How Does A Rifle Scope Work?

Whether you are a target shooter or deer shooter, for enhanced performance, you need a rifle scope, hunting rifle, and several other tools. Each tool operates independently, and they all work towards achieving the same results. Therefore, it is essential for you to familiarize yourself with each device and understand its importance while in the field. The question can always be how does a rifle scope work?

A hunting rifle helps you shoot at your target hence enhancing your hunting. Binoculars or monoculars depending on what you have to assist you to spot your target while at a distance, while a rifle scope helps in enhancing your accuracy.

However, the connection between the rifle scope and hunting rifle is a big mystery. Riflescopes come in plenty of varieties, and it takes time for one to identify the most appropriate. Additionally, each rifle is different from the other, and one scope cannot provide similar results while mounted on two different rifles.

Therefore, understanding how the rifle scopes function is a puzzle that requires serious concentration to understand. This blog will discuss various parts of the riflescope and how they all work towards giving you quality performance. Each part of the scope has a significant role to play, and they all contribute greatly to the performance of the scope.

Understanding a rifle scope and how it works

The Lenses

Lenses are one of the essential parts of a rifle scope. In layman’s language, the lens is a glass that aids in vision. A rifle scope has two lenses the objective lens and the ocular lens. The objective lens is placed at one end of the scope, and it aims to transmit light.

The objective lens gathers enough light and transmits it back to the ocular lens to allow you to have a clear vision. On the same end, with an objective lens, there is an objective bell, which facilitates the collection of images for enhanced viewing.

Once the lens has corrected and transmitted sufficient light, the hunter uses the ocular lens to see through the scope. The ocular lens has an eyepiece segment where you place your eye for compelling viewing. This lens magnifies the light transmitted from a focal point, allowing you to see the images clearer.

For most rifle scopes are designed to function in different weather. They are mostly fog-proof and waterproof, allowing you to hunt even through rainy conditions comfortably. Also, if the scope accidentally falls in a pond of water, you don’t have to worry about damaging your lenses.

However, when the image passes through the objective lens, it is in an inverted shape at the first focal plane. As the transmission continues, the image keeps turning, and by the time it reaches the second focal plane, and by reaching the eyepiece, you see it in an upright formation.

Windage and Elevation Adjustment

Your scope and rifle are different units, and for them to work perfectly, they need to be aligned effectively. Windage and elevation adjustment are essential components in scope.

The elevation adjustment alters the vertical settings or configuration in aligning your scope with the rifle. With this control, it becomes easy for you to reset the rifle scope as well as accelerate your possibility of accuracy.  Additionally, the elevation adjustment is a control that dictates whether your scope is a perfect match to your rifle.

Therefore, when shopping for a rifle scope, checking the elevation adjustment control is critical as far as rifle and scope configuration is concerned. The setting also helps you identify the possibility of your accuracy while shooting at a distance.

On the other hand, the windage adjustment alters the horizontal settings on a scope. In other words, the setting enhances the alignment of the scope to match with the rifle. It ensures that there is an absolute balance between the two devices for consistency.

This alignment is often responsible for the accuracy, and as it often dictates where your shot will aim. While adjusting, it is essential that you pay close attention to the setting to ensure you enhance your adjustment appropriately.

The Reticle or Crosshair

The reticle or crosshair is an essential part of a scope. This is the part that shows the shooter where the bullet will land after pushing the trigger. The crosshair is often dotted around and across. The intersection of the dots at the center show where you are aiming at the target.

This part is crucial, especially for enthusiast hunters, who aim at bullseye. It gives you accuracy as well as makes it possible for you to follow your bullet from the rifle to the target.

As a shooter, before releasing bullet or pulling the trigger, it is essential to check on the markers and ensure it aims at the right spot. However, ensuring that the markers are aligned is not a guarantee that you will get your target. Your scope and the rifle have to be effectively aligned for your bullet to count.

Power Ring

This is the feature that helps in magnifying the objects you view through the scope. Viewing objects at a far distance can often be a challenge; however, with the help of the power ring, it becomes easy for you to spot objects and tell what they are regardless of the distance. The magnification in most scopes ranges from 3x to 9x.

Therefore whenever you view objects through the scope, the image you see is about three times the normal size with naked eyes. However, unlike other parts of the scope, you have to turn on the power ring for it to modify the magnification.

This means if you don’t turn on the power ring, your vision through the scope will not be as precise as the object magnification will not be active. Additionally, the magnification helps in ensuring you get precise shots regardless of the distance between you and the object.

With high magnification, game hunting becomes convenient, and you are also likely to get accurate shots. Magnification also allows you to see the target in a more defined way for easy assessment as to where you will shot. It also allows you to make essential judgments as to whether you will pull the trigger or not depending on the angle of the target vision.

