The Power of Magnification How to Choose the Best Riflescope for Your Hunting Trip


A riflescope is essential for any serious hunter. It helps you see clearly, get close to your target and make accurate shots from far away. When selecting a new scope, it's important to understand the power of magnification. How it affects performance and accuracy. What features are necessary?

Magnification power is often overlooked or not given enough attention. It's key to staying on target while still being close enough that your target is within range. The higher the magnification, the closer you can identify and engage the target.

Take into account the terrain and eye sight disorders when choosing a scope. This helps ensure you choose one with the best power for your needs:

  • Terrain
  • Eye sight disorders

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Riflescope

Selecting the perfect riflescope for your hunting trip is key. Magnification power, eye relief, and reticle type are all factors to weigh.

  • Magnification power is essential. It impacts the clarity and accuracy of your target.
  • Reticles come in different varieties and can be adjusted to fit your goals.
  • Eye relief matters too. It dictates how comfortable you are with the scope.

In this article, let's take a look at what it takes to choose the best riflescope for your next hunting venture.

Magnification Power

Magnification is the key when selecting a quality riflescope. It enlarges the size of an object in view. Most hunting scopes are advertised with two numbers, like 4x-16x or 6x-24x. This reflects their magnification capabilities, with the first number being the lowest level and the second number the highest.

Go for a scope with higher magnification levels. This gives you more options for shooting at greater distances. But remember, higher magnification comes with tradeoffs – reduced field of view. Consider your needs before deciding on the power range.

  • Those hunting in open terrain should opt for higher levels of magnification.
  • Those hunting in wooded areas may not need as much zoom and should opt for less powerful scopes.

Reticle Type

When selecting the best riflescope, the type of reticle is important. A reticle is a pattern in the scope used for sighting. Different reticles have various ranges and uses, like general hunting and precision shooting. Examples of reticles include BDC (bullet drop compensation), duplex, Post/Crosshair, and fine crosshairs.

  • BDC reticles allow elevation adjustment based on wind speed, barometric pressure, and spin decay.
  • Duplex Reticles are thicker at the edges, which makes them quicker to acquire.
  • Post/Crosshair and Fine Crosshair Reticles are thinner and provide greater accuracy at longer distances.

Also, consider how prominent the reticle appears in relation to what you are viewing. For example, larger game animals require sturdier construction than small birds. It is important to consider how much weight you need in the scope before investing in one.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the gap between your eye and the eyepiece. Research shows it's essential for hunting success. Quality varies with magnification. Most scopes have 3-4 inches of eye relief. Higher magnification means more relief.

When picking a scope, think of mounting it. No adjustable cheek piece? Longer eye relief is best. But, long designs add weight and bulk. Look at the sighting system too. Some scopes won't let you co-witness with iron sights. This is important if multiple people use the rifle. Non-magnified view helps them hit the mark quickly and accurately.

Lens Coating

Lens coating is key when choosing a riflescope. Anti-reflective coatings are the most common. They cut down the light lost through the lens, as well as enhance image contrast, reduce glare and aid visibility in dim light. ED (Extra Low Dispersion) lenses are also available. They improve resolution and colour accuracy.

Hydrophobic coatings make the lens water repellent and more weatherproof.

Research the options and look for top-quality coatings like HD or XD. Some materials change brightness depending on the environment. Pick a riflescope with lenses that suit your conditions. They might be expensive but will last longer than lower quality lenses. These are more prone to warping or damage in rough conditions.

Turret Adjustment

A rifle scope's turret adjustment lets you make fine-tune your shots. Most hunting scopes have adjustable turrets that rotate in 1/4″ MOA or 1/3″ MOA. This means a single click at 100 yards will move down the point of impact by one inch. That's the size of a deer's heart. This helps shooters adjust their aim quickly at distances of up to fifty yards.

Basic and shooter grade scopes usually only have one marking for a given yardage. This can lead to inaccurate shots if you're shooting from different distances. More advanced hunting rifle scopes have four left and right turret adjustments. You can customize these for various distances for better accuracy.

Types of Riflescopes

Magnification is key when hunting. The correct riflescope can make a huge impact. There are different types of riflescopes to pick from. These vary based on your needs and preferences.

Types of riflescopes include:

  • Fixed magnification
  • Variable magnification
  • Multi-plex reticles

Each has its own pros. Get to know the different types before choosing the one that fits you best.

Fixed Magnification

Fixed magnification riflescopes are basic. They're called “scope on a stick” since they come in one piece. They usually have windage and elevation knobs for adjustments. These scopes are cheaper than variable power scopes. But, they offer one magnification level.

