View Full Version : Scope choices....

08-13-2006, 08:53 AM
Well folks, I have decided, through trial and error, on the "perfect" scope set-up for varmint hunting in light and in night conditions.....

A 4x12 variable just fits about perfect in my opinion...

The 4x does real good in night conditions or shots within 100 yards and the 12x can reach out during daylight conditions with ease....

Have used scopes from 1.5x6 to 6x18 and the 4x12 variable does it for me in my application...

What do ya'll feel is the "perfect" setup for ya'lls individual conditions?

Daryl (deceased)
08-13-2006, 04:57 PM
Every centerfire rifle that I own right now is topped with a 3-9 Leupold, and they've always worked well for me. 3x is always what they're set on for calling/hunting, and I can trun them up for longer shots if needed.

If I did more "varmint" hunting, like p-dogs and such, I'd likely want a bit more power.

I'm looking to upgrade one scope, and that's on my 7mm mag. I'm thinking that the 4-12 might help with IDing trophy quality of an animal just before the shot (like making sure that's the same buck I was looking at through the spotting scope/bino's). I learned the value of that in Mexico last January. My brother was watching through high powered bino's at the two bucks, but without that I'd have had a hard time telling the slightly smaller buck from the good one. 500 yards +/- is a long ways to try to judge.


08-16-2006, 06:26 AM
Just .02's worth here....

All my rifle sport a Leupold 3-9X40. Except my .223 sniper rifle, which has a Leupold 4-12x40 on it.....The scope is clear, holds zero excellent, and is great.

The one factor that I see is the 3-9's have a much less particular quick field of view when trying to make fast shots, when it's inportant to get the target ib the crosshairs in a hurry.
That is due only to the added magnification.
I don't really notice much difference in the scopes on 9 or 12 power as far as animal identification at longer ranges.....But the difference is very noyicable when you need quick target aquisition.;)

If I had my druthers, I'd stuck with the 3-9x40 leuppy...:)

Been there & done that.


M. R. Byrd
08-16-2006, 06:40 AM
I have a Shepherd Scope sitting on top my 300RUM and I like it. When I get a serious varmint rifle, I would like to try the Shepherd 6-18 Varmint scope.

See website


08-16-2006, 07:10 AM
I like higher magnification. After I've set up the mils the way I want them on the variables, the scopes are usually sitting somewhere in the 18x - 20x range. This power setting covers lots of needs for me. From the closer stuff at 350 - 400 yds. as well as the extreme distances. Last weekend I was working with a fixed 20x at 2100 yds. and rockchuck sized targets were easily aquired. That is until the heat set in and the thermals started wreaking havoc. Was looking and I guess the smallest scope I've got is a 4-16x on the .17 HMR. Certainly to much magnification for a rimfire but it does the job, none the less. Later. >> korey

08-16-2006, 08:31 AM
Kinda all depends on what & how you are hunting.

If you are shooting praire dogs at 450 yards, you need the magnification.....watch out for the heat waves as klallen said...;)

If you are using the rifle for deer or coyotes, in not so "open" country, or where you will get a shot that isn't far away, then the eye placement you have to use on a high magnification scope is a LOT tighter than on a lower magnififaction scope, therefore if shooting a running animal at close range, or through brush, you might lose critical seconds trying to "find the scope picture".....:)

09-23-2006, 03:48 AM
i have a 3x9 Nikkon Pro Staff on my .243 and it does ok for me i know people that like was said was alittle over kill on .17 hmrs but so far i havent had any problems out of the nikkon

Mauserfan in TX
09-24-2006, 09:02 AM
I don't really have a dedicated varmint rig. I have two that i guess would work, One that i use when i try for coyote or such is a AR-15 carbine with a see-through mount and a fixed 4 power. Most critters i have taken with the thing have been under 75-100 yds. I mostly hunt in heavy wood-swamp areas. My 6.5 Swed has a 3x9 40mm Simmons on it and i have very pleased with it. So far.

10-07-2006, 10:38 PM
I Have A 4.5by14 Power Sitting On Top Of My 223 Rem And Am Looking At Getting A 6-18 Power For My 243 Wssm And My 7mm ******ag

10-08-2006, 08:34 PM
the sweet

10-08-2006, 08:38 PM
the sweet seventeen is a great scope and the 17 hmr is a fun and very acurate varmate gun. from coyotes to armadilas I have the 3x12x40mm.

