I was never into military type guns, but I have opinions about scopes for hunting.
On bolt action rifles I've found that unless your hunt is the kind where very long range shots are the only kind expected, too much magnification is more of a hinderance than a help. If you're expecting your hunting shots to be more like only 100 yards or so, then 4X is plenty. 8X will only make it harder to find the target in the scope fast enough since the field of view is so small. You'll certainly shoot better groups on paper with 8X, but that's mainly because paper doesn't move around while your just trying to get the thing visible in your scope.
Since you seem to be into combat weapons in addition to just the hunting thing, I'd choose the 1X to 4X variable as the best all around choice for a gun like the M4, and save the high magnification scopes for the sort of bolt action target rifles they were really intended for.
For close in combat situations, I can't help but think that I'd rather have that 1X option than to have 2X magnification as my lowest setting.
Last edited by Brian Lee; 10-11-2012 at 12:15..