Riflescopes should be considered vital if you are an avid hunter or target shooter and desire to achieve the best performance from your rifle. When choosing a scope consideration must be given to the type of hunting conditions and the shooting distances you will likely encounter. For instance, do you repeatedly hunt on a lease, in a wooded area, or perhaps a hilly plot covered with brush? Are you someone who likes to hunt in varied terrains and locations? Knowing these things can help determine the type and magnification power of the riflescope you purchase.
Shooters who specialize in fixed-distance target shooting should consider a fixed-power riflescope since they can calibrate their weapon to the desired distance. Fixed-power scopes are simple to use and are generally available at a lower cost than variable-power versions. Hunters shooting at game up to about 100 yards away can also benefit from a fixed-power scope. In general, a 4x scope can provide all of the magnification needed for individuals shooting shorter-range calibers.
The other option available to shooters is a variable-power riflescope. This type of scope provides a range of magnification which can be dialed down when hunting at shorter distances such as in heavy brush or forests or dialed up for better viewing at longer distances across valleys or prairies. These scopes are favored by varmint hunters as well as long-range target shooters. Variable-power scopes are more expensive and have more adjustment challenges since they must also compensate for windage and elevation on long distance shots.
Most hunters mount their riflescopes on Picatinny rails. This offers a simple way to attach the scope and allows adjustment forward and backward along the barrel length. Once the scope is situated to provide proper eye relief, adjust the crosshairs so that they are perfectly horizontal and vertical. The next step is boresighting the rifle using a laser or a muzzle-mounted system. This will allow shots to hit a paper target at 100 yards. However, the scope still needs to be sighted in at a shooting range to tighten the shot grouping before attempting to go out hunting. The process sounds simple but requires patience to achieve, so spend the time necessary and your hunting success will greatly improve.