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!

thermal imaging rifle scope

Do You Know Your Weapon Optics? | Types of gun sights

The effectiveness of shooting depends not only on the design and technical characteristics of the weapon, or the level of training of the shooter. But, it is also dependent on the type of gun sight or scope that is used.

Just as weapons have evolved, sights have as well.

Initially, front sights were the only type used. Then, in the 16th century, rear sights appeared. And, a little later, a circular orthoptic sight.

It wasn’t until the beginning of the 19th century that sighting optics were used.

Types of gun sights

So, let’s take a look at some of the types of gun and rifle sights…

Open sight

man looking down rifle barrel with open sight

The open sight is the simplest in design. Its device is a rear sight and front sight located on the same line (differ in shape and design). The rear sight can have a fixed or fixed bar. To aim the weapon at the target, the shooter needs to visually combine the rear sight, front sight, and the target so that they are on the same line, exactly in the middle of the sight slot.

The advantages of open sights:

  • Reliability;
  • Low cost;
  • Compactness and lightweight;
  • Ease of maintenance, maintainability;
  • Simplicity of design;
  • Mechanical strength;
  • Unlimited operating temperature range

Disadvantages of open sights:

  • At long distances, the front sight covers the target;
  • Low aiming accuracy, limited by vision capabilities;
  • It takes a long time to train shooting skill

Diopter sight

man shooting rifle with diopter sight

The diopter sight provides the highest accuracy of all mechanical sights, but has very low light transmission. So, it’s not a good option in low light or at dusk.

The Diopter (ring or aperture) sight is easier to use because the shooter needs less effort to aim because it is easier to find the desired position of the eyes, body, and barrel of the weapon.

The design of the diopter sight is a combination of an annular or ordinary front sight with a special hole (a disc with a small hole 0.5 – 1 mm in diameter). This hole is scientifically called a diopter or aperture.

The rear sight disc serves as an obstacle that completely blocks the light flux in the direction of the target, and the aperture hole serves as a diaphragm. Through it, a contrasting image is projected into the lens.

The shooter is forced to position the pupil exactly on the target line. This is the only possible position in which it will be visible. Aiming is intuitive.

Diopter sights are typically used with small-bore or air rifles.

Main advantages of diopter sights:

  1. High accuracy;
  2. Simplicity, reliability, mechanical strength;
  3. Low cost;
  4. compact and lightweight

Disadvantages of diopter sights:

  1. Narrow field of view;
  2. Poor low-light transmission;
  3. Covers the target (except for the point of impact).

Optical sight

man shooting pistol with optical sight

An optical sight is basically like a telescope with a reticle that simplifies the aiming process and increases accuracy and chances of a successful shot.

The tubular metal housing of optical sights contain the lens and eyepiece. These two lenses have a reticle installed in one of the focal planes. To obtain a straight, non-inverted image, an inverting system is used.

The sight is rigidly mounted on the weapon, and the precise adjustment of the reticle position is performed by the ballistic correction mechanism. Many optic sights have LED lighting for hunting at dusk.

Advantages of optic sights:

  • Highly accurate;
  • Ability to see the target at long distances;
  • Convenience, simplicity, and speed of guidance;
  • Simple and reliable design

Disadvantages of optic sights:

  • Small viewing angle;
  • Increases weight and dimensions of the weapon;
  • Overlaps the open sight: Inability to take a shot at close range (except for enclosures)

Laser sight

A laser sight is not a weapon sight in the literal sense of the word, but rather an auxiliary sighting device that has a limited range and accuracy.

A laser range finding rifle scope is a compact device that forms a light spot on the target that coincides with the midpoint of impact. This makes it possible to increase the effectiveness of the weapon at close ranges, as well as the speed of guidance, and the accuracy of fire. The range finder feature give the distance to the target.

man holding gun with laser range finding scope

A laser sight provides a single pinpoint dot rather than the wide beam of light like you’d get from a flashlight. A well-zeroed laser sight gives you a precise location of where the muzzle of the gun is pointing, allowing for quick aiming.

