If you have a gun then you are probably also looking for a rifle scope to make your shooting more accurate. No matter how far your target is away. And no matter what kind of weather conditions you are dealing with. However, it can be quite hard to choose a rifle scope that fits both your budget and needs. On this site we will try our best to help you choose the right scope for you with both our rifle scope reviews as well as the ultimate rifle scope comparison chart.
Table Of Contents
While looking for a scope, bear in mind that it plays a great role in the functionality of your rifle. If you don’t go for the best quality, then you can be sure that you will have very poor results. This means that you should dedicate a lot of time and effort in researching on the available scopes, while considering your specific needs. For most people, the idea of investing time and energy in doing the search can be stressful and overwhelming. That is why I have come up with a simple guide that will significantly save your time by informing you the products available in the market.
If you have trouble knowing the one that will work best for you, then you need to read on. We have a one stop shop that has comprehensive reviews about available long range rifle scopes for snipers and sniper rifles for the hunting professional.
Before you can invest your money in buying the rifle scopes, we will give you essential tips that you can use to shop. You will then use this information in making an informed choice that won’t make you lose your money. Our reviews cover everything you will need to know; ranging from the features and how the scopes function.
1. The 4 Types of Rifle Scopes
Rifle scopes have the role of magnifying targets that are at a far distance and any other nearby objects that look to be bigger in size or to whatever that one wishes to aim. The rifle scope is endorsed for a more safe and perfect shooting in a field that entails on the range. Shooters use various classifications of this equipment today. Below is a brief classification of the different Rifle Scopes.
Compact Rifle Scope: This type is not heavy and suitable for individuals that prefer light equipment. It is a compact rifle scope that is available in sizes of less than the standard 9 inches. However, it is vital to note that the weight and the size do not affect its effectiveness; it is primarily used in handguns and small sized rifles.
Sniper Rifle Scope: This is appropriate for shooters at a longer range, this is because it is has a unique telescope that contains apparatuses that lay aiming reticule above the enlarged image so as to focus on target of the shot while at the same time considering the several diverse variables.
Laser Rangefinder Rifle Scope: This is a kind of Rifle scope that ensures that there is no slip-up between the distance between the shooter and the target. This scope calculates the distance between the shooter and the target.
Pistol Scope: The pistol scope is ideal for snipers as the shots that are more accurate, it is famous among individual who refer handguns. It has a low amplification power scope that is applied for shots at close range of handguns with enhanced features.
The kind of rifle scope that a shooter requires is based on the type of shooting being done, the nature of gun that is being used, and personal partialities of features such as reticle style and color. The shooting ground also determines the distance between the shooter and the target. There also exist typical night vision scopes that are fitted with infrared illuminator to work at night.
2. What To Expect from Different Scope Price Ranges
These kinds of scopes are best for newer shooters, or those who are just starting to learn how to use rifle optics. Of course they will provide the basic functions of a rifle scope, but you should not expect them to be sturdily constructed or easily adjustable (if they are adjustable at all). Their rings will lack the quality of the pricier models, so it is advisable to use these more to become acquainted with scopes.
From $200 – $500
After you move up this price range, you’ll find that these riflescopes retain many of the features of their less expensive brothers while adding protective features such as weather proof casing and a more sturdy build. The lenses will have coatings, and the adjustments will tend to be easy and more accurate. These kinds of rifle scopes will also typically come with some kind of warranties. For a mainstream marksman, most scopes in this price range will be just fine.
From $500 – $1000
The scopes here are for enthusiasts who want pay extra for premium quality and better performance. Scopes in this range will be able to make very fine adjustments while in the field, built with high quality weather shielding, and a larger objective diameter for crisp visual output. They may come with different reticles to facilitate in aiming, and may be illuminated. They tend to have extensive warranties. These scopes will usually have everything a normal hunter requires.
This would represent the best hunting scopes you can find. You will want to buy a scope in this price range if you demand quality, are a high roller or you are in some kind of competitive hunting/marksman position. These scopes will have an amazing magnification range and ultra fine adjustment control. If you have the coin, it would be a good investment in the sense that scopes at this price range are very high quality and are built to last.
3. Review of the 3 Best Rifle Scopes 2017
1. 1. Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600
One of the best selling rifle scopes for a long time, the Nikon P-223 is a favorite not just for beginners but also for semi-professionals given its excellent value-for-money deal. Among the many features of this scope is the zero reset function which lets you maintain field adjustment like with only very few other scopes in this price range.
