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4x scope group size

08 Aug 2019
@ 10:20 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

I moved from a slug-only state, Illinois (where I hunted deer with an iron-sighted smooth-bore and limited my shots to 75 yards), to Oregon, a state that allows centerfire rifles. I bought a Howa 243 and a Weaver K4. I spent 2 days at the range, painstakingly following Howa's break-in instuctions: 10 rounds, cleaning between each, followed by 10 3-shot groups, cleaning between each group. I was shooting at 50 yards using 80 grain federal blue box, which has ballistics similar to the mono-metal rounds I wanted to test for hunting. I cleaned after the last group, after inspecting the crown for copper fouling, as I learned from one of Nathan's videos I rented on Vimeo (there was none). I knew there would be parallax issues with the scope at 50 yards, but I had it shooting about .75" high. I wanted to zero at 200 yards, so the next trip to the range I shot 3 fouling shots at an 8" steel at 200, and hit it all 3 times. Then I put up 6 of Nathan's targets at 200. I shot 3 shots at 5 of them with the pricey mono-metal rounds, followed by 3 Federal blue-box 80 grain. The mono-metal stuff was all over the place - Hornady, Barnes, Federal Trophy Copper and Copper Hollow Points, and Nosler (I figured the Nosler wouldn't do well due to the 1 in 10 twist rate of the gun). The Federal blue-box was about a 4 inch group, the best. I expected the POI to change with the mono-metal rounds, but not spray. The next trip, I'm moving in to 100 yards. I have 3 question: 1) What magnification do you use at 100 yards to shoot MOA? 2) what group size should I expect with a 4x scope? (The reticle on my scope covered the bullseye on Nathan's target at 200 yards, so I centered it on the paper.) 3) Should I stick with the Federal blue box 80 grain if it shoots the best? (The deer here in Western Oregon are not very big.) Thanks.

Replies

10 Aug 2019
@ 08:49 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: 4x scope group size
Results at 100 yards were better, but at 4x, I still had difficulty seeing the bullseye on Nathan's target. The best 3-shot group, 1 1/8", was with Remington Express 80 gr. soft points. The Federal 80 gr. SPs were next, followed by highly unimpressive groups from the all-copper lot. Deer season is 28 days away. After it's over, I'll have fun at the range answering the question, "Is it me, the rifle, the scope, the ammo, or the target design?" Next range trip, I'm taking a stack of 9" paper plates. Whatever ammo will put 2 quick shots into one them at 200 yards is what I'll hunt with.
10 Aug 2019
@ 11:58 am (GMT)

Mike R

Re: 4x scope group size
I would expect groups to shrink some with a higher magnification. I played around with a 45-70 with iron sights and a 1-4x leupold and had very similar group sizes. With my rifles I have a preference for 4-12 scopes for general hunting. Have one 6-18 on my Roo rifle and one 6-24 on a 308. While I can use up to 24x at the range, out in the field 18power is max that’s where the eye reliefs ok and Sight picture ok also going higher than that you start chasing the picture.
10 Aug 2019
@ 02:18 pm (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: 4x scope group size
Thanks, Mike. That makes me feel better. I'm going to practice shooting at paper plates from field positions at various distances. Then I'll know my limitations this season. Bench shooting off sandbags, chasing MOA, is getting expensive and not helping my confidence.
15 Aug 2019
@ 08:38 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: 4x scope group size
Back at the range with the unmarked paper plates, I couldn't resist using the bench. My son, who is 28 and just started shooting, refuses to use a rear rest. He shot two .6 moa groups at 200 yards, and one .5 moa group at 100. This was with a cheap Hawke Vantage 4x fixed on a Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic. This destroyed my theory that 4x is insufficient to achieve MOA at 100, while also putting to rest the question, "Should I bed that rifle." With my Hogue-stocked Howa, the paper plates at 200 escaped mostly unscathed, save for the occasional flesh wound. I shot one 1 3/8 inch group at 100. I broke down and bought a lead sled. It will pay for itself in reduced ammunition cost.
15 Aug 2019
@ 03:04 pm (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: 4x scope group size
The lead sled was worth it. I shot eight 3-shot groups at 100 yards, each with different ammo. Evev the NoslerETips shot OK. The elevation was consistent, but on average, all the rounds shot 2 inches to the right. I'm ditching the hogue stock after this season, but for now I know I'm to 150.
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15 Aug 2019
@ 03:04 pm (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: 4x scope group size
The lead sled was worth it. I shot eight 3-shot groups at 100 yards, each with different ammo. Evev the NoslerETips shot OK. The elevation was consistent, but on average, all the rounds shot 2 inches to the right. I'm ditching the hogue stock after this season, but for now I know I'm to 150.
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15 Aug 2019
@ 03:08 pm (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: 4x scope group size
Hmmm . . . Didn't mean to post that tei e
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15 Aug 2019
@ 06:41 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: 4x scope group size
one of my best ever groups...shot at 200 yards under an inch...was using a 4 power scope.
3 of my rifles wear them...2" would be ok for me.
try target with a simple X in it...that way you balance the two crosses together. the smaller/finer you aim the smaller you will miss.
in my mind and the way I hunt a simple 4 power is ample,I seldome shoot past 300 yards and normally if I do the rifle is wearing a 3x9 scope...
if you are using a EBRG/twoforfree you wont likely be shooting past ???250-300 yards??? so 2" will be 6" which is ample for solid chest/shoulder shots....in saying that twoforfrees NORMALLY are tack drivers,cant see why you would/should need a lead sled for such a tame recoiling cartridge.....perchance has your son tried shooting your rifle for you????? might find its "the nut behind the butt" pulling shots or developing something that starts with F and rhymes with grynch......
15 Aug 2019
@ 10:42 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: 4x scope group size
Mounts, rings, action screws tight (to spec)? 1:00 test? Pressure points? Trigger (cleaned, de-burred, and adjusted)? What do you see when you dry-fire it? How big were the groups at 50 yds?

Leave the copper alone. Nathan's targets are designed for 100 yard use, they must be almost completely blocked out at 200. Try a 4" black bull with a 2" white centre at 200. I've used 4x M8s out to 300 on my 338WM, but I also use a 6" target.

Make it easy on yourself, this is not a race and not a competition. Personally, I would shoot it at 50 until it was a one-hole gun. By then you should know when your trigger is going to break, your sight picture will be more steady, your breathing will be under control.

These are just suggestions and ideas, not fixes.
16 Aug 2019
@ 05:35 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: 4x scope group size
Thanks for the valuable input. The gun has a 20" light contour barrel. I told a white lie: my son shot those groups off the lead sled. I never had flinch problems with my 12 gauge slug gun or my model 70 30-06, which I'd be using now were it not the victim of a house burglary. But then I never shot 20 rounds per range trip with them, either. I'm a skinny, narrow-shouldered, 65-year old. They took my bladder and prostate out in December after 3 months of heavy-duty chemo, during which I lost 35 pounds. I've gained some of it back, but not in my upper torso. I'm not too proud to admit this woosie gun is beating the shit out of me. It's a loud son of a bitch, too. So, yeah, I considered the possibility of a flinch. Would I had known the virtues of the 6.5 Grendel when I decided on a gun/cartridge combination! I'm testing the copper rounds because I need all the velocity I can get. I'm not shooting anything which, after subtracting 150 from the MV on the box, doesn't leave a remainder if at least 3000. The 80-85 grain rounds are hot, particularly the hornady superformance, which did good enough - spot-on elevation with a 2" lateral spread. Out of the 100+ rounds the gun has consumed thus far, the Remington 80 grain soft points have produced a couple of 1MOA groups. I don't trust those on shoulder shots, though. Plus, there are elk here, and no, I'm not inviting an ethics debate! It's an moot qustion: a guy up the road apiece from me said a 6mm copper bullet will kill an elk. His last name is Nosler, so there you go!
16 Aug 2019
@ 06:47 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: 4x scope group size
Hmm, interesting . . . A company I'd never heard of, Ammo Inc., is loading the 90 grain Accubond at an advertised MV of 3100. I'd be tempted to carve out an exception to my 3000fps-mininum rule if it grouped well.
16 Aug 2019
@ 10:06 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: 4x scope group size
OK ...Its a breath of fresh air to hear someone entertain the posibility a flinch MIGHT be part of issue.... there are plenty of guys out there shooting deer with bog standard loads in .243,federal blue box or winchester 100grn loads.
from all Ive read and seen an elk/wapity is no harder to kill than a red deer...some would argue they are easier to kill as vitals are larger and no better protected.
double up your hearing protection..ear plugs and ear muffs together. a really good way to find out is to get your son to load rifle for you...and at some stage slip in an empty case WITHOUT telling you...when you YANK the trigger and pull rifle 3" off target,you will go red in the face and know whats going on....best way I know of detecting the dreaded flinch. if you are grouping 2" at hundy and dont intend to shoot past 200-300yards...see .243 txt in knowledge base. I cant see why you would have issues.

I shoot deer with both the .223 and the 7.62x39mm BUT I limit my range and pick my shots....
17 Aug 2019
@ 03:21 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: 4x scope group size
I like he empty cartridge idea. Before I moved here to Oregon, I lived my whole life in Alton, Iillinois, where Olin-Winchester was founded. They have a 100 yard range, free to the public, with free targets. The one time I used it was when I got my 30-06. I always took my my rifles to a farm field, stepped off 200 yards (which I knew from walking a football field), and shot prone with a rolled up sleeping bag as a front rest with no rear rest. Now I'm paying for a range membership, so I feel obligated go use it. I wish they had cut their benches like Nathan's design, with the angled sides. The rear sand bag keeps wanting to drop off into my lap. I can never get comfortable. It's why my son won't use a rear rest, and why I purchased the lead sled. I'm getting into the whole chasing MOA thing now though, as a hobby. The irony is I'll never have a shot at a deer from a rest as good as that bench I don't like.
 

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