The Ultimate Guide to Tactical Rifle Scopes Take Your Shooting Skills to the Next Level
The right rifle scope can make a huge impact on shooting accuracy. With so many options available, how do you choose? This guide will help you figure it out.
We'll discuss features like optical power, eye relief, objectives, and reticles. This will help you find the ideal scope for your rifle and shooting style.
What is a Tactical Rifle Scope?
A tactical rifle scope is a specialized optical tool. It's made to be attached to a rifle or long gun. Generally, they have better lenses and make-up, so they can give the shooter clear and dependable magnification.
Traditionally, they were used to hunt. Nowadays, many are used for competitive shooting, military operations, and long-range target work. Tactical scopes usually have variable power settings, letting people easily change magnification without needing to reset the scope or adjust the sight of the target.
Reticles are different too. Some scopes have large crosshairs, making it easier to hit targets from long distances. Others have illuminated reticles with adjustable brightness for dim settings. Many modern tactical rifle scopes come with features like auto turrets and rangefinding, helping the shooter to get targets accurately whatever the conditions.
What Makes a Tactical Rifle Scope Different?
Tactical rifle scopes are unique from traditional hunting scopes. They have larger objective lenses and external windage turrets. Plus, they offer illuminated reticles and adjustable parallax to make shooting long-range targets easier. These scopes also work well in low light conditions.
In addition, tactical rifle scopes have easier, quicker adjustments than other types of scope turrets. Plus, they often feature illuminated reticles in many colors for quicker target acquisition. Most of these scopes also come with special reticles designed for long range shooting. These may include BDCs or adjustable knobs to match ammo trajectory at distance.
Types of Tactical Rifle Scopes
Tactical Rifle Scopes are great for hunters, law enforcement officers, and military personnel. Choosing the right one can be tricky. Our guide will help you understand the different types of scopes available. Plus, you'll find out which scope is best for your shooting needs.
- Understand the different types of scopes available.
- Find out which scope is best for your shooting needs.
Red Dot Sights
Red dot sights are perfect for shooters who need close-range accuracy. They let you make accurate shots without having to align crosshairs on the target. Red dot sights have a bright illuminated red circle or dot that acts as a reticle. This can be adjusted according to shooting distance and target size. Most models don't need an external power source, as they use internal batteries. Though, this decreases their battery life. Red dot sights are also great for clay targets and scenarios with quick target acquisition and limited lag time between shots.
Four types of reticles can usually be found on red dot sights:
- An adjustable circle, usually used for CQB applications. It provides a wide field of view, making it easier to line up shots quickly.
- Duplex reticles, usually used for long-range shooting, providing more accuracy than the other options.
- Crosshair reticles, best when precision is most important, ranging from 1/10th MOA to 1/100th MOA. This lets you make very precise follow-up shots.
- Minute of angle (MOA) reticles, showing milliradian increments, giving you an idea of how much adjustment is needed for longer range shots.
Variable Power Scopes
Variable power scopes are the most popular type of tactical rifle scope. They have revolutionized long range shooting. With adjustable magnification, they make shooting easier and more accurate at various distances. These scopes come in sizes from 3 to 20 power (3x-20x) and even up to 60 or 100 power!
There are 3 main styles: wide-angle, mid-range and long range. For wide-angle, 3x or 4x magnifications are best for quick target acquisition. Mid-range shots need 6x to 8x for more precision and better clarity. Longer ranges require 10x to 20x to increase accuracy and sight acquisition from far away targets.
Variable power scopes are great for all types of shooters. They allow zeroing in on targets at different ranges without switching out optics. Making them a practical, reliable solution for tactical rifle scoping.
Fixed Power Scopes
Fixed power scopes are usually cheaper than variable ones. They have one set magnification level. Some even have illuminated reticles, which make it easier to spot targets in bad lighting. Generally, they work best from 50-300 yards.
Popular fixed power scopes include:
- 2x: For shooting up to 250 yards, good for competitive shooting or hunting.
- 4x: For up to 400 yards. Great for hunting coyote and larger game.
- 6x: Good for 100-600 yards. Perfect for long range hunting and precision shooting.
- 8x: For distances beyond 600 yards. Great for varmint hunters.
