A Few Thoughts On Riflescopes

Scopes Take The Frustration Out Of Hunting

Most firearm enthusiasts today use some kind of optical sighting device on their rifles, shotguns or handguns for a really basic reason-it makes aiming and hitting the target a lot easier. Aiming through a scope or a red dot sight eliminates about 30 percent of the challenge of using iron sights. When using metallic sights you have to line up the rear sight with the front sight and your target whereas with a scope, you just line up the crosshairs and fire. Add the fact that scopes are magnified means the target appears a lot closer, therefore easier to see, and you are better enabled to score a more direct hit. Another bonus is that people with less than perfect eye sight can make the necessary adjustments to the scope and voila-a crisp sight picture is in view. Scopes eliminate a lot of frustration.

Don't Use A Sledge Hammer To Drive In A Finishing Nail

Like using a sledge hammer to drive in a finishing nail, many hunters go for the big stuff and it isn't necessary to get the job done. Great advertising campaigns have lured the average hunter into buying more powerful cartridges and scopes than they need. It's no secret, advertising works, which is why there is a glut of over-the-top products in the hands of people who think they need them. Before you go off buying the latest and greatest, consider the job you want to accomplish and shop with that in mind. The average deer rifle used to have a 3-9 scope. Three power magnification is low enough for close shots in most situations, and nine is more than adequate for longer shots. What we are seeing today is the majority of hunters choosing scopes for deer with top magnification of 14 or 20 or even more. It's usually a mistake.

Scopes Don't Gather Light

Contrary to what most people think, and what the accepted jargon is today, scopes do not gather light; they transmit light through the lenses to your eye, always losing a bit of light in the process. The best light transmission you can expect to get through a scope is 98 percent, and this only with a very expensive scope. Most scopes average 90 percent, which is fine. With a higher magnification, less light reaches your eyepiece and with a larger objective lens, you will get more light through your eyepiece.

What's A Parallax?

Parallax is a tough thing to understand and can probably best be defined appropriately to rifle scopes as the apparent movement of objects within the field of view in relation to the reticle. It's like putting a mark on a table with a pencil and then holding a glass with about an inch of water in it over the mark. Move the glass around in different directions as you are looking down through the glass. You'll see that the dot moves in directions other than where it should be. This is corrected on a scope with adjustable objectives, or external parallax adjustments, and they are found generally on scopes of more than 10 power, or scopes used for close distances. The parallax adjustment holds the image steady but is not generally needed for hunting scopes under 10 power.