A full range of affordable, high quality rifle scope optics to suit everything from plinkers to the super sniper scope sniper rifles. A rifle scope is an essential piece of equipment for placing accurate shots downrange, choosing a rifle scope is key to targeting success. When an iron sight just wont cut it, or in competition shooting whether you are looking for and air rifle scope, a cheap 22 rifle scope optics or other - it now becomes affordable to have the best chance of placing the perfect shot. Check our rifle scope comparison reviews on the lower left menu.
Rifle scopes online: Buying a rifle scope shouldn't be a tedious affair. Our most popular Nikon rifle scope promotes itself with unparalleled superiority and clarity in their glass optics, a top choice for long term reliability and resale value when buying a rifle scope. Looking for top-of-the-range optics? ...the best tactical rifle scopes? Maybe a rifle scope with rangefinder? The high quality Swarovski riflescope is second to none. Our riflescope range covers some of the best brands in the world including: Bushnell, Nikon, CVLIFE, Swarovski, ADF, BSA, Leica, Leupold, VORTEX, UTG, Barska, Beileshi, Leupold, Vokul, Sightmark, Tasco, FSI optics and Nightforce riflescopes to name a few. We have a comprehensive range of riflescopes for sale right here from the humble .22 riflescope to the many rifle scope AR15 users regularly use.
Our reticle selection covers Multi-X, MOAR, Nikoplex, BDC, Z-Plex, Mil-Dot and many more. There is also a wide selection of various passive and active illuminated rifle scope reticles available for various manufactorers including the ever famous Trijicon.
Since the beginning of time, American’s have striven to get the maximum potential out of everything we do. For shooters and hunters alike, it was only a matter of time before we were going to find a way to shoot rifles out to a 1,000 yards and beyond!
With any new quest to push the limits farther than previously thought possible, comes trial and error, as well as the need to develop different strategies for making it happen.
Shooting a projectile from point 'A' to point 'B' would be no exception. Case in point — for as long as I can remember, when your target was beyond your sight in distance, you would aim above the target.
‘How much?’ you ask. That was simply a guess-timation based on how far away you perceived the target to be, and how many inches you guess-timated your aim point to be above your target.
Using this method was sometimes effective, but actually worked less often than one would hope for, hence, the hold-over reticle system was born.
Hold-over reticles added some intelligence to this above-mentioned method. For a period of time, it was thought that, with a decently working yardage rangefinder, these hold-over reticles would give us a sure fire aiming point.
I’m sure that a lot of hunters hit the woods with these systems and had immediate success. Heck, I was one of them; however, as you begin to run this system through the paces in a few different conditions, several flaws come to the surface.
‘Why?’ It could be one of many factors, but let's stick to the reticle itself. First, in order for many manufacturers to cut down on SKU’s, they made a reticle that was a come-one, come-all approach.
Meaning, if you mount this optic with this reticle on your rifle, you’re going to hit perfectly where you aim, in reference to which reticle line you choose.
That approach seemed like a good one at the time, however, it neither accounted for different velocities in a given cartridge, nor did it account for the ballistic coefficient of the many different bullets the shooter might be using.
The approaches were based on generic estimations for many calibers. The next generation upgraded with ballistic dial compensation.
This method has really taken hold with a fairly large group of guys who have implemented extended-range shots into their hunting tactics. This method appealed to add some of the missing pieces the hold-over reticles did not have.
Having the ability to laser-etch certain ballistic details on the turret cap itself, shooters were now able to add the detailed velocity and bullet information for the exact rifle they would be shooting.
However, even with those improvements, there was still similarity to the hold-over reticle, due to the static information that is given to the shooting system.
‘Static?’ What I mean by this is fixed information. Even with the information that has been compiled to make the above scenarios work, it leaves out the most important factor of all — atmospheric conditions -- more commonly known as air density, density altitude, barometric pressure, etc.
Up to this point, the most important variable in shooting a projectile from point 'A' to point 'B' accurately, has been neglected.
