What Do Scope Numbers Mean? A Guide to Scope Magnification

what is eye relief

You are probably wrong if you think the number game ended when you stepped out of your last mathematical class! As someone keen on guns, you can never expect to avoid numbers as they are a significant part of shooting. Getting a grip on the numbers on the rifle scope transforms you from a regular shooter into a sharpshooter.

In this article, we shall discuss the concept of scope magnification, objective lens diameter, rifle scope number, and much more!

Where to Find the Numbers

scope numbersmeaning

Before you learn how to use the numerical figures of a rifle’s scope, you need to spot them on the weapon. They are easy to find, which makes it pretty straightforward for anyone to learn about the workings of a rifle!

These numbers showcase the maximum and minimum magnification levels that the riffle offers. You get to know about the minimum magnification level of the weapon through the lower number it showcases. This makes targeting the objects in a close range pretty easy.

On the other hand, for the objects far from you, you would have to get help from the maximum magnification ring showcased by the higher number. No matter which shooting scenario you get exposed to, it gets easier to conquer the targets.

The last number you get to see on the rifle scope talks about the diameter of the objective lens. It is in millimeters and refers to how much light it can gather. The bigger it is, the more it can transmit light. This leads to a brighter image of the target, which makes lower-light situations easier to handle.

So, where can you spot them easily? Well, the name of the rifle would tell you the rifle scopes. For instance, if we talk about the Nikon Prostaff P3 3-9×40, the name signifies its Magnification Range of 3-9x while its objective lens is 40mm.

What Do the Numbers Mean?

Understanding what the numbers on a rifle scope mean is necessary to make the weapon work in your favor. These numbers represent two things: the objective lens diameter and the magnification power range of the rifle’s scope.

a. Magnification & Power

what do the numbers mean on a-rifle scope

While shooting a target, one needs to see it clearly, and the magnification feature of the rifle makes it possible. When you peek through special lenses called scope, you see things that are far away. The first numbers you see, for instance, “4x” or “4-12x”, tell you how much bigger those faraway things will appear if you have a scope with just one number, like “4x”; it can only make things look four times larger. Also, learn how to zero a scope to hit the target precisely!

b. Rifle Scope Magnification

rifle Scope Magnification

If it’s about a rifle scope with a range of numbers, like “4-12x”, the riffle user can change how much bigger he wants to see things. This is called scope magnification. With this, he can make objects appear between four times and twelve times larger than their actual size. It’s like having a zoom button for the naked eye! These scopes can vary or change the magnification efficiently compared to those with a fixed magnification.

Picking the Right Scope Magnification

Choosing between a fixed and a variable scope depends on what you want to do. Whether you want the magnification increases as you use the scope or it reduces for you is completely your own calling! If you’re mainly looking at things from a certain distance, a fixed scope might be just what you need.

But a variable scope is the better choice if you want to zoom in and out, like when you’re birdwatching or hunting. So, remember the numbers on it tell you how big things will look and whether it’s a fixed or a variable scope.

That way, you can pick the perfect one for your adventure! However, too much magnification can lead to a tiny field of view in case of excessive zooming in. Hence, it can lead to a great disadvantage.

On the other hand, the higher the magnification is, the more eye relief the shooter gets, and this way, many hunters can take the shot at longer ranges easily! Correct eye relief distance solves the issue of low magnification for most shots. You will turn into a better shooter when you fully understand what is eye relief on a scope!

Size of the Objective Lenses (Mm)

how to pick Right Size Scope

The size of the objective lens is also of great significance. It is placed right at the front end of the rifle scope. This lens is considered to be the closest to the target; hence, it is known as the objective lens. It performs the simple task of directing light into the scope after gathering it from the object or target. This way, there is more light for the hunter to target the object, even in low-light conditions and for smaller targets.

Rifle Scopes and Objective Lens Size

A number in millimeters (mm) indicates the actual size of the lens in the specifications of the scope. For instance, in a rifle named Burris Fullfield E1 3-9×40,” the diameter of the objective lens is 40 mm, as the last part of the number represents. In the rifle, you would spot it right at the frontal end of the scope. Located exactly opposite to the eyepiece, it efficiently performs light transmission functions.

Rifle Scope Reticle and Power/Magnification

The rifle scope reticle, a prominent part of the optics, plays a massive role in various shooting situations. It refers to the pattern of markings in the eyepiece, leading to aiding the shooter in making accurate shots at the targets! Knowing the first and second reticles is necessary in this regard. While learning how to sight in a scope, understanding the reticle gets crucial!

If you observe the first focal plane, the reticle is placed right in front of the magnification lens. The moment you increase or decrease the magnification, you will see that the reticle size will change proportionally. Hence, an appropriate focal point works excellent for the adjustable objective, and you can shoot at the long-range efficiently.

On the other hand, you will find the second focal plane behind the magnification lens, keeping the size of the reticle constant at all times. Hence, the user doesn’t get to increase magnification. In such a scenario, the windage adjustments work for him by accurately aligning the impact point and hitting the target.

Picking the Right Size Scope

scope magnification explained

Choosing the right size is indeed necessary for the whole shooting experience to be worthwhile and comfortable. A lot of shooters opt for a large objective lens size as it aids a more significant portion of light to enter the scene and leads to a bright image.

Even the most potent rifles need the proper scope to maximize their accuracy and effective range. Larger lenses, however, make shooting pretty straightforward!

Additionally, a variable scope offers the liberty of extensive range while making the shot, whereas fixed scope magnification comes with a single level of magnification. The former adds versatility to the shooting scenarios for the rifle user during the hunting season. This, together with eye relief, surely is the deciding point for the hunters.

The Product’s Weight

what do the numbers on rifle scopes mean

The weight of the product is also an important consideration for the buyer. If it’s too heavy, carrying and using it would get tough, leading to making the shooter uncomfortable.

Trying Before Buying

Trying a few variants before buying the final product is necessary. Many shooters, especially experienced ones, try extensive options before choosing the right one. The glass quality also affects the performance of the hunter, which should be checked well in advance!

For a hunter who is more comfortable getting close to the aim and making a shot, the lower magnification works in his favor. More magnification brings more clarity to him.


What Other Numbers Are Associated with the Scope?

Various other optics numbers are associated with the scope, including Eye Relief, Adjustment Click Value, Tube Diameter, Exit Pupil, and many others. Where the eye relief talks about the distance between the hunter’s eye and the eyepiece, the Adjustment Click Value specifies the distance for which the point of impact will move with a single click of the windage.

The tube Diameter is also important as it talks about the main body of the scope that contains the lenses and the reticle. On the other hand, the exit pupil figures in rifle scope mean the measurement of the beam of light that exits the eyepiece.

What Is the Effective Range of a 3-9×40 Scope?

As per the given specifications, the variable magnification ranges from 3 times to 9 times, while the diameter of the objective lens is 40mm. This is the full magnification offered by the weapon, and you can adjust it as per your requirements.

However, at the same time, it should be kept in mind that the actual effective range can vary depending on the individual shooting conditions. These are powerful figures and let the user shoot at a long range with great precision.

Final Thoughts

Numbers on the rifle scopes are really significant and play a massive role in determining the efficiency of a shooter. The magnification of the scope and its power enable target visibility. This article distinguishes between fixed and variable magnification scopes, highlighting their respective advantages. The optical quality, along with its higher magnification strength, augments the pleasure of the shooter!

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