Rifle Scopes: The Basics

We work hard, but play even harder, is our moto in life. So, when you're done working you want to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy your hobbies. When that hobby is shooting or hunting you don't want to be left in the dark when it comes to finding the right rifle scope for your rifle or shot gun.

You want to buy yourself a quality riflescope without paying too much for it. If you're wondering who makes quality scopes? Leupold, Nikon, and Burris are some popular brands on the market.

So, how do you shop for a rifle scope that fits your game? It mainly depends on three things: the type of shooting you do, the type of gun you use, and your personal preferences for features like reticle type and color.

The best way to find out what rifle scope is right for you is by knowing the basics anatomy of a rifle scope and how it works. Once you grasp the basic knowledge of scopes you'll be able to make a more informed choice of what scope to buy.

Rifle Scopes: How do they work?
Rifle scopes work by magnifying an image and by placing your eye on the same optic plane as your target. Since magnification works by bending light rays via a number of lenses within the scope, the higher the power of magnification, the longer the scope. In other words, low powered rifle scopes are shorter and contain smaller lenses.

The similarities that all riflescopes share include a reticular or crosshair, a dot, a post or similar markings to help align the device with the target. A reticle or crosshair is a shape, usually a " +" shape, superimposed on an image (target) to aid with the alignment of the device. Some reticles use dots to mark the center of field of view or a post or similar markings to help view and centre the image through the scope. Rifle scopes also work to eliminate the problems associated with open sights, and allow for precise shooting.

Anatomy & Terminology of a Rifle Scope
A rifle scopes contains two tubes, one within the other. The inner tubes refracts light for magnification purposes, while the outer tube protects the inner tube and provides a mount for the three of the parts found in rifle scopes. All riflescopes contain about the same ten or so parts. These parts include:


  • 1) Eye Piece: Attaches to the eye-bell and holds the ocular lens.


  • 2) Ocular Lens: The lens nearest to your eye.


  • 3) Eye Bell: Houses the eye piece and gets attached to the tube.


  • 4) Eye Relief: Refers to the distance between your eye and the ocular lens when you see the full field of view. The larger the eye relief the better the riflescope.


  • 5) Power Ring: Allows you to rotate and change the magnification on the scope.


  • 6) Windage Adjustment: Changes the aiming point of the scope on the horizontal plane (left/right).


  • 7) Elevation Adjustment: Shifts your aiming point along the vertical plane (higher/lower).


  • 8) Tube: Provides a mount for the eye piece, eye-bell and objective bell.


  • 9) Objective Bell: Encases the objective lens and the tube gets attached to it.


  • 10) Objective lens: Collect the light that enters the scope. The higher the magnification the larger the diameter of the objective lens.


  • 11) Adjustable Objective Lens (AO): Fixes the parallax error by adjusting the objective lens. A parallax error is caused in a medium to high powered microscope, when the scope's "eye" is not focused at the right distance.