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A variable scope has more glass and moving parts, a fixed X scope "should" be brighter all things equal. At one time, I was a fixed X fan having the following on my rifles but have since gone to variables as they better fit my hunting needs. When boots on the ground, I always keep my variables on the lowest power, once "hunting" I set to 6 or 7X and adjust based on conditions.

Leupold 6x36 (the only scope I ever bought used and it was a good one)
Leupold 6x42 (several)
S&B 6x42 (two)
Swarovski 8x56 PH (super bright in low light)

All have gone to other shooters, some from this forum, I just prefer variables these days, mostly Leupold 5HDs.

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I hunt out west, all over Montana and have always had variables, 2.5-8 or 3-9. After one time walking into a bedded herd of antelope with my scope left a nine power, seeing nothing but blurred shapes as the whole herd bounded away, I always keep my scope dialed all the way down. I have never dialed it up over five, so I could live with a fixed four power.

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Originally Posted by JCMCUBIC
Originally Posted by byd
Is there a difference between a variable scope set to 6x vs a fixed 6x scope.

If the reticle is a FFP reticle and exactly the same subtensions between both, it should look the same.

If the reticle is a SFP reticle, the subtensions will be different across the power settings so the reticle would appear different at different power settings.....unless the subtensions listed were at 6x in the variable, but usually they will be at the highest power setting of the variable scope.

As far as the image brightness, assuming the same lens coatings, exit pupil, etc in both scopes, the fixed power should allow more light to pass through because there are fewer lenses for the light to pass through. Anytime light passes through a lens, some light is lost. I don't know if it's enough to notice, but fewer lenses means less light reflected on each surface.....so the fixed should be brighter if all other factors are the same.
succinct!

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Originally Posted by byd
Is there a difference between a variable scope set to 6x vs a fixed 6x scope.

The biggest difference is when you want more power than 6X you can only do it with the variable.

If you can’t hunt without misusing a variable scope, you better stick with the straight power.


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I currently have 10 centerfire rifles that I hunt with. 1 has iron sights, 4 have variables & the other 5 are fixed scopes. All of the variables start between 1.5x ~ 2.4x so none of them have overly powerful magnification ranges. A lot of this reflects the shorter ranges (sub 250 meters) that I hunt at and the fact that I personally prefer to keep things simple. I mostly hunt with single-shot falling blocks. Large zoom ranges and adjustable turrets would provide me with features that would be of limited use based on the way I hunt. Whenever I buy a new rifle, putting a fixed scope on it is always something I consider. My fixed scopes are 3x, a pair of 4x, a pair of 6x & one 8x56 and I really do like them all. I totally understand why some hunters prefer scopes with a lot more adjustability but for me personally, I'm happy with the way I do things.

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Originally Posted by odonata
I currently have 10 centerfire rifles that I hunt with. 1 has iron sights, 4 have variables & the other 5 are fixed scopes. All of the variables start between 1.5x ~ 2.4x so none of them have overly powerful magnification ranges. A lot of this reflects the shorter ranges (sub 250 meters) that I hunt at and the fact that I personally prefer to keep things simple. I mostly hunt with single-shot falling blocks. Large zoom ranges and adjustable turrets would provide me with features that would be of limited use based on the way I hunt. Whenever I buy a new rifle, putting a fixed scope on it is always something I consider. My fixed scopes are 3x, a pair of 4x, a pair of 6x & one 8x56 and I really do like them all. I totally understand why some hunters prefer scopes with a lot more adjustability but for me personally, I'm happy with the way I do things.


That is a bigger requirement than manipulating a variable power scope. Known ranges and sight settings are critical to hit anything at varied distances.

I enjoy the gun as much or more as the game, but it is more critical to know sight settings than the power on a variable scope…


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Hey shrapnel, those are some great photos! Thanks for sharing. I do enjoy seeing other hunter's successes especially when it's different from what I'm doing. While I favor fixed scopes, I do wish my terrible eyesight was good enough to feel comfortable hunting with iron sights more often. But my lack of ability to see clearly at some of the distances I encounter is definitely a weak point with me.

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Originally Posted by odonata
Hey shrapnel, those are some great photos! Thanks for sharing. I do enjoy seeing other hunter's successes especially when it's different from what I'm doing. While I favor fixed scopes, I do wish my terrible eyesight was good enough to feel comfortable hunting with iron sights more often. But my lack of ability to see clearly at some of the distances I encounter is definitely a weak point with me.


I told myself, I wasn’t going to allow my eyes to get that sensitive, but I have been wearing bifocals since I was 45. I do have progressive lenses and I can still shoot iron sights quite well.

I love guns and shooting, so I have to balance between old guns with iron sights and new guns with scopes. I also live where I would vacation, so I don’t have to go far to shoot or hunt…


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Great Pictures Shrapnel. Lucky guy to live in MT. I wanted to stay out there in 1976 when my cousin and I are spent 8 weeks camping x country. Had a gf home, now my wife of 46 years!! Hope to take the camper out west next spring and possibly Alaska.

I bought a 6x42 and 8x56 both S&B’s this year, like them a lot. Also have a S&B variable 2-12x50 coming in today from Eurooptic to mount on a new SAKO S 20 .30-06.

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