Admittedly, through the evolution of the above scenarios, there has been the introduction of the reticle calculator and the implementation of several different turret caps; but one would have to ask, why go through all of this when you can now incorporate the very software used to get us to this point right into your own shooting system? This leads us to our final stop, minute of angle (MOA.)
To keep things simple, MOA is a term that describes a unit of measurement. This unit of measurement is what most trajectory programs are based on. It also is how most common optic manufacturers build their turret adjustments, 1/4 MOA per click.
We now have rangefinders that can be set to give MOA output as a standard. When working your shooting system in MOA, as opposed to hold-over or yardage, you can become proficient by simply utilizing the amount of angle needed to make any shot, in any condition, at the time of the shot.
When given the correct information, air density, MOA works, no matter the distance of the shot. It simply accounts for how much angle is needed to get the bullet from the muzzle to the target, based on how thick or thin the air is at the time of the shot.
When looking back through the evolution of products, it is interesting to me that the best products use the facts at hand, to get me to my desired result.
Right now, and for the foreseeable future, all the rave is long-range shooting; however, I will be certain to prepare myself for what the next era blings!
Remember what makes us a responsible shooters is, practice, practice, practice. When you’re tiled of practicing, practice some more!
Extreme Outer Limits T.V.
Gremlins gather when you’re about to fire. This conspiracy affects your shooting position, target size and movement, shot angle, environmental conditions and the time you’re allotted on the trigger.
Add the effect on your nerves and it’s a wonder your bullets hit anything at all. Your rifle, ammunition and optic have comparatively little influence on a shot. That said, a powerful scope helps you see better at distance, read wind and aim more precisely. It shows the bounce of your pulse, too, so you know when you re sure to miss. Big glass can thus inspire confidence.
That last part must be why big scopes are selling well these days. So here’s a mostly objective look—pun absolutely intended—at what really matters in the world of scopes for shooting targets at extreme distances.
The high magnification required for long shots makes optical quality a priority. You’ll want sharp images (high resolution) in a bright field with minimal curvature and color fringing at the perimeter. Insist on fully multi-coated optics (every lens in the scope coated with wave-specific compounds to ensure high light transmission).
Crisp windage and elevation adjustments, in minutes or mils, must move the point of impact predictably. To see if they repeat, shoot “around the square’ on a paper target, aiming at the same spot at 100 yards.
Fire a group, then dial 20 clicks left and fire another.
Add 20 up, fire.
Move 20 right, fire.
Come 20 down, fire.
The last shots should land near the first.
Quarter-minute clicks should give you inches between groups.
To sharp focus your target and nix parallax error(the apparent target shift if your eye moves off the scope’s optical axis), pick a scope with a left-side parallax dial on the turret. A dial is much easier to use from shooting positions than the older-style adjustable objective sleeve up front.
I prefer a simple reticle to a maze of lines, dots and ticks. A crosswire or “plex" with up to three ticks intelligently spaced on the stem yields a clean view for fast shots and helps you hit at greater distances. By the way, it’s not a “duplex” unless it’s from Leupold! Illuminated reticles that deliver faster aiming in timber are less useful at distance.
Most variable-power scopes in the U.S. market have a second-focal-plane (SFP) reticle. It remains a constant size across the power range. First-focal-plane (FFP) reticles, popular in Europe, “grow and shrink" with power changes. They’re hard to see at low. magnification in brush.
At high power, they hide small, distant targets. But since they stay the same size relative to the target, they’re fast to use as range-finding devices at all power settings. And there’s no possibility of reticle shift, from low to high power.
The Leatherwood sniper scope was a pioneer in the field of scopes designed for center holds at all ranges. Its mount had a cam calibrated for bullet drop. Rotating the cam tilted the scope for a first-round hit at extreme range.
Modern equivalents are trajectory-matched elevation dials. Each is marked to deliver hits with a specific load and center hold when you “dial to the distance.” At 600 yards, you spin up “600” on the dial and fire.
