No matter what type of shooting you do or what kind of rifles you use, long range rifle scopes are as vital to shooting as the rifles they are mounted on. If you have never purchased one before, you are going to be shocked by the range of prices and all of the technical jargon used by people who regularly use long range rifle scopes or sell them.
Long Range Rifle Scopes Come In Two Basic Versions
Here are a few simple basics for you to understand before you walk into a gun or sporting goods store and sound like a total novice (thought I was going to say, “idiot,” didn't you?). The single biggest difference in long range rifle scopes is whether they are adjustable or not. A fixed power means that the scope is always at the same adjustment and does not change. If you are operating on a very limited budget, a fixed power scope is going to the best long range scope for your money. The difference in price between fixed power and variable power scopes is pretty significant. If the price for a variable scope is about the same as one with a fixed power, do not even consider it. This is one of those times when you get what you pay for and the best long range rifle scope is going to cost you a few dollars. Go cheap and you will regret it the first time you use it.
Variable Scopes Aren't Always The Best Choice
A good, mid-quality, fixed power scope can be a very adequate long range rifle scope. Stay with either a 3X or 4X power for everyday use. This means that the object you are sighting on will appear either 3 times bigger than it does with the naked eye or 4 times bigger. This may not sound like much, but look through it and you will find yourself pleasantly surprised. If you are just beginning your shooting career, you can get a good scope at one of these fixed powers that will be useful and helpful, without breaking into your life's savings or mortgaging the family farm.
Light Transmission Is The Key
You'll need to understand a few other basics about long range rifle scopes before you start to look seriously at what is available. Most long range rifle scopes are either 1″ or 30 mm in diameter. This is important to know so you will have the correct size rings to mount it. The eye piece is referred to as the ocular lens, which is almost always the smaller end, and the larger end holds the objective lens, which lets in the light. The bigger the objective lens, the more light it allows in and the easier the objects are to see in low light situations. The best long range rifle scope will have a large bell at the end to let in large amounts of light. The eye relief is the distance you keep your eye from the eye piece, for maximum focusing. Rifles can have a pretty healthy kick, and if your eye is too close to the scope when you pull the trigger, you will end up with what is referred to as “shooter's eyebrow,” it's also referred to as “an initiation into the Order of the Purple Crescent.” Either way it can be very painful – avoid this situation at all times.
If You Buy A Variable, Learn Everything About Its Adjustments
The power ring adjusts the focus of the scope by moving the internal lenses closer or further apart. There is also a windage adjustment that moves the scope reticle in small increments to the left or right (horizontally). Scopes also have an elevation adjustment that changes the point of impact higher or lower as necessary by slightly moving the reticle, which is what is generally referred to as the “cross hairs” that you see when you look through the scope. When looking through the best long range rifle scope, there are frequently several other dots, slashes or marks that you will see on the reticle. Reticles are as varied as scopes and all it boils down to simple personal preference. A lot of the markings will also relate to the different types of shooting that you do. If you plan on using your rifle for hunting and not attempting to hit anything that further away than 100 yards, you won't need to be concerned with most of the markings. Likewise, if you do not intend on doing long range competitive shooting, you do not need to worry about whether there is an adjustment on your scope for parallax error, which sometimes happens when adjusting a scope for an extremely long range shot. The very best long range scope will have this adjustment.
Toughness, Durability And Quality Glass – The Foundations Of The Best Scopes
What the best long range rifle scopes have that make them worth the money you pay, are high quality optics and the durability to stand up to bumps, knocks and shakes that happen whenever you are carrying your rifle from one place to another. Great lenses that are coated to optimize the amount of light that enters the scope and a great seal that does not allow moisture to enter the scope are what make the difference between an acceptable scope and the best long range scope. There is no compromising on quality when you want and need the best optics on your gun.