When you are looking for the best air rifle scope for your gun, forget everything that you know about scopes for conventional rifles. The unique type of recoil that air rifles give off can completely destroy an ordinary scope after a single hunt by breaking the inside components of your scope. Fortunately, your air rifle scope is made differently than conventional scopes , and are able to withstand the two-way recoil from air rifles.
4 Best Air Rifle Scopes Table
Fixed Scopes vs. Variable Scopes
Before you choose a scope for your air rifle, make sure you get the type that works best for you. There are two types of air rifle scopes that you can choose from: fixed scopes and variable scopes. Both of these scopes provide excellent magnification, but go about it in different ways.
Fixed scopes have a set magnification rate that doesn’t change. When looking at fixed scopes, make a note of the numbers printed on the box. They will be something like 4×32 or 6×32. The first numeral on these numbers lets you know the amount of magnification the scope is fixed on, so a 6×32 scope will magnify the target six times larger than it really is.
The downside of fixed scopes is that you have no ability to adjust your setting. While fixed scopes can be excellent for shooting targets at mid-range, they are not optimal for taking close range shots. Looking through a fixed scope at close range will drastically reduce your field of vision. Furthermore, the higher your magnification settings are, the darker your vision through the scope will be.
One of the benefits of using a fixed air rifle scope is that you are able to quickly line a target up in your sights. For this reason, they make excellent scopes for hitting small, moving targets at a medium range. Consider this type of scope if you plan on shooting varmints or hunting small game.
Variable air rifle scopes are much more versatile than their fixed counterparts. These types of scopes give you a broad range of ocular magnification, allowing you to use your scope at a variety of distances. These scopes come in numbers that look something like 3-9×32 or 4-12×32. Just like fixed scopes, the first set of numerals refers to the magnification intensity. A scope that is 4-12×32 allows you to adjust your magnification settings anywhere between four and twelve.
Variable scopes are excellent all-around scopes. You can use them for shooting at mid-range and far distances without any problem. The only downside to these scopes is that you have to take the time to properly adjust your scope, which makes it difficult to quickly shoot a moving target.
Other Details to Know
Now that we know what the first numeral means in the description of an air rifle scope, let’s take a look at the second string of numbers. Take a 4-12×50 scope, for example. The “50” in this description tells you the objective lens size. Generally, the larger your objective size is, the more illuminated your target will be when you use higher magnification.
Scopes with larger objective size are great for shooting in low light situations. However, the bigger your objective lens is, the larger and heavier your scope will be. Before spending money on the biggest objective size you can afford, think about what you want to use your air rifle for. There’s a chance you will not be happy constantly carrying around an excessively bulky scope.
Pick a Crosshair Style That Works for You
There are many different types of crosshairs, otherwise known as reticles, which you can choose from. Some of these are simply stylish, while others can actually improve your aiming skills. Make sure that you get the chance to test your air rifle scope out before you buy it, so you don’t get stuck with crosshairs that don’t work for you.
These are the most common crosshair configurations seen in air rifle scopes on the market:
Two thin lines that intersect in the center of the scope. They cover very little of the field of vision, but can easily become lost in dimly-lit settings. This setting is good when hunting in well-lit areas, or in a run-and-gun situation.
Similar to the fine crosshairs, but the outer portion of the lines are much thicker. This makes it easier for users to keep track of their crosshairs in settings with low light. Great reticle configuration for shooting targets positioned in a dark background.
The Mil-dot crosshairs are a modification of the duplex setting. The lines on this reticle are equipped with small dots along the edge of the crosshairs, which makes it easier for you to estimate distance. It is considered to be one of the most common reticle settings and is good for long range shots.
The target dot is a modified version of the fine crosshairs, except that it has a small circle in the center of the scope. This setting has the same problem of getting lost in darker backgrounds as the fine crosshair reticle, and the dot takes away from some of your vision. The target dot is not recommended for distance shooting.