Rifle Scope Buying Guide: How‌ ‌to‌ ‌Choose‌ ‌A Rifle Scope‌

Hey there HUNTERS! Want to know how to CHOOSE the rifle scope for your rifle or gun?… Cheers, You are at the right place. 

Gun scopes allow hunters to take a long-range shot with more precision. The chances of a kill get doubled If you are aiming with the help of scope on your rifle, handgun, or shotgun. But how will you know which is the ideal scope for your hunting gun?

How To Choose A Rifle Scope For Hunting

Well, buying a hunting gun scope that doesn’t require optical expertise. With that being said, this article will tell you everything you must know about hunting gun scopes before buying one.

Let’s get into this…

Here Are The Steps to Choose The Right Rifle Scope

 

Step 1. Select Required Magnification

Magnification enlarges the objects and helps you see them closer to their physical distance. If a scope has 9X magnification, it means you can see the object 9 times closer which is very convenient for hunters.

Rifle Scope Magnification

Now, the question is, what is the best magnification for hunting gun scope? 

It depends on the type of animal you are hunting, distance, and timing. If you are hunting a whitetail deer up to 200 yards, a scope with between 5x to 9x magnification will perform splendidly.  

If you shoot a squirrel, rabbits, or doves from 100 to 150 yards,  you can use a magnification between 1x to 4x.

And finally, if you want to shoot beyond 200 yards in open fields, you can get a magnification between 10x and more.

Note:- Magnification completely depends on distance. If you are shooting a small animal link from long range, it will require higher magnification. 

Step 2. Decide Objective Lens Size

You find an objective lens at the end of your scope. It takes care of light transmission. Usually, a bigger objective lens delivers a brighter and clearer image. A 40mm objective lens is widely used by hunters for optimum view of the game. 

However, some hunters prefer bigger objective lenses such as 50mm to 56mm. But I will recommend not using much bigger objective lenses as it decreases the area of the field of view. Also, they affect accuracy at longer distances when your prey is making too many movements. 

Here is how to select an objective lens

For low recoil firearms which you use for close-range hunting, a lens with up to 30mm diameter will work great.  

If you have a high magnification scope with a high recoil firearm, you may have a scope with 40mm to 45mm. For long-range hunting with powerful firearms, get a 50mm objective lens. 

Step 3. Know About Lens Coatings

Lens coating improves the durability of the lens and enhances its overall performance. It is a coating that protects the lens from scratch, water, and other factors. Also, if your scope lenses are coated, there are fewer chances your eyes get protection against UV rays.

Type of lens coatings:-

Single Coated:- This type of lens has a single layer of coating on at least one lens surface. It gives flatter looks and lowers contrast.Rifle Scope Single Layer

Fully Coated:- You get a single layer of coating on all air to glass surfaces. It improves lighting and gives a better resolution.Rifle Scope Fully Coated

Multicoated:- It features multiple layers of coating on at least one lens surface. Multicoated lenses minimize the glare, reflection, and offer safety to your eyes.Rifle Scope Multicoated

Fully Multi-Coated:- These lenses come with several layers of coatings on all air to glass surfaces. It loses very little percent of light transmission and offers you the highest quality view.

You need not worry about lens coatings, as these days all advanced hunting gun scopes come fully multicoated. Mark my words, it’s not worth buying cheap quality lens coating. Instead, spend some extra bucks and get a fully multi-coated scope for your hunting gun.

Step 4. Know-How Much Eye Relief You Need

Eye relief is the distance between your eyepoint (Exit Pupil) and the lens of your hunting gun scope. Eye relief is important because it lowers the chances of hitting your eye with a shot. Also, if you don’t set your eye relief right, it may lead to missed shots. 

Eye Relief Types:-

Standard Eye Relief:- The standard eye relief measures 3.5 to 4 inches and is best for hunting in open or clean long fields. This type of eye relief scope comes with high magnification and works like a devil with small to medium caliber like 20mm, 25mm, 30mm and 40mm.sRifle Scope Standard Eye Relief

Long Eye Relief:-This measures 4.5 inches and is suggested for short-range hunting. If you prefer to hunt in an area full of bushes, hills, and trees, this is perfect. Scopes with long eye relief come in small to medium magnification and work perfectly with high caliber rifles like. 44 Magnum, . 444 Marlin, and . 45-70 Government.Rifle Scope Long Eye Relief

So what is the right size of eye relief for hunting?

