The availability of optical devices has resulted in firearm owners using them on many occasions. The main reason for such popularity is simplicity. With a scope, you need to line up only two points (the reticle and the target) as opposed to lining up three points (the target and the front and rear sights) when using sights.
When searching for your best rifle scope, scope specifications may scare you off. What do all those numbers mean? Well, let’s break them up.
Magnification power is how much closer the picture comes. This number goes before x. For example, the magnification of a 3x40mm riflescope is 3x. If you see only one digit before x, that means this riflescope is fixed and has single magnification power. But if you see something like 3-9x40mm, you are looking at a variable scope in which magnification can be adjusted from 3 to 9. Remember, that the more magnification you have, the less light gets through.
The diameter of the objective lens is indicated after x. In the example above, it is 40mm. The bigger the lens, the more light it delivers to the eye and the brighter the picture is.
Lens coating helps to reduce glare and increase light transmission. There are 4 lens types: coated, fully coated, multi-coated, and fully multi-coated.
It is the distance between your eye and the ocular lens. If you don’t want to hurt your eye due to the rifle recoil, stick to 3-4 inches.
There are two types. The crosshair of a first focal plane adjusts as you change the magnification. And with a second focal plane, it is fixed no matter the magnification.
What riflescope to choose and what numbers and characteristics to stick to depend on the situations you’re going to use your rifle.
If you shoot targets from a fixed range and want something compact and practical, consider buying a fixed riflescope. Besides, it is cheaper than a scope with zoom. A variable scope, on the other hand, suits more situations, but you may have a hard time mounting it on your rifle.
Some inexperienced shooters may think that a tactical rifle scope should have bigger numbers and all cool features. But it’s misleading. Tactical scopes aren’t intended for long-range shooting, that’s why truly tactical items have a lower magnification of 3 or 4 for quick target acquisition.
Long-range rifle scopes can be applied for competition events, sniping, open landscape hunting. Most of them have 9-12 magnification power and a 50mm objective lens.
Hunting rifle scopes are made highly reliable and robust as they often contact with environmental elements and are used in unfavorable weather conditions. For that same reason, many hunting scopes are water- and fogproof. For close-range hunting with enough light, choose 1-4x magnification for the small game or 5-8x for the large game with a 28mm objective lens at maximum. If you prefer to hunt in low-light conditions, go with a 30-44mm objective.
For night-time hunting enthusiasts, there are night-vision and thermal rifle scopes.