Common fixed magnification rifle scopes are 4x, 6x, 10x and 20x. A 4x is great for close range shooting. A 6x is best for shots up to 300 yards away. With a 10x, you can reach 500 yards or more. And, a 20x can take shots up to 1,000 yards. Depending on the cartridge, this range can increase.

Variable Magnification

Riflescopes come in a variety of magnifications. This is shown by a two-part label that's unique to each scope. For example, “6-18×50” indicates 6-18 times magnification, and a 50mm objective lens diameter.

The first number (6) is the lowest magnification, and the second number (18) is the highest.

These lenses are controlled by either a knob or lever. You can adjust the zoom while looking through the scope. This helps you focus on targets of different sizes and distances. Variable power scopes are great for hunting and competition. They offer features like illuminated reticles and adjustable turrets for windage and elevation compensation. This makes shooting more accurate at longer distances, even in low light conditions.

How to Mount a Riflescope

Before any hunting trip, mounting a riflescope correctly is a must! This can ensure great performance in the field. It also allows you to adjust the magnification as you want.

In this article, we will take a look at how to mount a riflescope and why it is so important:

Choose the Right Mount

Choosing the right rifle scope is essential. And you must also select the right mount. There are many different types of mounts for modern rifles. Picking the perfect one for your rifle and scope is vital for accuracy when shooting.

The most common mounts include the picatinny or weaver system bases. These are often included with the rifle, and fit on any mounted rails. Decide on a mount that fits your stock. Some guns have bigger forearms than others. Measure from the front bolt hole to the center of the pressure point on your buttstock (in inches). This size should be enough for bases, rings, and scopes.

Check the recoil pads attached to the rifle’s stock. It may influence the clearance between the scope and rings when using an adjustable cheekpiece. Begin by taking loose measurements. Make minor adjustments until everything fits.

Retailers or manufacturers (Leupold, Burris, Weaver Optics Company) sell aftermarket mounting systems, specifically designed for each type of rifle/scope combination. Many options exist when seeking a quality mounting system. Pay close attention to details to succeed when taking aim with precision accuracy.

Attach the Scope

You've chosen the perfect scope for your rifle and conditions. Now, it's time to mount it. Make sure it's aligned and secure for accuracy.

Attach the bases to your gun's receiver. Tighten them, but not too much, or you might strip the screws. Place the mounting rings on two rails, and tighten them. Make sure you get the right size for your bases.

Put the scope into the bottom of each ring. Tighten all the bolts or screws with a torque screwdriver or hex wrench. Before mounting, loosen all the knobs. Use a thread locker, like Loc-Tite, on the adjustments screws. Check your connections to make sure they're tight. Now you're ready to take aim!

Secure the Scope

Mounting a riflescope securely is important for accurate shooting. You must use the right tools and materials. Here are some steps:

  1. Check your rifle and mounting area for obstacles.
  2. Set the rings as per manufacturer instructions. One should be slightly lower for off-hand shots.
  3. Apply two layers of gun oil to the bottom ring grooves.
  4. Lift the scope, taking care not to scratch either part.
  5. Tighten all screws until the rings make contact with the tube. Follow torque specifications.
  6. Use a level to check each point as you tighten, for perfect alignment. This helps accuracy at higher magnification levels.


Choosing a riflescope for your hunt is important. Consider magnification, size, weight, lens coatings, reticles, and turrets. Powerful scopes offer amazing range and accuracy, but they are expensive and heavier. Weigh all these factors before deciding.

Take your scope to the range for sighting in. Knowing where your rifle is sighted at different distances will improve accuracy. With knowledge and preparation, you'll have added confidence when hunting game animals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the benefits of using a riflescope for hunting?

A: Using a riflescope can give you more accurate and precise shooting, a better field of view, and can help you spot your targets from greater distances. It can also help reduce recoil and improve accuracy, which is essential for successful hunting trips.

Q: What should I look for when choosing a riflescope?

A: When selecting a riflescope, you should consider its magnification power, eye relief, field of view, and quality of the lenses. It is important to find a product that offers the right combination of features to suit your individual needs.

Q: What magnification power should I choose for my riflescope?

A: The magnification power of your riflescope will depend on the type of hunting you plan to do. Generally, higher power scopes are better for long-range shooting, while lower power scopes are better for close-range shooting. You should also consider the type of terrain you will be hunting in, as well as the size of your target.

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