How to Choose the Right Riflescope

In the podcast “Choosing the Right Riflescope” by Vortex Nation, the hosts dive into the important factors to consider when selecting a rifle scope. They address common misconceptions and emphasize that the right riflescope depends on your specific needs and budget. The hosts encourage listeners to reach out to them for further guidance or questions, providing contact information and social media platforms. The goal of the podcast is to provide helpful advice without overwhelming newcomers or restricting them based on their expertise or budget.

Throughout the episode, the hosts discuss the significance of matching magnification to the shooting application, caution against over-scoping their guns, and debunk the belief that more features and higher prices equal better quality. They stress the importance of finding the right balance between price and performance, and recommend investing in good quality rings and mounting procedures for optimal scope performance. Overall, this podcast aims to help listeners choose the best riflescope for their needs while making them feel comfortable with their choices, even if they differ from others.

How to Choose the Right Riflescope

Factors to Consider

When choosing the right riflescope, there are several factors that you need to consider. These factors will help you determine the most suitable riflescope for your needs and ensure that you make an informed decision. Below are some of the most important factors to take into account when selecting a riflescope:

Purpose of Use

The first and most crucial factor to consider is the purpose for which you will be using the riflescope. Are you primarily planning to use it for hunting, shooting competitions, or target practice? Different activities may require different features and specifications in a riflescope. For example, if you are a hunter, you may need a scope with a wider field of view and good low-light performance. On the other hand, if you are participating in shooting competitions, you may need a scope with precise adjustments and a higher magnification range.


Setting a budget is another important step in choosing the right riflescope. While it’s tempting to go for the most expensive option, it’s not always necessary. There are plenty of high-quality scopes available at reasonable price points that will suit your needs perfectly. Determine your budget range and look for scopes within that range that offer the features and performance you are looking for. Remember, more expensive doesn’t always mean better, so it’s important to find the right balance between price and performance.


The level of magnification you need in a riflescope depends on the specific application. It’s important to match the magnification to your intended use to ensure optimal performance. For example, if you are primarily shooting at short distances, you may not need a high magnification scope. On the other hand, if you are engaging targets at long distances, a scope with higher magnification capabilities would be beneficial. Consider the distances at which you will be shooting and choose a scope with an appropriate magnification range.

Focal Plane

Understanding the focal plane of a riflescope is also crucial in making the right choice. There are two types of focal planes commonly found in scopes: first focal plane (FFP) and second focal plane (SFP).

  • First Focal Plane Scopes: In a first focal plane scope, the reticle is located at the front of the erector system, meaning it increases or decreases in size as the magnification is adjusted. This allows the reticle to maintain the same proportions with the target regardless of the magnification level. FFP scopes are often preferred by long-range shooters because it allows for accurate holdovers, range estimations, and wind holds at any magnification level.

  • Second Focal Plane Scopes: In a second focal plane scope, the reticle remains the same size regardless of the magnification level. This means that the reticle subtensions only remain accurate at one specific magnification level, usually the highest. SFP scopes are popular for hunting and general shooting purposes as the reticle remains uncluttered and easy to see at lower magnifications.

Considering the intended application and your preferences, choose a riflescope with the appropriate focal plane that aligns with your shooting needs.

Optical Quality and Performance

Optical quality and performance are crucial factors in determining the overall effectiveness of a riflescope. Higher-quality optics will provide clearer, sharper images with better light transmission and minimal distortion. When evaluating the optical quality of a riflescope, consider factors such as lens coatings, glass quality, and overall construction. Look for scopes with multi-coated lenses to reduce glare and improve light transmission, as well as scopes with high-quality glass for better clarity and color reproduction.

Mounting Procedures

Investing in proper mounting procedures is essential for the optimal performance of your riflescope. A poorly mounted scope can lead to accuracy and stability issues, compromising your shooting experience. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mounting the scope securely to your rifle. Consider investing in good quality rings and bases that are appropriate for your rifle and scope combination. Properly torquing the mounting screws and using thread lockers can help ensure that your scope stays securely in place during shooting.

Determining Purpose of Use

Before delving into the details of choosing the right riflescope, it is important to determine the purpose for which you will be using the scope. Understanding your specific use case will help narrow down the options and ensure that you select the most suitable riflescope. Let’s explore some common purposes of rifle use and the types of scopes that are typically recommended for each:


If you plan to use your rifle for hunting, you need a scope that can handle various environmental conditions and help you acquire targets quickly. Look for scopes with a wider field of view, good low-light performance, and a moderate magnification range. A scope with a larger objective lens can gather more light and provide better visibility during dawn and dusk hunting hours. Additionally, consider a reticle that is easy to use in the field, such as a simple duplex or BDC reticle.

Shooting Competitions

For shooting competitions, precision and accuracy are of the utmost importance. Look for scopes with precise adjustments, clear target visibility, and a reticle that allows for accurate holdovers and windage adjustments. Scopes with higher magnification ranges can be beneficial for shooting at various distances. It’s also important to consider the weight of the scope, as heavier scopes may affect your shooting stability and endurance during prolonged competitions.

Target Practice

When it comes to target practice, versatility and reliability are key. Look for scopes that offer a good balance between magnification range and field of view, allowing you to engage targets at various distances. Consider scopes with clear and bright optics that allow for precise shot placement. Depending on your specific preferences and needs, you can choose a scope with a reticle that suits your shooting style, whether it’s a simple crosshair or a more complex reticle for holdovers and range estimations.

By determining your intended use for the riflescope, you can narrow down your options and focus on scopes that are specifically designed to meet your needs. Taking the time to carefully consider your purpose of use will greatly increase your satisfaction with the chosen riflescope.

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