Rimfire vs Centerfire: Which One Is Better?

Rimfire vs Centerfire: Various Ammunition Types

Image from Pixabay

Guns have operated the same way for about the last 600 to 700 years. Using a pipe-like chamber that is sealed on one end, an explosive powder is used to launch a projectile out of an opening on the other end and toward an intended target. Over the years the details of this design has changed, but the overall concept has stayed the same. In the 1850s, different types of primer ignition systems came about that would revolutionize the gun industry. So, what is the difference in rimfire vs centerfire cartridges?

There are more differences between rimfire vs centerfire than one might initially guess. Their purposes have shifted over the year, as have designs. Rimfire are at the easier-to-handle, lighter-power end of the spectrum. Centerfire cartridges are on the heavier, more powerful side of and are used for big game hunting, personal protection, and by the military and police.

What Is Rimfire vs Centerfire?

The most obvious difference rimfire vs centerfire is the location on the cartridge where the gun’s firing pin hits. The firing pin strikes rimfire cartridge on the rim and centerfire cartridge in the center.

Rimfire rounds started out as small size ammunition only (.22 caliber or less), but nowadays you might find larger caliber rimfire ammunition if you look hard enough. Centerfire cartridges are available in sizes bigger than .22 calibers.

Brief History on Rimfire


The first rimfire cartridge was designed as a .22 caliber and used in 1845. However, it didn’t contain any powder and seemed to be intended for play shooting. It was even used indoors. The first powder cartridge wasn’t designed until 1857.

Some larger rimfire rounds were made during its heyday, including for the .52 caliber Spencer rifle. However, shortly after the American Civil War, the larger rimfires lost popularity as the powerful and more reliable centerfire cartridges became popular.

Brief History on Centerfire


The centerfire cartridge as we know it was designed sometime during the 1870s. However, there are several primitive designs that came about before rimfire cartridges; some as early as 1808.

Casings grew more complicated and more reliable. The single-piece, thick, reusable casings developed for centerfire catridges proved more economical over the years, knocking rimfire cartridges down to smaller calibers only.

How They Are Made

Whether they are rimfire or centerfire, the basic components of cartridges are the same; but with a few innovational twists added to the centerfire. Making cartridges (both by-hand or in the factory) is dangerous work. Knowing how rimfire vs centerfire cartridges are made will help you better understand and appreciate the powerful tools we sometimes take for granted, along with knowing what type is right for your next hunting trip or visit to the shooting range.

The Parts of a Cartridge


The basic components of a cartridge (or round) are as follows: the bullet, the propellant, the primer, and finally the casing. Each can be made in many different ways, depending on the manufacturing process.

Manufacturing Rimfire vs Centerfire Cartridges

rifle bullets

Image from Pixabay

A very thin brass (sometimes steel, but usually brass) casing is used for rimfire vs centerfire cartridges. The cartridges also have more of an edge on the bottom rim, where the firing pin will strike. This is where the primer is placed using centrifugal force. Both rimfire and centerfire casings need to be within 0.001 inches of a standard caliber in order to properly function and not jam a gun. Even if it feeds into the magazine properly, it can have problems moving from the magazine into the chamber.

In centerfire cartridges, the casing has to be be a lot thicker for the heavier bullets and greater amount of powder, providing a lot more fire power. In this case, the primer bead is separate from the casing. During the manufacturing process, the bead is placed in the primer hole of the casing, and, at the same time, the top of the casing is slightly expanded to make room for packing in the powder and to make placing the bullet easier.

When packing black powder, a precise, and carefully measured amount must be used or there is a risk of inaccuracy from not enough power. Too much powder in a cartridge can be very dangerous and even cause a firearm to explode. When comparing rimfire vs centerfire cartridges, one detail really stands out. Since rimfire cartridges are limited to smaller calibers, less powder can be used; thus there is less power provided to the bullet when fired.

The next and final step in the manufacturing of cartridges is setting the bullet, which is usually covered in a lubricant to make things easier. Once the bullet is seated, the casing is crimped down to meet the proper length standards as well as reduce the diameter and secure the bullet. Special dies are used to seal the entire circumference of the cartridge so no moisture can affect the powder inside. If it even becomes damp, it won’t fire.

Rimfire vs Centerfire: Which Is Better?

Many would guess that centerfire cartridges are the best since the design is an obvious improvement on the rimfire design. The truth is that rimfire very much still has its place. Many hunters and gun enthusiasts start out with a .22 long rifle: a rimfire.

Ignition Systems

Durability

Recoil

Safety

Reloadable

Conclusion

It’s obvious who wins the rimfire vs centerfire argument: centerfire! With lack of availability, accuracy, and variety of calibers, rimfire has many reasons for losing favorability. Rimfire may still have a place in the hearts of gun history buffs and true gun enthusiasts, and many beginners will be thankful for how little recoil it produces and the cheap cartridges. Most hunters, professionals, and military personnel will continue to use centerfire ammunition for years to come until a new, more efficient technology takes its place.

The Best Caliber For Deer: Our Top Picks For You

Most people itch to bag a trophy deer; they are the most popular animal to hunt in North America. So, what is the best caliber for deer hunting?

This question has been debated for years, and many hunters have particular cartridges they pledge great loyalty toward. We wanted an answer to the question, what is the best caliber for deer? We reviewed some of the cartridges that consistently come up in the conversation, knowing most of them will get the job done every time. Which one is the best of the best?

Comparison Table

Product

Image

Price

.270 Winchester

product photo of 270 Winchester

Image Source: Winchester.com

.223 Remington

product photo of High Performance Rifle

Image Source: Remington.com

.30-30 Winchester

product photo of 30 30 Winchester

Image Source: Winchester.com

.308 Winchester

product photo of 308 Winchester

Image Source: Winchester.com

.338 Federal

product photo of Trophy Copper 338 Federal

Image Source: Federalpremium.com

6.5 Creedmoor

product photo of Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor 142 Gr Matchking Ammunition

Image Source: Creedmoorsports.com

.257 Weatherby Magnum

Product photo of .257 Weatherby Magnum

Image Source: Weatherby.com

7mm Mauser

product photo of Hornady Superformance

Image Source: Hornady.com

.257 Roberts + P

product photo of Hornady .257 Roberts + P

Image Source: Hornady.com

7 mm Remington Magnum

product photo of Nosler Trophy Grade Ammunition 7mm Remington Magnum

Image Source: Nosler.com

Product FAQ

1. What Does Caliber Mean?

2. What Is a Cartridge?

3. What Is Recoil?

How We Reviewed

a man reloading a hunting rifle

Image Source: Unsplash.com

We reviewed ten of the best caliber for deer hunting cartridges based on an overview of the product along with pros and cons and cost.

We tried to look at a wide range of cartridges because we know there are a wide range of deer hunters with their own gun-related needs and preferences. For instance, some cartridges feature the best caliber for deer hunting with short-action rifles. Others are only available for long-action rifles.

Other hunters have preferences for range. Certain cartridges are feature the best caliber for deer hunting at inside 150 yards, while others offer long-range power and accuracy.

Still others are ideal for deer as well as smaller game, while their counterparts can kill a deer, a bear or even an elephant. So, whatever your needs and preferences, we know there is a perfect caliber and cartridge for you.

Overall Price Range

There are many factors that affect the price range of the best caliber for deer hunting. The quantity of cartridges you purchase affects the price per round. Like many things, the larger quantity you buy, the less you may spend on the price per individual item.

Some cartridges are more common and cheaper than others regardless of quantity. The price of cartridges can also be affected by buying options, such as whether or not you buy brass bullets.

We tried our best to compare apples to apples. We broke down the price per item with similar ratios based on the quantities available for purchase. We also consistently tried to use price based on the simplest options.

In general, the price range among the best caliber for deer hunting range from about 20 cents per cartridge to about $2-and-a-half per cartridge. If you purchase high-end brass cartridges with other perks, you can spend much more.

What We Reviewed

  • .270 Winchester
  • .223 Remington
  • .30-30 Winchester
  • .308 Winchester
  • .338 Federal
  • 6.5 Creedmoor
  • .257 Weatherby Magnum
  • 7 mm Mauser
  • .257 Roberts + P
  • 7 mm Remington Magnum

.270 Winchester

product photo of 270 Winchester

Image Source: Winchester.com

The .270 Winchester is among the best caliber for deer hunting. This cartridge necks a .30-06 Springfield cartridge down in order to shoot .277-inch instead of .308-inch diameter bullets. The smaller bullets fire at greater velocity with a better trajectory.

The .30-06 still has more downrange carry, but the .270 is plenty powerful for deer. They also cause less recoil.

Pros

  • Good velocity
  • Flat trajectory

Cons

  • Less downrange carry than some wider competitors

.223 Remington

product photo of High Performance Rifle

Image Source: Remington.com

The .223 Remington rifle cartridge has been around since 1957 and has spent time as the standard US Military rifle cartridge. It remains the most commonly fired centerfire cartridge today.

The .223 Remington is deadly to midsize game with its 40/50-gran bullets, but it is not legal in every state for deer hunting. It can certainly take out a deer, but it should be fired inside 150 yards when deer hunting.

Pros

  • One of the world's most popular bullets

Cons

  • Not legal in every state for deer
  • Need closer range for large game

.30-30 Winchester

product photo of 30 30 Winchester

Image Source: Winchester.com

The .30-30 Winchester was one of the original smokeless powder cartridges in the US. Even though it is weaker than many modern cartridges, it has a century of deer hunting to back up its ability.

It is considered one of the best deer cartridges from close range; usually under 150 yards. In addition, it is handy with its quick pointing lever action.

Pros

  • Long history of successful deer hunting

Cons

  • Weaker than some competitors
  • Most reliable from short range

.308 Winchester

product photo of 308 Winchester

Image Source: Winchester.com

The .308 Winchester is another of the best caliber for deer and other big game. It combines accuracy and versatility to make it a very popular choice among deer hunters.

The .308 is an efficient cartridge that can be chambered in countless rifles. Its accuracy is second to none among the best caliber for deer. It meets military standards for handloading brass, and it is easily accessible and very affordable.

Lighter bullets around 125 grain are sufficient for deer at close range, though 150-grain rounds can be used for extra might. The .308 Winchester can be effective at long ranges, especially with 170-grain or higher cartridges.

Pros

  • Easily accessible and affordable
  • Can be chambered in most rifles
  • Long or short-range accuracy
  • Very accurate

Cons

  • Shooters who prefer a flat shot find a flatter trajectory in some competitors

.338 Federal

product photo of Trophy Copper 338 Federal

Image Source: Federalpremium.com

Since 2006, this joint effort between Federal and Sako has provided one of the best caliber for deer. The .338 Federal is a lightweight cartridge especially effective in short-action rifles.

A .308 Winchester was essentially necked up to accommodate .338-inch bullets. It is not ideal for the heaviest bullets within the caliber, but those anywhere around 200 grains are perfect.

The .338 Federal is one of the best caliber for deer, but it can also tackle bear and other big game.

Pros

  • Great in short-action rifles
  • Can stop a bear

Cons

  • Not ideal for the heaviest bullets within the caliber

6.5 Creedmoor

product photo of Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor 142 Gr Matchking Ammunition

Image Source: Creedmoorsports.com

The 6.5 Creedmoor has become popular as one of the best caliber for deer since its release in 2007. It is noteworthy for its chambering that generate great ballistics for unequaled downrange capability.

It is best suited for short action rifles and produces limited recoil. The recoil is great for beginners, and the downrange performance makes it a favorite of veterans.

Pros

  • Among the best downrange capability
  • Limited recoil

Cons

  • Though it can handle more, it is most efficient with 130/140-gran rounds.

.257 Weatherby Magnum

Product photo of .257 Weatherby Magnum

Image Source: Weatherby.com

The .257 Weatherby has a popular place among the best caliber for deer because of its light recoil and chambering in a variety of rifles.

It is at its best for light and midweight game and can be effective from a respectable range. For larger game, the .257 is not ideal, but it can get the job done. Some hunters prefer a heavier cartridge.

Pros

  • Light recoil
  • Can be chambered in a variety of rifles

Cons

  • A bit light for larger game

7mm Mauser

product photo of Hornady Superformance

Image Source: Hornady.com

The 7mm Mauser is among the best caliber for almost any size deer, not to mention bear and lions. It can tackle almost any game in the right conditions.

