The sport of hunting is one based in ancient traditions, but also one that has evolved considerably since its early days. Modern technology has made hunting an entirely different affair in today's world, and a hunter's success often depends heavily upon their having the right equipment. Tactical rifle scopes allow hunters to accurately hit their targets from vast distances and with incredible accuracy.
Choosing the right tactical rifle scope is absolutely crucial. This guide is intended to explore the main factors to consider when selecting a scope, and to provide the necessary information for an aspiring hunter to make that choice. The online auctioning website eBay is the perfect place to look for a scope, as it offers a wide selection of sights and scopes,, amongst other accessories, available to be bought and delivered at the click of a button.
About Tactical Rifle Scopes
A riflescope, or telescopic sight, is an optical device that magnifies when a user peers through it. It is attached to the upper part of a rifle in order to make aiming at distant targets easier, as they appear larger.
The magnification factor of any given rifle scope is a numeric value, assigned to indicate how powerfully it can magnify objects. The larger the number, the more magnified the object appears. A magnification factor of 6, for example, will make an object appear 6 times larger than it appears naturally to the human eye.
Commonly used magnification factors include (but are not limited to):
However, some scopes use magnification factors as high as, for instance, 24 or 40. Lower magnification factors provide a wider field of view, as well as decreasing the likelihood of shakiness, and are thus commonly used amongst novice hunters. Higher magnification factors allow aiming at targets from greater distances, but have the disadvantage of being more susceptible to the user's shaking hands, and so tend to be used by more experienced marksmen.
Some tactical rifle scopes will feature adjustable magnification factors. These are known as variable sights.. They have the distinct advantage of being able to accurately magnify objects at a range of distances, making them a flexible, versatile and practical choice. The magnification factor of an adjustable scope is presented as the lowest possible magnification to the highest. For example, a scope capable of a magnified view of between 3 and 9 would increase the size of a target's actual size by a magnification factor of 3-9.
Objective Lens Diameter
The objective lens of a tactical rifle scope is the lens at the far end of the scope; furthest from the eye and nearest the target. The size of the objective lens determines how much light enters the scope, which affects:
- The brightness of the image
- The field of vision
- The diameter of the exit pupil
The objective lens diameter is measured in millimetres (mm).
Classification is one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a tactical rifle scope. All rifle scopes available on eBay will have a clearly marked classification. Tactical rifle scopes are classified by the Magnification factor and the objective lens diameter together. A classification of 6x40, for instance would indicate a scope with 6 times magnification, and an objective lens diameter of 40mm. A classification of 3-9x50 would indicate variable sights, with between 3 and 9 times magnification, and a 50mm objective lens diameter.
The intended use of the scope should factor heavily into the process of choosing a classification, as well as the type of rifle owned, and the range of that rifle.
The Exit Pupil
Telescopic sights, such as tactical rifle scopes, focus the light collected by the objective lens (mentioned above) into a narrow beam, which is then carried along the scope and into the eye. The diameter of the beam at the point when it exits the scope is known as the exit pupil. To determine the size of the exit pupil, simply divide the objective lens diameter by the magnification factor of the scope, although many eBay sellers will in fact provide the size of the exit pupil on the item's information page.
The most efficient scopes will have an exit pupil approximately the size of the fully dilated human iris, which is roughly 7mm. This means that little or no gathered light is wasted, which in turn provides a brighter image. However, the payoff is that it becomes more difficult to place the eye in the exact right location to receive that light. Using a wider exit pupil is probably the better option for novice marksmen, as it is easier to attain the desired image, and can be used at different times of day and in different levels of light without as much loss of brightness.
Reticles , or crosshairs, are located at the end of a tactical rifle scope. They allow the marksman to identify at exactly which point in the field of vision afforded by the scope their weapon is pointed. There are many different kinds of reticle. The following are a few examples:
- Fine Crosshair – the traditional x shape is an early design, which is accurate, but does not account for bullet drop due to distance, or to crosswinds that require adjustment of the shot.
