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ExtremeX
09-18-2010, 4:55 PM
I am in the process of building a target type AR-15. Most likely a bench rest only type setup, with a 20-24” SS bull barrel chambered in 5.56. Without going nuts and over-scoping beyond the capability of the rifle and 5.56 cartridge, what would you guys recommend as a good magnification range for precision type work?

I like to visit Angelas shooting range and shoot in the desert/BLM, so I guess 500-600 yards would be the most I would ever really shoot with my AR-15 (but I like to keep my options open. I have a 3-9x40 scope right now and was wondering if 4-16x or 6-24x would start to become an overkill type optic for the setup.

edit: This is going to be my 2nd AR dedicated for bench rest shooting, I also have a carbine type setup already for QCB to 100 yards using a red dot type sight.

Thanks

Boots
09-18-2010, 5:11 PM
I've tried a 16x on my AR and stepped down to a 12x and quite happy with it... although I mostly shoot 100-200 yd range. For 500-600 yards, a 16x (or more) would help, but you have to remember the larger the magnification, the more your body effects your accuracy. Unless you've had marksmanship (sniper) training and can control your breath and shoot between heart beats... the larger the magnification, the more your reticle is bouncing around down range.... but again, that when a firm bench rest comes it handy for the rest of us. ;)

ExtremeX
09-18-2010, 5:20 PM
Without getting too much into scope specifics, im looking to get something with a FFP (like the Viper PST) or a NF scope if I can loosen the death grip on my wallet. Would like to keep the scope under $1000.

I dont know if the 22x 24x range is a smart choice for an AR-15 as the exit pupil starts to shrink. Not to mention if I ever wanted to shoot at the 100 yard and closer range 6x may be too much magnification along with minimum focus distance.

When shooting 9x at paper targets bulls at 200 yards I find myself wanting more magnification. Im just trying NOT to go over the top, but im not sure where the top really is...

CoyoteHunter555
09-18-2010, 7:58 PM
6-24 works great for me. Some would call it over kill, but I aim small and miss small ;)

http://i771.photobucket.com/albums/xx359/JLAMB11/IMG_0760-1-2.jpg

ExtremeX
09-18-2010, 8:17 PM
CoyoteHunter555,

Sweet lookin AR, love the break/shroud. Im looking to build one with the same stock and grip.

What distance do you usually shoot your AR? Whats the closest you can shoot without running into issues?

Fjold
09-18-2010, 8:21 PM
I use a 6x24 on a 22 target rifle. The only issue with to much magnication is the small of a field of view when hunting. I like seeing bullet holes so the more magnifiction, the better.

nisupply
09-18-2010, 8:21 PM
Have you thought about possibly going for a few less expensive scopes with quick release mounts so you can easily switch back and forth between the long and short distances? I know some guys are pretty particular on their optics, but I've had good luck with optics from places like NcStar.

bjl333
09-18-2010, 8:42 PM
I have a mil-dot 6-24 and I find shooting at longer ranges I actually power down to use my dots. At the higher manifications I find the dots kinda useless. Maybe thats why the 10X fix is what the snipers use.

ExtremeX
09-18-2010, 8:55 PM
I have a mil-dot 6-24 and I find shooting at longer ranges I actually power down to use my dots. At the higher manifications I find the dots kinda useless. Maybe thats why the 10X fix is what the snipers use.

As I understand it, mil dot scopes used for target sizing that are not FFP only work at the max magnification level correct?

Is there where FFP scopes come into play? The reticle changes in sync with the magnification level?

What distance are you shooting where you find you need to zoom back?

CoyoteHunter555
09-18-2010, 8:57 PM
CoyoteHunter555,

Sweet lookin AR, love the break/shroud. Im looking to build one with the same stock and grip.

What distance do you usually shoot your AR? Whats the closest you can shoot without running into issues?

Thanks. I've shot it out to 1000 yards so far at 2/3 silhouette steel. I put the red dot on top for close range. With 6x mag, I can hunt with it as close and 40-50 yards

ExtremeX
09-18-2010, 8:58 PM
The only issue with to much magnication is the small of a field of view

That was one of my concerns, but I dont really hunt, and wont plan on using an AR if I did. I dont know if its going to be a big issue for target shooting only, but it is nice to have a larger FOV.

