The best magnification for general purpose UK hunting scope


EXPERTS - Credit: Archant

I’m overwhlemed by the magnification options out there... what is the perfect magnification for a general purpose hunting scope in the UK?

Q: What is your recommendation for the perfect magnification for a general purpose hunting scope in the UK? There are just so many options out there!

A: DOM HOLTAM replies: This is obviously going to depend on a few variables, but as you rule out target shooting, let’s look at something that will be ideal for foxing and stalking.

Fixed power scopes are pretty much obsolete on the modern market, which means you’ll have a zoom range at your disposal. Traditionally, these were commonly 4-power offerings, such as 3-12x or 5-20x. I’d say that for the UK, where we don’t do driven hunting at very close quarters, 3-12x magnification range would be spot on.

However, modern technology has seen zoom ranges increasing so that many companies now offer a 5-power, 6-power or even 8- or 9-power zoom. That really does give you the chance to buy an optic that can ‘do everything’.

For me, I rarely use more than 15x magnification even when I have a scope that offers the potential. I can target shoot perfectly adequately out to over 500 yards and hunt to my maximum range (probably around half that) very comfortably.

Something around 1.5 or 2x magnification at the lower end will serve duty on running game or at close quarters in a bush hunting situation.

Most Read

As a lot of UK hunting is done at dawn or dusk the most popular objective lenses are 50mm or 56mm. I tend to prefer the small option as it mounts nice and low and the scopes tend to be a bit smaller and lighter.

So it’s probably no surprise that I have a 2.5-15x56 and a 1.8-14x50 on my most used rifles…