rifle scope on eat elk rifle

How To Choose The Right Scope For Your Rifle [On A Budget]

If you’re not an expert on rifles, picking the right rifle scope can seem overwhelming.

So, how about a little crash course on what to consider in a rifle scope so you can make a purchase you are happy with…  

Rifle Scope Considerations

man shooting rifle with scope on range

Everyone’s budget is different, but there are certain things you should consider before purchasing a rifle scope.

Below are things to consider before purchasing a rifle scope:

rifle scope diagram
Rifle scope diagram

Objective lens

The objective lens is the lens opposite your eye. The diameter of your objective lens determines the amount of light that can enter the rifle scope. If you intend on using the scope in low-light conditions (i.e. hunting), you need a bigger objective lens.

A larger lens size means you have to increase the mounting distance above your barrel. If your rifle scope is too high, you will have difficulty getting the correct eye alignment which affects your shooting accuracy.  

Scopes with overly large objective lenses are heavier, and more expensive. If you will be using a rifle for hunting purposes go for a 50-mm maximum. 

However, if you need a general purpose scope then settling for 40mm or 42mm like this one is an ideal choice. 

Rifle Scope Glass

man holding rifle on wood pile

Rifle scope glass has a direct correlation to the image quality a rifle scope will provide.

Glass lenses are the centerpiece of any rifle scope. Pick the best glass within your budget.

The ED, or extra-low dispersion glass, is great because it minimizes any chromatic aberration giving you real-life colors and sharper images.  

Some lenses are commonly called HD, however it has no bearing on the type of glass, but rather the image quality it gives.

The coating used on the lenses directly affects the image quality by improving the light transmission and adding scratch resistance. A “coated lens” means that there is a one-coat layer on one or more lenses. 

“Fully coated glass” has a single layer on all the air to glass surfaces. Multi Coated glass means you have multiple layers on more than one lens.

Lastly, a “fully multi-coated glass” means the lens has multiple layers on all the air to glass surfaces.  

In short, a lens with more coating is better. So, choose a rifle scope with multiple coatings covering all the interior lenses. 

Scope Magnification 

rifle lying next to dead bull elk

A greater scope magnification will make images in the scope look larger, making them appear brighter. This can be helpful in leading to greater accuracy.

The magnification of the scope largely depends on the kind of game you are hunting and your shooting range.

Many big game hunters, like deer hunters, take aim at their quarry 200 to 300 yards away. Traditionally, a scope with 4X-12X or 3X-9X is plenty for that. 

Likewise, open-country hunters, who mostly target smaller games like varmints and predators, benefit greatly from scopes with greater magnification. Advances in scope design have led to greater zoom ranges.

Greater magnification will cause target objects to be larger, which will make them appear brighter, which can lead to greater accuracy.  

Gas filled

Rifle scopes filled with anhydrous gas is mainly to displace water vapor or moisture and prevent the scope from fogging up. Nitrogen is the most commonly used anhydrous gas. This is mostly because it has a lesser chance of effusing through the seal or membrane.  

Argon is more resistant to any temperature changes compared to nitrogen. Regardless of what gas you fill your scope with, moving between environments having big temperature gradients will make any exterior scope fog.  

Main tube diameter

In the past, scopes had a 1-inch main tube. Nowadays, rifle shooters desire more distance envelopes and want scopes with 34 mm or 30 mm main tubes which are increasingly common.  

Having a larger diameter tube creates more room for the reticle to move. In turn, it increases the adjustment range.

Bigger tubes are sturdier and allow more light through them. However, they are more expensive and heavier. A 1-inch tube is enough for normal hunting ventures.  

Field of view

Normally measured at 100 yards in feet. The field of view is what you can see through the rifle scope from right to left at a particular distance. Increasing the magnification lowers the field of view.

Decreasing the magnification means increasing the field of view. In short, a 3X variable rifle scope can have a field of view at 100 yards of at least 30feet, but at 9X variable scope, the field of view will be close to 14 feet.

Likewise, having a larger objective lens doesn’t affect the figures. So, the field of view is determined by how the eyepiece is constructed.  

Scope reticle

target showing through rifle scope

The rifle scope reticle can vary in styles and appearance from different scope manufacturers.

Some people call the reticle the “crosshairs.” This is the aiming point of any rifle scope. The reticle can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, having lines, dots or other markings.  

Some scopes have illumination for better visibility in low light conditions. Most rifle scope manufacturers have different reticle styles.  


scope turrets for sighting in riflescope

The windage and elevation adjustment knobs on a rifle scope are called turrets.