Night Vision Scopes
Night vision scopes utilize cutting-edge tech. They amplify existing light, allowing you to see in near total darkness. This includes moonlight and starlight, as well as infrared illumination.
There are two main types: Generation 1 and Generation 2+. Gen 1 is more affordable, and it improves detection range and resolution compared to standard rifle optics. However, since it is a thermal device, it does not have features of higher-end models like shot placement accuracy.
Gen 2+ night vision scopes offer superior performance in low light, with image intensification technologies. They feature variable magnification rates, with 4X up to 24X power. Some premium models also have illuminated first focal plane reticles, allowing for faster target acquisition and better shot placement accuracy downrange – perfect for hunting at night!
Selecting a Tactical Rifle Scope
Need to choose a tactical rifle scope? It's a major decision that can affect your shooting accuracy and performance. Each rifle scope is made for special shooting purposes, so it's important to know what you're getting before you buy.
Here, we'll look at the features and advantages of various rifle scopes, so you can make the right choice for your shooting needs.
Magnification is a key factor to think about when selecting a tactical rifle scope. Some have fixed magnification, whereas others have variable magnification, so you can adjust the power depending on your target and distance.
Fixed power scopes are normally 1x, 2x, 3x, or 4x, with 1x being the lowest and 4x being the highest. These are great for short-range shooting, as they offer a wide field of view without affecting accuracy. For long-distance shooting, higher magnifications are needed for clear views of far away targets.
Variable power scopes let you change the magnification levels. This range is usually 2-7X or 3-9X. When deciding between fixed and variable, it's good to think about the shooting conditions. Too high of a magnification can cause swaying due to small movements being increased.
The objective lens is essential when selecting a tactical rifle scope. Light is magnified and focused with this lens, so you need to choose the right size. A larger lens will let in more light, but it will be bulkier and heavier. A 50mm or 56mm lens is better for game hunting or use during twilight hours. 40mm or 42mm lenses are better for areas with lots of vegetation.
Think about the range of use, the weather, the ammunition, and personal preference when deciding on a lens size. All of this will help determine what type of reticle and magnification power you need:
- Range of use
- Personal preference
The reticle is also known as a crosshair. It is the aiming mark at the center of your firearm scope. It helps you target quickly.
When selecting one, consider three things: appearance, precision, and illumination.
- Appearance: Reticles come in different shapes, thicknesses, and densities. Duplex or Crosshair are popular. They have thicker sections for silhouette aiming and thinner sections for long range shooting. Other shapes include circles, angled lines, dots, or ovals. Some scopes allow you to customize size, shape, and color.
- Precision: Look at how readouts are presented and if they offer mil-dot or MOA measurements. These help measure angular measurements and predict trajectories over long distances. Readouts are on a cross-sectional line within the reticle. This lets you estimate ranges without taking off caps or turning dials on the scope.
- Illumination: Illuminated reticles help you fire accurately in low light environments, like dawn or dusk. They contrast against a dark background by illuminating a center aiming point with a light source. Choose one with five levels of illumination that can be adjusted for different lighting outside.
Eye relief is a must-have when selecting a tactical rifle scope. This is the space between the eyepiece lens and your eye that gives you a full view. The range of eye relief on scopes can vary from 2.5 inches to 4 inches. Generally, lower powered scopes have longer eye relief than higher powered ones. This allows for more comfortable shooting.
When choosing a tactical rifle scope, make sure to look for one with appropriate eye relief. This will make shooting more enjoyable. Also, note the placement of the optic on the rifle's rail. This affects how quickly you'll acquire and keep your sight picture. Optics with short eye relief may need more distance from your eye. But optics with long eye relief may require less space for optimal performance.
When choosing a tactical rifle scope, durability is key. It needs to be able to withstand the elements and provide consistent results. Look for products made of aircraft grade aluminium with a matte black, scratch-resistant finish. It should also be shockproof and waterproof.
The lenses should be nitrogen-filled or o-ring sealed to prevent fogging, contamination and dust. Scopes with haze reduction coatings and high quality glass lenses will offer great optical clarity. Self-centering crosshairs will ensure precise aiming. With regular maintenance and cleaning, these features should last for years.