Also known as the 7x57, the Mauser is a cartridge that has existed for over 100 years. It began as a military cartridge. Despite its incredible wallop, it has a reasonable recoil and great long-range capability.

Pros

  • Can stop any deer and even larger game
  • Reasonable recoil relative to power
  • Long-range capability

Cons

  • Requires a long-action rifle

.257 Roberts + P

product photo of Hornady .257 Roberts + P

Image Source: Hornady.com

The .257 Roberts finds its spot on the list of best caliber for deer for maintaining mild recoil even with the heaviest loads. It is more than able to stop deer with 115/120-grain bullets and also makes an excellent small-game weapon with lesser-grain varmint bullets.

The .257 Roberts has been lost in recent years among the best caliber for deer discussion, but they remain some of the best dual-purpose rounds available for light and midsize game, including deer.

Pros

  • Mild recoil even with the heaviest loads
  • Great options for light game as well as deer

Cons

  • Less popular with hunters than some .243s

7 mm Remington Magnum

product photo of Nosler Trophy Grade Ammunition 7mm Remington Magnum

Image Source: Nosler.com

In the search for the best caliber for deer, the 7 mm Remington Magnum is among the best long-range deer hunting options. The bullet fires at a high muzzle velocity with a flat trajectory. It is arguably more than a lot of deer hunters need, operating well beyond 250 yards.

It has less recoil than the 7 mm Weatherby Magnum, and that adds to its popularity.

Pros

  • One of the best long-range options
  • Less recoil than similar competitors
  • Considerable power

Cons

  • More power and range than many weekend hunters need

The Verdict on the Best Caliber for Deer Hunting

red deer antlers hanged on the wall

Image Source: Pixabay.com

We know that among all the cartridges and various calibers we have considered, there are a number of variables that are personal to each hunter. Our favorite does not have to be your favorite, just like your needs and preferences as a deer hunter are different than those of the person across the street.

Having said that, we decided to give our official nod to the .257 Roberts + P. This Roberts has a storied history of success, and, quite frankly, we cannot figure out why options like the .243s have surpassed it in popularity.

In 1943, this cartridge was born as a 7x57 mm cartridge that was necked down to 25 caliber. The shoulder was moved forward, and the shoulder angle was changed to 20 degrees. It was originally going to be called the 25 Roberts, but it was ultimately coined as the 257 Roberts. This is an excellent dual-purpose cartridge for varmints--a 75-grain bullet can travel 3,400 feet per second--as well as for deer. Even the 100-grain bullets can travel at 3,000 feet per second.

It can consistently stop a deer from 275 yards. Our top choice, the 257 Roberts has a standout combination of accuracy, power, and efficiency.

Economy Choice

For hunters with a slightly tighter budget, we also want to mention the .257 Weatherby Magnum. This cheaper cartridge can drive heavy .25 caliber bullets while maintaining efficient velocity.

Despite the modest price point, the cartridges are made with high-quality brass that helps with accuracy and very few of the cartridges malfunction.

Featured Image Source: Unsplash.com

How to Sight in a Rifle Scope: The Ultimate Guide

If you are aspiring to be an avid rifle hunter or owner, you cannot avoid learning how to sight in a rifle scope. While some people find it easy to grasp the basic knowledge about sighting in a rifle, others find it challenging. Consistency can help you master everything related to the intricate process of sighting in a rifle.

Rifles are used in many areas with hunting as the primary use. Failing to sight your rifle scope increases your chances of missing a target. Once you have mastered how to sight in a rifle scope, everything else becomes easy. Whether you have a handgun, rifle, or shotgun, this simple guide on how to sight in a rifle scope will come in handy.

Steps to Take before Shooting

Every successful sharpshooter attained such a title by learning the basics and having the right shooting tools and equipment. If you are hoping to be accurate when shooting with a long range, you must have a rifle scope. Second, learn how to sight in a rifle scope as this influences the accuracy of your shots significantly. Even though it requires a lot of technical knowledge, there are necessary steps that anybody can follow to learn how to use a rifle scope appropriately and successfully.

CVLIFE 3-9x40 / 3-9x40 AO Optics R4 Reticle Crosshair Scope with 20mm Free Mounts
  • Specification: 3-9x40
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Objective Diameter: 1.57" (40mm)
  • Exit pupil: 0.2"-0.67"
  • Length: 12.20"
Simmons Truplex Riflescope (3-9X32, Matte)
  • Truezero fingertip windage and elevation adjustment system
  • Qta (quick target acquisition) eyepiece for fast, easy target acquisition
  • Fully coated, high-quality optics for bright, high-contrast target image
  • 8-Point

Install Your Scope Properly

Image by pixabay

Checking whether the scope is appropriately installed should be your first step before shooting. A majority of the rifles come with a mounting system. Not all scope bases can fit in any scope ring. Check whether the scope rings and mount are a perfect fit for your rifle.

Adjust the Eye Distance

Your success at shooting starts with sighting a clear image of your target. Situating your eyepiece well allows you a sharp and clear image. The distance left between your eye and the scope plays a significant role when sighting a rifle scope. You will need to tune the scope carefully to create the ideal amount of relief to your eye.

The ideal eye distance should be far enough to avoid any injuries on the eyes because of the recoil effect.

Level Up

Image by pixabay

A sturdy shooting position is necessary when sighting in a rifle scope. You should use a bipod or a shooting bench that has a mount to achieve the right shooting level. While any of these methods can work well, the use of a rifle mount is much preferred since it lowers the recoil significantly. It holds the rifle securely on the target.

Different rifle mounts are available in the market. Choosing a mount that is not compatible with your rifle scope can be disastrous. Thus, you need to be careful to select a mount that works for your rifle scope.

Align the Reticle

Image by pixabay

Aligning the reticle is a critical aspect necessary when sighting in a rifle scope. However, not many shooters put this into consideration. Having a canted reticle (a case of imperfect alignment of the scope's crosshairs and the elevation direction or the windage adjustment) is costly for any shooter. It results in missed shots, especially if you are firing 250 yards away from the target.

There are different ways you can align your reticle. The simplest method is to keep the scope pointed at a solid background and try to focus on an object at a distance using your eyes before you can refocus with the scope. This practice should help you determine whether the reticle is blurry or in focus. If blurry, use the diopter to adjust the scope until you achieve a focused and clear reticle.

Bore Sight Your Rifle Scope

Image by pixabay

It is advisable to bore sight a new scope after you have mounted it on a rifle before making any shots. Ensure that your gun is not loaded and that nothing obstructs the barrel. Unbolt and fit the rifle securely at a downrange pointing direction. While looking through the bore, move the rifle carefully such that the target is centered.

You can opt for a laser boresight, which is fitted on the rifle's chamber and achieves the same results–to center the reticle in the rifle's direction.

Set Your Minute of Angle (MOA)

The Minute of Angle is an important aspect to master when learning how to sight in a rifle scope. Every shooter should consider the MOA before firing a rifle. The number of clicks you turn the windage knob or the elevation determines the impact move on the bullet. For example, four clicks on the knob result in a one-inch bullet impact move.

Make three-shot groups; these help in determining whether your rifle scope is aligned correctly and whether the shots are on target. The level at which you sight in a rifle scope depends on the application. It is advisable to consider sighting at above 100 yards. It all depends on your preferences. Despite this, you should master your MOA because it helps you make the required adjustments depending on the distance and the target.

How to Sight in a Rifle Scope - Fine Tune It

Image by pixabay

It can be challenging to achieve the right focus at once. You should keep tweaking; vary the distances and refocus up to when you achieve consistent hits near the bullseye. Once you master how to focus and make on-target shots, do not relax; practice with far-away targets. However, it is necessary to remember that other factors can affect your shots. For example, the target's distance, rifle scope, and environmental factors, like the direction of the wind, determine your shot's accuracy.

Things To Do When Shooting

Pulling the trigger of any rifle discharges a firearm. While it sounds simple, it is problematic for most shooters, including experienced ones. It is important to be careful when shooting. Here are a few things to do when shooting to make sure you make safe and successful shots.

  1. Position your arm well: It is advisable to extend your arms fully when shooting. However, this does not mean that you lock them. Relax your shoulders.
  2. Align your foot and legs: there are several approaches to position your foot and leg when shooting. You can choose the side-to-side or front-to-back positions. In case you consider the front-to-back option, ensure that you rearward the strong-hand side leg in a range of about 12–18 inches. The exact distance depends on one's strength weight and balance.
  3. If you opt for the side-to-side position, you maintain stability and a high comfort level by leaving a hip-width distance between one foot and the other. You can lock your knees or bend them a little for maximum stability.
  4. Body positioning: Ensure that your torso leans forward slightly. It is not advisable to bend backward, especially at the shoulder, hip, or waist area. Keep the shoulders at a forward position relative with the hips.
  5. Maintain a firm grip: The security of your body is paramount when shooting, and this starts with how you hold the gun. Hold your gun firmly with a proper grip.

Key Tips and Information to Remember

Every rifle hunter or owner must understand how to sight in a rifle scope. Here are a few things to remember which will be useful when sighting in a rifle scope.

  1. Often check the scope mounts for tightness. You should keep them not too tight, as this might break or even strip the screws.
  2. Always ensure that the scope is leveled. A poor or unleveled scope shoots off the paper.
  3. Do not disregard the paper. Shooting off the target is frustrating.
  4. Sight with the same ammunition. Usually, ammunitions differ in terms of their batches. For accuracy of shots, it is advisable to sight in with the same ammo as anything different can lead to inaccurate shots.
  5. A shooter accomplishes several things for a gun to fire. Your role is to pull the trigger. If you do it correctly, you will not experience any movement, and you can be assured of accurate shots. Jerking or flinching when shooting causes an off-target shot.
  6. Always ensure that you hold the gun firmly.

Conclusion

Hunting Rifle Scope Combo C4-16x50EG Dual Illuminated with Green Laser Sight 4 Holographic Reticle Red/Green Dot for Weaver/Rail Mount (Updated 4-16x50EG Green Laser)
  • New Updated: 5 modes LED Flashlight (H/ L/ Strobes/ SOS) make your hunting much more easier in dark.Batter quality makes it Much More Stable on your rifle hunting Gun.Update Lens Cover gets hard to be broken.
  • Fast Focus Eyepiece with 1/4" Fingertip Resettable Windage & Elevation Adjustments.Green laser Reaching Distance about 200m-500m,Detachable Green laser sight with independent switch,Best Choice for Shooting-With Long Eye Relief:66.8-99.06mm,Field of View:13.41-40.38 @100yards,Exit Pupil:3.3mm-10mm.Wide Magnification 4X-16X provide you a big view at 200-1000YARDS.5 Levels Red and Green Illuminated adjustment brings a better view in dark environment.
  • New Updated:Add Front Focus Adjustment.Make it more eaiser to operate.The scope is Red and green Multi-X reticles with 5 levels;Exit Pupil:3.3mm-10mm;Field of View:10' ~ 27' @ 100yards;Eye Relief:3" ~ 3.4";Windage & Elevation Click Value:1/4' @ 100 yards;With 50mm Beautiful Flower Object Lens makes your scope become unique in Amazon.High grade fully coated optical lens, High quality matte black finish,Dry nitrogen filled with makes 100% waterproof,shock proof,fog proof.
  • Rifle scope advantage:High grade fully coated optical lens, Dry nitrogen filled with waterproof,shock proof,fog proof. Magnification:4x-16x suit for any W/ 22mm Rail Mount ,Made of Aluminium with High grade fully coated optical lens,1200G shockproof and 100% waterproof & fogproof test would keeps the scope more solid makes you can shoot more,1/4" Fingertip Resettable Windage & Elevation adjustments provide a wide range adjustment.
  • This Scope cannot be an assault weapon part or accessory.Integrated rails offers ample space for accessories,12 months guarantee will be provided to all our scopes.Best Customer Service for Everyone

Every sharpshooter should learn the basics of installing and how to sight in a rifle scope. Make sure you practice regularly to gain the confidence needed in developing the right target shooting skills. Every successful shooter started by learning how to sight in a rifle scope. It takes a lot of confidence and practice to make successful long shots, as this ensures that you know what goes into aligning a rifle scope and what to do before and when shooting. It is important you master the tips highlighted above.

