A Complete Guide on Riflescopes

The Improved American Rifle is a book that was published in 1844, written by John Chapman, who explained American rifle sights as they were back then. This was the sight that is largely thought to be the first of its kind; its design made it into the first practical rifle sight. As the 1860s rolled in and war broke out, rifle sights were a pretty common sight.

There were, of course, problems with these early scopes. They weren’t very durable, and their optics weren’t great either. Moreover, a lot of seasoned veterans scoffed at them, which affected their popularity somewhat. Iron sights, of course, were all the rage for a long time—until we embraced glass sights, of course.

And here’s all you need to know about them.

Lighter and Stronger

Today’s riflescopes have aircraft grade aluminum in them, and are thus, lighter and stronger. Anodized or coated aluminum is the metal of choice for these scopes (compared to steel).

Objective and ocular lenses (or the bell) are attached to either end of the scope. The cost of a scope is directly proportional to the size of its lenses. This could be anywhere from 32 to 50 mm, although 40/42 seems to be the standard, safe choice.

The lens bells enclose a tube—the 30mm tube (compared to the 1 inch one) is generally considered to be lighter.

The 30mm tube is also stronger and has greater flexibility for adjustment. In layperson terms, we mean to say that you can move the tube easily.

The Eyes, Chico

Eye relief is the distance between your eye and the ocular lens. This is the distance that’s keeping the aluminum from hitting and splitting your poor eyebrow.

Many hunters have had that experience, and they’ll attest to the importance of eye relief. Three inches for hunting rifles and four inches for heavy guns is the minimum that you should be aiming for—if you want to avoid stitches, that is.

Getting Adjusted

Getting adjusted to the hunting lifestyle also means you have to know all about rifle adjustments. And there are two kinds: lateral or windage and elevation adjustments. There’s also focus, which is for the adjustment of your eye. Scopes that facilitate long-range shooting usually have adjustments for parallax as well, which is to clear up your vision.


Dials and knobs control the lateral and elevation adjustments, which can be found on the adjustment turret. Reticle focus is pretty easy to work with. Point the scope at a blank wall, or even at the sky. Now, start turning the ocular lens bell (we’ve already talked about it above) until the reticle sharpens. If your scope came without a locking ring, you need to get a better one that has all the right parts.


The Duplex crosshair has been a classic over the years, and is also the standard. The object of this appendage is to help your eye focus on the center and aim with killer precision.

LED lights have now been added to many reticles and they do lead to an improvement in aiming speeds. There’s one catch, though: if you’re getting a scope that has an LED light, be certain that you can use the scope even if the light cops out. You shouldn’t be dependent on the LED light. And yes, always carry extra batteries.


A lot of people prefer high magnification, although most of the time, all you need is a variable power scope. It’s very flexible and easy to use.

The 6X multiplier is also kind of popular since its top end has six times more power than the lower end.


Finally, there are the lenses—eight in total. A good scope has good-quality lenses: their shape, coating, and quality all go into determining whether or not you have a good scope.

The difference is lens quality can make all the difference in your clarity of vision—and that can make all the difference on a hunt.

Buy Rifle Scopes

Head on over to Gold Mountain Arms, LLC, an ammunition & accessories online store, and find all the optics you need—from scopes to lenses and shades. You can also find other stuff on the online store, such as Beretta M84f, and for great rates too!

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