I first used these arc-matched dials on Leupold VX-3 scopes. GreyBull Precision had cut and installed them, and changed the click values from 0.25 to 0.33 MOA for more elevation gain per rotation.
Now many scope-makers offer such dials when you provide bullet velocity and ballistic coefficient data. At extreme range, you’ll benefit from scope bases with “gain,” commonly 20 minutes of slope up at the rear.
That tilt adds reach to the elevation dial and permits aiming through the scope's optically superior center. Other good features include an elevation dial reset table to zero, and a zero-stop limiting travel on the dial.
Objective lenses have grown to ensure a big exit pupil—the shaft of light reaching your eye. As a measure of brightness, exit pupil diameter equals lens diameter (in millimeters) divided by magnification.
A healthy eye dilates to about 7mm at night. Figure 5mm at dim shooting light. In bright light that shrinks your pupil, the 40mm lenses of popular 3-9X scopes delivers more light than you can use, even at the highest power setting.
A 6.5-20x50mm scope is best paired with a bigger objective so you get bright images in the upper half of the power range.
Tube size has also grown, from 0.8 inches on pre-WWII scopes to 1 inch to, more recently, 30mm and now 34mm. All things being equal, bigger lenses boost resolution, but 30mm tubes are often given “standard” erectors.
The result? The assembly has more room to move, affording plenty of adjustment for bullet drop far away. Big tubes are stronger, of course, to bear the weight of oversized objective glass.
High-power scopes once used mainly by Bullseye competitors and small-game hunters now appear both as “sporting" optics and “tactical" sights. One new scope comfortable on both lists is Nikon’s new 6-24x50mm Black X1000.
This 25-ounce, 15-inch scope has a glass-etched illuminated reticle in the rear focal plane. The rheostat on the turret’s left side has 10 brightness set tings and an automatic shut-off feature to save your battery.
The inside dial left of the turret zeros out parallax while bringing the target into crisp focus. You get bright, sharp images and positive 0.1-mil clicks with 17 mils of adjustment per dial (or choose the MOA version). “Full rotation" marks help you track clicks.
Lift the spring-loaded dials to reset the zero. You can also send Nikon ballistic data from your favorite load (online or with a free mobile app) and install a Spot On custom turret dial.
Shooting “around the square" with an X1000, I found the click values very close to specifications. The return to zero was essentially perfect. The spread between my first shot and my last pair after 80 clicks was 0.65 inches! The Nikon X1000’s performance belies a decidedly modest price of only $650.
You’ll find value from other brands, too. The Vortex 5-20x50mm Razor HD is a 35-ounce scope with a 35mm tube. You can choose mil or MOA zero-stop dials. The illuminated, range-compensating FFP reticle is glass-etched.
The Razor HD Gen II line includes 3-18x50mm and 4.5- 27x56mm models with low-profile dials. The 6-24x50mm Viper HS-T is a 30mm, 23-ounce big brother to the 20-ounce 4-16x44mm Viper.
Many hunters will appreciate Leica’s 1.8-12x50mm Magnus, Leupold’s 2-1 2x42mm and 3-18x44mm VX-6 scopes and Swarovski’s 2.5-15x44mm Z6i, all with six-times power ranges and generous eye relief. The Swarovski Z6i has 64 reticle brightness settings with an automatic shut-off feature.
The Leupolds weigh 17 and 19 ounces, half a pound less than the 7-42x56mm version with a 34mm tube. The 2-12x42mm VX-6 offers 120 minutes of windage and elevation adjustments.
Swarovski labels its illuminated 3.5-18x50mm and 5-25x50mm X5i scopes as “Long Range Experts” with 116 and 82 minutes of adjustment, respectively. A window shows dial rotation. Like Leupold, Swarovski offers arc-matched dials. Trajectory data is free from Swarovski software.