How successful you are at making shots depends on your accuracy in sighting in the rifle focus. Therefore, learn what mounts align with your rifle scope and establish and stick to the same batches you used when sighting. In addition, make sure you sample different rifle scopes to buy the one that matches your rifle and shooting needs.

Brand Review: Vector Optics

For over a decade, Vector Optics built an optics business aimed at producing low cost but high-quality optics. Our first thought about cheap but good is skepticism. It's a natural reaction but misplaced in this instance. The manufacturer makes their products with aluminum alloy. They use a good quality glass as well. The mechanics, where applicable, are stable and don't loosen or lose it's zero through regular use.

We’ve looked at scopes and other optics in the past that cost more but performed poorly. The most common problem is low-quality glass. The scope gathers light poorly, and everything viewed through the scope is foggy.

The mechanics in cheaper scopes rarely stay tight or secure very long, even riding a few miles in the truck can jar them loose. Cheap scopes come with other issues, but lousy glass and loose mechanics are the most common.

Comparison Table

Product

Preview

Price

Omega Tactical 8 Reticle Red/Green Dot Sight with QD Mount EO Tech

TAC Vector Optics Omega 1x Tactical Reflex 8 Reticle Red Dot Sight Scope US Design in High End Quality fit for AR15 AK74 Color Black

SCOM-09 Grizzly 3-12x56 E Shooting Rifle Scope

TAC Vector Optics Grizzly 3-12x56 E Shooting Riflescope with Mount & Illuminated Mildot Reticle Color Black

SCRD-24RL Tomcat 1x22x33 Multi Reticles Red & Green Dot Sight with w/ Red Laser

TAC Vector Optics Tomcat 1x22x33 Red/Green Multi-Reticle Reflex Sight

SCRD-27GL Rayman 1x30 Red Dot Sight with Green Laser

product photo of Rayman 1x30 Red Dot Sight with Green Laser

RDSL01 VictOptics 1x18 Red Dot Reflex Sight

VictOptics 1x18 Red Dot Reflex Sight Hunting Scope

What Makes Vector Optics
Standout?

The first thing that jumps out when you look over their website is the warranty. Affordable scope varieties tend to come with very limited warranties. The Vector Optics warranty supports their products for five years. If it fails due to a defect, you get a new one. The warranty is excellent, but the 30-day money back guarantee adds another layer of confidence.

Most of you probably own or owned an economy scope at some point in time. The glass is crystal clear the first month you own it, but they get foggy or milky over time. They rarely hold zero very well, or they fit loosely on the rail.

Vector Optics come with good, clear glass, and they keep their zero well. Those two things are expected from expensive scopes, but we usually accept that an economy scope won't perform as well. That's just not true with Vector Optics; they are made well and made from quality materials.

It’s not exactly a quality that we consider a stand-out feature, but their selection of optics is vast. They have nearly every type of scope and magnification combo. While we mostly focused on scopes or similar optics in this review, there are several products beyond optics available from them, including:

  • Laser Sights
  • Pistol Sights
  • Scope Accessories
  • AR and AK Accessories
  • Grips and Bi-pods
  • Slings
  • Cleaning Accessories


Our Favorite Vector Optics
Products

Like we mentioned above, with so many optics to choose from, picking favorites proved difficult. We looked for optics that are popular but useful. Red and green dot sights plus reflex sights are among our favorite scopes overall.

They have a wide range of uses from home defense to competition shooting. In the end, we chose optics that are popular and got good reviews from customers. We didn't list these scopes in order.

Red and green dot sights improve target acquisition and help with overall grouping. This one built well with good glass and sharp reticles. It comes with eight options for reticles. That is about six more options than most of the red or green dot sights on the market. If you use a dot scope with any reticle other than a classic dot, they are fun, and some improve accuracy.

It uses a CR2032 battery or the rechargeable version of that battery. USB charging is available, but that doesn't seem like an option many of us care about in the end. You either remove the optic from your gun and charge it, or leave the weapon lying around while it recharges. Both methods of USB charging have drawbacks. Keeping extra CR2032 batteries on hand is the best option in this case.

This optic easily made our favorites list based on the information above and the price. Vector Optics offers it on their website or eBay for less than $. That's far less than any similar scope on the market, and you get eight reticles to boot. If you shoot in competitions that allow them, this sight will improve your accuracy and times.

This scope’s name is cool, but that’s the least of the reasons we added it to our favorites list. It sports eleven levels of illumination, and the coated glass is bright. The light transfer with this scope is on the level of scopes that costs four times as much. The glass and light transfer are the main reasons this scope made our favorites list.

It offers more than good glass and illumination. The 4-inch eye relief makes shooting at longer ranges a little more forgiving. The scope is perfect for close and long-range shots. It will perform great at 30 yards or 400 yards making it an excellent scope for hunting. So, at less than $ on their website, it’s a lot of scope for the money.

TAC Vector Optics Tomcat 1x22x33 Red/Green Multi-Reticle Reflex Sight
  • Reflex Sight
  • Mounts on any 20 mm Rail
  • Easy Installation
  • Rifle

This sight is a steal at $ on the Vector Optics website. Its lightweight frame won’t add weight to your gun, and it’s surprisingly durable for a sight that weighs almost nothing. It also comes with four different reticles and a red laser mounted on one side. This sight is a great accessory for a home defense gun or recreational shooting.

TAC Vector Optics Tomcat 1x22x33 Red/Green Multi-Reticle Reflex Sight
  • Reflex Sight
  • Mounts on any 20 mm Rail
  • Easy Installation
  • Rifle

This scope is an excellent scope for the price as well. It's less than $ on the website and comes with a green laser. Other than the price, we like this scope for its clarity and lightweight. Another big plus for us is the built-in lens covers open down instead of up. That's not a trivial feature to anyone that's broken a lens cover off on a tree or accidentally snagged it when moving the weapon.

VictOptics 1x18 Red Dot Reflex Sight Hunting Scope
  • 3MOA Dot Size Red Dot Sight
  • Mini Sight, w/ Weaver Mount, On/Off Switch
  • Design for Real Fire Caliber
  • Super-light & Compact, 6 Dot Intensity Levels, Cover

This great optic is a 3 MOA red dot sight. This sight is lightweight. You can barely feel it in your hand. It has the same good glass as the other scopes along with sturdy mechanical parts. It has the option for a mini sight and multiple illumination settings when needed.

The main reason we included this sight in our favorites list is the price. This sight is a high-quality product you can get for less than $. It's a great example of the affordability of these scopes.

Are They Expensive?

The sights we highlighted in this article are affordable by any definition. Even the more expensive sights are money savers compared to similar sights currently on the market. You get an optic made of aluminum with very few plastic parts or bushings.

The screws are well formed and won't strip if you're using the right tools. The glass is excellent with an excellent light transfer, and the reticles are bright enough for any light conditions you encounter.

Compared to scopes with the same features across the market, very few are as good as these scopes. Almost none of the scopes we found that matched the quality and features of these scopes were affordable. In most cases, scopes with the options we listed here are three to five times the cost of a scope from Vector Optics.

Hunting and recreational shooting sports are expensive for professionals and hobbyists. Optics, in some cases, cost more than the guns you're using. Vector Optic's scopes offer excellent quality and features at economy prices. That saves money you can turn around and spend on other accessories or more scopes at economy prices. It's a win either way in our book.

What do Customers Say

Customer comments about these scopes and other optics are favorable for the most part. Customers are happy with the quality of the materials used to make the scopes. They claim the glass is good the scopes they own hold their zero during regular use. Many customer comments we found praised Vector Optics for producing quality scopes and optics at low prices.

We found a few negative comments in our search, but nothing that screamed don't buy these scopes. We saw two comments complaining about some of the larger, long-range scopes that claimed the scopes weighed more than expected. Long range scopes are almost always a little heavier. They have more material in them and heavier glass.

We found a comment claiming the SCRD-05 Stinger 1x28 Red & Green Dot Scope did not hold its zero during regular use. Most of the remarks on this scope were positive, and the turrets didn't seem to be a widespread issue. It is likely the problem is owner related, or they just got a defective scope.

Defects are not uncommon among all optics manufacturers, but the five-year warranty on Vector Optics is ample warranty time to find any flaws.

hunting riffle scope

Image Source: Unsplash

The only other negative comments we found that seemed legitimate was about the lens covers on the SCRD-08 Chimaera 1x30 Green & Red Dot Sight. Two owners of that scope claimed the lens covers broke off a few weeks after they bought the scope.

This scope's lens covers come built-in to the body. Looking at an image of the scope, it seems like breaking them off would take a bit more force than regular use. That said, the scopes in question are probably defective, and the owners should look into the warranty.

Overall the company and its products get good reviews and comments from customers. That goes a long way toward helping you decide to purchase their products. If you look at the negative reviews plus the positive reviews and consider the negative reviews are likely user errors, these products are well made and work as expected.


Are They Better than their Competition?

This question is a hard question to answer. Each optics maker is better or worse on a few things when compared to their competitors. Vector Optics puts a lot of effort into quality while keeping their prices low. At their worst, they are about even with their competition. The glass and mechanical parts of any scope are the essential features.

Most optics makers try to use good glass, and they do a fair job of using mechanical parts that work well. Vector Optics is a little above their competition where glass is concerned and about even on mechanical parts. Vector Optics beats the competition on variety and selection. Their scopes also offer more reticle options than most other scopes and hold their zero better.

Our Opinion

man using a rifle

Image Source: Unsplash

We think you should give Vector Optics a try and see what you think. They offer a few reflex sights at prices below $, and a few lower than $. At those prices, you can buy three or four sights and test them yourself. You can take advantage of their 30-day money back guarantee to return any sights you don't want, or just keep them all. You can't have too many gun accessories.

In short, our opinion is favorable, and we think you should try out one the scopes we mentioned above or visit the Vector Optics website and find the scope that fits your needs and circumstances. You will be surprised by the vast selection and the low prices. Take a trip to your local gun shop or sporting goods store and ask them about Vector Optics.  

Conclusion

We spend a lot of money on gun accessories. If you can get a proper, reliable scope for a low price, then that means more money for ammo. That alone is reason enough to shop economy scopes. They make their scopes to last and perform reliably. We can't stress enough how important good glass is to optics along with light transfer, and they use good glass.

If you’re like more hunters or recreational shooters, a large part of your budget goes toward renting land, paying dues, travel, and several other expensive side effects of your lifestyle. Using economy scopes help take some of the weight off your budget. Compared to some Nikon scopes that cost over $$$, buying an economy scope saves enough money to fund a nice hunting trip.

Top 7 Best Shotgun Scopes

Accessories designed for shotguns are a relatively small market. However, more hunters are starting to see the advantages of equipping their shotgun with a scope, and more brands are now offering scopes designed for these firearms. Here is what you need to know about shotgun scopes.

Comparison Table

How We Chose Our Ratings

We looked for the best optics accessories made for shotguns and assigned ratings according to these different criteria:

  • Optics quality: We looked at the quality of the glass, the sharpness of the image, and at the lens coating to assess optics quality.
  • Brand: We selected scopes from well-known brands that make sturdy scopes with quality optics and comprehensive warranties.
  • Versatility: We think a versatile scope is a better value. We looked at the magnification range and other features to determine which scopes are the best value.
  • Other features: We looked at other features that will impact your experience when using a scope, such as brightness, controls, or the reticle.

Top Seven Best Shotgun Scopes

These are the seven shotgun scopes we recommend.

​Tasco World Class Bantam
Shotgun Scope 1.5-4.5x32mm 
Pro-Shot Reticle Matte

Tasco World Class 1.5-4.5x32mm, Matte PS Reticle Riflescope
  • Quality optics with stunning HD clarity
  • 100% quality materials used and tested extensively
  • Beautiful design and durability built to last
  • Compact scope designed for rifle, shotgun and black powder hunting in thick brush or heavy timber
  • 1.5-4.5x magnification and 32mm objective lens

We recommend this scope because of the affordable price range. This is a $ shotgun scope with a sturdy design and a lifetime warranty.

The scope is an excellent investment since you can use it on any shotgun thanks to the 4” eye relief. You can also use the scope on a rifle. This is a resistant product designed to handle shocks and recoil.

The 1.4 MOA adjustments should give you all the precision you need for a shotgun, and the lens coating delivers excellent image quality for the price range.

