OK so I am new to F Class, What scope do I need??

Get or give advice on equipment, reloading and other technical issues.

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OK so I am new to F Class, What scope do I need??

#1 Postby ChrisG » Sun Jul 10, 2005 7:32 pm

Ok, So I am new to F Class, what scope do I need?? What do new shooters need to know. What are the pitfalls. Where to buy. What do you use and why ie brand, power etc, reticle type (why do you use this one) bases and mounts.

Simon C
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#2 Postby Simon C » Sun Jul 10, 2005 8:01 pm

Hi Chris & welcome to this challenging sport. I use a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22 x 50 scope on my F-std rifle. The rings are also NF. I also have a 20MoA NF tapered picatinny base. Most of the guys who shoot at aour club use the NF scopes. The NXS series are mil spec scopes which have excellent clarity, adjustment and reliability. The parallax is adjusted thru side focus which is much more convenient when the rifle is all set up. This comes in handy when u want to watch the mirage closely.

My recommendation to u would be to buy the best scope u can. A great rifle with a garbage scope is a recipe for disaster (a lesson i learned with one of my hunting rifles) so if it means waiting a little longer to get the money together, then do it. U can check out the NXS scopes here http://www.nightforceoptics.com/

I like the 22 power as we shoot out to 1000yds on our range and this gives a good, consistent sight picture. I have tried the x15 but dont like it as much. In terms of reticles, i have the MLR reticle (same as mil dot but with stadia lines) which i have found helps heaps when measuring spotter error. It depends how u prefer to shoot. I use a combination of holdovers and sight adjustment when shooting so the MLR suits me jut fine.

The best thing for u to do would be to get down behind some other Fclass rifles on the mound (i assume u have joined a club??) and actually look at targets. This will give u a better idea of what suits you best in terms of power range and setup.

Good luck :D
"Aim small, miss small"


bruce moulds
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#3 Postby bruce moulds » Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:37 pm

hi chris,
a scope is an aiming device.
one thing we can learn from tr shooters is that their aiming devices are repeatable shot after shot, & year after year, mechanically. just look at some of those old central sights, & consider that some of the better modern iron sight systems cost in the vicinity of reasonable scopes. a scope must do this too.
next it must have good optical definition, so that the target & reticule can be seentogether with clarity.
in recoil situations it will need eye relief to avoid blood & pain.
it might have certain weight requirements.
it will need minimum windage & elevation adjustments to do our kind of work.
and last but not least, guess what, it has to be affordable!
also remember, that with variables, say 12-42 range, 12 willnever be used in our job, but increasingly 42 is becoming the power it stays on for the rest of its life, as people learn the benefits of hi power scopes.
bruce moulds.


#4 Postby Guest » Mon Jul 11, 2005 12:03 am

Hi Chris

Simon and Bruce have very good advice, the best scope you can afford is a good motto as it will outlast a good number of barrels, and most of your other kit. A bad scope can give unreliable sighting, and it can leave you doubting yourself, your rifle, your ammunition or your ability. Not to mention knocking you out of competitions.

Follow up on Simon's suggestion of sighting through a few at a club, it could save you $ and time. If you are not used to high powered scopes, what looks to be the best magnification now may seem underpowered once you adjust to it. While at a club you can ask questions about mounts, bases, good suppliers and gunsmiths in your area.

There are a couple of threads on this site where some people have listed their gear for f-open and f-std, I suggest you have a look at them as well.

Good luck

Mark Hamersley

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#5 Postby B.Scheske » Mon Jul 11, 2005 12:34 am

hi Crhis

for the money you cant go past the nightforce but the nikko-stirling targetmaster is worth a look john oddy uses one of these and has won a few queens shoots with it
"Make The First Shot Count!"


