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Advice Fixed magnification scope over variable

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by TomJ, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. TomJ

    TomJ Active Member

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    So this could bring on all the cliches of "how long is a piece of string" and "swing and roundabouts" etc but here goes!

    My local shop are firm advocates of fixed mag scopes for what I am likely to be using it for which is some target/FT shooting, plinking and an occasional hunt (rats and bunnies mainly). It will be sitting atop an HW100KT at the end of the month when payday comes along and I can buy both together!

    I looked down a few but haven't used many in anger so to speak but I always seem to have my current 3-9 mag scope at maximum magnification anyway.

    I've been looking at the MTC Viper 10x44 and it's a nice bit of kit for what seems like a very good price. I'm a fan of keeping it simple but where in your experiences would I really benefit from having varibale magnification over something like the 10x44?

    Cheers

    Tom
     
  2. neiled

    neiled Donator

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    I can only tell you from personal experience that I had Hawke Varmint 4-16x44SF (excellent scopes) on both my FAC Air and .22RF which I use for hunting at max ranges of 75 yards on air and 100 yards RF and I've just changed both scopes for the MTC Viper 10x44 and I'm very happy with my choice. I still use a Hawke Varmint 6-24x44SF on my 17HMR for now but may well be changing that as well.

    The reason for the change was due to never using anything higher than x12 mag on any of the rifles as it gave too much shake when rested on my shooting sticks and x10 mag is more than enough for 100 yards. They only thing I made sure I kept on my new choice of scope was side focus which I find vital and so much better and easier to use than AO or no variable focus scopes.
     
  3. gasman

    gasman Up a bit,,,,,,,

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    a 10x 40 fix mag scope will be use less when hunting, you need variable magnification like 4-12 or 3-9, beceuse your need the lower mag in the poor lighting conditions and close ranges
     
  4. DR2501

    DR2501 Donator

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    I think that's too high magnification to be fixed for hunting on sub-12ft/lbs air rifles to be honest. If you go fixed, you want 6x really. There are several reasons for this:

    Light gathering
    'Wobble' magnification as stated above
    Clarity
    Fast target acquisition

    Plus, if you find a closer target or do some close-range ratting, 10x will be next to useless IMO.

    You can now see why people tend to choose variable mag scopes can't you...lol.
     
  5. neiled

    neiled Donator

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    Sorry but I don't agree at all, the x10 mag I've just bought is far better in low light than the varifocal's I had and with side focus I have no problem shooting at 20 yards. Glass quality has more effect in low lighting.
     
  6. mark.177

    mark.177 Donator

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    10x fixed will be next to useless lamping try keeping a rifle aimed while trying to fiddle the side focus in the dark if you can even find your quarry in the narrow field of view... 6x is plenty for small game hunting any way out to 130 yards
     
  7. gasman

    gasman Up a bit,,,,,,,

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    yes i'll agree with you on glass quality is more important, but you still have wobble factor and sighting speed problems, ever tried lamp with a 10x fixed mag, try it lol
     
  8. neiled

    neiled Donator

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    Anyone want to buy two recently purchased x10 fixed mag scopes :( lol
     
  9. TomJ

    TomJ Active Member

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    When I was messing about with the scope in and around the shop (Yeah I realise how that sounds, not exactly real world testing!) I could quite easily focus on targets at as close as 8-10 yards. Not sure I'll get much closer than that but appreciate there may be times when trying to acquire targets where this would be a problem.

    I did really like the side focus too, found that nice and easy to adjust when scanning around varying ranges.

    However I am thinking that lamping will be a problem but I'm less likely to be doing that and more likely to be target shooting.

