Check out this excellent article on The Best Rifle Scope and also be sure to review our other great related article links below.
The world of hunting optics is a vast and diverse area consisting of many highly useful technical products as well as some very desirable, yet absolutely super simple ones.
It's always good for shooters to have a wide range of useful knowledge in a subject area like rifle scopes which can determine the quality of your weekend hunting experiences as well as make or break a once-in-a-lifetime hunt.
When you know the right way to choose and use the very best scope for your personal hunting and shooting requirements you start your hunts with a newfound confidence in your equipment – when you know everything's right with your gear, it's easier to find success in the outdoors.
The Best Rifle Scope – See Your Target, Hit Your Target
Rifles are generally constructed with built-in metallic sights and yet hunters are quick to add the best rifle scope they can afford when preparing their guns for a hunting trip.
The reason they add a scope to their rifle is simple. . .it makes shooting easier.
It eliminates the complexity and difficulty of lining up the rear sight with both the front sight and the game you are targeting.
When aiming through your scope, you place the reticle on your target and then pull the trigger – you can't find a much easier process than that.
The greatest thing about scope-type sights is that they put the sight (reticle) itself in the same plane as the target.
As our human eyes age, unless you are blessed with genetic ocular excellence (and few of us are), you will find that having the sight and the target in the same optical plan is a Godsend.
Nothing helps the sighting process as much as packaging the sight and the target together so we don't have to even think about lining everything up as we are required to do with iron sights.
Because scopes also provide magnification, your target looks a lot closer and is easier to see and you shouldn't need too many cartridges to be successful on your hunt. 🙂
Because of sighting with a scope, you can generally make a much more precise and accurate shot – we all know that is the holy grail of the hunting process we're all after.
Select The Best Rifle Scope For Your Own Personal Needs
When selecting the best rifle scope for your needs, it is important to remember that more features are not necessarily better for you.
Remember the “KISS” principle and keep things as simple as you can when selecting a scope.
Less, and not necessarily more, is sometimes exactly what you need.
Choose the right scope for the type of hunting or shooting sport you'll be tackling with your rifle or scoped handgun.
The average whitetail deer rifle in use these days generally carries a 3-9X42 scope (there are other options of course, but this is the setup used by a great many hunters).
The 3-9X42 scope has both an objective lens and a field of view that are large enough for most hunting situations in the outdoors.
The magnification range has a lower end (3X) that is excellent for the lion's share of closer shots while the higher end (9X) provides plenty of magnification for most longer shots.
This makes it a very good choice for nearly any hunting situation.
Hunters who pursue smaller game and varmints will benefit from scopes designed for their particular needs like the Mueller APV AO 4.5-14X x 40mm.
This type of scope will help to make smaller game appear larger and more detailed even at close-in ranges.
It also has an adjustable objective lens which reduces parallax at longer ranges when you're trying to get your shot lined up on something as small as rodents at several hundred yards – parallax at longer ranges can cause a sure miss if it's not reduced to its absolute minimum.
Wide Open Spaces Often Call For Higher Magnification Scopes
High power rifle scopes are great for hunting in the Western states and other open areas when you are after mule deer or antelope and need higher magnification in the range of 4X to 20X where shots may present themselves anywhere from 150 to 600 yards and more.
The same scope you use on your favorite whitetail rifle may not furnish sufficient magnification for these distant shots.
Higher magnifications, due to more and thicker glass in the scope can transmit less of the available light to your eye and make closer targets difficult to see clearly since much more of the target will fill your ocular lens, sometimes interfering with very close shots.
If the scope's magnification power happens to be at 8X when a whitetail is only yards away, all you will likely see is a large patch of blurry deer, if you have him in your field of view at all.
It's possible he may appear to be just a fast moving, unidentifiable animal – not an optimum situation for hunting.
You can always shoot farther with low magnification power but using higher magnification for all situations can cause you significant problems and frustration when shooting at closer distances.
A hunter realizing too late that he has chosen a magnification that is too high must stop and readjust his scope to have any chance of a shot at all – this usually results in lost shot opportunities and lost game.
High power rifle scopes account for significant numbers of wounded game and missed shots so it's important to understand the proper use of scope magnification no matter what type of game you're after and what type of terrain you're hunting in.
Plan for your optimum scope magnification setting ahead of the shot and you'll bag more game.
What Do The Scope's Numbers Mean?
