Get the Scoop on the Different Types of Rifle Scopes Find Your Perfect Match

Overview of Rifle Scopes

The market has a plethora of rifle scopes! Every one is crafted for a different goal. You may like shooting from far away, or close up. There's a scope out there perfect for your desires. In this piece, we'll give you a quick overview of the various kinds of rifle scopes. Let's begin!

Types of Rifle Scopes

Selecting the right rifle scope is key for hunting success. There are many types of scopes with different features and benefits. Before buying, it's important to understand them to pick the best one for your needs.

  • Fixed power scopes are a great option for beginners and shooters with limited experience. They have a single magnification (e.g. 4X) that can't be adjusted. This makes them lightweight and simple to use, but not as accurate at long ranges as variable power scopes.
  • Variable power scopes have adjustable magnifications, ranging from 3X-9X or higher. They're usually more accurate at long distances than fixed power scopes, but they're bigger and heavier.
  • Long range or tactical scopes are designed for precision shooting over long distances, often up to 1,000 yards or more. They have adjustable turrets for windage & elevation adjustments. High-end models have illuminated reticles and focal planes for precise aim point calibration in low light. But these come with a cost premium.
  • Specialty scopes serve niche uses like night vision, thermal optics, milldot reticles, shoot thru reticles, and flip up sights.

Remember to consider your budget and try out different types before committing. You might feel comfortable with a variable powered scope, but others might prefer thermal optics. Test out several brands to find your perfect match.

Features of Rifle Scopes

Knowing rifle scopes’ features is vital for successful hunting. Different types of scopes have varying quality levels, plus ways of calculating distance and adjusting magnification. There are four main features to consider when looking for a rifle scope: reticle, magnification, eye relief and tube size.

Reticles are essential for having a point of reference after sighting in the target. The type of reticle impacts accuracy when changing windage and elevation. Popular reticles are dot, crosshair, duplex and Mil-Dot shapes.

Magnification can be either “linear” or “stretch”. Linear is when one click at 10x gives 1/10th of an inch at 100 yards. Stretching means amplifying any part of the image by a few clicks instead of increasing overall magnification power (like 8-26x).

Eye relief is how close your eye can be behind the scope without straining your neck to get a clear picture through it (normally 2-4 inches). The tube size relates to how much internal space there is within the scope itself. Bigger tubes are heavier but they give increased reliability and clarity.

Today there are many rifle scopes with various features. Spend some time getting acquainted with each feature so you can choose the right scope for your next hunt!

Types of Rifle Scopes

Shopping for a rifle scope can be hard! Different scopes have different pros and cons. To help you pick, let's explore the various types of rifle scopes. We'll look at the differences between them, so that you can make an informed decision for your next shoot!

  • Types of Rifle Scopes

Red Dot Scopes

Red dot scopes are famous. They have a small red dot in the middle of their lenses. This type of scope allows you to see your target clearly, and without magnifying it too much. It's also easier to shoot from awkward positions.

These scopes are perfect for fast-moving sports and hunting. They are lightweight and accurate. Some red dots have “auto-off” features. This means they switch off if they sense no movement for a while. No need to worry about turning them off.

The two main types of red dot scopes are holographic and prismatic sights. Holographic sights use laser tech to project an image onto film. They are great for short barreled weapons. Prismatic sights don't use lasers. They have conventional reticles with tiny lines. They take up more space, but provide more optics stability.

Holographic Scopes

Holographic scopes are becoming popular with enthusiasts. They have a holographic overlay to help the shooter aim precisely. The reticle patterns are usually crosshairs, circles, grids, or mil-dots.

The advantage is they provide a fast FOV, with unlimited eye relief. They are lighter and more durable since they have fewer lenses and mechanics.

The downside is they are expensive. Also, under direct sunlight, the hologram may cause glare and impair vision.

Variable Scopes

A variable-power rifle scope is an optic that can be adjusted to different magnifications. Generally, most are 3x to 9x or 4x to 12x. Hunting scopes can range up to 20x or higher. The power of the scope is indicated by the ‘X' next to the numeric value (ex. 3x or 6-24 X 42). This means you can adjust the lens between 1/6 and 1/24 of its maximum field of view. At 6X magnification, you get a wider picture than at 24X magnification because it allows more light through the lens.

