ANATOMY OF A RIFLE SCOPE

There are so many rifle scopes to choose from, it can leave you scratching your head and making no decision at all in the buying process. In this article we will try and "focus" on the most relevant things to consider when buying a rifle scope.

The Most Common Kinds of Rifle Scope Sights:

- Open Sights: This is a simple setup using a V shaped sight closest to your eye and a vertical post at the front. By lining up both, you can take the proper aim.
- Aperture Sights: The setup is the same as an open sight with the difference being that a ring is used for the rear sight. Again, you would line up the front post within the ring to get the right aim.
- Red Dot Scope: This is a projected red dot or similar illumination on the reticle* that appears on top of your target's magnified image only - not out the end of the sight.
- Laser Scope: These use laser beams as the aiming system with the laser falling on the target itself.

* To help mark the spot where the shot will land, rifle scopes use a crosshair (also known as reticle). (read more)

Many people may feel inclined to buy the most expensive rifle on the market in the belief that every shot will count. But the fact of the matter, is that your rifle is only as accurate as your rifle scope permits. This means that you can own a rather low priced gun and still be dead on with the right scope mounted to your rifle.

Before choosing the rifle scope of your dreams, it is important to know a bit about the way they work and what to expect.

Clearly, the parts of a rifle scope that matter the most are the lenses set within the tube of the scope. The objective lens which is the larger of the two lenses is the lens that captures the light. From this point the captured light (image) is magnified and sent to the ocular lens - the lens your eye peers into. The ocular lens is set within the part of the tube called the eyepiece.

Tubes for rifle scopes come in two sizes: 1" inch or 30-millimeters. Make a point of knowing the size of your scope's tube. It will come in handy when you need to get the correct mounting rings to attach your scope to your rifle.

To control the scope's position and make the necessary tweaks, you will use the windage adjustment for the horizontal position and the elevation adjustment to set the vertical position.

One of the most popular scopes is the 3x to 9x variable with a one-inch tube. This simply means that the image you will see is three times larger than the naked eye can see. Using the variable adjustment, this can be increased to nine times which is quite sufficient for getting up close to any game. You can find higher magnification, but the slightest move at these higher settings and narrow field of vision will make it quite hard to land your shot.

Fixed Rifle Scope or Variable?
Scopes are offered with either a fixed or variable magnification. The main advantage of a fixed power rifle scope setting is the lower price point. But that may not be the only benefit. You see, in a variable scope, there is a tendency (especially in cheaper models) for the point of impact to shift when the magnification setting is changed. This is called a parallax error. It happens when the shooter's eye position changes on the eyepiece. Even if the rifle is dead still, this eye shift will set your aim off target. The higher the magnification, the greater the problem can become. Almost another reason to go for a fixed rifle scope. But don't rush yet… there are variable power rifle scopes that, thankfully, come with adjustable objective lenses to correct for the parallax error effect. (for a price, of course).

Back to fixed rifle scopes - it is worth remembering that a fixed setting also makes it quicker to set up your shot since there is no adjustment taking place. The downside to a fixed setting, is that you're stuck with it - all the time.

So, What Type Of Scope Should I Get?

Bearing in mind all the above information, it's also prudent to make a decision based on the type of target you plan to shoot at. For example, big game hunting done within a distance of around 300ft. would not require a high power magnification. A scope 3x - 6x power is plenty.

On the hand, if the shooting distance to the target is further ex: more than 600ft. You will want to consider a more powerful rifle scope - something around 10x - 12x power.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when purchasing a rifle scope. In making your decision, you'll find that the rifle scope reviews listed on many of the products we carry, are a goldmine of information.

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