Magnification for 200m Target Shooting?

Rifle scopes, iron sights and optics. Spotting scopes and target acquisition devices.

Magnification for 200m Target Shooting?

Post by ThePlinkster » 10 Jun 2021, 8:48 pm

Hey guys

For me, as a general rule of thumb, typically speaking, the more magnification the better

However,
I'm just wondering what scope magnification you guys would recommend for "Long Distance Target Shooting"?
(Shooting out to around 200metres away with a 22LR)

Let me elaborate though

When I go to the range
Sometimes, I go by myself
So sometimes, I don't have a friend there with me with a spotting scope, being able to tell me where my shots are actually landing in relation to the target for when I do miss the target
(for example; whether my shots are landing either to the right of the target, or to the left of the target, or too short of the target etc)

So for that reason
I don't want "too much" magnification
Because if I'm too zoomed into the target, then I won't be able to see where my shots are actually landing in relation to the target (for when I miss the target)
I want to be able to be zoomed out just enough, to be able to see where my "missed shots" actually land, this way I can adjust on the next shot
But, at the same time, I want to have enough magnification to see holes in my target also, this way, I will be able to know when I actually hit the target also

Taking all of this into consideration;
- Shooting out to around 200metres away with a 22LR
- Being zoomed out just enough to be able to see where the "missed shots" land
- Having enough magnification to be able to see holes in the target also
What magnification would you guys recommend?

Thank you
Last edited by ThePlinkster on 11 Jun 2021, 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by Oldbloke » 10 Jun 2021, 10:20 pm

Not my thing. But have you considered a spotting scope? Isn't that what most use?
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by ThePlinkster » 11 Jun 2021, 2:10 am

Oldbloke wrote:Not my thing. But have you considered a spotting scope? Isn't that what most use?

Yeah
I have considered buying a spotting scope
But I don't think it'll do me any good
Because if I do buy a spotting scope
I would then need someone to look through the spotting scope (as I shoot) to let me know where my "missed shots" are landing everytime
And yeah, I don't always have somebody there to help me out with that because sometimes I go to the range by myself
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by deye243 » 11 Jun 2021, 3:51 am

I have a Leupold vx3i 4 1/2 to 14 and used to have no trouble spotting unless the ground is wet.
I say used to because now I have the ballistics program nutted out perfectly for the load and the rifle these days I just laser dial-up and bang
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by in2anity » 11 Jun 2021, 8:51 am

ThePlinkster wrote:Yeah
I have considered buying a spotting scope
But I don't think it'll do me any good
Because if I do buy a spotting scope
I would then need someone to look through the spotting scope (as I shoot) to let me know where my "missed shots" are landing everytime
And yeah, I don't always have somebody there to help me out with that because sometimes I go to the range by myself


Ok I think what you are imagining happens and what actually happens are misaligned.

Firstly, the recoil from the 22lr is so insignificant, you should be seeing the fall of your shot. In fact if you are not, then there's likely a problem with your follow-through. Remember to keep you cheek glued to the buttstock for a second or two after the trigger breaks. If the target is a large piece of paper, indeed you may not see the fall, but smaller targets surrounded by dirt - yeah you should definitely be seeing the dirt "splash" up when you miss. Start by shooting plain old dirt to the side of the target to see for yourself, and prove your follow through is correct. Also, when lighting conditions are right, you can also actually see the trajectory of the shot as if flys through the air and onto the target. Again, you don't need a fancy scope to see this, just requires concentration, the right conditions and good technique.

Secondly, even a cheapish hunting scope will allow you to see your bullet holes at 100m, provided the magnification is 10x or greater. This is especially the case when the target is dark in colour, like a black ink target. 200m is a stretch, but any cheap spotting scope will let you see 200m holes. Those "reactive" style targets make this even clearer and might just let you see 200m holes through the rifle scope... provided the magnification is 10x or greater.

Thirdly, it's normal for a target rifle shooter to have the spotting scope set up next to them, on the left hand side if they are right handed. The shooter will make the shot, drop the rifle out of the shoulder, lean left and peer through their scope (to check the shot). At this time you can also inspect the mirage to see what the wind is doing. Like this:
scope.jpg
Now there's a TR shooter, if I ever saw one...
scope.jpg (291.23 KiB) Viewed 139 times


Fourthly, if you are super duper lazy, you can get a phone adapter for spotting scopes. Like this one:
gosky.jpg
Gosky scope adapter
gosky.jpg (393.58 KiB) Viewed 139 times

Then you can just glance at your phone without breaking pose. That particular adapter is the "Gosky Universal Cell Phone Adapter Mount" from Amazon. It's the sturdiest one I have ever used. The beauty of this approach is you can additionally record your session. You should always call your shots (i.e. state where you think they went before looking at where they actually went) to get an idea of "by how much" you are off by. Keep working on this. The objective is to merge predicted with actual; once this is more or less achieved then you know all your gear, technique and zero is where it should be. If you can't get there, then buy a target rifle :thumbsup:

