How To Choose The Right Scope

Getting the most suitable scope for your needs can be challenging for beginners. Scopes have different configuration, features, and reticles designed to tackle different challenges. If you are new to either hunting or recreational target shooting, technical terms, such as magnification, parallax, light transmission, eye relief, exit pupil, field of view, coating, zero stop, and click value can be confusing.

Choosing the wrong scope can compromise your goals as a hunter or shooter.

When shopping for rifle scopes, it’s essential to compare material, workmanship, durability, reliability, optical design, and reticles to your primary application. Choosing a company that offers great warranties and customer service can be important factors as well when you shop for your scopes.

Here are some considerations when picking the next scope for your outdoor adventure.


Simply, magnification is how much closer the image appears than when viewed with the naked eye. For example, a scope with 8x magnification produces an image as if one were 8 times closer to the object. This is the ratio of the focal length of the eyepiece divided by the focal length of the objective giving you the linear magnifying power of a riflescope. Different scope magnifications are designed for different purposes. A lower magnification scope has less susceptibility to shaking and is good for quickly engaging targets within short range because it has much wider field of view. A larger magnification leads to a smaller field of view and is good for medium and long range shooting.


This is the diameter of the forward facing lens of the scope. The diameter of the objective lens determines how much light can be collected to form an image. It is usually expressed in millimeters.


The field of view of a riflescope is determined by its optical design. It is usually notated as how many meters in width can be seen at 100 meters or an angular value of how many degrees can be viewed.


The light collected by the objective forms into a beam that called the exit pupil. Its diameter is the objective diameter divided by the magnifying power. To maximize effectiveness of light-gathering and achieve the brightest image, a good scope design should equal exit pupil to the diameter of the fully dilated iris of the human eye which is about 7 mm and reduces the diameter when people get older. The larger exit pupil makes it easier for people to place their eye into the position where you will not have a darkened or obscured view that occurs when the light path is partially obstructed; so this becomes very helpful when you need to quickly acquire the image of a fast moving target. If exit pupil of a riflescope became too narrow, it will force you to hold the scope steady and avoid any movement, causing fatigue issue when you have to keep aiming at your target. Another benefit of having larger exit pupil is when people use the scope under low light environment, from dusk to dawn, their pupils will adjust to ambient light and become larger, thus require larger exit pupil to accommodate this change in size of eye pupil. For comfort, ease of use, and flexibility in applications, In general, rifle scopes with larger exit pupils offer you better comfort and higher flexibility.


Eye relief is the distance from the eyepiece lens to the exit pupil or your eye. In order to get an unvignetted image you have to position your eye at certain distance behind the eyepiece lens. Typically the longer the focal length of the eyepiece will give you the greater the eye relief. Riflescopes that have longer eye relief are useful to avoid recoil impact on your eye and very helpful for those people who have to wear glasses as their eyes are further out due to glasses being in the middle.


These terms are pretty self-explanatory but very critical to overall performance of a rifle scope. Fog proofing guarantees the lenses of scope will not fog up on the inside of the riflescope when the temperature swings in a dramatic way. To achieve great and reliable fog proof performance, a scope need to properly dried and purged with dry inertia gas, such Nitrogen or Argon, to minimize moisture level inside the tube. On top of this, all seams and openings of a scope need to sealed properly to waterproof level so no moisture can get in later when you are using the scope under high humidity environment.

Waterproofing protects your scope from moisture and water getting inside the tube, thus will ensure reliability and durability of the scope. ATHLON tests waterproofing of the scopes by submerging them one meter down into water for thirty minutes and then checks for any water that is present on the inside of the tube.

Shockproof is a key performance indicator of a riflescope withstanding recoil impact from your firearm. A good rifle scope will hold its mechanical integration and optical performance even after thousands of rounds firing under the toughest environment. At ATHLON, we are putting our riflescopes through 1000 rounds 1000G force recoil test to our product that can face the toughest challenges in the field.


Optical quality of a riflescope is measured by resolution, parallax, light transmission, aberration, image distortion, etc. All those terms sound complicated, but the bottom line is a good riflescope needs to always provide a bright and crystal clear image for you when you need it. Precisely cut and polished special lens, multi-layers of antireflective coating, flawless sequential optical design of the light ray path, perfectly treated internal surfaces and quality assembly are the key elements to achieve superior optical performance.


A good riflescope should always provide audible and crisp click when you are turning the turrets to adjust your aiming point. Wobbling turrets, sluggish control, image jump, and tracking error are the typical problems if the components were not manufactured to high tolerance level and assembled. Good windage and elevation adjustment once set and locked should always hold its zero after rounds and rounds shooting.


There are many choices of reticles available on the market. You need to decide which one best fits your rifle, the type of ammo you use, and the tasks you need to perform. If you’re just getting started, you should choose a simple to use reticle offering a clear aiming point for different yardage. For some people who want to get a quick estimate on how far the target is away, they might choose a reticle with good ranging capability. Others may need a reticle at the first focal plane so they can zoom in on the target and have a scaled up reticle to have precise holding points to engage a long range target. Some partially illuminated reticles, such as illuminated center point or a circle, provide great visual contrast and clear aiming point when acquiring your target under low ambient light. Consult our customer service if you are not sure what kind of reticle you need to choose for your specific activities.


If you need to quickly acquire a fast moving target in close-range hunting, you need large field of view (FOV). A large FOV will help you keep your target always in sight. For example, a 1-6 variable power will give you a wide FOV and some magnification power for targeting an object a bit further out as well. If you’re engaging your target at 400 yards or beyond range, you need a longer range riflescope that can magnify enough detail to make a clear shot.

The recoil forces of different rifles will determine the required eye relief. You need to make sure that the eye relief of a scope protects you from recoil and prevents unintentional contact with the scope.


If you’re still unsure on what kind of scope is right for you, contact us online or by phone at 1-855-913-5678 and one of our experienced team members will be happy to help!

WordPress Image Lightbox