Magnification: How Many X’s Do You Need?

If you live outside of the USA its pretty likely that you’ll want to use a MILS compensation tool. If you live inside the USA, MOA is probably going to be more comfortable. As far as what they actually do, MOA lines up with 1. 047” (the 0. 047” part is generally disregarded) at 100 yards.

MILS measures up at 10cm at 100m. This means at 200 yards, you’ll be looking at 2” and at 200m you’ll be looking at 20cm and so forth. At extreme distances, MILS is generally spot on but MOA may take some tweaking and validating (due to that pesky 0. 047”) with drop charts and various other tools.

As a pro tip, before pulling the trigger on the Amazon buy box, ensure the scope’s turrets are built for the reticle the scope houses. It baffles me, however, that scopes are sometimes manufactured with MOA turrets and a MILS reticle. What the…?!?Also, since this article is about long-range shooting, ensure your reticle has some kind of placeholders or identifiers.

It’ll take you forever to squeeze off the shot if you have to count over 20 MOA on a scale with no numberings and it’s easy to miss one or forget which line you were using. Magnification: How Many X’s Do You Need? Firstly, understanding the X’s and the M’s that come along with any magnified scope are a must.

Example: 6-25x 60mmThe first numbers are the power of magnification. In our example above, this means targets will appear 6 times larger than normal (eyesight) at the scopes lowest possible settings. When there are 2 numbers together with a hyphen this means the scope is capable of a range of magnifications.

This example shows us the scope is capable of a minimum magnification power of 6x all the way up to a maximum power of 25x. Finally, the last number that is given in millimeters tells us the diameter of the objective lens. Remember, this will determine how much light will be transferred to your picture but will also result in a much heavier unit with a higher price tag.

More magnification usually always sounds like a good thing, but if you’re using your rifle to hit moving targets or perhaps hunting, too much magnification may hinder your ability to acquire targets quickly and plan for incoming obstacles. Higher magnification results in a much smaller window of sight but much further distances.

If you’re perched on a shooting range, the high magnification is great as you have all the time in the world to find those targets and you know exactly where they’ll be. Some high-end scopes will offer variable power, which means you can cycle through magnification levels.

These may be especially handy for scouting out targets and then focusing more in depth once you have identified their location. Shooting 100 meters away with a 25x scope isn’t going to be enjoyable nor practical, but if you can switch between 5x and 25x with the flick of your wrist, you’ll be well equipped for a wide range of distances.

In dealing with long range high magnification scopes, the truth is that eye relief is usually pretty low on the spectrum of hoots given. With a high level of magnification, the picture is bounced from mirror to mirror and put through a tube that helps to capture light.