Everybody knows what rifle scopes are. Even those who know little about guns or haven’t seen them up close can understand what scopes are used for.
However, those looking for the proper scope for their weapon are often in for a surprise. After all, rifle scopes can be quite intricate, and choosing the right one for your firearm might get complicated.
One solution is to ask the gun store clerk to show you what scope best fits your rifle. This approach is not wrong, and you might receive a recommendation that’s right on target.
However, any self-respecting sharpshooter should not be satisfied with taking chances. That’s why Shooting Mystery has compiled a list of factors to consider when choosing a rifle scope, no matter where you buy it. You can check the website for more information.
Things to Look Out For When Choosing Your Scope
As with anything else, there are certain things you need to consider when choosing the best scope for you. Some factors can be trivial and can come down to personal preference, while others can be quite technical.
Let’s go through some of these factors in depth.
Your budget is the first and often limiting factor in finding the ideal scope for you. This is because there are rifle scopes at every price range, though a high-quality scope can often put a considerable dent in your wallet.
So before you go crazy and pick out your rifle scope, consider your budget. Find the scope that meets your ideal price range without skimping on reliability.
Spend too low, and you might get one that breaks from the recoil of your first shot. Spend too much, and you might miss out on cheaper scopes that get the job done.
You can find scopes on the market for as low as $50 or as high as $6,000, though it would be best for you and your wallet if you stay within the $300-$500 range.
You should also consider whether your scope is suitable for your rifle. It won’t matter how good your scope is if it isn’t usable in the first place.
Before choosing your scope, make sure to check its mounting requirements. See if you can test its mounting fit and zero before purchasing it to avoid wasting money and needing to buy two scopes.
Now, we get to the rifle scope itself. The first thing to consider is its magnification.
Magnification means how much closer your target will seem compared to looking at it through your naked eye.
This allows you to see long-distance targets as if they were right before you. However, seeing far away is not enough when choosing the correct magnification for your scope.
After all, different shooting situations require different levels of magnification.
A higher-magnification scope might work well for hunts requiring longer distances but will be challenging to utilize at closer ranges.
As such, you should always be wary of your typical engagement distances to get the best use of your scope. You can’t go wrong getting a 3-15x or 4-16x variable magnification rifle scope.
Eye relief is the distance between the shooter’s eye and the scope’s ocular lens. It’s the barrier between bruising your eye or keeping it safe.
How much eye relief you need will depend entirely on your firearm’s recoil. If you have a rifle with high recoil, you better pick a scope with more extended eye relief. Trust me. You’re going to need it.
Sticking to a minimum range of 3 to 4 inches of eye relief is safe for most rifle calibers. At the very least, it will help save you from experiencing scope bite.
The reticle, or crosshair, is one of the most important aspects of a rifle scope. They can vary widely in their design and style. There is no one size fits all in terms of reticle type.
Your ideal reticle type will depend on your mission type and personal preference.
The three main types of scope reticles are the duplex, the mil-dot reticle, and the BDC reticles.
The duplex reticle is the default scope reticle for hunters. It is fast and easy to use, and as such, it is excellent for beginners. It features thicker crosshairs near the edges of the scope and thinner crosshairs in the center.
The Mil-dot reticle, meanwhile, helps shooters estimate distance and is primarily used by militaries and law enforcement. This reticle is characterized by dots or hash marks along the crosshairs, allowing for distance calculations.
Lastly, there is the BDC reticle. BDC stands for bullet drop compensation.
As the name suggests, the reticle is marked to help shooters compensate for the drop in bullet trajectory, making it ideal for longer-ranged targets.
This feature makes the BDC perfect for hunters and shooters who want to shoot their targets far.
Not all scopes are created equal. The quality of your rifle scope matters since it will mean life and death for your rifle scope.
Lower-quality scopes might not hold up to regular use. Some might even lose their accuracy as time passes on.
As such, look for rifle scopes made by reputable manufacturers to ensure you get the highest quality scopes possible. You can even check reviews of different scopes to see how reliable they can be in the hands of real users.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer some more scope-based questions.
Which Magnification Should I Choose for My First Rifle Scope?
Your magnification level will depend on how you plan on using your scope and what kind of targets you have in mind.
After all, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to magnification. Here is a quick guide on which variable magnification levels work best at which distances and environments.
1-4x scopes: Good for stalking small game as well as homestead defense.
5-8x scopes: Use this if your preferred game is larger. It is also suitable for hunting in closed landscapes like mountains and forests.
9-12x scopes: Great magnification meant for sniping at greater distances. These will be perfect for open landscapes such as vast fields and deserts.
What Do I Need to Mount My Rifle Scope to My Rifle?
A scope is useless if you can’t mount it on your rifle. There are plenty of guides available on the internet that can walk you through your chosen mounting option.
That said, the essential tools and equipment you will need to mount your scope include the following:
- Your scope
- A torque-style screwdriver
- Scope base (if needed)
- Scope rings (if needed)
- A gun vise. ( a cardboard box would do if you don’t have one.)
I’ve Attached My New Scope to My Weapon, but It Doesn’t Seem Accurate. Is My Scope Defective?
You might need to adjust your scope to make it accurate. This is called zeroing your scope. It involves aligning your reticle with your rifle’s barrel. This is a crucial step in order to ensure accuracy and precision.
You can find plenty of guides on how to zero your scope online. You can even have a more experienced shooter teach you. You will know your rifle is zeroed when your shot hits dead-center from 100 yards away.
The hunt for your ideal rifle scope doesn’t need to be a complicated one. All you need to do is consider your budget, scope style, and its durability, and you’re sure to find a scope that can keep up with you and the task at hand.