For long-range shooting, the 34mm 3-1 2x50mm K31 2i and 6-24x56mm K624i scopes from Kahles have FFP reticles, dial rotation indicators and hardened-steel adjustment innards.
The 30mm 10-50x56mm K1050 is longer at 17 inches, but it weighs slightly less than the 33.5-ounce K624i. Parallax-free as close as 8 meters, the K1050, with its 0.13-MOA clicks, works as well on airguns as in F-Class competition.
Schmidt & Bender has upgraded the superb PM (Police Marksman) series with the PM II. The High Power 3-27x56mm and 5-45x56mm models boast nine-times magnification. Lighter and more compact, the new 3-20x50mm PM II Ultra Short has a 30mm tube and seven-times magnification range.
It joins the 5-20x50mm PM II Ultra Short, and Schmidt & Bender’s Stratus hunting line includes a brilliant 2.5-13x56mm scope. Zeiss has updated its flagship Victory series with the 4.8-35x60mm V8, which has a 36mm tube and weighs 34 ounces.
It has 0.2-MOA clicks and a motion-sensing switch to turn off illumination. The 2.8-20x56mm model weighs 5 ounces less and offers 0.33-MOA clicks. More affordable options include the 3-15x50mrh and 5-20x50mm Conquest HD5 scopes.
Like their heavier, more costly brethren, these 1-inch scopes have LotuTec hydrophobic lens coatings. Another great value in 1-inch long-range scopes is the MeoPro HTR series with 4.5-14x50mm and 6.5-20x50mm models.
I like the short, finger-friendly, resettable target dials, the crystal-clear glass and the practical reticle options. The ZD line offers a 30mm 6-24x56mm scope that weighs just shy of 31 ounces. It features mid-height dials in mils or MOA as well as an etched SFP reticle.
I haven’t yet used EOTech’s long-range scopes afield, but the company’s 2.5-10x44mm Vudu impressed me on a recent elk hunt. For shooting far, the 3.5-18x50mm Vudu should excel.
It has a 34mm tube, an illuminated FFP reticle and an “EZ Chek" zero stop. EOTech is so sure you’ll like its scopes, and that they’ll last, that each comes with a lifetime guarantee—free repair or replacement even if you’re not the original owner.
Sig Sauer’s tactical line of TANGO6 scopes includes 3-18x44mm and 2-12x40mm models with your pick of illuminated FFP or SFP reticles. Each scope includes one free Sig Ballistic Turret (SBT) crafted to your specs.
The same goes for the 4-16x44mm and 3-12x42mm TANGO4 models as well as the WHISKEY5 line of high-power 30mm hunting scopes. Bushnell has long had one of the biggest selections of riflescopes.
The 3-12x44mm and 4.5-18x44mm Elite LRH scopes feature 30mm tubes, FFP reticles and RainGuard lens coatings. The 3.5-21 x50mm ERS has a 34mm tube but measures just 13.25 inches long.
The 4.5-30x50mm XRS II has a 34mm tube. Both come with FFP reticles and mil dials. Then there's the value-priced 6-24x50mm LRS, a 30mm scope with an FFP or SFP reticle.
Burris offers 3-12x44mm and 4-16x50mm models in its Eliminator III laser riflescope line. The Veracity line has 30mm 3-15x50mm, 4-20x50mm and 5-25x50mm models. This long-range series is repeated in the XTR II family with FFP reticles, 34mm tubes and mid-height target dials.
But for the best value with Burris, I would recommend the 4.5-14x42mm and 6.5- 20x50mm Fullfield E1 scopes, which have 1-inch tubes and low target dials.
The 3-15x56mm Nighthunter Xtreme from Steiner is a 30mm, 27-ounce scope with an illuminated reticle controlled by a tilt-sensitive switch. Clicks are in centimeters. The 30mm GS3 series, with 3-15x50mm, 3-15x56mm and 4-20x50mm models, offers resettable zeroes and other features endemic to costlier sights. The sophisticated 3-15x50mm and 5-25x56mm M5Xi are Steiner’s nod to the military.
