Using a fixed power scope for hunting? SWFA

TimberHunter

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I’ve only ever used variable power scopes like 3-9, 4-12,4-16. Very rarely have I ever turned down the dial from the max magnification because second focal plan scopes BDC only work at full magnification. My typical shots have been around 300-500 yards. Hopping to extend that range further with a long range hunting setup

I’m potentially doing a long range hunting setup with a browning max long range or Christensen arms Mesa long range and when researching rokslide for scopes there seemed to be a lot of push for a SWFA scope, especially their fixed power scopes.


Who out there hunts with a fixed 10x, 12x scope? Any regrets for not getting a variable?

Scope I’m looking at is: https://www.swfa.com/swfa-ss-12x42-tactical-30mm-riflescope-3.html?___SID=U



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rayporter

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fixed power is great, I have many elk moose, bou and one deer with a 4x.
6x to 10x would not hinder me.

also have five 24x scopes for small game. and once I had a12x that was stolen.
a 12 may fall in between for me and not be used.

if I knew for sure of 300yd I would opt for more power.
 
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Formidilosus

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TimberHunter

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Not sure a 6x or 10x is going to be what I’m looking for when I’m trying to shoot out to 1000 yards


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TimberHunter

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I would not go 12x. Eye box is a bit more critical than most will want for a hunting rifle. I’m solidly on the 6x sure for most uses, but if you’re truly good with using 10x all the time, the fixed 10x SS is a good scope.
When you say eye box do you mean eye relief? What makes it critical?


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Formidilosus

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When you say eye box do you mean eye relief?
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Nope. Eye box refers to the three dimensional space (front/back, up/down, side to side) that you can get a full sight picture through. Some scopes are extremely forgiving in head placement (large eye box) such as the Leupold 6x42mm, and some your eye has to be just right to get a good aight picture (small eye box) such as the March 2.5-25x42mm.


As power goes up, your eye being in the correct position gets more critical, all else being equal. The 12x SWFA is by no means unusable, it’s just not as forgiving as the 6x or 10x, and just crosses the line for most people for most hunting. We shoot to well past 1,000 multiple times a week with 6x scopes. Granted it’s not ideal, but the vast majority of people are way over X’d. For a variety of reason 1-1.5x per 100 yards is about right for most uses. If I was doing a dedicated LR rig and wanted to go fixed, the 10x would be the easy choice.
 

ChrisAU

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Nope. Eye box refers to the three dimensional space (front/back, up/down, side to side) that you can get a full sight picture through. Some scopes are extremely forgiving in head placement (large eye box) such as the Leupold 6x42mm, and some your eye has to be just right to get a good aight picture (small eye box) such as the March 2.5-25x42mm.


As power goes up, your eye being in the correct position gets more critical, all else being equal. The 12x SWFA is by no means unusable, it’s just not as forgiving as the 6x or 10x, and just crosses the line for most people for most hunting. We shoot to well past 1,000 multiple times a week with 6x scopes. Granted it’s not ideal, but the vast majority of people are way over X’d. For a variety of reason 1-1.5x per 100 yards is about right for most uses. If I was doing a dedicated LR rig and wanted to go fixed, the 10x would be the easy choice.
I've found this to be the biggest factor in deciding whether or not I like a scope for hunting. Sure I can shoot any scope while seated on a bench, but the popular scopes of today with high magnification ratios are awful for hunting IMO. For example, the new NF NX8 2.5-20x50 has HALF the exit pupil size at 2.5x as my SWFA 3-9x42 has at 3x, and the SWFA is at a slightly higher power with a smaller objective! That makes the area (maybe cubic mm? ha) of the eye box MUCH smaller on the NF than the SWFA in this example.
 

Wrongside

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IMO, magnification is way down the list of important features in a scope. Even for long range shooting. We shoot beyond 1000 meters with everything from fixed 6s, to 5-25x50 tanks, and mag doesn't seem to affect hit ratio. Within reason and depending on conditions...

I have the 10x and 6x SS. I really like the 6x for hunting uses- easier to get behind, clear and tracks very well. But I used Leupold 6x36s happily in the past, so probably biased in that direction, just out of habit. ;)
 

OXN939

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IMO, magnification is way down the list of important features in a scope.
Agreed on this, and what's been stated above- a lot of people way overpower their scopes with the intention of being super cool and shooting across zip codes. Optical quality is much more important than having 20 some times magnification.

That said, I do prefer variable mag scopes. Hunting is a dynamic environment, and I've been in many situations where a scope frozen at 12x would give you an incomplete view of a close target. If your shot might be anywhere from 10 to 1000 yards away, what's the advantage of being stuck with an optic that's best suited for only a percentage of that distance when you can get one for the same cost, weight, size etc that would work well for the entire range?
 

longbarrel

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For general use I have liked the Leupold 6x42. Before I would buy a hunting scope for 1000 yard shooting, I would practice with a target variable scope to see how critical range estimation and wind estimation are. My experience has been that even 800 yard shots are rare and wind drift can be bad even if you have a very steady position and know the range accurately.
 

