Rifle Scope Buying Guide
Buying the best scope is not something that you just leave to chance. You have to be able to make a wise decision because it would have to be used for quite a long time.
It is an investment of sorts because as an avid hunter, you know that you have to have equipment that is durable and reliable at the same time. You know for a fact that you need to be able to depend on your equipment as it could save your life. And of course, an avid hunter needs to be able to use his equipment as much as he wants without it giving up in the middle of a hunt. You want to be able to nail that prey you have been tracking for so long. You have to be able to make the shot and for you to do it you have to be able to acquire and use a reliable scope.
You really need not buy the most modern rifle scope nor do you really need one that has all the bells and whistles. You need to be able to buy the best scope that you are going to be comfortable in using. No need to buy a scope with all the trimmings if you wouldn’t be able to use it properly. You have to be able to consider your skill level as well as a rifleman. You have to do it in steps, in increments until you get to the level that you want to be as an outdoorsman. You do not have to rush it, as you very well know, an outdoorsman has to be a patient person and as such needs to be able to develop accordingly.
There are a multitude of rifle scopes available to hunters and outdoorsman in the market. There are several which are relative throwbacks to a simple time – scopes that need no other features aside from those that are pretty important. There are other scopes in the market which are coupled with all the bells and whistles, allowing for a better shot – and a more satisfying hunt. Again, the choice is yours as to which among those in the market you would choose and rely on. It is after all, your equipment – but as we have been telling you, even the most technologically advanced scope would not be effective if you are not fully comfortable in using it to its full potential.
Here are some considerations that you have to factor when you are in the market for a scope to help boost the performance of your weapon of choice.
Things To Consider When Buying A Scope
A great primary consideration since you would have to be able to adjust your scope depending on the target. Some scopes have only one magnification but if you really want to be able to use the weapon much better, you have to have a scope which has an adjustable magnification. Remember to look at the first digits of the scope you are buying to find out if it is a single magnification or multi-setting scope.
Another huge consideration is the size of the objective lenses in your scope. Since your scope would only use one size for its objective lenses, choose the scope which would allow the most amount of light which is comfortable for you. A bigger set of objective lenses is going to be good for hunting in low light conditions while smaller objective lenses are great for well-lit conditions. So take a good look at size, because in this case, size does matter.
This consideration is basically based on your hunting preference. You have to consider how far you would be targeting your prey over the conceivable lifespan of the scope you are buying. If you are going to hunt and stalk your prey up to 300 yards, the normal offerings for scopes would suffice. However, if you are going to be hunting and shooting over longer distances, be prepared to churn a higher amount of money for better scopes.
Field of View
The effective field of view is the circular image that you see when you look into the scope into what is in front of your line of sight. When the magnification of your scope increases, it decreases the FOV of your rifle which also leaves you with a decreased level of situational awareness. Consider your preference when shooting – if you want to see the bigger picture of the surrounding area or if you want to be able to do controlled zooms. Your choice as per usual hinges on your personal preference.
Choose a rifle scope which gives you enough eye relief to keep your oculars safe from recoil. Make sure that the image should be in a perfect circle which should also be crisp and clear which also means there will be no obstructions or shadows which would impinge your ability to shoot. A good scope with optimal eye relief should give you a distance of at least 4 inches but again, self-preference trumps all others.
Reticle Design and Effectivity
Different manufacturers have different reticle designs. So choose the reticle which you are comfortable with and you can use to the fullest. There are newer scope versions which have compensators for bullet drops – but if you do not know how to use them or if your weapon is not rated for ballistic compatibility, then the fanciest reticles would not matter.
Focal Plane Reticle Position
Determine where your focal plane is located and which between the front focal plane (FFP) and the secondary focal plane (SFP) are you more comfortable using. While there may be some conversions for the users of SFP, again, it all boils down to the preference of the shooter.
Minutes of the Angle
Specialists also take note of the minutes of angle (MOA) which is the circle measurement unit at a specific distance. Usually, an inch is equivalent to 100 yards so the conversion is pretty easy to do.
Somewhat related to the MOA, the milliradian, or simply the mil, is related to geometry and circles and is typically 3.6 inches per 100 yards.
As a shooter you do not want to be confused when converting between the MOA and the mil so you can have a trusty unit conversion tool handy. Again, however, this can be a consideration down the line especially if you are an avid and experienced shooter who simply has a knack for the trigger.
The knobs that you turn in the middle of the scope actually help you to make adjustments – which can also help you in choosing the best scope for your particular weapon. Make sure though that the turrets and the reticles are in synch in terms of the units because you wouldn’t want to be converting in your head in the middle of setting up a shot.
Available Elevation Adjustment Range
The available adjustment range vertically can also affect the shot so if you really want to be able to be accurate, a scope with enough available elevation adjustment range would do wonders for your shooting prowess.
You can also consider the horizontal adjustment or the windage adjustment range of the scope to better set up the shot. Again, this may be a secondary consideration for most trained shooters but would also be a good thing for novice and learning enthusiasts.
While some would say that the mounting rings do not do you justice aside from improving the weapon aesthetics you have to make sure that the mounting rings would be compatible for your scope as well as for your weapon.
Optics Quality and Coating
If you really are an avid huntsman, you would not scrimp on the optic quality of your scope – you have to go with the best possible optics quality even though the trade off is in price. Also consider the coating of your scope which would also protect the lenses – make sure it would not be scuffed at the first sign of trouble which would inevitably affect the performance of the scope.
Obviously, the durability of the scope has to be taken into consideration since the usual wear and tear will take its toll on the scope – the abuse that it would take in the handling and the repeated use would affect it over time so this is a good thing to consider.
Different scopes can be had for different environments so don’t get caught in a chilly environment where your scope would fog up because it would reduce the effectivity of your weapon. So if you can invest on a scope with gas purging features, do so.
Holding Zero Adjustments
Bore sighting your scope should be easy but ensuring that the bore sight stays the same over time is something you also have to consider.
Some would say it is a feature that can be overlooked but any serious shooter would argue and would agree that the moisture in the air can distort an image and can affect your shooting. It is important that your scope would be able to withstand sudden temperature drops which would prevent it from fogging up and affecting your vision.
The long list of considerations in buying the best scope for your rifle may appear to be technical and burdensome for some but serious shooters – whether they may be starting enthusiasts or veteran specialists – would agree that you have to be able to choose the best rifle scope to increase the effectivity of your weapon and make you a better and decorated shooter.