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View Full Version : Fixed vs. variable power on precision rifle?


vikingshelmut
10-03-2007, 6:33 AM
I'm tinkering with buying a 700p or 10fp for some long range fun. I see a lot of scope recommendations, but the one that keeps catching my eye, mostly based on the price, is the super sniper series. I noticed that all of these scopes seem to be fixed power scopes (10x, 16x, etc). What is the benefit of using a fixed power scope on a gun intended to be shot at various long ranges (not super long, but up to 4-500 yards)? I am pretty new to optics, but I'd have thought that a variable scope would be better suited for precision rifles.

goldy1
10-03-2007, 7:30 AM
well, if you want to go with a fixed power, the weaver 36x is supposed to be really good. for the variable side leaupold is always a good choice. honestly i dont know too much about the ss scope other than what i've heard, which is about what you already know. i know i'm going to get flamed for this, but i use a bsa platnium 8-32x mil-dot and have had nothing but good results personally. at 300yds i can see the holes in the target.

SemiAutoSam
10-03-2007, 7:39 AM
Think about it like this:

If what your shooting is always at a specific distance like the paper target at the range then a fixed scope could work fine for you.

But on the other hand if your into hunting or even want to know how to engage a target at different distances then a variable scope would most likely be the right thing for you.

DO some reading on scopes maybe check out a book from your non liberal library ?

Scarecrow Repair
10-03-2007, 8:12 AM
A variable power scope has to be more complex than a fixed power, both in adding mechanicals and in needing fancier optics to handle the varying magnification. Thus for a given price you will get a better fixed power scope than variable power.

For a clear view, variable power might not be able to match fixed pwer, just from having moving optics. There has to be some compromise in the lenses to allow for the range of magnifications, just as in any machinery. It's one reason for the increased number of gears in automatic transmissions -- to allow the engine to be optimized for a specif RPM for better mileage and les pollution. I don't know what sacrifices optics must make to allow variable power, but it probably effects how much light gets thru in the first place (more glass = less transparency), how sharp that picture is, and how much colors are separated. One of the problems with optic design is keeping colors from separating like in a prism. It probably gets more complicated when the pieces of glass are moving relative to each other.

maxicon
10-03-2007, 8:30 AM
In addition to Scarecrow Repair's points, a variable scope will weigh more than a similar fixed scope, and performance will always be worse at the highest zoom compared to the middle range. I have some inexpensive variable scopes that I don't use at their highest zooms because the image quality just isn't there.

In general, you want to avoid really high magnifications except for very specialized purposes, as mirage on a hot day can make magnifications greater than 20x or so pretty much useless.

Even with all that in mind, I believe an optics beginner is much better off with a good quality variable scope, as you'll have the flexibility to figure out what works best for you without swapping optics. A 4-12x or 16x scope will cover just about every situation you run into, and a 3-9x is pretty durn good as well.

Remember that going from 12x to 24x is just a 2x improvement at the maximum zoom. 24x sounds like a lot more than 12x, but practically speaking, it's not a huge difference unless you're way, way out there.

Finally, budget is a critical factor, as high-zoom variables can be a good bit more expensive than lower-zoom models. You can get a 4-12x for a pretty reasonable price, while bumping up to an 8-24x increases costs a lot, removes a good bit of low-end flexibility, and adds a lot of weight and size.

Prc329
10-03-2007, 8:40 AM
I would say spend at least as much on your scope as rifle. Many people will say spend twice as much. Super Sniper is a good tool to learn with. I personally after a while felt it was limiting my growth as a shooter. It got me shooting, comfy behind a scope, then I moved to an IOR because I knew what I wanted by then.

Timberwolf
10-03-2007, 8:51 AM
It depends really on what you intend to do with the rifle. If you're going to be on the bench punching paper or steel at known distances a fixxed power would be fine. If you intent to shoot tactically and compete you'll need a variable. For precision / tactical application you'll need a low around 4 - 5X and a high between 14 - 20X. In a fixxed I wouldn't go above 14X or 16X mirage will eat you up at long distance.

Nefarious
10-03-2007, 9:01 AM
Nightforce 5.5-22X56 at 22x looking at a 3' plate at 2,000 yards - not my pic

http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l53/nefarious619/2kyards.jpg

ar15barrels
10-03-2007, 9:05 AM
maybe check out a book from your non liberal library ?

Do you have a list of where these are located throughout the state?

Nefarious
10-03-2007, 9:10 AM
Do you have a list of where these are located throughout the state?

The list should be small enough ;)

SemiAutoSam
10-03-2007, 9:42 AM
Yes but its accessible to you as well its called the card catalog.

You can look up books by subject and author and ISBN.

International Standard Book Number
http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp

Do you have a list of where these are located throughout the state?

ar15barrels
10-03-2007, 10:02 AM
Yes but its accessible to you as well its called the card catalog.

You can look up books by subject and author and ISBN.

International Standard Book Number
http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp

I'm aware of the card catalog and the ISBN system.

I was wondering where the non-liberal librarys were.
You know, the ones that have all the gun and hunting magazines available in the periodicals section.

I spent 2 years of middle school, every day after school for 3 hours a day, in a library.
Back THEN, there were still some gun magazines in the library.

SemiAutoSam
10-03-2007, 10:08 AM
I agree the library that I attended in the area I grew up had such things also and even had (at that time) Playboy and Penthouse magazines behind the counter.

But liberal times have crept upon us and these things have declined over the years.

Maybe a bookstore like Barnes and Noble is a better way to find this information given the current liberal situation in our beloved country.

I'm aware of the card catalog and the ISBN system.

I was wondering where the non-liberal library's were.
You know, the ones that have all the gun and hunting magazines available in the periodicals section.

I spent 2 years of middle school, every day after school for 3 hours a day, in a library.
Back THEN, there were still some gun magazines in the library.