In conclusion, if you are only shooting to 200m, then a cheap spotter on a small camera tripod can sit on the bench next to you, and will easily show you 200m hits. And you can attach your phone to for even more feedback from your session.
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by Bello » 11 Jun 2021, 9:33 am

Hi Mate
I agree with the above people. :thumbsup:
BUT, I also like magnification on my rifles...Some might say my eye sight has been better..lol :?
So I like the 25 or 30 power scopes to do what you have asked.
As you would appreciate, the more you dial up the maginfication, the smaller your field of view.
My Swarovski scopes are great for this...little pricey...but good.

If you ever get a chance to get to a range when they are doing a 200 meter fly shoot, maybe a chat with some of the guys/gals there. Most are approachable and will give you some good advice that may save you a lot of expensive mistakes.

Happy plinking
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by Larry » 11 Jun 2021, 12:00 pm

The other option is to use a larger piece of paper so you can see your shots. When you have a bit more experience and know your loads and gun it wont be necessary as you should be able to get within the few MOA of the center of each target on the first shot.
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by ThePlinkster » 11 Jun 2021, 3:53 pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone

A lot of great info here in this thread

Taking all this feedback on board
I think I may look into spotting scopes

I always assumed that spotting scopes were very expensive...
The ones that I originally accidentally stumbled accross were very expensive

But I just had a look now

And some spotting scopes are actually very affordable

I just saw some Bushnell spotting scopes ranging from $250 to $400
- with magnification of up to 60x
- including a small tripod coming with them as well

Pretty awesome

Obvsiouly, I'll need to check out the clarity/quality of the glass etc

But it's good to know that some spotting scopes aren't that expensive to purchase and give you great magnification and comes with the tripod already with it

I'll explore that avenue

I just need to make sure that I find out with good glass clarity and quality
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by in2anity » 11 Jun 2021, 4:11 pm

Is that you "TheFirearmEnthusiast"? :D
I'm a "salt on pizza" kinda guy...
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by ThePlinkster » 11 Jun 2021, 4:44 pm

in2anity wrote:Is that you "TheFirearmEnthusiast"? :D

Yes it is haha
I wrote a thread a while back letting everyone know that I had changed my name
I guess you must have missed that thread
All good
:)
:thumbsup:
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by Larry » 11 Jun 2021, 5:33 pm

Spotting scopes are very useful for some specific purposes. I dont think that one for your uses fits the bill. You wont be able to see any bullet falls in the dirt if you are shooting at gongs and missing them.
They are good for gauging environmental conditions in some circumstances and most commonly used by target shooters using iron sights or non magnification type sights for viewing shot markers placed in targets.
if you were talking longer distances like 500 yrds I would suggest a 32 or 50 power scope but at 200 yrds you could get away with a 25x and set to the mag that would give you the field of view you may miss at to see the shot. Using a scope this way will help you in lots of other shooting skills such as managing recoil, flinch, blinking, and general follow through.
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by bladeracer » 11 Jun 2021, 5:41 pm

ThePlinkster wrote:Hey guys

For me, as a general rule of thumb, typically speaking, the more magnification the better

However,
I'm just wondering what scope magnification you guys would recommend for "Long Distance Target Shooting"?
(Shooting out to around 200metres away with a 22LR)

Let me elaborate though

When I go to the range
Sometimes, I go by myself
So sometimes, I don't have a friend there with me with a spotting scope, being able to tell me where my shots are actually landing in relation to the target for when I do miss the target
(for example; whether my shots are landing either to the right of the target, or to the left of the target, or too short of the target etc)

So for that reason
I don't want "too much" magnification
Because if I'm too zoomed into the target, then I won't be able to see where my shots are actually landing in relation to the target (for when I miss the target)
I want to be able to be zoomed out just enough, to be able to see where my "missed shots" actually land, this way I can adjust on the next shot
But, at the same time, I want to have enough magnification to see holes in my target also, this way, I will be able to know when I actually hit the target also

Taking all of this into consideration;
- Shooting out to around 200metres away with a 22LR
- Being zoomed out just enough to be able to see where the "missed shots" land
- Having enough magnification to be able to see holes in the target also
What magnification would you guys recommend?

