Rifle Scope Specifications: Understanding the Numbers on Your Scope - NSSF Let's Go Shooting

Rifle Scope Specifications: Understanding the Numbers on Your Scope

When it comes to purchasing a rifle scope, there are a lot of factors to consider. One of the most important is the scope’s specifications, which are typically represented by a series of numbers. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what these numbers mean and how they can impact your shooting experience.

In this video, Former Army Ranger sniper team leader and author of the Long-Range Shooting Handbook, Ryan Cleckner, discusses scope specifications.

Adjustable Magnification

The first range of numbers you’ll see on a scope represents its adjustable magnification. For example, a scope with a range of 3-9x means that it can be adjusted to magnify the target anywhere from 3 times its actual size up to 9 times its actual size. Similarly, a scope with a range of 5-25x means that it can be adjusted to magnify the target anywhere from 5 times its actual size up to 25 times its actual size.

Having an adjustable magnification can be incredibly beneficial when shooting at different distances. For example, when shooting at close range, a lower magnification can give you a wider field of view, making it easier to quickly acquire and track your target. On the other hand, when shooting at longer distances, a higher magnification can help you see the target more clearly and make more precise shots.

Objective Lens Size

The second number in a scope’s specifications refers to the size of its objective lens in millimeters. This lens is located at the front of the scope and is responsible for gathering light and transmitting it to your eye. A larger objective lens can potentially allow more light into the scope, making it easier to see in low light conditions.

However, it’s important to note that a larger objective lens doesn’t always mean better performance. In fact, a larger lens can sometimes result in a heavier and more cumbersome scope, as well as a higher price tag. Additionally, the quality of the lens coatings and the overall construction of the scope can also impact its light-gathering ability.

When shopping for a rifle scope, it’s important to pay close attention to its specifications. Understanding the numbers on your scope can help you choose one that is well-suited to your shooting needs and preferences. The adjustable magnification range and objective lens size are two of the most important factors to consider, but it’s also important to consider other factors, such as the quality of the glass, the construction of the scope, and any additional features or functions that may be important to you. By doing your research and carefully evaluating your options, you can find a rifle scope that will help you shoot with accuracy and confidence.

More Resources

To utilize a rifle scope to its full potential, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of its components and how to use them. If you would like more background read this article that labels explain the parts of a rifle scope.

Learn more about rifle scopes from GunUniversity.com here.


Scope Ring Finder Tool

Find the perfect combination of rings, bases, and lens caps for your scope and rifle using the Gun University Scope Ring Finder.


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