Neil Cheesman: and interestingly several websites have it as a 302
Federico Sasso: Best option is setting only one hop, to reduce HTTP requests and delays. Yet, if your backend system is not that flexible it`s not a big tragedy: googlebot (I`m not sure about other search crawlers) can follow up to five redirects.
Tony McCreath: It`s easier to work out the simpler hops than create direct redirects from all variants. Lazy, but no major loss.