Scopes What are they

What types of Rifle Scopes 

Some people confuse rifle scopes with gun sights. A good rule of thumb is that a rifle scope provides some level of magnification, whereas a gun sight doesn't. Both devices help shooters take aim at a target. Some sights are very simple, while others use lenses similar to a scope's lenses.

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Here's a brief rundown on common sight types:

Open sights require shooters to line up two sights on a rifle to aim a shot. The rear sight usually looks like a V or a U. The front sight is a simple vertical projection.

The size of the lens will tell you how much light it will be able to transmit to the ocular lens. It's not always critical to have a large objective lens-- you only need a large lens if your scope uses high magnification levels in the 14x to 36x range.

The first two numbers tell you the magnification settings for that particular scope. In this example, the scope has a range of 5x to 12x magnification, meaning the image you see through the ocular lens will be at least five times larger than it would appear to your naked eye. Some scopes are fixed scopes-- you can't adjust the magnification setting.

Laser sights project laser beams toward a target.

The type of scope you need depends on the kind of target you plan to shoot. If you plan to hunt big game at a distance of around 100 yards (91.4 meters) or less, you won't need a high-power rifle scope.

Aperture sights resemble open sights but use a ring for the rear sight. You align the front sight within the ring while aiming at your target.

After purchasing your scope, you'll need to attach it to your rifle. Let's take a look at the process of mounting a rifle scope.

You can even find special night vision scopes that incorporate an infrared illuminator. If the game you plan to hunt is nocturnal, a night vision scope could be your best option. Learn more in How Night Vision Works.

Obviously, the terrain around you will help determine how far away you'll be from your targets. In heavily-wooded areas, you won't be able to see as far as you would on an open plain. If your preferred hunting grounds are dense forests, you won't need a very powerful scope.

Some people confuse rifle scopes with gun sights. A good rule of thumb is that a rifle scope provides some level of magnification, whereas a gun sight doesn't. Some are very simple, while others use lenses similar to a scope's lenses.

Some scopes are fixed scopes-- you can't adjust the magnification setting.

It's not always critical to have a large objective lens-- you only need a large lens if your scope uses high magnification levels in the 14x to 36x range.

Red dot sights project a red dot or another illuminated targeting reticle (image) on top of the real image of the target. The dot doesn't project out the end of the sight.