Of similar significance for you shooting success is the built-in Effective Light Transmission which is enhanced by Multi-coated shade. If you have ever been out hunting deer in the open terrain you will know about the problematic of unfavorable light that makes it very difficult to hit the target preciously.
The light transmission of the Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600 solves just this problem. And then there are also quite a few other great features of this scope, like the zero reset function, sophisticated parallax settings, as well as the compatibility with other nikon products that I’m explaining in more detail in my Nikon rifle scope reviews section.
2. 2. UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44 Compact IE Scope
The UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44 Compact IE Scope is one of the best-selling rifle scopes of last year with more than 730 (!) positive customer reviews on Amazon. It’s so immensely popular because it is relatively small at 10.4 x 1.6 x 2.1 inches yet made of high quality materials and you feel that already when unpacking it and holding the sealed and 100% nitrogen filled scope in your own hands.
You will be amazed how accurately you will hit your targets with the crisp and clear 3-12x zoom of this UTG rifle scope. Even if you are out in the forest during bad weather and the sight conditions aren’t perfect: the in-built Illumination Enhancing Technology will ensure that you can target precisely at any time, the ultimate sniper rifle scope.
I have a in-depth test in the Leapers UTG Rifle Scopes Reviews with more information about the technical specifications such as Premium Zero Locking, Multi-Emerald Coated Lenses and Mil-dot Reticle as well as hi-res photos of this wonderful scope.
3. 3. Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 Riflescope
A very popular choice for hunters and shooters who are looking for a reliable rifle scope in the 200 USD range is the Vortex Diamondback. What makes it different from most other scopes in this price range is that it comes with a magnification of 4-12x and that means you can easily target wild deer or whatever you are shooting several hundred meters away and it will show crisp and clear.
There are quite a lot of unique features and technical specifications which are worth pointing out. Just mentioned the great 4-12x zoom for distant targets and along with that there’s a so called “precision glide erector system” that provides clear vision even at extreme weather conditions like fog and rain and even if you go for the maximum 12x zoom you have a clear sight of your target.
You probably understand now, why the Vortex Diamondback is such a great rifle scope. If you want to learn more about its features like focal plane reticle, hard anodized finish, O-ring seals and single piece tube you can find a much more detailed review in our Vortex Rifle Scope Reviews section. There are also several customer reviews and hi-res pictures.
4. 4 Steps To Find a Good Rifle Scope
A good rifle scope can be important as it can make it easier for you to aim your firearm. However, you must be careful as there are many scopes on the market. The purpose of this guide is to help you learn how to find a useful rifle scope for any purpose that you hold while out in the wild.
1. Step 1: Analyze the Numbers
The first thing to do is to take a careful look at the numbers that are listed on your rifle scope. Look at the numbers in front of the X on a unit. These numbers will tell you how many times you can magnify the item in a scope to make it more visible. For instance, a 3-6X scope will be adjustable to where you can see through three to six times closer than they are to you. This is all based on how the unit is adjusted. A larger magnification quality is needed if you’re going to hunt larger game at further distances.
The number after the X is the objective lens diameter of your scope in millimeters. This shows how large the scope is and how much space will be displayed at a time as you look into it. This can assist you in finding more items in a larger spot.
In most cases a 40mm lens will be good enough. A 50mm lens may also help but you may end up paying more for than one. A 50mm unit will also be heavier on average. You must take this into consideration based on what type of game you want to hunt and whether or not you are capable of handling a scope that has a much larger size than what you might see elsewhere on the market.
2. Step 2: Look at Light Transmission
The light transmission feature on the rifle scope is a look at the amount of light that will come into an objective lens and how much will exit from the ocular lens. There is no real set standard as to how much light needs to go through but it is best to find a unit that will transmit as much light as possible. This is to ensure that the light that comes into the scope will move through as needed and will not be any harder to handle at any time.
The exit pupil can tell you quite a bit about how light moves. The exit pupil is a light circle that can be seen in the ocular lens. If this material is large in size then it should be easier for you to see through the scope without any specific head position required. The eye relief, or the distance the eye needs to be from the ocular lens to get a full view of what’s on the scope, will especially vary based on the size as a larger one requires less of a distance, thus making the scope slightly easier to use.
Light transmission is critical as it helps you to see what is inside a spot. You have to use this with care to see that you are going to take a look at anything you have with care so it will not be all that hard for you to do a little more when taking shots at anything that may be in a local spot.
3. Step 3: Review the Sighting
The sighting is that series of lines that you will notice within the scope. This is often used to help people get a better idea of where they are shooting while also assisting in targeting different items as required. The sight will typically be adjusted with different lines based on the trajectory that you are trying to shoot into. You must review the sighting based on how detailed it is and if you are able to read its features. If you’re able to see the marks properly then you should be fine.
