Understanding Rifle Scopes And Parts

Why in the world do you think people go out on dates? It is simple. No one wants to commit to strangers. Consider the rifle scope a stranger, at least for now and let us learn about understanding rifle scopes and its related parts. By the time we are done here, you will have all the knowledge that you require.

Understanding Rifle Scopes

Someone might say that I will do just fine with the manual. Let us be clear on one thing, and sometimes you wonder whether the manual is written in Greek and the only language you know is English. What I mean to say is that you understand nothing.

How you will Understanding Rifle Scopes

Understanding rifle scopes will help in knowing what knob to turn to get a clear view or fix the scope. We are going to cover the terms that you need to know to make the perfect use of your scope.

My approach is that as I cover the individual parts of the scope, we will cover the specific terms for that particular part. I prefer starting further away from the eye as we approach the eye.

Objective Lens

The objective lens is the very first part of the scope. The objective lens lets in the image in terms of light. A bigger objective lens means you can scan a wider area, which does not necessarily mean the scope is more powerful. The direct implication is only that a wider objective lens calls for a larger exit pupil.

rifle scope parts understanding

Main Tube

There are two types of scope tube, the 1 inch, and the 30mm. It is a hard task to choose between the two. Facts show very clearly that there is not much of a difference concerning performance. People like to bring about this topic a lot.

The difference lies in what everyone can clearly see. The 1-inch scope tube is more compact and as many say it allows for comfortable use. The 30 mm one allows for better adjustments thus finer focusing.

On the downside, the 30 mm scope tube makes for more offset when mounting. You will have to position the neck at an angle that is uncomfortable to some users.

Turret And External Adjustment

The turret houses the wind age and elevation adjustments. Usually, the windage adjustment knob is the one that protrudes outwards. The elevation adjustment knob protrudes upwards. The design of the knobs is almost a universal standard. The adjustment knobs on the turret work hand in hand with the reticle.

Normally the reticle has two lines that intersect at the center. With the aid of the reticle, you will be able to change the point of impact either sideways or in the up and down. The windage knob moves the point of impact sideways while the elevation knob moves the point of impact in the up and down.

There are several types of reticles. The duplex reticle, mil-dot reticle, and the bullet drop compensator reticle. Duplex reticle is just two line cutting at ninety degrees at the center.

The mil-dot reticle the two lines marking is replaced with dots with specific spacing. For targets beyond 300 yards range the mil-dot reticle helps out with the elevation adjustment to cater for the influence of the wind.

I get accurate adjustments by telling the size of the object using the mil dots. From the size, I can calculate the range and hence the accurate hold offs. The spacing between the dots represents specific angles in milliradians. For beginners, it seems like rocket science, it is difficult until you learn how to do it.

Magnification And Power Ring

Magnification is vital for all rifle scopes and understanding rifle scopes completely depends on learning about magnification and power ring. It helps adjust clarity for different ranges. You vary the magnification by adjusting the power ring. What happens? By turning the power ring the distance between the inner lens and the objective lens change.

For objects further away, the distance kind of increases. Effectively the size of the target reduces. So image size over long distances trade off with clarity.

Poor adjustment of the magnification will lead to a crisis. Using high power for close range objects zooms in so much that you will see just a small area of the animal, So get the adjustments right.

A rifle scope with a magnification between 2x and 7x means that the lower power which is 2x brings the image closer two times. The higher power (7x) brings the image closer seven times. An increase in magnification calls for a larger objective lens; it needs more light to make for clear objects at long range.

Some scopes have fixed magnification. The magnification will be defined by something more of 7×40 for example. The 7 represents the power, and the 40 represents the size of the objective lens.


The eyepiece is the rear part of where you position your eye. It is housed in the eyeball, and this is where we also get the ocular lens. A little bit of science tells that the objective lens work with the ocular lens to manufacture the final image.

The final image is then shown on a surface in which case the surface is your eye. By adjusting the distance between the object and objective lens you ought to change the distance between the ocular lens and the image.

Essentially, you adjust the distance between the ocular lens and image by turning the power ring. That is what we call focus.

Exit Pupil

An easy way to identify the exit pupil is to hold the scope at an arms distance. The circle of light that you see through the ocular lens is the exit pupil. The exit pupil varies with range. It is smaller at a higher range.

Mathematically to get the size of the exit pupil you divide the size of the objective lens with the magnification. Objective lens size is constant, but magnification increases directly proportionally with range.

Math says the exit pupil will decrease with increase in range. Without sufficient lighting, image clarity will be affected at long range due to the smaller exit pupil.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the distance that you should keep the rifle off your eye. Usually, it is four inches, could vary with the amount of recoil your gun produces. The eye relief is geared towards preventing injuring your eye.

The above information will help you with getting to know rifle scopes well. By using the information above you are in a position to choose the best rifle scope for your need. Like, at small ranges you will need lower power and smaller objective lens.

For long range, you will need a higher power and bigger objective lens. At long range, it is hard to hit a moving target.


Understanding rifle scopes takes time and dedication but in the end it’s worthy. When you learn about the parts and necessary gadgets of rifle scopes you will eventually become an expert hunter in the field.

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