If you’re wanting to boost your accuracy with your rifle, I have one simple suggestion. You need to get a scope. You’ll land more shots, send your kill rate through the roof, and bring home more meat after every hunt. It’s that simple. I even have a scope on my little .22 rifle now, because it makes my shots so much cleaner, and I’m missing almost no rabbits now.
What does a rifle scope do?
At the most basic level, a scope for your rifle is simply a telescopic lens, allowing you to see targets at a distance more clearly. When you close your other eye to look through the scope, you’ll see what I mean. But unlike a pair of binoculars which have a clear field of view, you’ll notice an overlaid grid as you peer through. That’s the reticle, and that’s how you aim. Using a scope on your rifle increases your range incredibly.
Of course, it’s not automatic. You will need to practice, and learn how to adjust for factors like elevation, wind, and take some practice shots. But as you get used to shooting with a scope (and a stable rifle rest too), you will find yourself landing better and better shots.
Understanding all the terms
I got confused with all the terms at first too, so let me explain it to you really quick.
If there’s a range of numbers on your scope, say a 3x-9x, this means you’ve got a variable range of magnification, basically, your scope can zoom in and out. This is ideal if you’re going to be shooting in different conditions, at different ranges. If it’s a single number, like a 3x or 5x, that’s a fixed scope, and it won’t be able to change the level of zoom.
The next number that comes is size of the lens. Generally, it’s something like 32, which means there’s a 32mm lens in your scope. You can get bigger lenses that let in more light, but these also get heavier and larger and you’ll need to manage that accordingly.
Then comes the different types of reticle patterns. Personally, I’m a fan of the simple duplex pattern, it’s what I started using first and I got used to it. In the military they use the Mildot reticle, which help to estimate the distance a target is from you, and there’s also ones that help you gauge how the bullet will drop over long range.
Finally, you’ve got the focal plane. First Focal Plane (FFP) means the size of the reticle will adjust as you change magnification, so it’ll enlarge as you zoom in. The Second Focal Plane (SFP) reticle stays the same, no matter how you zoom. For me, I like the SFP because it’s always clear, no matter how the magnification changes.
Do I even need a scope?
Unless your only firearm is a handgun, my opinion is yes. You need a scope for all of your rifles. You’ll have a better chance of hitting your target (whether you’re aiming at a deer, or some other intruder who needs to be defended against), and that’s critical. Because you’ve only got so much ammunition, you want to make every bullet count. Plus, some scopes even come equipped with night vision, which means you’ll be able to better defend your home, even in the middle of the night. And let’s face it, that’s probably when the bag guys will come.
How to choose the right scope?
Ultimately, a scope is just a tool, and you need the right tool for the intended job, if you want it to be worth it. Think about how you’re planning to use your firearms, is it for hunting, or home defense. If it’s just hunting, night vision may be overkill. Or if you’re interested in competitive shooting or long-range target practice, you may want to invest in a scope with a higher level of magnification than what you’d opt for if it was just for hunting.
To me, there’s a few things I look for when buying a scope.
You want the ability to adjust for wind and elevation, which is advertised as having audible and reliable turrets. That way you can adjust the scope for the conditions you’re in, sighting in your shots so you’re always shooting true. I’d also make sure there’s plenty of distance between the scope and your eye when you’re shooting, at least 3 or 4 inches so there’s some buffer for the recoil of your gun. You don’t want to give yourself a black eye!
Finally, buying the right scope all comes down to what you’re planning to shoot.
As a hunter, if you’re chasing small game, rabbits or perhaps even looking for a scope that’ll help you defend your property, you should choose a scope with a magnification of 1x-4x.
As a big game hunter, chasing animals that won’t let you get in close (but still within about 200 years), you’re going to want a little more magnification, something that’s at least 5x-8x so you can zoom in and shoot with accuracy.
As a long-range shooter, you want as much magnification as possible, which is basically a 9x magnification or anything above. That’ll give you plenty of magnification, then all you’ll need to worry about is finding a stable base and zeroing in your shots.
If you’re serious about defending your home, bringing home a catch after a day out hunting, or simply becoming a more accurate shooter, it’s a smart decision to invest in a scope for your rifle. The increased magnification will help you to land more of your shots, because when it comes to shooting, you want to be as accurate as possible.