Welcome to the first part in our four part guide to understanding and choosing a riflescope.

This is the first article in a 4-part series of Choosing the Best Riflescope Guides. I’m trying to help remove some of the confusion when you come to choose your ideal riflescope. The guides try to give you the information that you need on the main things that you should be looking for when choosing a scope.

The common features and properties of riflescopes are explained and some examples are given in practical terms to help you understand the riflescope and its capabilities.

I hope you will learn something new from this guide, and if you are a novice looking to buy your first riflescope then it is essential that you read this to get some basic knowledge before you rush into a purchase. Riflescopes aren’t cheap and you want to make sure that you are getting the best scope for your intended use, whether that is hunting or competition shooting. The information in this guide will also help you distinguish between the different types of optics available.

Why You Need a Riflescope

Nowadays, riflescopes are being used with many different types of firearms, not only rifles, but shotguns and also handguns as well. The reason for this is because it is much more accurate to aim down a scope and hit your target or quarry, than it is to shoot using only the iron sights on a weapon.

Riflescopes have become more and more powerful, with many of the more recent scopes on the market, offering complicated features. Many of these newer features, you may never need for certain applications, so why would you need to shell out the extra cash to pay for them?

If you are thinking about getting a riflescope but don’t understand some of the terminology or think that you may be mislead into buying a more high tech or powerful scope than you need, then this 4-part riflescope guide should bring some clarity to your situation.

The Anatomy of a Simple Riflescope

Have a look below at the picture below showing the features of a typical riflescope:

Simple Riflescope Parts

Exit Pupil – This is where you look through, is called an exit pupil as this is where the light transmitted by the scope comes out.

Power Ring – If your scope has adjustable magnification then it will have a ring which you can turn to increase or decrease the degree of zoom.

Main Tube – This is the middle of the scope where the strength of the scope comes from, when a scope is defined as rugged or a one piece tube then this is the part of the scope being discussed.

Elevation Adjustment/Turret – Turning this dial will affect the height of your point of impact. Most riflescopes will usually have a fixed MOA adjustment per click. MOA and elevation is explained later on. Located on the side of the scope.

Windage Adjustment/Turret – Turning this dial will account for the lateral movement your shot will experience from wind. Is also usually in MOA and is explained later on. Located on top of the scope.

Objective Lens – This is the forward facing part of the scope, a large objective lens is theoretically better at gathering light. However the drawback is a heavier scope and one that is harder to sight through comfortably repeatedly. And you will need higher rings.

Parallax Adjustment – Usually it’s only larger magnification scopes, 10x or above that have a parallax adjustment. The knob is located on the opposite side to the Elevation Turret.