Are You Using the Right Type of Rifle Scope Heres How to Know


Rifle scopes are essential for any shooting. From deer hunting to flintlock muzzleloaders, the right scope makes a huge difference. With so many choices, it can be hard to choose. This guide explains and breaks down each type of rifle scope, so you can make an informed decision.

Types and styles vary, from traditional telescopic to night vision. Generally, there are two main categories – reflex sights and magnified optics. Each has pros/cons depending on the application. Let's break them down and discuss specifics:

Different Types of Rifle Scopes

Rifle scopes come in many sizes and shapes. To get the most out of shooting, it's essential to choose the right one. Prior to purchase, consider the various types of rifle scopes. Each offers unique benefits and features.

In this article, we'll discover these different types of scopes. This will help you pick the best one for your shooting requirements.

Fixed Power Scopes

Fixed power scopes usually have a fixed magnification level, not adjustable zoom. They are simpler and reliable. Some may even have adjustable objective lenses or parallax adjustments. Fixed power scopes provide versatile use, allowing fast and accurate shooting in many situations. Beginner shooters may find them easier to use. Seasoned veterans might also find they meet their needs.

Popular fixed power rifle scopes include:

  • 3X low-powered magnifications for close range;
  • 6X and 8X higher powered optics for mid-range;
  • 10x long range scopes for precision shooting up to 500 yards, with a powerful rifle.

Fixed power scopes offer dependability, rather than variable zoom, which has different uses for different targets at different distances. Do research to choose the best rifle scope for your needs and preferences.

Variable Power Scopes

Variable power scopes come with adjustable magnification. The dial or device used to adjust it has labels to help you know exactly how much it's changed. Common types are 3-9x and 4-16x. They use an erector spring system or vibration reticle adjustment to keep their adjustment system in place.

  • 3-9x can vary between 3x and 9x magnification.
  • 4-16x goes from 4x to 16x.
  • There are even scopes with up to 50x magnification.

These scopes are great for hunting large game at different distances. They're good for shooting from higher positions and sighting far away targets (if equipped with climbing turrets). You can manage recoil better for quick target acquisition and improved follow up shots.

Illuminated Scopes

Illuminated scopes, also called “lit” scopes, have a light source. This helps when hunting and shooting in low-light conditions, such as early morning or dusk. These scopes are popular with long-range shooters.

Most illuminated scopes have a focusing lens and an LED light. This helps the shooter to focus on their target. Some models can adjust the brightness of the LED. Some even have a memory function that lets users quickly adjust the settings.

Illuminated scopes give flexibility and increase accuracy. This is because they offer extra visibility when using range-finding reticles for long range shooting.

Long Range Scopes

Long-range scopes are designed to help you hit faraway targets. Without one, shooting at long distances can be hard and imprecise. These scopes have features that make them great for these shots.

Most long-range scopes have magnifications of up to 20x. This means you can identify and aim at far targets accurately from hundreds of yards away. Another factor is their reticles. The most common are MOA or Mil-dot. These help you get more accurate shots with gridlines on the crosshairs.

The type of reticle matters too. Mil Dot or MOA are the best for measuring trajectory drop against wind drift when shooting over longer distances. Some modern scopes also have adjustable parallax options. This helps you be more accurate when shooting further away by correcting small aims deviations.

In summary, if you want to take longer range shots with precision accuracy, a long-range scope is a great investment for hunting or target practice!

Considerations When Choosing a Rifle Scope

Pick the correct rifle scope for a big improvement in your accuracy and shooting experience. It's vital to consider the necessary characteristics of a rifle scope before you make your selection. What should you pay attention to when selecting a rifle scope? Let's look at the different qualities and features you must evaluate:

  • Magnification
  • Objective Lens
  • Reticle
  • Eye Relief
  • Durability and Construction


Magnification is a measure of the strength of a scope. When deciding which magnification is best for your rifle, terrain, distance and game you hunt should all be taken into account.

Fixed Power Scopes: These scopes have only one magnification setting which cannot be changed. For example, a 4x scope will only ever be a 4x. Low power fixed scopes (2-6x) are perfect for shorter ranges and larger game such as deer or elk. High power fixed scopes (15-20x) are ideal for long range target shooting.

Variable Power Scopes: Variable power scopes have adjustable levels of magnification. You can switch between low and high powers depending on how far or close you plan to shoot. Zoom ranges vary from 2.5X up to 15X, allowing you to see up to 15 times closer than with your own eyes.


Choosing the right reticle for opening up your shot from its commercial settings can be tricky. The reticle type you choose depends on its purpose and the hunt situation. Generally, there are three types of reticles: duplex, mil-dot and BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation).

  • Duplex: This is the standard crosshair. It has thick outer lines that taper until they reach a thin aiming point in the center of the scope field. It's a great, all-round choice and easy to aim in situations where precise aim isn’t needed (woods or fields).
  • Mil-dot: Also known as “tactical” reticles. They have crosshairs paired with intersecting thin vertical and horizontal lines. These let you judge range and elevation when used with a range chart or online tool. Mil-dots are more precise than regular duplex scopes because they give exact distances.
  • BDC: Ballistic drop compensating (BDC) scopes are designed to compensate for bullet drop over long distances. These scopes have various hash marks along the vertical line that correspond to predetermined ranges. This helps you quickly adjust your aim so you don't miss your target at longer distances.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is essential when choosing a rifle scope. It is the distance between your eye and the ocular lens. Fixed scopes have a range of 2-4 inches and variable power scopes range from 4-6 inches. Longer eye relief is more comfortable, especially for rifles that use big rounds. Consider your eye sockets and the magnification you will use when aiming.

Adjustable positions and even sliding eyepieces can be found on some scopes for those who wear glasses or need more clearance.

Parallax Adjustment

Rifle scopes are often equipped with parallax adjustment or parallax elimination. This allows the reticle to stay in the same place when viewed from different angles or distances. Normally, these scopes are factory-set to be roughly parallax free at 100 yards. But, you can adjust them for other distances.

Not adjusting the scope correctly can lead to incorrect readings when taking shots. Parallax can also be a problem at longer distances, resulting in inaccurate shots.

Therefore, many shooters opt for scopes with adjustable parallax settings. This ensures accuracy no matter where you shoot from. These scopes tend to be more expensive than those without parallax settings, but it's worth the extra money if accuracy is paramount.


It is important to understand the different types of rifle scopes and their functions. This helps you pick the right one for your purpose. There are different scopes for various requirements. To find the best one, check reviews, compare specs and prices and check all components.

A good rifle scope, either fixed power or variable zoom, can help improve accuracy and precision. It depends on your needs and budget. Knowing about rifle scopes can make shooting more enjoyable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a rifle scope?

A: A rifle scope is an optical device that is mounted on top of a rifle to help the shooter aim more accurately. It typically includes a reticle, which is a crosshair or other pattern of markings within the scope, to help the shooter determine where their shots will land.

Q: What types of rifle scopes are available?

A: There are many different types of rifle scopes, including variable scopes, fixed scopes, long range scopes, and specialty scopes. Each type of scope has different features and functions and is designed for different types of shooting.

Q: How do I know which type of rifle scope is right for me?

A: When selecting a rifle scope, it is important to consider several factors, including the type of rifle you are using, the type of shooting you are doing, the distance to your target, and the amount of light that is available. An experienced shooter may be able to help you select the right type of scope for your needs.

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