Jay Edward (deceased)
10-09-2006, 06:18 PM
I have an old steel tube Weaver 12X I use on my .22-250 and prefer that to the variable. I like to use binoculars for my 'search' as I do not like to end up pointing a rifle at some other hunter.

I know that variables have been (and still are) the hot riflescopes for most but I sure do like short, high grade, fixed power, low weight riflescopes. For most hunting with a cartridge rifle... I'd always opt for the almost straight tube 3X or 4X.

This doesn't work well for long range shooting but my hunting areas are invariably around 100 to 200 yards max. When I used to hunt Antelope seriously, I used a fixed 6X. I do have a Leupold 2-7X but leave it on 7X for my 7x57 Mauser.

Long range varmint... like I wrote above... is a 12X on a varmint barrel Remington in .22-250 Classic. It's a long slim scope as I do my best to avoid scopes with large eyepieces or objectives.

10-18-2006, 07:14 PM
I have a nikon buckmasters 4.5x14 on my .223 and I love it. magnigication is there if I need it. I don't like the fixed power just because I like having a choice. just my opinion. Godbless

Paul Hoskins
01-06-2007, 12:07 AM
Back in my varmint hunting days, I used a Litschert Super Eagle in 15 power, in Unertl mounts on a Hi Wall Win. chambered for the 225 Win. cartridge. This outfit was and still is super accurate. It accounted for over 1,000 groundhogs back in 1964. I love the old Litschert aand Unertl varmint scopes but the Unertl's were on the heavy side. This rig weighs around 12.5 pounds. Paul H

01-06-2007, 08:27 AM
Well, I also believe that a 4.5-14 scope is the perfect all around scope. Tops my 17 HMR, my 300 WSM, my 257 WBY. The other scopes I have are a 6.5-20 on my 22-250 and my 30-378 WBY. And a 2-8 on my .22LR
4.5-14 gives the perfect range for all appications. If it's too close for 4.5 Ill use a shotgun.

01-07-2007, 04:24 PM
Hi All,

Well I will have to admit that although I do have varible scopes it's because of that's what was available used at the time and not really through choice :p . Even the varibles are normally set on 6x unless it's really close woodland then I might drop them to 4x. Other wise it's fixed power scopes normally for me :D ..

01-08-2007, 05:40 PM
hi all

i actually only have one scope, its a 3x9 variable tasco. i got it for £24 all in from hong kong, and its camo pattern (im not starting this debate again, camo pattern is to satisfy my aesthetic taste, thats all!!)

i like it cos it gives me the option of which power to use, i find that if im just searcing an area ill have it down low but when i spot something i crank it up to 6 or 7 for the shot. i rarely use the 9x on it for shooting but its great for taking a scout ahead and checking out those dead plants that i always seem to see in the distance and cant decide if its a rabbit or not (am i the only person this happens to?) when im moving position, so i dont disturb anything and lose a shot.

Paul Hoskins
01-08-2007, 07:18 PM
If I see something while hunting and can't make it out, I'll use my binoculars. NOT MY SCOPE...............Paul H

01-08-2007, 07:42 PM
well firstly i use pocket binoculars, and it turns out the scope on set on 9x is more powerful, i use them mainly when i have the shotgun out. secondly, why use binoculars when u have a scope right there on ur rifle? this is just my opinion anyway

Paul Hoskins
01-08-2007, 08:19 PM
It's ok Babby, as long as I'm not hunting with you, which isn't likely to happen anyway........Paul H

Daryl (deceased)
01-08-2007, 08:28 PM
What Paul said, babby.

It's not very safe to go pointing your rifle at something you're not sure of. If some fella is out there, and sees you pointing your rifle at him, he might get the wrong idea!

I've had people point rifles at me to look through their scope, and I'm not very polite about how I let them know that I don't appreciate it.

My scopes are 2-7 or 3-9's, and the lowest power bino's that I have are 10x. Works pretty good for checking things out.

Take care,

01-08-2007, 09:08 PM
why, whats wrong with using the scope in this way???

Daryl (deceased)
01-08-2007, 10:04 PM

Let me tell it this way:

One of the primary rules of safe firearm handling is to never point your rifle at anything you don't intend to shoot.

How can you know if it's something you want to shoot if you can only identify it by pointing your rifle at it?

What if it's someone's pet? Or what if it's the neighbor kid out playing in a field? It's just not safe to point your rifle at something when you don't know what it is.

