How to Choose a Riflescope
Riflescopes are incredibly complex devices that rely on a myriad of moving parts and principles to function properly. We believe it is important to have an above-average understanding of how hunting optics work and how to use this knowledge to help you make the right choice in selecting a riflescope.
Main Tube and Objective Lens
You may be wondering how the objective lens diameter affects shooting and what is best for you. Though larger and heavier, the higher diameter tubes (30mm) allow for larger inside components, which do a greater job managing light.
In comparison with the 1-inch models, such tubes are also typically more robust. It's extremely popular nowadays to have large objective lenses of 50, 56, or even 75mm and more. In most cases, these are unwarranted, and the largest ones add more weight, and more objective than you might need.
The thing is that large objective lenses will only transfer more useable light than smaller ones if they are set at their highest power in the dimmest conditions.
With a properly mounted scope, you should be able to close your eyes, shoulder your gun with a proper, repeatable stock weld, open your eyes, and look directly through the center of your scope every time.
Large objective lenses prevent this from happening because of the ring height required to keep such a large lens off your gun barrel. Some scopes are also more massive, unbalanced to carry, slower and less comfortable to shoot.
It's important to understand that the machines require to cut, produce, and a polish high-quality glass are unbelievably expensive as are the necessary skills to do that kind of glasswork. This expense plays a direct role in the quality of the glass, which in turn plays a role in the cost of the scope. Scope models are placed into one of 3 groups:
- Entry-level/budget glass
- Mid-range glass
- High-end glass
So, while choosing a high-quality piece of glass pay special attention at clarity which is the most important factor. This means just what it says and refers to the optical clarity of the scope throughout the power range. Brightness is also important because it is responsible for how bright the image is within the glass and has nothing to do with "light gathering" capabilities. This is all based on the glass itself.
Finally, color is worth mentioning. Have you ever noticed that the returned colors in the image had a light green or orange hue? That's an example of a low-quality color within the glass itself.
Reticle and Focal Plane
The basic purpose of any reticle is to give you a centralized aiming point and help hit targets at long range. The reticle located in the first focal plane (FFP) is better for long-range shooters because the reticle maintains the same perspective with the target size throughout the magnification range. While if it is placed in the second focal plane (SFP), it means that when you increase the power, the target appears larger, but the reticle will stay the same size.
Here are the best ones to choose based on your use:
- Duplex is the simplest and fastest reticle to use, so if you’re a hunter or target shooter this might be the best option as it does not add clutter or noise to your view.
- Mildot (MOA) or Mil-Rad
- Mildot helps to estimate the target’s distance, so if what you’re shooting is a life and death situation, or in ranging application for holdover points, this might be a good option.
- BDC also provides adjustments for bullet drop. BDC is for long-range shooters because of its versatility and ability in long range shots.
Which one to choose? This depends on usage as to distance, and what type of shot you are looking to make (quick acquisition, or precision). It is best to test all of these reticles and see which one you like best.
Turrets and Adjustments
Some turrets are designed to make instant adjustments for windage, other turrets are not designed for instant change.
The elevation is highly important because when shooting past certain ranges your bullet will start to drop, and a scope can be zeroed for certain distances to perfectly compensate for bullet drop.
The main thing when mounting a scope should be zero adjustments to the turrets to sight the optic in. In our experience, over-adjustment can lead to lots of problems! While having a scope with a lot of internal adjustment may seem like a good thing, in reality, it is simply a crutch for poor mounting techniques.
We hope we provided some clarity on how to choose the best riflescope for you. Deciding which range, you need starts with clearly understanding what you will do. So, define your needs first because it is useless to pay for what you can’t use or don't need. Take the time to choose wisely! If it is needed, look through the scope you want outside the store and don’t forget about ammunition, training, and practice which are all equally essential for point of impact and reliability of your riflescope.