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Thread: Scope power for sheep hunting...

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Default Scope power for sheep hunting...

    Right now I am shooting with a Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40. I want to limit myself to a shot no further than 400 yards and am now considering a Minox 3-15x42 to gain the extra power for those longer shots. The only reason I'm considering it is that I can get the Minox for about $400 and is said to be on or near the same level as a zeiss.

    What are your thoughts on these higher powered scopes and do you find they help you in making those longer shots? What power scopes are you guys shooting and at what ranges are you still able to be accurate?

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    You'd be better off putting the extra $$$ towards other gear you need. The Zeiss you have is plenty good for sheep hunting........imo.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I have a Zeiss 3-9x40 and it's perfectly adequate for shooting further than I'd ever want to.

    I personally have no use for a hunting scope over 9x or 10x and generally consider a fixed 6x to be about the perfect scope for any mountain hunting I do. I just don't believe the bigger variable scopes increase your useful range all that much when you consider their bulk and weight until you get to true LR shooting. 300-400 yds is easily done with 6x and 9x is like a luxury....any further than that and I'm probably going to just try to close the distance.

    I've even considered strongly replacing my 3-9x with another 6x becuase every critter I've shot with it the scope has been at 6x....go figure.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Speaking from experience, if you are holding 400 yds as the limit you will easily be served by a lower power scope and 9X is plenty. I actually just dismounted a Minox 3-9x40 and bolted my old favorite Leupold fixed 4x compact on my sheep rifle. Although the Minox provided a very clear, sharp view I can still shoot less than MOA with the 4x. I'm not saying you should buy a fixed 4X, but if you can't hit a white spot on a black hillside at < 400 with 4x or 6x, a bigger scope isn't going to help.

    I have also been less than impressed with the Minox scope. Although the optics on mine are very good, the tracking is a little squirrelly and it doesn't hold zero as tight as I would like. A Zeiss, it is not. YMMV....

    Yk

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I have never needed my rifle scope on a sheep hunt as of yet.... heck, looking back I could have cut about 7.5 lbs of unused weight off my pack if I would have left the rifle at base camp. That said I may one day stumble across a ram dumb enough to let me get close enough to shoot it so I doubt I will be leaving the rifle behind any time soon. What I do know is that of all my gear the rifle is the least used on the trip and I don't see myself bolting an 85mm Hubble telescope to it! I dig the tweener scopes in the 2.7x, 2.5-8x and 3-9x with objectives in the 32-36mm range. The biggest I would go is a 40mm objective as long as it was a very light scope (like the VX2). One thing about the super power scopes is that when you are zoomed in really close they are not as easy to get back on target after a shot. With a lower power you can find your quarry in it much easier for a follow up. Of course, so far I haven't needed a follow up shot...

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the thoughts, I'll stick with my 3x9. I don't have any experience with anything larger than a 9x really and was curious if there was anything to be gained. I'm mostly an archer that has only since last year gone on my first rifle hunt. So I'm continually learning about rifles and shooting. My bear that I got this spring was shot with a 4x at 350 yards, it was ok, he just looked small in the scope.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    Thanks for all the thoughts, I'll stick with my 3x9. I don't have any experience with anything larger than a 9x really and was curious if there was anything to be gained. I'm mostly an archer that has only since last year gone on my first rifle hunt. So I'm continually learning about rifles and shooting. My bear that I got this spring was shot with a 4x at 350 yards, it was ok, he just looked small in the scope.
    Just so you know, a couple of the rams I've killed could have been killed with an arrow. I don't know if you are a spot and stalk archer, or a stand archer, but I've put the sneak on a few rams that would have been in range with a bow. If you like to spot and stalk, then you might consider it as other then a big brownie with a bow, a ram or goat it really is the ultimate for an archer.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Everything I've ever done has been spot and stalk type bowhunting. I grew up in Oregon and hunting deer and elk mostly. Then I got up here two years ago and have taken three caribou with my bow. I wanted to get a sheep or two under my belt before I tried one with a bow. I think a grizz/brown with a bow would be epic, but I think I'd need to hook up with the right group of partners to try that. That's a big undertaking right there!

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    Everything I've ever done has been spot and stalk type bowhunting. I grew up in Oregon and hunting deer and elk mostly. Then I got up here two years ago and have taken three caribou with my bow. I wanted to get a sheep or two under my belt before I tried one with a bow. I think a grizz/brown with a bow would be epic, but I think I'd need to hook up with the right group of partners to try that. That's a big undertaking right there!
    I say if you are a die hard archer then "stick to your guns" (so to speak), and go for that first ram with your bow. It would make it that much more special.....imo. I understand that if you "just have to have one" then you want to take your gun. But most archers I've ever met are usually not bummed not killing and animal when they go out, and are willing to put in the time it takes to get one. Yes it may take you a few years, or you may get one the first time out. Just think of what it will mean to you as an archer. Not many can say they've taken a ram with their bow. Think of the gratification...!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    Right now I am shooting with a Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40. I want to limit myself to a shot no further than 400 yards and am now considering a Minox 3-15x42 to gain the extra power for those longer shots. The only reason I'm considering it is that I can get the Minox for about $400 and is said to be on or near the same level as a zeiss.