Objective lens size and reticle type also vary. Larger lenses (50mm and up) are better for low light conditions. Reticles such as those ending with “MOA” provide trajectory compensation and windage adjustments.

It's important to understand how much your rifle is capable of shooting accurately over various distances. Variable levers are great for immediate readjustment. Turrets or knobs can be rewarding for precision shots and long kills due to repeatability between known shooting positions (called dialing in).

Fixed Scopes

Fixed rifle scopes are renowned for their simple design and construction. They offer just one magnification setting, so they are not adjustable. This makes them the lightest, least costly and most sturdy type of scope. Perfect for rimfire and airgun applications!

These scopes come in different sizes and magnifications, making them great for target shooting or hunting, both short and long-range. Popular models include:

  • Weaver V-9
  • Nikon ProStaff 3-9X 40mm
  • Bushnell Trophy XLT 4-12 X 40mm Riflescope.

Fixed rifle scopes are faster to use than variable scopes at lower powers. Both the reticle size and focus length stay the same, so you get greater eye relief too. Lastly, they have fewer parts, so they are less likely to break down.

Features of Rifle Scopes

Rifle scopes come in all shapes and sizes. Each one has its own features and advantages. Before buying one, it's important to understand the differences. Let's look at the features to help find the perfect match!

Learn about the various types available and find the one that suits you best:


Rifle shooters want to know the magnification of each scope. This affects their accuracy when shooting in the field or at the range. Magnification is measured as a ratio, usually 4-12x.

Fixed power and variable power scopes offer different levels of magnification. Fixed power scopes are cheaper and better in low light. They are also more durable in extreme conditions due to having fewer parts.

Variable power scopes provide adjustable viewing options. You can pick the perfect power setting with a single turn of the knob. Plus, they usually have multiple reticle options.


Reticles come in various designs and shapes to match different shooting needs. The simplest is a cross hair, which is often found on most general-purpose scopes. Specialized reticles exist for more specific shooting scenarios.

Examples include:

  • Duplex. This type has two sets of thin lines that thicken near the center. Great for general hunting.
  • Mil Dot. Also known as ‘miliradian‘, it's popular with long range shooters. It helps work out target distance and holdover data accurately.
  • BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator). Made for a specific caliber or twist rate, it usually shows range markers for holdover info.
  • Illuminated Reticles. Electronics and battery power help you quickly aim in dark or difficult conditions. The ‘on' light turns on only when needed.

By understanding the different types in the market, you can find the right fit for your gun's scope set-up. That way, you can get an accurate shot every time!

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the space between the eye and the scope's ocular lens. It depends on the size, type and power of the scope. Knowing eye relief is essential for getting a full view through the scope.

In addition, higher eye relief helps reduce felt recoil. It gives a cushion between you and the rifle's flip from high-power calibers.

Furthermore, certain scopes need extra components to get extended accuracy with various shooting styles or stock design changes. This is especially true when using long-eye-relief scopes. Make sure to get the right components to achieve accuracy when using scouting scopes or target optics.

Parallax Adjustment

Parallax adjustment is a must-have when it comes to finding the ideal rifle scope. Parallax is an optical term meaning what you see through the scope may not be where the bullet strikes. This is especially true with higher magnification scopes, but can occur with lower magnifications too. Parallax errors change depending on range and magnification.

A rifle scope with parallax adjustment has a combination of lenses, object lenses, and prisms that create a sharp image at any range setting. This scope also has a diopter adjustable lens that compensates for parallax errors from 20 feet to infinity. You can adjust parallax error by turning a knob on the side or rear end of the scope tube. Some scopes have an adjustable objective that eliminates parallax by moving your head up or down. Make sure your chosen rifle scope has some kind of adjustment capability to guarantee accuracy when shooting!

Choosing the Right Rifle Scope

Choosing the correct rifle scope is key for being an accurate, successful hunter. With so many options, it's wise to comprehend what varieties of rifle scopes supply in terms of utility, performance, and accuracy.

This article will explore the dissimilar kinds of rifle scopes and provide tips on picking out the right scope for you:

Consider Your Needs

When choosing a rifle scope, it's important to decide what you need. Do you want adjustable or fixed magnification? Do you need something tough and weather-proof? Does your rifle mount require special specs?

