Selecting a rifle scope that will fit your shooting and hunting needs is no small task. There is a large variety of rifle scopes on the market and an endless amount of reading and research that can be done when looking for the perfect rifle scope for your situation. However, you can drastically cut the time it takes to find a scope that is right for you by following the five steps below.
Step 1) Decide on a budget for your scope, like houses, cars are anything else the choices here go from cheap to astronomical. While your budget will depend on your individual financial situation; the biggest mistake a lot of hunters and shooters fetter buckshot make is under spending on their rifle scope. A custom rifle that shoots ¼” groups is useless if its scope won’t hold zero. Many serious hunters suggest spending as much on your scope as you do on your rifle; while this isn’t bad advice it isn’t always practical, but you can save yourself a lot of headaches and trouble by budgeting a minimum of $100 for your next scope.
Step 2) Determine what magnification is appropriate for your hunting or shooting style. If your shots are usually taken at a relatively close range a lower magnification is desirable as it gives the shooter a wide field of view for quickly acquiring the target. On the other hand higher magnification models are preferable for long distance shots, or shots at small targets where precision, not speed, is the name of the game. Many hunters find a scope with a variable power range like a 3-9x to be versatile enough to cover their hunting needs.
Step 3) Select an appropriate reticle (crosshair). There is an enormous amount of choice in reticles these days. However, the big decision here is generally to go with a standard duplex style reticle or a mil-dot style reticle. A duplex crosshair is where the crosshairs start out thick on the edge and then steps down to a finer crosshair in the middle where target is centered. A mil-dot style reticle has hold over marks below the intersection of the crosshairs and these marks are used as aiming points on distant targets.
Step 4) Choose a finish that is appropriate for your gun. Scopes are available in a wide variety of finishes. The most popular finishes are matte, gloss, camo, or silver. Matte black is a dull black finish that goes well with many of today’s blued rifle barrels. Gloss black is a popular choice for rifles with a dark shiny bluing often found on high end rifles with wood stocks; however, they can also look quite good on synthetic rifles with stainless barrels. Camo scopes are a good choice for many of the camo rifles on the market as long as the patterns are somewhat similar. Finally, silver scopes usually look the best on rifles with bright stainless barrels.