Thanks for the input.

CoyoteHunter555
09-18-2010, 9:01 PM
That was one of my concerns, but I dont really hunt, and wont plan on using an AR if I did. I dont know if its going to be a big issue for target shooting only, but it is nice to have a larger FOV.

Thanks for the input.

My parallax goes down to 10 yards. I use mils for ranging and bullet drop. Love it. Works great hand-in-hand with NF ballistics on my Palm

http://hawkeoptics.com/us/riflescopes/sidewinder/index.php

ExtremeX
09-18-2010, 9:04 PM
Have you thought about possibly going for a few less expensive scopes with quick release mounts so you can easily switch back and forth between the long and short distances? I know some guys are pretty particular on their optics, but I've had good luck with optics from places like NcStar.

Being a camera guy ive become kinda picky about my optics. I dont need to have the BEST, but I tend to stay away from the cheaper stuff because I find myself wanting to upgrade and end up wasting cash. Vortex Viper PST is on the top of my list right now since it seems to be a great scope with a fair price tag when compared to top shelf stuff like NF. Even with that said I try to stay open minded.

My concern with cheaper scopes is its usability at high magnification levels. Resolution and the scope NOT going dark as you dial up the zoom.

bjl333
09-18-2010, 9:14 PM
As I understand it, mil dot scopes used for target sizing that are not FFP only work at the max magnification level correct?

Is there where FFP scopes come into play? The reticle changes in sync with the magnification level?

What distance are you shooting where you find you need to zoom back?

I am no expert at distant shooting, but I'll use the dots to sight targets. If I go like 300-400 yds I can't use the dots without powering down. At that range the lowest dot at 24X are still shooting short. I hope I am explaining this correctly. So as a result I am going to a lower magnification to shoot those targets, so I could use my lowest dot. I usually settle at about 12X. So my next scoped gun I would probabbly save myself some cash and go with a 4X-16X instead.

ExtremeX
09-18-2010, 9:27 PM
I am no expert at distant shooting, but I'll use the dots to sight targets. If I go like 300-400 yds I can't use the dots without powering down. At that range the lowest dot at 24X are still shooting short. I hope I am explaining this correctly. So as a result I am going to a lower magnification to shoot those targets, so I could use my lowest dot. I usually settle at about 12X. So my next scoped gun I would probabbly save myself some cash and go with a 4X-16X instead.

Does the reticle stay static or change size as you zoom? Are you using a FFP scope?

Im leaning towards a 4-16 type range, but a part of me keeps thinking it may be worth going with more. The price difference isnt much more for what im looking at.

bjl333
09-18-2010, 9:37 PM
Does the reticle stay static or change size as you zoom? Are you using a FFP scope?

Im leaning towards a 4-16 type range, but a part of me keeps thinking it may be worth going with more. The price difference isnt much more for what im looking at.

No I am not using a FFP scope. The FFP dots will change as you change the magnification. If you step up to a FFP scope then you won't have the problems I said.
But my thing is just plinking and not snipering. The mil-dot I have changes distant with magnification change. Thats because the dots are not tied in to the zoom like the FFP's do.

CoyoteHunter555
09-19-2010, 1:28 AM
I would say 6-24 would be best. 8-32 on the other hand would be over doing it IMO

Switchbarrel
09-29-2010, 3:45 AM
It's really a matter of personal taste. I've got three AR's, all set up for benchrest type shooting (because it's all I do and I don't feel like bringing my spotting scope to the range). I've got a (now discontinued) Burris 8-32x rimfire scope on my 22 LR. I sold the 8-32x Burris Black Diamond's on my two .223 AR's and bought 10-50x Sightron SIII's for them. Bullet holes on white targets at 300 yards aren't a problem unless mirage is really bad.

Although you can easily hold on target at 5-600 yards (as you mention) with lower power scopes, I can't see .22 cal bullet holes at 100 yards with 20x power, I want to see my groups as they appear and need more power.

As one of the signatures above this post mentions, "aim small, miss small".
You can hold more precisely with more power. Plus, you can always turn an 8-32x down to 10x or 16x. You can't turn a 6.5-20x up to 32x to better see your 200 yard group. Higher powered scopes will most likely afford you more flexibility but, in the end, it's your preference.

-Rick