Scope Magnification

CT.HNTR

Beginner
Feb 6, 2022
36
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Just curious what people are using for a scope magnification out to 400 yards? I plan on doing a few western hunts for deer and elk over the coming years. My maximum ethical shot distance will be 400 yards. I am wondering what power range the optimal scope would be? Currently looking at a VX5 3-15 x 44 or a VX6 3-18 x 44. I would appreciate thoughts and experiences regarding this topic!

Thanks in advance for your responses.
 
FOTIS, My apologies but it's not clear to me what your suggesting?

I noticed on your blog you have a Weatherby 338-378 Accumark. That's the exact rifle and caliber I have on order with Weatherby that I am looking for a scope for.
 
A 530 yard elk, 3x9 set at 9X. Running Mule Deer at 426 Paces, 4X Bushnell and another Mule Deer at 250 yards1.5x4X set at 4X. Most of my rifles have 3x9 scopes and when I check after taking game, most animals were shot with the 3X setting. A few were taken with 4X scopes before I started using the variables.
Paul B.
 
Think I have a 4-12x on my Whelen. Two others have fixed 4x tubes on them. I've known a few people who really like fixed 6x for almost everything.
 
Most of my rifles that my serve duty on big game out to 400 yards are equipped with 3-9, 2-10, 3.5-10, 4.5-14 and/or 3-15 variable scopes.
Most have BDC type reticles; Leupold B&C, Kahles TDS or Swarovski BRH reticles.
There are many opportunities in the bush or at short range in smaller opening for these animals while enroute to more open terrain, so having a lower magnification option is a good choice (keep your reticle at the lowest power settings at all times...for longer shots you have more time to dial up if needed. In 37 years hunting big game here in the west, my average shot distance is just 137 yards...although I have made the odd shot of 400+ yards. The extra magnification often gets used more for target practice at the range than anywhere else. Just keep in mind that if you have a BDC type reticle ins SFP scope, that you must have the power setting set at the particular manufacturer's setting so that the extensions are going to calibrated for the velocity of your ammo you are using. You must shoot to verify for your cartridge/load combination before going hunting.

It comes down to your overall needs or desires, including budget, quality of glass, size and weight of the scope you want to put on your rifle.
Putting the scope on your 338-378 with its sharp, heavy recoil, you'll want a light scope in good rings so that it won't move under recoil....the heavier the scope, the more it will want to move.

Your choice of the VX 5HD is a good one; great glass, they're among the lightest on the market, and are well tested for recoil tolerance...and also have a great lifetime warranty should there ever be a problem.
(Actually just got the 3-15x44 W/ B&C for my 6.5 PRC)
The VX-6 will be Just a little longer, a little heavier, have a little more exit pupil for light transmission for low light conditions, a little more magnification if practicing to 500 yards (which will help build skill and confidence for the shorter shots at 400 yards), and come with the Alumina scope caps, which are great for protecting your lenses.
 
All I've ever used on my Model 700 .338 RUM is a Zeiss 1.5X6 and that included shots to well over 300 yards.
 
400 yards really isn't that far so you don't need a lot of magnification. The reticle intersection of the Leupold VX-3 2.5-8 on 8 power fits inside a 6" bullseye at 500 yards. That covers a deer/elk vitals.
Having said that, more magnification does offer some advantages but it would also depend on your chambering.
The 3-15x would give you everything you want from up close to way out there.
FWIW, the VX-5HD and VX-6HD glass is excellent and really shines in low light situations.

JD338
 
FOTIS, My apologies but it's not clear to me what your suggesting?

I noticed on your blog you have a Weatherby 338-378 Accumark. That's the exact rifle and caliber I have on order with Weatherby that I am looking for a scope for.
My 30-378 and Leupold never got along. My Mark4 has made 2 trips to home for some R&R.
 
FOTIS, My apologies but it's not clear to me what your suggesting?

