Originally Posted by Brian Lee
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.
I agree. I'm just a hunter and range commando, but this advice seems spot on.
I remember hunting with a scoped pistol fixed 2.5x. A deer came trotting under my tree stand and I couldn't keep up with it to get centered in my scope. End of season, I took the scope off and put on a red dot. I've shot deer before with iron sighted pistol, but had wanted a longer range option. While a rifle scope is closer to your eye than a pistol scope, and therefore has a larger field of view, when animals are real close into you, any magnification is a hinderance.
But at the range, sitting on at a bench, sure it is fun zooming in on a target.
In hunting situations, 3x is plenty for woods type stuff. Was sitting on a stump once, and had a buck trot up to me and stop and look at me. No movement, I'm not here, you can't see me. Then he starts to walk up the hill a bit. Let him go far enough, then quietly raise and click safety off and BOOM dropped right there. All at 3x, even though the scope goes up to 9x, which I definitely would not had wanted it to be set at in that situation.
If I was on the edge of a field, hunting woodchucks at 100 yards or more, then sure, zoom in to 8x, 9x, 12x, 16x, whatever you got, as long as you have time and can hold steady.
On my slug gun, I use a 1.5-4.5x. I walk around with it on 1.5x to trip across bedded deer.