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Getting the Perfect Scope for Your Gun

Date Added: November 17, 2010 09:47:24 PM
Author: Donna Keyes
Category: Recreation & Sports: Outdoors

How do you know if you are getting the best scope for your gun? There are several factors to consider in making that decision. The first of which would be, what magnification and objective lens size is needed? Magnification would be decided by the average distance of shots placed. For those who use the scope for muzzle loaders or shotguns, large magnification above 7 to 9X are rarely practical. Most shots are placed at fairly close range, making 3 to 4X most comfortable. Larger magnification limits the field of view. Varmint hunting often requires high magnification to make accurate shots at long range. Many competition shooters enjoy the benefits of extreme magnification for placing accurate and award winning shots. Most hunting in our Midwest area is done in tight quarters, limiting the effectiveness of extreme magnification scopes. Heavy underbrush or hills make for shots that don’t exceed 200 to 300 yards, for which the average 3 to 9X scope would be sufficient. Objective lens size in millimeters determines the amount of light allowed to enter the scope. A 33mm objective lens will not allow as much light as a 50mm lens. The 50mm lens will make objects appear brighter and clearer. The magnification and objective lens size are both pertinent to the range of shots made. Secondly, conditions dictate the level of quality in optics and coating. Shots placed in low light conditions need a lens that will bring in as much light as possible. Any time light goes through a lens, light transmission is reduced, so the larger the lens the more available light. A lens coating that reduces reflected light and instead allows it to enter the scope is good. Higher magnification scopes have more lenses and transmit less light. Zoom scopes have more lenses and transmit even less light. A high quality scope will exceed 90% light transmission. A high magnification Zoom scope will be more expensive than some, but have qualities that will keep it from failing at the worst moment. There are several levels of coating. Coated: single coating on at least one lens surface. Fully Coated: single coating on all air to glass surfaces. Multi Coated: more than one layer on a least one lens surface. Fully Multi coated: multiple layers on all air to glass surfaces. Although one pays more for properly coated quality optics, the benefits are apparent if shooting in low light conditions. Another consideration is the reticle and how it is adjusted. For scopes that are to be zeroed and left alone, many adjustment turrets have a coin slot. As the scopes are made more adjustable for wind, bullet weight, range, etc., these adjustments may have to be made in the field. Finger adjustable turrets become quite nice at that point. The choice of reticle configuration is mostly personal choice but the durability isn’t negotiable. To be assured of repeatable adjustments it is worth paying for a quality scope from a reputable manufacturer. Many cheap scopes have cheapened reticle attachments. The crushing recoil of today’s heavy rifles or muzzle loaders will, after a few shots, change the adjustment or break at the worst moment, such as when shooting at the trophy buck of a lifetime. In conclusion, there are many factors to consider to ensure the purchase of the correct scope for your gun. They all come back to how you are going to use the gun. The style and size of the gun determine mounting options. The experience of the hunter gives a place to start on the magnification. Imagine an inexperienced hunter trying to hold a high magnification scope steady at long range; nearly impossible unless the gun is sandbagged or on a gun rest. So for ease of use, a lower magnification scope is the simplest to start with. The range of the shots to be made also determines the magnification needed. Most of the scopes in the range of 3 to 4X would be sufficient to comfortably see and hit the target. Some of the competitive shooting done on gun rests and sand bags, by experienced shooters, may require more extreme magnification. Paying the price for quality lenses, coatings, reticle adjustments and sturdiness is well worth the investment if hunting under any adverse conditions. As always, the scope should be absolutely guaranteed for life and waterproof. There are many choices out there for scopes, and when that trophy is on the wall, the few extra dollars paid for quality will seem well worth it in hindsight. Happy shooting! Bruce Keyes is an enthusiastic and successful hunter in the Midwest United States. His quest for quality optics at affordable prices led to www.opticsheaven.com. Visit www.opticsheaven.com so that you too may enjoy the outdoors without breaking your budget.
 
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