Benefits of Laser sights:

  • Simplicity and high speed of aiming;
  • Minimal weight and dimensions;
  • Simplicity and reliability of design

Disadvantages of laser sights:

  • Dependent on battery power;
  • Light spot of the radiation source can be difficult to see at long ranges;
  • Bright sunlight can make mark difficult to see
  • Laser light shoots straight but bullet trajectories are not; therefore works best at shorter ranges

Night Vision Scopes

man holding rifle with night vision gun sight

Night vision scopes enhance the image of a target that has a low brightness. It allows for accurate shooting in almost complete darkness.

Advantages of night vision scopes:

  • Highly accurate in poor visibility conditions;
  • Range up to 300+ meters, depending on the image intensifier;
  • Relatively low weight and dimensions;
  • Long-term life;
  • High reliability (compared to digital ones).


Disadvantages of night vision scopes:

  • Relatively high cost of modern models (generation 2 and above);
  • Snow, rain, fog, dust, branches, and tall grass are obstacles;
  • In complete darkness, and IR illumination is required;
  • In the opposite light, protection against illumination is triggered.

Thermal Imaging Sight

thermal imaging rifle scope

A thermal imaging sight is a device that visualizes the target’s thermal radiation. It does not need external light sources, allowing you to aim the weapon in complete darkness. This uses data on the temperature of the object itself in comparison with the surrounding space.


Advantages of Thermal Scopes:

  • The farthest detection distances for thermal targets;
  • Works in complete darkness;
  • Can work in light, there is no flare;
  • Accuracy like telescopic sights;
  • Snow, rain, fog, foliage, and grass are not a hindrance.

Disadvantages of Thermal Scopes:

  • Complex construction;
  • High price;
  • Additional power supply required.


Hopefully this has provided you with some helpful information so you can choose a sight/scope wisely.

Shoot straight!

pistol with bullets on table

Can You Buy Guns Online? | Well, Yes, but…

In today’s internet-heavy economy, it’s no wonder that many often ask… can I buy a gun online?

Well, the short answer is yes, but there are some specifics you need to be aware of.

The truth is, some people just aren’t comfortable lingering too long inside a gun shop. Then, there are others who are misinformed with regards to the process behind buying a gun online. We are going to clear a few things up about this aspect of gun ownership.

man shooting shotgun

Whether you want a gun as a means of protection for you and your family, or to use for recreational purposes, you should be very careful about how you make your purchase.

So, let’s take a deep dive into the various aspects of buying a gun online. Here are some of the things you’ll have to consider when doing so.

Yes, it is legal to buy a gun online. However, keep in mind that even when made online, gun transactions are heavily regulated to protect you and those around you from irresponsible gun ownership.

However, there are a few things you need to consider about the legality of buying a gun online. After all, the last thing you want to do is own an illegally purchased firearm.


For starters, make sure that you only buy only from authorized dealers online. Some websites are going to pose as legitimate sources of firearms to make a quick buck.

If you transact with retailers that aren’t authorized, you are risking yourself getting counterfeit products – or worse, guns that aren’t registered. This could result in a number of problems and legal issues. Therefore, it is advisable to buy guns only from authorized and reputed gun dealers (like Palmetto State Armory, for example).

We’ll cover more specifics of buying online a little further down, but first…

How The Gun Act Of 1968 Affects Buying Online

While you can buy a firearm online, you cannot have it delivered directly to your home.

The Gun Act of 1968 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson and it prohibited the the direct mailing of any firearms to individuals. It not only banned mail order sales of shotguns and rifles (antique guns were an exception), but it also prohibited convicted felons, drug users and the mentally incompetent from using guns.

antique pistol

Antique guns were an exception to the banning of interstate shipments of firearms and ammo by the Gun Act of 1968.

Today, an individuals still cannot have guns delivered directly to their homes, but they can purchase other guns online, but with certain regulations.

However, while you can buy guns online today, it’s not necessarily easier than buying one in person. As a matter of fact, considering the extra time you have to wait to get a gun, some would say that it’s actually more work to buy one online. But, we’ll get to some of the reasons why you might want to consider buying a gun online.


