Science-Behind-Working-of-a-ScopeI’m super sure a lot of beginner hunters and gun owners may not necessarily know the value of a good rifle scope in hunting or target shooting. As I had already covered about the best scope for 308, a lot of people were asking about how the rifle scopes work.

It may interest you to know that a quality rifle scope may be more important than a quality rifle. Interesting, isn’t it? Well, that is a fact.

With a quality rifle scope, you can hit your target miles away even while using a mediocre gun with low budget. Same does not apply to rifle scopes, a low budget and low quality scope will not give you the same satisfaction a quality scope would give even while using a quality rifle. Hitting target may also become extremely difficult.

What is a Rifle Scope Then?


How Do Rifle Scopes Work?

A rifle scope is commonly called the telescopic sight of a rifle. A rifle scope which is based on a refracting telescope is an optical sighting device which magnifies the targeted object over a distance and helps focus on the said target to hit your mark. The optical elements of the rifle scope are coated to reduce the internal light loss and glare. This ensures that the light transmits evenly which results in good image sharpness, brightness, color fidelity and contrast.

You should not get this confused, different scopes exist and your choice of scopes depends on your target distance, target size, the climate in the area and a lot of other factors. It will be a huge mistake to feel the same scope setting which apples to Rifle A would also apply to rifle B.

How do Rifle Scopes Work?

The science behind rifle scopes is quite interesting. Understanding the different parts will show its usefulness and how to master the art of using scopes irrespective of their different technicalities. Picture using a telescope, rifle scopes work in a similar manner.

The Objective and Ocular Lenses

Take for instance, the purpose of the objective lens which is the large lens is to transmit light to the ocular lens. This lens then magnifies the light, so when you look through it, the light helps you focus and shows the user on where the bullet will go when the trigger is pulled. The ocular lens is the viewing lens, the lens which is close to your eyes.

Magnification and Parallax Error

Magnifications in scope also differs, a scope can allow you magnify an object at least 1x the normal size while seeing through it. With other scopes, such magnification can go as high as 80x.

To avoid parallax error (an error which occurs due to movement by the shooter that makes the focus blurry) as well; manufacturers have built scopes which is adjustable to movement.

So, you have no cause to worry while magnifying and then happen to shift your position. It may also interest you to know that most manufacturers set their focus at 100 meters, so, the target is quite clear using that range.

Scope Tube

The tube which is usually two main diameter sizes is the main body of the rifle scope. Knowing the right diameter of your tube is important because it will help you know the right mounting ring to attach to your scope rifle. 30 mm scopes are mostly available in the market.

A scope tube that is built from one piece of aluminium is preferred over 2 pieces as they are more tough and resist shocks better.

Windage and Elevation Adjustments

A rifle scope also has different controls which helps you adjust your rifle alignment. The adjustment parts include the windage adjustment which takes control of scopes horizontal setting and the elevation adjustment, which adjusts the vertical settings.

Role of the Eye

A rifle scope also has its advantages and disadvantages all depend on how you use them, mountings and their relativity to the concept of iron sight. Most shooters have difficulty focusing their eyes on the front sight and aligning with the rear flip-up sight.

This may lead to a further blur in target marking. Age is also another factor; the human eye degrades gradually with age caused by presbyopia, thus reducing the ability to focus through a scope.


Understanding the operational science, the parts and the technicalities of a rifle scope will go a long way in your usage of such scope. Learn how to surf through the hype and beauty of a scope to get through to the best.

So, when next your go rifle shopping, make sure to get a quality scope. As scopes will determine to a very large extent how far and often you are able to hit your target.