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Thread: Scope magnification question

  1. #1
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    Default Scope magnification question

    What magnification would be a good choice for a sheep/goat rifle? I currently have a
    6-18x40 Nikon Buckmaster with the BDC reticle thats not being used. Would this be a good choice or is the magnification too high? I don't know how close of a shot could be expected.
    Thanks, Mike

  2. #2
    Member c04hoosier's Avatar
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    I would go no higher than 3-9X for a sheep rifle. Anything higher is a waste because it will weigh more and not really give you any benefit. For big game hunting, 9X is plenty for any shot you should ethically be taking anyway.

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    Member doogiehauz's Avatar
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    man i thought i was packing some magnification leupold vx-3 4.5-14x40, i took a long shot on my sheep last year and 14x was more than enough magnificaiton. i like a lot of magnification and that was plenty, you never know what mother nature could throw at you being 50 yards or 400. theres 3 oz difference between a leupold 3x9 and a 4.5-14, theres 6 oz difference between the 3.9 and your nikon. i have a kimber 325 wsm scoped that weighs 7.5 lbs so its still a light rifle. i think lots of practice and knowing where your rifle hits is more important than how much magnification. i wouldnt choose that scope out the get go but if you already have one its that much gear you dont have to buy. what ever i choose i would act fast with sheep season so close and get punching holes on paper to smoke that sheep come august! good luck man!

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Default Less is more. . .

    I know that there will be a difference of opinion on this thread, but for each hundred yards to the target 1X magnification (1X=100 yards; 2X=200 yards; etc.) will easily allow all the precision you need for hunting big game. IME 4X is sufficient for all but the very longest shots on big game. Buying better optics with less magnification is rarely done today as more Xs seems to be all the rage in addition to ever-larger objectives lenses. IMO this fact has nothing to do with effectiveness and everything to do with marketing. If you are shooting small targets at LR then more Xs may be necessary, but for big game I am a believer that less is more when considering magnification.

    YMMV, but I'd buy better glass than the Buckmaster with less Xs and less weight for a dedicated sheep rifle.

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    I'm with 1Cor:15:19. Ive had 2-7's and 3-9's but I went away from variables the first time I looked through/picked up the fixed 6x42 Leupold. I bought one right away(about 12 years ago) and never looked back. Not the choice for brush busting but excellent for open country.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I agree with 1Cor- I really like fixed power glass, specifically Leupold 4x and 6x. Good clarity, lightweight, rugged and works for any poke at a critter I'll take. You'll consistently get better light transmission through fixed powers due to less lenses for the light to go through. My 4x is surprisingly bright and the 6x42 is magnificient for the comparitive low $$$ they cost.

    For goats I'd use a fixed power and spend more money on better binos. You'll use binos for days but if it works out right you'll only spend 30 seconds looking through a scope.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I shot a goat using a VXII 3x9 and it worked fine. My sheep walking stick wears a VXIII 2-8x36, I seem to just carry my rifle around a lot in the mountains so lighter is better. But there is little doubt that your hubble telescope will surely work find. Worst case if you don't find any animals you can enjoy a clear night closely inspecting distant galaxies!

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    I've been using a VXII 3x9 since I started hunting, and I see no reason to change. It's done the job from 30 yards to 350 yards, which is about as far as I'm ever going to shoot. I usually leave it at 6x, but like having the options to go up or down if practical. I will agree with the others that a fixed power scope is always going to give a better image and gather more light compared to a variable of equivalent make. So yes... your scope will work fine if that's what you want to use. But you could certainly get away with a smaller, lighter scope. Despite the hype, they're not all 400+ yard shots.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I seem to just carry my rifle around a lot in the mountains so lighter is better.

    The armed hike.

  10. #10

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    Like a couple other here I have VX IIs on nearly all my rifles they all are 3X9. They all live at 3 power as thats usually all I need. But if they are far enough out to warrant more zoom its nice to have the option to crank it up to 9X when at 200 yards or so and likely you will have the time to do so at that range but if not 3X will certainly get it done at that range. I just like the option for me. I can see the appeal of the simplicity of a fix 4 or 6 power, but for me I just have grown accustom to a 3X9.

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    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    All of mine are (just like everyone else) the VX2 3x9, and usually live on 3 power. I think if I had to do it all over again I'd go with a fixed 4, as that would probably be suffice, and would mandate that I get closer on a few questionable shots (that I've taken). I actually plan on doing more open site hunting, to mandate the shorter distance for a shot (just too tempting when dialed up to 9x).
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

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  12. #12

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    As Finn Aagaard once said:"Big game too far away to be shot with a 3X scope is too far away." As I recall JOC killed most if not all his sheep with a 2.5X Lyman Alaskan (still a great scope) with a 5 minute dot.

