialised goods because they either don’t know better/otherwise, haven’t got experiences or practice of other simpler tools, or simply
Cannot cope with the idea all the money on fancy gear they’ve spent really was a waste of money.

Some of the very wise hunters across the globe, from Alaska, the US to Africa, know full well practical effectiveness of smaller lighter scopes,
Simpler rifles that due to lighter weight without mods, bipods and big scopes provide the Hunter with much more physical stamina to focus on covering ground or stalking carefully without tiring.

A good field rest is as effective as a bipod, a shot unmoderated is better than a hedge cutter clanking for 2hrs!
If you cannot hit a bulls eye with a 4x scope from 200yds with a solid rest,
You need to go back to the basics and NOT move up to bigger scopes that will overaccentuate the problem of poor shooting skills.

The trouble is these days people are sold on the latest fad and do not put the effort into honing field skills; worse, the art of stalking in really close is being slowly replaced by a desire to just shoot and kill; the actual element and excitement of the hunt is for many disappearing, and they have no idea what they are missing out on.

I took a client out stalking a few years ago,,with all the fancy stuff!! Skills were terrible, shooting worse! I eventually before the last outing handed him my rifle with iron sights; said “have 5 shots at 25 yd’s, then we go hunting”.

We stalked into a buck at approx 20yds that night, client was ready to shoot with the irons but buck fever was so bad he couldn’t.
Afterwards he said it was the best stall of his life, the excitement, The skills
Needed and the feeling of being so close. He then took up hunting with iron sights since

Sadly he passed a year ago from cancer, but he remains someone special in my memories
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
6x42 is a really good little scope for general deer stalking. It's lightweight, simple and gets the job done. With the OP's budget of £1,500 he can high quality steel mounts, a 6x42 scope and a decent red stag with that money. I started with a Zeiss 4x32 and should ever have sold it, I shot plenty of deer with my 243 with it mount, but moved to the 6x42 and then a 4-12x50. The latter is great for range use as it saves walking, but for 90% of its time its sitting a 4x or 6x. I have now swapped it back to a 6x42 as it sits much lower, and the rifle handles better.

A lot also depends on the reticle - I like the German 4A, but with a reasonably fine centre cross hair - some are very thick.

Open sights - have no issue with at all and you can shoot very accurately with them. They do take practice to get consistent, but that's a skill that is soon learned. However as you get a bit older you do need put a very long stock on the rifle so that the foresight is a nice and clear. Probably explains why many vintage rifles have 28" barrels:)
 

Scapegoat

Well-Known Member
i like my Meopta R1r 3-12x56 on the .308. Good reticle with an illuminated centre cross. Excellent light gathering, excellent value for money. I've added a ballistic turret, but that's 'cos I do the occasional bit of range work with it, and can stretch it a bit for foxing. It's also SFP which I prefer. I use a fast throw lever on the zoom to make it more user friendly. Off a bipod or sticks this means fast target acquisition and then a precise aim point. The variable zoom is a bonus in my opinion. Quality glass and coated optics means the days of "fixed mag is better" are kind of behind us.
 

rem284

Well-Known Member
thing is a scope at under 50 yds isn’t more accurate than irons
I done an experiment a few years ago with a .22lr. There was about 6 people with various levels of experience. We all shot at a target about 50m away with open sights. I then put a cheap 6x scope on the same rifle and we all shot again. On average the group size halved. So in this instance I beg to differ. I am in my 50's and now need glasses to see things closeup, like reading etc. I do find it's a disadvantage when I cant find them and need to see something in detail closeup.
 
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ejg

Well-Known Member
I done an experiment a few years ago with a .22lr. There was about 6 people with various levels of experience. We all shot at a target about 50m away with open sights. I then put a cheap 6x scope on the same rifle and we all shot again. On average the group size halved. So in this instance I beg to differ. I am in my 50's and now need glasses to see things closeup, like reading etc. I do find it's a disadvantage when I cant find them and need to see something in detail closeup.
I did the same years ago at 50 70 100m. Scope won every time. This was before I had range finders and actually preferred open sights because of the slide rear sight. But knew accuracy was well lower. Of course accuracy is better with a scope only very few try preach the opposite.
edi
 

ejg

Well-Known Member
PKL,
in some cases you are right and inexperienced hunters are sold gear that they don't need including scopes that are just too much. But that does not mean they can't grow into them or change their hunting style to suit the gear. Yes many hunters lack of skill or maybe lack of fitness etc but that is a different matter.

Of course you are also free to advise your special forces and mil snipers to use 6 mag scopes because a buddy told you so. Have you actually shot sniper rifles with modern gear on them? Hooked up to weather station, Raptar zeroed with the scope, Horus or similar reticle working with hold off's etc?

Everybody hunts differently, I prefer to check larger areas from high points take longer shots with a moderator and take two or three animals at a time. My average distance this season is around 230m. Average 1 deer per outing. Dusk-dawn, foggy conditions, rain all need good optics. Often the higher magnification is an advantage. I also have lighter weight rifles for close range deer even an old wooden stocked Mauser with open sights for heavy rain going through bush.

Another point. Have you ever looked into how recoil forces accelerate your rifle? How does the rifle's behaviour change with changing weight distribution? Scope on/off, or heavy lightweight scope. Generally where your centre mass of your rifle is located. Have a look and you will see a heavy wood stocked open sighted rifle is possibly the worst combination you can have.
edi
 

stubear

Well-Known Member
Variable is useful as it means you can wind the scope down for driven hunting, close in work or in low light (winding the scope down gives you a few more minutes of usable visibility).

I dont think you need to go higher than about 12x though. A 2-12x50 with a 30mm tube will do the business for all hunting uses and some short to medium range range work. You only really need the 24x mag for the real long range stuff shooting off a solid rest.

I have 2-12's on both my rifles and I generally set them at 10x and leave it. Its the same as my binos and seems to work pretty well in most use cases.
 

baguio

Well-Known Member
I have both a 2-12x50 and 3-18x50 Gen 2. If I had to get rid of one it would be the 2-12. I have found that as my experience has grown I have used that extra mag more and more. Being able to see that another dark fallow isn't behind my chosen animal at 200m+ and in less than perfect light has proved invaluable on more than one occasion. That would have been impossible to confirm on 8 and even 12 power with my eyes.
 

rem284

Well-Known Member
Of course accuracy is better with a scope only very few try preach the opposite.
Yes very true. Some people think they are more skilful if they choose to shoot with open sights or low powered scopes. One guy told me he was so good at stalking that he actually stalked so close to the deer that he touched it then stalked away from it without the deer ever known he was there.

To the op. I would personally recommend buying the best quality zoom scope you can save up to buy. Depending on the style of shooting you intend to do and the size of your intended targets will influence the zoom range. my scopes are 3.5-15x56, 8-32x56 and 5.5-22x50. tactical turrets are also useful if you intend to extend your shooting ranges. They are more precise than holding over/off. I would also suggest you try several different makes and sizes before you part with your cash. Try asking shooters near to you to have a look through what they use. Good luck with your hunt for a good scope
 

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