Even with that, there’s a need to see how the sighting can vary by distance. You may notice that the target will change on the scope if you are going to shoot at a target at a far-off distance. This is especially important if you’re going to go after large game that is 200 yards away. Different scopes will have their own sights with regards to how far off they will be so you must be careful when aiming so you know that you will have a setup that is designed to be as careful and easy to manage as possible.
4. Step 4: Check the Coatings
Many coatings are used on rifle scopes as a means of protecting them and ensuring that they can be useful in many weather conditions. You need to compare the coatings of different scopes that you might hold and then find an option that will stay protected while also providing you with a clear sight of whatever you are aiming at.
The coating will typically be listed in one of four ways. For instance, a coated unit will feature a single layer on one lens surface. A fully coated option will have a seal on all glass surfaces. A multi-coated option will have multiple layers of protection on many of the surfaces that you are working with.
Any option can work well but you must be certain that you choose one that is appropriate for the weather conditions that you tend to go hunting in. If you need to keep reflections from being prevalent on your unit and you are in spots where light is not much of a hassle then a unit that has many coatings will certainly be worthwhile.
A good microfiber cloth can come in handy when having to clean you lens in the field.
Don’t forget to see how the coatings can handle water. Many units can prevent water from sticking onto the glass. Check to see how well a unit of interest to you can handle water before choosing it for your scope needs.
Just be certain when looking that rifle scopes that you are fully aware of whatever it is you are looking into. If you can choose a quality model among the many scopes that are out there today then you will certainly have an easier time with enjoying all your hunting-related activities.
By now you probably have quite a good overview of the most important things to keep in mind when making a decision for a scope to buy. If you are still unsure which brand and price range you want to invest in, you might want to have a look at the rifle scope comparison guide where you can find the best-selling products this year as well as customer reviews.
What Exactly Is A Rifle Scope?
The essential elements of a scope are its optical lenses. The larger one on the scope is called the objective lens, and it is present on the very end of the scope that would be the farthest away from the stock of the rifle. It works by transmiting light back towards the ocular lens, which would be the one closest to your eye. The objective lens is in something called the objective bell, where the ocular lens is contained in something called the eyepiece. The majority of rifle scope lenses are protected against fog and water.
5. How a Scope Works
The way to think about a Rifle scope is that it operates on the very same principle as telescopes. Light passes through the objective lens and gets focused on a single point inside the scope. The ocular lens will then magnify the light from the focal point. The image that you see when you gaze through the scope is a magnified light. Usually, Rifle scopes will come with a crosshair, which also goes by reticle. The cross-hair indicates to the gunner exactly where their shot will supposedly land once they use the trigger.
Rifle Optics vs Sights
There is one point that requires some explanation. There are many people out there who mistake rifle scopes with a sight. Remember that rifle scopes offer some level of magnification, whereas gun sights cannot offer any.
Gun sights are very basic and serve only to help the shooter’s target placement. Sight types would include iron sights, aperture sights, red dot sights and laser sights.
Scopes allow you to see the target close and therefore you can aim precisely.
5. Here is a list of some of the year’s best selling Rifle Scopes
[amazon bestseller=”40mm riflescope” count=”5″ tracking_id=”riflescopes78-20″]
Rifle Optics compared to Sights
During this article, there is one point that needs some clarification. What are the fundamental differences between rifle scopes with gunsights? As a rule, you can recall that rifle scopes offer degree level of magnification, whereas gun sights do not.
Rifle or Gun scopes differ in the sense that they bring the target nearer (magnify) to the shooter’s eye so that they can aim better.
6. Here is a list of some of the year’s best selling Rifle Sights
[amazon bestseller=”rifle red dot sight” count=”5″ tracking_id=”riflescopes78-20″]
What are the Benefits Of A Rifle Scope?
An advantage of using a scope with your rifle or gun is that you will be able to aim at your target easier. Also, it is much easier to lineup the target in the crosshairs of a high-quality scope than it is with a standard iron sight. You can feel more confident when using a scope under a high-pressure situation where you need to hit your target. Over time, your ability to leverage the scope to its full potential will be better, which will make you a good shooter. This is probably the reason why most professional shooters use rifle scopes over all other types of gunsights.