Formidilosus

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For example, the new NF NX8 2.5-20x50 has HALF the exit pupil size at 2.5x as my SWFA 3-9x42 has at 3x,

?

That’s not how exit pupil works. The NX8 2.5-20x has an exit pupil of 20 on 2.5. The SWFA SS 3-9x has an exit pupil of 14.





what's the advantage of being stuck with an optic that's best suited for only a percentage of that distance when you can get one for the same cost, weight, size etc that would work well for the entire range?

I’m all ears on any variable scope that is sub $300 that actually works correctly and holds zero like the fixed power SWFA’s?
 

Newtosavage

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Maybe because I grew up with fixed 4's on my hunting rifles, but I've since gone back to a fixed 6x for my mountain rifle. I chose the 6x36 Weaver (korean made) and couldn't be happier. The reticle is 6 MOA from the crosshair to the top of the bottom post which is ideal for a 200 yard zero and 400 yard hold on that post.

Nothing to go wrong, the optics are super clear and bright, and it weighs less than 10 oz.

It took me about 8 scopes on that rifle to finally figure out what I wanted all along. For any open country here on out, that weaver 6x36 is going to get the job.
 

ChrisAU

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?

That’s not how exit pupil works. The NX8 2.5-20x has an exit pupil of 20 on 2.5. The SWFA SS 3-9x has an exit pupil of 14.
No that is incorrect. Not according to NF, Zeiss, Swarovski, SWFA, etc (Manufacturers that publish exit pupil specs) - exit pupil is definitely reduced by high zoom ratio erectors. The old objective/magnification formula does not work with high zoom erector scopes. Ilya Koshkin and I have discussed this on Sniper's Hide. Nobody cares about usability anymore. They are harder to get behind than 3x erector scopes, period.

From Manufacturer's specs of scopes that by the old formula would have huge exit pupils at minimum mag, but definitely do not:

NF NX8 2.5-20x50 Exit Pupil at 2.5x - 7.1mm
NF NX8 4-32x50 Exit Pupil at 4x - 7.3mm
Swarovski Z8i 2.3-18x56 Exit Pupil at 2.3x - 8.1mm
Swarovski Z6i 2.5-15x56 Exit Pupil at 2.5x - 9.5mm
SWFA SS 3-15x42 Exit Pupil at 3x - 11.8mm
Zeiss V8 2.8-20x56 Exit Pupil at 2.8x - 9.8mm
Zeiss V6 3-18x50 Exit Pupil at 3x - 9.5mm
 

longbarrel

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[QUOTE="
I’m all ears on any variable scope that is sub $300 that actually works correctly and holds zero like the fixed power SWFA’s?
[/QUOTE]
Call Doug. He has a sale on Burris 3-12x56 at $299 and might still have the Leupold VX3 on sale at that price.
 

Kimber7man

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I’ve grown to like the S&B 10x42 PMII. Mildot reticle, 13 mils on single turn elevation turret.
 

Formidilosus

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No that is incorrect. Not according to NF, Zeiss, Swarovski, SWFA, etc (Manufacturers that publish exit pupil specs) - exit pupil is definitely reduced by high zoom ratio erectors.

You got me curious so I talked with two of the manufacturers you listed today. Both stated the objective divided by power does work on high zoom ratio scopes.... sort of. “Usable exit pupil” IS effected (thier words) whatever that means.

In any case, 🖕🏽 as I go down another rabbit hole. 🤦‍♂️
 

ChrisAU

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You got me curious so I talked with two of the manufacturers you listed today. Both stated the objective divided by power does work on high zoom ratio scopes.... sort of. “Usable exit pupil” IS effected (thier words) whatever that means.

In any case, 🖕🏽 as I go down another rabbit hole. 🤦‍♂️
Haha sorry! To me it’s obvious, get behind that 2.5-20x50 and move your head around. Then do the same with a 3-9x50. Yeah, we should all have perfect cheek welds. But when you are lifting your rifle to your shoulder for a shot on a running hog or coyote or deer at close range, it definitely matters and helps to have a bigger exit pupil. I also find it helps me guide myself to a perfect sight picture must faster when shooting from awkward shooting positions. Youre much more likely to have an adequate sight picture immediately than with a scope that has a 7.1 mm exit pupil at minimum mag. It’s like throwing up a scope with the magnification turned up. Just my experience and why I’ve moved on from 6x+ erectors for hunting. I know a lot of people love them, and I wish I did because the allure of the mag range is great.

Edit: And a note, March doesn’t publish eye pupil specs with their 10x erectors and they are noted for having finicky eye boxes...wonder why?
 
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TimberHunter

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I’ve read through the above comments several times and still not sure what we’re getting at. When you get behind a scope, I thought eye relief was the factor to scope usability


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