The 1.5 to 4.5x magnification is ideal for most hunting scenarios. The Pro-Shot reticle should also be mentioned. The reticle is located in the second focal plane and features a circle and a fine crosshair. The field of view ranges from 58 to 17’ at 100 yards.

The only downside of this scope is that there are no zero stops on the turrets.


Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter 2-7x32 Matte
BDC 200

Nikon Prostaff P3 Shotgun 2-7X32 BDC 200 Riflescope
  • Fully Multicoated Optical System
  • BDC 200 Reticle
  • Hand-turn 1/4 MOA Adjustments and Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset Turrets
  • Rugged One-inch Aircraft Grade Aluminum Main Tube
  • Aluminum Quick Focus Eyepiece and Generous, Consistent Eye Relief

Nikon is one of the best manufacturers for firearms optics. This shotgun scope is no exception.

This is a more expensive shotgun scope, but the additional features make this scope an excellent choice if you are looking for image quality and precision.

The optical system is designed to improve light transmission and brightness, even in low-light settings. The turrets feature ¼ MOA adjustments as well as a zero reset feature.

The reticle is one of the most interesting features of this scope since it is designed to correct the trajectory of your shot. There are different ballistic circles on the reticle to give you different aiming points to choose from. This reticle will make a real difference if you are shooting from a distance.

This scope also features a parallax adjustment control and a quick focus eyepiece. The 2-7x magnification range makes this scope extremely versatile.

Truglo 4x32mm
Compact Rimfire
And Shotgun Scope

TRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Rimfire and Shotgun Scope Series
  • Fully-coated lenses provide maximum brightness, clarity, and contrast
  • Rubber eye guard; durable, scratch-resistant, non-reflective matte finish
  • Model 8504BR includes 3/8" rings for rimfire and air rifles
  • Models TG8504BD/CD include weaver-style rings
  • Diamond reticle is specially designed for shotgun hunting and is perfect for turkey and deer

This affordable scope is an excellent choice if you are looking for a fixed shotgun scope. You can choose between two different reticles. We recommend the Diamond reticle for turkey and deer hunting.

The lenses are designed to improve contrast, which can give an advantage for brush hunting.

The design is very sturdy, and the windage and elevation controls are protected by caps. This scope doesn’t have as many features as other products but is an excellent choice if you are looking for a rugged scope with few controls and don’t need magnification adjustments.

Konus 7249 Shotgun Black
Powder Riflescope 1.5-5x32mm

KONUS 7249 Shotgun Black Powder Riflescope 1.5x-5x32mm
  • 1.5-5x32 Aim-Pro Engraved Reticle
  • Field of View at 100m/yds:
  • Length-mm/in:
  • Eye Relief mm/in:
  • Click Value in@100yds: 1/4 MOA mm@100m:7.25mm

We like this shotgun scope because of its Aim-Pro reticle that is etched on glass. This is a feature you would typically find in a tactical scope. The glass-etched reticle also works as a rangefinder.

The light transmission and image quality are excellent for the price since this scope costs under $. We also like the controls of this scope. The low turrets are more convenient and help keep the weight and bulk of the scope down. The ¼ MOA controls are very easy to adjust.

The 1.5 to 5x magnification range is ideal for hunting turkey and small game. The only downside of this scope is the somewhat limited field of view that ranges from 60 to 20’ at 100 yards.

Bushnell Trophy
Shotgun Scope 1.75-4x32mm
Circle-X Shotgun
Slug Reticle

Bushnell Trophy Shotgun Scope with Circle-X Reticle, 1.75-4 x 32mm, Matte Black
  • Fully multi-coated optics and rain guard HD offer 91% light transmission in any weather
  • 100% waterproof, Fog proof and shockproof 1 inch one-piece tube construction with integrated saddle
  • 1.75-4X magnification with circle-x reticle and 3.5 inch eye relief
  • Fast-focus eyepiece and 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments
  • Backed by Bushnell no Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty

This is one of the best shotgun scopes we found when it comes to optics performance. This scope is more expensive than the other products we selected, but it is an excellent value if you are looking for image quality.

The 91 percent light transmission makes this scope ideal for shooting at dusk and in other low-light settings. The Circle-X reticle will help you get a precise shot.

We also liked the fast focus eyepiece. This feature can make a difference when you need to quickly lock on a target.

This scope is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. The ¼ MOA adjustments give you all the precision you need. We like the low capped turrets but wish this scope had a zero stop feature. The 3.5” eye relief means you won’t be able to use this scope on a firearm with significant recoil.

Simmons ProDiamond Shotgun
Scope 1.5-5x32mm ProDiamond
Reticle Matte

Simmons Prohunter Prodiamond Shotgun Riflescope (1.5-5X32, Matte)
  • Quality optics with stunning HD clarity
  • 100% quality materials used and tested extensively
  • Beautiful design and durability built to last
  • Shotgun riflescope with 5x magnification and 32mm objective lens
  • Multi-coated optics and high-quality optical glass produce sharp, clear images

We like this shotgun scope because of the easy controls. If you are looking for a scope that you can adjust quickly, this is the right product for you.

Other scopes will be more accurate with their ¼ MOA adjustments, but the ½ MOA controls will help you save time. The medium turrets make the controls more accessible without making the scope too heavy.

We like the precision of the Diamond reticle and the rugged design of this scope. This is the perfect scope for turkey hunting or a slug gun if you don’t need ¼ MOA controls.

Mueller Multi-Shot Shotgun Scope 2-7x32mm Illuminated Circle Dot Reticle Matte

Mueller Multi Shot Rifle Scope, Black, 2-7 x 32mm
  • Eye relief of 3.5
  • Tube size of 1 inch
  • Magnification of 2-7 x
  • 32 millimeter objective

This is a more versatile shotgun scope that you can use for turkey as well as big game hunting. The illuminated dot makes a difference when shooting at a longer range.

The magnification power of this scope ranges from 2 to 7x, which makes the scope more versatile. Mueller is known for making high-quality optics. The image quality delivered by this scope stands out.

If you are looking for precision, contrast, and brightness, this is the right scope for you. This scope features ¼ MOA capped turrets with a low profile.

The main downside is the dot reticle. This design is ideal for big game hunting when combined with the illumination feature, but you might prefer a circle reticle.

Buyer’s Guide

Even though shotgun accessories tend to be more affordable than rifle scopes, you should still do some research to find the best scope for your needs. Here is everything you need to know about shotgun scopes.

Look For A Durable Design

The most important thing to look at when choosing a scope for a shotgun or a slug gun is the sturdiness of the design. Shotguns have more recoil than other firearms, and a poorly designed scope won’t last long.

You need to use a one-piece tube scope. You should make sure the scope is properly sealed to keep humidity and dirt out. The lenses should be coated with multiple layers to repel humidity and dirt.

The scope you choose should also be designed to perform well in foggy and overcast settings since this is an accessory you will probably use during hunting trips.

The quality of the mount is also important. Choose a scope that is compatible with standards mounts so you can easily find a sturdy accessory that won’t cause any sighting issues.

Optics Quality

The image quality and sharpness are very important when choosing a shotgun scope. You typically get what you pay for when it comes to firearms optics.

If possible, test different scopes to get a better idea of the kind of quality you can expect in different price ranges. Scopes designed for shotguns tend to be more affordable than riflescopes, but there is a difference in optics quality between a $ scope and a $ accessory.

There is no need to spend several hundreds of dollars to invest in a high-end shotgun scope, but don’t hesitate to spend a little more to get good image quality and color contrast.

Remember that you will probably use the scope to spot an animal against a brown or green background. You might also have to lock on a target that is moving. Image sharpness and color contrast can make a difference.

Illumination and light transmission are other important things to look at if you often hunt in low-light settings. These features aren't as important as they would be on a riflescope since you won’t use high magnification on a shotgun, but they can still improve your experience.

Optics quality is also important because a sharp image means you will get more eye relief. The amount of eye relief you need depends on the firearm you are using, but you should try to find a scope with at least 4” of eye relief just to be safe.

The ideal magnification power depends on what you use your shotgun for. A scope with a magnification range of 1 to 4x is perfect for brush hunting. This low magnification power keeps the price and weight of the scope down and provides you with the optics performance you need for brush hunting.

A scope with a magnification range of 3 to 9x is best for big game hunting. Pay attention to the quality of the reticle if you want to shop for a high magnification shotgun scope since the size, design, and markings of the reticle can have a real impact on your experience and accuracy.

There is no need to spend more to get a scope with high magnification power if you won’t use it. A fixed scope can be a great way to save money if you only need a 4x magnification setting.

Other Features To Look At

rifle scope

Image Source: Unsplash

There are a few other features you should look at when comparing scopes. The importance of these feature varies in function of how you use your firearm.

The weight and size of the scope can be important if your firearm is already heavy or if you need to carry it over long distances. A scope with higher magnification power and more moving parts will typically be heavier and bulkier.

Brightness and illumination settings are going to be important if you often hunt in low-light settings. Any scope with quality optics will provide sufficient light transmission in broad daylight. Brightness and illumination aren’t as important as they would be with a scope that features high magnification power.

We talked about eye relief earlier. This feature is very important if you use a 10 to 16 gauge shotgun. You will need at least 4” eye relief to be safe. If you use a firearm with a smaller gauge, eye relief won’t be a crucial feature.

You should also look for a scope with a matte finish. This will prevent light from being reflected and catching the eye of an animal.

If you aren’t sure which scope is right for you, look for a durable and versatile product. You will get more use out of a scope that you can use in a wide range of settings.

You should have a better idea of which scope is right for you. The seven products we recommended are a good fit for most hunters, but you should take a look at other scopes in case there are specific features that would improve your hunting experience.

Zooming In On Weapon Scopes And Sights To Help You Achieve A Clear Shot

 a view from a scope

View through the scope of an M-91: Image by Heather S. Gordon

Few things are more powerful than a warrior who knows his equipment inside and out. Knowing your weapon, though, is more than just practicing how to use the gun itself. weapon scopes and sights are essential to getting the perfect shot.

These days, weapon scopes and sights are so ubiquitous that even a halfway decent video game attempts to give players an accurate representation of these essential weapon parts. Yet painfully few weapons enthusiasts actually know in detail how they work.

soldier using scopes and sights

Your weapon itself, and all your training and practice with it, can only get you so far. The human eye limits the range of your weapon more than the weapon itself ever could, and the right weapon scopes and sights are essential to getting the shot you need.

That tiny speck that you can barely make out with your eyes pulls up close to you in perfect clarity through the power of your scope. That guesstimate your eyes make of what your weapon is trained on becomes a certainty in the crosshairs of your sight.

target on sight using scope crosshairs

A target seen through a scout sniper observation telescope as Marines with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Djibouti; Image by Cpl. Michael Petersheim via Flickr

Having the right weapon scopes and sights, the perfect accessories for them, and knowing how to use them, adjust them, and maintain them are essential skills for every warrior, hunter, or weapons enthusiast.

Scopes

bushnell tactical rimfire scope

Bushnell Tactical Rimfire Scope on Ruger 10/22; Image from Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) by Hunting Mark via Flickr

Scopes are mounted to the barrel of a weapon at approximately the midway point. They provide magnification so you can bring a far away target into close focus. They let you see both your gun’s sight and your target in a way that ensures you are lined up for the shot.

Types Of Scopes

There are many types of scopes available, and the right choice will depend on your weapon and your shooting conditions:

  • Variable or adjustable scope: you can change the magnification settings with this type
  • Fixed scope: you cannot change settings with this type of scope
  • Night vision scope: provides infrared illumination for dark conditions

How Do They Work?

parts of a scope

Parts of a scope; Original image adapted from Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic by Steyr Mannlicher via Wikimedia Commons

All weapons scopes use a series of lenses much like those you would find in a telescope or pair of binoculars. In fact, in the field, they make a passable substitute for binoculars when binoculars aren’t available.

These lenses magnify when you see through the scope. Your scope will also provide you some kind of reticle that shows where your shot is likely to go. We say “likely” because long-distance shots are affected by many things other than just your aim.

The reticle may look like crosshairs, various types of dots, a star, or a bullseye. The scope will also have a way for you to adjust the elevation, a mounting rail for putting it on your weapon, and often a cap to protect the adjustment and the end.

reticles vector of scopes

Types of reticles; Image by Jellocube27 via English Wikipedia

The user peers through one end of the scope, resting the reticle on the target. By adjusting the knobs, the user can center their scope on the target and adjust for various factors like wind, distance, and the way the bullet will drop in response to gravity.

