Understanding Air Rifle Scopes
Choosing the right air rifle scope can be a daunting task. There are dozens to choose from and all of them have different features to offer you. To make things easier, lets examine the basics of airgun scopes. Essentially, a scope simply magnifies an image you are targeting and puts you on the same visual plane as the object. It does this by using a series of lenses inside the scope to bend the light that enters so that it magnifies the image. An air rifle scope is special because it can withstand the unique vibration and double recoil of an air rifle. NEVER PUT A FIREARM SCOPE ON AN AIR RIFLE. Now, the reason people enjoy having scopes on their air rifles is because it will help you achieve the pinpoint accuracy that air rifles are known for. So, let’s take a look at the two different kinds of scopes starting with fixed air rifle scopes.
Fixed Air Rifle Scopes
A fixed air rifle scope is set on one magnification and cannot be adjusted. It is denoted by something like this: 4X32 or 4X15. The 4X means that the object in the viewfinder is magnified 4 times more than you can see with the naked eye. The advantage to having a scope like this is that once it is sighted in, it requires very little adjusting. The disadvantage is that you cannot magnify an image any more than the set magnification. These scopes are adequate for hunting smaller rodents such as rats or mice or any rodent that can be hunted at closer ranges. See an example here .
Variable Air Rifle Scopes
With this type of airgun scope, an image can be magnified usually between 3-15X. It will be denoted with something like this: 3-9X32. So you can magnify it 3-9 times and the 32 means a 32mm objective lens. More on objecitve sizes later in the article.... These scopes are great for hunting larger game at longer distances. The disadvantage to this kind of scope is that it may require more frequent adjustments because there are many intricate parts inside the scope. See an example here.
Understanding Objective Sizes
The last number in a scope description denotes the objective size. For example, 4-16X50. 50 mean that this scope has a 50mm objective or a 50 mm lens opening. Objective size is important for two reasons. First, the bigger the lens, the stronger the magnification. Second, a larger objective will allow more light to enter the scope giving you a brighter, clearer sight picture. If you plan to use your air rifle scope at dusk or in other low light conditions be sure to pick out a scope with a large objective. Below are a couple of scopes we recommend:
- Nikko Stirling 4-12X42 with Free One Piece Mount
- Leapers 6-24X50 Air Rifle Scope
- Leapers 4-16X50 Air Rifle Scope
After you've read up on all the different mounting options below visit our Scope Mounts page here.
All scopes need a way to connect to the gun. This is done by using a one or two piece scope mount that fit around the scope and are tightened onto a rail on top of the airgun. I would recommend using a one piece mount for high powered spring air rifles that have a lot of recoil. A one piece mount is more sturdy and can withstand the intense recoil of magnum air rifles. If you are just mounting a scope to a CO2 or a lower powered spring rifle then a two piece mount will suffice. There are a few different types of hardware that you will need to be familiar with.
- High mounts: These rings work best with larger scopes because it allows them to sit higher on the gun, giving the large objective lens room to clear the stock and barrel. In most cases high mounts should be used for scopes with a 50mm objective or higher. Only use high mounts if you have a scope with a big objective. You should always try to mount the scope as low to the top of the rifle as possible as this will increase your accuracy.
- Medium mounts: These rings are slightly smaller than High rings and will work for most any air gun scope with an objective of 44mm or less.
- One piece mounts: These mounts offer added stability to your scope. These mounts work best with high-powered rifles such as Beeman and RWS or any air rifle with a velocity of over 1000 FPS. These mounts are a bit more expensive but a lot of customers feel that it is worth it because of the added stability which means better accuracy.
- Scope Tube Size: Scopes come in two tube sizes- 1 inch and 30 mm. Be sure to buy the correct size scope mounts to fit your scope.
- Specialty mounts: A few air rifles require unique mounts.. Benjamin Air Rifles requires a B272 mount to mount any scope to their air rifles as well as a set of standard rings to be used in conjuction with the mount.
- RWS C-Mount- I mention this mount because it is probably the best adjustable mount on the market. If you want to mount a scope to your RWS air rifle I seriously recommend that you get this mount. A lot of scopes don't have enough elevation and windage adjustments to sight them in properly with RWS rifles. The RWS C-mount allows you to make the major elevation and windage adjustments on the mount itself and then you can fine tune the accuracy using the adjustments on the scope. The only drawback is that this is an expensive mount, however, for RWS air rifles it is the worth the money and will allow you to sight your air rifle properly. This mount works with all RWS air rifles as well as any airgun with a standard 3/8 " dovetail mount. Click here for the RWS C-Mount.
Now that you know the basics, here are some simple suggestions to help you choose a scope:
- Decide what type of shooting you are going to do. For small rodent hunting at close ranges, go with a 4X32 fixed scope. For larger varmints, go with a variable. For target shooting, a fixed scope will work just fine unelss you want the ability to zoom close up to your target. If so, go with a variable..
- Decide on the quality of air rifle scope you want, then buy one a little bit nicer than that. It’s better to get something a little nicer than to get something you will regret having. The old saying, "You get what you pay for" is especially relevant with air rifle scopes and optics in general.
- Make sure you buy the appropriate mounting hardware as well.
Airgun Depot is proud to announce our exclusive new line of air rifle scopes. We are the exclusive distributor for the Nikko Stirling Air King series of air rifle scopes. These scopes come with a sturdy one piece mount already attached to the scope. The scopes also feature flip open dust covers, adjustable objective, high grade lenses for improved clarity and a sturdy one piece scope body. We feel that our Nikko Stirling scopes give you the most bang for your buck. They are designed to withstand the intense recoil of high powered air rifles. Check them out below.
- Nikko Stirling 4X32 with Free One Piece Mount- $59.99
- Nikko Stirling 3-9X42 with Free One Piece Mount- $85.99
- Nikko Stirling 4-12X42 with Free One Piece Mount-$105.99