Purchasing a Sniper Scope

Most of the time, sniper scopes are used by the military and by police and law enforcement.  If you're interested in purchasing a sniper scope, and you don't fall into one of these categories, what type of scope should you buy?  There are many answers to this question, of course, and some of them depend on your personal preferences and the shooting goals that you have.  However, we will try to create a general set of tips for purchasing a sniper scope.

Scope Magnification

If you are simply purchasing a sniper scope to participate in tactical shoots or hunting, then you would probably be fine with a 4x, 6x, or 10x magnification.  A shooter in these situations is not under the same type of stress that the military is under, nor are they usually trying to shoot at a moving, violent target.  Therefore, these magnifications should be sufficient to see a target at 100 yards.

Fixed Versus Variable Power

The military shooter, at the moment, usually uses a fixed power scope.  This allows him to deal with the many variables that he needs to manipulate, and to keep his power fixed.  This eliminates the hassle of remembering which level he has his scope on, and having to make adjustments.  For civilian use, the variable power is often more desirable.  This variable power allows the user to adjust the power level as he sees fit.  Usually, the higher the power level, the smaller the field of view.  So, a hunter is better served with a lower power and a larger field of view.  It's nice to have the variable power option, because you can turn it up if the need arises.

Objective Size

For people using a sniper scope for competitions or hunting, a large objective bell is not necessary.  There is really no use for a bell that is larger than 40mm or 42mm.  Anything larger than this forces the shooter's head up higher than is comfortable.  Rather, you want to mount your scope as close as possible to the axis of the bore.  Similarly, as a hunter or civilian there are many available scopes that offer fine low-light clarity with less than a 40mm lens.

Make sure to look for the right sniper scope for your needs and to purchase your equipment accordingly.  Just because the sporting good store or the gun shop wants to sell you a particular gun or a particular scope does not mean that it is the best equipment for your needs.  First, evaluate your specific needs and then look for the equipment to fulfill your goals and your particular situation.