Choosing The Best Rifle Scope

November 22, 2009 by  
Filed under M1A Rifle Scopes

Many firearm enthusiasts in this day and age are using an optical sighting device or rifle scope on their guns. There is a great reason for making this happen, which is simplicity. Using a scope is a lot less complex than lining up your iron sights. Here is what you need to know about choosing the best rifle scope.

Having the right tool for the job is vitally important. Cartridges and scopes are getting more powerful every single year, and this makes choosing the right scope even more vitally important than ever before.

On one end of your rifle scope you have the objective bell and the objective lens. The elevation adjustment and the windage adjustment are in the center of the scope. Then you have the power ring, the eye piece, the ocular lens and the exit pupil which are on the side that you look through with your scope. Knowing these terms is important when it comes to choosing the best rifle scope, because there are unique characteristics among each of them. If you don’t know your rifle scope anatomy, then you are going to have trouble determining which features are the most important for you to seek out.

The main tube for most scopes in America is only a single inch in diameter, which means that they make use out of one inch rings. Some main tubes are only 30 mm, meaning that they use 30 mm rings. There are a number of different base types that can be used to connect the rings directly to your rifle. You are going to need to know what type of base you need in order to find out the height and the type for the rings that you are going to use for the scope that you want, whether they are 1″ rings or 30 mm rings.

Scopes do not gather light though most people think that they do, but rather they transmit available light to your eye through the lenses, even losing some light in the process. The best scope is one that offers a theoretical 98% light transmission. Anything that is above 95% in light transmission is considered to be great, though most scopes only offer around 90%.

Another consideration is magnification range. A rifle scope with a 3 to 9 magnification range for a gun intended for whitetail deer is pretty much standard. For mule deer or for antelope, choosing a 4 to 12 or a 4.5 to 14 is not going to be too bad. High power scopes are definitely nice, but in certain situations such as on hot days, they will be rendered nearly unusable because of heat waves and mirage. For smaller animals or for longer range targets, choose a variable range with 6 to 20X or 8 to 25X for the best results. Some other people prefer fixed scopes because they have fewer moving parts and are simpler, so consider this option as well.

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11 Responses to “Choosing The Best Rifle Scope”
  1. Ramblinwreck says:

    This may be the wrong thread to ask this question and if it is I apologize. I have an M1A with a Springfield 4x14x56 scope. Went out yesterday to shoot after getting it back after some minor repair. Problem is that it was shooting far to the left and I actually ran out of adjustment moving the bullet strike to the right. Any idea why this happened or how to fix it? Mount seems solid and scope is snug in the rings. Does this need to go back to Springfield or is there something I can do?

  2. bigdaddy says:

    Brutha your mount is crooked…

  3. CJGarvin says:

    It’s probably your mount. I had similar problems with a Springfield Armory Gen I mount using a Leopold scope. It was a windage issue as well. Luckily on my last click it was centered. Get a better mount.

    By the way, if any of you M14 whores have a Socom 16 or a Scout Squad, buy a Trijicon TriPower Tactical Reflex TX30 Sight Red Chevron Reticle. Have this mounted on my Socom 16. I don’t need to use the batteries all the time, only if I’m in a dark place looking out into an extremely sunny area. However, 90% of the time, I flip off the lid of the fiber optic, and combined with the tritium, I can see the triangle without batteries. I disagree with the other users about the etched glass. Once sighted in, if you snap the rifle to your shoulder and take an immediate shot, the triangle can be to the far right, not centered, and still hit the target perfectly. It’s meant to float for combat quickness when you don’t have time for head alignment….Get the ARMS mount…. Some might say, why do I need both tritium and a battery? Answer: You get the best of both worlds. If Aimpoint is an 8, this scope is a 10–love it.

  4. Mr. B says:

    Hey hope you could help. I have bought a Loaded M1A about 4 years ago and shot it a few times with open sights in which I really enjoyed. But I am interested in upgrading this rifle in buying a Nikon Buckmaster 4.5 14X 40SF and a cheek rest for it as well. Oh by the way I forgot to mention, I have no real experience in shooting rifles nor using scopes. I am more of a pistol shooter and shotgun skeet shooter. I spent big money for a gun that is way over my head but I am stuck with it and this is my “if the shit hits the fan” rifle. Which seems to be coming soon with the way everything looking throughout the world and here at home.
    1st Question, is that a good choice for a scope for this rifle and would that give me good Eye relief. Unfortunately I can not dish out big money for a Leupold “because I spent it buying this rifle,” and I hope that this scope would suffice for most any type of long distant shooting. I found a great deal for this scope at Optics and would like to take advantage of it if it makes sense for my rifle. I would also like to know about how many inches it should be from the the back of the scope to where I place my cheek on the stock to get proper Eye Relief. I don’t want to put out my eye socket by leaning to far into the rifle/scope.
    Thanks for your time.
    Mr. B

  5. m1arifles says:

    Mr. B,

    I actually had a Nikon Buckmasters 4.5-14X40 SF mounted on my M1A Scout. I gave it away to a newsletter subscriber as a prize.

    I liked it. It’s a clear scope, has great eye relief for the M1A and I was able to engage targets out to 600 yards easy.

    I would say this would be the best scope within it’s price range.

  6. guido says:

    i have a vector optic 1-4×24 FFP on my m14 HR ,its work fine for a 100-250 mt distance .

  7. m1a4ever says:

    believe it or not the barska scope on sale for $99 is a nice scope. it’s not as good as a $600 leupold but it works…and works well.

    just one man’s opinion.


  8. Ben says:

    I recently bought a Leatherwood ART M1000 2.5-10×44 scope. It is an incredible work of art because of the cam system. When coupled with the power adjustment, it automatically adjusts for the bullet trajectory out to 1000 yards. my only complaint about it is the small screws used to tighten the knobs down tend to losen up after several shots, but can easily be fixed, once zeroed, with loctite. I have it mounted on a Sadlak steel scope mount.

  9. JAYHENKE86 says:

    I ran out of adjustment on my socom 2 The rail unfortunately is not within exact coincidence with the barrel, Or combination of travel limit within your scope. I’m not shooting super far so I decided to shim the rings with a mountain dew can and off set/torque the allens on my rings to give the desired can’t angle. If your not very comfortable with this tech don’t do it spend more money.

  10. b Cochran says:

    That will be a good scope for your current intended use. I have my scope set at about 3″ from my eye. The trick there is to move the scope till your eye sets up naturally when you set your cheek. Repeatability is the goal. You want to have your eye in the right spot every time you set for a shot. If you are having to move your head around then either you are not comfortable with the stock setup or the scope is not at the right distance for your eye.

  11. Pathfinder61 says:

    How do I know which scope to purchased since I only use the M1A for target practice at 100-300 yards? Which mounts should I purchase?

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