A turret is an adjustment knob on the scope allowing the shooter to adjust the reticle. The top knob on the riflescope is your elevation adjustment while the knob on the side is your windage adjustment that adjusts from left to right.  

Examine the turrets before buying the scope to ensure it fits your preference, as some turrets are adjusted by hand and others need a special tool to adjust.

Consequently, some turrets make a clicking noise during adjustments and some don’t.  

Minutes of angle

Many inexperienced shooters have difficulty understanding minutes of angle (MOA).

Below is a video that explains MOA.

One MOA is equivalent to 1.0472 inches at approximately 100 yards commonly rounded down to 1-inch per 100 yards.

Final Thoughts On How To Choose A Rifle Scope

rifle with scope

At the end of the day, you want your bullet to find the mark. Consideration of these rifle scope features will help you find one that fits your budget and your intended use.

The last thing you want is to settle for a rifle scope that will not have the features you need to take down your game.

So, don’t just settle for any scope. Use the considerations we’ve covered in this article to help you make your decision.  

The good news is, you can get yourself a reasonable sighting tool for under $500 and have a scope that meets your shooting needs.

Happy and safe shooting and hunting!

man backpacking in the wilderness

Critical to survival | Wilderness Survival Kit Checklist

Whether you want to unwind by going off-grid or just get away from civilization for awhile, you should take a survival kit and there are certain things that should be included in it to ensure safety, comfort, and a better chance of survival. 

Why You Need A Wilderness Survival Kit

Survival kits are not just for folks who love to explore the wild. It’s also a bit of an insurance policy.

You need to ask yourself, what would I do in a survival situation?

Do you have all it takes to survive? For a survival kit to be effective in a life or death situation, it must include certain things. Aside from essentials like shelter and food, there are other items that could sustain you for months if you use them sufficiently.

What you’ll need in your Survival Kit

So, let’s take a look at some things you should consider including in your wilderness survival kit: 

  1. Water And Water Filtration
mountain stream

In a survival scenario, a stream may be a welcome sight, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily clean water…

Water is a big deal in terms of survival in the wild. In fact, it’s absolutely critical. You have to assume that in a survival situation, it could be difficult to find clean water in the wilderness. Should you find water and be unable to boil it, you will wish you had a water filter. 

In addition, you should consider buying water disinfectants. When you find water in the wild, there is always the possibility of parasites and bacteria currently living in it. It’s a good idea to have iodine tablets to ensure the water you will be drinking will be safe. 

  1. A Rifle

Having a rifle with you in the wild promotes a better sense of security, and the effectiveness of a rifle shouldn’t be downplayed.

Almost any survival rifle can put down a medium-sized game, and is not large enough to ruin a small game. In addition, you can bag about 50-100, or even 500 rounds of ammo for your rifle in your survival kit without occupying much space, as a larger caliber would.

Having a rifle with you in the wild increases your security, but getting a larger once comes at the expense of space in your survival kit. 

  1. Survival Meals

While in the wild, you are not always assured of encountering wild game, should you need food. In this case, having a supply of freeze-dried survival meals always comes in handy to help sustain you.

Freeze-dried meals are available in most stores; however, clean water must rehydrate and make them edible. 

  1. Shelter And Sleep
man sitting near campfire and tent

The need for shelter in extreme weather conditions makes a tent a must-have survival item.

You should have a tent to sleep in if you’re going to sleeping outdoors and it should be able to fit into your backpack. Understand that an emergency shelter tent may not last long enough in extreme weather conditions, but it will mostly protect you from the rain.

Be sure to do some research and choose the right tent for your adventure.

These type tents are small-sized, lightweight, and easily foldable, so they can be carried along with you.

Also, there is the Life Tent, which is an emergency tent that you can easily set up with rope to secure a quick, safe spot to seek shelter from the rain and sun. 

  1. Headlamp
man looking toward the sky with headlamp

A headlamp is a simple, yet extremely important component of any wilderness survival kit, allowing you to keep your hands free for other tasks when light is low.

If you don’t have a headlamp while in the wild, you have overlooked a simple, yet critical component of a survival kit. The headlamp is a must-have item for those who camp or explore in the wild.

The importance of having a headlamp to illuminate dark and cloudy nights cannot be overstated. A headlamp with an elastic strap, or one that clips to your hat, will allow you to have your hands free to do other tasks that require your attention in a survival situation, such as cooking at night or early morning, or working on a vehicle when light is low.

A headlamp with 550 lumens light is able to light up about 135 meters. 

  1. Communication Device

During times of survival, if at all possible, it’s a wise decision to keep in contact with other people.

In a survival scenario, a shortwave radio with solar power can be essential in making urgent calls. These radios are an excellent purchase to include in your survival kit and can often be used as a led light, charger, and radio. 