Thank you


I have a spotting scope, but I really find it pretty useless. I find the field of view at 75-power far too restrictive until I'm looking at things further than 200m. At 200m the field of view is only about two-meters or so wide. It might be okay to use at a range when you're shooting from a bench or lying on short grass I guess. It was useful to see them drop the Hazelwood Power Station Chimneys though :-)

I like to see my holes, but I don't need to see where my shots are falling in real time. When shooting groups it can be advantageous to not know so you are not inclined to subconsciously adjust your point of aim because of a flier. It's better to shoot the group, then adjust the zero if required afterwards. If you are trying to hit a specific target though, like steel, it's good to know where your bullets are hitting. 18-power does that for me to 200m on paper, 40-power is better, but the scopes are a lot bigger, and have very limited adjustment (even 35mm tubes), which really hampers them on a .22LR. If I just want to spend a session trying to shoot small clusters at 200m or more I'll occasionally drop one of the 10-40x's on. FoV at 40-power is about 1500mm wide at 200m, so if your shot falls 750mm high/low/wide you should see it hit. With my normal 18x, FoV is about three-meters wide at 200m.

But, in my own testing there is some indication that the higher magnification does allow me to shoot a little better.

When shooting steel, I rarely see the fall of shot in wet grass anyway, though at 100m to 200m if the light or moisture are right I can see the bullets coming down into the target. All I can do is call every shot and if I don't get a hit, make an educated guess to adjust my hold. Shooting at steel is significantly more difficult than shooting at paper, because you can't see where your misses are going. When the wind is gusting randomly I can empty several magazines chasing myself around the target. Make a hit, hold exactly the same and miss the next three, start chasing it around again, repeat ad nauseam. When shooting at paper you can discern something of a pattern and learn from it. I will occasionally set up a camera at the target, with a ribbon hanging in view to illustrate the wind. Then I can sit in leisure and study how the wind affects the fall of shot on the paper. I don't worry about longitudinal wind, just lateral, or how far off vertical the wind indicator is. Fore and aft wind does affect bullet drop as it adds and subtracts from the velocity, but nowhere near as significant as lateral wind effect on the bullet, at least not at these distances. The "standard" 10mph wind is making about 15fps, which is significant when it has a second or more to push against the bullet. But a 10mph tailwind only adds 15fps to your 850fps terminal velocity, which is very likely less difference than the ES of your ammo anyway.

When starting out at longer ranges I recommend using a large sheet or back board, like several A3 sheets or a roll of newsprint. And I fire a few shots at 25-50m first to confirm where I've actually left the zero from the last time (if I've forgotten to check my log - I always make note of where I've zeroed at the end of a session), or if I'm using different ammo from what I zeroed with. At 200m if you are testing ammo of different types, the point of impact can be a very long way off. And if you are shooting at small targets, like silhouettes or gongs, while you're starting out I recommend a large sheet behind anyway so you can study where your misses are going, and learn from that.
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by Peter988 » 11 Jun 2021, 5:49 pm

What about the suggestion oh bigger paper?
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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by boingk » 11 Jun 2021, 9:31 pm

Spotting scope all the way.

I like the long distance 22LR game myself, and a few of us at the local range set up a suitable game-sized target at the 200m mark, plinking away at it until our hearts are content. A pot filled with sand, a few clay targets strewn about (highly visible and easy to see when broken!), even a few old drink bottles or paper cups with water in - depends what your local range will allow.

Personally once I sight a rifle in and develop a load thats it - I'm done. From then on out its practise for the real deal, which means clay-target sized targets at 100~200m using offhand or an improvised mount. Hit it and you're job's done.

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Re: Magnification for Long Distance Target Shooting?

Post by Apollo » 11 Jun 2021, 9:52 pm

Bello wrote:Hi Mate
I agree with the above people. :thumbsup:
BUT, I also like magnification on my rifles...Some might say my eye sight has been better..lol :?
So I like the 25 or 30 power scopes to do what you have asked.
As you would appreciate, the more you dial up the maginfication, the smaller your field of view.
My Swarovski scopes are great for this...little pricey...but good.

If you ever get a chance to get to a range when they are doing a 200 meter fly shoot, maybe a chat with some of the guys/gals there. Most are approachable and will give you some good advice that may save you a lot of expensive mistakes.

Happy plinking


Well, I'm one of those people that have or do shoot whats called "200m Fly" and I have used a "up to 25X" Scope but it's not good enough.

I use on my 1965 Brno Model 2 a Scope that is March EP-Zoom 36-55x52mm and it's not the best of Scopes used in 200m Fly Shoots....

I have no problem seeing a tiny Ant crawling up my target and a few times I have actually aimed at it and splattered the little bugger.

However, I would suggest you look at something up past 25x power depending on your budget but the bigger budget the better the scope.

200m is great for Rimfire training / competition. I use Lapua Centre-X (sub velocity) and it's the most accurate in my rifle.
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Re: Magnification for 200m Target Shooting?

Post by SCJ429 » 12 Jun 2021, 8:55 am

I'm with you Apollo, 25x is not enough for 100 metres let alone 200. I was using a 36x fixed power at the 200 Fly but moved up to a 42x Nghtforce.
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