Mil Dot and Zoom

For any air rifle, you will need a variable magnification scope with a mil dot at minimum. Do not settle for a straight 4X magnification duplex reticle. Air rifles do not kill with power, they kill with precision. Having a known point of reference (mil dot) to compensate for bullet drop/wind and the ability to zoom in on your target will make you a much more effective shooter and reduce missed shots.

Adjustable Objective

Simplified, an adjustable objective focuses the scope view regardless of the magnification power. The primary use for an adjustable objective is it allows offers a clear view of the target regardless of distance or magnification. It also simplifies shot holdover. For example, my 3-9X Centerpoint scope has a fixed focus at 50 yards. At 9X the scope is blurry at distances under 25 yards. I have to zoom to 5X to see the reticle clearly and have to adjust my holdover for 5X instead of 9X. With an adjustable objective you can use the same holdover regardless of the magnification. Side note- I have an adjustable objective scope now, but still zoom out on close shots. Getting back on track… another added benefit of an adjustable objective is it serves at a rangefinder of sorts. The focus on the scope indicates a distance. On my Leapers, it is ballpark. On my friend’s Vortex, it is as accurate as a laser rangefinder.

Target Turrets

Target turrets are nice to have, but aren’t totally necessary. They are a little more precise than holding over or off your target. I’ll give you an example when I found target turrets helped me out. I had a far zero for my rifle at 50 yards, and had several blackbirds perched directly over my deer feeder… exactly 37 yards away (and in a 15mph full value wind {during a blizzard}). Within a few shots I adjusted my rifle until to hit right behind the crosshair.

The Best Magnification

There are several magnification options available, so the one you select should be paired for the rifle. For a long range target rifle, take your pick. Any will work. If you want a 1,000,000X magnification- go for it. The same can not be said for a hunting rifle. The most important consideration for a hunting rifle is the lowest magnification setting must be usable at close range. If the lowest magnification still offers a high magnification power, you’ll have a hard time finding your target jumping from limb to limb in the woods. Example: 3-9X may not have the zoom for long shots, but it will have a good field of view under 25 yards. A 10-40X may have long range zoom, but your target may fill the scope at 5 yards. I selected a 3-12X44 for my Condor. It has a good low end for high field of view, and 12X is still more than enough magnification for 75 yard shots at pine cones.

Cost

Don’t cheat yourself by buying a cheap scope without all the features you need. If you have an accurate rifle, you need a scope that can match the accuracy potential of the rifle. I had the 3-9X32 Centerpoint on my Condor until I could afford a Leapers. The lack of adjustable objective and only a 3-9X magnification held back the rifle’s accuracy. The added benefit of higher magnification and being able to focus on targets has made hits more frequent. A good rule of thumb is the scope cost should cost at least half the cost of the rifle. But it never hurts to make sure your rifle is accurate enough (deserving enough) before a quality optic is purchased.

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