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Rifle Scopes Selection Criteria

When selecting a rifle scope it is extremely important to establish clearly what the scope is intended for. Rifle scopes are very application specific. Buying the wrong rifle scope can result in the marksman not achieving the desired results and possibly blaming the manufacturer for that.

The following criteria are significant in the selection process of riflescopes:

1. Solid, quality structure.
2. Correct weight – Not too heavy if intended for walk-and-stalk hunting.
3. Solid adjustment control knobs with solid and positive click adjustment.
4. Solid and smooth focusing ring – Not to adjust too easily without intention, but with a smooth movement for fine and accurate adjustment.
5. Suitable size for holding and carrying, especially for walk-and-stalk hunting.
6. Resistant to the recoil induced by the specific type or caliber intended for.
7. Water proof for use around waters.
8. Purged, sealed and filled with a dry inert gas which contains no water vapour and prevent any condensing on the inside, especially when used in high humidity conditions below dewpoint temperature.
9. The turrets should be suitable for the application. For general hunting conditions low, capped turrets are suited since they cannot adjust by accident. For ambush hunting, open ballistic turrets can be very useful. For range shooting high, side marked capped or uncapped turrets are suitable. For tactical applications, high side-marked open turrets are preferred.

1. Correct type reticle with suitable thickness for the application. Some reticles (like Zeiss 4, 6, Z-Plex etc.) are very simple, with the advantage of minimal target coverage. Ballistic reticles (like Swarovski BRH/BRX and Zeiss Rapid-Z7) can be used in conjunction with computer programs and practical setting in, for windage and different distance or load holdover points. Mil-dots or target-specific range finding reticles can be used with great success to estimate the distance to targets.
2. Reticle in suitable focal plane. For night hunting and range finding, FFP (first focal plane) reticles are often used. This is due to the reticle enlarging with increased magnification and the relation between the reticle size and target size always remain constant. For plains hunting and range shooting, an SFP (second focal plane) reticle is often used, due to the minimal target coverage. A second focal plane reticle does not enlarge with increased magnification.
3. Illuminated reticles can make target acquisition easier and faster, especially during twilight and night, or when the target and/or background is of a dark colour. It is important that the intensity of the reticle is adjusted not to create a glowing effect around the reticle. In dark ambient conditions the intensity of the reticle should be adjusted lower than in daylight conditions.
4. A suitable objective size. For daylight shooting, the objective size is not significant, apart from the fact that smaller objectives have the advantage of lower mounting heights. For twilight or night shooting, the objective should be as large as possible. 56 mm Objectives are very suitable to night shooting. The relation between objective size and magnification is important. A 56 mm objective used with 8x magnification would give an exit pupil of 7 mm, which is the average size of a human eye pupil in dark conditions. The exit pupil must be the size of an eye pupil or larger for optimum low light performance.
5. Efficient Focusing – Focusing must be swift and consistent.
6. Magnification and Field of View (indirectly proportional to each other) – For short distance hunting like in the bush or mountains, low magnification and large field of view are required. For long distance shooting like on the range and for plains hunting, high magnification is required with field of view not a significant factor.
7. Comfortable eye relief, especially for eye glass wearers. This is specifically important for scopes used on handguns and rifles inducing intense recoil.
8. Accuracy and repeatability of adjustment.
9. High quality glass for bright, high contrast images and maximum light transmission.
10. Sufficient anti-reflective lens coatings for maximum light transmittance.
11. Suitable click value. For most hunting applications, a 1/4 MOA click value or similar is suitable. For range and tactical applications, a click value of 1/8 MOA or similar is often preferred.

Trusting that the above guidelines would assist in selecting a suitable rifle scope.

Optics International would gladly assist clients with further information.







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