“What power archery scope lens should I use when shooting?”
I see this question all the time on internet forums. The short answer is: there is no correct answer.
I would be willing to bet if you went down the line at a Vegas shoot-off, you’d find everything from no lens up to an 8x magnified bow sight for hunting. This just shows that any power will work, but you have to find what works for you and your shooting style.
Choosing a Scope
Personally, I’ve always shot with a higher power compound bow scope. For me, a 1 3/8” 7x scope gives the sight picture I’m comfortable with. I prefer a large black dot that covers all of the ten-ring and about half of the nine. This provides less perceived movement and doesn’t allow an off-centered hole in the target to “suck” my dot over.
Ring and Frosted Lenses
Over the years, I’ve tried a ring and frosted lens. While I do feel both of these archery scopes allow me to aim more calmly (especially in tournaments), I feel that my shooting just isn’t quite as accurate with the absence of the dot.
I’ve always shot a clarifier, but don’t necessarily recommend it. If you can get your compound bow scope clear without one, I feel you’re better off. A clarifier increases the chance for problems like
- Glare from lighting
A clarifier likes to suck up light. As a result, I shoot a large peep. If you’re using a clarifier, you’ll need to play with size and power. There are some rules of thumb, but it all comes down to each archer’s eyes. Personally, I’ve always used #2 for 6x and up, and #1 for anything under a 6x. The trick is to get your target clear and still be able to see your dot.
Scopes for Indoor Archery
Choosing a lens power for indoor archery is the easiest, so we’ll start there. Because you’re shooting the same size target all the time, you only have to worry about a single sight picture in your compound bow scope. You want enough magnification to be able to see well without seeing too much movement. The more magnification you have, the more movement you will see. Too much movement usually leads to a breakdown in your shot routine, resulting in a poor shot. Most people use 3x, 4x, or 6x for indoor archery shooting, but 7x and 8x are not uncommon. Start with a lower power and work your way up if needed.
Scopes for Outdoor Archery
Outdoor archery is a bit different because you’re shooting at a variety of targets at different ranges. For example, in 3D archery, shooting a 6x magnified bow sight for hunting may be great for a long, 50-yard target. But on a close, 20-yard target, you won’t be able to tell where you’re aiming. For this reason, 2x, 3x, and 4x compound bow scopes are the most popular, though some people use a 6x. You’ll also find that many archers prefer a larger diameter archery scope for a better field of view.
Likewise, in field archery, you’re shooting targets from 6.5 yards to 80 yards away, so you need a versatile scope that can handle the variety. Because most of your shots are between 30 and 60 yards, test your scope at these yardages to make sure you have the desired sight picture. As with indoor archery shooting, 3x, 4x, and 6x are the most popular.
Shop 60X Custom Bowstrings
Just like the rest of archery, you’ll find that the correct lens power in your compound bow scope comes down to personal preference and will take some trial and error. There is no clear-cut guide on what will work for you. Just experiment until you get it.
Peep Sight Installation Tips from the Pros
Parts of a Compound Bow
Compound Bow String Guide