    Choices choices
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  10. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    Variable magnification scopes have extra lenses and moving parts inside compared to a fixed magnification type. This will reduce the amount of light passing through the scope, adds to the cost and changing magnification will alter all your aim points except for the main cross.
    Choice of magnification is a personal thing, as you increase it the field of view decreases until you get to a point where you can't easily find your target and the focussing becomes more fussy. Generally people choose variable magnification scopes because they offer a bit more versatility and can cope with very short range (ratting) and up to formal target shooting where the requirements differ and specific rules may apply. There is also an element of peer pressure and gadget envy which helps persuade some people that bigger is always better and that the reason for their poor performance is because their kit isn't as 'good' as the next guys.
    If you ever start using a night vision add on you will find that high magnification reduces the performance.
    If you are likely to be doing formal target shooting rather than plinking you should look at the rules for the style you are interested in and buy something that suits that discipline and accept that it may compromise your other shooting to a certain degree. Whatever you buy you'll probably change it in 6 months :)
     
  11. stevemandm

    stevemandm Honorary Member

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    all the plus and negative points have been covered with the above posts. my take on its is buy a variable mag scope, and if you want it fixed mag, then leave the mag set at your preference - you still have the option of variable mag. a variable mag is more usable, imo
     
  12. TomJ

    TomJ Active Member

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    That's where my thinking on it is going to be honest, outside of having multiple scopes and swapping them out then a varibale would give more options and it seems as though I can see more limitations with a fixed scope.
     
  13. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    I think you've probably come to the correct answer for your circumstances. In my opinion you've chosen one of the best rifles available at the moment and a decent scope (and mounts) will certainly make an excellent package.
    For most people and styles/types of shooting very high magnification isn't much use. In FT shooting the fussy focus at high magnification (50x is not uncommon) is used to rangefind but generally much lower zooms are more suitable for 12 ftlb air rifles. Most of the time I don't go above 8x (which is a setting that suits my reticle aim points) and will normally work at about 6x maximum. I find side focus easier to use than an adjustable objective but on lower magnification you rarely have to alter the focus anyway, I use it mainly with night vision equipment as if you try and adjust the objective you'll often block the light from the ir illuminator.
    Something like a 3-9x40 in decent quality would probably be suitable, try and keep the lower end at no more than about 4x for close stuff as you will find that useful.
     
  14. 177

    177 Donator

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    I have an Edgar Brothers 10x42 Sniper.

    It lives on a .223 at the moment, only because it came with the gun as a package when I bought it.

    At low light other scopes I have are better, while still others are not.

    Side focus is great, much better than front, if parallax adjustment is important to your shooting.

    I tried it on an air rifle and removed it almost immediately and put a Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40 BDC back on, which I usually leave on 7x

    I consider the variable scope a more useful overall package - the fixed mag is more limiting to my shooting, but I mainly hunt.

    I know people who swear by them and others who swear at them.

    I have a lot of time for fixed mag good scopes and if I put a Meopta Artemis 6x42 with a 4a ret on every gun I own I'd be a very happy bunny (the bunnies wouldn't be though ;) )

    I am a great believer in doing a requirements analysis and gearing up accordingly. Air rifle shooting probably has more scope options and more buyers who regularly change them than any other shooting discipline. A good friend of mine has had 5 scopes that I know of on the same rifle just this year :rolleyes:

    On the one hand he tells me he wouldn't dream of spending Meopta money on a scope while, on the other, he has already spent far more in smaller chunks and sold every purchase at a subsequent loss so his overall spend vastly exceeds mine :rolleyes:

    I can see some possible areas where I might want a larger fixed mag scope, but I can see more where a 6x42 would be infinitely preferable, or a variable zoom.

    As I always say if it works for you, it's all good. Rather than ask others whether you should, as yourself whether you can, because not everyone can work with the larger/higher fixed mag.

    Personally I find higher mag fixed mag scopes are far more limiting but that's possibly because I exclusively hunt, often at night, with either lamp or NV kit, while lower mag fixed mag works far better for me for reasons previously covered by others posters.

    Whatever works is good, but make sure it does, for you, before you buy if at all possible :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  15. TomJ

    TomJ Active Member

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    That's exactly what I intend to do, hoping some friendly club members might be able to help me out! Thanks for the reply, very helpful!
     

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