Sightron’s 30mm Sill riflescopes offer magnification ranges from 10X to 50X, mil or MOA adjustments, and tactical or target turrets. The 30mm S-Tac lineup comprises 2.5-1 7.5x56mm, 3-16 x42mm and 4-20x50mm models.
The included aspheric lenses reduce aberrations in these compact scopes, and Sightron also lists many reticle options. Nightforce earned its reputation with exceptional high-power variable scopes, and it continues on that path.
The new 4-16x50mm ATACR has every useful amenity and the most appealing illuminated reticles I’ve seen. At 33 ounces, it's not a light 34mm scope, nor is it priced for beginners. But if you want what scope of this type should have, start here! Want more power? Nightforce also offers 5-25x56mm and 7-35x56mm ATACRs.
Then there’s the 40-ounce BEAST, a 5-25x56mm scope with 60 minutes of elevation in a single dial spin. For long trails, Nightforce lists 3.5-15x50mm, 5.5-22x50mm, 5.5-22x56mm and 8-32x56mm NXS scopes. Weaver has 3-15x42mm and 4-20x50mm Super Slams as well as 3-1 2x42mm, 3-1 2x50mm, 4-16x44mm and 5-20x50mm Grand Slams.
The latter two are available with Weaver’s Multi-Stop turrets. You tailor its adjust able color bands to a load, then spin the dial to the color matching the target distance and hold center.
Weaver’s veteran V-Series is joined by the new fixed-power T-Series XR models with side parallax dials. Available as 24x40mm or 36x40mm scopes in silver or black, these lightweight models retail at around $1,000. This is a great value.
As you can see, long-range enthusiasts have never had a greater selection of scopes. Price reflects quality, but the most expensive scope isn’t always the best bargain. Buy what you need. Don’t be seduced by size or power or gewgaws with no real utility. After all, a scope is a sight—one that helps you aim.
FROM THE TOP: Picatinny, Weaver and Weaver; don’t confuse the three.
Weaver rails are effective and well mannered but dimensionally different to a true 1913 military specification Picatinny rail. The size of the grooves across the rail, their exact spacings and location are not equal. Also, the claw feet on Picatinny rings are bulkier, often binding on the action of a Weaver rail-equipped rifle when its rail is thinner than its Picatinny rival.
Even though the claw feet look identical, the recoil lugs on the underside of some night vision and thermal optics are too deep to fit the grooves on a Weaver rail or copies and, when tightening, this causes stresses in the scope’s base that can destroy your reliable zero retention. I prefer the Picatinny system because it is standardised and totally reliable from one international manufacturer to the next.
TOP: Military products will fit Picatinny but are unlikely to correspon other geometries. LEFT: If it has any grooves or flats, it isn’t Picatinny. RIGHT: This Picatinny ring doesn’t sit fully into the recoil stops of a non-Pic rail.
Weaver, and it’s companions, can be pretty much whatever they like, other than the width of the dovetails, and when microns matter with long-range optic precision, don’t make the mistake and make do.
Even smaller items which have lateral bolts to anchor in the grooves for recoil security, will often not fit anything other than genuine 1913 Picatinny rails so be cautious and never assume they’ll fit.
When you spring the levers, or tighten the fastenings on any accessories, they should meet a fairly precise firm ‘thump’ as they bind up tight with little more than a half turn required to reach the appropriate torque (I use about 5Nm on Picatinny).
If it feels as if you are squeezing something together, stop and check all tolerances because overtightening a Picatinny ring on a Weaver rail can rip its bolts out of the top of the action if the claws bind.
The Savage LRPV .22-250 with a 6-24x50 Simmons vari-power is an effective varminting rig.
At its most basic all a scope is useful for is to increase magnification which will allow better projectile placement, subject to the accuracy of your rifle. Extra magnification alone is no guarantee of extra accuracy; recently my best ever personal group with a rifle was shot with a 10x scope. You can spend a fortune on sights but at the other end of the scale there are now much cheaper versions that appear to be getting better in quality by the day. For most shooters/hunters the best option lies somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.
