Top 5 Things to Look at When Choosing a Rifle Scope

2 mins read
Silhouette of a young man shooting with a long rifle against sunset sky, with a sunburst.
Silhouette of a young man shooting with a long rifle against sunset sky, with a sunburst. Source: Depositphotos

Finding the best rifle scopes is one of the surefire ways to improve your shooting accuracy. But with all of the different brands, models, and types of scopes on the market, it can be tough to know where to start.

Here are five things to keep in mind when shopping for a new scope:

1. Magnification

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a rifle scope is magnification. Scopes are available in a wide range of magnifications, from 1x to 50x or more. The magnification you need will depend on the type of shooting you plan to do. For example, if you’re mostly shooting at 100 yards or closer targets, a 1-4x scope should suffice. Similarly, if you plan to go on long-range shooting, you need a scope with better magnification, such as a 6-24x or even a 10-40x.

2. Reticle

The reticle is the crosshair or dot in the center of the scope’s field of view. There are a variety of different reticle designs, and the one you choose should be based on your preferences and the type of shooting you’re planning to do. For example, if you’re mostly shooting at long range, you’ll want a reticle that has holdover marks for windage and elevation. On the other hand, if you’re mostly shooting moving targets, you’ll want a reticle that has hash marks or other features that help you estimate target speed.

3. Objective Lens

The objective lens is the large lens at the front of the scope. It gathers light and forms an image in the eyepiece. The size of the objective lens determines how much light the scope gathers and, thus, how bright the image will be.

As a general rule, the larger the objective lens, the better. However, the time you plan to go on a hunting expedition should determine your chosen lens. For example, if you’re planning on doing a lot of shooting in low light conditions, you’ll want a large objective lens to let in as much light as possible. However, if you’re mostly shooting during the day, a large objective lens can actually be a detriment, as it will make the image too bright and cause eye fatigue.

4. Field of View

The field of view is the width of the area you can see through the scope at a given magnification. It’s typically measured in feet at 100 yards. For example, a scope with a field of view of 10 feet at 100 yards would allow you to see an area that’s 10 feet wide and 100 yards long. The larger the field of view, the easier it is to find and track targets.

5. Eye Relief

Eye relief is the distance between your eye and the scope’s eyepiece, where you can still see a full, unbroken image. It’s particularly important for scopes with high magnifications, as you need to be positioned further away from the eyepiece to avoid getting a black ring around the edge of the image. Go for at least 3 inches of eye relief for scopes with magnifications up to 9x and 4 to 6 inches of eye relief for scopes with magnifications of 10x or more.

When you consider these five factors, you’ll be well to finding the best rifle scope for your needs. Just try out different scopes before you buy to ensure you’re comfortable with how they look and feel. Most importantly, use your rifle safely at all times!

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