Hot news

All Purpose, Brands, Budget Reviews


best rifle scope

Riflescopes are a complicated topic. Modern optics come in every size, shape, and function imaginable. The good news is there is a highly specialized rifle scope out there that is perfect for your weapon and shooting application. The bad news is you’ll have to wade through literally thousands of models to find it.

While there are a ton of internet articles and reviews claiming to help you find the best rifle scope, this one is different. We actually have hands-on experience and in-depth knowledge to help you navigate the minefield.

We’re going to cover a bunch of information, but by the end of this article, you’ll know what type of optic you need. Plus, we’ll show you specific models that will work for your shooting application without putting a major strain on your bank account.


Best Rifle Scope 2020 Review

Part 1 – Rifle Scope 101 – How to Choose a Rifle Scope?

We aren’t going to waste time convincing you that you need a riflescope. It’s no secret that a scope will make you a better shooter. That’s why most gun owners run some sort of optic on their rifles.

Knowing you need a scope and knowing what to look for are two different things. With thousands of options out there, knowing where to start may seem impossible. Plus, the world of optics comes with its own language, rife with acronyms and confusing technical terminology.

Although it may feel overwhelming at first, you really don’t need a PhD to choose the right riflescope. A little bit of knowledge should be enough to carry you through the process. After all, you’re buying a scope, not designing one.

This article isn’t intended to make you an expert. Instead, we’re going to walk you through the most important info, explain some of the jargon in layman’s terms, and empower you to find an awesome optic.

Things to Know Before Buying a Rifle Scope

If you don’t want scope reviews and descriptions to sound like they’re written in a foreign language, you need at least a basic understanding of scope terms. Here is some of the most important scope terminology.


When you first look at a scope’s technical specs, you’ll see what resembles a complicated math problem. Don’t be intimidated by the numbers. Once you understand what they mean, choosing a quality scope becomes a whole lot easier.

The first one or two numbers in the specs indicate the scope’s magnification. These are the numbers that precede the X on the label. If you are looking through a 4x scope, the image will appear 4 times larger than what you see with the naked eye.

If you’re looking at a fixed power scope, there will be a single number before the X. 

If the label has two numbers with a dash between them, the scope is a variable power optic. This means you can adjust the magnification or “zoom in” on the target. A 3-9x scope magnifies 3 times at its lowest setting, and 9 times at full magnification.

While some shooters may think massive magnification makes a better scope, bigger isn’t always better. Higher magnification comes at a price. The Field of View (FOV) narrows as the image is magnified. This can be a major hindrance for hunters or tactical shooters who need to find and follow moving targets.

Objective Lens

The number that follows the X in the technical specs indicates the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters. For example, a scope with the numbers 4×40 has 4 times magnification and an objective lens that measures 40 millimeters across at its widest point.

The objective lens is the glass at the front of the scope (the end that points toward the target).

Just like the objective lenses on binoculars, a scope’s objective lens gathers and focuses light to produce the image you see when you look through the scope. Usually, the objective lens is larger than the rest of the scope, especially on optics with powerful magnification.

Just like large windows help light a room, a large objective lens lights up the image you see when you look through the scope. Generally speaking, the larger the objective lens, the brighter the viewed image, especially in low light conditions.

However, a large objective lens can sometimes be a hindrance. A scope with a large objective lens will be heavy and bulky. Neither are qualities you want in an optic used to clear rooms or engage close range targets.

A large objective lens also needs higher mounting rings to accommodate the extra width. Because these scopes need to be mounted high, it can cause trouble with your cheek weld and eye alignment, which will have negative effects on your shooting accuracy.

Understanding Scope Acronyms

Technical specs can look like a jumbled up bowl of alphabet soup. If the letters come immediately before the magnification numbers or immediately after the objective lens number, they can indicate an important piece of information about the scope.

Here are the most common acronyms, what they mean, and why they’re important.

Field of View Rifle Scope

This acronym stands for “Field of View.” Field of view is the amount of area you can see when you look through the scope. FOV is usually measured at 100 hundred yards. As magnification increases, the FOV typically narrows. 

