How To Choose A Rifle Scope For Deer Hunting

Have you ever been lured to buying a rifle scope that did not yield your expected results? With the wide range of riflescopes in the market today, aggressive marketers are likely to bring this problem. You are probably not the only one. Here is a guide to help you make the best rifle scope selection for deer hunting.

Whether you are an amateur in hunting deer or experienced, you need a reliable rifle scope to target them. Getting the right rifle scope for deer hunting should never be a challenging task.

Once you set your priorities right, shopping for your deer hunting rifle scope will be an easy experience. 

What is a rifle scope?

A scope is an optical sighting tool that will assist you to better your aiming and shooting accuracy. To make the best use of a scope, you have to set it in an appropriate position.

Most modern rifle scopes have a provision for graphic image patterns called reticle, also known as crosshairs which assist shooters in aiming the rifle to their targets.

With the scope, you can easily range your rifle to the targeted object so that you can shoot the bullseye. This is made possible because scopes can be magnified, which brings the target very close for a precision shot.

For those with poor eyesight, focusing on a target when hunting can be difficult when the rifle has no scope. Fortunately, with a rifle scope at hand, this problem has been eliminated.

A scope has two key lenses;

  • Objective lens: this one is at the front of the scope. Its main role is to let light into the scope.
  • Ocular lens: it is at the back of the scope, making the target object visible.

Other lenses found in the scope include the focus lens and magnification lenses. The focus lens is just after the objective lens; it helps maintain the target object’s focus on the scope.

How to Pick the Best Deer Hunting Rifle Scope

When looking for a rifle scope for deer hunting, you need to find one with the features that fit your needs.

A good rifle scope will not only improve your deer hunting skills but also make your hunting easy and enjoyable.

Here are key factors that you need to consider when you are shopping for a rifle scope for deer hunting.

Magnification Of The Rifle Scope

It’s the most important feature that you need to look for when purchasing a rifle scope. Different rifle scopes have different magnification aspects. The heavier the rifle scope, the bigger the magnification power.

The magnification of scope is denoted by a figure followed by the × symbol. The figure shows how big the target object will appear on the scope compared to when looking with your naked eyes.

For instance, a scope with 3× magnification power means the targeted deer is three times bigger on the scope.

For deer hunting, you need a 10× rifle scope which is enough to reach a far distance. A 10× rifle scope will make the deer appear 10 times closer to you or 10 times big. With a 10× scope, you can easily take a shot of a deer that is 100-300 yards away.

However, if you are hunting deer in an area with a thick cover where you may be required to make quick shots within a short-range, you should consider a rifle scope with less power.

Riflescope with less magnification power offers a wide field view which quickens the acquisition of your target.

There are two types of magnification powers of rifle scopes;

  • Fixed power
  • Variable power

A rifle scope with a fixed power shows that the rifle scope only utilizes one magnification power. For instance, you will find it written 2×30. This shows that the scope can only magnify the target object by 2×.

On the contrary, a scope with variable power signifies that it uses more than a single magnification power. For example, a scope with a magnification power of 3-9×40 means it can magnify the target object from 3 to 9×.

So, which one should you go for among the two?

Riflescopes with a variable power allow you to choose the desired magnification power from its range. This makes it easy for you to shoot in different environmental settings.

You can either set it at higher or lower magnification. This one is ideal for shooting both long and short ranges.

A fixed-powered scope is suitable if you are planning to shoot at one distance. Suitable for making quick shots within short ranges.

Objective Lens Size

For the scope to have adequate light inside, which will be transmitted to your eye, the objective lens has to be big. The bigger the objective lens, the more light it allows.

However, the bigger the objective lens the scope has, the heavier the scope and the more expensive it becomes.

Riflescope with a bigger objective lens is ideal for hunting in areas with low-light settings as it will collect more light.

Today, you’re likely to get riflescopes with objective lenses ranging from 20 to 72 mm. However, for the best deer hunting experience, you can choose a rifle scope with an objective lens between 40 mm and 44 mm. The magnification power is denoted by the figure before the × symbol.

The objective lens size is denoted by the figure after the symbol. Therefore, a rifle scope that says 3-9×40 means the scope has an objective lens of 40mm.

Scope Reticles

Reticle or crosshair is the aiming point that you observe when viewing your target through the rifle scope. Today’s common type of reticle is duplex reticles which were initially made using horsehair replaced by a fine wire.

Modern rifle scopes come with reticles fixed into the glass lens. This type of reticle will allow you to shoot your target accurately up to 300 yards away.

Besides the duplex reticles, minute of angle (MOA) reticle and bullet drop compensating (BDC) reticle are other common types of hunting reticles in the market today.

While these two types of reticles use the same basic principle, the BDC reticle is simple to use, and the MOA one is a bit complicated to use.

While looking at the scope reticles, you will realize that there are some have windage harshmarks. These reticles take into account the wind drift effects and allow the hunter to compensate for the drifts, allowing them an accurate shot.

Having said that, duplex reticles are enough for most deer hunting ranges and conditions.

What Is Your Budget?

How much are you willing to spend to get your desired rifle scope? Riflescopes are priced differently depending on the features and the manufacturers.

Their prices can range anywhere from $80 to $1000. For the best quality and a performing rifle scope, you should be ready to dig dipper into your pocket.

Fog-proof and waterproof lenses plus various reticle options are what you likely to get when you are ready to spend more for a rifle scope. Regardless of the amount you will spend when buying your ideal rifle scope, ensure that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Other factors to consider includes;

  • The rifle scope lens coat: this is the invisible coat on a lens that enhances viewing and reduces glares. The coating can be; coated, fully coated, multi-coated, or fully multi-coated. Most modern rifle scopes today are multi-coated.
  • Focal plane: rifle scopes can either have a first focal plane (FFP) or s second focal plane (SFP). That point where the crosshair’s size changes when you are changing magnification is the first local plane. In comparison, the second focal point is where the reticle’s size does not change even when you are altering the magnification.

For long-range shooting, FFP is ideal, while SFP is suitable for short-range.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Red Dot Sight?

It’s an optic that relies on electric sight systems to produce reticles that are dot-shaped. The red dot sights are available in three options;

  • Holographic sight: This is a red dot sight with a rectangular shape and gives the best field view. It is considered to be super accurate and very expensive as well.
  • Reflex sight: It is non-magnetic eyesight that is easy to use. It is affordable and has good performance at quite short ranges shooting.
  • Prism sight: This is magnified eyesight that gives a larger visual image than the reflex sight.
  1. Which Red Dot Sight Should I Use?

The reflex sight is mostly recommended because it is cheap and easy to use. It is also compatible with a rifle scope. However, if you can afford to buy the holographic sight, it’s excellent. Even so, if you need magnification, prism sight is the best.

  1. How much objective diameter do you need for deer hunting?

40mm to 44mm is fine.

Final Thought

There are numerous rifle scopes for deer hunting in the market, and each may suit different needs. As a deer hunter, you need to understand the factors determining the appropriate rifle scope for deer hunting.

The magnification power, objective lens size, and scope reticles are critical elements that you cannot ignore when buying this device.

Look at your budget and combine the mentioned factors, and you will settle for the best rifle scope for deer hunting.

Practice the best use of the riflescope, and you will get the best shot on your targeted deer.

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