How To Zero A Rifle Scope or sight

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Types of Rifle Scopes and Rifle Sight

This is a fast guide to the types of rifle scope (or sight) out there and what their applications are.

For more info on what scope to buy see the Buy a scope guide page and for more info on technical terms see the Rifle scope Glossary page.

Telescopic Rifle Scopes

3-9x50 rifle scope on MP5 Airsoft

Picture - OK a bit OTT here, a 3-9x56 on an MP5 Airsoft

The telescopic scope is the standard type to use for air rifle hunting, fun target shooting, hi power rifle hunting, airsoft sniper and infantry work and "specialist" paintball sniper.

As the name suggests they have a telescopic view.

So a 4x scope magnifies the view by 4.

A scope with a 3-9 rating means it has variable magnification and goes from 3x magnification to 9x and all the whole numbers in between .- 3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9x

The number at the end - in the example here 56 refers to the size of the end lens in mm. So a 3-9x56 scopes gives you magnification between 3 and 9x through a 56mm diameter lens (that's pretty big by the way) Bigger = more light captured + wider fields of view + better target tracking vs a trade off in bulkiness. 32-40mm is a decent everyday lens size.

Reflex Sights: Red dot Sights and Laser Sights

Reflex meaning you see the target - you bring the rifle up and a marker appears on target and you fire.

Best suited for short range shooting e.g., vermin hunting in barns, low light/short range in general, airsoft and paintball close range skirmish/CQB/FIBUA

I call this type a sight rather than a scope as the word scope implies magnification. This type does not give you magnification and so is a sight i.e.,a visual aid rather than magnifier.

In some cases they can be used with a telescopic scope e.g., laser on top of scope.

Red Dot Sights -

Red Dot Open EyeA red dot appears inside the lens when you look through it.

Only you can see the dot. Most of these sights are red dot but you will also find green and some that give both colours by way of a mode switch. Green can be good in certain light conditions.

The example pictured is a red dot open eye with fixed "Standard" mounts (to fit base rails 9-13mm wide)

Good in that the target or, in the case of combat, his mates aren't aware of the impending doom.

Not so good for true relex from the hip shooting as you have to bring the sight to your eye and aim.

Laser Sights -

Hawke Tactical LaserEveryones TV and movie Special Ops/SWAT team fave. Apart from that very good for true reflex from the hip shooting as well as more considered aimed shooting against targets that aren't likely to notice the dot or associate it with a very bad thing!

Of course can be lots of fun in airsoft and paintball where you can paint the target figuratively just before you do them over for real.

Depending on model can be fitted direct to the rifles sight rail, on top of a telescopic scope (as seen here) or, in some bases, to the rifle barrel or trigger guard (trigger guard fitting models are mainly for pistols)


Diopter Sights -

Diopter Sight 1

The target shooters choice.

Basically operates in a pin hole principle where, when set up and zeroed correctly you will only see theĀ“target properly through the hole when it is bang on where the shot will fall.

Due to the lack of field of view it's not what you want for hunting or combat but if targets are your thing then you should get one. I do sell a basic yet good model and had plenty of good comments about them so they must be good!



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