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How to choose a rifle scope – Guide from a Professional!

If you are a firearm enthusiast, you understand the importance of having a quality rifle scope. These devices are not only used for rifles but also for handguns and shotguns. There are a wide range of scopes on the market so it is important to find out what you need so that you can choose the right one.

How will you know whether a particular rifle scope is great or not? Of course, you cannot do that by simply looking at the rifles scope. There are many considerations that you need to think about so that you can select the right model. I prepared this guide to show you how to choose a rifle scope.

Once you have the right information at your fingertips, it will be easy to select a quality scope from the competing brands on the market.

How a Rifle Scope Works

Before we get into details on the things that you should check when buying a rifle scope, it is great to know how this tool works so that you can know the specific things to pay attention to. Basically, a rifle scope is just a long tube with lenses for magnification. It also has a small reticle that shows you where the bullet will land when you fire.

In fact, it is similar to a telescope only that it has a target for accurate aim. A scope comprises different parts and some high-end models on the market have advanced features making them expensive.

The objective lens transmits light to the lens closer to your eyes ocular lens) and this lens acts as magnification on the focal plane. It also has a reticle which also called crosshairs that can be located at the front or back of the magnifying lenses. If the reticle is at the front, the crosshairs adjust in size for the person viewing when you change the magnification. When it is at the back, the reticle maintains the size but the target size changes with changes in magnification.

Now that you have an idea of what to check, the following are some important things that you should pay attention to when buying a scope.

1. How do you use your rifle?

Before you pick a rifle scope, you need to first figure out how you use your rifle. Do you use it for hitting targets, self-defense or hunting?  If you use your rifle for shooting targets, you need to figure out if you are shooting long distance. For small game hunters, a scope with a magnification of 10x will be better but if you hunt large game, you need further vision. When it comes to self-defense, having a scope will slow you down.

2. Environment Conditions

Can the scope handle the normal weather conditions in your region? You need a solid scope that is fog proof so that you can use it regardless of the weather. Because rifle scopes are not designed the same, you to spend your money on a quality rifle scope that will suit winter or summer environments depending on where you live.

3. Objective Lens Diameter

This is an important part of the scope that determines how much light will pass through the lens. A scope with a larger objective lens diameter allows more light to pass through meaning that you can see clearly. However, it is important to note that a higher magnification can lower the amount of light that gets in.

4. Glass

When it comes to the glass quality, you will definitely get what you pay for.  If you invest your money in cheap glass material, then you should also expect low-quality performance. It is great if you invest your money on extra-low dispersion glass because it reduces color fringing. This in return provides you with sharper and clear images.

Additionally, check whether the lenses are fully multi-coated to allow effective light transmission and offer maximum brightness. Moreover, they should have a hydrophobic lens coating to facilitate the removal of moisture on the outside of the lens.

5. Scope Construction

Scopes feature different construction depending on the brand. You can find the main tube in different diameters of 25, 30 and 34 mm. I would recommend you to pick a scope that is designed with a larger tube because it provides more space for the internal components and also increases the adjustment range. This is important especially if you are a long-range shooter.

You also want a quality scope that is designed to last. Check if it is nitrogen purged so that you can use it even when it is foggy. Additionally, check if the scope is waterproof and shockproof.

6. Reticle and Focal Plane

If you are buying a rifle scope for the first time, look for a model with a duplex reticle or German no 4. These are ideal reticles for hunting in different ranges and conditions. If you are into long range and tactical shooting, you need a finer crosshair.

You should also pay attention to the location of the reticle. Do you want it in the first or second focal plane? If the reticle is located in the first focal plane, this means that it will maintain the same target size throughout the range of magnification. If it is located on the second focal plane, this means that the target appears larger when you increase zoom power but the reticle remains in the same size.

Additionally, you can consider an illuminated reticle so that it can help you view in low light conditions. This is ideal for people who love to hunt and dusk or dawn.

7. Eye Relief

The eye relief refers to the distance between the eyes and the rifle scope. It determines how far your head can be to help you see your targets with ease. Additionally, it prevents gun recoil from injuring your face when you shoot. As a general rule, the higher the gun recoil, the higher the eye relief you will require.

Most rifle scopes feature an eye relief of about 4 inches. But you can still find some models with up to 16-20 inches in scopes that are used for bigger guns and pistols.

Other Considerations

  • Magnification
  • Parallax
  • Turrets
  • The brand
  • Price

Final Words

Whether you are buying your first rifle scope of upgrading your old model, I know you have some important tips that will help you make the right purchase. Make sure you check the above things so that you can get a rifle scope that works well and meets your needs.

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