  1. First Aid Kit
first aid kit for survival kit

A First Aid Kit may be a no-brainer for a survival kit, but it needs to have the right items in it.

While in the wilderness, you absolutely need to be sure you take a first aid kit with you and be knowledgeable about its contents and prepared to use them, if needed.

First aid is a crucial survival kit item that should be available at all times. You should be sure your first aid kit is stocked with essential items, including pressure dressing, to reduce bleeding, should there be an injury that needs attention. 

  1. Clothing And Footwear
hiking boots

When venturing out into the wilderness, be sure you have the appropriate clothing items in case you find yourself in a survival situation.

As a survivalist, you should ensure you have the right outdoor clothing. Having a comfortable pair of shoes should help you walk faster and easier. Additionally, sunglasses and a hat will help protect your eyes a from the sun.

Also, waterproof boots will help you more easily navigate through rivers and streams while in the wilderness.

Long sleeves also come in handy in protecting yourself from insects as well as sun. Also, moisture wicking socks will help keep your feet dry. You should also put on gloves to avoid blisters and insects, as well as provide protection from extreme hot and cold weather as well as hot objects. 

And, while some may not consider a watch part of your “clothing,” having a durable one like the military G-Shocks watches is a big-time bonus in a survival situation. They’re built to last, and can withstand the elements. Some even have solar power.

  1. Survival Knife

In the wild, chances are, you may be required to do some “cutting” chores, so a quality and reliable knife is a must-have item for your survival kit.

You should get yourself a high-quality knife or a multipurpose tool that includes a knife in it. Your survival knife should be capable of skinning wild game, as well as cutting through and sharpening sticks. An excellent survival knife must be sharp and strong to easily cut through these tough materials. 

  1. Map And Compass

In times of survival, you shouldn’t entirely rely on GPS, because the device you are using may not function properly. So, you should also carry a local map and compass along with you in case you get lost.

Maps and compasses are lightweight items, so they won’t take up much space in your survival kit.

Having a map and compass with you in the wild is a means to an end. Be sure you are familiar with map reading and compass navigation before you set out exploring! 

Final thoughts

This might seem like a lot of items to be carrying in a survival kit. Of course, it’s not a pleasant thought that you could face a life or death situation while exploring, hiking or camping, But, in terms of your survival in the wild, nothing should be taken for granted.

You should always pack a survival kit with you for your trip. You should also know how to use every item in the kit and be physically and mentally able to use them if needed.

While there are certainly many other items than the ones listed that would be useful in a survival sitution, the ones mentioned above should not be overlooked.

Be safe out there!

Can’t Miss Pheasant Hunting Tips

male pheasant

The pheasant is a magnificent bird that provides a relaxing, yet exhilarating hunting experience.

If pheasant hunting is something you want to experience in the outdoors, this article will help steer you in the right direction.

Shotgun Selection

For decades the preferred choice for a shotgun in pheasant hunting is the trusty old 12-gauge. But, you can also hunt pheasants using a 20-gauge shotgun as well and it will do the job.

But, for many hunters, it’s hard to beat the reliable killing power of a 12-gauge. The extra shot, along with the increased range, is worth the small increase in recoil and weight.

6 shotguns standing up

There is not single right answer when it comes to which shotgun to use for pheasant hunting, but it’s hard to beat the range and killing power of the12-gauge.

Shot Size

Shot size is pretty important in pheasant hunting. If you use shot that’s too small, you’re probably going to end up wounding birds and never finding them. As most hunters know, this is not the ethical way to hunt.

If your shot is too large, you might miss the bird due to small shot quantity. Or, you might end up doing too much damage to the bird.

A good shot size is going to be #5 shot, as it’s the best all-around size for birds like pheasant.

Do I Need a Trained Dog to pheasant hunt?

If you are new to bird hunting of any type, whether it’s waterfowl, ruffed grouse, or in this case pheasant, chances are you don’t have a trained bird dog at home, as this is something only the hardcore bird hunter will typically have.

The short answer is no, you don’t need a dog to hunt pheasant.

While trained hunting dogs do make a huge difference in not only locating and flushing birds, but also in finding downed birds in tall grass, you can get away without one.

black lab with pheasants

A good bird dog is hard to beat, but is not a necessity for hunting pheasants. Focus on hunting smaller areas where finding birds won’t be as tedious.

If you’re hunting alone without a dog, simply pick smaller areas to hunt if at all possible, so that the search for hiding birds doesn’t seem like hunting needles in a haystack.

Hunting fence lines, small patches of tall grass, and other small localized and isolated areas should be your target.

