How To Select The Ideal Hunting Scope

Hard. enduring. dependable. That’s what a hunting scope should have.

A riflescope is actually simply a front sight, even with the latest technology available, such as HD glass, lighted reticles, ballistic reticles, dial turrets, parallax adjustment dials, and 8X zoom ranges. Even though it is exalted, its primary function is still very straightforward: continuously aiming the barrel where the bullets are fired. If it cannot hold zero, even the world’s brightest and most powerful scope is worthless. Therefore, the most important thing to consider when choosing a hunting scope is durability.

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Determining a Hunting Scope’s Durability

Naturally, when you’re working with a complex mechanical device that is packed with glass, the phrase “durability” is relative. On most rifles, scopes continue to be the weakest component despite their strong construction. The scope is most likely the item that will break or malfunction during any hunt. Because of this, whenever I go on a hunt that takes me far from home, I always bring a backup scope that is already mounted in Leupold or Talley quick-detach rings, zeroed to my rifle and loaded. A sturdy scope will suffice as this backup; it doesn’t have to be an expensive one. According to Leupold’s engineers, their entry-level scopes are just as reliable at holding zero as their more costly counterparts, and they are equally tough and resilient. I like that level of certainty in a backup scope. I’ve successfully tested this over the years by unintentional testing, dropping, banging, and hitting Leupold scopes in everything from African deserts to Arctic highlands. There has never been a failure. I’ve given them enough blows to make them invisible, even dents in them, yet they immediately resumed their functions after being re-zeroed.

Other brands must be this tough. Simply said, my experience with them has been limited. If so, adhere to the scope or brand that you support. Shopping for durability is difficult. How can you tell it apart? Warranties and assurances from the manufacturer are a useful clue. It’s implied that the manufacturer doesn’t believe too many of its scopes will break by lifetime warranties, the sort that state a firm will repair or replace a scope for any reason. This suggests they are the most resilient, but it doesn’t prove it.

Turn and twist each movable component of a new scope to check for any rough places or malfunctions. Check motions of turrets by dialing them against a one-inch grid target. When you lock the scope onto a target and zoom the power ring, keep an eye out to see whether the reticle drifts off target. You may obtain an early confirmation of a sturdy construction by firing at least 20 rounds through your rifle with your new scope fitted. However, true durability testing takes usage and wear. Better would be forty. Usually, that’s sufficient to loosen anything that wasn’t securely fastened. The instrument is probably good for 4,000 rounds if it functions well for 40.

What Level of Magnification?

Avoid succumbing to excessive scope power. For hunting in the forests, hazardous game, and distances up to 200 yards, a 1-4X or 1.5-6X is suitable. A 3-9X or 4-12X will usually be sufficient for most all-around hunting to around 400 yards; but, you may prefer anything up to 18X or 20X. Excessive magnification can be problematic up close and an uncommon speciality over long range. Just keep in mind that targets seem ten times closer when using 10X power, thus to the unaided eye, a deer at 500 yards would appear to be at 50 yards. At 50 yards, the majority of us can strike a deer with open sights!

The Items in Your Hunting Scope You Might Not Need

Large objective lenses and big main tubes are usually unnecessary features for a general purpose hunting scope. Although a bigger main tube gives greater area for turret adjustments, it does not boost brightness. Your rig will be lighter and smaller with a 1-inch main tube if you’re not shooting long-range shots. Although the scope can see more light thanks to the 50mm to 56mm objectives, you might not need them. Nowadays, the majority of light entering high-quality, completely multi-coated scopes is transmitted, with even a 40mm objective producing a 5mm Exit Pupil at 8X magnification. That’s more than enough light to see a black reticle against the hide of an elk, black bear, or even mule deer far into the evening, at least 30 minutes after sunset. In several states, shooting hours cease 30 minutes after dusk. The exit pupil in the eyepiece is calculated by dividing the objective lens diameter by the magnification. You are absorbing all the light available to you if this is the same as or more than your own pupil’s dilatation. You can’t utilize an exit pupil so big or greater for more than maybe an hour a day because the human pupil expands to more than 5mm long after dark. A 6mm to 7mm exit pupil is squandered since many students lose the capacity to open their eyes wider than 5mm at the age of 50 or so. How come you tolerate the too ambitious goal? By reducing power, you may always increase exit pupil size and, consequently, image brightness. 5mm EP with a 50mm objective at 10X. 6.25mm EP with a 50mm objective at 8X. Exit pupil expands to 8.3mm as you dial down to 6X!

Turrets or Ballistic Reticles?

You can use ballistic or turret dialing reticles, although with most current bottlenecked cartridges, none of them are needed for shots inside around 300 yards. You may do better with a basic duplex reticle and Point-Blank-Range seeing method, unless you are really fast and skilled with an intricate scope. For far over 90% of your photos, this will be more than plenty.

Make sure you practice using a laser rangefinder with a BDC reticle or turret dialing if you must or wish to shoot long range. A great deal. When a huge buck or bull shows up, most hunters get so excited—even scared—that they’re lucky if they remember how to turn on the safety switch, calculate drop, estimate wind drift, correct for it, adjust the dials, or choose the appropriate sub-reticle. You’ll have more chances to make mistakes the more intricate your scope is. Train till you can run it while half asleep if you obtain one this advanced. Bringing brand-new, high-tech scopes and magnum guns to a remote hunting site is likely the most typical error that hunters make. The animals like it, but you’ll cry from all those missed opportunities. You should choose a sight system that can handle frequent 300- to 600-yard shots if you are certain that you will have to take them. Just be aware that 300 yards is the typical range for game shots. Avoid becoming overly fixated on intricate sighting systems, which might cause you to fumble aimlessly when you should be focusing on your shot.

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