Further, the old saying that you only get what you pay for may not be exactly correct.
There are several cheap thirty-five year old scopes still in use by our family, although at the time of purchase, these sights, a straight 6x40, a 6x40 wide-angle, and a 4-12-x40 variable were considered of questionable Japanese quality.
Today it is not unusual for optical glass to be made in Japan or China, with the actual scopes being assembled in another country. Some still have a long way to go in terms of quality, but from personal observation the quality continues to get better. At the other end of the scale, our most expensive sight, costing over $1000, packed up after fifteen years of slight use, and it was not dropped or abused.
The requirements of the average hunter differ from the long range varmint hunter or the benchrest shooter; the distance to the potential target also plays a part and may influence the degree of magnification you require. The choice of reticles available at the present time is mind- numbing. There are so many variations that offering advice is fraught with danger. All I can do is offer suggestions based on experience and I would say that except for very specialist uses the clearer and less cluttered the reticle the better.
We do have fixed power sights, but the variable offers better flexibility. For general hunting possibly the most used scope is a 3-9x40; either with a standard cross-hair or a duplex reticle. The duplex has thicker cross-hairs at the edges, that become thinner near the middle, and this naturally concentrates the eye on the centre of the sight and allows for a clear picture.
The 3-9x40 size covers a range of uses and is well suited to spotlighting. On 3x it is ideal for bush and the quick acquisition of close-up targets.
Its close cousin the 4-12 vari-power is equally useful. Plain cross-hairs are useful in some circumstances, and very fine cross-hairs are popular for target and benchrest shooting.
The Plex reticle is one of the most popular for general hunting, and the Mil-Dot for long range and target shooting.
Usually sights of this type are of a fixed high power, and 36x is common when you are aiming to shoot a group only slightly bigger than a singular projectile diameter. However high magnification fixed-power scopes like 36x, due to their limited field of view, can make acquiring targets, even at long distance, an exercise in futility; a higher power variable is much more suitable. In addition, with high power sights you need to shoot off front and rear bags to get the necessary stability.
A couple of years ago a new 6.5x55 Tikka T3 arrived in the gun safe, and I could not go past a Bushnell 3-9 variable. Other American sights we’ve used over the years in this medium price range are Burris, Redfield and Weaver, and we have never had a problem with them.
Many deer are taken in poor light conditions, i.e., on dusk, so your scope should be able to make use of the minimum amount of light available. My mates recommend good quality European sights, like 3-12x50s because aside from poor light conditions, the background for dusk shots is likely to be on the dark side also.
The needs of the long range varmint hunter are different; here you have small targets (usually rabbits) that may be as much as 400 metres or more distant, sometimes over a valley with an unknown wind velocity thrown in, and we wonder why we miss even with the most accurate rifles!
For varminting a good variable sight allows quick acquisition and then you dial up the power to allow the precise shot location. Higher power variables like 6.5-20, 6-24 or perhaps an 8-32, are popular.
The cheap Japanese 6x40 wide-angle scope on this Husqvana .270 is still working okay after 30 plus years of use.
The very high power sights will show up your heartbeat, which can be a problem if you’re just using a bipod, a rear bag will allow for a steadier hold. This is a situation faced by benchrest shooters all the time.
When a Savage LRPV .22-250 appeared in the gun safe some years ago I contemplated what type and power of scope to mount.
Rifle scopes cheap: Something of reasonably high power was required to take advantage of the cartridge’s capability. Eventually I came across a US shooting web site that had a sale on Simmons 6-24x50 with a mil dot reticle for US $69.95. If the sight lasted twelve months I would have had my money’s worth.
The author’s Tikka T3 in 6.5x55 wears a 3–9x Bushnell, an ideal combination for deer.
