How Does A Rifle Scope Work

How Does A Rifle Scope WorkIf you are planning to buy a hunting rifle, you will need some information about it. Other than that, you may also want to know how the rifle scope work.

Such information is vital in helping you select a good rifle and a scope. If you are a hunter, it reduces the chance of doing what you love most using a mediocre gun.

Also, it increases your chances of hitting your target every time you use the rifle. In this post, we focus our attention on how a rifle scope work.

Note that rifle scopes come in many varieties, you will need to choose one depending on the need you want to deploy it to. But, if you are not familiar with the rifle scope, it could intimidate you. So, here is a detailed account of how a rifle scope work.

How Rifle Scope Works?

The scope performs one important task- to magnify your vision to allow you to see distant objects. It features powerful lenses, including the objective lenses which transmit light to the oculars. They are housed in the objective bell; thus, the scope lenses are fog and water-proof.

The Scope Works Like a Telescope

Rifle scope on the street with blurry backgroundThe light passes through the objective lens before it is directed to a particular point in the scope. The light is then magnified from a focal point. Thus, anyone looking through the scope will be able to see the light.

Also, the riflescope has a crosshair that is also referred to as a reticle. It guides and shows the shooter where the bullet will go once the trigger is released.

The scope feature settings that allow the hunter to view the target at different magnification. You can choose to view it at 9x or 3x.

When you set your scope 9x, it means that the scope will appear nine times larger and clear than your normal vision. Also, the scope features a power ring that changes the unit’s magnification setting.

Manufacturers will always set their rifle scopes in a way that will make any object that is 100 yards away appear clear. When the magnification is set, it introduces parallax error. It means that the position of the target will change if the elevation of the eye is changed.

So, the higher the magnification, the more the parallax error you introduce. But manufacturers have found a way of correcting the error. They do this by adding adjustable objective lenses that correct the parallax error.

Also, you can use controls to adjust the scope and get it aligned with the rife. The controls affect the elevation and windage adjustment. The adjustment tweaks the setting on the scope while the vertical settings adjust the elevation.


Notice that a rifle scope features a tube that forms the body of the rifle. It comes in one-inch and thirty-millimeter tubes. So knowing the diameter of the scope’s tube is vital. It allows you to use the right mounting rings in attaching the scope to the rifle.

What to Consider

When you set out to buy a rifle scope, select one that will provide enough magnification to allow you to aim at the target. A scope labeled 5-12×42 means that it is capable of 5x to 12 x magnification.

It also means that the image you will see via the lens will range from 5-12 larger than you would see it with naked eyes. Also, it implies that you will be looking at a variable scope that allows you to change your magnification settings with ease. It gives you more flexibility in terms of adjusting your settings.

This is more than what you would get with fixed scopes.  Besides, 42, in this case, refers to the objective lens size in millimeters. It is important since it tells you the amount of light that can be transmitted to the ocular lens.

Thus, larger lenses are designed and intended to transmit more light.  As such, any rifle scope that comes with a 40-mm lens is sufficient for hunting excursions.  But military scopes feature large objective lenses -the reason being the nature of work they are expected to perform.

So, it suffices to say that the size of animals you will be shooting at is critical. It determines the size of the objective lens your rifle scope should come with.

Also, the distance you will be shooting helps you determine how powerful the scope should be. If you are shooting targets that are more than 182.9 m, rifle scope with a 12x magnification range will help.

Indeed the terrain is another important factor in determining the scope. It will help you determine the distance you will need to keep between the target and the rifle. So, if you will be hunting in dense forest, a powerful scope may be unnecessary.

Moreover, if you will be hunting late, you will need a special scope that incorporates infrared illumination.

Attaching the Rifle Scope

The first thing you need to do after buying the scope is to attach it to the rifle. To do this, you need rings and an assortment of tools that include an allen wrench and a screwdriver. You will have to connect the base of the scope to the rifle using screws.

Besides, you must match the mounting rings to the base. Matching is vital since it helps to prevent problems associated with mismatching. But you must ensure that the scope rests on the rings. Also, you must choose the right rings for your kind of scope.

To get the best results, attach the base to your receiver, and the mounting rings onto the base. Also, check and ensure that all the connections are secure. You may need to adjust the scope to give you the highest magnification possible. Finally, the scope and the rings should be secured loosely to allow you to adjust the position.

Final Thought

At this point, you are good to go. But you may need to test the scope to ensure that the aim is accurate. Test it while in different positions until you find an ideal position.

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