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How To Choose a Rifle Scope: Part 2

We continue our lesson on how to choose a rifle scope by looking at magnification and field of view.

Part 1 of How to Choose a Rifle Scope can be found here.

So, now that we know that rifle scopes come in different types and we have defined the different parts of a rifle scope, let’s examine which type of scope is best suited for what type of hunting.

For instance, if you are hunting in a heavily forested region with low light conditions or dense undergrowth such as that found in the southern Appalachian Mountains, then most often, a quick handling rifle such as a lever action .30-.30 is preferred because shots are frequently taken quickly and at close range.

Therefore, an appropriate type of scope for this type of hunting would be a scope with a wide angle of view and a low power of magnification such as 1.5X so that you can pick up your intended target quickly in the scope.

On the other hand, if you were instead hunting the open agricultural fields of the midwest or the open ranges of the west, then you would more likely want a variable power scope with a magnification range of 3X to 9X or even 12X.

However, it is also important to understand that the greater the magnification a rifle scope has, the narrower the field of view it has and thus, the less light it collects. In turn, less light leads to a less clear image.

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That means rifle scopes with a very high power of magnification will also have a very large Windage Bell with a large Objective Lens to allow them to collect sufficient light.

In fact, the field of view of a rifle scope (and therefore its ability to collect light) is directly dependent on the size of the Objective Lens vs. the power of magnification and thus, increasing the magnification of a rifle scope decreases the size of the Exit Pupil (aperture). This allows less light to be transmitted through the scope.

Consequently, rifle scopes with a high power of magnification will also have very large Windage Bells and accompanying Ocular Lenses. However, large Windage Bells also require very tall scope mounts and thus, some shooters don’t like them.

The last part of our How To Choose a Rifle Scope will be published on WideOpenSpaces.com soon.

How To Choose a Rifle Scope: Part 2