Like I said in my earlier post; I've had people point their rifle at me to look at me through their scope. I'm not very nice to them when they do this. Since I don't know their intentions, I usually take tactics to avoid being shot, and then take measures to defend myself against someone who may intend to shoot me.

When someone points a firearm at me, I naturally assume that they intend to shoot me.

Things can get a little tense when they're looking at me through THEIR scope, and I'm looking back at them from behind cover through MY scope; especially when I'm shouting at them to drop their %&^#*ing gun!

Now is it more clear?


Take care,

01-08-2007, 10:20 PM
Scopes are for bullet steering.....
Binoculars are for spotting....


That is a great way for an accident to happen....


01-08-2007, 11:19 PM
sorry daryl didnt see your post. now first i want to say that ive been using firearms for a long time, and when i was a training instructor i did beat seven levels of whatever out of people for pointing a rifle at me, even though i knew it wasnt loaded. i am not stupid enough to point a gun at a person, no matter if i think its loaded or not.

now then. where i shoot its my own private land, so there is absolutely no reason for anyone else to be there. when i go out shooting i put a red flag up at the entrance to the fields, and i have several set positions i always use for the rifle, simply for the facts that a) theres a suitable back stop so if i miss the round doesnt fly off into the distance, and b) if anyone does come onto the land they will end up approaching me from the rear and wont be able to cross the range, and c) there is no places for a person to be hiding so that i dont see them - open fields people! also i shoot on my own, unless its clay shooting at a local clay ground. now im not talking about scoping things a couple of hundred yards away, i doubt i could even spot something as small as a rabbit at that range, never mind hit it with a .22, im talking about 100m tops, if im moving in to another position and see something that looks like a rabbit then i will zoom in to check it, but at the same time only if i can see there is noone in the area and that the target has a suitable backdrop behind it. and dont worry i think i can tell the difference between say, a rabbit, and someones pet cat or dog!:D

now coming back to my training. we used sa80's and their variants. the sa80 is fitted with a sight called the susat, it has a magnification of 2.5 and we were always taught to check the area using the scope, binoculars is just something else to carry. thats just my training. now Gmoney i just want to ask have you ever heard of a safety catch and an unloaded weapon? when i was using the scope it was on a bolt action .22, the semi auto still isnt here. now anytime i did check out an area or something i thought was a rabbit and i wasnt going to shoot i did my nsp's, or 7 point checks. i took out the mag, operated the bolt a couple of times, checked the breach was clear, fired off the action into a safe area like the backstop, opened the bolt and locked it open. im not trying to start a row or anything here but there is no way in this world that that weapon is going to fire, saying how its not loaded, ive checked the chamber and theres no round in there, ive fired the action dry, and the bolts open. and even if by some act of God there was a round in it, if you look at the previous paragraph youll see that theres a suitable backdrop at all times!!!

so i dont see what the problem is?:confused:

01-09-2007, 12:05 AM

If you want to use your scope in that way then you have a right to....
If you want to hunt with an unloaded weapon then you have a right to....
"Spotting" with your scope IMO is just a bad habit to get into even on private land, regardless of your "training".......
DIfferent strokes for different folks I guess....
Good luck and stay safe...


01-09-2007, 02:24 AM
im not hunting with an unloaded weapon!

ok picture this. i have set out the land i hunt on into "ranges" for my rifle, ie, several positions as i have already explained. theyre basically like any target shooting range youd ever go to, with a firing point, and back stop, the only difference being that instead of using stationary targets im hunting rabbits, but I DO NOT take a shot until ive gotten into the firing point i always use. now when travelling between these points i always unload the weapon, check chamber, basically everything that you do when you finished shooting for the day and hang the rifle up, because firstly i dont see it as one big shoot, i see it as several that i have to travel between, and i also would not want the slightest temptation to take a shot anywhere else.

now the reason i use the scope for spotting when im coming into a firing point is simple. the scope is there. why carry two items that basically do the same job when one will do?

well as you say each to their own, fair enough if i was shooting elsewhere with other people i might not use the scope in such a way incase it indeed did freak them out, but then again as most shooters in NI have had some form of military training, either through the cadets like myself or regular service, alot of people that i know would do the same as me.

good luck anyway mate

01-09-2007, 05:48 AM
Hi All,

Babby you are confusing Military operations with hunting the two are worlds apart it's that simple. If you intend to take sporting shooting and hunting seriously and travel to other places to hunt then you need to alter your practices and get used to them NOW.

