A Guide on Choosing the Right Rifle Scope For Your Needs
A shooter’s sight is invaluable, but there’s only so far that the human eye can see without assistance. To overcome this limitation, scopes of all shapes and sizes have been created for various firearms to improve a shooter’s range of vision and accuracy at long distances.
The problem is that it can be very difficult to find the best rifle scope for your needs when there are so many variations to choose from. However, you can easily find the best rifle scope for your firearms by taking these primary aspects into consideration.
For 5 Rifle Scopes Reviewed
Length of Scope and Distance of Shooting
Depending on where you hunt, how far you typically shoot from and the model of your firearm, you may find better benefits with different sizes and varying powers of magnification. There are three basic sizes to consider in this area.
Short Range Scopes
If you hunt in areas with low visibility due to high amounts of brush, typically hunt game that is shot at a closer range or if your firearm is most accurate at ranges lower than 100 yards, a short range scope would be the best choice for you. Short range scopes are usually the smallest in terms of rifle scopes, and they work best at magnification levels of 2X or 2.5X.
Medium Range Scopes
Commonly called general purpose rifle scopes, the medium range scope is the most commonly sought after rifle scope. The reason for this is that these scopes are the best option for the distance ranges that are most commonly utilized in hunting and shooting, which is 100 to 200 yards.
However, many medium range scopes can also work effectively at ranges of 300 yards. They also are the best rifle scope choice for many common types of rifle. They are great for deer and bear hunting, and remain as a favorite for many shooters. Magnification levels of 2-7X, 2.8-8X and 3-9X are the most useful for these types of scopes.
Long Range Scopes
The best rifle scope for longer barrel rifles are long range scopes. These scopes are great for long distance shots at around 300 to 350 yards, and they provide varying levels of magnification from 2.5-8X, 3-9X, 3-10X and even 6X. While there’s no denying that these are great scopes to make extremely difficult and even fun shots, their practical use is commonly taken into question.
Long range scopes were mostly used for varmint hunting, and they are also used for large game hunting on occasion. However, varmint hunting isn’t as common as it once was, and large game is commonly taken from shorter distances today. They are still the best rifle scope option when practicing on longer barrel rifles or using them competitively, but their practical use in the field is fairly limited.
Size of Game
What you most commonly hunt also comes into play when choosing the best rifle scope for your needs. For example, if you most commonly hunt small game such as birds you may want a scope with a more powerful magnification level to get a clearer and more accurate shot from far distances. However, that type of power is not really necessary when hunting larger game such as bears, even if the target is a good distance away.
This is the basic rule when using fixed scopes, which are most suitable for people who really only hunt a few types of game or mostly target shoot. Many scopes have adjustable magnification, which is great for people who are very flexible in what they shoot. However, some scopes are better than others when it comes to adjusting to various distances. Some are designed to get better views at close distances even though they have the ability to increase their magnification
A foggy scope is very annoying to deal with. It could also cause you to miss a great shot at the range or in the woods, and it can even create a significant safety hazard. Fogging can occur quickly, and it is triggered very easily. The best rifle scope should have a proper fogproof design to avoid clouding your vision while shooting.
A commonly overlooked aspect when looking for the best rifle scope is weight. Scopes can get fairly heavy, and it’s understandable that people ignore this added weight since it doesn’t make the firearm that much more difficult to carry. However, the weight does affect your shooting. When you try to shoot a heavy gun, it’s noticeably more difficult to control in terms of aiming because your hands are combating the weight of the gun to make a straight shot. The same principle applies to rifle scopes. They can add significant weight to the gun, most notably on the barrel, and make even simple shots more difficult to achieve.
This aspect is not only commonly overlooked but many people also believe that they should seek out the exact opposite. Lightweight design translates to cheap quality in the eyes of many people, which prompts them to purposely seek out scopes with more weight. Even the lightest scopes can be top quality models, and heavy scopes can easily be junk. Hold any scope that you may wish to buy in your hands and feel the weight for a moment. If it feels like that weight would hinder your shooting, it most likely will.
You never want to keep your eyes too close to the scope while shooting. The recoil caused by the force of the shot can easily give the shooter a black eye, and particularly powerful guns can result in damage to the eye socket, affected vision or damage to the eye itself.
The problem is that many poor quality scopes don’t have good distances of eye relief, causing many shooters to purposely move closer to the scope to get a clear picture without that annoying black ring interfering. The best rifle scope for any gun has a generous amount of eye relief to allow you to shoot comfortably without potentially harming yourself or affecting your shot.
For the most part, reticles are an option of preference, but there are actually various benefits to different reticles. For example, the classic crosshair reticle is simple and very effective. It also has many variations that tailor to specific needs. The bold black lines and simplistic design make for very accurate shooting. However, these black lines get lost in the dark of early morning and dusk.
That is why many people prefer illuminated reticles. Circle dot reticles are a favorite of target shooters since they can be matched up perfectly with the intended target. German reticles are more simplistic than the traditional crosshair, and they sometimes provide bolder and easier to see lines without seeming cluttered. Then there are the complex reticles for more tactical purposes such as the bullet drop compensator and tactical milling reticles.
Personal preferences really are the deciding factor here, but choosing the right reticle can make even the best rifle scope even better. Below are some example recticles:
This is another matter ultimately left up to personal preference, but the fact of the matter is that some brands are superior in quality to others. If you’re experienced in shooting, you probably have a few brands that you tend to have better experiences with.
However, if you’re a newer shooter or just don’t have a lot of experience with rifle scope brands, ask local gun shops, friends who hunt or shoot and even the members of the local gun club or fish and game club for their recommendations.
Don’t be afraid to pay more for better quality. Scopes will last for a very long time when taken care of properly, and a scope is one aspect of your gun that you don’t want to have to repair or replace regularly.
Below is an interesting/fun video about choosing between budget scopes vs higher priced scopes.
If you have finally found the best rifle scope for your needs, you’ll definitely want to ensure that it’s protected. Like with any major purchase, a good warranty is worth every penny that you may have to pay for it. This is especially true considering the fragile glass lenses of the scope.
Ensure that your warranty covers various types of damage, factory defects, repairs and replacement. The best rifle scope deserves the best warranty that you can get.
Choosing the best rifle scope for your particular firearms, needs and preferences can seem very complicated, but as long as you properly take these important aspects into consideration you’ll be sure to find a great scope for any rifle that you have. You’ll also be well on your way to improved accuracy, better hunts and plenty of excitement at the shooting range.
What Do You Think – What Is The Best Rifle Scope?
Above we gave an overview of what you should consider when choosing the best rifle scope for your needs. A lot of people will have an opinion on what they think the best rifle scope is, and we would love to hear that opinion! Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.