Shooters who regularly encounter moving targets will need a scope with a wide FOV.

FOV may not be as important for long-range shooting, although it can come in handy when you need to pinpoint smaller targets.


AO stands for adjustable objective. It actually has nothing to do with focusing the image. Instead, it adjusts for parallax. (Раrаllах is the optical effect that makes the scope’s reticle appear to shift or float when you move your head.)

The average deer hunter doesn’t need to be too concerned about parallax. Most rifle scopes are set to be parallax free at typical hunting ranges (usually between 100 and 150 yards). Unless you’re hunting animals at extreme ranges, parallax shouldn’t be a major concern.

An AO can be an asset on a powerful scope (10x or more) that is used for long-range shooting where inconsistencies in cheek and eye placement can have a huge effect on consistent accuracy.


FFP indicates the scope’s reticle is located on the first focal plane. When you zoom on a target with an FFP scope, the size of the reticle increases in proportion to the image.

Most hunters prefer an FFP scope because they offer greater shooting versatility. When you’re hunting, you never know if a buck will walk by at 50 yards or 500. An FFP scope allows you to make simple, accurate adjustments to match the target’s range.

FFP scopes are usually more expensive than SFP scopes.


SFP stands for “second focal plane.” When you adjust the magnification on an SFP scope, the reticle does not change in size. This can cause some inconsistencies, since the reticle does not change in proportion to the target when you zoom in. If you expect most of your targets to be the same general range, an SFP scope works quite well.


MIL actually has nothing to do with the military. Instead, MIL refers to a scope that adjusts elevation and windage in milliradians. A milliradian is an angular measurement.

MIL (or MIL-dot) scopes have small dots on the horizontal and vertical crosshairs to help shooters compensate for crosswinds or bullet drop. This style of reticle is useful for long-range shooting. They also benefit muzzleloader and crossbow shooters, who often deal with severe drop over distance.


MOA stands for “minute of angle.” In this context, a “minute” is a tiny portion of an angle. If you purchase an MOA scope, this means the crosshairs will have hash marks that serve a similar purpose to the dots on a MIL-dot scope. Basically, MOA uses inches and yards, while MIL-dot uses the metric system.

Other Things to Consider

Glass Quality and Coatings

When it comes to the quality of your optic glass, you definitely get what you pay for. High quality glass is going to cost you, but it earns its keep by providing bright images with crisp, clear quality.

Look for a scope made with extra low dispersion glass (ED) for the best image quality.

You also want a scope with special coatings on that glass. These coatings are designed to maximize brightness and minimize glare. There are four standard terms used in the scope industry to indicate the different levels of glass coating.

  • Coated – a single layer of coating on at least one lens.
  • Fully-coated – a single layer of coating on all glass surfaces exposed to air.
  • Multi-coated – multiple layers applied to at least one lens surface.
  • Fully Multi-coated – multiple layers of coating on all glass surfaces exposed to air.

For the best image quality, look for fully multi-coated lenses. This will provide the best brightness and is particularly helpful for making difficult, low light shots.


There are almost as many reticle styles to choose from as there are scopes on the market. Some of them are basic, others are refined for very specific shooting applications.

A standard Duplex reticle works for most hunters. If you hunt thick woods or often need to shoot moving targets, a thick reticle will quickly become your best friend.

If you shoot smaller targets, especially at longer ranges, you’ll want a reticle with a finer crosshair.

For shooting targets beyond 200 yards, look for a MIL-dot or MOA reticle.

An illuminated reticle is handy for shooting in low light conditions. This makes them a great option for hunters who often need to make tough twilight shots.

Turrets and Adjustments

Turrets are the dials used to adjust the reticle for accuracy. You use turrets when zeroing your scope once you have it mounted on your rifle. 

The dial located on the top of the scope is the elevation turret. Adjusting this knob will move the point of impact vertically.

The other dial, usually located on the side of the scope, is the windage turret. This knob adjusts the point of impact horizontally.

Do not underestimate the importance of quality turrets. Look for a scope with turrets that audibly click with each single adjustment.