If you have friends interested in hunting birds, by all means bring them with you. More people in the field will mean more contacted birds due to being able to cover a large area.

Hunt The Edges

Pheasants can be compared to other wild animals like deer when it comes to daily movement and feeding. Many hunters walk through large tracts of land in search of pheasants, but many might overlook areas like fence lines and ditches.

Think of these areas as natural highways for all sorts of different wildlife, particularly those that are constantly on the lookout for predators like wolves, coyotes, foxes or one of the pheasants’ greatest predators, hawks.

pheasant on field edge

Pheasants will travel during the day seeking food and cover, so don’t overlook areas like ditches, fence lines, and transition areas.

Edges provide concealment as pheasants travel around during the day or night. Pheasants travel quite a bit throughout a day in search of food and sanctuary, and many of the fence lines, ditches, and tree lines can be transition areas, or areas that lead from food to shelter and keep them relatively safe from predators (or so they hope).

When It’s Hot

When the weather is hot and dry, pheasants will often gravitate toward areas with plenty of water. So, don’t neglect areas with streams and ponds.

Even areas that have irrigation ditches, pump houses, containers for feeding livestock, and other water producing locations could hold birds.

pheasant in water

Pheasants get thirsty too! So, be sure to check areas that hold or provide any type of water.

Go Slow

Long-tailed roosters don’t get that way by being stupid. You can rest assured that they have seen a thing or two in their day, and have had more than a few brushes with death. So, when you get out there and start hunting, it’s important to remember to take your time and go slowly.

Many hunters walk around haphazardly and quickly through an area until they stumble into a bird, but in doing so they miss opportunities to get the wise ones.

Go slowly, using a zig-zagging pattern to really pick apart the areas that you are hunting. You will find that you will not only encounter more birds overall, but you will find the old and wise trophy birds as well.

Make sure you pause regularly. Many times there are birds near you that won’t flush as you walk by. By pausing, you can make that bird nervous and question its hide or fly response and send them skywards.

Be Silent

You might not think of pheasant hunting like you would if you were hunting other animals like deer or large game.

In those scenarios you would do your utmost to avoid slamming your truck door or step on a twig, or make any unwanted noise. However, this type of stealthy hunting also applies to hunting upland birds like pheasants.

pheasant flying

When hunting areas that typically have heavier hunting pressure, pheasants will likely flush much sooner if they hear unnatural noises. So, be as quiet as possible.

Strange and loud noises will cause pheasants to hunker down or head for thicker areas and vegetation long before you reach them. They will do this whenever they feel threatened by things like four-wheeler noises, coughing, talking, or any other “unnatural” noises.

Noise is definitely something to keep in mind when you’re in areas that get heavy hunting pressure, as the pheasants that have seen such pressure will flush much sooner and at a greater distance, causing many missed opportunities.

Best Times to Hunt Pheasant (It’s Fine If You Sleep In)

While there’s hunting pheasants early in the morning can certainly be productive, hunting in the afternoon and evening can be some of the best times to be out.

pheasant in food plot

Areas near food sources can be a great evening spot for pheasant hunting.

You late risers will be happy to know that many birds will move out into the open areas to feed after spending the day in cover, which means that you can find them fairly easily, especially the last hour of shooting light.

Grassy patches adjacent to food sources like corn fields are a great place to hunt in the evenings.

Hunt When It’s Cold Out

The weekend warrior type of hunter might be putting their guns away for the season when some of the best hunting has yet to start.

If you’re willing to brave the frigid air and flying snow, late season can be some of the best pheasant hunting you will find all year.

A great place to hunt in the late fall and winter is around lakes, ponds, or marshy areas that have cattails on the shorelines.

man with pheasants in snow

The late season, although cold, can provide some excellent pheasant hunting, as wet areas freeze and allow for greater access.

In the early parts of the season, these areas are typically flooded with water and not inhabited by pheasants. And, even if they were, you wouldn’t want to trudge around in that wet and mucky stuff.

This means these areas receive little to no hunting pressure, because most people aren’t out hunting, and if they are, they usually overlook these areas as they have earlier in the year.

In the winter the water freezes into ice, allowing you to walk through these cattails and hunt untouched areas.

Pheasant Hunting Tips Conclusion

Upland bird hunting, whether it be pheasants, ruffed grouse, or other birds, can be a relaxing and therapeutic experience. Some who take up pheasant hunting never want to do anything else!

Now that you have some pheasant hunting tips you can use… get out there and see if pheasant hunting is for you. You might just find it’s the only thing you want to do!

man sitting in front of bus with pheasants he killed hunting

You just might find that hunting pheasants is one of the most relaxing and gratifying types of hunting you’ve ever done!