For the first time scope buyer, understanding a scope's specifications and what they mean will help you select the best rifle scope for your needs.
In the excellent, utilitarian 3-9X40 scope, the 3 means three power or three times (3X) normal magnification.
The image you see through the scope looks three times closer than it does to your naked eye.
The 9 refers to nine power or an image nine times (9X) closer than it appears with your naked eye.
This scope is known as a variable scope because of the “dash” or “-” between the 3 and the 9 in the scope designation because you can vary the magnification anywhere between three to nine times normal size, stopping at any point in-between.
This type of scope is an extremely versatile piece of optical equipment and an excellent choice for most of your hunting endeavors.
The 40 refers to the diameter in millimeters of the objective lens which lets in the light (it's the lens toward the muzzle end of the rifle barrel).
Light Transmission Is Extremely Important To Scope Imaging
The best rifle scope will transmit available light through the lenses to the eye but it always loses some in the process due to the physics of light transmission.
Any transmission above 95 percent is good while 97-98 percent is excellent (although it can often be expensive to buy scopes with that level of light transmission efficiency) while the majority of scopes transmit at around 90-92 percent.
The larger the objective lens of the scope is, the more light it can allow through your eyepiece (ocular lens).
The greater the magnification is, the less light you receive to your ocular lens (eyepiece).
When you hold a scope at arm's length, you will see a little circle of light in its eyepiece.
This is known as the exit pupil. The bigger the exit pupil, the less critical is your head position in relationship to the scope.
The distance between your eye and the lens when you are getting a full clear picture is called eye relief (distance from the eye itself to the ocular lens (eyepiece).
The more eye relief your scope has, the less chance you have of being struck by the scope when the gun recoils after it is fired.
The process of being struck in the eye area by a scope during the firing of a heavy-recoiling rifle, or simply being too close to the scope when a rifle is fired is known (on a tongue-in-cheek level) as receiving an initiation to the Order of the Purple Crescent. 🙂
Try to avoid this initiation at all costs, it's really not an initiation you really want to receive and it can often be quite painful.
Eye Relief Can Be Critical To The Perfect Shot
Standard eye relief for scopes is generally considered to be between three and three and one half inches, which is usually enough to avoid “scope eye,” or the more refined term, “an initiation to the Order of the Purple Crescent” as noted above.
Scopes for high-powered rifles sometimes have a shorter eye relief which requires reasonable and sufficient care to be taken in avoiding contact with the eyepiece (ocular) end of the scope during firing recoil.
A compact rifle scope is one excellent solution to the problem of potential recoil injury.
The best rifle scope for you may be a compact rifle scope that is forward mounted so that you see a broad, uncluttered field of view with both eyes open.
These long eye relief compact rifle scopes were developed for use on Scout rifles, which are somewhat shorter than most high caliber rifles.
These lightweight guns also have an increased amount of felt recoil since they are usually lighter than full size rifles, allowing more felt recoil to be transmitted to the shooter.
Mounting the compact rifle scope toward the front of the rifle (generally in front of the action itself) provides tremendous eye relief since the scope is much farther forward, removing any risk of the scope’s ocular end hitting you in the eye – that mounting position also provides fast and easy access to the gun's action for reloading, etc.
Get The Features You Need But Keep Your Scope As Simple As Possible
Most rifle scopes are made to be waterproof and fogproof but be sure to check the appropriate specifications to confirm this information.
Many of the numerous extra features offered by manufacturers are really not necessary and they are usually not even desirable for most scope buyers so be sure to buy based on your own requirements, not what the manufacturers tell you you need.
Always remember that you are your own best expert on your requirements.
Some hunters prefer fixed power scopes because they have fewer moving parts and they appreciate the simplicity of not needing to make any adjustments.
A simple, well-made scope with fewer moving parts to be disturbed by recoil can be an amazing and consistent friend in the outdoors.
Scopes offering special (expensive) extras such as external parallax adjustments are, in all honesty, only needed at around 10 power or higher for extremely long range hunting duties – most hunters don't actually even need parallax adjustments and rarely move the adjustment away from the 100 or 150 yard setting anyway.
If you do not need a particular feature, do not buy it.
You'll find in almost all cases that using the money saved on needless extras to buy a higher quality scope that will give you more light transmission and a longer service life will be the very best choice.
Remember that the best rifle scope for you is the simplest one that meets all your requirements for efficiency and longevity.
The best rifle scope is the one YOU decide is the best rifle scope.
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