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Rifle Optics: Everything You Need to Know Before you Purchase

Rifle optics in the US have evolved and developed over time. When it comes to purchasing rifle optics, just as when purchasing a rifle, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. We’re going to elaborate on some of these.

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Different rifle scopes offer different degrees of magnification. In order to choose appropriately, you should have a sense of the kind of magnification or focal plane you’re looking to work with. You have everything from low and middle magnification lenses to those with higher power ratings.

The degree of magnification you choose is depends entirely on the kind of shooting you’re looking to partake in. Some examples of magnification ratings include 2X, 30X and so on.

Further, you have lenses offering ratings like 1-5X or 20 – 25X magnification. This means that you’ve got a range to work with.

Objective Lens-Size

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Simply put, this refers to the measurement of the lens-diameter which is nearer to the stock end of the rifle.  The objective lens-size measurement is the number that follows the magnification rating. For the example ahead, the number in bold is the objective lens-size; 1 – 5 X 35mm.

This means the objective lens size is 35mm. The larger the OLS, the more light your lens will catch. This being said, larger OLS lenses also tend to be on the heavier side. Another aspect to consider!

Weight and Tube Size

Like when choosing a fire arm, choosing a lens also requires that you pay attention to weight. If the overall weight of your rifle and lens is something you are not comfortable with, your aim will be adversely affected. Scopes with a larger tube size tend to be a lot heavier as well.

While looking into other lens specifications, it is important to take weight into consideration. Once again, it helps to know the kind of shooting you are gearing up for. If you’re shooting long range targets from a stationary vantage point and have assists such as a bipod for support, by all means look into heavier options.

Alternatively, if you’re shooting on the move, while hunting and tracking for instance, you might want to look into something a little easier to carry!


Lens coating is extremely helpful when it comes to light regulation and glare control. Though older lenses may not have offered these options, lenses today come in different degrees of coating that you may choose from.

Your options include fully coated and coated lenses as well as multicoated and fully multicoated lenses. Just remember that more complexly coated lenses will cost more.

Reticles and Focal Planes

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Reticle is another word for crosshair. Crosshairs today are available in a range of design types and choosing is really about what exactly you prefer personally.

Though both first as well as second focal-plane scopes are available, we recommend first focal plane types. This is because the reticle size on such scopes does not enlarge as you zoom out unlike with second focal plane scopes. This is due to the focus mechanism used.

At the same time, first focal plane scopes can be more expensive so bear that in mind!  

Winding Down

If you keep the points above in mind, you’ll probably make a pretty decent choice with regard to that new rifle scope! If you want to buy rifle scopes, optics and other accessories, feel free to check out some quality gear and get right to it!

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