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Down Range: Shooting Tips and Events

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Let’s review the difference of price and types of rifle scopes. When speaking of typical hunting scopes, I am often asked what is the main difference between the $75 - $1,200 varieties? 

Some consumers will argue there is no difference. They just want to get a premium price for a name brand! I beg to differ. 

First, I would start out by asking what kind of firearm and types of situations you are intending to use the rifle scope for? Rifle Scopes start out in several general categories: rim-fire (.22 calibers), high power (center-fire), shotgun, or muzzle loading. You need the correct scope for the firearm of your choice. 

Why? Apart from the glass optics, the internal parts of a scope can consist of plastic, aluminum, steel, or a combination of several different materials. 

For example: the majority of .22 caliber scope manufacturers use a lot of plastic adjustment parts that won’t stand up to the recoil of center-fire rifle and break internally.

Now let’s talk about your situation and the questions needs to be addressed. If you are a sportsman that sights in your rifle with a few rounds and takes a shot or two once a year during hunting season, the structural integrity may not be an issue compared to a weekly target shooter putting hundreds of rounds down range.

If you normally shoot at a distance less than 150 yards and don’t make any scope adjustments after initially zeroing in, then you might need some of the more advanced scope features. 

If you need the capability to adjust for elevation and windage, the lower end price scopes have a reputation to not maintain adjustment accuracy due to poorly built mechanical moving parts that are constructed with inferior materials. 

Most scopes come with a 1 inch or 30 mm tube. This is the section that contains the turrets (the moving parts) that adjust for elevation and windage. 

Professional rifle scopes manufactured for the military use 30 mm tubes because it is easier to build more durable components in a larger space. Hunting scopes commonly come with a cross-hair type of reticule. This is sufficient for hunters shooting at large game at distances less than 300 yards. 

Now if you are shooting at smaller targets and want to use your scope to estimate distance, a mil-dot type of reticule is needed. 

In most cases if you use a fixed sight rifle scope the parallax adjustment is set by the manufacture and won’t have a parallax turret knob. Where very precise accurate shots are required at a small target at a distance more than 100 yards, a scope with a parallax adjustment is a must.

Rifle Scopes with adjustable magnification are a nice option, but the larger the magnification the shooter will notice his ability to hold the rifle steady is also magnified in the sight picture. 

It has been known military marksman use the high power magnification at times to spot a target and then adjust down to a 6-10 power to take the shoot.

Last is the optical glass itself, the quality, coating, clarity. The difference, if you take a high quality and average quality rifle scope and observe a deer at a distance in low visibility at dusk, you will be able to see that the buck has a rack through the average scope and you can count the points on the rack with the higher quality scope’ Now with all this said, a scope will not help you shoot like a pro without the knowledge, ability, and skill of a good shooter to begin with. 

White-Feather is Director of the U.S. Small Arms Training School, www.ussmallarms.com, and a currant Police Officer / Trainer for the Sovereign Cherokee Nation of Tejas.

For comments, suggestions for Articles, email: whitefeather@elliscountypress.com.


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