Rapid-adjusting, “tactical” turrets, or “target” turrets, are a great option for long-range shooting. Tactical turrets speed the process of elevation and windage adjustments in the field, helping you quickly compensate for crosswinds and bullet drop over distance.

If you choose this type of scope, you should consider a scope with a true return-to-zero feature. This will save you the headache of re-finding your zero after each long-distance shot.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the distance the scope’s rear lens must be from your eye for you to see the entire image. If your eye is too close, the image gets fuzzy around the edges. If it is too far, the image becomes a dot in the center of the lens.

Typically, the more magnification a scope provides, the shorter its eye relief. Eye relief will determine where you need to mount your optic on your rifle.

This can be an issue for rifles that produce significant recoil. If your scope doesn’t have sufficient eye relief, you could end up with a black eye.

Part 2 – Best Scope for Your Needs

The most important thing to consider when buying a new rifle scope isn’t the magnification, reticle design, or eye relief. The most important thing to consider is how you plan to use your optic. In essence, what do you expect your scope to do?

Before you dive into specific models, ask yourself these questions:

Will most of my targets be long distance? 100 yards? 300 yards? 500 yards or more?

Do I need to make quick shots on fast-moving targets at close range?

Will most of my shots take place in broad daylight? Near dawn or dusk? After the sun goes down?

You should also understand the mounting capabilities of your rifle. If you’re running a modern sporting rifle like an AR-15, you don’t want a massive optic that will inhibit the maneuverability of this lightweight rifle.

Likewise, you don’t want to handicap a long-range hitter by putting too little scope on it. A 1x reflex sight isn’t a great match for .338 Lapua.

While your shooting application could be any of the following (or a combination of them), here are a few examples of optics well-suited to specific purposes.

Tactical Optics

Although “tactical” is a pretty generic term, it is usually associated with military or law enforcement firearms. Although the tactical category is broad, most “tactical optics” are easy to use and built for rugged conditions.

Optics like red dots and holographic sights work well on tactical rifles, especially those used for CQB. Some tactical shooters prefer to run an LPVO (low power variable optic) like a 1-6x scope or a 1-8x scope.

Trijicon TA11 3.5×35 – Best Tactical Scope

Trijicon ACOG 3.5x35 Riflescopes

When it comes to battle-proven optics, it’s hard to beat an ACOG. ACOG stands for “Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight.” These hard-core rugged optics from Trijicon are easily the best general use tactical optics money can buy.

Hunting Scopes

Hunting is another broad category. A deer hunter in the thick woods of the Southeastern United States needs a very different scope than a hunter chasing pronghorn on the open Kansas prairie. It’s important to analyze the types of shots you’ll be making, and choose a scope that has those capabilities.

Burris Fullfield II 3-9x40mm – Best Hunting Scope

Burris 3-9 x 40mm Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Rifle Scope

While it’s impossible to choose one scope that will fit any hunting pursuit, the Burris Fullfield II comes pretty darn close. This is a great all-around hunting optic that works well for whitetails, predators, varmints, and even larger game.

3 Gun Scope

A great way to keep your shooting skills sharp and flex your competitive muscle, 3 Gun may be the fastest growing shooting sport in the world. Competitors must be proficient with multiple guns while facing unique target presentations.

The sport requires an optic that is suitable for close to medium range targets. Since courses are timed, 3 Gun scope will help you get on target fast.

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle – Best 3-Gun Scope

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Plenty of 3 Gunners run red dot sights and prism scopes on their competition rigs. However, the Vortex Strike Eagle is one of the most popular variable power scopes you’ll see on the course.

Long Range Shooting

Long range shooting is demanding on the shooter. It also demands a lot from an optic. 

Whether you’re popping targets or groundhogs at extreme distances, you need a very special kind of scope. If you are shooting extended ELR, an excellent scope is even more important.

Be prepared to invest some cash. Long range scopes are usually expensive. Look for an FFP scope with generous magnification, a large objective lens, target turrets, and a BDC (bullet drop compensator) reticle.

Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56mm – Best Long Range Scope

Schmidt Bender PMII 5-25x56 L/P DT P4Fine FFP MRAD CCW

This Schmidt & Bender scope has a well-earned reputation for being the best of the best in long-range scopes. It’s a popular choice for police and military snipers, and for good reason. It has incredible image clarity and brightness. It also provides serious magnification, has low profile target turrets, and a stellar illuminated reticle.

Home Defense

If you use a rifle as your primary home defense weapon, you need to choose your optic carefully. For home defense, you’ll be engaging targets at close range. 

Also, since your weapon may be used by other members of the family who may be inexperienced with firearms, you want a scope that is intuitive and easy to use.

For home defense, it’s really hard to beat a red dot optic.

Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) – Best Scope for Home Defense

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight with QRP2 Mount and Spacer - 2 MOA - 12841

The Aimpoint PRO is easily the most popular red dot sight on the market, and it’s perfect for home defense. It’s easy to use, even for new or inexperienced shooters. All you do is line up the 2 MOA dot with your target, and you’re ready to pull the trigger.

This is a battery-powered optic, but the battery life is insanely long. You can turn it on, leave it on, and still get up to 3 years of use. This means your optic is always ready for business when the need arises.

Rimfire Scopes

Not all rifles shoot high-powered centerfire cartridges. If you’re looking for a scope for a rimfire rifle (like the Ruger 10/22), choose a scope with low magnification and an AO lens that can be easily focused at close-range rimfire distances.

Monstrum 3-9×32 Rifle Scope – Best Rimfire Scope

Monstrum 3-9x32 Rifle Scope

This scope from Monstrum isn’t specifically made for rimfire rifles, but it fits them almost perfectly. The 32mm objective lens pairs will with most .22 rifles, allowing you to mount it nice and tight to the barrel. It also has an illuminated rangefinder reticle that we absolutely love.

Part 3 – Get the Best Scope for Your Budget

You can definitely find riflescopes priced under $100. You can also find high-end scopes priced well over $3000.

While there are adequate scopes on the low end of the price spectrum, the real gems are the ones with hefty price tags. The old adage “You Get What You Pay For” is definitely true in the world of riflescopes.

Although it is tempting to spend lots of cash on a rifle and then pinch pennies on your optic, don’t fall to the temptation. A wise shooter will spend more on his riflescope than he spends on his rifle.

My advice? Invest as much as you can on a quality optic. I promise that once you’ve experienced the benefits of a premium scope, you won’t regret the investment. However, if all you can afford is a $200 optic, find the best scope you can in that price range. You’ll probably spend the full $200.

Best High-End Rifle Scopes

Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56mm

Schmidt Bender PMII 5-25x56 L/P DT P4Fine FFP MRAD CCW

This scope from Schmidt & Bender is the pinnacle of top-of-the-line scopes. It stretches your accuracy to ultra-long-range distances and has image quality better than anything you’ll ever view with the naked eye.

Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm

Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Riflescope

The Mark 5HD is one of the few mil-spec scopes still produced by Leupold Optics. It is a perfect example of Leupold’s skill and quality. This scope is optically amazing, super durable, and as accurate as they come. Plus, it’s backed by a lifetime guarantee.

Steiner 5112 T5Xi

Steiner 5112 T5Xi 3-15x50mm Tactical Rifle Scope, SCR MIL Reticle

The Steiner 5112 T5Xi brings incredible clarity, versatility, and rugged durability to the plate. Perfect for long-range tactical engagements, this optic also feels completely at home in the woods or on the competition field.

Best Rated Rifle Scopes under $1000

Burris Optics Veracity Model No. 200650 5-25x50mm Rifle Scope

Burris Optics Veracity Model No. 200650 5-25x50mm Rifle Scope

While the Veracity Riflescope from Burris Optics was designed specifically as a varmint scope, it easily pulls double duty as a precision long-range target optic. It has impeccable image quality, a trajectory compensating reticle, and a surprisingly large FOV.

Steiner Optics GS3 4-20x50mm Riflescope

 Steiner Optics GS3 Game Sensing Waterproof Hunting Riflescope

The GS in the model designation of this high-quality Steiner riflescope stands for “game sensing.” While this model won’t set off alarms when game is nearby, it does feature unique lens coatings that amplify color contrast in the peak vision sensitivity range. When you look through this scope, animals pop against leafy or shadow-dappled backgrounds.

