Scopes by Shane Hurkmans
Most of us know what a scope is. A scope is a device or a cylindrical instrument equipped with lenses or mirrors for viewing distant objects. Ok, with that out of the way we can get down to what scopes can be used for the hunting that you do. What scope should you put on your rifle, shotgun or pistol? This day and age we have scopes for everything under the sun. We have scopes that take pictures for you while you hunt and night scopes like our government uses for special ops.
For most of us, we are looking for hunting scopes. Let’s start with riflescopes.
Most scopes that we now have today have options that we could not get 20 years ago. Back then we had scopes but all scopes had a 3-inch eye relief with glass lenses that were not very good for collecting light. Some scopes where clear in the middle with dark edges. Now we have scopes with synthetic lenses and are clear out to the bell of the scope. We also have lighted optics with are nice in low light conditions. Now, what’s the right the scope for you?
You have to look at where you are going to hunt. Around here a scope with a 3×9 32 works great for the hardwoods and swamp bottoms. If you hunt flatter terrain, you may need a scope for shooting longer distance such as a 4×16 with a larger objective. Myself, I carry a 4×16 with a 50 AO. This is fine for hunting in the brush to the big flats down south. Keep in mind the bigger the objective the higher the scope has to be off the rifle. The higher you have to keep your cheek for the rifle.
Riflescopes are made for certain rifles and calibers. 22 scopes are made different than a centerfire scopes. Why is this? 22s have different harmonics than a centerfire rifle. A scope for a 22 will break after a few shots form a centerfire rifle. You can use a centerfire riflescope on a 22 but not the other way around. Next time you’re out looking for a scope, ask to make sure that your getting the right scope.
If you are a magnum rifle shooter, they make a scope for you. On a magnum rifle you want to find a scope with a long eye relief. What I’m talking about is the length from the back of the scope to your eye. On most rifles a 3-inch relief is great. For a magnum shooter you can get scopes with a 5-inch eye relief. Pistol scopes have the biggest eye relief of all the scope out on the market. I have a 2×6 by 32 on my Ruger. I also have scopes for other pistols, with a few sporting a red dot scope.
Red dot scopes are new to the sport compared to scopes. Theses scopes have their place, are known for point and shoot capability. I love them for doing pushes or drives depending on where you live. Red dots are great for close up or running shots at deer in the brush, where a scope is great for shooting longer distance. You can’t beat a red dot for fast shooting.
If you are shopping for a scope, start looking at scopes online. Talk to people that hunt and know about scopes. I have found other guys that have shot with the scope I have been looking at. You can hear from folks the good and the bad. Look at other scopes, you my find one that you my like a little better. In other words, shop around, look the scope over before buying it. Look at the glass in the scope, note the clarity of the glass, if it’s a variable power magnification scope, 3×9, 4×16; turn it up to see if the scope gets darker on the edges. Next, look at what kind of adjustments are on the scope. Does it have finger turrets or the old slot under the cap style? Turn all the adjustments on the scope and note the ease of movement. Look around, you can find a scope that fits your hunting needs and your pocketbook as well. Try to buy the best that you can afford.
Mounting a scope can be just as important as the scope. Get that scope down as far as you can on the gun. I know some guys out there are shooting the under and over scope mounts on their guns. Mounts like that are great for when you have close shots at game. However, for shooting long range you need that scope down. You will be more accurate and run a less of a risk of getting a half moon over your eye. For me, I love large scopes because I have long neck and they fit me better than scopes mounted lower. When you mount the scope, be there to make sure that the scope is in the proper place for you and not your gunsmith. If this is your hunting rifle, take your jacket along with you so when your out in the cold and have on layers of clothes you can get in your scope.
Pick the scope that fits you and your type of hunting. Be it out in the open spaces of the west or the brush country of the east. For brush I would stick with a scope in the 3 to 4 power range, or if you have a mix of terrain a variable scope will work better for you. Find one that starts in the 3 to 4 power and goes up to 9. You can also get ones that go into the 12 to 16 power ranges. Remember that the bigger that front bell is, the more light it will gather and the smaller you go the less light you will have.
With the hunting season right round the corner we all have to remember to stay safe and take a kid the next time you are in the field.