Fixed vs variable scopes

sebrobinson

Well-Known Member
Getting a scope for my .233, and wondering what people's options are on benefits of fixed or variable scopes, the two I've been looking at are the S&B 8x56 or possible spearmint abit more and getting the Zeiss conquest 5-25x50! Any advise on these or scopes of a similar value would be great!
 

Biathlonjimmy

Well-Known Member
Hi Seb,

You will get many responses and a quick search of the site will pull up threads that go pages and pages into members opinions.

It really depends on what your intended use is. I assume given your location and calibre that deer will not be your primary quarry, unless Muntjac or heading across the northern border?
 

DAVIDAIKEN

Well-Known Member
Hi Seb,

You will get many responses and a quick search of the site will pull up threads that go pages and pages into members opinions.

It really depends on what your intended use is. I assume given your location and calibre that deer will not be your primary quarry, unless Muntjac or heading across the northern border?
For hunting you won't go wrong with a 8x56!
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
I think that fixed mag scopes make good stalking scopes in part simply because there is nothing to fiddle with. You put the rifle up and shoot what you see. I use an 8X56 and have shot deer from very close to about 250 yards and have never felt I needed anything else. The other good thing about them is that they are great value for money in the sense that if you buy a good second hand one from a top maker then it will always be worth what you paid for it, I paid £250 for my S&B maybe 10 years ago and I'd guess if I offered it to you for £250 you'd break my arm to get it.

On the other hand some people like variable mag as, especially when shooting targets, they feel they can shoot more accurately with a finer aiming point. My experience is that if you use a suitable target this isn't such a problem but it is true that the reticule on the S&B covers approx 1 inch at 100 yards. Going for a fine reticule brings its own problems however and as a result you then need illumination for low light shooting and so it goes on.
 

philip

Well-Known Member
For a good all round scope you won't go wrong on a S&B 8 x 56. They are brilliant bits of kit
 

Pedro

Well-Known Member
Both good scopes. To be honest, having a variable scope is a bit like having interchangeable chokes in your shotgun. You fiddle with it once or twice, then get it as you want it, then don't ever think of it again. You'd probably set it at around 8X and then leave it.

But to be fair, if your use of the rifle is varied, then the ability to zoom might be handy, but also to be fair, at most ranges, 8X is pretty much all you need.
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
The 5-25x50 as you probably find 5x is all you mostly use in woodland stalking, with 6x at night for lamping and the high end for long range crows...and like Pedro says the zoom is useful.
 

welshwarrior

Well-Known Member
I find 8x56 is a very comfortable stalking scope capable at all normal stalking distances. There is less to twiddle and get in the wrong place, where as 20x is no good at 40 yards in woodland.

However on a multiprose rifle a variable is quite useful.
 

ejg

Well-Known Member
For a beginner a fixed scope has advantages. One can get ready for the shot much quicker as there is nothing that one can or needs to adjust on the scope. I have had quite a few 8x56 scopes and have gone away from them. Too much magnification in some situations and too little in others. They do not focus well at short ranges. The 5-25x50 conquest is ideal for a 223, even under the lamp the higher magnification will help you identify if it is a cat or fox that you are looking at. I often used 20 mag under the lamp, works great. Daytime longer range crows etc. they high mag will help. The lower end will help for the close called in foxes too. At 5 mag the conquest is much more useful in woodland than a 8x56.
There is a reason that there are just about no more new fixed scopes sold.
edi
 

riflerob

Well-Known Member
My foxing rifle (223) has a S+B 6*42. Does all I need out to 200 yards or so, and that's as far as I'm willing to take a shot on a fox anyway.

It all depends on what you're using the rifle for, though. But unless you're going for millimetre accuracy on long-range shots (400m+), I really don't see the point in high-magnification scopes.
 

ChesterP

Well-Known Member
It depends entirely what your are shooting, and what the range will be.

For just foxing and general vermin control to sensible ranges, a fixed 6 x 42 or 8 x 56 will do everything you want and will be lighter than a variable and have a decent FoV generally.

For plinking at steel to 400 to 600 yards, target work, foxing and long range corvid control, you'll benefit from more precision, so a variable with higher mag comes in, but at the cost of weight and FoV plus less overall light transmittance due to the extra lenses etc. However, things have moved on with scopes, a lot.

These days, you can buy variable mag 5 times zoom scopes with excellent FoV, excellent light gathering and reasonable weight, so unless you really want the lightest most compact outfit for lugging around, the question becomes why wouldn't you pick a variable mag scope if your use includes longer range work? The argument that there's always something to fiddle with on a variable mag doesn't really hold much water. For stalking, you set it at 6 or 8x mag, focus for 100 yards, and it's point and shoot without any real need to fiddle with side parallax unless much closer or very much further away. In that case, you'll almost certainly not be shooting off-hand and will have to steady the rifle anyway, so a quick twiddle of the focus only takes a second and rarely is an impediment to taking a quick shot if practised.
 

