Expert Advice Which Type of Rifle Scope is Best for Your Next Hunting Adventure


Hunting is a great way to get close to nature, have fun with friends and family, and get healthy food! Picking the right gear is essential before going on a hunt. A rifle scope is one of the most important items.

There are 4 types of scopes you can use: fixed power, variable (zoom), adjustable objective (AO) and target/long range optics. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. This guide will explain what each offers, so you can find the best scope for your next hunting trip.

Types of Rifle Scopes

It's key to pick a proper scope for your next hunting trip. With lots of rifle scopes available, it can be tricky to choose the right one. To make it easier, this article will talk about the various types of rifle scopes and which one might suit your next hunting journey best.

Fixed Power Rifle Scopes

Fixed power rifle scopes, sometimes referred to as standard scopes or “old school” scopes, are classic. They come with basic features. As the name suggests, these scopes have one magnification level and are, therefore, not adjustable. They usually range from 3x to 24x magnifications, and have a wide field of view.

Fixed power rifle scopes are great for people who want a cost-effective, easy-to-use option for hunting or target shooting at close to medium distances. These scopes are also known for their superior light-gathering ability in low light conditions due to their larger sized lenses.

Though fixed powes are quite simple, they can still provide reliable and accurate shots in any weather conditions:

  • Cost-effective and easy-to-use
  • Wide field of view
  • Superior light-gathering ability in low light conditions
  • Reliable and accurate shots in any weather conditions

Variable Power Rifle Scopes

Variable power rifle scopes have some great advantages. Quickly adjust magnification to aim at your target. Also, better light transmission and decreased motion blur. Plus, eye relief when compared to other scopes. Precision engineering with a range of magnification options. It depends on the activities you want to do.

Common variable magnifications are 3-9x, useful for multiple targets at different distances. Performance features like reticle styles use advanced tech, like Mil Dot ballistic markers. Linked to the elevation turret to auto-correct firing according to wind and range. No manual assistance needed!

Night Vision Rifle Scopes

Night vision rifle scopes are great for hunters and shooters who need to work in low-light. They amplify natural night light, like starlight, moonlight and faint star glows. Special optics make seeing your target easier than with the naked eye.

Options like digital reticles, illuminated reticles and adjustable magnification are available. Auto brightness control settings can adapt to changing lighting conditions. Research each model to find the perfect one for your needs and price point.

Thermal Rifle Scopes

Thermal imaging rifle scopes are becoming more and more popular with hunters, especially those who like hunting in the dark or at night. These scopes use advanced infrared technology to create images of your surroundings. This allows you to detect animals or objects that are too far away or in dark places, without using your eyes.

A thermal scope works by catching infrared radiation that is emitted by all objects, alive or not. This radiation turns into an image based on temperatures. Hotter areas will appear brighter and cooler areas will appear darker. Thermal scopes can detect even the faintest changes in temperature, making them useful in total darkness. They are also unaffected by fog and rain, unlike regular optical scopes.

Thermal imaging rifle scopes have many advantages:

  • Good for long range target detection
  • Shooting accurately at moving targets
  • Quickly identifying warm-blooded targets (like game) from cool background plants that won't show up as brightly.
  • Very easy to use, even for beginners.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Rifle Scope

Confused about selecting the proper rifle scope for your next hunting trip? Many things must be taken into account, including the gun you own, the shooting distance, the climate, and the scope's strength.

This section explains all the aspects you should consider when deciding on a rifle scope:


Magnification is key when shopping for a rifle scope. Magnification is how much bigger the object looks when viewed through the scope. Riflescopes typically range from very low (less than 2x) to high (up to 20x). The higher the magnification, the further away objects can be seen. But this also means a narrower field of view. Lower magnifications are great for hunting in dense environments and close distances.

When deciding which scope to get for your next hunting trip, think about whether a variable or fixed magnification scope fits your needs best.

  • Variable-magnification scopes can be adjusted depending on the range.
  • Fixed-magnification scopes give consistent power, but no zoom or range adjustment.

Find a balance between power and field of view when selecting a rifle scope.

Objective Lens

The objective lens is the first thing to think about when you're picking a rifle scope for your next hunting trip. Objectives range from 20-65mm. Smaller numbers are better for close range targets, while bigger numbers give you a wider view. 24-32mm and 42-50mm are common sizes. Bigger lenses let in more light at night or in low light. Smaller lenses are lighter.

When you're doing long range hunting, you need a high power scope. Higher power gives you more accuracy and detail. Low power scopes can be easier to look through for a long time. High power is great for big game like deer and elk. For small game, use 3-9×40 scopes, which are good for 150 yards.

Finally, consider the features, ergonomics, and budget when choosing your scope. Quality matters more than quantity for precision optics that will help you succeed!


A reticle is at the center of a rifle scope. It helps find distance, direction, speed, and magnification quickly and accurately. Reticles come in different styles and levels of complexity. Some popular types are dot, crosshair, rangefinder, ballistic, and illuminated.

The dot reticle has one aiming point, no crosshairs or lines. It works best for close-range targets such as hogs in thick woods, or fast birds. Crosshair reticles have two intersecting lines. It excels at longer distances for larger targets, and is great for precision shooting.

Rangefinder reticles measure intervals along vertical and horizontal stadia lines on the crosshair, just like a laser rangefinder. Ballistic reticles have custom hash marks to help estimate bullet drop from yardage to 500+ yards, depending on the caliber. Illuminated reticles give extra precision in bright sun or low-light conditions.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is key when shopping for a rifle scope. It's the distance between your eye and the scope's rear. It's important for safety and comfort. Insufficient eye relief means you risk scope bite from the rifle recoiling. Three inches is standard, but if you're using powerful ammo, go for more – up to five inches. Some scopes offer that. Plus, bigger lenses in certain mag levels give you more distance between your eye and the gun, thanks to better optics tech.


Durability: top priority! When picking a rifle scope, look for something tough. Aluminum is lightweight, rust-resistant. Lens coatings and eyepiece design? Ensure they're top-notch and wear-resistant. Plus, pick a reputable brand with a good warranty to protect your investment.


When picking a rifle scope for your next hunting escapade, you should think about the type of gun you're shooting, your experience level, and the type of game you're hunting. Fixed power scopes are ideal for hunters who want simplicity and dependability. With variable power scopes, you can adjust the magnification if needed. Experts in long range shooting may fancy a scope with higher magnification. Night vision scopes are advantageous in low light conditions.

Make sure you get a scope that's waterproof and fog proof, so it can survive nature's elements. Check out all the available options and read customer reviews before you buy. That way, you'll get the most out of your hunting experience with a perfect sight picture. All the best!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the different types of rifle scopes?

A: The three main types of rifle scopes are fixed power, variable power, and red-dot scopes. Fixed power scopes have a single magnification and do not allow the user to adjust the magnification. Variable power scopes allow the user to adjust the magnification within a certain range. Red-dot scopes are designed primarily for short-range shooting and do not magnify the target image.

Q: What is the best type of rifle scope for hunting?

A: The best type of rifle scope for hunting depends on the type of hunting you will be doing. For long-range shooting, a variable power scope is usually the best option. For short-range shooting, a red-dot scope is usually the best option.

Q: What factors should I consider when selecting a rifle scope?

A: When selecting a rifle scope, the most important factors to consider are the type of hunting you will be doing, the magnification range of the scope, the reticle type, the size and weight of the scope, and the quality of the optics.

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