How much magnification for 1000 yds?

SDGator

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Minuteman
Feb 1, 2019
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#1
I'm sure this question comes up alot, but for some reason I haven't seen anything real definitive for how high a magnification you want to go.

I know you "can" shoot 1000 yds with 16X or 18X, but do you just end up wanting to get a 24X or higher scope later? What's a comfortable magnification, verses a doable one?

Or do the answers to this change based on what price range you are at? On a $500 budget, are you better off with better glass at a 18X, or lesser glass at 24X? What about at a $1000 budget?
 
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M8541Reaper

Super Boot
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#2
I've run 12x and 10x at 1,000yds during qualifications without issue, but that's also all we had available. Would bumping it up to 14x or 16x be better? Depends on what works for you.

On non-qual/personal days, I've run 16x at 800yds and 900yds but have also run 10x and 12x at 1200yds and it definitely leaves some room for wanting more. Currently the highest magnification optic I have is a 16x MK6 and have never used anything higher than that.

End of the day, ALWAYS go with quality glass over magnification. I'd rather have a 3-12x with excellent glass over a 5-25x with garbage glass. Quality glass and reliable adjustments are what make the optic. Hell, a fixed 10x with quality glass will out perform an optic with subpar glass and unreliable adjustments...shooter & ammo dependent.

If your budget is between $500 and $1000, then I'd grab a used MK4 Leupold. Either a fixed 10x or a 2.5-10x. That will get you out to 1,000yds all day long and keep you within budget. Also, if you're comfortable with being near the top end of $1,000 and only want a new optic, then look at the Vortex PST gen 2 3-15x FFP. If you're going to get a variable power, make sure it is FFP.

Just my opinion based on my limited experience (mil/contracting/recreation) and have not yet had the chance to get into PRS.

EDIT: Qual shooting experience is with a spotter and done on steel and KD paper backers with pit pullers/markers. Personal experience has been on steel from 100-1200yds and paper from 100-800yds (father out you need to either make sure you have the ability to go down and check impacts or use the large shoot and see targets, that way you can use your spotting scope to see impacts... if the mirage that day allows you to do so). But as for actually hitting targets out to 1,200yds, fixed 10x and 12x can allow you to do it.
 
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Milo 2.5

The Dalai Lama of the Reload
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#3
It'd help if you told us the usage of the scope, if steel, 18 power may work, if 1K BR, aint gonna fly. The above poster on glass quality spot on, you can see more with clear glass on low power, than crappy glass on high.
Giving us your exact budget would help too. There are butt ton of used scopes for sale, and with new ones coming out weekly, prices can only drop.
 

SDGator

Private
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Feb 1, 2019
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#4
I'm putting together a cheap rifle build. I've got a Howa 1500 heavy barrelled action on order in 6.5 CM. In a few month's I'll have the funds to order an Oryx chassis to put it in. And then a few months after that I should be able to get some glass for it.

I'll use it some for hunting, but mostly at the range and start trying out comps as I get better with it. Since I'm just starting out, I don't really know about steel vs BR.

Budget-wise, I'm probably looking at around $500, but I can go up to $1000 if I can stay patient waiting for funds. I'm eyeing that Primary Arms scope at $500, the 3-18x50mm. The 3x works for the hunting but I'm worried that 18x isn't going to be enough for long range. There are other scopes out there that are 4-24x50mm I'm considering, but I'm worried that the glass quality will be lower for the higher magnifications if I keep the budget the same.

Of course, by the time I'm ready to buy the available scopes will be different, so I'm trying to keep this a general question rather than concrete scope recommendations. What is the step-down in glass quality at those price ranges between 18x and 24x and higher?
 

Milo 2.5

The Dalai Lama of the Reload
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#5
I'm putting together a cheap rifle build. I've got a Howa 1500 heavy barrelled action on order in 6.5 CM. In a few month's I'll have the funds to order an Oryx chassis to put it in. And then a few months after that I should be able to get some glass for it.

I'll use it some for hunting, but mostly at the range and start trying out comps as I get better with it. Since I'm just starting out, I don't really know about steel vs BR.

Budget-wise, I'm probably looking at around $500, but I can go up to $1000 if I can stay patient waiting for funds. I'm eyeing that Primary Arms scope at $500, the 3-18x50mm. The 3x works for the hunting but I'm worried that 18x isn't going to be enough for long range. There are other scopes out there that are 4-24x50mm I'm considering, but I'm worried that the glass quality will be lower for the higher magnifications if I keep the budget the same.

Of course, by the time I'm ready to buy the available scopes will be different, so I'm trying to keep this a general question rather than concrete scope recommendations. What is the step-down in glass quality at those price ranges between 18x and 24x and higher?
My advice would be to keep looking and listening then, you have time, time changes things, IMO, a good used scope may be best. Let someone else eat the depreciation on it, guys on here get woody's over a reticle change, buy new, dump lower grade or scopes they no longer have use for.
 

C_R_Slacker

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Feb 14, 2017
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#8
16-18x is plenty to shoot 1,000 if you're just trying to hit a decent sized steel target. As someone said above, probably not going to be competitive in a benchrest or f-class type match with that mag range.

General recommendations for new scopes at $1,000 or less tend to be vortex, burris, swfa, sig, bushnell, athlon. Might be forgetting a couple.
 