It completely depends on the type of hunting gun you are using. Handguns need long eye relief. For shotgun hunters,  3.5 inches eye relief scope fits well. 

If you are hunting using a rifle it is fine to go with a 3.5 to 4 inches eye relief scope. However, if you are aiming in an area with hills and mountains, you may use a 4.5 inches eye relief scope.

Step 5. Choose The Power-Fixed Or Variable?

Here, power means magnification. If your scope has only one magnification like 2×30, it is a fixed power scope. These scopes are usually fast and offer high-quality views at a low cost. 

Variable power scopes have more than one magnification like 3×40, 4×40, 5×40 and so on. These scopes are variable so you can hunt with them in a variety of terrain and situations.

In my suggestion, get a variable scope for your hunting gun. It will cost you a bit more than a fixed scope but fulfill your hunting needs very well. If you want to shoot from a fixed range or short-range, get a fixed power scope.

Step 6. Check For Prism Quality

Usually, the prism of scope is made either with Bak4 or Bk7 glass. Bk7 is an inexpensive prism that has a non-circular exit pupil which I won’t recommend you to have. 

Rifle Scope Prism With bak4 and bak7

You better get Bak4 as these prisms have high-density glass and offer you a better optical quality. Also, these have circular exit pupils so your eyes don’t get tired of keeping an eye on your animal.   

Step 7. Decide What Reticles You Need

Reticle or crosshair is your aiming point you see through your hunting gun scope. A reticle helps you to centralize your aim so you get a clean and accurate shot.

Types Of Reticles:-

Traditional Reticle:- In this reticle, single vertical and horizontal hairs cross each other in the center so you get your aim in the center.Rifle Scope Traditional Reticle

Duplex Reticle:- This reticle style is widely found in hunting rifle scopes. It is more simple, clean, and thicker to give you extra precision while hunting. 

Rifle Scope Duplex Reticle

Dot Reticle:- Dot reticle is the only simplest reticle available in the market. This features a small dot in the center of your scope. The small dot makes sure your bullet hits the right place where the dot is situated. 

Rifle Scope Dot Reticle

Mid Dot Reticle:- It has many dots with thick hairs vertically and horizontally. Each dot in the scope means 1 Milliradian (3.6 inches at 100 yards/36 inches at 1000 yards). It gives you an estimation of the distance between you and your target

Rifle Scope Mil Dot Reticle

BDC:- The BDC (bullet drop compensation) reticle measures the bullet drops and gives you a true point of aim in long-range shooting. 

Rifle Scope BDC Reticle

Step 8. Look For Quality And Built Material

The outer shell of a hunting gun scope must be durable, shockproof, waterproof, and long-lasting. A scopes outer shell is made with aluminum or alloy. I prefer aluminum as it is lighter than steel and other materials and highly durable

Wondering which reticle is appropriate for hunting?

Widely used reticles for hunting are duplex. They offer great accuracy in long and short ranges. However, in case you are hunting from too far get BDC or mid dot reticle for more accuracy and clean kill.

Step 9. Select A Hunting Gun Scope Brand

There’s no question that the market of gun scopes is flooded with many brands. And it is challenging to get the right one for you. I prefer choosing quality over cheap price because hunting is a passion that you pursue not for a short period of time. You can find a huge variety of hunting gear at the Palmetto State Armory online store for hunting accessories.

Here are a few renowned brands of hunting gun scopes that I must recommend-

  • Vortex
  • Bushnell
  • Leupold
  • Nikon
  • Simmons
  • Swarovski

If you still can’t figure out which brand to go with, check out this article of Best Rifle Scope Brand For Hunting

Note:- For beginners, you can use a rifle scope on a shotgun. It gives thrilling results when you are shooting with a slug and your target is pretty unstable.

Final Suggestion:-

Above we discussed every bit of detail that must be there in your hunting gun scope. I recommend you to buy branded and not cheap quality scopes as they are more durable and performance-oriented. If you have any questions related to the topic, ask in the comment section. Also, let us know which brand of hunting gun scope you bought. 

 

By David Grey

David Grey is born & raised in Bozeman Montana, USA. He has been hunting & fishing since 2009. And used most of the outdoor gear during his 12 years of hunting experience. He likes to spend most of the time in the woods, on the trail, or by the water. He taught us about his outdoor journey and equipment experience.

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