A sport shooter or hunter goes to a great length while buying a top quality firearm for good marksmanship. However, to get the most out of a rifle, combining it with a perfect scope can certainly enhance your performance in the field or forest. Rifle scopes are designed to simplify the aiming process. It allows a more accurate gunshot each time. In case you use only the metal sights, you will have to align the target with front and rear sights, before shooting.
With a scope, you get to perfectly lock the target because the alignment of reticle and your target becomes easy. Your vision gets positioned on the magnified target, which makes it simple for you to aim. Even if you are wearing glasses, you can adjust the rifle scopes to suit your eyes and get a clear image of the point to make clean and precise shot.
Top Rifle Scope Comparison Chart
UTG 30 mm SWAT 3-12 x 44 compact IE scope
Nikon P-223 3-9 x 40 Mate BDC 600
Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 Black Matte
Bushnell AR Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Reticle AR-223 Riflescope
Vortex StrikeFire Red Dot
Principle of Rifle Scopes
The basic operating principle of rifle scopes is similar to that of telescopes. Light is transmitted through scope lens right into the hunter’s eye. Remember, scopes with low magnification rate transmit more light and vice versa. The key to locate an ideal rifle scope for deer hunting or sports mostly depends on you your personal needs and choice. Determine whether
- You need for law enforcement, hunting or military use, or
- For the kind of light conditions you basically shoot
Big game hunters will select the exclusive rifle scope because they desire perfect shots. Alternatively a casual shooter will try to find something basic. Your needs may differ, but today you can buy different kinds of rifle scopes to suit your individual needs.
Different Types of Rifle Scopes
1. Tactical rifle scopes – These are designed especially for law enforcement and military fields, but even professional civilian marksmen can use it. You get to opt from variable and fixed magnification varieties.
- Variable magnification – These are flexible and popular for hunting.
- Fixed magnification – These are sturdier and resilient under harsh conditions making them better options for military men. These are less expensive comparatively.
2. Hunting rifle scopes – Variable magnification is commonly used for big rifle hunting games. Most of these hunting rifle scopes are designed specifically for 4X minimum and 9X maximum magnification power. Hunting rifles include a robust camouflage cover, which is weather-proof, water-proof and shock-resistant. It helps the hunter to stay covered up, even in harsh conditions and complete the task.
3. Air rifle scopes – The adjustable objective lenses of these scopes allow users to correct short distance parallax. The reticles are of top quality, making it suitable for shooting small targets.
4. Night vision scopes – The super-sensitive optic feature makes these easy to target the prey under low light or total darkness.
Scopes lacked optical quality in its early years. In the 1860’s sharpshooters used scope-sighted rifles to punch holes in the artillery crews and confederate officers. Today, glass sights are used, due to which the optic sector is growing rapidly. Let’s take a close look at the features of scopes available in the market.
Two bells/lens – Today, rifles copes are designed from aluminum (air-craft grade). They are much lighter and stronger than the steel tubes. Aluminum is coated, but steel was blued. You get to select from matte and shiny finish.
The scope has two ends:
- Objective bell (front-end lens)
- Ocular bell (back-end lens)
To amplify the power or light in the scope objective bell can be increased between 32 to 50 mm. This is an average lens, which is suitable. Suppose you need bigger lens, then the weight and cost of the scope will increase. Moreover, mounting it on the receiver will also be difficult.
Tubes – Between the lenses is the tube, which is available in two diameters – 1” and 30 mm. A 30 mm tube is considered to be stronger structurally and allows more leeway for adjustment.
Eye relief distance – The distance between your eye and ocular bell is vital, otherwise the aluminum can split your eyebrow. A hunting rifle scope with 3 ½” eye reliefs is better. On a heavy gun, 4” distance is the minimum that you will need. Ensure that eye relief distance is greater in rifles that recoil or you may get a black eye due to the recoil movement.
Exit pupil – A large exit pupil makes head position less important for accurate targeting. About 2 to 3 mm exit pupil is sufficient for normal daylight, but for low light, at least 5 mm is required.
Adjustments – For shooter’s eye focus all the scopes include lateral adjustment for windage and up/down tuning for elevation. Laser rangefinder rifle scope has parallax adjustments allowing perfect long distance shooting. Parallax indicates the angle differences between close and far away objects.
Both tunings windage and elevation can be controlled through knobs or dials positioned in the center of the scope tube. Windage dial is at 3 O’clock and elevation dial reads 12 O’clock. When these dials are tuned, the crosshairs position shifts moving the gunshots impact point.
Majority of scopes tend to shift the impact point by 1/4th inch/click at 100 yards. The parallax adjustments for small or/and long distance target are positioned in a 9 O’clock dial and the turret must be focused manually for precise distance.
Reticles – The Duplex crosshair not changed since it was introduced in 1960’s. It includes four heavy crosshairs, which taper into fine lines as they move near the midpoint of the image. The technology is designed to make your eyes focus right in the center, thereby allowing fast and perfect aiming.
For dangerous games or varmint hunting, you get fine Duplex-styled reticles. The latest reticles include LED lights. They work well and enhance your aiming speed. Range compensating reticles allow you to maintain a given distance of 200 yards to 500 yards.
Magnification – Today, high magnification is trending, which is quite unnecessary. More power can handicap you by creating mirage, heft, visible shake, bulk and not to forget the high price. Listed below are the power ranges for magnification.
