Scope Buying Guide: Five Elements to Consider


In the Eastern deer woods and the wide open spaces of the West, a telescopic sight is a tremendous aid to accuracy and lethality. The right scope may be more important than the model of rifle you shoot, or the caliber you select. I had an opportunity to hunt with the Zeiss product staff and got to experience several of their new models. These products represent many of the benefits of today’s newest scopes. If you’re thinking of new optics, keep these features in mind.

SD Rifle Deer 2011 129Magnification: Improvements in optical technology have allowed for greater magnification, with Zeiss offering scopes with magnification ranges up to five times. Optics like these are ideal for serious trophy hunters.

Reticle: My favorite Zeiss optic was the Z-dot, a standard reticle with a tiny red dot in the center, which instantly focused my shooting eye. Other popular options are the mil-dot and ballistic compensation reticles, which allow you to match your bullet’s ballistic performance with the scope.

Size: Scopes, like the three bears, come in various sizes: one-inch tube, 30mm, tube and tactical. Make sure that your rings are the right size and height for the new scope.

Mounts: Don’t spend $1,000 for a great scope and try to save $10 on mounts. Buy quality steel bases and rings to assure that zero is your sight’s permanent address.

Light Transmission: Brightness in scope is difficult to gauge, yet the best optics perform best in low-light conditions, when game animals are most active. For maximum light transmission, set your variable power scope to its lowest magnification.

For more information about the top scopes on the market, visit these websites: Bushnell | Leupold | Swarovski | Vortex | Zeiss

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Previous articleFall Crappie-Fishing Tips
Next articleThe 10 Commandments of Public-Land Duck Hunting
Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.