Rifle Scopes Reviews By Expert Hunters – 2015
So, you’ve decided it’s time to get a new scope for your rifle, huh? Before you pull the trigger on that purchase (pun definitely intended), you should make sure you do some research to help you pick out the best scope for your money. That’s what we are here for: doing that research for you, and letting you know what’s hot and what’s not. This page will explain what we’ve looked for in determining whether or not a riflescope is worth your hard-earned money.
First off, here is a list of all the rifle scope reviews we’ve published on our website. Next, we’ll go over the details of what you can expect when going over one of our reviews.
The Scope’s Dimensions
The first thing we’ll tell you are the dimensions of the scope. Why is this important? Well, you will want to know how hefty and heavy the scope is, so you can determine how much added weight you’ll be handling when you take aim. It’s also important to note the length and diameter of the scope, for those rifles with low rails–you might find yourself needed a high profile set of rings, and we will let you know if there is a chance of that. For example, the Sniper 4–16x50mm riflescope is more than 18.5 inches long and has a 50mm lens. We found that this scope almost always required a set of medium- or high-profile rings to keep the objective lens from rubbing against the barrel of the gun.
How Powerful Is the Scope?
Next, we look at how powerful the scope is in terms of magnification. It’s obvious why this is important, but we look at more than just the raw magnification of the scope. We also look at how clear and crisp the view is at maximum magnification, simply because there is little point in having a rabbit magnified to 16X if you can’t make out where the little critter’s body parts are because the picture is too blurry. The Leupold VX-I is an example of a scope with stunning magnification so crisp and clear that the target image looks like it is barely feet away, instead of hundreds of yards out.
Quality of the Optics
In the next section of our review, we’ll take a look at the quality of the optics. It is crucial that you know how much time and energy has gone into the manufacture and preparation of the optics, but there are a few terms to know about this topic.
- Fully multi-coated optics have all air-to-glass surfaces treated with multiple layers of a special coating that reduces glare and reflection while improving the light transmission capabilities of the optics.
- Multi-coated optics have at least one surface, but not all air-to-glass surfaces, treated with multiple layers of the special coating.
- Fully coated optics have all air-to-glass surfaces treated with a single layer of anti-glare and anti-reflection coating.
Why does this matter? The fully multi-coated optics are going to provide much better light transmission and clarity of image. Most riflescopes feature at least multi-coated optics, but it is important to know if all of the air-to-glass surfaces are coated for maximum clarity and quality. Our top 5 list, however, all feature fully multi-coated optics for the best possible optics quality.
The other thing to look for is a nitrogen-charged barrel. This is important because if the barrel is not nitrogen-charged (or nitrogen-filled, nitrogen-purged, or any of half a dozen other ways of using the word nitrogen), the scope will be liable to fogging up. Occasionally, we’ll come across a scope that takes another path to the same effect: Leupold, for example, uses their own proprietary blend of argon and krypton gas in the barrel of the VX-I, with the same intended effect of making the scope fogproof.
In this section, we will also look at the reticle design, and how well the reticle performs at the range and in hunting situations. Unfortunately, not all reticles are made equally, and some scopes have reticle lines that are so wide they cover too much of your target for pinpoint accuracy from 100 yards or more. This is the case, for example, with the Sniper 4×32 Compact Riflescope; the reticle line is about 10 MOA thick, so it covers as much as 10 inches of your target from a hundred yards.
Light Gathering Capability
Next, we look at how well the scope gathers light. We will look into the fine details of how well the scope works during low-light conditions, and examine any illuminated reticles to ensure that they are bright enough to be effective without being too bright. We will also look for any other special features that might improve the light transmission of the scope, such as Leupold’s blackened lens edges to help reduce unwanted glare and diffusion through the lens edges.
Field of View
It is also important to know how wide your field of view will be. After all, if you are planning on using your scope to track and lead moving targets, you want a generous field of view. We closely examine the specifications of the scope, and report the field of view at the lowest magnification as well as the highest magnification, so you can make a judgement about whether or not the scope will have a wide enough field of view for your intended uses.
Ease of Mounting and Tips and Tricks for Mounting
Next up, we will take a look at how easy the scope is to mount. If the scope comes with rings, we’ll tell you how good those rings are (or aren’t). Most of the scopes we come across don’t come with rings, but a few come with rings that should be thrown straight into the garbage! This is the case with the FSI Sniper 6–24x50mm riflescope, because the rings won’t stay tightened and are too small for most rifles.
Ease of Sighting In
Now we move into the real nitty gritty – actually getting ready to use the scope. If a scope is easy to sight in, and holds zero well, that scope is going to fare much better in our eyes than a scope that is difficult to sight in. We will let you know the tips and tricks required to sight in trickier scopes, like the FSI Sniper 6×24–50 riflescope’s reverse-marked directional markings. If the scope won’t stay sighted in, we will tell you that (and you’ll likely see the scope gets a really bad rating from us).
Finally, we will look at how durable the scope is. Whenever possible, we’ll tell you what material the chassis is made out of, and we will let you know if we have tested that scope on a large-caliber weapon like a .50 BMG. We will also reiterate whether the scope’s lenses are O-ring sealed (for waterproofing), and whether the scope is fogproof and shockproof. This section will tell you whether or not the scope can withstand the rigors of hunting and transport, so it’s not to be overlooked.
When all is said and done, we’ll wrap up our review with a summary. In this section, we will highlight our favorite and least favorite features of the scope, and we will let you know whether or not we recommend that scope for your own personal use.