I noticed on your blog you have a Weatherby 338-378 Accumark. That's the exact rifle and caliber I have on order with Weatherby that I am looking for a scope for.
I have mostly Nightforce scopes and Vortex Razors (only razors) on all my Weatherbies. So I was suggesting the 2.5-10 NF compact. I do have a 3-15nf nxs on my 338-378
 
I like both your choices. Long range shooting is by no means a western concept! (Ever shot a whitetail across a corn or beanfield?!).
You will love the extra power when trying to make sure you are Looking at a legal buck in areas where Point restrictions are in place. (The unit I hunt in Wyo. is four point or better).
Practice is the key, finding game in the scope, getting steady on random rests from random positions and adjusting the scope without pulling your eye away from it-practice, practice practice!
 
Leupold VX3i 3.5-10x40mm
This seems about perfect to me. Growing up, many folks who hunted and shot "long range" used a 6x Leupold fixed power. Long range was 400 yards, Maybe 600 at the outside. Its the drift - not the drop, that gets me... Most often, I havent had an opportunity to "get all set up" and dial a scope up when hunting. Even my variables get set and left at 4x-6x. Only when Im sitting at the bench do I use 9-12 powers if available. Thats me and my situations. Ive seen several 300-400 yard shots made with K4 Weavers. They werent Spray and pray either, these were held on, one shot kills on deer or antelope at those ranges. Cl
 
I've been using a Leupold VX5HD 2x10x42 for several years and it's been great but i've been looking really hard at the 3x15x44. I don't know that i really need the 15x44 or if i just want one :). The majority of my shots are bean fields 300yds and closer but i do have several shots that would be 400 maybe 450. I think the 10x42 would serve me fine that far out but my aging eyes are telling me that the 15 magnification may be a little better. Like i said, maybe it's a want more than a need.
 
Just curious what people are using for a scope magnification out to 400 yards? I plan on doing a few western hunts for deer and elk over the coming years. My maximum ethical shot distance will be 400 yards. I am wondering what power range the optimal scope would be? Currently looking at a VX5 3-15 x 44 or a VX6 3-18 x 44. I would appreciate thoughts and experiences regarding this topic!

Thanks in advance for your responses.
The 1-6, 2-7 or 2.5-8, 3-9, etc.. will work great for what you want depending on how you hunt and your own preferences.
I have settled on the 3-15 or 4-16 for most of my hunting rigs that involve distance. Note with these scopes, I have practiced and killed game beyond 400 yards.
I prefer the VX5 HD over the the 6 myself, and I have a number of the them on my hunting XP's.
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A good friend of mine, Dan borrowing my XP for a elk hunt: 680 yards-One & Done with a 140 Nosler AB!
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I have used less magnification than the 3-15's, like 2-7, 3x9, and 3-12 and still have done a good job of killing game out to and past 400 yards
 
I think we as hunters and shooters have opted for more magnification in our quest for sub MOA. In my opinion, out to 400 or so, 1.5x6, 2x7 or 2.5x8 is about ideal. I started running 3.5 x 10 because of antler point restrictions. I also have a 3.5 x15 because of a genetic anomaly in the elk heard I hunt. Oregon implemented a spike only hunt in several areas back in the 90s. The good news is those areas produce bulls in the low 400s every year for those lucky enough to draw a tag. The bad news is there are a lot of forked horn bulls in the herd. If you can hang a ring on it, it counts as a point. At 400 a one inch point can be hard to see.
I digress, if I was headed to Colorado with a reasonable horn length requirement, five inch and five points any of the scopes will work, I'd probably go with 3.5x10
 
Here on the East coast in the Appalachians, I'm just as concerned about the Min magnification as I am the Max. Sometimes even a 4x can lead to game acquisition issues when game pops up at 20 yards and can disappear into a laurel thicket in a couple seconds. But there's plenty of times sitting over pastures, power lines, and timbered areas when a 300-400 yard poke is normal. I've settled on a 2.5x-10x as most practical for me. 10x isn't really needed for hunting, but I do like it when punching paper.
 
I only own one scope over 10X and that one I use for accuracy testing to find the best load combo for the rifle.
When done with load testing I put a 2.5X10X on the rifle for hunting. My go to rifle has a 1.5X5X VXIII but most of my scopes are Euro's.
 
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