Finding The Right Platform To Purchase From

Knowing where to buy guns on the internet safely requires a bit of know-how. The first thing you want to do when picking a website to purchase a firearm is to pay attention to how they rank on Google when you search online.

Google’s search engine algorithm makes it so that the more highly reputable websites will rank on the first page of the search results. So, don’t attempt to buy guns from websites that are deep within the result, as they may be at the back end for a reason.

computer keyboard with shopping cart button in green

When looking to purchase a firearm online, be sure you are purchasing from a reputable website/online dealer.

Even if you’ve picked the top website from the search engine results page, you should still do some checking around before purchasing. Look for reviews online of the website you are considering and check for certifications on the platform as well. This will help ensure that you are transacting only with reputable websites and sellers.


Aside from the quality of the guns, you also need to be protective of your data online as well. This is another reason why it’s highly suggested to find the right platforms to purchase your guns through.

How To Buy Guns Online

Once you have found a reputable online dealer, you need to find a FFL (Federal Firearm Licensee) dealer, so that they can fulfill the background checks that are required and transfer the firearm to you in person via an FFL transfer.

hand gun and bullets

Even though you can purchase a gun online, you’ll need to have it shipped to an FFL (Federal Firearm Licensee) who can then transfer ownership to you after fulfilling background checks and any additional state regulations.

Keep in mind that your home state may have additional regulations and processes in addition to the Federal requirements.

The FFL basically serves as a middle-man between you and the website where you bought the gun from.

So, as you can see, while you can buy the gun online, the process of the purchase and transfer of the firearm are virtually the same as if you has gone to a brick-and-mortar gun dealer to purchase (but not necessarily “easier”.)

To purchase a gun, you’ll need to be at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States, and have the appropriate licensure/permits. Be sure to bring all required documentation and proof of identification when going to pick up the firearm.


Pros Of Buying Online

There are a few pros to buying your guns online. First, you can often get guns for a cheaper price because there are no overhead costs from the seller. This is one of the main reasons many people actually prefer buying their guns online instead of in brick-and-mortar stores.

You can also research what type of sight or scope will be compatible with the gun you choose.

While gun sales still occur in physical stores, there are typically much better opportunities for discounts online. From coupon codes to flash sales, there’s always an opportunity to get significant discounts.

20 percent discount sign

The chance for better selection as well as sales and discounts is one pro of buying guns online.

Another pro to buying online is that you have access to a wider selection online that what a physical location might have to offer. By broadening your online search, you might even find some truly rare firearms that you might not otherwise have access to view in person.

So, whether you’re a gun collector or just use firearms for recreational use such as deer hunting and target practice, you’re certain to find a gun of your choice online.

There are dedicated stores that cater specifically to collectors and have amazing historical guns for sale. On the other hand, some stores cater to specific gun users, such as those wanting them for hunting or for protection.

Cons Of Buying Online

Just as there are pros to buying guns online, there are cons as well.

The most obvious is that since you are getting your firearm online, you won’t get to see it or feel it until it’s already been delivered to the authorized dealer.

Some gun owners don’t like this because they want to see how a gun looks and feels in their hands before actually purchasing it. Of course, this problem can be overlooked if you are already familiar with the gun you would be getting.

To help ensure that you are making a purchase that you will be happy with, do thorough research on the specific gun you are eyeing before purchasing.

hand holding a pistol

One disadvantage of buying guns online is that you won’t know how a gun will look and feel in your hand if you are not yet familiar with that particular model.

Another problem regarding online purchases is that you’re going to have to wait longer before the item gets delivered than if you were to buy it locally.

Another con you need to consider is that if your gun has problems or defects, it could take a lot longer to have it fixed.

Some online retailers will actually encourage you to send your gun to them for repair. But, if they don’t, you would need to take to a gunsmith in your area.

Look for online retailers that offer a warranty on they guns they sell. The good news is that most retailers offer these. Again, keep in mind that if there are defects, you’ll have to ship the item to the retailer and then wait for them to redeliver the product again. The same goes for replacements.


Buying a gun online is not as easy as you think it might be. Even when buying online, there’s no such thing as a loophole when buying guns, as the Gun Act of 1968 affects even internet sales. So, do your research, and of course, be safe!