What is the Purpose of Hunting Sights and Scopes?

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What is the Purpose of Hunting Sights and Scopes?

Sights and scopes are used in hunting as a primary piece of equipment.

The fundamental purpose of sights and scopes is to enhance the shooting experience by magnifying the target. This enables the shooter to have a clearer view, as well as vastly improving the accuracy of the shot through a series of mechanisms fitted onto the scope.

Sights and scopes can be adapted before taking a shot to suit a variety of environments and shooting styles and are available at a range of prices. These different types of scope are easily purchasable on auction sites such as eBay.

The varying types of sights and scopes available mean that there is a lot of choice on the market. The following information should enable a full understanding of the purpose of sights and scopes, and should make for a secure and honest purchase if that is desired.

The Features of Hunting Sights and Scopes

Sights and scopes have a number of very important and extremely useful features and elements. By understanding the individual components that make up the anatomy of a hunting scope, one can further understand their purpose and why they are so popular amongst the majority of hunters. Below is a table underlining and detailing the main anatomical elements of a hunting scope:

Anatomical Features of a Rifle Scope

Feature Information

Outer Shell/Tube

The outer shell of a rifle scope is the outer infrastructure of the whole of the scope itself. It is essentially the outer body that houses all the other anatomical features of the rifle scope. In terms of size, outer tubes tend to be of two different diameter variations. The first of which is a one inch diameter outer tube and the second, a smaller but effective, 30 millimetre diameter. The size of the outer tube plays a role in the shooting experience as the larger the tube, the more the rifle weighs and if one is out shooting for an extended period of time, every added bit of weight makes a difference to the shooters ability to make an accurate shot. However, an outer shell that is larger will be stouter and less susceptible to affecting accuracy. The outer tubes of many rifle scopes tend to be made from either aluminium or titanium. 

Objective Lens

The objective lens of a rifle scope is designed to magnify the target in question and allow for the shooter to have a clearer image of the target. Objective lenses come in a variety of sizes that are measured by their ‘power’ (a notion that will be explained further in the guide), as well as being measured by their diameter. The diameter of the lens is important as it determines how much light is let in and thus, how clear the image of the target is. On certain ‘variable’ objective lenses, a power ring is provided to allow for shooters to tailor the magnification of the lens to change for different types and lengths of shooting.

Ocular Lens

The ocular lens is the part of the rifle scope that the shooter looks through. It is situated in the eye piece of the scope. Whilst it does not magnify or play such an important role as the objective lens, the purchase of an ocular lens that does not reflect light back into the eye is important. There are layers of film that hunters can purchase to prevent this from happening.

Eye Piece

The eye piece houses all of the parts of the rifle scope. As mentioned above, the ocular lens is situated in the eye piece. There are eye pieces available that can be tailored to suit specific eyesight and vision requirements of the shooters.


More commonly referred to as crosshairs, the reticle is a means of measuring and confirming the accuracy of a shot. Whilst there are different variations of reticles, they are generally two lines, one horizontal and the other vertical that are used as a means of centralising a target in the objective lens. Where the two lines meet is where the bullet will hit the target. Despite the popularity of the crosshair-style reticle, there are other forms of reticle available that allow for differing styles of shooting, such as a laser point reticle that provides an extremely clear point of aim to the shooter.

Wind Turrent

The wind turrent on a rifle scope is a type of adjustment turrent that enables the shooter to cater for environmental factors when shooting. In this case, the environmental factor is wind, as it plays an enormous role in the accuracy of the shot. The wind turrent, which is regularly situated either on the top or the side of the rifle, allows the shooter to adjust the reticle in order for it to account for wind power and direction.

Elevation Turrent

The elevation turrent is another kind of adjustment turrent found on rifle scopes. This turrent enables the shooter to modify the scope to account for the elevation between the scope and the rifle and find an appropriate distance between the two to make shooting as accurate as possible. Again, this turrent is frequently found either on the top or side of the rifle.

How Rifle Scopes Work

Once an understanding of the anatomy of a rifle scope has been gained, one can begin to comprehend the purpose of using a scope for improving the accuracy and ease of shooting. Another means of understanding the purpose of rifle scopes is by understanding how they work and how they are distinguishable from the likes of telescopes.

Rifle scopes are separated by their level of magnification and their lens diameter. This is done by giving each type of rifle scope a number that relates to these measurements. The two most commonly used examples of rifle scope numbers are:

  • 4x20
  • 4-12x50

The first number relates to the level of magnification of the objective lens, otherwise known as the ‘power’. The second number after the times (‘x’) sign refers to the diameter of the objective lens, which is commonly referred to as the ‘objective’.  Here is a table explaining the power and objective of a rifle scope and why they are important:


Whilst the first number is consistently the level and strength of magnification of the lens, there are two types of number given in the examples above. This is down to the fact that there are two types of rifle scope power. The first is a less commonly used power, known as fixed power. Fixed power rifle scopes are only given one power measurement, as they cannot be altered. If the above example was given as a measurement of a fixed power rifle scope, it would mean that the scope could magnify ‘4’ times more than the human eye can, thus improving accuracy. The second type of rifle scope power is variable power. This means that the scopes magnification level can be altered to suit differing shooting and target types. The reason there are two numbers given before the ‘x’ sign in a rifle scope measurement is because these are the two boundaries between which the power of the scope can be changed between. For example, one could switch between using the scope to magnify the image 4 times more than the human eye for one shot, or anywhere between 4 and 12 for another shot. Variable power rifle scopes are common practice due their versatility.


The second number coming after the ‘x’ is the objective. The objective number is one that relates to the diameter of the objective lens. Therefore, the first of the examples given above would have an objective lens diameter of 20 millimetres and the second example would have an objective lens diameter of 50 millimetres. Whilst smaller objectives are useful for short distance targets, the larger the diameter of the lens, the clearer the image, as more light is stored within the lens. 

Buying Hunting Sights and Scopes on eBay

Once a full understanding of the nature and function of hunting sights and scopes has been gained, one may wish to purchase one. Auction sites such as eBay provide ample opportunity for potential buyers to purchase a scope for their hunting firearm that is both suited to their preferred type of shooting, as well as being reasonably priced.

The fact that those using eBay can place a Bid on a desired item is of advantage to buyers who wish to find a price that may be more affordable than when buying from specialist hunting retailers, online or otherwise. If the option is available, however, one may be able to take advantage of the Buy It Now facility that some sellers offer.

By visiting the Sporting Goods and then Hunting category of the sight, one can find listings that exclusively contain hunting items and accessories. By using the Sights and Scopes filter tab, one can then see listings even further suited to requirements. To tailor the search even further, one may wish to use the keyword search bar to look for a hunting scope that is more suited to personal taste.


Therefore, via a series of lenses, turrents and a reticle, one makes use of hunting scopes as a means of magnifying targets and vastly improving the accuracy of shots. Whilst hunters with poor, natural eyesight may use them as a visual aid, those who wish to shoot with pinpoint accuracy over long distances also take advantage of their magnification abilities.

If a hunting sight or scope is required, one can always look at the sheer amount of online forums and blogs that are dedicated to the art of hunting as means of further understanding the purpose and the benefits of using a scope for such activities. Being knowledgeable on the topic is always a sure fire means of purchasing a rifle scope that is best suited to personal taste.

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