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#6 Postby VickiMcc » Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:29 am

In my experience the more it costs the better it is
Best if you call someone who sells scopes and is not biased to any particular brand. Try Peter at Pro Cal trading, the number is in the latest Target magazine. I'm sure he will give you lots to think about.
Personally i have and use 2 Nightforce 8-32Br models, 2 Lynx 36x and also have 3 Lynx 20x sniper scopes. All are quality scopes, i just use them on different guns for different grades and or different ranges.
Coincidently i have a couple of scopes for sale on the for sale forum


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#7 Postby AlanF » Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:08 am


Quite apart from the quality of scopes (which I agree with the other posters about), for F-Class the amount of elevation and windage adjustment available in the scope is very important. For this reason I would strongly advise choosing a model with a 30mm tube (most general purpose scopes have a 1 inch tube). 30mm tube scopes typically have much more available adjustment. You may have just enough adjustment with a 1 inch, but it often means getting near the extremities of the adjustment, which is not recommended. Regardless of whether you go for a 30mm tube, the scope base is important too. Its best to get one that slopes forward 20 to 30 moa, and to ensure that it is perfectly aligned with the barrel (when looking along the top). Doing these things will further assist in keeping the elevation and windage adjustments away from the extremities.


Cameron Mc
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#8 Postby Cameron Mc » Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:31 am

Chris, the others have pretty well summed it up about scope choice. In the end it comes down to what one can afford.
The first priority I require from a scope is repeatability with the adjustments. I use Nightforce, Leupold and Weaver.
I used a 24x Weaver yesterday to win a Prize shoot at Toowoomba. The Weaver does not have the best optics but its adjustments are so precise. Also the Weaver is reasonably priced, mine cost around $800. The down side is it does not have a huge amount of adjustment.
Reticles are a very personal thing. I like Fine Cross Hair and 1/8min Dot also NP 2DD with the Nightforce. For me with a small dot I can obtain a really precise aim.
I rarely go above 24 power. In my area mirage is really bad, even in winter at my home range.
Look thru as many as you can.

Hope this helps, Cameron

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OK so I am new to F Class, What scope do I need??

#9 Postby pjifl » Mon Jul 11, 2005 9:03 am

To me the most important aspect is mechanical reliability and repeatability.

The optics have to be good but take second place to the above and in fact the optics do not have to be exquisite, just good. Remember we shoot on a high contrast black and white target. Exquisite optics is more important on a tactical scope where light gathering and the ability to see through camoflage is more important.

There is a feeling amongst many that 20 is plenty because of mirage etc. I used to think this way but now consider there is a real place for over 30 X. And I must add that I do shoot in severe mirage at times.

I think this divergence of opinion is related to ones aiming and wind compensation system. It is also somewhat dependant on whether you are shooting at the open or standard target. The open target places more demands on aiming accuracy - although it is easier to aim at.

If you always aim in the centre of a white circle, and have a bead of the correct size to place in the centre, 10X is plenty to aim consistently to 1/20 minute. Rather like a peep sight with ring foresights where 1X magnification here can easily aim consistently to 1/5 min because it is centred. But as soon as you want to aim off, the amount of aim off is much easier to interpolate more accurately with higher magnification.

Old fullbore shooters start off winding the knobs and aiming at the centre following from their past experience. Thus the lower power is OK. But after a while many want to aim off and this is where the higher power would help. Then the aiming system is again related to the type of wind you usually shoot under. Larger but steady winds are more suited to knob twiddling. faster fishtails - even though light - are better suited to aim off if you can control it.

I am using a 25X on my long range rifle and 32X on the short range rifle.
While at times the 25X shows a lot of mirage, I never think it is a disadvantage compared to a 20 or 15.

Personally - although I do not trust zoom scopes much - the ideal zoom range for me would be 15 - 40.

Just to reiterate - someone else mentioned plenty of elevation range to ensure the scope never operates near its limits. This is very important. Also consider that the vertical range needed in an Open scope is much less than for F standard. If you intend to shoot from 300 to 1200 with a standard rifle you will need a huge vertical range.

Personally, if I was paying a lot of money, and a range of graticules were on offer, I would never get a graticule without simple windage marks of some sort. Just a plain X or simple dot is to me silly. But - some graticules are just too cluttered. It should be simple.

Peter Smith.

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#10 Postby bjld » Mon Jul 11, 2005 12:06 pm

G'day Chris

I find myself agreeing with Peter again. Repeatability of adjustment is definitely more important than the quality of the optics (they need to be good, but not the best you can buy). This was demonstrated at the Barmera OPM. We lined up 3 rifles with different scopes on the SSAA concrete benches at the end of the day so someone in the same situation as you could have a look for themselves before committing to purchasing a particular brand. The NXS had great optical clarity and the LR Leupold was even better again. My Weaver T36 certainly didn't look as bright by comparison, but the image still had plenty of resolution. However, I would argue that the T36 had the repeatability of adjustment (MicroTrac) that is critical to staying in a 0.5MOA X-ring.

