Focus In on the Right Optics

Keeping your eye on the target is a whole lot easier with today’s optics. Optimizing your hunting performance with the right scope requires understanding optic features and assessing your hunting preferences.

Hunting optics can range in price from $30 to $2,000 . . . with plenty of choices in-between. The decision of what to buy is made tougher because a 4 x 32 scope that costs $30 may not appear to be much different than one that costs $200.

Lenses are the major difference between hunting optics. The least expensive scopes typically use plastic lenses. The next step up in quality and price involves the use of glass lenses.  Coatings added to glass lenses enhance brightness in low light situations and add a bit more cost. The most expensive optics use precision ground glass, similar to eye glasses.

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when shopping for optics:

Power
The power of a scope is described by two numbers that indicate its magnifying ability and the size of the lens.
A standard 4 x 32 scope will magnify an object up to 4 times larger than you could see with the naked eye. The 32 indicates that the lens diameter is 32 millimeters.
The larger the second number, the lens diameter, the more it will help brighten the view.

Fixed Power
The magnification set by the manufacturer.
Fixed power scopes are adequate for hunters who need a good view of 50 to 100 yards.
The most popular fixed scopes are 4 x 32.

Variable Power
More applicable to a wider range of uses.
Variable power scopes can be adjusted according to the field of view needed as well as the available light.
Variable scopes range from 1.5 magnification up to 25 times for long-range viewing and shooting.

Field of View
How much you can see through your scope at 1,000 yards.
Generally, the higher the magnification, the less the field of view.
This information is always printed either on the instruction sheet or directly on the scope.

Eye Relief
The distance between your eye and the scope, which allows you to achieve the entire field of view.Can be adjusted once you have your scope and have it mounted.

The final key to selecting the right scope is assessing how you hunt. Hunting in the woods with shadows and less light requires a different scope than hunting in open fields with plenty of sun. Think about how you hunt, where you hunt and what the typical conditions are. Selecting the right optics becomes a lot easier when you can match your hunting needs with the right lens, power and view.

-Deer Abby

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