The Ultimate Guide to Magnification Power How to Choose the Perfect Riflescope for Your Needs


Selecting the correct riflescope for your needs is very crucial. It can be difficult to pick the most suitable one from all the options available. In this guide, we will talk about the magnification power and how to use it to identify the scope fitting your shooting style.

There are fixed power scopes and variable power models, offering a range of magnifications that can influence performance and accuracy. Choosing the right scope depends on knowing your rifle and the type of shooting it's good for. We'll also look at factors such as field of view and recoil resistance, and explain terms like windage and parallax adjustment so you can make an informed choice.

Understanding Magnification Power

Magnification power matters when picking a riflescope. It changes the size and sharpness of the target, and also the reach of the scope. Comprehending low and high magnification power, and the sorts available, can support you in making an educated choice and finding the ideal riflescope for your project.

What is Magnification Power?

Magnification power, also known as “zoom” or “power“, determines the size and distance of an image to the observer. It is measured in “x” values. Multiply the objective lens size by these values to get the total amount of magnification. For example, a 10x50mm riflescope has a 50mm front lens with 10 times magnification, increasing the image sizes to 10 times.

Magnification power is important when selecting a rifle scope. It determines how far away an object can be seen, and how accurately you can target it.

Understanding magnification power helps you decide which rifle scope is best for you. Three categories exist:

  • Low-powered (1-4x)
  • Medium-powered (4-7x)
  • High powered (8+x)

Low-powered magnifications are ideal for close range or wooded areas. Medium powers are perfect for hunting large game from long distances (>100 yards). High powers let you pick out targets from extreme ranges (500+ yards). It all depends on the type of game you intend to hunt, and your shooting environment/terrain.

Types of Magnification Power

Searching for the ideal riflescope? It's important to comprehend the magnification power offered. Magnification power, or level, is the amount a scope increases the size of an image compared to the unaided eye. For instance, a scope with 10x magnification will make an object appear ten times bigger.

Magnification power choices range from fixed (a single level) to variable (multiple levels). Here are some regular levels and applications:

  • Low/Tactical Power: Low power scopes are typically compact, lightweight and inexpensive for close-range shooting such as tactical and target shooting. Magnification power ranges from 1x to 8x.
  • Medium Power: Medium-powered scopes are for all-purpose use up to 500 yards away. Magnification power ranges from 9x – 14x.
  • High Power: High-powered scopes are for long-range shooting or hunting applications like large game hunting and sniper work at extended ranges up to 1000 yards away. Magnification power is usually 15x or higher. More features like adjustable parallax setting controls and high light transmission lenses can help with precision pointing and accuracy at extended distances.

How to Calculate Magnification Power

When shopping for a riflescope, magnification power is key. This is the measure of how much closer an object looks when you look through the scope's eyepiece. For example, if something appears 100 yards away through the scope, but is actually 500 yards away, then the magnification power is 5x.

Calculate the magnification power by dividing the focal length of the objective lens (bigger lens facing forward) by the ocular lens's (smaller lens near the eyepiece). The higher the value, the higher the magnification.

The terms “high magnification” and “low magnification” vary, but usually refer to above 10x and below 10x respectively. High magnifications offer more detail, but reduce the field of view and make targeting harder. So, choose a scope with appropriate magnification for its intended use.

Choosing the Right Magnification Power

Picking the perfect magnification power for your riflescope is essential! It will help you get the best shooting experience. Plus, you'll be able to identify and hit your target more accurately.

This guide will take you through the different factors you should think about when selecting a riflescope with the right magnification power. Let's begin!

Consider Your Shooting Range

A rifle's shooting range is vital when deciding the right magnification power. The level of magnification depends on the range of targets. For long ranges, higher magnification is needed than for shorter ranges. Low-powered scopes are good for close distances. Mid-range scopes are best for medium distances. High-powered scopes work for longer ranges.

Low-powered scopes usually have a wide field of view. This helps in dim light or when scanning an area. Lower magnification also requires less adjustment when sighting in a target. High magnification allows for more accuracy when shooting from far away.

It's important to know the kind of ranges you will be shooting at. This will help when selecting a scope with the right magnification.

Consider Your Target Size

When shopping for a rifle scope, size of target is key. How big is it? This will help determine the magnification power you need. Usually, the bigger the target, the lower power you need. For example, a 3-9x40mm scope is enough for hunting deer at medium distances. But, if you hunt varmints at longer distances, then a 6-20x50mm scope is better.

Also, consider how much detail you want to see. Higher power gives more detail in distant objects. But, they come with increased bulk and weight and reduced field of view. If you use too much power on close targets, then the image can be blurry or distorted due to movements while aiming.

To get the best results, find a balance between magnification power and field of view. It depends on the type and size of targets and shooting environment. Every shooter is different, so it is difficult to specify a perfect combination. But, finding the perfect balance will give rewarding results over time.

Consider Your Shooting Style

Selecting the right magnification power depends on your shooting style. If you shoot targets at a long range, opt for a higher magnification to focus on small details. For close-range shots, a lower magnification gives you a wider field of view.

When picking the perfect power for your rifle scope, think of the type of game or target size you plan to hunt. If you can't decide, consider the size and movement speed of the typical game. For example, an 8-18x range is ideal for a white-tail deer. For bunny rabbits, a 4-6x scope may be enough.

To make the right choice, assess your eyesight when viewed through the scope’s lens system. If you have a way to measure your view, adjust the power for different ranges. This keeps you and others safe.


When selecting the perfect riflescope, your shooting style and preferences matter. It might take a few tries to get the right scope with the right magnification. When you handle different options, you can easily decide. Make sure to pair the scope with compatible mounts.

Keep in mind your shooting style and target when choosing the power level of magnification. This will ensure that your aim accuracy is optimized. So, find the right magnification without overshooting or missing shots!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between objective lens size and magnification power?

A: Objective lens size refers to the diameter of the lens located at the front of the riflescope, which is measured in millimeters. It determines the amount of light that can be captured. Magnification power is the amount of magnification the riflescope can provide, expressed as the ratio of the size of the object as seen through the scope compared to what it would look like with the naked eye. For example, a 3-9x40mm riflescope has a magnification power of 3-9x, meaning it can magnify an object up to 9 times its normal size.

Q: How do I know what magnification power I need?

A: The amount of magnification needed depends on the type of shooting you plan to do. Generally, a lower magnification range is recommended for short-to-mid range shooting, while a higher magnification range is better for long range shooting. It's important to consider the size and type of target you plan to shoot, as well as the distance from which you will be shooting, when determining the best magnification for your needs.

Q: What are the benefits of having adjustable magnification?

A: Adjustable magnification allows you to change the power of the scope to better suit the distance and size of your target. This can help you to make more precise shots, as you can adjust the scope to get a clearer and more accurate view of your target. It also allows you to switch between different levels of magnification quickly and easily, without having to buy multiple scopes.

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