View Full Version : What Power 3-9 or 4-12?
05-20-2003, 01:04 PM
I am currently starting to look for a scope to put on a new 30-06 that
I hope to be getting soon.
Being from back east a 3-9X 40 was all I ever needed, and that's all I have experience with.
Now I plan to do some Elk and Mule Deer hunting, and was wondering what most people prefer. I will be hunting deer in central Ca, as well as the sierras (hopefully) as well as the high rockies in CO.
I'm pretty sure a 3-9 will be fine, but at the range at distances over 100 yards I always feel like I could use a little more magnification. I know most of my shots will be well within 100yards, but I feel more confident really zooming in especially at say 150-200yards.
What do most of you prefer and why?
BTW, most of my past scopes are cheap 3-9s and I plan on getting a "good" scope in the Leupold VX-11 or Nikon Monarch class.
05-20-2003, 02:02 PM
A 3x9 will be all you'll ever need. I took an elk at a little over 300 yds with my 30-06 and 9 power was plenty. If you ever get into hunting pigs the low setting will be usefull for heavy brush. Another bonus is it will be lighter, and probably less expensive than the 4x12. IMO, unless you are shooting off a bench (you won't find one of those in the field) its too hard to hold a 12X scope steady. Combine that with the parralax generatd from hunting in Western heat and the high settings are all but worthless anyway. But you are right, get good glass. Both the scopes you mentioned are excellent. I would also look at Burris and the Weaver Grand slams. www.bearbasin.com is hard to beat for optics.
05-20-2003, 02:58 PM
I use a 3X9X40 here in Colorado. Never needed anything more than that because I refuse to take a shot past 350 yards and that would have to be in some very open country under perfect conditions.
05-20-2003, 03:53 PM
I had a similar situation when I started hunting CA. A cheap 3-9x40 was all I had. After a couple of seasons, trying to pinpoint legal bucks at long range was a real trial. As a result, when I upgrade to an -06, I also upgraded to a 4-16x50 scope.
It's a heck of a scope, and I can see nubs on a buck at 500 yards, but it's also a heck of a thing to carry around. Above 12 power or so, it also magnifies the slightest wobble to the point where you couldn't see an elephant. I solved the wobble with a bipod, but in doing so I added another pound or so to the weight of the rifle.
After a little research and reading, I'm also finding that the 50mm objective works against you for accuracy, especially in the field, because it forces you to mount it in high rings, putting the bore of the scope higher from the barrel. From a treestand, it probably won't matter at all, and the extra light gathering power is a bonus. In open country, I'd imagine it's a bigger problem, especially if you'll be shooting offhand. Probably not a really big deal either way, but it's one more thing to worry about.
I'm in the process of downsizing again now. I've been prowling eBay, waiting for another good shot at a Leupold 3-9x40 or 3.5-10x40 for a good price. I honestly think those monster scopes are overkill for big game hunting, especially out here where you've gotta cover so much ground and every extra ounce works against you.
Invest in a good set of binoculars. Once you've identified your target with those, if he's still too far away to get a good sight picture with a 9 power scope, he's probably too far to shoot.
05-20-2003, 06:17 PM
Thanks guys. a 3-9X40 it will be.
That's kinda what I thought, but now I feel more confident about the purchase. As always, this site is excellent!!
but... just when I thought the decision was getting easier, I find out about the Weaver Grand Slam.
Now I can't decide between the following:
Leupold VX-ii ($265, legendary reliablity and great warranty/service,
Made in USA)
Nikon Monarch ($240, slightly better optics than Vx-ii, better low light, good warranty)
Weaver Grand Slam ($240, optics at least as good as the Nikon if not better)
Knowing me, I will be happy with any of them. Initially I was sold on the Leupold, but I don't want to pay slightly more for slightly less product just for a name. I saw a post on this site (forgot who) from an avid Leupold fan, who bought a weaver and was REALLY impressed. That's what got me a thinkin' this way.
If anyone knows of better prices please let me know. I have checked Natchezs, SWFA, Bearbasin, and cabelas.
05-20-2003, 06:27 PM
Pooraim, I too doubt if you will need more than 9X for the same reasons already mentioned above.
I have made several instant, one shot kills on mule deer bucks at extremely Long ranges, and all made on 9x or LESS and seeing quite easily.
In fact my favorite for the last 13+ years is a Leupold 2 1/2 - 8X, vari X 3. Eye relief, field of view, weight & clearity is outstanding / very hard to beat (for deer & elk etc).
The best I can recommend, is to check out several different makes and models AT THE SAME TIME. I know I sound like a broken record (again), however you will be able to make the best choice that way.
I would also consider the type of (extreme) weather (if any) your apt to hunt in, as that should also be a factor. The worse conditions, the better quality of scope needed.
The only excepition to all of this is, if your eye sight is not as well as could be (as one of my friends), then more magnification may be what you need. Just go with what YOU feel most comfortable with.
Bob in TX
05-20-2003, 07:04 PM
Ditto on the 3-9x40. I have switched all of my rifles to the Nikon Monarch's for the reasons you stated and have never looked back. They are comparable to the Vari X-III. The Grand Slam is also an excellent scope. The Nikon edges it a bit in light transmission, but it is close.
05-20-2003, 11:03 PM
If you have young eye's that 3x9 will be just fine and all you need, for years I hunted with nothing but a 2.5x5 and a 2x7, now i'm into 3x9,4x12, and even several 6.5x20 on small cal guns, I sure like any scope with a AO & TT on them man it makes everything very clear for my eye's and easy to adjust.
Because you're going for mulies and elk, not the midget things we call deer here in Ca. a 3 x 9 will probably be more than sufficient.
Down here in brushland USA, even at 300yds if you pick out a beded buck or a buck picking it's way through the brush with your spotting scope, God help you finding it on 9 power even with the highest of quality scopes, let alone finding the sweet spot.
4 x 12 or 4 x 16 is the way to fly for hunting So. Ca. deer.
05-21-2003, 07:49 AM
The 4x12 type scopes will have an adjustable objective,some guys love em' and some prefer not to use them on a big game hunting rifle.A 3x9 or 3.5x10 will do all you want and mirage will not be a big issue as well as lighter weight.Spec is right the large objective scopes need to be higher and this can effect face position on the stock when you throw the gun up.Besides with exit pupil size being decided by your eye rather than the scope 40-44mm will allow you to use higher power with out affecting brightness whatsoever.I wouldn't rule out Sightron as well as Nikon and Weaver.The 3200 and 4200 elites by Bushnell with the rainguard feature that really works, along with optics that are pretty darn good also warrants attention.So many choices,so little time http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-oops-yellow.gif
05-21-2003, 09:21 AM
I have a 3-9 40, B&L Elite 3200, I rarely go above 6 power. It works great. I've shot bucks out to 450 yards at 6 power with no problem seeing the vitals, it a big target. Especially Elk. That 400+ shot is the exception. Every other animal I have shot has ranged from 20 yards to 200 yards. I shoot and pratice at 6 power and its good from short to long distance. I try to keep it here because it offers a faster opportunity to acquire target and still give good magnification.
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