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Thread: FIXED OR VARIABLE - ADVANTAGE GOES TO? New Article

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    Default FIXED OR VARIABLE - ADVANTAGE GOES TO? New Article

    FIXED OR VARIABLE - ADVANTAGE GOES TO?
    by Mike Price
    Easy-access URL (Copy & paste into emails, forums, etc. - no login required):
    http://ammoguide.com/?article=pricescorner/130901
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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    Thanks for the link. Some good ideas to ponder. I bought a Weaver 6X some years ago to check on some loads for a service rifle. The scope was very clear and bright. I bought a couple of other variable Weavers (1-3X & 2-10X?) for special projects, but neither were as clear and bright as that fixed 6X.

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    I like my variables.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

    Better living through chemistry (I'm a chemist)

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    Nitroman, most hunters do, they like the ability to change power. Me, I actually like both and sometimes debate myself which one goes on a rifle I am going on a hunt with. If one uses a variable they need to be willing to spend more, because you get what you pay for. Modern variables are certainly better made than 25 to 30 years ago, but they still have more issues than do fixed power scopes of the same price range. Glad I stirred thought. Modern variables have less problems but certainly are not free of problems unless you paid for a good variable.

    As I said, you get what you pay for in a variable. Don't believe it, try this - fire a round at a specific spot on the target (with 1/4" clicks) then move 16 clicks right aiming at the same spot fire another round, then 16 clicks down aiming at the same spot and fire another round, then move 16 clicks left aiming at the same spot fire another round, then move 16 clicks up aiming at the same spot and fire another round, then move 8 clicks right and 8 clicks down aiming at the same spot you have been aiming at all along and firing your last round and tell me if you have a box that measures four inches on all sides with a hole in the middle of the box with that last round you fired. Sometimes (and I said sometimes) guys think it is their rounds that have changed or they say my barrel must have shot out some when all a long it is their variable scope that has trouble holding exactly the same zero all the time. I have done this with every scope I have owned to see just how good it is and my fixed scopes on average will hold zero more often than my variable scopes. Anyway, thanks Nitroman for reading my article, that is all it is - an article for fun. Yours truly, Mike Price
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link- liked the article and in general completely agree with it.

    I've got several fixed powers- far more than my variables- and they just suit me better. 2.5x, 3x, 4x, 6x...heck- I like them all.

    The "fixed 6" on my .300 is likely my favorite rig for Alaska...near or far, it gets it done.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Good food for thought, Mike. The funny thing is, I generally use a variable power scope as a fixed scope anyway. Rarely change the setting. I believe I will probably purchase a fixed power next time.

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    If you guys ever have the chance, try looking through a Meopta Artemis 2x8x42mm. I also have a Burris Euro 1.5x5 that is nice. Both have 30mm tubes.

    My dad had a Weaver 6x on his pre-64 Mod 70 .30'06 that he bought in Cavite in the Philippines. It was all he used. Had the tip-off rings.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

    Better living through chemistry (I'm a chemist)

    You can piddle with the puppies, or run with the wolves...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Good food for thought, Mike. The funny thing is, I generally use a variable power scope as a fixed scope anyway. Rarely change the setting. I believe I will probably purchase a fixed power next time.
    I was thinking the same thing! I think I have actually changed powers in a hunting situation exactly twice in the last 4 or 5 years. Once was going from 1.5 to 4.5 on a squirrel, not sure if that counts!

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    I switched to 6 powered scopes, Leupie and Weaver. I found myself just leaving my variable on the highest setting. But the other
    reason to switch is the simplicity of the inner workings of the fixed. No power ring to move the gimbals and distances. Rifles with
    recoil from 300WM on up like to punish big heavy scopes. Physics works in an attempt to destroy a scope. So life is simple. No
    fussing with a power ring, just aim and shoot.

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    Now a most hunters, a large number of them love variable scopes and I like them to. In fact I have some dandy variables, but knikglacier you put in a few words my sentiments, "... just aim and shoot," That is why I like my fixed.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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    I am constantly aware of my variable. Granted that usually always have it dialed down while walking, but I sure do like the ability to zoom in on something way out there. I remember as a kid my father telling me that a fixed power scope is always going to be more reliable. He shot a fixed 4 power on his 257 Roberts wildcat, but could still kill deer waaaaay waaaaay out there with it.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I just looked at the specs on the Leupold 2.5 and 4x fixed, I didn't realize what dismal field of view they had, I guess its back to trying to find a 1.5-5...