A Short History

Scopes for magnifying a shooter’s target came into existence not long after the telescope was invented by Hans Lippershey in 1608.

Prior to this invention, all shooters used iron sights only, and these were so reliable that even a hundred years after the first scopes came out, the famous sniper Simo “White Death” Hayha thought they were inferior to sights.

simo hayha

Simo Hayha; Image from Finland Military Archives via Wikimedia Commons

The first scope, called a “telescopic rifle sight” was made in 1776. Unfortunately, it was an unmitigated failure. The recoil of the rifle shoved the scope back into the user’s eye, and the idea was abandoned for a while. Finally, in the 1830s, Morgan James made the first successful scope.

The First Snipers

Scopes produced a new kind of warrior: the sniper. The first snipers appeared during the Civil War, and their existence was almost based more upon the potential of the scope than actual performance. Everyone could see that the “telescopic sight” could do great things, but it would take a while before the potential became reality.

sharps rifle

United States Sharps rifle Model 1859, .52 caliber; Image by Division of the History of Technology, Armed Forces History, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution via Wikimedia Commons

Snipers in the North mostly used Sharps rifle, which gave birth to the term “Sharpshooter.” Southern snipers used the British Whitworth rifle, which, when combined with a scope, was the most accurate rifle in existence and the true first modern sniper rifle.

World Wars

The sniper’s place in modern warfare and the value of the scope were well established by World War I. In that conflict, Germany dominated the sniper war with the finest rifles and scopes.

german sniper

German sniper laying on ground near barbed wire defenses; Image from Library of Congress via Picryl

By World War II, rifle scopes were highly developed and available to regular infantrymen, not just snipers. The two greatest scope improvements came from the United States and Germany. In the US, the Unertl Optical Company provided a scope that every soldier to put on an M40 rifle. It proved excellent 10x magnification.

The Germans, meanwhile, actually invited the world’s first night vision scope: the Zielgerät “Vampir” 1229. They put it on their Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle, but it made no ultimate difference to their fate in the war.

soldier using vampir night scope

Vampir night scope tested by British soldier; Image from British Army via Wikimedia Commons

Today, modern infantries issue weapon scopes and sights to all their personnel, and many scopes have been upgraded to allow for easy target acquisition, standard night vision options, auto-aiming functions, and laser range-finders. Many of these are available for the weapon enthusiast, as well.

Sights

A weapon’s sights typically sit at the end of the barrel. They are designed to help the user visually align their weapon to the target. Some people consider a scope a type of sight: a telescopic sight. This is a legitimate way of thinking, but modern weapons tend to have both scopes and sights, making it essential to differentiate.

Types Of Sights

There are several types of sights available for weapons, even without considering scopes to be a subset of sights. Here are the most common:

  • Iron sights: can be single or located at both ends of the barrel
  • Peep sights: like iron sights, but the front sight stays fuzzy until perfectly aligned on target
  • Dot sights: project a dot or holograph onto the target
  • Laser sights: project a laser beam onto the target

How Do They Work?

Since there are different types of gun sights, each works slightly differently. To use simple iron sights come from the factory on nearly every weapon made. The simplest kinds feature nothing more than a simple bump or notch at the end, but most have “open sights.”

types of sights

A selection of open sights, and one aperture sight suitable for use with long eye relief, all using a 6'oclock hold: A) U-notch and post, B) Patridge, C) V-notch and post, D) express, E) U-notch and bead, F) V-notch and bead, G) trapezoid, H) en:ghost ring. The gray dot represents the target; Image from Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported by Fluzwup via Wikimedia Commons

Open sights offer an aperture at the back end of the barrel and a notch or bump at the front. The user lines these up to make sure the weapon is aimed correctly. Peep sights work similarly, but they help the shooter get alignment more quickly by keeping things fuzzy until they are.

Dot sights are the most common these days, and they make shooting a breeze. The dot, crosshair, or other aiming point displays across the shooter’s view. There is no need to align the sights, and the image always stays on target.

soldier looking  on scope for pop up target

Staff Sergeant Sally McCabe sights on pop-up targets; Image from U.S. Air Force by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle

A Short History

The first guns were ridiculously inaccurate. These 14th-century nightmares didn’t need sights because there was no reason for them: aiming the gun made hardly any difference. All you could do was point it in the general direction of your enemy and hope for the best.

Bead Sights

By the mid-15th century, firearm accuracy was finally good enough that the first bead sights were added to the muzzles. By the 16th century, people had realized that adding a rear sight made the whole thing more accurate. They had also learned to bring the front sight in just a bit, as leaving it at the extreme edge of the barrel made it vulnerable to being knocked and jolted.

Innovations

The next step was making these sights adjustable and providing markings on rifle barrels so shooters could adjust them quickly. It was the Turks who invented the peep sight, and they had a fascinating innovation. They drilled several holes on top of one another, each one designed to be used at a different distance.

Their system was so good that it remained in use until the 1800s. In that century, fully adjustable sights were invented, allowing a user to have just one peephole and move notches around to adjust for distance.

Modern Sights

heckler and koch mp5 pdw galaxy with eotech 551

Heckler & Koch MP5 PDW Galaxy w/ Eotech 551; Image from Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic, and 1.0 Generic by Neevsky via Wikimedia Commons

These came into use during the early 20th century and were used extensively in World War II. These sights use a small reflecting glass to project the aiming point for the shooter. In the late 1990s, holographic sights used the reflective idea and improved upon it by using photography rather than reflection: which did away with any distortion.

Laser sights are highly accurate but are the least-used of all the weapon scopes and sights available. That is because they are really more show than substance. They tend to fool the unwary shooter into assuming aim is true because they can see a dot. Unfortunately, the laser cannot factor in distance, wind changes, or movement by the target.

Terms You Need To Know

An article like this cannot cover every single term related to weapon scopes and sights; however, there are some that every weapons enthusiast should be aware of.

Adjustable Objective

On a scope, this is the dial at the end or knob on the left side. Use it adjust the scope’s parallax to the approximate distance of your target.

Bullet Drop Compensation

Gravity is a thing, and bullet drop compensation is the act of accounting for it. The instant your bullet leaves the barrel, it will begin its inevitable descent towards the ground. The farther away the target is, the more the bullet will drop as it travels. This means an accurate shooter needs to raise their weapon a certain amount to compensate for varying distances. Good weapon scopes and sights help you compensate.

Click

One click refers to one notch of adjustment in a scope’s elevation. Typically, once click will change the scope’s impact point by 100 yards.

Eye Relief

This is the distance your eye needs to be from the end of a scope in order to still see it completely.

Magnification (or Power)

target on sight through the scope

Image by U.S. Marine Corps via Wikimedia Commons

This tells you how powerful your scope is. Magnification is expressed with a number and the letter “x.” A 10x scope shows you things ten times closer than looking with your naked eye.

Parallax

This term refers to the apparent position of your scope’s reticle on the target. Most scopes allow you to adjust this by 100 or 150 yards at a time. If the target and your reticle are not on the same focal plane, the reticle will not fix on the target.

Parallax Compensation

Not necessary for shooting at ranges under about 250 yards, parallax compensation becomes increasingly important the longer distance you shoot. Use the adjustable objective to move the reticle around until the target becomes clear. You’ve adjusted correctly when you can move your eye around, and the reticle does not move off the target.

Twilight Factor

Refers to how accurate a rifle scope is when there is little light. The higher the twilight factor, the more light the scope allows in and the more accurate it will be in low light conditions.

Weapon Scopes And Sights Accessories

There’s almost nothing you can’t get online these days, and that includes an array of accessories to improve your experience with weapon scopes and sights. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the most useful for the average shooter.

Scope Cover

A scope cover is the perfect way to protect your scope from moisture, dirt, or knicks and knocks. The ideal cover goes on and off easily and is made of a stretchy material.

Scope Mounting Kit

If you use more than one scope on your weapon, you will want your own mounting kit to make it easy to take off one scope and put on another. Look for a kit that comes with a leveling tool, a lapping bar handle, a thread lock, gunsmithing screwdriver bits, and a torque screwdriver.

Sight Magnifier

sight scope magnifier

If you have a dot sight, you may want a bit of magnification without the bulk and inconvenience of fitting a whole scope. A sight magnifier gives you around 3x magnification in a small attachment that locks into place quickly and easily.

Lens Pen

This is a handy little tool that allows you to wipe off debris or fingerprints from your scope or lenses without having to fiddle with cleaning compound or worry about scratches. It carries a cleaning compound within it and is shaped like a pen.

Lens Cap

Most scopes will come with a cap on the end to protect it, but if yours doesn’t, or if you’ve lost or damaged the one you have, get another. A lens cap is essential to keep your scope in good working order.

Wind Meter

There are several types of wind meters, and they all do basically the same job. They give you an accurate estimate of the strength of any crosswind so you can shoot more accurately over long distances.

Clip-On Night Vision Adaptor

night vision scope

Night vision; Image from CC BY 3.0 by David Kitson via Wikipedia

If you don’t want to buy a separate night vision scope, you can use a night vision adaptor. These will go on your weapon’s rail and transform your existing scope into one that can see in the dark.

How To Mount Your Scope

Your rifle scope is one of the most expensive items you’ll buy for your weapon. No matter how much money you spend on your scope, it will be useless if it hasn’t been properly mounted. You can get a gunsmith to do this for you, but there’s no reason you can’t learn to do it yourself.

Tools

  • Gunsmithing screwdriver
  • Gunsmithing screw bits
  • Gun cradle
  • Rosin
  • Electrical tape
  • Scope level
  • Gun-safe cleaner
  • Dowel rods

Important Prep

Fortunately, the vast majority of modern rifles are already drilled and tapped to hold scopes, or they come with mountain attachments. This means it’s increasingly possible for the average gun owners to install weapon scopes and sights on their own. It also means it’s crucial to make sure your mounting system fits your rifle.

The next preparatory step is to clean everything carefully. Wipe it all down and make sure it’s dry. Apply a little oil or a rust preventative to the mounting rail.

Where to Mount

Most professionals recommend that you put the scope as low as possible without touching the barrel. Make sure there’s enough clearance at the eyepiece for the bolt to move freely.

The scope bases and rings usually attach with socket heads. Secure just the lower half of the rings for now. As you secure them, make sure your fit is even and stable by tightening the screws alternately.

If the socket system rotates, don’t use the scope to pivot the ring around. Use the dowel rods to do the pivoting. If you want to make sure things never move, you can even add a drop or two of Loctite.

Align Your Reticle

The bottom half of the scope mounting rings should be secured at this point. Put in your scope and then put on the top half of the rings and tighten just enough that you can rotate the scope and move it around.

With your gun cradle holding the scope perfectly level, move the scope around until the reticle is perfectly aligned both horizontally and vertically. Make sure that the scope is far enough forward that your eye is safe, but that you still have good eye relief.

Tighten It Down

marine holding a gun with a scope

Once you’re sure everything is level (use the scope level to double check), tighten down the screws on the top half of the rings. As before, alternate tightening the screws, so everything sits evenly.

Now you’re ready to do some test fires at the range to site-in your rifle.

How To Replace Your Rifle Sights

Replacing iron rifle sights is a bit trickier than mounting a scope. There’s no shame in getting a gunsmith to do this for you if you want to put on different sights. If you’re determined to do it yourself, check out this helpful video to get tips for doing it right.

If you want to add a red dot or reflective sight to your rifle, you’re in luck: these are relatively easy to install. Once again, seeing how to do it is the best way to do it right when it comes to sights.

What To Consider When Buying Scopes

Buying a rifle scope can be a difficult and complicated proposition. There are literally hundreds of choices for nearly any modern rifle, and plenty even for older models. Knowing the terminology and what to look for will help you choose the right scope for your needs.

Scope Number Reading

scope number reading

Scopes come labeled with numbers separated by an “x.” The first number tells you the magnification factor of the scope. If you see two numbers to the left of the “x” separated by a dash, this means you can adjust the magnification.

The number to the right of the “x” tells you the diameter of the scope lens that is farther forward. The measurement is in millimeters.

Choosing Magnification

The magnification of your scope matters. Let’s say you use your rifle for deer hunting in the forest. If you have a scope that gives you 32x magnification, you’re going to find it impossible to see through all the undergrowth and brush to make out anything.

