Unlimited Guide About Rifle Scope You Need To Know In 2017

So you’re thinking about buying a rifle scope. You’ve decided that you need increased visibility when out in the field, making your gun that much more effective.

This is your guide all about rifle scopes, how to use them, how to measure them, and how to read the measurements.

I’ve been using rifle scopes for years, and have tried many low and high power scopes. These days, I prefer the lower power scopes whenever they are applicable. Let’s take a look at what rifle scopes can do for you.

unlimited guide about rifle scope

Unlimited guide about rifle scope

1.Types Of Rifle Scopes

Rifle scopes are meant to provide magnification on the rifle where a gun sight can’t, which is the main difference between the two. Rifle scopes are distinguished by how they help the shooter hone in on their target, and typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • Aperture sights require the shooter to set the front sight in line with the ring during the aiming process. The rear sight is typically a ring
  • Open sights are similar in that the shooter must line of front and rear sights. However, instead of a ring for the rear sight, it appears as looking like the letter “V.”
  • Dotted and laser sights help the shooter aim by pointing directly to the target with a noted mark. Red dot sights show a red dot on the target without actually sending any light out of the scope, making them ideal for hunting while maintaining camouflage. Laser sights actually project the image onto the target via laser

2.How Does A Rifle Scope Work?

Rifle scopes are elongated spaces for magnification lenses. Their overall goal is to increase the line of sight on a shooter’s target through the magnification, and they work kind of a like high-tech magnifying glass. The central part of the rifle scope is called the main tube. This part holds the magnifying lenses that actually make the scope function properly. They also typically have some type of reticle for noting the point of impact of a bullet on the target.

How Does A Rifle Scope Work

How Does A Rifle Scope Work

Rifle scopes are attached to the top of the rifle and have an erector tube working between the reticle and adjustment knobs. This is how the scope adjusts its views, as the tube is moved back and forth by the shooter by the knobs. The shooter can zoom in on the target to their preference, finalize their aim, and take the shot. The eyepiece of the rifle scope is called the ocular assembly. The diopter here brings the shooter’s line of sight into focus, which is adjusted by the knobs. This all sounds very technical, but it basically operates like a telescope. The image, in this case the target, is fetched by the scope and brought into focus by the rest of the components. In the end, the shooter has much better visibility and a result, improved accuracy. Rifle scopes are preferable for long range shooting both in the field and at practice ranges

This video Airsoft GI talk about how does a rifle scope work: ​

3. What Do The Numbers Mean On A Rifle Scope?

One of Best Scopes For Ruger 10/22

One of Best Scopes For Ruger 10/22

This is where rifle scopes can be quite confusing. Because of their different parts, the scope improves the shooter’s line of sight in multiple ways. Those ways are reflected in the measurement equation. The measurement of rifle scopes is broken down into segments that basically translate a math equation. The first number of note is the first digit, which depicts the level of magnification the scope presents. So if a scope begins with the number “3”, that means that the target appears 3 times closer than it would without the scope.

The next digit is a dash, followed by a number representing ‘power.’ So if the number is 6, the power of the scope brings the target into focus appearing six times closer to the shooter than it would without a scope.

You’ll then have an ‘X’ followed by a number such as ’40.’ This last number refers to the diameter of the scope as measured in millimeters. Written out completely, this expression would read 3-6x40. Now you know what all those numbers mean!

For another example: In a 3-9X40 scope, the 3 means 3 power, or 3X. Clearly, this means that the image you see through the scope appears three times (3X) closer than it does with your naked eye. The 9 means nine power, or nine times (9X) closer than it appears with your naked eye. The (40) in this number is the objective lens diameter in millimeters. This is a variable scope because you can vary the magnification of the scope from 3 to 9, stopping anywhere in between. You would describe this scope as a "three to nine by forty." Some scopes have a 3x magnification range such as a 3-9. Some have 4 or more as in a 4-12. . The larger the magnification range the more you will pay, but it makes for a more versatile scope. I've been spoiled by them.​

4. Best Times For High And Low Power Rifle Scope

There are different scopes for different hunting situations. Shooters will want a lower power scope, in most circumstances, for short range shooting.

Low power scopes are dialed down to their lowest magnification level possible, which helps to keep targets in focus that aren’t very far away. Police and armed military personnel often prefer low power scopes in typical day-to-day situations where they aren’t going to fire at targets that are hundreds of feet away.

High power rifle scopes are ideal for long-range shooting. They have the ability to, through multiple levels of magnification, increase the size of a target while making it appear to be closer than it actually is.

This gives the shooter the ability to not only have an easier time aiming at their target, but to pinpoint the exact area that they want to shoot. For example, the right side versus the left side, or a shoulder shot, etc.

5. What Is The Magnification? And How To Read Scope Magnification?

As we’ve stated here, the best way to read lens magnification is to determine how amplified you want your vision of the target to be.

What Is The Magnification And How To Read Scope Magnification

What Is The Magnification And How To Read Scope Magnification

If you want the target to appear closer and also be bigger in your eye, focus on the entire sequence of numbers used to describe the rifle scope. Is the scope going to provide 3 levels of magnification, making the target highly visible from hundreds of yards away?

You’ll notice that the when reading lens magnification, the factors multiple each other. This is because they each complement the work of the other to provide a better shot.

Making a target appear larger while also making it appear closer provides more assistance to the hunter than simply zooming in on its head.

Read the listing like you read the description of your gun. 3-9x40 equals 3 times magniciation, 9 times closer to the shooter, all viewed through a lens that is 40 millimeters in diameter.

6. How Much Scope Magnification Do I Need?

The level of scope magnification needed depends mostly on how far away the target is going to be. For closer targets, you’ll want a low power rifle scope that doesn’t severely alter the perception of the target. It allows the target to appear mostly as it is, with slight enhancements to hone in on exactly where you want to shoot it.

You’ll want to increase the levels of magnification in line with targets getting further and further away, or if the targets are incredibly small. Smaller targets need the amplification that makes them appear to be bigger than they are, allowing you to specifically shoot where you want to hit the target.

7. How Are Rifle Scopes Measured?

Rifle scopes are measured by how many times greater one’s vision and is of their target compared to what it would be with the naked eye. Levels of magnification are determined in comparison to the average person’s eyesight.

You may have a scope that improves the size of the image by 3 times, while making it appear 6 times closer to you than it actually is. You may have a scope that is 40 millimeters in diameter, or it may be bigger or smaller. In total, rifle scopes are measured by magnification and size, and depicted in the written form we’ll go over next.


Rifle scopes have completely changed the game for shooters. Low power scopes seem to be rising in popularity these days as hunters realize that having more power than they need in terms of eyesight isn’t always a good thing.

Sometimes, it’s best to just go with instincts instead of overdoing it with extras. I hope you have found this post helpful – if so, please share on social media and feel free to comment below. Ideas and experiences are the stepping stones of progression. The more people we get talking, the better our hunting skills will be!

Harvey Specter

"Sometimes hunting is the only thing that makes sense"

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments