Whether you just bought a new rifle or are looking to upgrade an existing one, choosing the right scope for it can be a bit tricky. When it comes to selecting a scope, there are many things to consider such as the purpose of the rifle, preference of reticle, focal plane, and general look and feel of the scope.
Purpose of your Rifle
Are you an avid hunter or maybe a skilled marksman? No matter your interests, there are always going to be many options of scopes to select for your rifle. The first thing to consider is what the main purpose of your rifle will be. Are you looking for a long range rifle scope or something geared more towards an assault rifle that performs better at shorter ranges? Once you set a scope, it’s a good idea to leave it fixed on your rifle – you spent the time to sight it in, so why would you want to lose that accuracy by switching it out all the time?
If you are an avid hunter, you want to consider if you hunt in a fixed position or are you moving around a lot tracking larger game. The weight of a scope not only affects the movement and stability of a rifle, but also can have an impact on your endurance throughout the hunt. Sometimes, however, there must be a compromise between weight and performance. A scope that has high level magnification and range likely will also be heavier. Knowing your limits and purposes for your hunt will lead you to the right scope decision.
Maybe hunting isn’t your thing and you prefer to perfect your accuracy as a marksman at a range. A rifle for this purpose is likely to have a heavier high-performance scope. The heavier scopes will have the extra features to give you top notch aim and focus while also providing some extra stability to the rifle.
Reticle and Focal Plane
There are many features of a scope that some people really get into and others just adapt to. The reticle and focal plane are two items that can make an impact on the performance of the rifle. Understanding which work best for you can be equally important as any other feature of the scope.
The reticle is the marker you see when looking through the scope. This traditionally is a simple cross of two thin lines. Many scopes now offer a wide array of different reticle looks and colors. There are reticles in the shape of circles, dots, triangles and many other shapes. There are also additional lines and markers that help to set windage and distance of a shot. Knowing which features you prefer and are best suited for you can help you make a successful scope purchase.
Focal plane is another important aspect of a scope that sometimes gets overlooked. First Focal Plane (FFP) and Second Focal Plane (SFP) are two types of focus that a scope is set to. With the First Focal Plane, the scope’s reticle will reduce in size with each change in magnification. In the Second Focal Plane, a scope’s reticle will remain the same size on the target regardless of how many times it is zoomed. Knowing which you prefer can help sway your scope decision one direction or the other
Aesthetics of the Scope
If you have already begun your research, you now that scopes come in at all different price points. Sometimes you are paying for a name and other times you are paying for a high-quality product. If you truly want to make an investment in a scope and provide a significant upgrade to the standard iron sights on your rifle, it is critical to do you research. Finding a scope that is right for you will make your rifle all the more enjoyable to use. Whether it is for hunting or marksmanship, selecting the best scope can go a long way to your happiness and enjoyment of your rifle.