But, let’s say your favorite activity with your rifle is long-distance target shooting. If you’ve only got a 3x rifle, you’re never going to do very well. Scope magnification has to match your intended activity.

looking through the scope with soldier target on sight

Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan (May 21, 2004) - A Special Reaction Team (SRT) member looks through the scope of a sniper rifle to help enlarge targets; Image by Cpl. Ryan Walker via Wikimedia Commons

Basically, scope magnifications between 3x and 9x will make it easy for you to track a moving target and shoot quickly and intuitively. Anything over 16x is going to be large, heavy, and perfect for target shooting. If you want to have options, you can get a variable power scope.

The only problem with variable scopes is that they are significantly more expensive than scopes without this feature. They also tend to be a bit more susceptible to breakage due to the delicate moving parts that allow them to change magnification.

Choosing Scope Diameter

The important thing about the diameter of the scope’s lens boils down to light. The larger the lens, the more light the lens allows in. The scope needs ambient light to transmit the image to your eye, but the scope’s reflective lenses lose some of the light as the image makes the journey.

This means that the image you see through the scope will always be dimmer than it really is. In bright, blazing sunlight this doesn’t matter in the slightest; in fact, in really bright conditions it can be helpful. But at twilight, in the rain, or in other low light conditions, this can seriously compromise your view.

man holding a rifle hunting at sunset

The larger the lens diameter, the brighter and clearer the image will be. In most cases, the more magnification a scope has, the larger the lens diameter will be.

So, do you want to just get the biggest possible lens? Not necessarily. The larger the lens, the heavier it is. The larger the lens diameter, the higher above the barrel it has to be mounted. If the scope is mounted too high, it may make it difficult for you to put your cheek in the right place, compromising your shots.

You can always buy a cheek-riser to compensate, but in many cases, your best bet may be to get a slightly smaller one scope and either add a night vision attachment or switch over to a night vision scope when you know you’ll be shooting in low light.

Choosing a Reticle Pattern

There are a lot of possible reticle patterns to choose from. In most situations, the final choice is just up to your personal preference. However, there are two things worth knowing.

First, mildot reticles have small dots in the center of the crosshairs, and you can use these to tell how far away a target is, so long as you know the target’s size. The dots also make it easier to adjust for wind changes or elevation rises or drops. This is the standard for more snipers.

Second, a BDC reticle is very useful if you need to shoot at targets over a variety of ranges quickly. The “BDC” stands for “bullet drop compensator.” These work well, but once you start shooting over 500 yards, they become less accurate.

Parallax Adjustment

Cheaper scopes usually can’t adjust to compensate for parallax. They are typically designed to offer no parallax at 100 yards. Anything significantly more or less than this and the scope won’t perform very well.

If the scope magnifies at 12x or beyond, you’ll want to make sure it comes with parallax correction.

Focal Plane Positions

Scopes come in either First Focal Plane (FFP) or Second Focal Plane (SFP) designs. Most modern scopes use the SFP reticle arrangement. Basically, this means the reticle you see through the scope will stay the same size no matter how you change the magnification. This is really useful if you will be changing magnification a lot and need the same consistent view no matter what power you’re using.

FFP designs make the reticle scale up and down as you adjust the magnification. The upside of this is that you can be sure your markings are accurate at varying distances. The downside is that the reticle can get a bit hard to see at lower magnifications. FFP designs are best when you know you’ll always be using high magnification.

Scope Prices

Scopes can be very pricey. Budget scopes will cost $200 or less, while the most expensive models can easily run over $3,000. The more money you pay, the more range you get, the more choices you’ll have in terms of reticles, and the better parallax adjustment will be.

price versus value

If you have the chance to test out some scopes on some buddies’ rifles or at your favorite range, go for it. In most cases, and as with most things, you do get what you pay for. However, it’s definitely not necessary to drop thousands of dollars just to get a serviceable, durable, useful scope.

What To Consider When Buying Sights

Iron Sights

rear iron sight

Rear iron sight; Image from Kinkify via Wikimedia Commons

The most common type of sight, iron sights, are the typical factory default for guns. This isn’t a very precise type of sight, especially if you only have one sight at the end of the barrel; but in some cases, they work really well. Shotguns are a great example of a weapon that really doesn’t need a lot of fancy sites.

hand holding a pistol

Pistols also work well with double iron sights, one in the front and one in the rear, though in most cases their effective range is only about 50m. Simple iron and peep sights will also be problematic for you if you have poor eyesight or don’t have time to put in a lot of practice.

Laser Sights

Laser Sights are cool, and they can be very useful for a new gun owner. They can help you get a sense of what you’re doing; however laser sights can actually be bad for experienced users. As mentioned above, it is tempting to rely so much on the laser that you neglect important steps in your development a weapons expert.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that laser sights give away your position when you’re in the dark. This is something to consider if you have a gun for home defense or for hunting.

Reflector Sights

soldier looking through the sights on his m16a4

Lance Corporal Jeromy S. Pilon looks through the sights on his M16A4 in Fallujah, Iraq; Image by Lance Corporal Miguel A. Carrasco Jr. via Wikimedia Commons

Reflector sights are most often used by the military and law enforcement in weapons designed for short range fights. They allow the user to shoot quickly and accurately and can be adjusted for daytime and nighttime use.

You can put reflector sights on a hunting weapon, but in most cases, it won’t be your best tool. Additionally, you need to be aware that moving the sight lever—either on purpose or by accident—means you have to re-sight the weapon.

Maintenance

Weapon scopes and sights require basic cleaning to keep them in good shape. For iron sights, cleaning is a snap. Simply wipe them down with a gun-safe cleaner on occasion.

For scopes, the situation is a bit more complex. Fortunately, modern scopes usually come with coatings that protect the lenses from scratches, but eventually, even the fanciest and most expensively coated lens will need to be cleaned.

What Not to Do

Whatever you do, please don’t use the tail of your shirt, some scratchy old napkin you found in your truck glove compartment, or any kind of ordinary spray cleaner on your scope. Even shirts and cloth that feel very soft to you are going to scratch the coating of your lenses.

As for those spray cleaners, unless they’re purpose-made for the job, they are liable to actually degrade the coating. Never ever use Windex, we’re begging you!

Preventing Problems

The best way to keep your lenses clean is to use lens caps and covers. Whether your gun is being stored or you have it with you but aren’t actively using it, keep the scope protected.

gun cleaners

When you clean the rest of the rifle, keep the cap and cover on your scope: the powerful cleaners that are suitable for the rest of the weapon will destroy your scope lenses over time.

How to Clean Effectively

Here are the steps to properly cleaning your scope:

  1. Get a special lens brush designed for the job
  2. Make sure that lens brush is totally clean
  3. Get a polishing tool: either a lens brush with polish or a polishing microfiber cloth
  4. Get a special liquid scope lens cleaner
  5. With the lens to be cleaned facing down, blow on it to get rid of most of the dust
  6. Lightly brush the lens with the lens brush
  7. For stubborn spots, slightly retract the brush bristles to make them tighter
  8. Polish the lens using a circular motion
  9. Apply lens cleaner if necessary to get rid of stubborn stains

Tips And Tricks

rifle in the field

You want to get the most out of your weapon scopes and sights, so here are some tips to help you make the right choice for your needs.

Match Your Scope to Your Rifle

If you’ve paid a lot of money for your rifle, don’t compromise your ability to use it by saving money on the scope. An amazing rifle demands an amazing and precise aiming device to allow you to get the most out of it.

Use the Right Reticle

A fancy reticle that lest you adjust for elevation and wind could be awesome: but if you don’t really need it you’re just paying money for nothing. If you just want to aim at shorter distances, don’t splash out for a tactical reticle you’ll never get around to using.

Don’t Skimp on the Mount

If you’ve paid a lot of money for a quality scope, the last thing you want to do is mount it to your rifle with a cheap bit of plastic. A strong mount doesn’t have to cost a lot: it just needs to be made of quality material.

fn fal rifle stanag scope mount

FN FAL rifle STANAG scope mount; Image from Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by WoozleSPB (Sedov K.B.) via Wikimedia Commons

Always Be Level

It is impossible to overstate how important it is that your scope be perfectly level. Even if your reticle is a bit off, that won’t matter terribly if the scope is level. All you have to do is slightly adjust. It’s worth investing in a level device if you do a lot of shooting.

Troubleshooting

When you feel like you should be making your shots but the bullets never hit the target, it’s really frustrating. Here are some troubleshooting tips to consider:

scopes and sights troubleshooting

Bottom Line

In many ways, your rifle is only as good as the sights you use; especially if you’re shooting over distance. A great scope, meanwhile, can improve the accuracy of even an average rifle. Choosing the right weapon scopes and sights means knowing yourself, knowing your weapon, and knowing what your typical shooting conditions will be.

rifles with scopes attached lined up on the ground

Tactical Operations Command, Federal Police Department; Image from Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) by André Gustavo Stumpf via Flickr

If you’re a beginner, however, remember that practice is the most important thing. Even the most expensive scope on the market can’t make up for a lack of skill; and in the end, having a weapon is no good if you don’t know how to use it effectively.

keep calm and carry on post it

Reflex Sight vs Red Dot: The Ultimate Buying Guide

When it comes time to purchase a scope for your rifle, you’re likely to find dozens, if not hundreds, of different models. When narrowing your choices, one of the first things you should focus on is the type of scope you’d like to purchase. For many gun owners, this decision comes down to reflex sight vs. red dot scopes. Below, you’ll find more information about both with tips on how to choose one.

Distinguishing Between Reflex and Red Dot Sights

One of the most significant misconceptions about reflex sight vs. red dot scopes is how they are categorized. When it comes to rifles, a red dot sight is not necessarily a specific type of sight category. Instead, the industry commonly refers to red dot sights as any weapons optic that relies upon a red dot as its primary aiming mechanism.

Similarly, although red dot sight is the terminology used to describe these devices, they often utilize other types of aiming mechanisms. For example, you may see optics that have a crosshair, a green dot, or other similar electronic images as their main aiming point. More so, gun users will often see red dot sights broken down into three different categories:

vector of holographic sight

HOLOGRAPHIC

SIGHTS

illustration representing prism sight

PRISM

SIGHTS

vector representing reflex sight

REFLEX

SIGHTS

So, when comparing reflex sight vs. red dot sight, it’s critical that users understand that reflex sights are a type of red dot sight. However, reflex sights feature noticeably different characteristics than holographic sights and prism sights. As we analyze the differences between reflex sights vs. red dot sights, know that we’re mostly comparing reflex and holographic or prism sights.

What is a Reflex Sight?

illustration representing the reflex sight

A reflex sight is a weapons optic that relies on a lens system that operates similarly to a mirror. The aiming point on the scope projects forward onto a lens. The lens then reflects toward you, allowing you to view the red dot or other aiming mechanism in the center of the screen. The aiming device is only visible to you, and it does not project outward onto your target as a laser sight would.

Additionally, reflex sights can come in two different shapes. The first, which is arguably the most common, has a small, square window. The window is clear except for the red dot, which serves as the aiming mechanism. This dot is only visible within the window of the scope. The second is tubular shaped and looks more like a traditional scope.

Tubular reflex sights are a bit more complicated than standard reflex sights because they contain two different lenses. The aiming point projects onto the forward lens from the rear glass. Furthermore, tubular reflex sights often include a beam of light within the cylinder, making it easy to see your target when looking through the long scope.

Gun enthusiasts may find reflex sights more advantageous than traditional scopes because they provide eye relief. Instead of having to look through a sight with one eye, shooters can position their head anywhere and keep both eyes open. This makes it easy to acquire targets, especially in fast-paced settings. Reflex sights work best for home defense and tactical environments.

Many reflex sights do not need batteries to operate since they merely reflect light off a series of mirrors. A fundamental disadvantage of reflex sights is that users cannot adjust the magnification. The sight is fixed, which means users cannot zoom in or zoom out when looking through the viewpoint. For the average user, however, this should not be much of a problem.

What About Other Red Dot Sights?

As mentioned previously, there are two other main types of red dot sights – prism and holographic sights. Although they are similar to reflex sights, in that they rely on a stationary aiming mechanism, they are different in a few ways. Below we’ll break down prism and holographic sights, allowing you to make an informed buying decision when purchasing your next optics device.


