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More than 1-4x?

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#1
unforgiven5150

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So my 10.5" has a red dot on it and my 16" currently sports a Nikon M223 1-4x. Very nice scope. I have the 16" upper set up like a "recce": rifle length rail, bipod, 16" 1x9 SOCOM-profile M4 barrel. Its more of a prone and bench rest rifle. I was considering doing some hunting or more distance shooting with it. I can put decent groups out with it, but even at 4x my eyes have a hard time making out smaller things. While I can put the crosshairs on a bull and be fairly confident I'm hitting a good group, I won't know until I actually pull the target in or go look.

I'm thinking of upgrading to a 3-9, -14 or a fixed 10x. Any thoughts? I realize a higher power scope is not going to make me a better shot, its just going to help me see better. What would be overkill?

#2
Flash

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While I don't personally put optics on ARs ( personal preference), I put them on all precision rifles.

You're right about not being able to see .22 caliber holes with a 4X, or at least I can't, but I can see them very clearly with a 9X. Maybe my 4X was just not high enough quality, who knows.

My .25-06 wears a 6-18x on it and a .220 Swift has a 3 x 9x, both Leupold. The 3 x 9 is about the lowest power scope I use, but if I were to get a scope on a dangerous game rifle, it wouldn't be over 4 x, and that's where the problem comes in for you. You probably see your AR as a dangerous game rifle (I know I see mine that way) and there's where the problem comes in. If you're cranked up to 9x and something happens close you probably won't have time to crank it back down to 3x or whatever the low point is and you'll be kinda hosed.

Why not keep the scope you've got on it which is probably ideal for the application and buy a spotting scope so you can see the holes at 100+ yards in real time?

Flash

#3
unforgiven5150

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A spotting scope may be the option. Another option I was thinking of was just getting a secondary scope in another one-piece mount. A lot of the one piece ones have very good return-to-zero abilities. My concern with that is that I would just end up leaving the higher power one on.

You are precisely right about the "dangerous game" rifle. I got the 1-4x thinking when it was cranked down to 1x, I could still use it up close.

Perhaps I should build another upper. Maybe an 18" SPR type and throw a higher power on that?

#4
Flash

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You've picked what is probably the most expensive, but also the most satisfying option.

I like the way you think. I keep thinking I need to buy another gun, and Mrs. Flash has been telling me that, too, but I have no idea what as of now.

Maybe at the Crossroads show in a week and a half I'll see something I can't live without.

Flash

#5
WKshooter

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I recentlyy scoped out a SOCOM16 with a Leupold VX-R 2x7 (Ballistic Firedot). This optic has a "Red Dot" with 8 brightness settings centered in a ballistic circle. I really like this optic and found it was very fast on target acquisition. Been thinking about unscoping the SOCOM and mounting it on the AR with some Larue QD mounts.

With the settings at 2x, it's easy to bring up and find targets. When ranged out to 7x it gave me the right magnification so I could still get some decent shot placement and still hold the rifle steady enough with improvised rifle rests. I have plenty of 6-18 power scopes, but unless I'm shooting prarie dogs past 300 yards I very seldom zoom out to 18 power. Even with a good table rest, most of my shots are are made with 10 power while terminating the little rodents. I've found when using the high power scopes, a "target dot" works the best as it covers less target area on the longer ranges, but on the flip side it gives a very small field of vision so its hard to see where your rounds are landing for correction. Range finders are nice, but I've found on the prarie they don't work so good as its hard to get a reflection on such a flat geography. Having a spotter is great to have to dial in your shots.

I can still get hits on PD's at some longer ranges with my basic carbines, but for long shots found I need to have a very specialized rifle for consistent terminations (24" 11 degree crowned barrels, two stage triggers, free floated handguards, sandbags for rests etc...). So my take is a 3x9 would be max scope for a M-4 type carbine if you want to do precision type shooting at medium ranges. You can still get hits at longer yards, but its not as satisfying as having a rifle set-up specifically for that purpose.

Edited by WKshooter, 12 July 2012 - 12:42 PM.


#6
TCB Firearms

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While i do not have the $$ and several others are in the same boat....I do NOT like trying to get my weapons "one size fits all" options. That is something i really like about the AR platform. You can build/own several uppers only and have a diverse tool box. as money allows get additional lowers. It would be nice to have that "multi-tool" rifle, but in order to do a decent job on several levels...you will end up spending almost as much as have very good tools for specific tasks. obviously just my opinion and YMMV?

#7
Gran Torino

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I really think preference boils down your own eye condition. When I was younger a 1X4 was ok but now I require at a minimum a 3X(, prefereably 4X12. Getting old sucks :negative:

#8
Flash

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I really think preference boils down your own eye condition. When I was younger a 1X4 was ok but now I require at a minimum a 3X(, prefereably 4X12. Getting old sucks :negative:


I've been lucky. I can still shoot irons as well as I did in the Army, and the same applies to scopes.

~Knocks on wood~

Flash

#9
CeramicGod

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Magnification is generally more important for target identification and acquisition than it is for perceived accuracy.

Also, a proper and decent optic (magnified or otherwise) takes one plane out of the aiming.

With irons, you need to align rear sight, front sight and target with the focus being on the front sight (thus losing proper target focus).

Proper optics allow for a target based focus and easier acquisition.

In my opinion, the level of magnification you deem necessary should be entirely dependant on the distance you wish to shoot and the size of the targets you're expecting to encounter.

There definitely is such a thing as too much magification as well.

Edited by CeramicGod, 13 July 2012 - 07:38 AM.


#10
RangerSXT

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What are you thinking of hunting?

What do you define as "long distance?"

A rule of thumb I came across several years ago was 1x magnification for every 100 yards for distance shooting. So if you're only going to be shooting to 400 yards, your current optic will work well. Hunting may require a higher magnification, but that is more for target identification, which I prefer to do with binoculars or a spotting scope.

In my opinion and experience, your current optic is set pretty well for shooting out to 500 yards, given the rest of the information about your rifle (barrel length, twist-rate, and gas system)...

#11
unforgiven5150

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I'm thinking of trying predator and varmint hunting.

Right now the max I shoot is probably 200m, give or take. I have issues with my eyes being about to make out details even at 100m. Larger targets are not an issue. "Minute of Man" is no problem whatsoever. But when I have tried putting smaller targets at 200ish I can't even really make them out at 4x.

As I mentioned, this is not an accuracy issue or the rifle being able to get out farther. This is an eyesight issue. I've worn glasses since I was 10, and now pushing 40, they aren't getting any better.

#12
CeramicGod

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I'm thinking of trying predator and varmint hunting.

Right now the max I shoot is probably 200m, give or take. I have issues with my eyes being about to make out details even at 100m. Larger targets are not an issue. "Minute of Man" is no problem whatsoever. But when I have tried putting smaller targets at 200ish I can't even really make them out at 4x.

As I mentioned, this is not an accuracy issue or the rifle being able to get out farther. This is an eyesight issue. I've worn glasses since I was 10, and now pushing 40, they aren't getting any better.


Well, you answered your own question.

Varminting and predator hunting generally favors the most magnification possible from the most stable position (IE: a long bipod or even tripod).

4x is generally insufficient for varmint hunting applications and I've frankly found 20X to be a good number, although you definitely want a variable.

Add to that you want to keep velocities up, so 5.56 caliber SBRs really are inappropriate.
If you're planning on mid range varminting, like 300+ yards, you're also going to want to longer bullets - 69s, 75s, 77s, for dealing with wind and to ensure it "does the job".

Edited by CeramicGod, 13 July 2012 - 09:12 AM.


#13
unforgiven5150

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Thanks for the info.





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