Parallax Error

Right from the manufacturer, most scopes are set to focus on objects at (91.4 meters) 100 yards. In other words, when you aim at objects within 100 yards range, the target should be clear. However, a simple switch on the magnification setting alters the accuracy of your shot by introducing the parallax error.

Parallax error is the difference in aim when the shooter shifts position or changes the eye. The challenge with parallax error is that you don’t have to move the rifle for it to occur. Even when your rifle remains still, the mere fact that you have shifted your position is enough to make your target completely off.

It is mostly a problem that occurs with higher magnification, and correcting it is a little complex. However, most manufacturers design the scopes with adjustable objective lenses hence allowing easy parallax error correction. Therefore, even when you change the position of shift the eyes, you are still able to adjust your rifle and achieve the same accurate shot.

The Body

Your scope is not complete, with only the internal parts. The body, or commonly known as the tube, is what holds each part of the scope together and facilitates effective usage. Tubes have two prime diameters in almost all rifle scopes. They all range from 30-millimeter to 1-inch regardless of the brand of your scope. It is also good to know how to clean your spotting scope.

Knowing your scope’s tubes diameter is critical as it gives you the guideline while buying mounting rings. The tube is often designed in aircraft-grade aluminum material, although there are other made of different materials.

Material difference and manufacturing technique of the tube of the scope also determines the durability of the scope. Therefore, those made of quality material are likely to last pretty long compared to those made with cheap material.

Additionally, the manufacturing style of your scope tube plays a significant role in the way your scope operates. Most tubes have the adjusting reticle placed at the center, allowing you to control image clarity before pulling the trigger effectively.

Also, scopes tube varies in size as there are those with a long tube design, and others are short. However, this difference depends on the manufacturing brands, and it does not often imply that one is more accurate over the other. Therefore, you shouldn’t be worried if you notice the size difference after buying your scope.


It is common to consider coating and lenses as the same part in a scope. However, they are different as not all lenses are coated, although most of them have multi-coating. Coated lenses have a thin and slim layer of synthetic material to lessen glare.

With coated lenses, the light transmitted has less reflection. In other words, the coating permits more light to pass to your eye with minimal reflection. Additionally, when the lighting around you is not convenient, coating ensures that your vision is clear too.

The more coating layers on lenses, the higher your vision clarity. Therefore, it ensures that you will experience quality performance all the time you are out for an adventure. With multicoated lenses, you are also guaranteed that you will not stress your eyes while looking through the optics.

Lenses with coated design perform much better and are quite reliable. Therefore, when shopping for rifle scopes, it is essential to check on them once with coated lenses to enhance your performance.

Riflescope in Action

All the individual parts in a rifle scope are vital in the performance of the scope. They all play a significant role in ensuring that the scope functions effectively and meets your expectations for enhanced vision.

A simple explanation of how the riflescope works illustrate that each part of the scope is essential. Riflescope helps in ensuring that you get clean and accurate shots from a distance without having to stress as much. Both sharpshooters and amateurs find rifle scopes essential for their hunting adventures.

Are Riflescopes Different?

Just as there are different brands manufacturing the devices, it shows that scopes are also different. Each company has their unique style of designing the scope they present to the market. Additionally, as there are different rifles with different functionality, the same applies to scopes.

Although they all function the same, their difference is in the activity you intend to use them. Additionally, for you to get positive results, it is essential to invest in scope and rifle that are compatible.

You cannot mount an enormous scope on a faulty gun and expect to achieve quality shots and vice versa. Your scope and rifle should be compatible for you to perfect your shooting. However, it is also good to note that the riflescope is not what qualifies you to be a sharpshooter, although it enhances your skills.

Also, rifle scopes come in all sorts of construction, size, style, price, and configuration points. Therefore, it is essential for you to find one that will meet your expectations.

Bottom Line

Riflescopes are great additions to your outdoor adventure accessories. Before you settle for a particular brand, it is essential that you check on its performance first to avoid regrets. Investing in the right rifle scope also guarantees that it matches efficiently on your rifle, and it can hold tightly on the gun.

If you are a target shooter and wild hunter and you use different rifles, getting different rifle scopes for each gun is recommended. Also, when mounting your scope, it is essential that you use quality mounting rings that fit your scope perfectly. This eliminates the possibility of your scope, losing focus while you are aiming at your target.

It is also important to note that your scope performance will vary depending on the activity and distance. For the scope to perform at its best, your skills as a hunter also play a significant role. The way to tune the scope is also a factor to consider in determining the outcome of your shooting.

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