I shot at 900m on Saturday and I had no problem getting the elevation I needed (I do have a 20MOA tapered base) from the T36. If weight is a consideration (especially when you move into Open), the T36 beats the NXS hands down. Furthermore, I can't think of a worse place to put 1kg+ on your rifle than scope height, especially for free recoil.


Tony Q
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#11 Postby Tony Q » Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:28 pm

HI Chris

How are the guys treating you down there at CTV???

As you know, most of our rifles at MB use Nightforce Benchrset or NXS but you don’t need to spend that much for a quality scope. Some of us went through a series of stepping stones to get what we wanted but that’s wish list stuff and not necessarily a minimum standard.

Scopes are one of the most confusing bits of kit we F Classers need to get our minds round, especially if your background is general shooting or hunting. The problem is that so many scopes are made these days with ranging reticles or target type turrets that its difficult to know what to get or indeed what may do the job. Some have fantastic optical clarity but what are the internal adjustments like?

Most scopes sold in the local gun store are only ever adjusted for initial zero and never touched again so the manufacturer doesn’t spend to much money in this area. I can tell you that a cheap scope at say $400 will do the job, and people use them, but you are more likely to go through quite a few lemons before finding a good one.

You could go up a bit to say $800, this will give you a better quality selection and it the right place for a starting point if funds are tight. (Lynx, etc)

Up a bit to $1000 - $1400 will get you into the Leuopolds and Weavers etc

Over $1500 gets you Benchrest Night Force and Leuopold etc

Over $2100 Gets you Nightforce NXS scopes, entry level US Optics and Leuopold etc

Over $4000 gets you the all new S&B or better US Optics

I would have to say that $800 - $1200 will get you something you can rely on and trust for a long long time, $2000 - $4000 will get you something you can leave the grand kids!

Some of our guys have waited for second hand scopes to come along but they are rare, the last one we found was a 8-32 NF benchrest model for $1000.

Get the best you can afford now.
MBRC F-Class standard ... and proud of it!

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#12 Postby ChrisG » Mon Jul 11, 2005 7:54 pm

Thanks gays, for the info keep it coming, Ben, what type of reticle does the T36 have, why did you choose this one, bring some extra ammo on the 23 rd.



#13 Postby Guest » Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:32 pm

Last edited by Guest on Sun Oct 30, 2005 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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OK so I am new to F Class, What scope do I need??

#14 Postby pjifl » Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:40 pm

With reference to mounting a heavy scope quite high - I now think it is actually a good thing. This may be surprizing - in fact it is not what I would have said a few years ago so can I ask people to keep an open mind and consider the following.

During free recoil, the rifle must recoil backwards, recoil upwards, and recoil by rotation as a reaction to the spin up of the projectile.

These are all related to linear and rotary momentum of the bullet, friction, centre of mass and moment of inertia.

A heavy high scope raises centre of gravity. Recoil is more in line with the bore line. There is less tendency for the barrel to lift.

Similarly, a larger moment of inertia around the boreline resists twisting around the boreline. Think of two weights on a bar - close to the centre - then moved out to the ends when the moment of inertia is much larger.

One scope I made from scratch. It is solid and it was difficult to produce with light weight. It is mounted higher than usual. The result is a very nice rifle to shoot free recoil. This was an unexpected bonus. Of course it does need good mounts.

Dont be afraid to think differently if there is a good reason.

Peter Smith

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#15 Postby bjld » Mon Jul 11, 2005 9:47 pm

G'day Chris

The T36 comes with a fine cross hair. with or without a 1/8MOA dot. I prefer not to have any graduations on the reticule because I learnt to shoot fullbore before I started shooting F-class, and learnt to make all adjustments for wind conditions with sight adjustments, rather than by aiming off. With the championship target you can quickly calculate the necessary adjustment in MOA.

I always bring 14 rounds per range, so you can probably have at least 2 shots on the 23rd (maybe 8 shots if I shoot 6 Xs for sighters!). You'd have to do something pretty special to get any more!


I appreciate what you say, but when the centre of gravity has been raised the rifle is going to be less stable.


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