The Basics of Rifle Scopes and How They Work

I heard the story of a novice shooter. He came into the shop, took some time choosing a rifle and ended up choosing the scope within seconds. The shopkeeper could see right through him and recognize a person as a beginner.

Experts can tell you that the scopes of the rifle are far more important than the rifle itself. It is important, but if the scope is not qualitative, it can ruin the whole session of hunting the target and hitting it with accuracy.

the basics of rifle scopes

This article is discussing the basics of rifle scopes. We also explain the work process of rifle scopes. All related information is collected here.

No shooter likes to miss the target. They all want to grab it in lesser attempts. If you are one of those shooters, you must understand the components and the scope basics, and to get the best rifle scopes, we recommend IBC7 Outdoors.

What are the Basics of Rifle Scope?

The scope is about optics and magnification. Before you understand the accuracy of the scope, you need to learn the essential components of the scope.

Main constructing materials include main body tube, objective bell, ocular bell, and lenses.

  • There are two primary lenses, one at the shooter’s end and second at the target, ocular and objective lens respectively.  The objective lens gives more magnification and larger the better.  
  • Then, you must understand the recitals too. They are to range your scope and ensure the accuracy of the target as per your requirement.
  • It also includes an eye relief to measure the distance between the eye and the scope. With glasses, you will need 14mm.
  • Now, the main thing that matters the most and for which we typically require a scope is the magnification. Every scope has a different magnification. Some of the scopes will allow you to view the targets from 3x to 9x your normal vision.
  • The scope also has a power ring. It is to change the magnification settings and set it as you need it.

The above points are some of the very basics about the scope. It may not be enough to completely understand it. However, you can explore it further by having a manual.

Now, let’s focus on the working of the scope.

How Does the Scope Work?

Typically, it works like a telescope. The ocular lens is to magnify the light from the focal point while the objective lens focuses on the point inside the scope.

You see the image; the set has a recital and pulls the trigger focusing on the target. Wait! Something is missing here. It didn’t go well. Why? Because of the parallax error.

What is Parallax Error?

You will find most of the rifles set on the focus of 100 yards. But when you switch the magnification settings, it can cause a parallax error. It is usually something that causes an error in the focus, shifting your position will give you an unclear focus on the target. If you have an adjustable scope of the rifle, you don’t have to worry about it. You can easily fix it.

Controls of the Scope

Most rifles have two common adjustments known as windage and elevation. For horizontal settings, you use windage adjustments and elevation to tweak vertical changes.

In the end, you need to know about the diameters of the scope too. It will help you to correct the mounting rings while you attach the scope to the rifle.

Types of Rifle Scopes

Before you go buying the scopes, learn about the different types of scopes and choose the one that suits your kind of adventure and shooting experience. Some of the scopes are variable, and others are fixed.

  • Variable scopes are those that you can change the magnification settings while fixed ones don’t come with settings. Common scopes come with a range from 5x to 12x. It means you can see your target 5x to 12x greater with the lens than a naked eye. This is the variable scope and you can adjust magnification settings as per your need.
  • Now what kind of scope do you need? It depends on the target you are about to shoot. So, for a big hunting game that is from the 100 yards, you can have a scope less than 8x.
  • There are also special night vision scopes with infrared illuminators to help you see in the night.

The whole purpose of the scope is to make your vision clear either in the morning or at night. So, more than the rifle, you will have to worry about the scope while purchasing it.


Understanding the scope is the best way to purchase the best scope. It may cost you more, but worth every shooting experience you are going to have with its accuracy. So, be aware of the scope you are buying and also stay clear about the kind of adventure you want.

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My name is Camila Avery. I like to write and share my experiences. HeartyLook is my lovely digital home, where I can share my professional advice, home improvement ideas, solution, beauty tips, product recommendations, and honest and open opinions on anything and everything.

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