  13. #13
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    My all time favorite sheep/goat scope is the 3 x 9 Leopold compact - I forget what the new name for essentially the same scope is. I have been using this scope on light sheep rifles since the early '80's and have never found my self lacking. The usual shots are 75 - 150 yds with only one over 450 yds. For the last several years I have found myself liking the Leupold VIII 2.5 x 8 more and more as perhaps a better all round scope - fantastic optics and only slightly more weight. The only caveat I have is that Asian sheep hunting is a very different game and necessities a definite change in optics to take maximal advantage of the only shot you may be offered.

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    Member akguy454's Avatar
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    Default if ya have to

    I agree with every one else...
    I have VXII 3X9 on most of my guns save one....my AR has a 4.5-14 for varmits/preditors. But I feel that if you really cannot afford a new scope then don't worry and mount it up, but remember when pushing thru alder patches you will have a 6X scope to take care of unwanted visitors.. Might be hard to find a good shot at close range. If you can get a new scope then do so and put that one on a new preditor gun..

  15. #15
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    I've had several 3-9's and it seemed after every kill I'd look down and, sure enough, it was still set at 4x, where I started the hunt and ended it almost every time,
    So I'm inclined to listen to these guys about amount of lenses for light to pass thru etc. and go Fixed
    My latest rifle was already set up and had a 2.5-8 on there, it was a Zeiss so I left it on there, heck, it was more than half the reason I bought the thing but,

    so far, two kills, one at ...yep, 4x and the other, had lots of time so I cranked it to 8.5 for 200yds and it was nice.
    Buying a new one, I'll probably go fixed or at the most, less variation and lower top end, like 1.5-5x

    maybe keep me honest on the long range temptation, make the hunt last longer right?
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Quote Originally Posted by akguy454 View Post
    I agree with every one else...
    I have VXII 3X9 on most of my guns save one....my AR has a 4.5-14 for varmits/preditors. But I feel that if you really cannot afford a new scope then don't worry and mount it up, but remember when pushing thru alder patches you will have a 6X scope to take care of unwanted visitors.. Might be hard to find a good shot at close range. If you can get a new scope then do so and put that one on a new preditor gun..

    A friend has QD mounts under his scope and open sights. I was doubtful but he remounts at his zero.

  17. #17
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    I've had several 3-9's and it seemed after every kill I'd look down and, sure enough, it was still set at 4x, where I started the hunt and ended it almost every time,
    So I'm inclined to listen to these guys about amount of lenses for light to pass thru etc. and go Fixed
    My latest rifle was already set up and had a 2.5-8 on there, it was a Zeiss so I left it on there, heck, it was more than half the reason I bought the thing but,

    so far, two kills, one at ...yep, 4x and the other, had lots of time so I cranked it to 8.5 for 200yds and it was nice.
    Buying a new one, I'll probably go fixed or at the most, less variation and lower top end, like 1.5-5x

    maybe keep me honest on the long range temptation, make the hunt last longer right?
    Is that the 2.5-8x32? If so and it is in great shape I will give you 275 + shipping for it (I have been looking for one for a while). That should put you well on your way to a great fixed scope.

    http://www.opticsplanet.net/leupold-...fle-scope.html

  18. #18
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Har, Har, I probably didn't make it clear, "If and When buying a "New Rifle" and needing scope I may go fixed.......

    Yes Jon, that is exactly what it is and it is going absolutely Nowhere, I really like it, Sorry
    (Geez Jon, 275? how 'bout 575,..... nope, still not for sale)

    my next would be also a bit more of a Bad Bear(or is that "Dangerous Game") caliber and used to hunt Coastal Bear or Bison (in dreams) so the lower power also would work there.

    For this latest, a .270wsm, which makes for an excellent Sheep, Goat, etc. other potentially longer range stuff, that Zeiss 2.5-8 seems pretty ideal. It's just solid as a rock and glitteringly clear.

    I gotta say rereading this thread, I am amazed at all the guys advocating lower power or fixed scopes, not just any guys but looks to me like the Older, Wiser guys who know what they are talking about. Looking at what is available on the market I was thinking I was totally wrong on my approach to Fixed power vs. Variable. Bought a Fixed 4x for my sons first rifle, granted it's a .22 but thought he'd do better learning on a Fixed power for real world hunting. and it was Hard to Find one?

    Now reading these guys, shoot, makes me feel like I may be learning something after all.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  19. #19
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I didn't realize you liked it so much, the last several new ones that Doug has sold all went for right around $315 (MSRP was under $400), not trying to low ball you, it just isn't that expensive of a scope.

  20. #20
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baer19d View Post
    ... I don't know how close of a shot could be expected.
    A couple of years ago the regulations book had a photo of bow hunters mere feet from some nannies (they didn't shoot). Mountain goat country being what it is, very close shots (maybe not feet, but within bow range, anyway) aren't particularly uncommon.

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