Dont Choose the Wrong Rifle Scope Heres Your Guide to the Top Types
Four types of rifle scopes are available! Fixed power scopes are great for targets at a known distance. Variable power scopes let you adjust magnification. Parallax-corrected scopes have tech to correct movement errors. Rangefinding reticles offer advanced features like mil-dot reticles to measure distances. Know your needs before making a purchase. This guide will help you choose the best rifle scope for you!
- Fixed power scopes are great for targets at a known distance.
- Variable power scopes let you adjust magnification.
- Parallax-corrected scopes have tech to correct movement errors.
- Rangefinding reticles offer advanced features like mil-dot reticles to measure distances.
Types of Rifle Scopes
Choosing the correct scope for your rifle? It's worth knowing the different kinds. Scopes have various shapes, sizes, and styles. Let's take a peek at the most common types of rifle scopes, and their benefits. This part gives an in-depth look at all the rifle scopes available on the market:
- Fixed Power Scopes
- Variable Power Scopes
- Red Dot Sights
- Night Vision Scopes
- Laser Scopes
- Thermal Imaging Scopes
- Rangefinding Scopes
Fixed Power Scope
Fixed power scopes, or ‘standard' rifle scopes, are the most basic type. They offer a range of power from 3x to 20x or more. They are preferred because their optical systems provide a narrower range of magnifications. This helps with clarity and resolution for improved accuracy at mid to long ranges.
These scopes are great for target shooting competitions or hunting small game. Their wide range of magnifications allows them to be used in different environment types.
- low profile turrets with accurate clicks
- lens coatings for higher light transmission
- multi-coated lenses for reflection elimination
- rugged construction for reliability in harsh conditions
Optics are designed for either wide field view or hand gun targeting, giving shooters the best out of their fixed powered rifle scope.
Variable Power Scope
A Variable Power Scope is a rifle scope with adjustable magnifications. It's great for hunters and shooters who need to adjust on the fly. It is marked with numbers such as “3x” or “9x“. 3x means the object appears 3 times larger than the naked eye. 9x means the object appears 9 times larger. Lower numbers give wider field of view, while higher numbers give narrower field of view – perfect for long-range shooting.
These scopes typically have an adjustable parallax knob or side focus wheel. This eliminates parallax error and ensures that your shot is accurate at any given distance. This makes Variable Power Scopes a great choice for hunters and shooters alike.
Red Dot Sight
Red dot sights are a go-to for fast target acquisition and shooting on the move. They are used on rifles, shotguns, handguns, and even bows. They come in several styles with different brightness and dot reticle sizes.
The simplest style has a single red illuminated dot as its reticle and doesn't require looking through the scope for accuracy. Adjustable red dot sights have more features, like calibrations for elevation, windage, and parallax. Plus, some have a “circle-dot” or “3-dot” set up with quick lead and target indicators outside the circle.
These scopes are great for close range shooting and can be an upgrade on hunting rifles. They are lightweight, and good for coyote/varmint hunts. However, they don't offer any magnification beyond 1x power, so range shots with small game animals can be hard.
Night Vision Scope
A night vision scope is a special rifle scope. This scope uses photoluminiscent lenses. It helps shooters aim and fire in low-light or dark conditions. It's known as an infrared scope too. It can grab all available light from near, visible, and far infrared parts of the spectrum.
Night vision scopes are great for military use, stealth operations, reconnaissance, and surveillance at night. They don't light up areas or alert enemies.
These scopes come in different types. These types depend on the technology used. Some types are
- image intensifier night vision scopes,
- thermal imagery scopes,
- digital day/night scopes, and
- multi-spectrum or color camera rifle scope systems.
The most common models are Night Vision Generation 3 Scopes and Thermal Imaging Scopes.
When picking a night vision scope, it depends on the use—surveillance or hunting? Budget is also important as prices vary. All night vision scopes provide bright, clear images under low visibility. They're great for anyone who needs to work or hunt at night or during twilight hours with accuracy and precision.
Thermal scopes are not like other rifle scopes. They use infrared technology, not visible light, to detect heat signatures given off by an animal. This makes them great for hunters, even in the dark or when there is thick cover.