Price is always important when choosing a firearm product, like rifle scopes. Many shooters think the pricier options are best. But you must consider the features and compatibility with your firearm and style.
There are plenty of scopes in all price ranges. Knowing how you will use it, helps you decide what features you need. The more expensive ones have extra features, like durability or special reticles. Low-priced tactical scopes are good for target shooting or hunting small game. But premium options have better glass for long range accuracy or higher magnification.
Do your research and get advice from experienced shooters before picking one. You can find a quality rifle scope that fits your budget.
Mounting a Tactical Rifle Scope
Maximize your shooting accuracy by mounting a tactical rifle scope! To do so, you'll need the right mount and secure fastening. Here's a guide to follow for optimal performance:
- Choose your mount,
- then make sure it's firmly attached to the rifle.
- And you're done- you now have a ready-to-go tactical rifle scope!
Types of Mounts
When choosing a tactical rifle scope, the type of mount is key. This is because it affects accuracy, clearance and stability. To get exactly what you need, it's important to know the two main types of mounts – Picatinny rail systems and Weaver rail systems.
- Picatinny rails (or MIL-STD 1913 rails) are a modified version of Weaver rails, with slightly larger slots and metal teeth. They provide more range, are lighter and easier to use than many other options. Most tactical rifles have them.
- Weaver rails were developed earlier. They feature multiple slots along the receiver, allowing for precise mounting heights. Plus, there are more accessories available made specifically for them.
Mounting the Scope
Once you’ve chosen the scope, it's time to mount it on your rifle. To do this, you'll need an appropriate base and rings that work with your rifle's make and model. Opt for a base made of lightweight aluminum alloy or tough non-abrasive material. Common types are Weaver rails, Picatinny rails, one piece and two piece bases. As for the rings, they should match up with the rifle base's recoil grooves and be made from cold-rolled steel or tough tempered steel. Rings can be 0 MOA or 30 MOA (preferable for long range shooting). Pick a ring height compatible with your scope's body style.
Then, secure the base and rings onto your firearm. Gently attach the scope and make sure not to over-tighten the screws. Before heading out, check that reticle adjustments won't have any lasting effects when making sight changes.
Performing boresighting requires a boresight tool. It looks like a brass cartridge and fits into the end of your muzzle. Once in, look through your scope and match the reticle (crosshairs) with the tool's markings. This can be tricky, so only try it if you are confident.
Before beginning, gather your tools:
- Boresight tool
- Mirror or level surface
- Target paper
- Allen wrench set
- Hearing protection
- Safety glasses
Mount the scope to the rifle's receiver rail with the Allen wrench set. Make sure everything is secure. Set up the rifle on something solid or hang it from a hook. Attach the boresight tool to the muzzle opening and aim at a stationary object or target paper at 10 yards away. Match the reticles. Remove the reticles and tools before shooting. Now your scope is attached for accurate firing!
To sum up, there's a lot to ponder when picking the proper scope for your tactical situation. Hopefully this guide aided in understanding components and features, so you can buy with trust. Mainly, recall that the scope should be suited to your needs and likes. Consider light transmission and reticle type, eye relief and adjustability. Plus, don't forget to check the recoil rating. This will confirm that the scope meets all criteria and works superbly in any given condition.
Lastly, always inspect battery life before taking the rifle out to target practice or field use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a tactical rifle scope?
A: A tactical rifle scope is a specialized type of optical sight designed for long-range and precision shooting in tactical or competitive shooting scenarios. It is typically equipped with features such as variable magnification, illuminated reticles, and adjustable objective lenses to maximize accuracy and performance in the field.
Q: What are the benefits of using a tactical rifle scope?
A: Tactical rifle scopes are designed to provide superior performance in variable environmental conditions and offer several advantages to shooters. These include increased accuracy and precision, improved visibility in low-light conditions, and enhanced target acquisition capability.
Q: What type of tactical rifle scope should I buy?
A: The type of tactical rifle scope that you should purchase will depend on the type of shooting you plan to do and your budget. When selecting a scope, consider factors such as magnification range, reticle type, objective lens size, eye relief, and durability. Additionally, make sure to read reviews and compare models to find the best option for your needs.