Carrying on like you are will get you thrown off and possibly reported to the licensing authorities which as you knwo can lead to losing your licence. Heck in some places getting a speeding ticket in your vehicle can get your Firearms licence revoked :eek: .

I have put the reticle of my scope on a loaded hunting rifle on a person once whilst hunting. Intenionally I might add when the game keeper and I spotted poachers who also had a rifle. At one point it was even discussed whether a shot into the rifle should be taken but the risks of killing the poacher carrying it was too great. It was a very tense situation which concluded with an Armed Police chase :eek: no the game keeper and I were not the object of the chase but the poachers were. Ruined my stalking for the day :rolleyes: . Yes the police took it that seriously as a little way from this place a game keeper/pro stalker was shot by poachers :eek: .

The situations involved here in the UK are different than those in the US but using a scope like this can only lead to conflict eventually. As for pocket binoculars :rolleyes: well they are not the best things to use. A pair of good quality binos in the 8x40 or 10x40 range are far superior for locating game and identifying it than your Tasco scope. I use a pair of Viking 8x44 binos I got from the RSPB shop on one of their reserves. Whilst not quite up to Swaroski or Zeiss standards they are not that far behind and are totally water proof :p . OK they did cost 239 but that's half the price of even discounted Swaroskis or Zeiss binos of similar size.

In fact I have a small collection of binos some of which date from the 1930's. Oh don't be suckered into buying those cheap binos advertised in the press and at places like Agross, you know 8-24 Zoom as they are very poor optically. Get a good pair and they will last you a lifetime :D when I am stalking my binos are up to my eyes at least 60% of the time looking for Deer or bits of deer as often that's all you will see at first. It can be the same with Rabbits ;) sometimes it's only the very tips of the ears which can be seen it's then time to stalk them rather than snipe them :) .

01-09-2007, 06:53 AM
Get you a strap similiar to this one, they will hold your binos out of the way and keep them ready at all times. You'll never even realize you have them on. I used one this year and loved them. I used my binos much more than I did without the strap since I always had them ready.

01-09-2007, 07:09 AM
well the thing is im not intending to travel anywhere with the .22, it is for pest control of rabbits on our own land. now ive never pointed a rifle at someone else in my life, not even the guys out lamping. i admit i have fired a couple of shotgun rounds in the air, but that was just to let them know that i was about, and considering they had rifles and had already threatened me before when id told them to clear off i thought it might be a good idea. and brithunter, this is not a military operation. i do not deny that thats were i learnt to shoot. thats also where i learnt to run a range safely. so what if ive maybe carried over a couple of habits? as i keep repeating to everyone, WHAT - I - DO - IS - TOTALLY - SAFE - IN - THE - ENVIRONMENT - AND - WAY - I - SHOOT. :mad:

look everyone seems to be running this out of proportion here, ill talk you through exactly what i do.

as ive said, i have 4 or 5 "ranges" set up on the land i shoot on, they are for sniping rabbits, thats all. each range varies in length but are approximately 80 - 100m long, from firing point to the back drop, which is normally the side of a hill in the field. the firing point and in fact the range itself can only be accessed from behind the firing point, as ive chosen the areas so that there is fences or hedges at the sides so no one can wander out in front of me. each area is clear of vegetation, the most vegetation that there is would be small stands of reeds, and again the maximum height for these is 1ft. bearing in mind that the fields are used for sheep, horses and cows to graze the grass is cropped short, in fact its as short as the grass on our lawn. when im carrying the rifle from the house to a firing point it is unloaded obviousley, with the bolt open and rifle slung over my shoulder.

now this is the part to which everyone seems to think im going to kill someone or be put away. when i approach the firing point i do so carefully. now unfortunately due to cattle and horses being kept in the field the ground can get turned up, and rabbits can be mistaken for sods of earth, and vice versa. so sometimes if i see anything that looks like it could be a rabbit i will use the scope to check. now i would like to point out that i am, at most, 15m behind the firing point at this time, as well as that the only objects that i will be checking are ones which i think are rabbits, and even then i will not be shooting them until i get the final 15m to the point - the reason i check, as i keep repeating, is so i dont scare any rabbits off that are out therel. if i see one i drop to my belly, and crawl to the point to avoid spooking it.

i get to the firing point i set the rifle up on its bipod, turn the magnification down, and start shooting. now would you like to explain why i would need to centre my scope on a person who could possibly be on the range, when the furtherest away they would be would be 115 metres, and the tallest vegetation for them to be obscured behind is 1 foot high at most?!? i know i use a computer alot but my eyesights not bad enough to miss that.