- For big or dangerous games within 200 yards – 1x to 4x
- For biggest hunting games – 2x to 10x or 3x to 9x
- For varmint hunting – a 6x to 24x is perfect
Lens coatings – Scope must be sealed to avoid water and fog from entering inside. Scope lenses are coated to –
- Decrease the glare
- Enhance light transmission
- Sharpen the contrast
Lens glass quality and coating is vital while picking up a rifle. Remember a high optic lens with premium single coating performs better than a cheap scope including multi-coated lenses.
Repeatability – The scope’s ability to shoot accurately multiple times without any need of adjustments is repeatability. It is vital to consider how rapidly the scope settles after adjustment. High quality scope settles instantly, but the poor quality ones will need to be tapped a few times.
Scope finish – You get to select from black matte and stainless steel finish. Black matte is preferred more because it matches well with the rifles.
For professional training, it is wise to buy the one that enhances your overall performance. When you start your training, you will understand the advantages of mounting your rifle with a scope.
Advantages of Rifle Scope
Gives a better vision – In rifling profession, for any kind of shooter, proper vision is a must. You get a magnified view to shoot at your target without any slip-up.
Better feeling – When you are unable to hit the target, you can feel miserable. Even compact rifle scope guarantees to make you feel great, because it gives a better vision than the ordinary rifle.
Better scores – In sports, your shooting performance counts a lot. If you are unable to hit the target right, you will never be able to score high. You can use a rifle scope to better the scores because with better vision, you can hit every target.
Avoid dangerous situation – In rifling profession, where your life is at stake, every moment invested in sniper rifle scope can avoid dangerous situations. You can hit the target without any blunder. You do not desire to give an opportunity to your target or prey to attack you. A rifle scope enhances your vision, and you get a perfect shot the very first time.
Many people think that investing in a rifle scope is waste of money. If you are one of them, then at some point you may regret your decision, because an incorrect gunshot may cause you your life. It may even have hindered your scores or overall performance.
Tips to buy an ideal rifle scope
- Every rifle scope differs from one another. The features you desire are found in two different models, but you cannot use both, so you will have to choose one.
- If your budget allows invest in a variable magnification scope, then go for it, as it will allow you to see clearly in low light, which is helpful to spot the target.
- In hunting, less power is needed than what is needed for target shooters. A wide view is vital to see live target moving through a scope. A 4x to 12x scope is just perfect.
- For a potent spring air rifle, select a scope that handles two-way recoil. A scope mount with positive recoil stop helps to avoid slippage. Therefore, take your air rifle along. It will allow you to get a scope that mounts your spring rifle accurately.
- If you are skeptical about reticle selection, then choose a duplex because nothing goes wrong with it. Capped turrets avoid misalignment of adjustments. Tactical precision and long range shooters often use target turrets.
Cost of the riflescope must also be taken into consideration because rifles tend to lose their value fast. This is due to advanced technology and new models being introduced every now and then. You get to select from $2,500, $790 to $180.
Opt for a riflescope that is flexible and comes at an affordable price tag. Identify your shooting needs and budget. Buy the one that is a little better that you can afford.
Top 5 Rifle Scopes
UTG 30 mm SWAT 3-12 x 44 compact IE scopes – True strength 30 mm platform is filled with nitrogen, allowing protection against shock, fog and rain. It is geared with premium lockable and adjustable turrets allowing for consistency and accuracy to maintain proper zero.
The multi-emerald coated bells are linked with angled sunshade in the front with flip-open caps. SWAT allows attaining a matchless and impressive parallax view, ranging from 10 yards to more than that.
Nikon P-223 3-9 x 40 Mate BDC 600 – It offers a consistent eye relief to keep your eyebrow safe even with strong recoiling cartridges. The BDC 600 reticle provides shooters a unique aiming point circle that includes hash marks ranging from 100 yard to 600 yards. Other features include 100 yard parallax setting, severe shooting angles, zero-reset turrets, and sealed O-ring.
Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 Black Matte – This is a compact rifle scope that has 3 – 9x magnification limit with 40 mm objective lens. Its BDC reticle allows rapid focus through ballistic circles and is best for long range shooting. For short range, it allows normal sight picture, where crosshair acts as aiming point. It has Matte black finish and offers lifetime warranty.
Bushnell AR Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Reticle AR-223 Riflescope – with Target Turrets and Throw down PCL, 1-4x 24mm – This riflescope provides an illuminated and ballistic-ally calibrated reticle. Quick power changes are possible with PCK lever (Throw down). Fast focus eyepiece offers maximum accuracy. Matter finish, O-ring sealed, rust proof and scratch proof are some other attractive features.
When situation demands quick shooting, big scope with narrow field for viewing is not right. Vortex® StrikeFire Red Dot allows deer hunting successfully because the hunters can shoot their prey in split seconds.
Another advantage is that they can view maximum outfield with Vortex optics. It has 2,000 hours of battery life and shuts down automatically after two hours. Green or red light option allows you to switch colors and adjust the dot intensity as per environmental and viewing conditions. This scope is compatible with your night vision optics.
To conclude, buying the right kind of rifle scope mainly depends on the kind of shot you desire to take. Thus, once you’ve determined your needs, you know what exactly you want.