Eight years later it’s still there! The only complaint is that the spacing of the mil dots has an incorrect value, a mil dot is 3.6 inches at 100 yards, on this sight the mil dots are spaced at 2-inches! Aside from that I have had nothing to complain about. For the price I would suggest that the sight was of Chinese manufacture.
Our 1895 Marlin .45-70 has worn a 1:3.5 variable Tasco scope for most of its life, and only recently has a newer Leupold 2-7x taken its place after the original fogged up, probably the seals leaked. However after twenty years of constant use we’re not complaining.
If your new scope is not sighted in correctly the advantages of your cartridge/ rifle combination will be lost.
In relation to hunting rifles like .243, .270 Winchester or 6.5x55, at what distance should the projectile impact meet the horizontal cross-hairs of the sight? The old understanding was that a hunting rifle should be sighted in three inches high at a hundred yards. Knowing the B.C of a particular projectile and the muzzle velocity of the same projectile it is not difficult using a computer program such as Load from a Disc (or similar) to work out the figures.
Don’t forget to use the actual figures from your rifle, reloading manuals are only a guide to velocities. The following table was worked out using Load from a Disc and our family rifles.
I still reckon that sighting in to be 3-inches high at 100 yards is not a bad idea. However, for scopes on lever-action rifles all our shooting group members sight in for a zero range of 100 yards, using either the .30-30 Win or 45-70 cartridges.
For long-range varmint rifles the waters are somewhat muddier! It would be unusual to find a higher power scope that is not fitted with ranging marks, either mil dot or some other type.
|CARTRIDGE||PROJECTILE GR/B.C||VELOCITY||ZERO RANGE||DROP/ 300 YDS.|
A ranging reticle need not be all that elaborate, it can be as simple as a set of cross-hairs plus lower ranging marks spaced at one inch intervals below the horizontal crosshairs. Using a program such as Load from a Disc it is not difficult to produce a table of projectile impact having regard to both the B.C. of a particular projectile and its initial velocity. Usually most sights in this category also have ranging marks horizontally on the central cross hairs to allow for wind drift, and there are many variations.
With long range varminting wind is a continual problem. You can measure wind strength at your location but almost invariably it will be stronger across an intervening valley. It’s a lot easier shooting over flat country.
Shoot a hard-kicking rifle or hold almost any rifle incorrectly, and sooner than later recoil is going to cause a scope to rear back and bite you. Some shooters wear their scar from a scope cut like a badge of courage. Others hold their heads down, concealing their cuts like a disfigurement. Whatever a shooter's temperament, tattooing an eyebrow or nose with a scope is not conducive to continued good shooting.
Eye relief is the distance from the last glass surface to where the eye is positioned to see the full field of view through a scope. A generous amount of eye relief is the best protection against receiving a smack on the forehead. Attention to your shooting position also goes a long way to keep a scope's ocular lens bell at a safe distance during recoil.
"For hard-kicking rifles you want to stay within that 3-1/2 inch range of eye relief," said Dave Domin, of Leupold & Stevens. "For such rifles, you probably want to stay away from high-magnification scopes that go down to about 2-1/2 inches of eye relief."
A scope's eye relief is intertwined with its magnification and field of view (FOV). If magnification is increased, FOV must decrease or eye relief must be reduced. Enlarge FOV, and magnification must decline or eye relief is shortened. If eye relief is increased, FOV or magnification must be decreased.
A variable scope allows magnification adjustment to provide the right mix of eye relief, FOV and magnification. For example, a Leupold VX-3 1.5-5x 20mm scope set on 1.5x has 4.40 inches of eye relief and 3.70 inches of eye relief when turned up to 5x. Such a relatively low-power scope is a good choice for a hard-kicking rifle, like a .416 magnum, that will be shot at short distances. Its FOV of 68 feet at 100 yards at the lowest power and 23.80 feet at the highest power is a plus for quickly getting on target.
