If you’re new to the world of hunting or shooting, choosing the right rifle scope can be a daunting task. With so many features and specifications to consider, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But fear not! In this blog post, we will discuss the most important rifle scope features that you need to consider when purchasing your next scope. By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of what to look for in a scope and how to make an informed decision. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, let’s dive in and explore the essential features of a rifle scope.
What are the Most Important Rifle Scope Features?
When it comes to long-range shooting, rifle scopes are essential. They help you get more accurate shots by magnifying your target and allowing you to compensate for the effects of gravity, wind, and other environmental factors. However, not all scopes are created equal. There are various features to consider when purchasing a scope to make sure it meets your specific shooting needs. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the most important features to look for when shopping for a rifle scope.
Different Types of Scopes
Rifle scopes are classified according to their magnification range. The most common types of scopes are:
- Fixed Power Scopes – These scopes have a fixed magnification, so you cannot adjust the power.
- Variable Power Scopes – These scopes have an adjustable magnification that can be changed to suit the shooter’s needs.
If you are a beginner, we suggest a variable power scope so that you can adjust your magnification based on your purpose.
Scope Features Covered to Make an Informed Purchasing Decision
If you’re looking to purchase a rifle scope, it’s important to know what features to look for. Here are some of the most important features that will help you make an informed purchase decision:
Elevation and Windage Adjustments
Elevation and windage adjustments are more important than magnification or the sharpness of the image. These adjustments help you compensate for the effects of gravity and wind. Higher travel turrets and accurate click values are crucial features to look for in a scope.
Front focal plane reticles are widely preferred for most shooting situations because the reticle appears to grow along with the magnification at your end. When the reticle is not in the front focal plane, it can be difficult to accurately estimate range, correct for drop or windage, and keep shots on target.
Reticle and Turret Value Matching
Matching reticle and turret values is important for quick and easy adjustments in the field. It’s easier to adjust your scope when the markings match, and it can save you time when taking a shot.
Mirage becomes a noticeable problem beyond 20 power magnification. If you usually shoot farther than 600-800 yards, you should take mirage into consideration when buying your scope.
A low-end magnification is essential for hunting scenarios. A magnification range of 3-9 or 2.5-10 is ideal. Anything higher may make it difficult to hit targets in low light conditions and may result in a shaky image.
Objective Lens Diameter
Objective lens diameter should not exceed 56mm. Larger objective lenses don’t necessarily provide a brighter picture, although they provide more brightness within the scope’s useful adjustment range.
Elevation Travel Turrets
Scopes with 100 minutes of angle (MOA) elevation travel are necessary for long-distance shots, although a larger elevation adjustment range is available in custom scopes or the newer ELRs.
Point one milliradian (mrad) or ¼ minutes of angle (MOA) clicks provide fine adjustments on high travel turrets with most common dialing increments of 1/4 MOA or .1 MRAD.
Accuracy of Substituting Values
Accuracy of substitution values is crucial in MOA or MRAD scopes. It’s essential to verify the accuracy of the values used to substitute clicks to apply to targets.
High-end magnification isn’t necessary for most scenarios. A range of 12-20 magnification is sufficient for most shooting situations unless you’re dealing with a high mirage. High-end magnification only comes in handy on extremely long shots beyond 1000 yards, unless you’re competition shooting in better mirage.
When shopping for a rifle scope, it’s important to select the best features that suit your shooting needs. By considering the features described above, you can choose the best scope for your shooting goals. Features such as reticle placement, low-end magnification, turret travel, and the accuracy of the substitution values are essential when searching for a rifle scope.
Why are elevation and windage adjustments more important than magnification?
Elevation and windage adjustments are crucial because they allow shooters to compensate for bullet drop and wind drift, ensuring accurate shots. While magnification can help with target identification and sight picture, it’s the precise adjustments of elevation and windage that ensure a successful shot, especially at long distances. Inaccurate adjustments can lead to missed shots, making these adjustments more important than magnification for consistent accuracy.
Why do front focal plane reticles matter?
Front focal plane (FFP) reticles are placed in the first focal plane, which means the reticle size changes proportionally with the magnification. This allows for more accurate range estimation, bullet drop compensation, and windage corrections at any magnification level. FFP reticles are particularly useful in long-range shooting and tactical situations where accurate adjustments are critical for successful shots.
What is mirage, and why is it a problem?
Mirage is an optical phenomenon caused by the refraction of light through layers of air with different temperatures. It creates a shimmering or wavering effect, distorting the image seen through the scope. This distortion can make it challenging to accurately aim at long-range targets, as the apparent position of the target might not be its actual location. Mirage can also make it difficult to discern fine details, leading to potential misjudgment of distance or target identification.
Can a high-end magnification scope be useful in most shooting situations?
High-end magnification scopes can be useful in certain situations, such as long-range precision shooting or competition, where extreme accuracy at distances beyond 1000 yards is required. However, for most hunting or general shooting situations, excessively high magnification can make target acquisition more challenging, especially at closer ranges. In these scenarios, a more moderate magnification range is usually more suitable and versatile.
What is the ideal low-end magnification range for hunting situations?
The ideal low-end magnification range for hunting situations depends on the type of game and the typical shooting distances involved. For most big game hunting scenarios, such as deer or elk hunting, a magnification range between 3-9x or 2.5-10x is versatile enough to cover various distances and provide an adequate field of view. This range allows hunters to quickly acquire targets at closer ranges while still providing enough magnification for longer shots when needed.