    What are your thoughts on these higher powered scopes and do you find they help you in making those longer shots? What power scopes are you guys shooting and at what ranges are you still able to be accurate?
    I guess that I'll be the one to go against the grain. The more power the better accuracy you can obtain. You don't hear a sniper stating that I'd prefer a lower power. It does take practice and you will notice more movement but you can shoot better. Is a 9x good enough, sure, but on average you will shoot a tighter group with a 15X at 400 vs the 9X. With say a 8" kill a couple of inches could make the difference. Sure, there are the exceptions and ability plays a big part. If you can afford it and the weight isn't much difference
    Semper Fi and God Bless

  11. #11

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    I use a Leupold 2x7x32 on my "do everything in AK hunting rifle" which is a Tikka in 300wsm. Although I've never shot any big game animals over 300 yards, from the bench, this rifle/scope combo has no problem putting them in the kill zone at 500 yards.

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    I guess my biggest worry is I may not get another chance. I want atleast one just in case for some reason I don't get to go again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    I guess that I'll be the one to go against the grain. The more power the better accuracy you can obtain.
    I doubt anybody will debate that. Personally I just don't feel the need to shoot that far. If it looks too far to me then it probably is. Can the gun shoot good that far? Yes. Do I like to do it? No. It's just that when it comes to sheep hunting you really start cutting weight. Many guys will say.......it only weighs a little more. Then they'll say.....it only weighs a little more again....and again. Before ya know it you've "it only weighs a little more" right into too much weight. There's a reason mountain rifles are light. No reason for me to add extra weight to it that I don't think necessary.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    more power means more shaking....at higher powers..above 10 or so.. heartbeats(and I am sure most getting ready to pull the trigger have racing heart beats) can seem to shake you right off of your aiming point...lower powers scope seems to float not shake...

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    more power means more shaking....at higher powers..above 10 or so.. heartbeats(and I am sure most getting ready to pull the trigger have racing heart beats) can seem to shake you right off of your aiming point...lower powers scope seems to float not shake...
    This is one argument that never made sense to me but I hear often. If you are shaking enough that it hinders you from keeping aim in the kill zone of the animal at any power then you are way to far to be shooting at that animal. The x is the point of aim, it doesn't matter if you are at 8x or 18x, if you can't keep it where you want the bullet to go then it's time to get closer.

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    I agree with BEAR. What happens is with high power you see that you are a bit off and your nervous system takes over and over correct. So, back and forth you go. i hope this makes sense. Unless you have a "perfect " rest this is what will happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    This is one argument that never made sense to me but I hear often. If you are shaking enough that it hinders you from keeping aim in the kill zone of the animal at any power then you are way to far to be shooting at that animal. The x is the point of aim, it doesn't matter if you are at 8x or 18x, if you can't keep it where you want the bullet to go then it's time to get closer.
    of course you should get close as you can..it is perception of shaking, cross hairs have more visible room to move around on and off kill area and it seem to be shaking quite a bit more..can happen at closer distance as well..seen it with dozens of sheep hunters who like to jack up the power on the scope and then freak out cause they cant hold the gun still. At lower power the shaking is not as noticible...

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Spending the money you'd spend on another scope on ammo/practice will improve your LR success more than a scope with higher magnification. 6X will easily allow shooting sheep size critters at more than 400 yards.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    This is one argument that never made sense to me but I hear often. If you are shaking enough that it hinders you from keeping aim in the kill zone of the animal at any power then you are way to far to be shooting at that animal. The x is the point of aim, it doesn't matter if you are at 8x or 18x, if you can't keep it where you want the bullet to go then it's time to get closer.
    +1 here- at increased power your sight picture (the animal) is also larger which means it would take more shaking to come off the animal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    more power means more shaking....at higher powers..above 10 or so.. heartbeats(and I am sure most getting ready to pull the trigger have racing heart beats) can seem to shake you right off of your aiming point...lower powers scope seems to float not shake...
    Lujon. There are a couple reasons why more power causes more movement. First the higher power shows more movement because at the higher power everything is magnified. What looks like a little at the lower power looks a whole lot different at high power, your not seeing the same picture. It's kinda like you shoot a 1 inch group at 100yds but at 1000 it's a ten inch group. Rifle is still shooting roughly 1moa but as the range get longer the group gets bigger. The second part of more movement is that the extra movement you see on high power is a distraction. Whether it be a conscious one or an unconscious one you see the movement (the brain doesn't like to see this movement in this situation) and try to correct it and that just leads to more movement. Hope this helps.

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