Increased magnification provides more exact aiming for long-range shooting. A Leupold VX-3 4.5-14x 40mm scope provides the same eye relief at its lowest and highest settings as the 1.5-5x 20mm scope. That comes mainly from the higher-power scope's objective lens that is twice as large in diameter. However, the higher magnification variable's FOV is about a third of the lower-magnification variable's FOV.
Extended eye relief scopes, commonly called scout scopes, could be the solution to preventing scope cuts, because their extra-long eye relief allows mounting them far forward on a rifle. "But these scopes usually don't have enough magnification for long-range shooting," Domin said, "and their FOV is rather narrow." Leupold's VX-2 1.5-4x 28mm IER Scout Scope has 6.90 and 6.0 inches of eye relief at its lowest and highest settings, but its FOV is a narrow 41.70 and 17.30 feet, respectively, at 100 yards.
Properly placing a scope in its rings is important to attain the maximum amount of eye relief. Domin said when mounting a scope, turn it to its highest power and slowly push it forward in the rings until the full FOV is lost. "Then slightly pull the scope back to where you can see the full FOV, and it will be correctly positioned," he said. That scope position provides some rearward leeway in placing your eye.
The shooter's position behind a scope also determines if a scope can get a running start at his eyebrow. Scopes with a 40mm diameter or narrower objective lens allow mounting it fairly low over a rifle's receiver. That helps keep a shooter's cheek in tight contact with the stock comb, the head from sliding forward during recoil and the eyebrow away from the scope. "It's best to strap a comb riser on a stock when using scopes with a larger objective lens, like a 56mm," Domin said.
"With the widespread acceptance of the 30mm scope tube in recent years, advancements have been employed that have corrected many of the problems encountered with one-inch tubes. In addition to better optical quality, light transmission, coatings, etc., 30mm tubes allow significantly greater MOA adjustment. In other words, a rifle can be zeroed at 300 yards and still offer plenty of elevation adjustment to "dial" the scope turrent for a dead zero aim at 1,000 yards and beyond."
"Other important features include zero stops, 1/4 - and even 1/8 - MOA repeatable adjustments, advanced reticles, mil-dots and other tools. Click adjustments, along with custom ballistic-matched turrets, allow the shooter to precisely adjust or dial to bring zero to a specific distance in just moments. Naturally, the shooter will need to compensate for win d drift, bullet rotation drift and earth rotation during the bullet's time of flight, but scopes with a first focal plane and various reticles help make those adjustments easier."
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Check our many rifle scope reviews in the sidebar such as the Leupold scope for military use, high quality Meopta scopes and the military grade Nightforce rifle scopes.
The new BLACK FORCE1000 scope delivers fast targeting speed, repeatable precision, and superior accuracy for AR-type rifles.
It features true 1X magnification and 4X zoom, rugged construction with metal-capped turrets, lead-free and arsenic-free multicoated glass, an aircraft-grade aluminum-alloy 30mm main tube, and a Type-III hard anodizing surface finish.
Located in the second focal plane, Nikons SPEEDFORCE glass-etched, illuminated reticle is an MOA subtension reticle engineered to enable shooters to continue momentum from target to target.
It offers 10 intensity settings and powers down after 1 hour of non-operation.
Shepherds new Rugged riflescopes, which are just beginning to be available as you read this, are built to "endure any tactical weapon system or environment there is," according to the company.
These scopes have added strength to the turret assemblies, lens retainers, and interior support systems. As with all Shepherd scopes, the best extra-low dispersion glass is used to synchronize colors and focus wavelength.
Two models are offered in the Rugged series: 1-4X 24mm and 2.5-15X 50mm. Both scopes feature 30mm tubes, fully multicoated lenses, and recoil resistance ratings of 1,000g.
The 1-4X 24mm comes with a dual-color red and green illuminated BDC combat reticle; the 2.5-15X 50mm comes with a red illuminated RFP cross-hair reticle. All Shepherd scopes come with a lifetime warranty. MSRP: $575 (1-4X 24mm); $850 (2.5-15X 50mm)