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    There are a few other fixed options like the Leupold FX-II Ultralight Rifle Scope 2.5x 20mm Wide Duplex Reticle Matte and it is only weighs 6.5 oz. Anyway hope you find what ever please you and in today's options of scope of fixed and variables it should be easy for you to be satisfied. Good luck
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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    I am wondering if a fixed 5 power would not be the best all around for fixed powers ? I have a Lupy 4 on a 12ga slug gun and I have not touched the zero since I put in on the cantilever bbl more than 20 years ago and we all know how wicked the recoil is from the newer sabot slugs.
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Clarity in scopes is based upon the same as clarity (and brightness) in binoculars. Your eye will nominally accept a "grade" of light power accommodation of 5.0. To get that light gathering grade, or score, divide the diameter of the objective (front) lens by the power of the optic. With that said, a pair of 7x35 binoculars is just about perfect, with something like10x50 being about the same. Something like a 10x32 isn't of much use in poor lighting conditions for that reason. This light gathering feature with a variable scope changes with each increase in magnification. Thus a higher power selection in low light will gather much less light than the same scope set to a lower magnification. Just another reason that I much prefer a fixed power scope. My Lyman ALASKAN fixed 6x is as good today on my custom .270 Winchester-Cook as it was when it was installed more than 60-years ago.

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    Good read Mike! You make a lot of very good points. From the practical point of view it's hard to argue against the fixed power scopes. I have a couple of Nightforce scopes, a 5.5-22 and a 3.5-15 and in the field they are always on the lower power. For longer shots it's nice to have a higher power but certainly not necessary. I can easily zero on a paper plate size target on the 5.5 power out to a 1000 yds or so, That said, for range shooting, I almost always have them on the higher power. If mirage gets heavy, then turning them down works best. Another good application for the higher power is gopher and prairie dog shooting. Of course, the NF scopes don't have the issues the lower priced variable scopes have, but they are spendy and folks like me with limited resources can't afford to put them on every rifle. But... I can swithch them from one rifle to another. With the picatinny rail system it's very easy. It takes about 2 min. After the general hunting season I can put the 300 RUM up and pull off the scope and put it on the 6-284 for some PD shooting.

    But overall, a fixed power scope is THE practical way to go for the vast majority of general hunting rifles. I'm just not always very practical

    Thanks for a good read!
    "You will never know how much it cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you make good use of it."
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    I like both for different reasons and am always aware of my variables and their setting. When I am scouting/walking/packing/approaching a kill site I have them dialed at max low setting, when I get to my desired "stand" I adjust them up to my preference for the terrain, when it is time to move back down they go. I like that feature. I also find it an advantage at the range, there they are dialed at maximum high for greater target clarity and sighting in.

  18. #18

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    Great points on the posts being made. Let me make it clear that the article is really about clarity, light transmission, low light and roughness along with simplicity for the dollar spent. Unless you really spend the bucks, you will not have what a well made fixed has in the above mention class of glass and construction. Also, I have many, as some of you know extremely small groups developing loads for many different calibers and most were shot at the range with 4, 5 and 6 power, much less the game taken at over average hunting ranges.

    The article is not which is best, variable or fixed, but which gives you the most for the money and simplifies things in the field. I have a few variable scopes I really like, but I paid for them and they cost much more than the rifle they sit on. If you like it simple, want it to be outstanding in the qualities I mentioned above, then a good fixed is unbeatable, unless you are willing to spend real big money and if you do, then you only have in quality what I have in a good fixed scope. I like simple, outstanding lens and roughedness of construction for less, so that is why I choose a fixed most of the time (note: I said most of the time).

    Of course, whatever you are comfortable with in the field and like the most is the best, because of confidence, which make you a better shot in the field. I hope all you guys no matter what scope or kind of scope you use have a great hunting season this year. Mike
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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