Answering these questions can help you pick the right scope. Magnification can range from 2x to 18x or higher. Consider field of view and reticle style too, so you can see and aim accurately. If weight is a factor, look at the material used. A heavier one may be worth it for its durability.

Research Different Brands

When shopping for a rifle scope, it is important to do research. Different scopes can offer different benefits; for example, more magnification or better low-light performance. Some allow for more accurate long-range shooting. Consider warranties and price range of the brands. Many companies offer lifetime warranties. Read user reviews to get feedback about expected performance and reliability.

With this information, you will be able to find the perfect rifle scope for you!

Read Reviews

When you shop for a rifle scope online, customer reviews are key. Manufacturer claims aren't enough – you need real-world performance metrics. Find blogs and forums with independent reviews and user feedback. This will help you decide which scope is best for you.

User feedback can give you info on

  • reliability
  • waterproofing
  • optical clarity
  • ranging accuracy
  • durability
  • size

Consider if the scope works in bad weather – do you need glass lens covers? Is it lightweight enough to carry?

Also, ask other rifle scope users what their experiences have been. This can give you an insight beyond manufacturer claims.

Maintenance and Care

To really enjoy your rifle scope, it's important to keep it in top condition. Taking good care of your rifle scope is vital, as it affects accuracy, image quality and its life-span.

Here we'll look at basic maintenance and care tips to keep your scope working well and lasting:

Cleaning and Storage

Remember, proper maintenance and care of your rifle scope can keep it in top condition for years. Before cleaning and storage, switch off or unplug the scope from the power source. Cleaning your scope properly and storing it right will guarantee its optimal performance.

Cleaning: Start with a damp lens cloth or microfiber towel and water with mild detergent (no soap). Wipe down the scope body and all lenses, including the eye pieces. Gently blow away any loose dirt or dust with compressed air. Wipe the scope down one more time with the damp cloth to get rid of remaining particles. Don't touch lenses with your hands, as skin oils can damage them permanently!

Storage: Keep your rifle scope in a controlled temperature/humidity environment, if possible. If not, wrap it in thin fabric like cotton or flannel cloth. Invest in a protective carrying case for extra protection when transporting or doing outdoor activities. Check battery level periodically and update software when notified by the manufacturer. Finally, pay attention to safety warnings in the user manual before operating, then enjoy!

Adjustment and Calibration

Choose a scope that meets your needs. Ensure proper adjustment and calibration. Tighten the turrets to zero in on targets. Use them to calibrate for bullets that drop at far distances. This is “drop compensate” and helps accuracy. Adjust for parallax, if not, it might be difficult to identify a target. Clean and oil regularly to maintain the scope. If there is visible damage, get professional help.


If you're having issues with your rifle scope, there are a few steps you can take to identify and solve the problem. First, check the user's manual or contact the manufacturer for advice.

To troubleshoot:

  • Inspect all external components for damage or dirt. Clean any lenses with a soft cloth, but don't put too much pressure on them as it can cause distortion.
  • Change any batteries that might need replacing. Use only the manufacturer's recommended model.
  • Check your firearm is functioning correctly as it may influence the scope. Fire at an empty location and check through sights.
  • If the reticle appears skewed, inspect the mounting bracket and make sure everything is tight and secure. Verify that all screws are tightened to the correct specifications.
  • Inspect the turrets carefully. Make sure they turn freely with no sticking or obstruction. Check the adjuster screw on the turret cap is tight.
  • If indicated force required is greater than the manufacturer's specs, contact the store/vendor for repair/replacement options.

If the malfunction persists, contact customer service for replacement/repair options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the different types of rifle scopes?
A. The different types of rifle scopes include fixed power scopes, variable power scopes, illuminated reticle scopes, and specialty scopes.

Q. What are the benefits of using a rifle scope?
A. Rifle scopes provide a great deal of accuracy and precision when shooting. They allow you to see targets in low light conditions and can help you to identify targets from a distance.

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 game you are hunting and the range at which you will be shooting. Generally, a variable power scope is best for hunting because it allows you to adjust the magnification depending on the range of your target.

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