Swarovski Optik Z3 3-10x42mm

Swarovski Optik Z3 3-10x42mm

The Swarovski Z3 is an amazing scope. It combines high-quality glass with features you would only expect from a high-end optic. Notable features include an etched glass SFP reticle, ergonomic target turrets, fully multi-coated lenses, and parallax adjustment.

Best Rated Rifle Scopes under $500

Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Riflescope

 Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Riflescope

The VX-3i 3.5-10x has been one of Leupold’s most popular models for decades. This highly versatile scope works for practically any hunting environment, from thick brush to long shots over open cropland. It also features Leopold’s patented Twilight Max Light Management System, which provides enough brightness and clarity to add an extra 20 minutes of shooting light at the start and end of every day.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16x40mm

 Vortex Optics Crossfire II Adjustable Objective, Second Focal Plane

On the budget end of the Vortex Lineup, the Crossfire II is a quality scope for an amazing price. The optics are great, it’s tough as nails, and it has an adjustable objective for image focus and parallax removal.

Bushnell Engage 3-12x42mm Riflescope

Bushnell Engage Riflescope, Matte Black, 30mm Tube

Bushnell makes scopes that are built to last, and the Engage is one of their most durable models. It also has features you wouldn’t expect from an optic in this price range, like fully multi-coated lenses, beautiful optical quality, and locking turrets that won’t budge unless you want them to.

Best Rated Scopes under $200

Burris 4.5-14x42mm Fullfield

BURRIS FullField Scope, Ballistic Plex Reticle, Matte Black

The Burris Fullfield is super easy to use, has surprisingly good image quality for a budget scope, and has ample magnification for longer-range shooting. What more could you ask for?

Monstrum 1-4x24mm Alpha Series

 Monstrum Alpha Series 1-4x24 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope

It’s hard to find a rifle scope with an FFP reticle in this price range, but somehow Monstrum delivers. This is a great little 1-4x tactical scope that is well-suited for targets out to 300 yards. It’s also built for rugged use with 6061 grade aluminum and a military-standard hard anodized outer finish.

Monstrum G2 6-24x50mm

A great value for the money, this scope from Monstrum is built for the budget conscious shooter who refuses to compromise on quality. It features an illuminated FFP reticle with multiple brightness settings. Great for plinking or hunting, the scope has generous eye relief, and a super sturdy construction.

Best Rated Scopes under $100

Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm

Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm

Bushnell knows outdoor optics, whenever they’re rangefinder, binoculars or hunting rifle scope, and their Banner 3-9×40 was obviously built for hunters on a shoestring budget. Don’t let the price tag fool you. The Bushnell Banner may be cheap in price, but definitely not in quality. This scope has multi coated optics, a fast focus eyepiece, and it delivers waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof performance.

Monstrum 2-7x32mm AO Rifle Scope

Monstrum 2-7x32mm AO Rifle Scope

We really aren’t sure how Monstrum keeps their prices so low, but we’re glad they do. This one features adjustable reticle illumination with 5 brightness levels and an adjustable objective lens that provides sharper focus, eliminates parallax, and helps you easily estimate the range to your target.

Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope

Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope

While you shouldn’t expect any miracles from the Simmons 8-Point Riflescope, it delivers more than you should expect from an optic at this price point. It is durable and functional, plus it delivers outstanding precision from a fairly basic design.

Part 4 – Choosing the Best Scope for Your Gun

Aside from your shooting application, you also need to consider your rifle type, model, and caliber when choosing an optic. Check out our full guides and reviews for more information

Part 5 – Best Scope Brands

There are a ton of companies making scopes these days. If you aren’t sure where to begin, we’ve gathered this list of the most reputable brands. These companies consistently produce some of the best optics money can buy.

Schmidt & Bender

Schmidt & Bender holds the gold standard in optical quality. A German, family-owned company, Schmidt & Bender holds their optics to some of the strictest quality standards in the industry.

