Posted by Brad Patsy on Jan 5th 2018

What power scope lens should I use when archery shooting? I see the question asked all the time on internet forums. There is no correct answer. I would be willing to bet if you went down the line at the Vegas shoot-off that you would find everything from no lens up to 8x. This just shows that any power will work but you have to find what works for you and your shooting style. I have always shot higher power lens. For me a 1 3/8” 7x scope gives the sight picture I am comfortable with and I prefer a large black dot that covers all of the ten-ring and about half of the nine. This allows for less perceived movement and doesn’t allow an off centered hole in the target to ‘suck’ my dot over. Over the years I have tried a ring or frosted lens. While I do feel both of these allow me to aim calmer (especially in tournaments) I feel that my archery shooting just isn’t quite as accurate with the absence of the dot.

I have always shot a clarifier but do not necessarily recommend it. If you can get your scope clear without one I do feel you are better off. A clarifier adds a few chances for problems whether it be, glare from lighting, dust/dirt, chipping or just flat our breaking. A clarifier likes to suck up light. As a result I shoot a large peep. If using a clarifier you will 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 use #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.

Choosing a lens power for indoor archery shooting is the easiest so we’ll start there. Since you are shooting the same size target all the time you only have to worry about a single sight picture. 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. For indoor archery shooting most will use 3x, 4x or 6x but 7x and 8x are not uncommon. It’s recommend to start with a lower power and work up if needed.

Outdoors is a little bit different since you will be shooting a variety of targets at various ranges. In 3D archery shooting a 6x 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 are at on a target. For this reason 2x, 3x and 4x are the most popular for 3d with some using a 6x. You will also find that many 3d archers prefer a larger diameter scope for a better field of view.

Likewise in field archery you are shooting targets from 20 feet to 80 yards away so you need something that works for everything. Since most of your shots are between 30 and 60 yards I like to test at these yardages to make sure I have the desired sight picture. As with indoor archery shooting 3x, 4x and 6x are the most popular.

Just like the rest of archery you will find that correct lens power comes down to personal preference and will take some trial and error. There is no clear cut guide on what will work for you. What works well for your buddy may not work well for you. The best advice is to try as much as you can to find what works for you. Join our newsletter for more helpful tips and articles