- Duplex crosshair – The lines of the crosshair are thicker towards the outer circumference of the objective lens.
- Mil-dot - the most commonly used reticle in modern military institutions, the Mil-dot, features a duplex crosshair marked at regular intervals with short lines running perpendicular to the crosshair. These intervals allow the marksman to estimate with greater accuracy the effects of crosswinds and bullet drop.
- Rangefinders – rangefinder reticles feature a design along the bottom, which allows rapid and accurate estimation of the distance from the target.
There are two main types of reticle. These are:
- Wire - wire reticles are made of thin threads of metal. They are cheap to produce, but more liable to be inaccurate
- Etched - etched reticles are engraved into the objective lens, and as such form an internal part of the scope. They are more expensive to produce, but less likely to be inaccurate and at less risk of damage.
The eye relief is the distance between the near end of the tactical rifle scope and the eye. Eye relief usually ranges from about 25mm to 100mm. Aspiring hunters who wear glasses should pay particular attention to the eye relief, as they will usually need a greater distance to achieve the same effect as other marksmen. In most cases, a larger eye relief is favoured anyway, as it minimises the risk of recoil-related eye and face injuries.
Once a scope has been selected, it is important to consider how it will be attached to the rifle it is intended for. To attach a tactical rifle scope, a mount is needed. In the vast majority of cases, the eBay seller will be offering a mount in conjunction with the scope they are selling, which means that the buyer does not need to acquire their own. However, in the event that a mount is not included, the following is a brief list of important points to consider when buying a mount.
- Scope Bases – This is the portion of the mount attached to the rifle, usually with screws. The size of the mount needed depends upon the size of the rifle.
- Scope Rings – Scope rings are commonly used to connect the base to the scope. They hold the scope in place, and as such must be the correct size to fit the base and the scope. The most common Scope ring sizes are (in mm): 19.05, 22, 25.4, 26, 30 and 34.
- Scope Mounting Rails – These are attached to the scope itself, and are an integral part of the scope (meaning they cannot be removed). Using a scope mounting rail allows the scope to be connected straight to the base of the mount, negating the need for scope rings.
If unsure of which kind or size of mounting equipment you will need, the best course of action is to contact the seller directly and ask them, as in the vast majority of cases they will be able to help. eBay has a function which allows buyers to do exactly this, making it the perfect medium for buying mounts for tactical rifle scopes.
How to Buy Tactical Rifle Scopes on eBay
The eBay platform offers incredible diversity for any buyer seeking to purchase tactical rifle scopes. The wide selection ensures that in the vast majority of cases a suitable product can be found to match the buyer's needs.
Tactical rifle scopes can be found under the Sports & Leisure section of the categories navigation menu on the eBay homepage, under the sub-headingSporting Goods.. In this section, there is another subcategory entitled Hunting.. Selecting the Sights & Scopes option from this list will take the buyer to the full item listings for any item categorised as a Scope. Alternatively, the search bar allows greater flexibility when searching for rifle scopes. Simply type ‘ tactical rifle scopes ' into the search bar and press enter.
Using eBay allows the buyer to refine their search by filtering the items that appear in the listings. The filtering options appear in the left margin of the page, and allow the items to be organised by:
- Seller's reputation
Furthermore, the buyer can choose between various different auction methods, namely: ‘Buy It Now' (which enables instant purchase) and ‘Auction' (which has the potential to offer better prices). In addition, each item has its own page with detailed information, which can be accessed by clicking on the item's entry in the listings. If there is any extra information required, the seller can be contacted using the ‘ask a question' option located in the questions and answers section at the bottom of the item's page.
These factors combine to make eBay the ideal platform for buying tactical rifle scopes.
The world of hunting and marksmanship is advancing at the same rapid rate as that of modern technology, and in order to keep up, a savvy hunter needs an effective scope. This guide intended to demonstrate the various factors that need consideration when buying a scope, as well as to detail the ways in which eBay can help with finding the right product. The key points to remember are:
- Magnification Factor
- Objective Lens Diameter
- Exit Pupil
- Eye Relief