Which scope magnification is best for precision rifle?

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[No caption] - Credit: Archant

Chris Parkin outlines some of the considerations you need to take into account when buying a rifle scope for precision rifle shoots

Q: What sort of scope magnification is used on precision rifle shoots?

CHRIS PARKIN replies: Because precision rifle relies on shooting multiple rounds from improvised positions against the clock, maximum magnification is not the key. This is because hits, rather than minimum group size, is the goal.

Accurate dialling turrets, a decent field of view and, perhaps most crucially, an exit pupil that allows the shooter to maintain vision of the target and bullet strike through the recoil impulse, are mandatory.

Shooters are likely to make a magnification choice offering the best compromise between viewing the hit or background splash of the bullet versus staying stable and in the eye box of the scope. Time-consuming readjustments are undesirable if they lose the target on firing, which is more likely on high magnification and especially if several targets are hanging close together.

From a more solid prone position, higher magnification might be chosen, while from a less stable kneeling position or from an unstable rest, lower magnification might be preferable to maintain target sight picture.

The wobble is always there; more magnification just makes it look worse and reinforces doubt. So, less magnification often delivers more benefit to the mind.

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Equally, a fine reticle which allows even small targets to be accurately positioned without the need to boost their size via a first focal plane scope, is often the preferred choice.