Prism Sights

illustration showing how a prism sight appears

Whereas reflex sights typically give the user a square viewpoint, prism sights utilize a small optic that is very tube-like. Instead of using a series of mirrors and lenses, this sight instead relies upon a prism inside the scope. The result is a high-powered rifle scope that is much smaller than traditional scopes. Prism sights provide magnification, an added benefit that reflex sights do not offer.

However, whereas reflex sights provide significant eye relief, prism sights do not provide much eye relief at all. Your eye must be closer to the optic if you want to pick up the proper sight picture. Because of this, it makes sense to use prism sights if you're shooting at long distance targets. A prism sight’s eye relief makes it more difficult to relocate your target after taking a shot.

The focus and magnification that prism sights offer make them more accurate than reflex sights. As a result, prism sights are more expensive than reflex sights. Although the prices have declined in recent years, prism sights are still a bit pricier than the average gun enthusiast may be willing to pay. We recommend prism sights for those with a bit of experience shooting.

Holographic Sights

illustration showing how Holographic Sights appear

A third option for reflex sights, although not as popular as reflex and prism sights, is holographic sights. Holographic sights place a picture of a reticle between two layers of glass. Like reflex sights, they have a small, rectangular viewing window that allows users to shoot with both eyes open, instead of having to focus on the target with one eye. It’s also easy to reacquire targets when using a holographic sight.

Even though they are similar to reflex sights, many users find that holographic sights are much more accurate than reflex sights. However, this is something for which gun enthusiasts will undoubtedly pay. Holographic sights are considerably more expensive than reflex sights, costing up to ten times as much. For many, the differences between the sights are not enough to justify the price.

EOTech is the only manufacturer of holographic sights. The United States military relies upon these sights, which goes to show how accurate they are. For the average gun enthusiast, however, it may be too much. We only recommend these sights to those who are competitive shooters or those who are in search of a significant tactical advantage.

Simplicity

focused on a simple sight scope attached to a firearm

One of the most significant advantages offered by red dot sights and reflex sights is that they are practical and straightforward. They are incredibly easy to shoot with, making them ideal for beginners who are learning to use their guns for the first time. It’s much easier to maneuver a red dot sight than it is an iron sight. The red dot will always appear to rest on your target.

Because the red dot appears to rest on your target, you won’t have to worry about factors such as front sight and rear sight. Instead, you merely need to aim your weapon and manage the trigger properly to hit your target. Those learning to shoot should look for an affordable reflex sight. Prism and holographic sights are beneficial but may be too technical or advanced for beginners.

This brings us to another point, in that reflex sights help teach the basics of shooting. Too often, beginners will attach a magnified scope to their rifle. When doing so, they tend to over-magnify their optics. Many beginners believe that the more magnification, the better. But unless your goal is to hit a penny from three football fields away, there’s no need for such powerful magnification.

what appears when looking through a red dot sight optic

Red dot sights stress the importance of taking careful aim and appreciating your surroundings. When using one of these sights, users have a maximum field of vision down range. That means that unless there is interference from the walls of your red dot sight, you’ll be able to see everything down range. This not only includes your target but what is next to your target as well.

This helps stress to new users the importance of not relying on magnification but instead relying on shooting basics, such as focus and proper breathing techniques. Once users gain experience using a reflex sight, they will be readier to graduate to a powerful scope with intense magnification. But until then, reflex scopes have a simple-enough design that they should do the trick.

Who Can Use Red Dot Sights?

red dot sight optic

Many beginner gun enthusiasts believe that they can only use a reflex or red dot sight with a rifle, but this is not the case. Today’s gun manufacturers produce sights for nearly every weapon. For example, as this NRA post highlights, manufacturers make reflex red dot sights for pistols. You can improve the accuracy of even the smallest of handguns with by adding a sight optic.

It should be easy to find a reflex sight that is relatively affordable. For example, Feyachi makes a reflex sight that features a four-star rating on Amazon with nearly 550 customer reviews. The product costs less than $17, is an excellent option for those looking to add a sights optic on their weapon for the first time. If nothing else, it’s worth the price of purchase to see how well it may improve your shot!

Trophy 1×25 Red Dot Scope: Bushnell TRS-25 Review

If you’re a gun enthusiast looking for a red dot riflescope for your weapon, you’ll likely find that there are numerous options available. One of the products you’re likely to come across is the Bushnell TRS-25. Bushnell is a trusted name when it comes to weapons optics. But could this product be right for you? Find out more by reading our Bushnell TRS-25 review below.

What is the Bushnell TRS-25 and How Does It Work?

The Bushnell TRS-25 is an optics device that could potentially lock in on your next shot and improve the accuracy of your rifle. The product features a 1 x 25 MM configuration and a 3 MOA Dot reticle. The reticle is red, which is why the product classifies as a “red dot sight.” When looking through the optics device, a red dot will appear in the middle of the lens after you turn the device on.

Although the red dot may seem as though it carries on forever, this is not the case. The red dot in the Bushnell TRS-25 does not project outwardly. It’s only visible to the user looking through the scope. Using this product could help produce a more accurate shot, allowing shooters to lock in and secure their target before firing their shot.

The product is lightweight, weight about four ounces. It is approximately 2.5” long. Even though it features a tubular design, Bushnell states that the product allows for unlimited eye relief. This means that you can mount the scope as far forward on your firearm as you’d like. This also means that you’ll be able to move quickly from one target to another, making the weapon ideal for tactical situations.

The exit pupil of the device is one inch, and the click value is one MOA. Additionally, the adjustment range is 70+ MOA. The scope features 40 MOA per rev. MOA, otherwise known as a minute of angle, represents an angular measurement. One MOA is equal to 1/60th of a degree. The device features a Weaver mount system, making it easy to attach to your rifle.

What Makes the Bushnell TRS-25 Unique?

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x25mm, Black
  • Matte black featuring a 3 MOA Dot reticle with 11 brightness settings. Mounts easily on most picatinny rails and is compatible with pistols, shotguns, rifles and muzzleloaders
  • Waterproof Construction : O ring sealed optics stay dry inside, even when totally immersed in water
  • Shockproof construction : Built to withstand bumps, bangs, drops and the rough and tumble environment of the field
  • Nitrogen Purged Fog Proofing : Nitrogen inside the scope ensures interior optical surfaces won't fog due to humidity or rapid temperature change

First and foremost, one of the things that we liked most about this product was the Bushnell brand. Bushnell has long been a leader in the outdoorsman industry, first making binoculars in 1948. Since them, Bushnell expanded to begin making rifle scopes, spotting scopes, and outer outdoor equipment. The brand is one that you can trust, immediately lending credibility to this product.

One of the most prominent features that you’ll see during out Bushnell TRS-25 review is the fact that the device features 11 brightness settings. This ensures that no matter if you’re hunting in the heat of the summer or the middle of the night, you’ll be able to adjust the brightness settings to help you get a clear look at your target. Additionally, the product is incredibly durable, utilizing the best:

Waterproof

Construction

Shock-Proof

Construction

Fog-Proof

Construction

The device’s O-ring is sealed so that the inner components of the unit stay dry. The product is waterproof even when submerged fully, meaning it will surely withstand rain, sweat, and other elements. The product also features the latest in shockproof construction. Bushnell designed the product very well and reduced its vulnerability of breaking when dropped.

As the company describes, this means that the product can withstand the “rough and tumble” environment of the field. Finally, the device features a nitrogen-purged fog-proofing system. Before sealing the scope, Bushnell inserts nitrogen. Doing so prevents lens fogging from rapid temperature changes or humidity, ensuring you’ll have a clear, visible shot no matter the conditions.

The Bushnell TRS-25 also features an extended battery life. When shooting, it’s annoying to have to carry backup batteries for your scope out of fear that your device will lose power at any time. Knowing that your optics device comes with extended battery life could give many gun enthusiasts peace of mind, as they won’t have to worry about their equipment failing them in a critical situation.

One of the things that the device does not feature, however, is rain guard. Some optics devices come with a rain guard that prevent streaking on the lens. Although the Bushnell TRS-25 is waterproof, this merely means that the unit will not become waterlogged when exposed to high volumes of water. If you try to use this device in the rain, droplets will appear on your lens. For many, this is not a problem.

Pricing

product photo of a Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x25mm, Black

When conducting our Bushnell TR-25 review, we discovered that the price of the product varied significantly. Bushnell’s website lists the product at a little more than $. It’s worth noting that this is the most up-to-date version of the product. If you prefer not to purchase the product through Bushnell, you can look to acquire it from one of their numerous retail partners.  

One of Bushnell’s partners is Amazon. When buying on Amazon, you can purchase the product for about $. So, the ultimate conclusion that we can draw from this is that the price of the product varies significantly based on the version you wish to purchase. We recommend browsing online to secure the best deal on the device.

This is particularly important if this is one of the first red dot sights you are purchasing. Red dot sights are incredibly beneficial for beginners. If you fall into this category, you don’t need to break the bank to buy a red dot sight. Instead, perhaps look for an older version of the equipment to use with your firearm for the first time. Once you know you like the product, you can purchase an updated model.  

Public Perception

a hunter looking through the rifle scope attached to the firearm he is holding

When browsing online reviews from other customers, we found that many were very impressed with the product. For example, multiple users on Amazon said that this was the best red dot sight they had ever purchased for this price. Many noted that the device featured a sturdy design and that it was easy to mount to their firearm.

The product has a four-star rating on Amazon with more than 3,600 customer reviews. Furthermore, when looking at other websites online, we found that the Bushnell TRS-25 was rated favorably there as well. One of the things that stood out to most users was the fact that they could use this with a variety of weapons, from a bolt-action hunting rifle to a pistol.  

Users indicated that the sight was easy to operate. They said that the brightness dial was easy to work and appreciated the fact that a tactical click accompanied each turn of the dial. They also remarked that the sight was incredibly bright. Some were worried that the sight’s glass would carry a blue tint, but this turned out not to be the case.

a soldier firing a firearm with attached scope

The one problem that we did across when reviewing this product was that the brightness setting could be particularly sensitive. If the illumination setting is too high for ambient light conditions, the red dot will appear distorted. Customers remarked that the dot was precise when used at low brightness settings. Others noted that with time, they eventually became comfortable adjusting the brightness.  

The other minor complaint that others mentioned was the fact that they needed a riser when attaching the sight to their weapon. This was a minor inconvenience, as a riser should not cost more than a few dollars. But, it may be worth purchasing the riser when you buy the Bushnell TRS-25. Otherwise, the sight may sit too low on your weapon, and you may not be able to use the sight out of the box.

How it Compares

When it comes to the Bushnell TRS-25, the most similar products are the Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic and the Vortex Optics Sparc Red Dot Scope. The Aimpoint product has a 4.8-star rating on Amazon with more than 500 customer reviews, while the Vortex Optics product has a 4.5-star rating with more than 430 customer reviews.

Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

product photo of Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

The Aimpoint is a sophisticated tool for experienced marksman. It provides users with two minutes of an angled red dot, allowing for accurate target engagements at all distances. Users found that the viewing window for this sight was clear. They also appreciated the fact that the battery life on this product was incredibly durable, as a single battery lasts up for three years.

Vortex Optics Sparc Red Dot Scope

product photo of Vortex Optics Sparc II Red Dot Sight - 2 MOA Dot Scope

Manufacturers designed the Vortex Optics sight explicitly for use in the daylight, where its display is highly visible. The sight features air-to-glass surfaces that help increase the transmission of sunlight. The equipment also features multiple anti-reflective coatings and air-to-glass surfaces. Flip caps protect the optics covers on this device.

If you’re a marksman looking for a particular feature, you may find that one of these two products are more worth your while than the Bushnell TRS-25. However, what you won’t discover to be more worth your while is the price tag of these two products. The Aimpoint product costs more than $$$ on Amazon, while the Vortex Optics sight costs $$.

Both of these prices are considerably more expensive than the cost of the Bushnell TRS-25, which you can find for less than $. When it comes to tubular red dot sights, the Bushnell is comparable to more expensive models, for a mere fraction of the price. Gun enthusiasts should consider the Bushnell TRS-25 as a viable alternative to top-line red dot sights.  

What We Think

a soldier lying on the ground and looking through the scope installed on the firearm

If you’re a beginner marksman looking for a versatile red dot sight to add to your arsenal, we believe that you can’t go wrong with the Bushnell TRS-25. Those without much experience using a red dot sight will find this to be an excellent introductory product that they can end up using for years. That’s not only because of how durable the product is, but how well it performs as well.

