Schools of Thought?

Schools of Thought?

This is a discussion on Schools of Thought? within the Optics forums, part of the Sniping Related category; I'm getting into two types of competition. One us Field Target, which is low powered air rifle out to about 55 yards. The other is ...

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  1. #1
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    Schools of Thought?

    I'm getting into two types of competition. One us Field Target, which is low powered air rifle out to about 55 yards. The other is precision long range rifle which ranges out to 1200 yards.

    In field target, it seems all the top competitors are using SFP scopes at 40x or 50x magnification. The reason I've been given is that FFP is for hunters who want to use the reticle for ranging, but target shooters prefer SFP for thinner lines at higher magnification levels, and use side focus with a 5 or 6 inch wheel for precise ranging.

    For precision long range rifle, I'm told everyone is using FFP with a magnification of 15x to 20x, and often 18x. The reason I've been given is that the higher magnification levels don't provide a sufficient field of view, and FFP keeps your increments true without having to be at full magnification.

    So are these schools of thought? Or is there a difference in the application that makes these approaches logical? For example, a field target shooter told me that field of view is not an issue because you just keep both eyes open, and that helps you locate the target and stay in it. Is this technique not feasible at the longer ranges?

  2. #2
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    Honestly, it sounds like you were talking to knowledgeable folks. There really is not a need for FFP on the close in field comp, it really is important when you want to use the markings on the reticle to range or hold off and a FFP allows your scope to be set at any mag to do that. The other guys are correct, you do NOT want too much magnification on a rifle used for sniping or in the field as it kills field of view, kills light gathering, and magnifies imperfections in the glass. For sniping work, I like 12-16x on the top end, but will go higher with the right scope and if it has FFP so I can keep the mag lower

    MEL

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply. I shot my first long range match a few days ago at distances of 400 to 600 yards. I kept my FFP scope on 15x and I had a lot of difficulty locating the target quickly. It really slowed me down. I don’t know how the folks making par time are getting on target so quickly.

    The ballistics app I use fir my powder burners gives elevation and Windage in clicks. For AIrgun, everyone seems to use the chairgun app which graphs the ballistics curve in inches. Then, if you have experimentally figured out the index for your reticle at your chosen magnification level in inches, you can go from there. There is also a formula that can convert an index from one mag level to another. It’s a lot to deal with for a newb like me, but that’s part of what makes it fun. 🙂

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  5. #4
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    If you are talking about a PRS style match, practicing getting locked into the different firing positions quickly will help. Being in shape which I am not, (Working on it) will help. There is a balance of magnification and target acquisition. Like anything, practice will get you better. More trigger time is the ticket. One thing I do is look over the top of the scope, point it at the target then find it in the scope. I know it sounds silly but seems to work for me on deer when I have the magnification cranked up.

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    I will definitely try that.

  7. #6
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    To help acquire targets faster, make sure that your LOP, eye relief and cheek weld are all setup for yourself as much as possible. If you can just get in behind the gun with everything falling into place without fighting to get the right eye relief you will naturally be able to acquire targets without so much searching. Then you just need to spend more time behind the gun.

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    Listen to the previous posters suggestions...they are all good!

    Also, you do NOT need as much magnification as most people think. You can shoot accurate enough on lower mags which gives you much better field of view. My two decade old rule of thumb for sniping is 1x for each 100 meters you plan to shoot. That is enough mag to hit accurately. So, in your 400-600 yard comp, I think you can do just fine with your scope set on 6x Yeah, I'm sure others will think i'm crazy, but try it...and it'll help you get on target much easier.

    MEL

  9. #8
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    I have always been a fan of lower magnification, but my long range mentor says everyone is using about 18x, and a lot of the reason for that is to aid with reading the wind close to the target in real-time as you take the shot. He says that the wind down range affects your projectile much more than the wind at your position because the projectile is traveling much slower down range. Even at 15X, I couldn’t see mirage or be sure about the direction from the grass with my Viper gen2. I just upgraded to a Schmidt, so I hope that helps.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Sierra49er's Avatar
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    I have a pine tree about 300 meters from my window. I sight on a pine cone or some pine needles and hold the cross hairs on target and hold it for as long as I can (usually 20 - 45 minutes). Now the 6 - 24X scope is set at 12 and while holding on target, one can open the other eye and even take your face from the rifle stock. But when you come back on and look, the cross hair should not (in theory) have moved, in my case I usually have to make a small adjustment. But with more practice it gets much better.

    I have found that 12 power on a variable scope seems to be a good starting point. I don't know if this will help, but it is a form of cheap practice. Also I have shot 300 meters with accuracy with a P14 Sniper rifle with the BSA scope which is about 3 power. So lower magnifications can also be accurate. Believe me, at 3X one never loses the field of view. But then again using both eyes open helps stay on the target and the field of view is only as good as one's eyesight.

    Just a couple of rambling thoughts.
    Last edited by Sierra49er; 04-04-2019 at 09:02 AM. Reason: clarification
    In adversity remember to keep an even mind, train hard and fight easy.
    Horace/Alexander Suvoro

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra49er View Post
    I have a pine tree about 300 meters from my window. I sight on a pine cone or some pine needles and hold the cross hairs on target and hold it for as long as I can (usually 20 - 45 minutes). Now the 6 - 24X scope is set at 12 and while holding on target, one can open the other eye and even take your face from the rifle stock. But when you come back on and look, the cross hair should not (in theory) have moved, in my case I usually have to make a small adjustment. But with more practice it gets much better.

    I have found that 12 power on a variable scope seems to be a good starting point. I don't know if this will help, but it is a form of cheap practice. Also I have shot 300 meters with accuracy with a P14 Sniper rifle with the BSA scope which is about 3 power. So lower magnifications can also be accurate. Believe me, at 3X one never loses the field of view. But then again using both eyes open helps stay on the target and the field of view is only as good as one's eyesight.

    Just a couple of rambling thoughts.
    I've tried shooting with both eyes open and the problem is that I am left eye dominant and right handed. I've tried to make it work but I find to get the job done I HAVE to close my left eye to get on target with a scope. I don't know if there are varying degrees of eye dominance but no matter what I did, both eyes open shooting was not happening for me.

    As far as magnification, I hear what you all are saying, I tend to gravitate towards the higher magnifications especially when trying to reach out past 800 yds. I do dial it back if mirage is particularly bad during the summer months here in Fla. I just had a AR 308 built and I put a 4X16 on it and I find I miss the higher magnification. Maybe that's just me. The weapon was intended to be a Hog Slayer.

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