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Ultimately the function of any scope is to help aim, give you an idea of distance to the target, and make acquisition easier. The best rifle scopes are high-quality, precision instruments, very light, rugged and with outstanding optics. To do that there are several features a good rifle scope must possess. In no particular order, here they are. Not directly related to the scope, but crucial nonetheless is your mount. If your scope isn't securely mounted, with no opportunity to move, then you're asking for problems. It's worth it to make sure you have a solid, superbly-aligned mount on which to place your great new scope.
Other factors to consider would be the image and it's quality. There are several things to think about in this regard. It's just vital that the optics deliver as much light as possible to the eyepiece. The more light you have to work with, the sharper the resolution and eventually the shot. This is one reason why larger objective lens scopes (50mm) have become more popular recently, as the larger the light gathering capability, the more you have to work with. Lens quality is a huge issue, too, and can be detected by any distortion visible around the edges. Lens coatings are applied to quality optics to reduce reflection causing glare and help gather light for a crisper, brighter image. Don't buy a lens that's not at least multi-coated.
Adjustment capability is also important. A good scope will have little or no movement of the reticle, nor should it. You don't want your aim reference point changing from one shot to the next. Check for Parallax error as well. This is when slight changes in eye position change the aim of the scope. You can expect most quality rifle scopes to be parallax error-free to 100 yards. Magnification of the target image is another item to consider. If you're hunting with a very powerful gun over a great distance this may be something you would want. Most the time however you don't want any magnification, as it fiddles with your natural ability to reckon distance drop.
Finally make sure the scope you buy is watertight; sealed tight as a drum, and totally fogproof. Keeping these things in mind while you're search for a new rifle scope will help you save money, heartache, and missed shots!
Keith Thompson is the webmaster at Best Rifle Scopes, where you can find outstanding choices to help acquire your target!
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