The Bushnell TRES-25 is comparable to top-of-the-line red dot sights, for a fraction of the cost. Users will likely be impressed with its slim design and the fact that it offers unlimited eye relief. You’ll probably find that it’s easy to move from target to target downrange without having to take significant time to refocus through the sight. Because of this, the sight could also be beneficial for home defense situations.

We also appreciated the fact did not offer magnification. Too often, beginners rely on magnification when learning to shoot. The Bushnell is simplistic and does not provide magnification. Although experienced marksman may be searching for a sight that offers these capabilities, beginners should focus on learning proper aiming techniques. Again, the Bushnell is an excellent option to do so.

Another standout feature of the Bushnell TRS-25 is the fact that users could transport it from one weapon to another quickly. This versatility stands out. If you were to take a day at the range, you need to purchase just one Bushnell red dot sight for all of your different weapons. Again, for beginners, this could prove to be the perfect option.

two rifles with scopes vertically leaning on a tree trunk

Another aspect of versatility that stood out to us was the fact that this red dot sight came with 11 different brightness settings. Although it took some time to get used to, we found that we were eventually able to see the ideal settings, no matter what situation we found ourselves. We really can’t say it enough – the simplicity and versatility of this product help set it apart from others.

Lastly, we were remarkably impressed with this product’s design. It is slim and does not add to the bulkiness of a rifle. We also liked the fact that it was shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof. We wish that the product came with rain guard as well, but this was a minor deficiency that we’re willing to overlook.

In summary, this is a high-quality and affordable red dot sight. Although experienced marksman would likely be able to use the product, it's arguably best suited for beginners. Regardless, we’re confident that those utilizing the optics equipment will be satisfied with the results. Trust in the Bushnell name and pick up their TRS-25 today.  

Redfield Revolution Scopes: Features, Reviews, And Comparisons

Over one hundred years ago John Redfield had the vision to create the best rifle optics around. Today, his vision is still being pursued in Oregon near his hometown.

While the Redfield company has been merged with Leupold & Stevens, Inc., the company still manufactures and produces the Redfield Revolution line of scopes to the exacting standards set forth by Mr. Redfield himself.

While the Redfield name and optics are manufactured and built all over the world, including China, Taiwan, and Mexico, the Revolution scopes are built, by hand, right in Oregon, USA.

What Are Redfield Revolution Scopes and How do They Work?

a woman sitting beside her hunting dog and aiming her rifle by looking through the scope

Redfield is the brand name; Revolution is the line. The rifle scopes are mountable optics for rifles and long barrel guns that increase visibility, sight lines, and aim. With the right scope, the hunter can see his target and take it down with a precise shot.

Revolution scopes come in various sizes and abilities. The entire line is built in the USA and is one of the few that still start and complete production in the United States borders.

Redfield scopes are designed with features and attributes that few other scopes can compare with. The initial design by John Redfield over 100 years ago was meant to give all hunters and riflemen a leg up in the hunting world.

Designed to be affordable for any budget and work under extreme conditions, the Revolution line of scopes was born.

Now, over 100 years later, the Revolution scopes are seen as a benchmark of excellence, craftsmanship, reliability, and durability.

There are four Revolution scopes in the line up:

  • Revolution 2-7x33mm

Redfield Revolution 2-7x33mm Riflescope withAccu-Range Reticle, Matte Black
  • Versatile 2x-7x magnification range has you covered in almost all situations
  • Excellent light transmission due to outstanding lens quality, especially for "colder" colors that dominate the critical time near dusk and dawn
  • Fully waterproof and shockproof for reliable use out in the field
  • 65 MOA of windage and elevation adjustment; 1/4 MOA per click

  • Revolution 3-9x40mm

Redfield Revolution 3-9x40mm Riflescope with Accu-Range Reticle, Matte Black
  • Resettable stainless steel finger-click Accu-Trac adjustments
  • Accu-Range reticle combines long-range precision with ease of target acquisition
  • Waterproof, fog proof and shock proof for a lifetime of field use
  • Rapid Target Acquisition (RTA) eyepiece helps you align your eye with the eyepiece faster
  • Premium lenses with cutting edge vapor-deposition coatings offer best-in-class light transmission in the critical low-light/blue wavelengths most common when game is active

  • Revolution 3-9x50mm

Redfield Revolution 3-9x50mm Riflescope with Accu-Range Reticle, Matte Black
  • Resettable stainless steel finger-click Accu-Trac adjustments
  • Accu-Range reticle combines long-range precision with ease of target acquisition
  • Waterproof, fog proof and shock proof for a lifetime of field use
  • Rapid Target Acquisition (RTA) eyepiece helps you align your eye with the eyepiece faster
  • Premium lenses with cutting edge vapor-deposition coatings offer best-in-class light transmission in the critical low-light/blue wavelengths most common when game is active

  • Revolution 4-12x40mm

Redfield Revolution 4-12x40mm Riflescope with Accu-Range Reticle, Matte Black
  • Magnification: 4-12x, Objective lens: 40mm, Main tube diameter: 1"
  • Accu-Range reticle: Circle-crosshair pattern with secondary aiming point for bullet drop compensation
  • Eye relief: 3.7-4.9", Multicoated Illuminator Lens System
  • 1/4 MOA impact point correction, Accu-Trac finger-adjustable turret, Rapid Target Acquisition eyepiece with lockable setting
  • Weight: 13.1 oz, Nitrogen-filled for fogproof and waterproof performance

Each scope has a distinct purpose and mounts depending on what you are shooting. All the scopes are designed to fit most rifles. Leupold & Stevens, Inc. provides rings and bases for virtually any long barrel, 1-inch main tube diameter mounts and barrels that have a mounting space along the main barrel between 4.8 and 5.6 inches.

The 2 7x33mm scope is designed for hunting in short range areas where the sight may be darker, either through thick brush or dark trees and dense cover.

The 3-9x40mm scope is the general “all-around” scope. It has the best mixture of high-end and low-end magnification and can be used for most short and mid-range shots in any conditions.

The 3-9x50mm scope has the most light-gathering abilities and is designed for and relied upon by hunters who prefer the early morning or dusk hunting times.

The 4 12x40mm has huge magnification and is meant for those that hunt long range in open areas. With this scope, you can zero in on prey up to 600 meters in the distance.

John Redfield had a vision of bringing no-nonsense optics to the public. He did so with the Revolution line, which continues to this day.

What Makes Revolution Scopes Unique?

a rifle with a scope lying on top of a long firearm bag

Redfield Revolution scopes bring together world-class attributes that set them apart from almost every other scope on the market. Let’s take a look at what makes them different.

Construction

Each scope is made from 6061 T-6 aluminum. This gives the scopes a superior light weight and rugged durability. It also makes the scopes easier to zero in and maintain their sighting throughout the most abusive and prolonged use.

Redfield ILS

The Illuminated Lens System (ILS) is a Redfield design to allow the scope lens to absorb the most amount of light possible, making each shot through the lens, clear and crisp.

100 Percent Water and Fog Proof

The scopes main tubes are all vacuum purged with nitrogen. When they are sealed they create a waterproof and fog proof lens tube no matter what conditions you end up shooting in. The lenses will never fog, grow dark, accumulate moisture or be subjected to interior water damage.

Extreme Testing

Every scope is subjected to a series of brutal testing procedures to ensure that when you unbox the scope, it will perform as expected. Shockproof, easy to sight, simple to mount and ready to go virtually out of the box. With a quick zeroing in at the range, you will be ready to hit the trail in no time.

Reticles

a man looking through the rifle scope as he aim his rifle to his target

When you peer through the scope, the reticle should be easily seen and draw your eye to the center of the lens quickly. With Redfield scopes, you have a choice of three reticles. You will have to choose which reticle you want before ordering, as each one is made as needed.

The Accu-Range reticle is the most popular crosshair in the Revolution line. It offers a bold mark just above the center to draw the eye through the lens fast and steady.

The center mark is designed to be sighted at 200 yards for most loads. Following this then the lower marks correspond to 300 yards. The dot below the 300-yard sight represents 400 yards, and the bottom post is for 500 yards.

This will, of course, depend on the weight of your load and the type of shot, but as a general sighting rule, 200 yards center line should be followed for the most accurate and easily sighted optics.

The 4-Plex is another popular choice, which is designed to not have as many distractions in the optics. It offers bold posts that draw your eye to the center and hairline crosshairs for measuring the shot.

Sighting a 4-Plex is a little more difficult than the Accu-Range, but for those hunters that prefer less clutter in their sights, the choice is the 4-Plex view.

The TAC-MOA reticle is only available on the Revolution 3-9x40mm scope. It offers tactical elevation and windage adjustments. Each line represents 2 minutes of angle (MOA) and provides a far more accurate shot when used from 50 to 300 yards or more.

Pricing

When choosing the right scope for you, a budget will come into play at some point. As it stands, the four scope types, with the two reticle choices (or the TAC for the 3-9x40mm) are priced within ten to 20 dollars of each other.

The Accu-Range reticle, with the bullet drop compensation (BDC), is slightly more expensive than the less obtrusive 4-Plex. You should keep this in mind when choosing your reticle before purchase.

You can find the Revolution 2-7x33mm in the price range of $170 to $180 depending on the reticle chosen.

For the Revolution 3-9x40mm, depending on the reticle, you can expect to pay between $185 and $200.

The Revolution 3-9x50mm scope will have a price range of about $200 to $200 while the Revolution 4-12x40mm will run you between $225 and $245.

Public Perception

The Redfield Revolution scopes have received rave reviews from as far back as 1907 when the first one was made. In today’s digital age it is even easier to find reviews, reports, and accolades for the scopes.

What is difficult to find are complaints. Every scope, when researched online or in store, has over a 95 percent satisfaction rating with 90 percent of consumers willing (and eager) to recommend them to friends and family.

What about that 5 percent though? The most common complaint is about mounting. The bases and rings are suitable for most rifles, but not all. If the mounting tube isn’t one-inch in diameter, you may have problems with the mounting.

The second most complained about issue was the lack of end caps for the lenses. If this is going to be a problem for you, you can purchase caps from Leupold directly that will fit snug and secure.

Other than those two issues, there isn’t much more to complain about. The glowing recommendations and reviews from actual users and buyers are astounding. A near perfect scope, with easy mounts, three reticles, and the Redfield ILS, you are sure to be happy with your purchase.

What about the warranty? Leupold has you covered. Since 1907, the Revolution scopes have come with a lifetime warranty, or as they call it “The No-Excuses Full Lifetime Warranty.”

If ever anything goes wrong, it will be replaced, no fuss, no questions, no excuses. The only caveat is that the warranty is non-transferable, meaning if you buy the scope, the warranty is for you and you alone. If you end up selling it to someone else, the warranty is voided.

How It Compares

You will be hard-pressed to find another scope that offers what the Revolution line of scopes offers. With an unsurpassed warranty, 100 percent waterproof and fog proof tube and four options of magnification to choose from, the Revolution is heads above the competition.

For similar style, quality and dependable scopes in the same price range, nothing really compares. Sure you can find a less expensive model with the same magnification power, but it won’t have the Revolution’s ILS, shockproof design or lightweight, and low profile.

What We Think

We try to be as objective as possible, but find it difficult to find a better option for mid-range scopes that are better than the Redfield Revolution.

The four options of magnification and the additional options of reticles, make the line up hard to beat. There are a few very small issues that come up from time to time with the scopes though. Some mountings make it difficult to get the scope properly on your barrel.

There are, however, third parties that have rings and bases that can make it work, you will just have to do a little more research.

You may also find that the lack of end caps to be a bit off-putting. If that is the case, you can shop through Leupold to find caps that fit just fine. When you open the box, you will see you only receive the scope itself and a user’s guide.

The rings and bases will need to be purchased separately, though they are fairly inexpensive and picking the right ones for your rifle are essential to a proper mount.

Coupons and Deals

As of this writing, there are no posted or announced deals through the website or third party vendors.

If you are looking to save a little money, you can try looking for used scopes on sites like eBay or Amazon. You should note, that while the scopes may be in great condition when purchased new, the lifetime warranty does not transfer over to you.

If you purchase a used or second-hand scope, there shouldn’t be any issues unless the scope was mistreated by the original owner. However, should something go wrong after you make the purchase