How to Choose the Best Scope for Hunting
The best rifle scope should be durable.
You want value for your money, so durability should be the #1 consideration when looking for a hunting scope.
You can tell a scope's durability by checking the material used to construct it.
Take the Stealth Vision rifle scope, for instance. The unit features a rugged casing to handle the rigors of deer hunting, time after time.
The unit promises to endure the bangs, dings, and drops of a typical deer hunting trip without breaking.
Besides, Stealth Vision believes in its rifle scope's quality and isn't afraid to back it up. So much so we've even attached an unconditional lifetime warranty to the scope.
As long as you don't lose it, we'll replace it or fix it, no matter how it was damaged.
That's quite a bold statement for a long-range shooting scope.
If you’re buying your scope at a brick-and-mortar store, you can test the quality by twisting and turning the moving parts to detect glitches.
You can also;
- Dial the scope’s turrets against a 1-inch grid target to confirm movements.
- Lock in the scope on a target and zoom the power ring. Then, check if the reticle departs the point of aim.
While you can only determine a scope’s durability by using it, you tell how robust a unit is by firing 20 to 40 rounds before a deer hunt. The idea is to shake up the rifle scope to see if it’s well put together.
A unit that can handle the initial rounds perfectly is good enough for 5,000+ shots.
10 Other Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Hunting Scope
Durability is one of several things to keep in mind when choosing the best rifle scope.
Other factors key considerations when shopping for a hunting rifle scope include:
A 1 to 6X magnification range is enough for hunting up to 200 yards. You can bring down a game 400 yards away with a 12X scope.
If you’re into long-range hunting, you’ll want to pick a scope with more magnification, at least 15X.
You only need to remember that a 15X magnification makes your target appear fifteen times closer. That way, a deer 1,000 yards would seem like one at 150 yards to your naked eye. Most deer hunters can hit an animal 150 yards away easily.
You can determine a scope’s magnification ranges by looking at the title or specification. The Stealth Vision Scope, for instance, is a 5-30X model.
The second number represents how far the scope can zoom in. The higher the magnification, the longer the distance you can see.
- Scope magnification can be fixed or variable.
Fixed scopes offer single magnification. Variable scopes, on the other hand, allow you to adjust the magnification.
How much magnification do you need? … It all depends on your hunting style and terrain.
A variable scope is ideal for deer hunting from varying ranges. A fixed model allows you to shoot from a specific range.
An objective lens offers a scope’s brightness and clarity. And, the bigger the objective lens, the better.
On the flip side, a big lens may imply;
- More weight
- Scope ring snags
Difficulties in ambushing your target. The bigger the objective lens, the more the sunlight's reflection, making it easy for animals to spot you.
You can tell a scope’s lens size by looking at the title. The Stealth Vision scope sports a 56 mm objective lens.
Which is the ideal objective lens diameter? Again, this depends on your hunting situation and rifle follows:
- Below 28mm: Firearms with little recoil for close-range hunting. These are low-power scopes.
- 30 to 44mm: Firearms with more recoil for low light conditions. These are relatively higher power scopes.
- 50mm and above: Ideal for high magnification in low light for long-range shooting. These are high-end scopes.
3. Lens Coatings
Hunting rifle scopes lens can be:
- Coated: The scope’s surface is covered with a single layer.
- Fully coated: The external glass is covered with one layer.
- Multicoated: The surface is covered with multiple layers.
- Fully multicoated: The external glass is coated in several layers.
The best rifle scopes for hunting are fully coated, so that’s what you should pick.
4. Eye Relief
Eye relief refers to the distance between your eye and the rifle scope’s front lens (ocular lens).
Good rifle scopes for hunting offer 3.5 to 4 inches of eye relief.
Choose a scope with more eye relief if you have a powerful rifle with a “big” kick.
5. First Focal Plane or Second Focal Plane?
The first focal plane reticle increases with magnification.
While this is ideal for longer shots, it blocks your view at shorter distances.
In comparison, a second focal plane reticle maintains the same size even with higher magnification.
Which focal plane should you choose?
The first focal plane works best for long-range tactical shooting with 10x magnification or more. These rifle scopes are great for open shooting situations.
Pick a second focal plane scope for hunting and target shooting with 8x magnification or less. Second focal plane scopes are excellent for busy environments.
6. Minute of Angle (MOA) vs Milliradian (MRAD)
MOA and MRAD are accuracy measurements.
MOA measures 1” for every 100 yards and uses the ‘murica imperial system. MRAD, on the other hand, measures accuracy at 0.36” per 100 yards. It uses the metric measurement system.
Which one should you choose, MOA or MRAD? …you can pick whatever works for you. Most deer hunters prefer MOA, though.
The only thing to remember here is that MOA and MRAD are interchangeable, depending on your preferred measurement system.
There are three reticle options:
- Duplex Reticle: This is the default reticle. It is pretty straightforward to use.
- Mil-Dot Reticle: This allows you to estimate your target’s distance and is used by the military and law enforcers.
- BDC Reticle: This allows you to estimate the bullet drop and is ideal for long shots.
- Illuminated Reticle: These come with a built-in light to help you use your scope in low light conditions such as pre-dawn, rainy or cloudy days.
You want to pick a rifle scope with push button illumination to help you activate this feature quickly.
Which one should you choose? …the one that meets your shooting requirements.
- A duplex reticle is ideal for target shooting and hunting.
- A mil-dot option is excellent for security, law enforcement, and military
- A BDC reticle is great for all-purpose use.
8. Field of View
Field of view refers to how much a scope allows you to see from left to right. The field of view reduces as you zoom your scope.
Field of view is crucial because of a phenomenon known as “tunneling.” You don’t want a rifle scope that tunnels as you increase the magnification.
9. Windage and Elevation Turrets
There are several types of scope turrets, including:
Windage Turrets: These feature a knob that allows you to adjust your rifle scope’s aim from left to right.
- Elevation Turrets: These feature a knob that enables you to adjust your scope’s aim from top to bottom.
- Parallax Adjustment Turrets: This is an extra third knob that removes parallax.
Turrets allow you to zero your scope.
Here’s what you should consider regarding turrets when looking for the best rifle scopes:
- Reliability. You can check this in the reviews or product descriptions.
- The audible “click” sound lets you know when you’ve adjusted your scope. Again, you can find this in the reviews.
- Repeatability, meaning the scope can adjust in an instant.
10. Parallax Adjustment
Parallax can result in blurriness and, by extension, a missed shot.
You can correct parallax through:
- Adjustable Objective (AO)
- Parallax Adjustment Turret knob
Some rifle scopes are factory set to eliminate parallax automatically up to 100 yards.
While the three methods above kill parallax, you can opt for a factory-set scope if you don’t want to do it manually.
Other considerations when looking for the best scope include:
- Warranty: Most scopes offer a limited lifetime warranty. The Stealth Vision Scope carries an unconditional lifetime warranty.
- Reviews: You want a rifle scope with positive feedback and high ratings from previous users.
- Price: The cheapest rifle scopes aren’t necessarily the best, and vice versa. You want to check the scope features and technology to ensure you’re getting value for your money.
The Bottom Line
When looking for the best hunting scope, start by analyzing your needs.
You want a scope that can deliver excellent performance for your shooting range and terrain.
That said, you can pinpoint a quality scope capable of handling your needs by ensuring the model you choose meets the 11 points highlighted above.
Over to you!
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