Moving back to the farm as I recently did has changed my shooting habits. I’m shooting a larger amount of rimfire rifle lately, not just for fun but also predator/pest control.
For all the years I lived in suburbia (which is a Kafkaesque purgatory for a simple, ignorant country boy like me) I did all of my shooting at the gun club. When I shot rimfire there I invariably took the only scoped .22 rifle in my inventory, forsaking the other iron-sighted rimfires in the safe.
Out here, where the rimfire rifle is a constant companion, the scoped rifle is too awkward to constantly carry around. The open sighted rifles are slimmer, lighter, and less delicate, which means that I’m using them more and more often.
Shooting virtually all open sights has resulted in an interesting revelation: the less magnification I have, the better I shoot.
For years I shot long range rifles with higher magnification scopes. The last centerfire I built – a marvelous 6.5-284 screamer – got topped with a relatively low power 2.5x-10x variable scope, which I’ve found completely adequate all the way out to 800 yards. Friends shooting at that same range would use 16x or 20x optics, and wondered why I chose the “small” magnification. Even at that time I recognized that the 10x was enough; I just didn’t need any more.
As to the rimfires, my scoped rifle carries a straight 4x optic. As I shoot more with iron sights, I find that even this modest magnification is more than I really need, especially from field positions. Even at 4x, movement is sufficiently magnified that my mind starts to play the game that is the bane of precision shooters everywhere: “hurry, the crosshairs are right on target! Pull the trigger now!”
In the field, I’ve proven to myself that I can shoot open sights more than accurately enough. There are times, though, when a scope would be handy – differentiating target from background in dappled sunlight, for instance. In those cases I’m dreaming of a nice fixed 2.5x scope – or maybe a 2.5x-5x variable, just in case I need a bit more magnification at some point. (In my heart I know that I won’t, but the “I might need that someday!” attitude is part and parcel of being an avid shooter!)
For me, less magnification is definitely the way to go.
-=[ Grant ]=-
- Posted by Grant Cunningham
- On July 2, 2008