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Pick the Proper Power in Your Riflescope

Match a scope to hunt conditions, not a misguided desire for extreme magnification

Pick the Proper Power in Your Riflescope

For most hunting situations, a variable-power riflescope with 9X or 12X at the upper end of the range is plenty. More magnification can make shooting from field positions difficult because it enhances the appearance of wobble. (Photo by Richard Mann)

Why has the 3-9X riflescope been the most popular model for hunting for so long? The answer is really simple: a 3-9X riflescope provides an additional level of magnification for every 100 feet, all the way out to 300 yards (900 feet). For many years, 300 yards was about the limit of what most big-game hunters considered to be an ethical shooting distance.

Out to 300 yards, the view through a 3-9X riflescope set at a magnification respective to the range (3X at 300 feet, 4X at 400 feet, etc.) makes an...

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