Buying a New Air Rifle? Why Your Choice of Scope Matters

Pellet guns (also known as air guns or air rifles) are hugely popular among shooting enthusiasts and newbies alike. If you’re thinking of purchasing one, you’re likely doing research on the best pellet gun. Which gun you’ll choose will depend on what you’d like to use it for. Will you take part in competition shooting or hunting? Perhaps you’re interested in plinking (informal target shooting) and just want to have fun shooting at cans and bottles in your down time. Will you be shooting long or short range? No matter what gun you choose, it’s important to be sure you’re also getting the best air rifle scope.

Is There Really a Difference?

After finally choosing the best pellet gun, it can be a confusing task to sort out the best air rifle scope. With dozens of choices (all with different features), you’ll have to consider the kind of pellet gun you’re purchasing and the kind of shooting you’d like to do. All scopes are not the same. Note: you should never use a firearm scope on an air rifle; the recoil from the air rifle is more powerful than that of a firearm and will damage the scope. Do your research. It’s worth it, as there are some very real differences between air rifle scopes and you don’t want to end up with one that’s more (or way less) than what you need. Here are the basics to get you started in finding the best air rifle scope.

Fixed Scopes

Among your less expensive choices will be scopes that have fixed magnification. This means that the magnification on them is always the same; you can’t change it to zoom in closer. The magnification level on the lens will be indicated by numbers such as 4×32. This means that when you look through the scope, the image you see will be magnified 4 times.

A fixed scope lens (in addition to being less expensive) is quick and easy. The downside to this type of lens is that you can’t increase the magnification. Fixed scopes are great for hunting small game (like rodents) at close distances.

Variable Scopes

Unlike fixed scopes, variable scopes can be zoomed in to a variety of magnifications. You’ll see more numbers on the side of a variable scope; for instance, 3-9×32. This means that the scope is able to magnify from 3 to 9 times. The increased magnification on variable scopes make them great for hunting at longer distances, but they tend to be pricier than fixed scopes.

What Does the Last Number Mean?

The last number on a scope is the objective lens size. The side of the lens you look through is the ocular lens, while the opposite side is the objective lens. The larger the magnification, the bigger your objective lens will be. A bigger objective lens lets in more light, which makes the picture clearer and brighter. If you’re shooting in low light or at dusk, a larger objective lens is ideal.

The Bottom Line: Do Your Homework!
As you can see, the scope you choose matters just as much as the air rifle. If you’re first starting out, don’t want to spend a lot of money, and won’t be shooting at long distances, a fixed scope should work well for you – do not use the fixed scope for deer hunting. If you’re a more experienced shooter or one who wants to shoot at a longer range, don’t waste your money on a fixed scope. Instead, spring for a variable scope. As with all things, keep in mind that you get what you pay for; cheaper scopes may denote a lack of quality. It’s worth investing in one that will last.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!