Boosting your Self Confidence
Imagine if you have a sophisticated scope attached to your rifle. It would look like you could do no wrong – if it was a high pressure shooting situation, you’d be getting hit after hit. This is the kind of feeling which a rifle scope instills in the shooter. It magnifies the target so you’re able to choose exactly where you want to aim your shot! Ultimately, you feel in control of the entire situation
As you get better at shooting with your rifle, you will want to shoot farther and with better accuracy. Soon, shooting at targets from your normal sights just will not do anymore – and that’s when you’ll know you need a quality rifle scope. Since it brings the targets much closer in your vuew, you’re able to aim and hit targets farther out. In fact, modern scopes let you change their ocular settings to match your eyes so you don’t have to deal with your glasses in the field!
Rifle Scope Buying Guide: How To Choose A Rifle Scope
Looking and buying the best rifle scope is no easy piece of cake, but after you are done reading this, you’ll have a good handle on scope basics and the items you need to remember when you go out shopping for a quality scope. Incidentally, there are quite a bit of tid bits to learn. Here is what you need to look for in a rifle scope:
Magnification is a measure of the degree of how much larger an object or target would appear through your scope is in comparison to just your eye. A 12x magnification means that the target appears 12 times as close, so if the target is 120 yards away, you’ll be able to see it as if it were only 10 yards away!
Riflescopes can have either fixed or even a flexible or variable magnification. If you are using a scope that has variable magnification, it is normal that you start with a smaller magnification since an high magnification for a close range shot will thin or narrow your field of view and lower the light entering the riflescope, making the shot harder instead of simpler! Here are good tips on choosing the right kind of magnification type for your scope:
|Variable magnification. 4 to 10x||Flexible allowing it to cover a range of distances, light, terrain and weather||Not as clear as fixed magnification|
|Fixed (not changable) mag e.g. 5x, 7x etc.||Greater reliability and simpler to use, e.g. a .22 gun with a fixed 6x magnification||The use is restricted to one type of distance so there is no way to change its range|
Field Of View (FOV)
This is a reference to the area visible in the scope at a range of 100m. Generally speaking, a wider FOV will mean you have a better result. Field of view will change with varying magnification – it gets less as you increase the magnification and the opposite is true. For instance, a 3-9x variable scope will have a 10m FOV at 3x but at 9x, the field of view might be reduced to less than 5m.
The diameter of the objective lens will determine how much light will enter the scope as well as how the light will be transmitted across to the ocular lens
The larger the diameter, the more light entering the scope so that you will be able to better use it in cloudy or dimly lit weather. However, each diameter size, from the smaller 30mm, to the midrange 40mm to the large 50mm, will come with its own advantages and disadvantages. The best course of action is to pick the biggest objective diameter whose heft you can easily manage when carrying your rifle. For most shooters, a 40mm objective diameter will transfer sufficient light in their shooting.
The purpose of the reticle is to allow you to aim the rifle with the scope. There is increasing range of body styles available and it is up to your preference what you want to shoot with. The reticle will aid you in in estimating the distance as well as the wind.
The most common type of reticle is the standard crosshair which will be thick or fine.
|Fine||Min|| || |
|Max|| || |
Adjustment is essential for accurate targeting, especially in target shooting contests. The best scopes allow in adjusting the crosshairs present in the scope.
Scope Tube Length,Diameter, and Weight
The scopetube diameter, length and even the weight of the rifle scope impact both its accuracy and easy of use. A 1 inch tube scope diameter is usually okay to handle most shooting environments. Scopes using 30 millimeter diameters are more handy and can be altered more using the adjustment turret knobs, which is useful when using certain mags or shooting further.
The weight and length of the scope are critical to if you need a light weight rifle or need to carry it for long periods of time. A lightweight rifle will be a major problem if you combine it with a hefty scope. There are scopes as light as 220 grams present out on the market, but the average scope weight is around 375 grams.
Measuring Light Transmission
Light transmission is the percentage of total light which can pass ultimately flow through the scope. Only the best scopes can achieve a pass through rating greater than 95% and most only allow 90%. The quality of optics matter a lot here just like with good quality telescoping lenses that photographers use at football games.
Good light transmission will allow you to hunt and shoot in the dusk, and will provide you with a crisper, brighter image even in bright conditions, thereby allowing you superiod focusing and targeting ability, and making looking and hitting targets a lot more comfortable. Bad transmission of light results in a fog effect, especially as darkness sets in or when the scope is adjusted so the magnification is too high.
