Air Rifle Scopes
There is a common assumption among many people that a standard rifle scope can be used instead of an air rifle scope. This is not the case. A great deal of recoil is created by spring-piston air rifles. This is not the unidirectional recoil that is commonly produced by a standard firearm. There is a two-way recoil in spring rifles. It first happens when the big spring mass uncoils. This forces the rifle to pull backwards. When the spring mass reaches the end of its length, the rifle will be forced in a forward direction. The force of this double recoil has a tendency to cause damage to lenses and internal parts that are fragile. After a few shots, a standard rifle scope can be completely destroyed.
Variable vs. Fixed Rifle Scopes and Ocular Magnification
The first thing you need to consider is whether you want a scope that is variable or fixed. This refers to the magnification of the lens that you look through. If you are going to be using it to sight targets that are far away, a higher magnification would be preferable. It is important to note that your field of view will become smaller as your magnification becomes higher. Similar to microscopes or cameras, you will be able to see less of the surrounding area as you increase the magnification. Also, a smaller amount of light will get through the scope as your magnification becomes greater. This will make your image darker.
A fixed air rifle scope has a big field of view and lower magnification. Therefore, they are ideal for quickly sighting moving targets and shooting at closer ranges. This makes them a good choice for hunting small game. Also, they do not have many moving parts. This makes them more durable and easy to use.
Variable air rifle scopes contain a range of ocular magnification. When a scope is 4-12×32, it means that it can be adjusted between four to twelve times magnification. Therefore, a variable air rifle scope can offer two choices. If you are shooting targets at close range, the scope has low magnification and a big field of vision. If you are shooting targets that are far away, a greater magnification can be used.
Air Rifle Scope Objective Size
If a scope is 4-12×50, the “50” is the size of the objective lens. This is the lens that points in the direction of your target. The bigger an objective lens is, the larger amount of light will be allowed to enter the scope. The more light you have to deal with, the easier you will be able to see the object that you are shooting at. However, a big objective lens will not completely eliminate the issue of high magnification darkening.
Objective lenses in the range of 32mm to 50mm are standard sizes in the industry. These should be good enough for the majority of people. Keep in mind that the larger objective lens that you have, the more clearance you will require from the rifle. As scopes become larger, they also become more bulky and heavy. In the world of air rifle scopes, bigger is not always better.
When dealing with rifle scopes, the concept of parallax effect is difficult for many people to understand. Basically, parallax is when the location of a fixed object seems to move because of the person’s line of sight being changed. Air rifle scopes use an objective lens that is adjustable as a way of dealing with the parallax effect. Most models identify this by using the “AO” designation. Most of the time, the objective lens will have an adjustable ring around it. However, the adjustment can sometimes be found inside the sighting turret. The parallax effect is lessened by an adjustable objective lens. Also, the crosshairs will remain on the target even if the viewing angle changes.
Selecting a Type of Reticle
Reticle simply means the crosshairs on the scope. There are a variety of reticles. However, the majority of these are not suited for air rifles. The following is a list of the reticle configurations that are the most useful and common for modern air rifle scopes:
1. Fine Crosshair
The fine crosshair configuration is the simplest. It contains a pair of thin lines that cross each other in the field of view. Many air rifle users like the fine crosshair because it covers only a minimal amount of the target. The one major problem with this configuration is that the thin lines can easily become lost when they are placed against backgrounds that are dark. This can often happen when hunting in areas without much light.
2. Duplex Crosshair
These crosshairs are thicker along the periphery than the ones found on the fine crosshair. The purpose for the thicker lines on the edges is to prevent the crosshairs from becoming lost against dark backgrounds such as trees and bushes. However, the thin lines in the center allow the target to still be seen clearly.
This is a duplex variation. Toward the middle of the crosshairs, there are small dots placed on the fine lines. The dots are meant to be used for targeting and for range finding. This is the most popular type of reticle.
4. Target Dot
This is the same as the fine crosshair reticle with one major difference. It has a dot in the center. Since small targets can easily be concealed by the dot, it does not have much use when it comes to distance shooting or hunting.
This is similar to the target dot, except it has a larger circle made from a thin line around the bulls-eye. The circle can also cause problems by covering the object you are aiming at.
Air Rifle Scope Mounts
Most air rifles use “dovetail” mounts, but the “weaver” is also a popular type of mount. Prior to purchasing a scope for your air rifle, you should check to see the exact type of mount that it requires.