Tips for Choosing a Competition Rifle Scope

Posted by Team Springfield

Dec 8, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Accuracy is key to any competitive shooting event. Developing accuracy takes talent and lots of practice. It also depends on mechanics. While accuracy depends on a number of parts working together, the best grip, trigger pressure, and mental discipline in the world are nothing without a good scope.

How Does a Scope Work?

A rifle scope is really just a series of lenses that take an image and magnify its size. It works much like binoculars, bringing images that are far away and small, much closer and larger. This allows the shooter to aim more precisely which helps improve accuracy.

To allow precise aiming, as well as magnification, scopes typically have cross hairs or something similar to provide a point of reference for the shooter for where the bullet will impact. Some scopes are very simple to use, allowing the shooter to simply align the crosshairs to the target he or she is aiming for. Others have complicated, trajectory compensating aiming systems allowing for more precise long distance shooting requiring no adjustments.  

Fixed and Variable Power

Scopes come labeled with their magnification power. A fixed power scope might be marked “6x,” meaning it magnifies the image to 6 times what a human eye would normally see. Variable scopes have more magnification capabilities. A variable scope might come with a label like “3–9x, 50mm.” This indicates the scope can magnify the image to anywhere between 3 and 9 times what the human eye can perceive. 50mm refers to the objective lens' diameter.

Choosing a Scope

Variable power scopes may often be preferable to fixed power scopes. They are versatile, allowing competitive shooters to use an appropriate amount of magnification for specific needs. However, they are significantly more expensive than fixed power scopes. If budget is a concern, you can still buy a fixed power scope that will perform exceptionally. Keep in mind an inexpensive variable power scope has some common performance problems. If your budget allows for only a lower end variable power scope, you may be better off with a fixed power scope. 

The key to choosing a scope is deciding what your scope will be used for. If you know what sort of competitions you'll be competing in, you can choose a scope with the optimal magnification capabilities. What time of day your competitions occur at, whether the targets will be stationary or moving, and what the nature of the shooting range is are all important in deciding which scope will serve you best.

Put time into selecting a scope to make sure you choose well. Your accuracy will improve greatly with your new scope.

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual.  These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory®.