Rifle Scope Comparison and Advice

rifle scope

What is a Rifle Scope?

While hunting is not the most popular sport in the United States, there are still plenty of people throughout the country who enjoy it.

As recently as 2011, it was reported that over 13 million people in the United States go hunting. That’s roughly about six percent of the country’s population.

With each day, more people are discovering the joys of hunting. However, not all of them know exactly what they are doing when they venture out into the woods.

Sure, they probably know how to track animals and shoot their rifles safely. But what about all the other accessories that can come with a rifle?

For instance, do they know what a rifle scope is and how major of a role it can play in helping you hunt the game you’re going after?

If you’re unsure of what a scope adds to your rifle, don’t worry. We have the information that you need.

Read on to learn more about the parts of a rifle scope, the different types of scopes there are, and how you can mount one to your own rifle.

Basic Rifle Scope Components

An estimated 55 million Americans own about 265 million guns. That’s more than one gun for every adult living in the United States.

Of those 265 million guns, 111 million are handguns. With those numbers, we can then assume that the majority of firearms owned by Americans, roughly 150 million guns, are rifles.

If you are one of those people who owns a rifle, you should want to use your gun to its fullest potential with a rifle scope. But before you can add a scope, you need to know the basic parts of one first.


The most important components of any rife scope are the lenses. There are two different types of lenses on every scope: the objective lens and the ocular lens.

The objective lens is the larger of the two lenses. It can be found at the end of the rifle’s scope on what is called the objective bell. 

The ocular lens is the lens that is closest to you when looking through the scope. It’s found on what’s called the eyepiece. 

So how do these lenses work together? It’s sort of like a telescope.

Light passes through the objective lens and aims at a point inside the rifle scope. That’s called the focal point.

The ocular lens then magnifies the focal point’s light, resulting in the image that you see when you look through the scope. 

A rifle scope also has a reticle, which is commonly known as the scope’s “crosshairs.” The crosshairs show the rifle’s shooter where his or her shot will go once it’s fired.

The main section of a scope is the tube. Typically, there are two diameter sizes for a tube: one-inch or 30-millimeter. You need to know the tube’s diameter to ensure that you use the right mounting rings when attaching the scope to your rifle.

You should also know that the sight of a scope can be adjusted. The two controls that allow you to do this are the windage adjustment and the elevation adjustment.

The windage adjustment changes the scope’s horizontal settings. Meanwhile, the elevation adjustment alters the vertical settings of the scope.

Different Types of Scopes

There are two primary types of scopes: variable and fixed.

The crucial difference between the two is that the magnification settings on variable scopes can be changed while the settings on fixed scopes cannot be altered.

If you want a variable scope, keep in mind that the first two numbers indicate the scope’s magnification settings.

For example, a 4-12 x 40 scope has a magnification range of 4x to 12x. In this case, whatever you are looking at through your scope will appear at least four times bigger than it would to your naked eye.

The third number, in this case “40,” signifies the size of the scope’s objective lens. For this particular scope, the objective lens would be 40 millimeters, which is pretty standard. Most hunters do fine with a 40-millimeter size lens.

The only other scope feature that you may want to consider is night vision. However, these types of scopes are really only necessary if the animals you are trying to hunt are nocturnal.

To find the perfect scope for your rifle, be sure to read reviews and compare the different scopes available to see which one suits you and your gun best.

Mounting a Scope on Your Rifle

Before you gather the necessary supplies to mount the scope on your rifle, there’s one important step that you must follow first.

Hold your rife as if you are taking aim at the animal you’re hunting. Make sure that the position you are holding it in is comfortable.

Keep in mind where your head and neck are. You’ll want them to line up with the rifle scope when you look through it.

Be sure that your gun is unloaded before you try mounting your scope. The latest reports from the National Safety Council show that nearly 500 people died due to accidental gun violence from 2014 to 2015.

Then get everything you need to mount your scope: the scope itself, your rifle, the mount or base for the scope, the mounting rings, screwdrivers, and an allen wrench. 

Know the Type of Mount or Base

You’ll need to figure out what type of mount or base you have. There are several different kinds, including Weaver, Picatinny, and Redfield. 

Depending on what type of scope base you have, you will link it to your rifle with either clamps or screws. You also want to make sure that your mounting rings match your base. 

Attach the lower part of the mounting rings to the scope base. The lower part of the two-piece clamp is where the scope rests. Meanwhile, the upper part of the rings secures the scope in place.

Make sure to put your rifle in a gun vise before the next step. Then you will want to administer a thin layer of oil to the rifle’s receiver and the bottom of the base and rings. 

Once that is done, it’s all about following the instructions for your particular scope base. This is where the screws and the screwdriver come in.

Connect the scope base to the receiver of the rifle. Make sure you also attach the lower portion of the mounting rings to the scope base.

Once everything is secure, it’s time to test out the scope. Do this in a location where you can safely place a target about 25 yards away from you. 

If there are any problems, it’s typically the position of the mounting rings. You can usually fix this problem with the scope’s knobs or screws. 

Scope Prices

Just like the price of rifles, the price of scopes can vary depending on what you’re looking for.

The cheapest price for a decent rifle scope is typically around $180 or so. Meanwhile, some high-end scopes can cost close to $2,500. More mid-range options will cost you anywhere from $400 to $800.

How much you hunt and what animals you hunt should determine what type of scope you get and how much you pay for it. If you use your rifle very often, you may want to spend the money on a more high-end scope.

Do you have a question or concern about your hunting rifle or scope that you think we can address? Do you need some assistance before you give hunting a try?

We can help! Contact us, and we will respond to you as quickly as possible.

Have your say