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How to Choose Right Hunting Sight?

Choosing the right hunting sight is like running through a maze with no idea where you're going. Then there are countless landmines of technical jargon, specs, acronyms - and you might be lost for life.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about hunting sight.

It includes:

  • Increasing magnification
  • Scope reticles: different types
  • The parallax
  • A little more (with an exclusive, Bushnell-only bonus section)

You'll love this guide if you want to go from hunting sight novice to hunting sight pro.

Let's get started.

Increasing magnification

When we magnify, we see the target much closer than what we can see with our naked eyes.

For example:

Typically, you’re able to see eight times closer than the naked eye if a scope’s magnification is 8X, but how much magnification is needed in order to see this close?

A LOT of rookies would tell you to “buy as much magnification as you can ”.

The situation isn't always like that.

You may waste your hard-earned money if you buy too much magnification, and you may never use it. That's why I recommend the amount of magnification based on your needs.

Here are some tips that might be helpful:

  1. Get a magnification between 5-8x if you want to target shoot (up to 200 yards), stalk large game, or hunt in closed areas (forests, mountains, etc.).
  2. Choose a magnification between 1-4x according to how you intend to use your rifle, such as target shooting (up to 100 yards), stalking small game, and homestead defense.
  3. Considering target shooting or hunting in open terrain (deserts, fields, etc.)? Get a magnification between 9-12x.

For example, if I wanted to use a Savage A17 equipped with a 17 HMR scope to hunt varmints and small game, I would probably need some magnification (like 3 - 9x).

You got it? Good job.

In order to find out how much magnification a scope has, look at the first number (or range of numbers) before the x.

Suppose, for example, that a scope shows 2x30 magnification.

What if a scope says 3-9×32? That means it has a magnification of 3-9.

There might be a question in your mind: what is the difference between 2x and 3-9x?

In addition to magnification, the main difference between them is the type of magnification. And in fact, there are two types of magnification...


In a fixed power scope, you are only using ONE magnification. (For example, 2x30).

Conversely, variable power means that your scope uses more than one magnification. (Like 3-9×40.)

The question is, which one should you choose?

My experience tells me that variable powered scopes are the best choice, since they can be used in a variety of situations and environments.

It also depends. If you intend to shoot only from one distance, then opt for a fixed powered scope. If you intend to shoot from more than one distance, go for a variable powered scope.


It is an objective lens that is located at the end of the scope and is responsible for transmitting light through the scope.

In general, the bigger the objective lens, the brighter and clearer your image will be. That said, should you get a scope with a lot of objective lenses? No.

The reason?

If your scope has a large objective lens, this could be detrimental as it could add excess weight, require taller scope rings, and make your scope more prone to light reflections from the sun.

(Which gives off your shooting position).

So, if not a lot, then how much objective lens should you buy?

You might find this helpful:

  1. Get 28mm & under if your firearm has low recoil, you use it for close range hunting, and you have a low power scope.
  2. You should get 30 - 44mm if your firearm has considerable recoil, you're hunting in low light, and you have a high power scope. Finally,
  3. if you're a long-range shooter or use high magnification in low light, opt-in for 50mm & up.

When looking at a scope's objective lens number, you can find how many there are.

In other words, if a scope says 2x30, that means the objective lens is 30mm. Simple enough, right? So now that you've selected the right objective lens, let's explore...


Lens coats reduce glare and improve sight by providing an invisible layer.

There are four basic types of lens coatings:

  1. Coated: A layer on at least one surface.
  2. Fully-Coated: On all exterior glass surfaces, a single layer is applied.
  3. Multi-Coated: On at least one surface, several layers are present.
  4. Fully Multi-Coated: Each exterior glass surface has several layers.

Even if a scope only has a single layer of coating, it may be better than several layers. With that in mind, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on scope coatings. Instead, invest in a good reticle.


Whenever you look through your riflescope, your reticle is the aiming point (or crosshair).

Scope reticles have different uses. Here are three common reticles:

  1. Duplex: For target shooting or hunting, the duplex reticle is the simplest crosshair pattern.
  2. Mil-Dot: Law enforcement and military use the reticle because the dots in it help estimate your target's distance based on its size.
  3. BDC: Designed for long-range shooting, the BDC reticle estimates bullet drop.

As a result, a reticle can either be mounted on the front or on the back of the magnification lens.


There are two types of focal planes:

The first focal plane (FFP) is where the reticle's size adjusts as the magnification changes.

In contrast, the size of a second focal plane (SFP) reticle remains the same regardless of the magnification.

In other words:

If you are a long-range shooter, choose a FFP reticle. Otherwise, choose an SFP. Once you've selected your focal plane, you need to understand...


Those knobs adjust the vertical and horizontal alignment of your scope.

The windage knob (located at the side of the scope) adjusts horizontally (left to right), while the elevation knob (located at the top of the scope) adjusts vertically (up and down).

Make sure the turrets of your hunting sight are reliable and produce a loud 'click' sound.

However, some scopes may have a third knob called a parallax adjustment turret that eliminates parallax.

It's a good thing you asked because we are about to talk about parallax.


The simplest form is:

Minute of Angle (MOA) measures accuracy within 1 inch of 100 yards, while milliradian (MRAD) measures accuracy within 0.36 inch of 100 yards.

Which one should you use? Here's the straight answer:

Either one will do.

As you can see, they're pretty similar.

MOA and MRAD are interchangeable just as MPH and KM/H are. Simply choose the one your hunting buddies use.


The eye relief refers to how far your eye is from the ocular lens.

It's extremely important to get adequate eye relief if you want to avoid bruised eyes. How much should you get? That depends on your firearm's recoil.

You'll need more eye relief with higher recoil, but stick to 3 - 4 inches of eye relief as a minimum.

You will avoid 'scope bite' this way.

Those are the basics of riflescopes.


I have the perfect answer to that question.

In fact:

In the next section, we look at the essentials of red dot sights, a Bushnell-exclusive bonus section.

Let's get started.


The red dot sight is an optic that uses a dot-shaped reticle generated by an electric sight system.

A red dot sight can be divided into three types:

  1. Prism Sight: Magnified sight with a larger field of view than a reflex sight (like a riflescope).
  2. Reflex Sight: This is a non-magnified, easy-to-use sight that performs exceptionally well at close-quarters. I HIGHLY recommend a reflex sight since it is cost-effective and performs well under close-quarters conditions.
  3. Holographic Sight: As the red dot is rectangular, it offers a great field of view and is incredibly accurate. However, it comes at a high price tag, so I wouldn't recommend it to those without astigmatism.

Now that you've seen the three different types of red dot sights, you're probably wondering...


It really depends on your budget and needs.

Go for a holographic sight if you can afford it.

The reflex sight is an affordable, easy-to-use and effective option if you don't have a hunting sight.

Last but not least, prism sights are a good choice if you want some magnification.

Finally, I hope this guide has helped you become an expert on hunting sight. If you want to add a new scope to your firearm, feel free to check out haikewargame.com

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