I am trying to find some binoculars for hunting. I generally zero my rifle to fire at 100 yards. I really can't imagine shooting animals much further than this distance, although for scouting and getting a larger field of view, I might want to go out to 150 yards. What is an appropriate magnification for something like this? Largest field of view possible, for 100-150 yards
To choose a good set, you first need to understand the behind the specs.
Usually, binos are referred by two numbers, A x B
The number (A) before the x is the magnification factor, i.e how many times closer (larger) you see the object.
The number after the x (B) is the diameter of the lenses in millimeters.
Then, there is a third number that's the result dividing B by A with results the pupil exit in millimeters. That is the "amount" of light that comes in to your eyes.
So, putting those number in place we have...
- higher the magnification, narrower is the field of view. If you need to see more, choose a lower magnification.
For hunting, I'd say that 7x to 10x should be what you're looking for. 12x to 16x if you're going for long range shooting like pest control (varmint hunting) but you might better go for a spotting scope instead of binos as you will be able to stabilize and have better view.
Also, a higher B will allow more light to come in which helps during hunting at dawn or dusk.
I could suggest you to try and 8x42 and 10x42. Those should work as an "all around" binos.
For example, I have two optics. A bushnell legend HD 10x42 and a rangefinder sport 850 4x20. The legend is great for open fields but I need to rest it somewhere otherwise just the shaking of the hand interferes. The sport 850 is great in the bush and short distances as the movement does not interfere in the image.
I've hunted deer within 150 yards using 10x magnification and for the most part that was fine. However I encountered problems when trying to determine if a buck was a 2 point or a 4 point, which meant waiting / hoping for the animal to come closer or spending a lot longer studying the picture. Details like that can be critical when hunting and can make the difference between a legal and an illegal shot.
I upgraded to a spotting scope that has adjustable magnification up to 45x and a tripod. A steady hold or a stable surface become really important when dealing with higher magnifications.
Whether you choose binoculars, a spotting scope, or both will depend on several factors including how far you're travelling, how much weight you're comfortable packing, the style of hunting (e.g. spot and stalk vs still), and the type of environment you're in. Personally I would say go with 10x binoculars if you're hiking a good distance or through bush, but if you'll be mostly stationary try to get something more powerful - just because you can.
Edit: you mention you'll be hunting in the open. In my experience magnification isn't usually required for spotting game out in the open or at the edge of a field, but it is essential for confirming the specifics. Because of this I wouldn't be too concerned about getting the widest field of view - the naked eye is very good at picking out movement at long ranges
Sounds like you'll want 8x42mm Binos. They have a wider FOV than 10x42's and are easier to hand-hold steady. Especially when you're huffing and puffing during the hike-in and want to raise them up quickly to inspect something.
Also a little easier to get them on target of the thing you want to inspect. Learn to take quick note of other physical landmarks for visual reference near where you want to look, before you raise up the Binos to your eyes, in order to guide you back in to the thing you want to inspect.
Tuck supporting hands against your cheek bones. Eye-cups onto your brow. Tuck-in your elbows into your rib-cage when supporting them as well.
But it depends on the terrain more than anything. If the terrain opens-up, you'll want the 10x's (or greater! Lotta guys who glass a lot swear by 15's). If you're looking across longer distances with them, you'll need a tripod. They are magical when on a tripod. You see movement like crazy since there is no shake from your hands.