The only drawback to the company’s high-standards is that they only produce a limited number of riflescopes each year. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of their quality scopes, expect to spend some major cash. Although Schmidt & Bender scopes aren’t cheap, they are definitely worth the investment.

Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

Leupold has been designing and manufacturing high quality, American-made optics for five generations. Known for both their durability and their impressive glass quality, Leupold rifle scopes have earned a rightful place among the best in the world. Even US Army snipers, Navy SEALs, and Secret Service agents trust Leupold scopes to top their rifles.

Swarovski Optik

Swarovski Optik is best known for their light-capturing crystal jewelry. However, they also manage to “harness the natural magic of light” in their high-performance riflescopes. If you’re looking for crisp, clear, bright images, all you need to do is look through a Swarovski scope. They have some of the best glass quality in the world.

Carl Zeiss AG

Founded in 1846 by an optician and scientist, Carl Zeiss AG designs everything from microscopes to telescopes. Currently, Zeiss is designing optical components for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to take the place of the famed Hubble Space Telescope sometime in 2021. The company has the same standards for their cutting-edge riflescopes as they do for the high-tech components they use for the Space Telescope.

Bushnell Corporation

Bushnell began as a small company selling mail-order birding binoculars. Today, they are one of the most respected names in outdoor optics, their product range from monocular, compact/ hunting binoculars, trail camera to hunting rangefinder, golf rangefinder and much more! Bushnell rifle scopes are especially popular among hunters. All of the company’s optics are rugged, reasonably priced, and specially designed for outdoor use.

Part 6 – Advanced Scopes

While a good rifle scope is a huge asset in most situations, there are times when a highly specialized optic is the better choice. Let’s take a closer look at some of these highly specialized advanced scopes.

Night Vision Scopes

Night vision technology relies on highly sophisticated condenser tubes to gather and amplify ambient light and form a viewable image. Once relegated to the battlefield, night vision is now used for security as well as for hunting predators, varmints, and other nocturnal game.

Although the technology is expensive, the ability to see clearly after dark is a game changer in hunting and home defense scenarios. Thankfully, as these devices become more popular, prices are beginning to become much more affordable.

If you’re considering adding one of these worthwhile optics to your arsenal, check out our article on the best night vision scopes for more information and some valuable reviews.

For info on other useful night vision devices, check out these articles:

Thermal Scopes

Like night vision technology, thermal imaging gives you the ability to see in the dark. However, where night vision magnifies ambient light, thermal imaging uses heat patterns to generate a viewable image.

All natural and manmade objects emit infrared energy as heat. Since animals (including humans) produce significantly more heat than their surroundings, a thermal scope makes it easy to see them in the dark.

Like night vision scopes, thermal optics are not cheap. However, these scopes are invaluable for hunters working to keep rampant coyote and hog populations in check. They can also be used for tactical and home defense applications.

Looking for an in-depth guide to everything related to thermal scopes (including a list of some of the best models on the market)? Check out our Complete Guide to the Best Thermal Scopes.

Digital Scopes

Digital rifle scopes convert light into digital information that shooters can view on an HD display. The most sophisticated models function like tiny computers. These high-tech gadgets are more than simple riflescopes. They often have highly advanced features like built-in rangefinders, recoil activated video recording, ballistic calculators, and Wi-Fi capabilities.

Aside from all of the fun high-tech features, digital scopes also allow you to see images in the dark. However, unlike traditional night vision, you can use them both during the day and after the sun goes down.

Part 7 – Scope Mounting, Sighting In, and Maintenance

Even the fanciest, most expensive scope on the market won’t be worth much if it isn’t mounted and sighted in properly. Not sure how to do it? We’ve got a few tips for you.

How to Mount a Scope?

