So you’re looking to get into air rifles. There are a lot of things to be familiar with when it comes to air rifles. One such thing that you will come across is the scope.
- What is a scope?
- The Basic Components
- The Different Types of Scopes
- Mounting Your Scope
- Choosing the right scope for you
What is a scope?
To start things off, this is what you mount on the top of your air rifle. What it essentially does is hit your target with top-notch precision. This is achieved because the scope magnifies a far scene that is otherwise difficult to view with your eyes.
Think of it like a telescope you attach to your rifle to see better.
The Basic Components
This section will go part-by-part in the hopes of helping you familiarize yourself with what makes up a scope.
The first part you will notice is the ocular lens. The ocular lens is the lens that you will look through.
The objective lens is the lens found on the other end of the scope. This is responsible for gathering photons and placing them in the ocular lens for you to see.
This part houses the ocular lens.
Focus adjustment helps you get your target in focus. This may come in handy if you wear glasses that add more distance between you and the eyepiece.
The magnification adjustment is what allows you to change how much magnification occurs. Not every scope has this, so consider what scope you will buy if you desire this feature.
This is what gives light to the crosshairs.
Parallax happens when the line between the target, reticle, and your eyes moves.
The adjuster ensures that the scope is in a fixed position with the target. This will not entirely fix the parallax issue, but it will make it much easier for you to stay on target.
Windage changes the direction of the scope horizontally. If you feel that the scope is a little too close to the right or left, you can easily adjust it with this.
Elevation does the same thing as Windage, but vertically. So if you feel as though the height is too high or low, you can use this to adjust it accordingly.
The Different Types of Scopes
When buying a scope, there are two types available to purchase, fixed and variable.
The title says it all. It has a fixed magnification which means you cannot adjust the settings.
Unlike the first type, this one allows you to change the magnification settings to your liking. You can choose a low-power magnification (3x) or a higher one (12x).
The decision of which one to pick is up to you. Ask yourself whether you like having the option of changing your settings or prefer the challenge of sticking to one setting and doing things long-range.
Once you decide, you can purchase the scope of your liking.
Another thing you will run into is the different types of reticles. You most likely saw this word mentioned earlier, but here is a simple definition. Reticles are what you will see when you look through the ocular lens.
The first type of reticle is the crosshair. This is characterized by having a vertical line and a horizontal line, with the intersecting point being the center.
This is a common type of reticle that many people will be familiar with.
This is a variation of the crosshair. The main difference is that the outer parts of the vertical and horizontal lines are thicker. This makes the parts of the lines near the center thinner in comparison.
Having this setup helps hunters have more precision.
The target dot is, like the duplex, another variation of the original crosshair. Instead of having thicker outer lines, this one has a dot at the center.
This type of reticle is mainly used for long-range purposes. The notches in the lines allow you to calculate factors such as wind and bullet drop. This might not be for someone who is just starting or is an entry-level hobbyist.
These allow your crosshairs to light up, making them stand out and easy to use.
To better explain the parallax adjustment, you will need to know what parallax means.
This is used to help with focusing on the target. However, this is different from the focus knob found near the eyepiece.
This shifts the distance between the target and the reticle.
You might encounter a situation wherein your head shifts to the left or right from the reticle. While it is difficult to align with the rifle directly, a sudden shift in direction can mess up your aim.
The parallax adjuster ensures that the reticle stays in place regardless of whether you move your head away.
You will still need to practice making sure you are aligned with the rifle, something you can get used to over time. But having something that makes it easier to aim in case a directional shift may occur is a big bonus.
Mounting Your Scope
There are different ways to mount your scope to your rifle. These are some of the common types of mounts you will come across.
Dovetail mounts get their name from their appearance resembling the tail of a dove. They are a parallel set of grooves where you clamp your scope. Their width usually varies between 9.5mm to 11mm.
This is one of the first types of mounts. The slots allow for parts and accessories such as scope rings to be attached. What makes this one very notable is that it is affordable and still very versatile. It also accommodates different ring heights for other preferences.
The picatinny is the improved version of the weaver. The slots are instead replaced with rails that can accommodate any type and size of add-ins.
They are designed with the intention of being universal. This makes swapping different optics much easier.
Choosing the right scope for you
Now that we have the basics run down, it’s time to decide what type of scope to buy. With the array of choices presented, as well as the different considerations to think about, how will you know which is the one for you?
There are many components that are not found in all kinds of scopes. Such components include the focus and magnification adjustment knobs. Magnification adjustment is only found in various types of scopes.
So as mentioned earlier, assess what features you feel you need or want. If you are satisfied with a simple yet effective characteristic of a simple scope, then go for it. If you like more features at your disposal and are willing to spend a bit more, then by all means, go ahead.
When it comes to reticles, see whether or not you like how they look or if you prefer the more simplistic look of a classic crosshair. Or, you want the more intricate design of a duplex, target dot, or mil-dot.
And that covers the ins and outs of air rifle scopes. If you are looking to work on your precision and accuracy when using your rifle, you should go for one.