How Do I Choose the Best Rifle Scope Power?

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  • Written By: Christian Petersen
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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Rifle scope power refers to the amount of magnification provided by a particular scope. Choosing the best rifle scope power is a matter of determining what type of shooting you plan to do with the combination of weapon and scope. You must take into account the type of target and the distance at which you will be shooting. You may also want to take into account the caliber of the weapon, although this is not as important.

The main consideration in choosing the best rifle scope power is distance to the potential target. This is extremely important, as using a scope with a very high magnification on a target at a range of under 100 yards (90 meters) can result in very narrow field of view. It can be difficult or impossible, under these conditions, to find the target or distinguish a shot location on large game such as whitetail deer.


The type of terrain where you will be shooting will also affect your decision. In many wooded areas where whitetail deer are hunted, most shots are taken at ranges of 100 yards (90 meters) or less. In these conditions, a magnification range of 3x to 9x is more than sufficient. In more open areas, where game may be hunted at a range of up to several hundred yards, a scope with an upper magnification limit of up to 12x or 14x may be desirable. For extreme long range shooting, or for hunting small game at longer ranges, you may want a scope with an upper magnification limit of as much as 25x.

Many rifle scopes are adjustable, and this gives the hunter greater flexibility in sighting targets. Targets at closer ranges are well suited to lower magnifications and targets at higher ranges can be effectively sighted with the upper magnifications. Some shooters, however, prefer simple fixed power scopes, such as a 4x rifle scope, an all-purpose scope that is good for most shooting and hunting under a variety of conditions.

Target shooters often prefer a higher rifle scope power for a given range than a hunter. This is because the targets are small and the field of view does not need to be as large as that needed by a hunter. Hunters need to be able to see the entire animal in their field of view to execute an effective shot, while a target shooter needs a very narrow field of view in order to make a very precise shot on a small target.


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Post 4

@georgesplane- As you get into your shooting and learn what your gun is capable of, you will find the right scope for you. You will also need to take into account the type of scope mounts you are using, especially when you get into long-range shooting and take into account things like windage and bullet drop.

Read some of the discussion boards on the web. You have a popular gun and there are quite a few people who can recommend a good tactical rifle scope for your gun that does not break the bank. If you already spent $1500, what is another $300 for a good scope?

Post 3

@georgesplane- If you are going to be working on target shooting within a certain distance range, you might want to consider a fixed power rifle scope. This type of scope has a set magnification so it has no moving parts and is cheaper. You can buy a good fixed power scope for a fraction of the cost of a mediocre variable power scope. This will allow you to work on your target shooting and give you time to save money to buy a good scope. Honestly, your rifle is only as good as its optics. You are better off buying a good fixed scope and working your way into a variable scope later.

Post 2

@georgesplane- For your rifle you are going to want a high-powered variable rifle scope. This will allow you to change magnification based on the distance you are shooting. The type of scope you buy will depend largely on the distance you are shooting and what you are shooting. Your rifle has an effective range of at least 1200 yards so if you want to maximize your range, you might want to consider something like a 4-25x56mm.

The first two numbers on a variable scope are the magnification range of the rifle. You will be able to magnify the object in the reticule from 4 to 25 times what it would be when viewed with the naked eye. To be honest

, you will probably send quite a bit on a good scope if you are trying to put lead far down range. You will need a scope with good optics so the resolution down range will be adequate. The resolution is determined by the amount of light a scope lets through, so the more light, the clearer the image.

If you are target or competition shooting, you will also want to consider things like field of view (for moving targets) and parallax error. Parallax error has to do with the lining up of the reticule with the target at high-power/long-distance. You will have a learning curve so ask your friend and read up on your scope technology.

Post 1

I have been searching online for a good sniper scope on sale, but I do not know what to look for. I need a good rifle scope power explanation so I know what to get. I just bought a Remington 700 tactical chambered in a .338 Lapua. My friend shots for competition, and I thought shooting would be a good hobby to get into. I was told that the 700 was a good entry-level rifle into the long-range sniping category, but now I need a good scope. The gun cost me about $1500 in near new condition, so I do not have much money to put into a scope right now. I just need something that will get me started until I can afford something else.

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