Although many gun owners like to leave scope mounting to the professionals, you really don’t need a gunsmith for this simple task. With the right tools a little bit of know-how, the process is relatively easy. If you decide to do it yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Scope rings are the main interface between your scope and your rifle. The rings need to hold your optic securely during recoil, so make sure you choose quality rings that are the right height and diameter for your scope.
  • Before you begin mounting your optic, make sure your rifle is unloaded. Remove the magazine and check the chamber to be sure.
  • Mount your scope as low as possible on your rifle, just make sure no part of the scope comes in contact with the rifle barrel.
  • When you tighten the screws on your base and rings, use partial rotations and alternate screws to ensure even pressure on your optic.
  • The rings must be aligned in order for your scope to fit properly. If they are even slightly off kilter, it could cause stress on the scope tube and ultimately damage your optic. When in doubt, you can use a scope ring alignment kit to prevent misalignment issues.

If you want a more detailed description of how to mount a scope, check out the following video by Larry Potterfield of MidwayUSA.

Gunsmithing – How to Properly Mount a Scope Presented by Larry Potterfield of MidwayUSA

How to Sight In Your Scope?

Sighting in (also called zeroing) your scope is the act of lining up the crosshairs with the weapon’s barrel so the bullets hit where you’re aiming. Although the process of zeroing a scope is relatively simple, it can be confusing for first-timers.

Here are some important tips to help make sure your scope is properly sighted in:

1. Before you begin, make absolutely sure the scope is mounted securely and properly on your rifle.

2. Establish a rough zero by bore sighting your scope to the rifle before you fire the first round. The process takes just a couple of minutes, but it will save you a lot of stress once you get to the range.

This video from the National Shooting Sports Foundation walks you through a quick and easy bore sighting method. However, you can also use a laser bore sight to help you out.

Quick & Easy Bore Sighting Method – Gunsmith Tip

3. Use a solid bench rest and sandbags (or a rest like a Caldwell Lead Sled) to cradle your rifle so you can get a solid and stable shooting foundation.

4. Once you get shots on paper, always shoot at least three-round groups before adjusting your scope. This helps ensure you aren’t adjusting for any random fliers.

5. Once you’ve established your zero, fire another three-round group to verify your zero.

6. When you’re finished, write down the range, load, and bullet weight you used so you have it for future reference.

Here is a more detailed rundown of how to sight in a rifle scope from Vortex Optics.

Vortex Optics – How To Sight In Your Riflescope?

Basic Tips for Scope Maintenance

Fortunately, modern rifle scopes require very little maintenance to keep them in good working order.

With regular outdoor use, your scope will get dirty and need to be cleaned. However, cleaning it the wrong way can actually cause damage.

First, never attempt to take your scope apart to clean it. This will destroy the scope and release any nitrogen or argon contained inside the optic. These gases are crucial to preventing internal fogging or condensation from forming inside your scope.

Never wipe the lenses of your scope with your sleeve. Although this may seem like a harmless way to remove dirt and fingerprints, it could leave tiny scratches in the lens coatings. These minuscule scratches can build up over time and negatively affect image quality.

If you need to clean the lenses on your riflescope, use a microfiber cloth or camel hair brush. You can also use canned air to blow dust and dirt from your scope’s exterior.

If your lenses have particularly stubborn smudges, use a microfiber cloth moistened with a small amount of water or lens cleaner. Never use regular glass cleaner or other cleaning products. They can damage the lens coatings.

To minimize cleaning, keep your fingers away from lenses. The oil from your hands can damage coatings and cause stubborn smudges.

Also, when you clean your gun, avoid getting oil or solvent on your scope. However, don’t remove your optic or you’ll lose your zero.

How to Store Your Scope?

When you aren’t using your scope, store it with the lens caps on. You can also add a scope cover to hold the caps in place and protect the body of the scope.

If you need to store your rifle and optic in a gun safe for long periods, you may need a dehumidifier. This will help keep your rifle and your optic dry and protect them from rust damage.


A rifle and scope combination is only as effective as the person pulling the trigger. Practice is the best way to improve your accuracy, no matter which optic you choose to mount on your rifle. Make sure you spend some time sending lead downrange. It’s the best way to improve your shooting skills.

Although the world of riflescopes may seem confusing at first, with a little information things should start to come into focus. Knowledge is power. We hope this article has helped empower you to find the best rifle scope for your personal shooting needs.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.

Back to top button