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PlinkIt

GunNut Extraordinaire
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Mar 30, 2014
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#9
If you are trying to have one gun for hunting and shooting steel keep FOV in mind

Lower magnification usually has a larger field of view making it easier to get the cross on what you want to shoot

I believe 3-15 to be plenty to shoot steel with

Example below at 15x (forgive image quality but I'm using a cell phone trying to take the picture) about 1.5mil right is a sihoullete Target at 1k yards and about 2mil left on top side of the line is a 10 or 12 inch plate at 1k yards Right above the sihoullete Target that's at 950

IMG_20190209_101104.jpg
IMG_20190209_102028.jpg

If I miss it's prolly my fault, not my lack of magnification... 3x on bottom end with a decent FOV still does well for hunting

If you were shooting only fixed paper targets at long range, I'd say switch to 40+ magnification and don't look back though.

I'll add again you will be impressed how much clearer a Target is through a high end scope on low magnification vs a cheaper scope with higher magnification... It's just a bigger blur
 

SDGator

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Feb 1, 2019
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#10
Distance means nothing. Target size vs cross hair subtention does. Are you using the glass as a spotting scope as well? If you can quarter a target with the ret you have enough mag at the distance.
That is a pretty good way to think about it. And yeah, at this point I'll be using the glass as a spotting scope as well. It'll be a while before that can get added to the arsenal.

If you are trying to have one gun for hunting and shooting steel keep FOV in mind

Lower magnification usually has a larger field of view making it easier to get the cross on what you want to shoot

I believe 3-15 to be plenty to shoot steel with

Example below at 15x (forgive image quality but I'm using a cell phone trying to take the picture) about 1.5mil right is a sihoullete Target at 1k yards and about 2mil left on top side of the line is a 10 or 12 inch plate at 1k yards Right above the sihoullete Target that's at 950

View attachment 7021126
View attachment 7021129

If I miss it's prolly my fault, not my lack of magnification... 3x on bottom end with a decent FOV still does well for hunting

If you were shooting only fixed paper targets at long range, I'd say switch to 40+ magnification and don't look back though.

I'll add again you will be impressed how much clearer a Target is through a high end scope on low magnification vs a cheaper scope with higher magnification... It's just a bigger blur
Wow, that's an awesome example. What kind of scope are those pictures with?
 

Rocketvapor

Sergeant of the Hide
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Dec 10, 2018
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#12
A few things mentioned in the previous several posts sort of mix up an evaluation of a scope.
(not picking on anyone)
Tracking, adjustment stability have no effect on clarity or field of view.
Fantastic optics and crappy mechanicals won't work.
Fantastic mechanicals and crappy optics might.
Fantastic everything is best, but costs.
The Steiner M5Xi shown is a little out of your stated budget (mine also :) )

Low power will always be clearer than high power.
A 10X fixed will be clearer than a 6-24X @ 24.
@ 10x the fixed will be clearer because of glass surface count.
@ 24X the 10X will- - oh wait, the 10X can't go there :)

Field of view is power dependent and usually listed in scope specs.
For example, the 3 to 15 image shown earlier will have a wider field of view at 3 than the 10X fixed, and less @ 15.
For 1000yds count the mils left and right in that image @ 15X.
Even a 6-24X at max power will still be able to view both the Ford parked in front of the Chevy @ 1000YDS.
The magnified view @15X through the phone is also a little misleading if you are looking at it on a computer screen.
The image shown is a little larger than what you will see with your eye at the range.

Single use rifles can live with a fixed power scope. A real good shooter can live with less than optimum magnification for target size/range.

Want to shoot close and far, paper, steel, or someone sitting in that Ford, then variable power gives you flexibility.
Pick up a super cheap variable at your local big box store or second hand, something like a Simpson or Banner with a 4 to 1 mag range like 4-16X, 6-24, and evaluate magnifications, field of view, and exit pupil (depends on Objective divided by power).
That's subpar glass and unreliable adjustments .
Crap image but will give you an idea of the mag range you want to spend money on.
Then you can start on your quest for the perfect reticle :)
 
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acudaowner

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Dec 26, 2018
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#13
maybe 24x's is good if just hitting steel or if that is as much as you need to see the precise spot your impacts hit at i don't know i like more mag as long as its clear and easy to see and enjoy having more than i need rather than less so if i can get more for an fordable price i like that idea a lot. being able to see my impacts and spot my own shots is a nice thing .
 

whatsupdoc

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Dec 12, 2017
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#15
If shooting steel at 1K you want to be able to recover from recoil and be able to see your hits or misses, I run 12x to 16x.
At higher magnifications the FOV is lower so it is more difficult to find the target.
 

DarinC

Private
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Jan 7, 2018
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#16
Last couple times out to a grand I found myself running in the 12ish range on two different setups that both go over 20. If spotting for someone though, the additional power really helps.
 

JT1178

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Dec 14, 2017
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#17
I have a 1000 yd target on my place sometimes I use 12-15 power sometimes I use 24. Just depends on mirage to me. The more magnification the more mirage.

I also use a cheap Athlon Argos 6x24. Went budget on my first setup savage 12fv from cabelas (you know the cheap gun everybody bought last year).