JH83

Well-Known Member
I'm fairly easy with either, had several of both but I tend to leave a variable set on 10x and use it on that, recently decided to mount a S & B fixed 10 on my 25 06 and really like it. I appreciate the simplicity for stalking, I can only recall a few times I had the presence of mind to adjust a variable when stalking. For an all round fox/deer/vermin rifle a variable is more flexible though.
 

Erik Hamburger

Well-Known Member
Getting a scope for my .233, and wondering what people's options are on benefits of fixed or variable scopes, the two I've been looking at are the S&B 8x56 or possible spearmint abit more and getting the Zeiss conquest 5-25x50! Any advise on these or scopes of a similar value would be great!
I am a big fan of fixed scopes. S&B 8x56 gets a lot of recommendations on the forums. Also consider the excellent Meopta Artemis 7x50. And I use a Sightron S11 6x42 (production has now stopped) with success and without feeling a need to upgrade or go for variable.
Most people I have hunted with and who use a variable scope seem to have it set on x4 or x6 - permanently. That does tell you something.
 

Chasey

Well-Known Member
Getting a scope for my .233, and wondering what people's options are on benefits of fixed or variable scopes, the two I've been looking at are the S&B 8x56 or possible spearmint abit more and getting the Zeiss conquest 5-25x50! Any advise on these or scopes of a similar value would be great!

I had 8 X 56 Swaro Harbitch or however you spell it :)

Now I use 2.5 -15 X 56


Fixed+ Light weight, best light gathering, no faffing or accidentaly leaving it on full power when you have a 20m shot in the woods and the big one.... Cost

Fixed - 6 X often too powerfull in woods. 6X not powerfull enough to boost confidance for long ranger shooting. Even zeroing at 100m is MUCH easier with a 15mag scope


Variable + 2.5 for woods 15 for long range works fantasticly well, Zeroing made easy with higher power scope, confidance for long range shots

Variable - Heavy, Faf inducing and can induce errors of too much and not enough magnification (but you soon learn to check it) Light gathering will never be as good as a fixed but who cares its plenty good enough, COST




Having had both I feel the 2.5 15is I use for stalking and the 6-24 I use for fox are the better choice

I did get a swaro Z6i 5-30 but it was a bit too heavy / powerful for what I needed. The Bushnell I now use in 6 X 24 is much lighter and easier to live with

I also have a Vortex Viper HS LR 4-18 which for the money puts my Z6is to shame on how expensive they are.
 

muddy42

Well-Known Member
I have fixed mag S&B 6 X 42 on both hill and woodlands rifles. I have used 4 x , which was fine too. I like the simplicity of fixed mag and the fact that the image scale is familiar after mounting either rifle.
 

sebrobinson

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the info and options guys lots to think about! Does anyone have any experience with the S&B 8x56 using it with nitesite night vision add ins? Thanks
 

toxo

Member
Thanks for all the info and options guys lots to think about! Does anyone have any experience with the S&B 8x56 using it with nitesite night vision add ins? Thanks
I sold mine. Wasn't good with the Archer but that's tubed. Don't know about digital N/V.
 

varmint hunter

Active Member
I had 8 X 56 Swaro Harbitch or however you spell it :)

Now I use 2.5 -15 X 56


Fixed+ Light weight, best light gathering, no faffing or accidentaly leaving it on full power when you have a 20m shot in the woods and the big one.... Cost

Fixed - 6 X often too powerfull in woods. 6X not powerfull enough to boost confidance for long ranger shooting. Even zeroing at 100m is MUCH easier with a 15mag scope


Variable + 2.5 for woods 15 for long range works fantasticly well, Zeroing made easy with higher power scope, confidance for long range shots

Variable - Heavy, Faf inducing and can induce errors of too much and not enough magnification (but you soon learn to check it) Light gathering will never be as good as a fixed but who cares its plenty good enough, COST




Having had both I feel the 2.5 15is I use for stalking and the 6-24 I use for fox are the better choice

I did get a swaro Z6i 5-30 but it was a bit too heavy / powerful for what I needed. The Bushnell I now use in 6 X 24 is much lighter and easier to live with

I also have a Vortex Viper HS LR 4-18 which for the money puts my Z6is to shame on how expensive they are.
this.. delta T 2.5-15x56 HD works just as well and is a fraction off the wonga :D
 

Top