These scopes offer features like digital magnification and focal adjustment. They also have white hot/black hot mode. This helps you range game from a further distance.
They come with mounting systems and extensions to add stability for long range shooting. Thermal scopes are expensive, but perfect for experienced shooters who need accuracy after dark!
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Rifle Scope
Purchasing a rifle scope is serious business! Think it through. There are a few things to consider. Magnification, reticle type – you name it. Here's a rundown of the most common scope types, plus what to keep in mind when picking one out.
Magnification is a must-know variable when it comes to rifle scopes. To adjust the magnification, most scopes come with spacers, ranging from 1x to 10x or more. It's best to get one with higher magnification than needed since hunting and precision shooting require detail.
Eye relief is also important. This is the distance your eye must be from the scope to see a perfect image. Check product specifications for the range. Some scopes are only designed for short-range shooting, so make sure it fits your weapon and shooting style.
High-magnification rifle scopes may have parallax error. This means objects are not where they should be due to misalignment or angle sighting adjustments. Parallax error is more common at shorter ranges, so consider this when selecting a scope. Read reviews and customer feedback before purchasing!
A reticle, also known as a crosshair, is the focus point of a rifle scope. There are many types, each with pros and cons. You must choose the right one for you.
The Duplex reticle is the most popular among hunters. It has thin posts that branch off at the centre to form a ‘Christmas tree' shape. This allows for fast target acquisition and precision sighting at many distances without impeding your view.
Mil-Dot reticles have dots along the horizontal and vertical lines. They measure distances or deduce holdovers and windage corrections. They come in 4-dot or 8-dot configurations.
Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) scopes have illuminated hash marks on the vertical axis. They are pre-calculated for common cartridges at various yardages. This lets you make holdover adjustments quickly.
Finally, illuminated reticles have a battery-powered LED system. This illuminates them so you can acquire targets in low light conditions.
Eye relief is the gap between your eye and the eyepiece lens of a rifle scope. It's vital for a clear sight picture when shooting, plus comfort.
- For far or varying distances, longer eye relief is preferable.
- For fixed distances, shorter eye relief works best.
Scope design also affects eye relief. Bigger lenses offer longer relief, while higher magnification needs it too. Balance between size and magnification can bring the perfect amount of eye relief.
Durability is a must when buying a rifle scope. Some can be damaged by recoil, humidity, temperature or even a drop. Get a shockproof or waterproof one for harsher elements and a longer life. Scratch resistance will help with everyday use.
Check the warranty and customer service ratings of the company – you want to be covered in case you need service.
Field of View
Field of View (FOV) is the area seen through a scope at 100 yards. When looking for a hunting rifle scope, FOV should be a key factor. It's important to pick the right level of magnification, but keep in mind that higher magnifications mean a narrower FOV and it can be hard to find your target quickly.
The type of game you're hunting affects which scope you should go for. If shots are rare, opt for a more powerful scope with higher magnification. For lots of game and fast shots, choose a scope with less magnification and wider FOV.
For mid-sized game such as deer and antelope, a scope with 10X-16X power settings gives 30 degrees FOV at 100 yards. For larger animals like elk and moose, scopes in the 15X range give 20-22 degrees FOV at 100 yards. For predators and varmint, 4X-9X scopes provide 35-45 degrees FOV at 100 yards.
Most riflescopes come in three categories: low powered (3-5X), mid powered (6-8X) and high powered (9-15+). Remember that higher magnification means less FOV, and this can help you pick the best scope for you.
To conclude, there's a bunch of rifle scopes available. The best one for you depends on your budget, how you use it and what features fit your shooting or hunting style. Check your skill level, preferred reticle design and weight of the scope to make the right decision.
We hope this guide was useful!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the most common type of rifle scope?
A: The most common type of rifle scope is a variable power scope, which allows you to adjust the magnification level of the scope to suit your shooting requirements.
Q: What is the difference between a fixed power and a variable power scope?
A: A fixed power scope has a set magnification level and cannot be adjusted, while a variable power scope has multiple magnification levels that can be adjusted.
Q: What are the benefits of using a rifle scope?
A: A rifle scope can help to improve accuracy, provide greater visibility, and allow you to make more precise shots at a greater distance.