A quality riflescope must always be protected against water and moisture, and most every scopes today come with some kind of coating on the lenses. A good coating serves the following :
- Reduction of Glare
- Better light transmission
- Increased contrast
The lens quality and the coating more important than the times that a coating is applied:
|Coated||Fully coated||Multicoated||Multicoated Fully|
|A Single coating of one lens surface||Single coating on every glass surface||Having multiple coatings on one lens surface||Multiple coating on all glass surfaces|
The Concept of Repeatability
The idea of repeatability is the ability of the scope to shoot the target after every attempt without requiring changing any adjustment. Another concept with this is how quickly the scope settles after making an adjustment. A better quality scope will be able to settle quickly whereas an inferior scope normally will require settling by shooting 5 rounds or by adjusting the scope.
The riflescope is an essential piece of shooting equipment that allows the shooter to precisely see where they will shoot bullet. An unreliable or lower quality scope will ruin the chances of an accurate shot, so it is advisable to invest as much as possible on your scope.
The percentage of light transmission, the build of the lens glass and coating are very important in this regard, and manufacturers like Nikon or UTG provide excellent optics. There are also lower cost brand that furnish the needs of mainstream users which you can consider depending on your budget. Think long term, though, since a quality scope will last years and years.
7. Night Vision Scopes
Humans were built for living in the daytime and then sleeping in the darkness. Our retinas (the lightsensitive part of our eyeballs) has cells named cones (which see colors in light) and things called rods (which detect movement and lower, dim light). We have about twenty times more rods than cones in our eyes and yet we’re still not too good at seeing in the dark.
Other animals in the world are built a bit differently. Creatures that mostly live in the dark will have much bigger pupils (the holes in front our eyes) to let in more light waves. The animal called the Tarsiers, has enormous eyes compared to their body size. Like other animals that creep mostly at night, their retinas contain more rods than our human eye. Another good example are cats, which also spend their time hunting during the night, and are among creatures whose eyes contain something called a tapetum. This is a mirror that reflects light back out of the eyeball. It bounces the incoming light 2 times through the retina so that animal have double the chances to see something in the dark. That’s why cats are great at seeing in the darkness and look creepy when you shine a flashlight at them. Basically, their eyes reflect light straight back similar to a mirror.
Unfortunately, us simple Humans can’t use any of these neat tricks. Our pupils do open wider in dim light, but not enough to help us a lot at night. Our eyes basically don’t have enough rods and we don’t have fancy tapetum mirrors, either. So what can we do to solve this problem? We can go shopping for technology!
1. How do night vision scopes work?
Night vision scopes boost a dark scene in a series of simple steps:
- As the light photons enter the scope, they strike a lightsensitive surface called a photocathode. The job of this part is to convert photons into electrons (electricity).
- The electrons are then amplified by a photomultiplier. Each electron entering into the photomultiplier will result in many more electrons leaving it.
- As the electrons leaving the photomultiplier then hit a phosphor screen, they create tiny flashes of light.
- Since there are more photons than originally entered the scope, the screen will make a much brighter version of the original scene.
Key parts of an night-vision monocular, from Gary Palmer’s US patent 5,737,131.
In reality, the image photocathode and photomultiplier (image intensifier) represent only the main parts complicated optical system. There still are other parts like the optics, the batteries, and other items that make the complete system.
Why does everything look green through night vision goggles?
During the night, the photons that hit the lens at the scope are carrying lights of all colors. But after they are converted into raw electrons, there is no way to keep preserve all that information. Ultimately, the incoming, light needs to be turned into black and white. So, you may wonder then why don’t night vision goggles display black and white? It turns out that the phosphors on their screens are chosen to make green pictures because scientists know that our eyes are more sensitive to green light. In hunting or combat situations, it is easier to look at a green screen for longer periods than to look at black and white ones. This is also why old screens used to be green. That is why you see the green images, which look pretty awesome, actually.
Here’s a list of some of the best Night Vision Scopes available, today:
[amazon bestseller=”Night Vision Rifle Scopes” count=”5″]
8. Rifle Bipods
The use of bipods by shooters has grown substantially over the last 30 years to the point that it is now rare to see a tactical rifle that isn’t equipped. Indeed, bipods have become very popular that nowadays you tend to see a hunting rifle wearing a lightweight bipod so that a shooter can take advantage of the opportunity to shoot from a prone position.
As with most equipment, a shooter’s application will determine the type of bipod to use. In some cases, the weight may well be the most important of the factors. On a rifle used for tactical shooting, the speed at which a bipod can be used and a small size may be considered to be the most important features.
Whatever the intended use, there isn’t one perfect solution and every rifle bipod made is usually a compromise between weight, support, easiness of use and price.
Here’s a list of some of the best Rifle Bipods available, today:
[amazon bestseller=”rifle bipod” count=”5″]
Here is my Book on Rifle Scopes for further reading