now i would also like to point out that the only reason i was granted a licence for a .22 weapon was that i was able to provide the police with letters confirming that i was a safe shooter, and i also confirmed to them in writing myself that i would be using all the knowledge and skills i had learned from OPERATING a military firing range into practice when i used the .22, so i doubt that the police will be revoking my licence considering ive told them this is how i will work, shown them one of the "ranges" i was using when they called out, they were satisfied that it was safe and that was why, being 22 years old and it being my first firearms licence, i was granted 2 12 bores and a .22lr.

so can you please tell me what the problem is? ive told you the rifle wont be pointed at a person, in fact its probably being used in a safer manner than most other peoples rifles are, considering there is no vegetation to hide a person and theres a back stop. ive also told you i only look down the scope to check out what could possibly be a rabbit, and even then that doesnt happen too much, i normally have to settle down and wait for them to appear.

so can someone please tell me in plain english what the big problem is, how using the scope on the ranges ive described and in the way ive described is somehow dangerous?

Paul Hoskins
01-09-2007, 08:02 AM
Babby, you are just a kid yet. You have much to learn regardless of your so called, military training. Whether what you are doing is dangerous or not, it simply flies in the face of common sense. I have read many of your post and it seems from the start you are accident prone. It worries me that you are just a serious accident waiting to happen.........Regards.........Paul H

Daryl (deceased)
01-09-2007, 08:06 AM

The fact is, it MAY NOT be dangerous in the situation you describe. There are a lot of folks who visit this board though, and many (most?) of them are not set up as you are. As a GERNERAL RULE, it's not a good idea to use a rifle scope to look for things to shoot at.

It's actually pretty common for new hunters to do such a thing, and it does make other people nervous when they do. For that reason, I don't like to promote such things in any way, shape, or form here on the board.

Even if someone's rifle is unloaded, another person won't know that, and it can make for a very uncomfortable situation. As I've said, I HAVE had people point rifles at me a time or two, and I don't like it one bit. At the time, I didn't know if the rifle was loaded or unloaded, so I accepted the fact that it COULD be loaded, and acted accordingly.

Another rule of safe firearms handling is to treat EVERY firearm as if it were loaded. I take that a bit farther than my own firearms, since I also treat OTHER people's firearms as if they are loaded.

Do what you will in your own circumstances. If your situation is as controlled as you have explained it, then there's likely not much problem there. If you ever hunt elsewhere, just be sure to keep in mind what we've said. It can save a lot of problems when you're not the only one in the area that you're hunting.

Take care,

01-09-2007, 08:06 AM
not with firearms. look mate i dont know much about you and im not too worried as you seem incapable of giving a straight answer. all i want is a simple answer, not all this stuff about aiming at people everyone keeps going on about. in the circumstances i have described above, would you please explain to me how using a scope on an unloaded rifle to check something out less then 100m away, when i am technically almost at the firing point, is an accident waiting to happen?

01-09-2007, 08:11 AM
daryl thank you. you are the first person to listen to and acknowledge what i have been saying. i do treat all firearms as loaded, however at the same time when you have checked it twice yourself and left the bolt open, you know what i mean. im not trying to promote this type of shooting it just seems to me that eveyone jumped on me as soon as i mentioned it, without letting me explain the way i operate here, without explaining what was dangerous in my circumstances. when it comes to the rifle i always shoot on my own, so ive never come across this before.

thank you for helping.

Daryl (deceased)
01-09-2007, 02:37 PM

As I said, this is something that commonly happens with new hunters. As such, it can be a sore spot for a lot of folks who have had it happen to them.


01-09-2007, 04:31 PM
i know what you mean, i was nearly shot one day by someone stupidly pointing a gun at me. but what was annoying me today was just that no-one would actually tell me why they reckoned it was dangerous, and that was starting to get to me - if a. the reason i joined this site was that i only got my own guns in september 06. i had done a lot of shooting before that as ive said, but it was all target shooting on controlled ranges, which i suppose is where i get all of my habits from, like only shooting into a clear area with a backstop.

i really do appreciate everyone trying to keep me out of trouble as much as possible, but please just remember im still learning alot. now as for ph's assessment that i was an accident waiting to happen id like to point out one thing - i have never, ever, had an accident with a firearm. believe me when i say that i appreciate more than most people just how dangerous they are.