Choosing a Scope for your firearm. – Outtheresouthernadventures

Choosing a Scope for your firearm.

So, let's say you've brought a rifle  and now you need to get a scope for the rifle.

Once again it comes down to money and as a rule the more money you spend on a scope the better quality. You should buy as good a quality scope as you can. Often experienced shooters will say spend more money on your scope than the cost of your rifle. Buy a scope that has a good guarantee, some have lifetime guarantees, buy one of them because accidents happen and in ten years time out on the hill you slip over and brake your scope, no worries as it has a lifetime guarantee. Worth spending that extra dollars on that scope. 

There are lots of different scopes on the market, look at Leupold as an option, there are others that have good warranties, my choice would be one of them. Now Choosing a scope for the average hunter that just wants a good quality scope is not that tough. However as you start to look into buying a scope you will find there are lots of things to think about, manufacturer, guarantee,  different powers, tube sizes, reticles, turrets, non-illuminated and illuminated reticles, first and second focal plane scopes, weight, optical clarity and more, you can go down the proverbial rabbit hole. You would never have thought it was so complicated.

A good quality scope with warrantee could last you a lifetime,

Buying your first scope, and this depends what you are going to use it for, rabbit shooting or big game and the type of firearm you are going to put it on. You could look at spending anywhere from $500 up to around $1200-ish. However if you are loaded buy top end from around that $2500 to $3k-ish (maybe more). Remember look at that scope that has a good guarantee, it's worth paying a bit more. If there is a specific scope you are after, save your money till you can afford that scope, it will be worth it.


,Scopes come in either fixed power, say 4x or 6x, (or more)  effectively it's 4 or 6 times optically what you can see. Your eyes are 1x optical so a 4x optical scope would just be 4 times greater than what you can see. Or scopes come in a vari-power, say 3x9 or 3x12 (or more) this means they start at 3x optical but you can adjust the power up to 9x optical. Having this ability means in the bush you can have a low power setting, at 3x which allows for a wide field of view but in the open tussocks you might see a animal a bit further away you can zoom in if you like by turning up the zoom to 9x. A vari-power scope is the better option of choice for hunting than the fixed power. If I was going to advise on a vari-power scope I'd say as a starting point buy a 3x9 or 3x12 power scope.

The Swarovski Z5i, vari-power scope, from 3 x 18 power. 

You will also find there are two different types of scope recticle options when using the zoom which determines what the reticle looks like ( the reticle is the cross hairs)  as you look through the scope, one is called first focal plane the other second focal plane.  The difference is with first focal plane as you zoom in say from 3x up to 9x the reticle will get larger or thicker. With second focal plane scope as you zoom in from 3x to 9x the reticle stays the same size which might be a fine cross hair, as you zoom in it stays the same size. Again my choice is second focal plane as I don't like the cross hairs getting thicker as you increase the power or zoom in as would happen with a first focal plane scope. At longer distances the thicker cross hairs can obscure the target and make for a more precise shot harder.



A great photo of first and second focal plane scopes. 

As with the reticle, there are lots of different types, ideally stick to a basic, simple cross hair or duplex. Make things as easy as you can. If you buy one that has lots of lines or hash marks all they'll do is confuse you. You will also find there are turrets on the top and side of your scope for sighting in the scope to the rifle, just buy simple normal adjustable screw on caps that you remove to adjust the scope when sighting in the rifle. At this stage don't buy fancy adjustable target turrets as again in this early stage in your hunting career they are just not needed. Fancy adjustable reticles are great on scopes that allow you to quickly adjust for bullet drop at distances by a quick adjustment. However, again not needed in these early days of your hunting career.

A simple duplex reticle like this is perfect for the new shooter. 

You will also find 'dot' scopes, generally they are illuminated, ideal for really close shooting most are fixed 3 or 4 power ( you can get magnifiers to increase their power). Some higher quality ones do have vari-power. Again quite specialized uses and not really something a new hunter needs at this stage in their hunting career.  

You will need to buy a set of rings or scope mounts to attach the scope to your rifle. Buy good quality steel rings, spend abit  extra they are worth it. Don't buy cheaper alloy rings as they will fail over time, loosen with the shots or recoil and one day your scope will just fall off your rifle. Hunting is now over for the day. Good quality steel rings are another good investment.

As a rule when you purchase your rifle, scope and rings most good stores will mount the scope for you and some use a device called a collimator which is inserted into the end of the barrel and when you look through your scope you can adjust your cross hairs to a small screen you can see through to the scope and this gives you a pretty good chance you will be on target at the range. They generally work pretty good. The alternative is that you mount the scope and rings yourself then when you're happy with its position you go put a few shots through you rifle onto a target and adjust accordingly.

As I've said above, there are a huge array of types of scopes and manufacturers, some better than others. Don't rush in and buy just anything, do your homework and look into what you want and what's in your price range and what you are going to use it for. Go to the local gun shop and look through them, ask your mates what they use and why they chose that one over others.

My Swarovski Z5i, a great scope in my opinion, but do your homework and look around when looking for the scope for your firearm. 

As mentioned you can spend big bucks on scopes that can do all sorts of things. Generally technical scopes are used by those that are experienced in their use. Like alot of things I've spoken about, as a new shooter, keep it simple, buy good quality and ideally something with a good warrantee. I've got a scope that could let me shoot out to 6-800m but I spot an animal, I stalk closer and the closer  you are the bigger the target the less likely you are to miss.


 I use a very high quality Swarovski Z5i scope that has great optical clarity, very simple reticle and is set up to shoot 2 inches high at 100m, it is spot on at 200m and is about 6 inches low at 300m. A simple set up that allows me to easily shoot quickly and accurately out to 300m. This set up is a good way for new hunters to set up their firearms bullet impact out to 300m for simple shooting. Once you start getting out past 300m things can start to get tricky for the new hunter. Get closer.