Whether your a grizzled airgun veteran or a newbie picking the right scope can be a mind boggling job. Hopefully this article will give you some of the basics and help you to make an informed decision when you choose what scope to buy for your airgun.
1-First thing is unless you want to cry like a baby never put a scope built for a regular firearm on your airgun unless you check with the manufacturer because of the unique recoil airguns (especially gas/spring-piston types) have it will destroy your scope and render it useless.
2-What do the numbers mean? Lets take for example 4×32. In this case the 4 means that when you look through the scope your target will appear roughly 4 times bigger then looking at it with just the naked eye. The 32 is the size of the, “objective lens” in millimeters. This is the last lens found on the scope on the opposite end of where you look through it. In general the larger the number on the objective lens the more light it lets in to the scope. On the downside the bigger the objective lens the more clearance that is needed from the airgun for it to fit. It also adds more weight to the gun.
3-Fixed vs. Variable?
A fixed scope has a particular setting for its maginfication. For example with a 4×32 scope the 4 means that when you look through the scope your target will be magnified by 4 times. If your going to be shooting at long distances you want a higher magnification scope 6x, 8x etc… The downside to higher magnification though is your field of view through the scope becomes smaller meaning how much of the area your aiming at gets smaller. Another downside is the bigger the scope number (magnification) the darker the target will appear because the light entering the scope will be more limited. So unless your gonna be doing long shots sharpshooting lower magnification offer a better choice with their larger field of view and brighter view are better for shooting at closer ranges and sighting any moving type of targets quickly that you may be targeting.
A variable airgun scopes offers you a range of ocular magnification. With a 4-12×32 scope that would mean that you could adjust the scope from 4 to 12 times magnification on your target. This offers you a wide range of choices whether you want to take a short or long shot. Why wouldn’t everyone then just buy this type over the fixed? They cost more and are more complicated and often require more frequent adjustments when using them.
4- Choosing a Reticle Type
A reticle is the official way of saying crosshairs. There’s no right or wrong one it’s all about what you like best. Here are several different ones to consider.
Fine Crosshair: This is the simplest basically two thin lines that intersect at the target. The positive is that it covers very little of the target area. The downside is It can be hard to see those thin lines in low light or with heavy vegetation backgrounds situations.
Target Dot: This is like the fine crosshair with the addition of a center dot.
Circle: Similar to the target dot but with the added feature of a thin-lined circle around the bulls-eye instead of a single dot.
Duplex Crosshair: This type uses thicker lines on the edges and thinner near the center direct target area. This helps to make them easier to see in all situations.
Mil-Dot: This is a variation of the duplex crosshair and uses small dots along the fine lines toward the center of the hairs.
The Parallax Effect
I’ve saved this for last because people much smarter then me with all kinds of fancy degrees have had trouble explaining this effect in a simple way. In the most basic terms it has to do with the phenomenon that when looking through the scope how fixed locations appear to move due to changes in the shooters line of sight. The effect is more pronounced at closer ranges. Most modern scopes deal with this issues by adding a setting adjustment on the scope often referred to as the “AO (adjustable objectives).” The AO is used to minimize the parallax effect and help to keep your scopes crosshairs on the target, helping to eliminate parallax effect brought on by small changes in your viewing angle.
Hopefully now that you read this post you have a basic understanding on airgun scopes and it will help you to make a more informed decision on which one to buy.