Selecting A Rifle Scope

Rifle Scopes are like most products you buy. You get what you pay for. You can't expect a $75 scopoe to perform as well as a $500 scope. But there is a point of diminishing returns when deciding which sope will be enough for your situation, and which will be overkill. Keeping in mind where, when, and what you shoot most often will be most beneficial to selecting the propper scope features for your shooting needs.
Below is a list of scope features to help you decide which scope is right for you.
Be sure to also visit our Rifle Scope Anatomy page, and dont miss our video series on everything from selecting the right Scope, to sighting in your new Scope at the bottom of this page.
 

1.Magnification
2.Objective Diamiter
3.Selecting the Right Scope Power
4. Resolution
5.Eye Relief
6. Field-of-View (FOV)
7.Coatings
8.Reticle
9.Turrets
 
1.Magnification
What do the numbers mean? Let us first say there are two different types of scopes Fixed power which will have numbers such as 4x50, and variable power which will have numbers such as 4-9x50. The first number (4x) means the scope will enlarge the image viewed by 4 times what you would see with the naked eye. The numbers (4-9x) mean the scope will enlarge the image between 4 and 9 times what you see with the naked eye depending on how you adjust the power ring.
Fixed power scopes are considered to be more reliable, but they are only useful if you are taking only one type of shot. Variable scopes are much more versatile, and can be adjusted to fit a variety of shooting situations, and the majority of scopes manufacturered today are variable for this reason.
The second number (x50) means the scope has an Objective lense with a 50mm diamiter.
 
2.Objective Lense Diamiter
The larger the objective lense diamiter the more light that will pass through it allowing the scope to display a brighter image in low light conditions. However the larger the diamiter the more the scope will weigh, and the farther the scope will be from the barrel of the firearm. It is better to have the scope as close to the bore of the firearm as possible, but not good for the scope to touch the barrel.
 
3.Selecting the Right Scope Power
Selecting the correct magnification for your intendid use is probably the most important decesion. As a general rule if most of your shots are for big game at 100 yards or less you won't need anything more than a 7x. For shots 100-200 yards up to 9x should be fine. If shooting more than 200 yards you should consider 10x-12x to be mandatory.
 
General Guidelines
Small game: up to 4x power
Varmints: 4-12x
Big Game in fairly open country: 3-9x or 2.5-10x
Big Game in wide open country: 4-12x or 6-18x
 
4.Resolution
Resolution is the measurement of how much light coming through the objective lense exits the ocular lense at the viewing end of the scope. Some manufacturers give numbers like "95% resolution, or 95% light transmission", but we don't believe there is a standard to these claims, and people don't put a lot of weight into these claims. The quality of the glass, optical lense diamiter, lense design, and optical coatings all contribute to the scopes ability to provide good resolution.
 
5.Eye Relief
Eye Relief is the distance you can hold the scope away from your eye and still see the full field of view. A good amount of Eye Relief is beneficial for targets that move quickly, people who wear glasses, or for those of us who have been fortunate enough to be busted in the bridge of the nose by your scope from recoil (not fun). The more recoil you have from your firearm you have the more relief you may want to consider. Eye relief of 3-4 inches is generally preffered for hunting.
 
6.Field of View (FOV)
Field of view is the side-to-side measurement of the circular view at 100 yards when looking through the scope. ( 4.5 ft. @ 100 yards) A wider field of view makes it easier to spot your target and see moving objects, but generally speaking the higher the magnification, the narrower the field of view will be.
 
7.Coatings
Most scopes have some sort of coating on them. Coatings reduce light loss and glare, protect from scratching, and improve resolution for a higher contrast image. There are 4 coating types manufacturers generally use. Coated, fully coated, multi coated, and fully multi-coated, with fully multi-coated being the best.
1.Coated - Will have a single layer on at least 1 lense. ( OK )
2.Fully Coated - Will have a single layer coating on all air-to-glass surfaces. ( GOOD )
3.Multi-Coated - Will have multiple layers on at least one lense and all surfaces will have at leat one coating. ( BETTER )
4.Fully Multi-Coated - Will have multiple layers on all air-to-glass surfaces. ( BEST )
 
8.Reticle
The reticle (AKA) cross hair is the part of the scope that shows where the bullet will hit. There are many different style of reticles to select from, and it's more of a whats comfortable for your own taste type of deal.
 
9.Turrets
Turrets are what you turn to adjust for windage and elevation to sight in your scope. Most scopes are made with 1/4 inch M.O.A. Turrets which means 1/4 inch adjustment @ 100 yards and are fine for most shooting setups. there are also 1/8 M.O.A. Turrets if you need a finer adjustment, but the 1/8 Turret has less total adjustment than the 1/4 inch.
 
Combining the right scope with your gun will help you get the most out of every shot. Hopefully the information above will help you make a little better decesion on your scope purchase. One last word of advice. Decide on the quality of scope you need, and then buy a little better than that. You won't be sorry you purchased a scope thats a little better, but you will regret not buying one good enough. Thank You for reading this page, and good luck with your next Rifle Scope Purchase.
 
 
 
Rifle Scope Videos
Below is a video player loaded with 15 videos on everything from selecting a Rifle Scope to sighting in your Scope. After the first video is through playing the other videos vill be available to review and view at the bottom of the video player.