Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

choosing a rifle scope

Discussion in 'Sights, Optics and Lasers' started by Opticspecialist, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. Opticspecialist


    Likes Received:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Ponchatoula, Louisiana
    here is an article i wrote about choose a rifle scope. i also have a link here to the blog because i'm not good at transfering pictures

    How to choose a rifle scope

    With so many scopes out there, how do I choose the right one? As a hard working guy who loves to hunt, I want the most bang for my buck that I can get in a rifle scope. I’ve decided to write this guide for selecting a scope. I’m going to go through the basics that apply to scopes in general, such as how scopes work, and application.
    What a rifle scope does is magnifies the target and places your eye on the same optic plane as the target. Scopes magnify the target by bending light rays through a series of lenses in the scope. Lower powered scopes are typically shorter and have smaller lenses than high powered scopes. All scopes have a reticle. There are many different Reticles but they are usually a post, dot, x, a t shape or some other marking with a point either etched in the lenses or inset with wire in the center of the scope. A scope eliminates the problems you have with open sites; you just focus on your target, put the center reference point on the target and squeeze the trigger. Rifle scopes also let you see your target more clearly through magnification, allowing for better shot placement.

    Here is the structure of a rifle scope

    • 1) The eye Piece - This assembly holds the Ocular lens and is attached to the bell
    • 2) Ocular lens - the lens that is close to your eye
    • 3) Eye relief - distance you eye has to be from the ocular lens when you can see completely through the rifle scope. You need to be far enough back from the ocular lens that when your rifle recoils, you do not get “scope eye”.
    • 4) Eye bell - the housing the eye peace and tube gets attached to
    • 5) Power adjustment ring - allows you to adjust the magnification on your scope by turning this ring. When you turn the ring, the distance between lens inside the scope change, and the light in refracted changing magnification.
    • 6) Windage Adjustment - shifts the point of the scope on the horizontal plane (the left and right) these are measures in MOA, which is 1.047 inches at 100 yards
    • 7) Elevation adjustment - shifts the point of aim on ther vertical plane (up and down) same MOA as windage, just up and down
    • [​IMG] Tube - a rifle scope is a tube in a tube. The inner tube holds the lenses to refract light while the outer tube protects the inner tube and is a base for the eye peace and objective. Tube diameter is important; most we scopes have a 1 inch tube, while European scopes have 30mm tubes.
    • 9) Objective Bell - housing and lens on the front end of the scope
    • 10) Objective lens - This lens on the front of the scope collects the light that goes through your scope. A rule of thumb is the higher that magnification the larger the objective. Also, a larger objective lets in more light for better shooting in low light.
    Field of view - what you see in the scope when you look through it

    Almost all rifle scopes provide some level of magnification. Some are fixed and it is generally denoted in this format “4x”, meaning the scope enlarges your target by 4 times what you see with the naked eye. A variable power will have a name like “2-7×32mm”. This means the scope can magnify 2-7 times and every power in between and has a 32mm objective. Having a variable power scope is the way to go, but they are more expensive than fixed power scopes, and cheaper variable power scopes have to be sighted in more often. A variable power scope is also going to be larger and heavier because of all the internal components.

    What scope is right for me? That’s what I’m here to try and help you answer. It depends on what firearm you’re using and what you’re doing with it. You want to balance low range magnification and higher range magnification. Some guide lines are for small game like squirrels a 4x scope, for varmints you want more magnification like 4-14x like this Zeiss conquest 4.5-14×44 or high magnification depending on range. For big game, dangerous game, and hunting in thick cover 1.5-4x or 2-7x are some good ranges to look at, a good example is this Swarovski Z6 1-6×24 . For general purpose it’s hard to beat a 3-9 power scope like this Nikon buckmaster. For big game in open country try 2.5-10x 3-9x, or 4-12x. For long shots, bench rest shooting look for larger magnification like 5-22x or higher magnification, this Nightforce scope is a good example. For competition target shooting you really have to know the type of shooting your doing. Fixed vs moving targets, pistol or rifle, large or small caliber it really depends. The best thing to do in this situation is go to the matches and ask the guys what they use. Tactical close applications you want low magnification and fast target acquisition.
    Reticles are the part of the scope you use to aim. There are many different reticles to match a variety of situations. The standard reticle is the crosshair; a popular reticle is the duplex, which every manufacture has a duplex style reticle, and here is an example from Leupold. Reticles can be illuminated; you can get a mildot reticle, or a ballistic compensating reticle for longer range or precise shots, the german number 4 reticle is great for low light situations. Reticle choices is more taste than anything else, but for low light thick reticle post are easier to pick up, and for longer range shooting look for a finer reticle. Look at them all and match what you like to your application.
    Parallax error applies to variable power scopes. Parallax is determined by the distance to the objective, the exit pupil size and relation of the eye to the tube of the scope. The reticle is on one of the lens inside your scope. Most scopes are set to have the reticle aligned with the target at 100 yards. When you adjust the magnification, a small error called parallax is introduced. Higher powered scopes are more affected by parallax and for most hunting parallax aren’t worth worrying about because the error is so small, for target and long range shooters the solution is parallax adjustment.
    Objective size is also important. Your objective must be large enough to accommodate a good field of view and give you good low light performance if that’s what you need, allow you to mount your scope to your rifle reasonably; most people like to mount the scope as low as possible. For hunting whitetail deer and other animals in low light, a large objective is ideal. For hunting in bright conditions, it isn’t as paramount to have a large objective, unless you have a scope with a large magnification range.
    Resolution is the measure of how much light comes into the objective lens and exits the ocular lens. The better the scope the more light gets let through, resulting in sharper images and better picture in low light.
    Most modern optics have Lens coatings to protect them or to improve performance. Make sure you buy a scope with coated lens. You also want to be sure to protect your lens when storing your scope. That will make them last longer.
    You get what you pay for with a scope. There is a reason for the price difference and it isn’t just in the name, and what you pay determines the scopes performance. You can’t expect a 200$ scope to perform like a 600$ scope, but there is a diminishing return, you may not get 4 times better performance out of a 1200$ scope vs a 300$ scope, but a little difference can go a long way depending on what you are doing. Five more minutes of scope time can mean getting that buck of a lifetime or nothing.
    So to put all this in a short and sweet package, let’s walk through the steps.

    Step 1: Choose a price range
    Choose Step 2: Find a Reticle you like that works for what you’re doing, be it illuminated or not.
    Step 3: Decide if you want parallax adjustment
    Step 4: Choose an Objective size, making sure you have good field of view and enough objective to collect light.
    Step 5: a magnification range for your type of application, be it hunting or target shooting.
    Step 6: Hunt

    I hope this information helps you find a great scope. Knowing what you’re looking for and range of your targets will help you choose a scope and what magnification you need. As for quality, decide on the quality you need then buy better, you will never regret it. Thats the word from