Gary Chilling­worth re­veals the es­sen­tial el­e­ments that make up the var­i­ous com­po­nents of a scope

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Afew months back I was asked by a reader to ex­plain what all the dif­fer­ent parts of a ri­fle were, so we went into the joys of reg­u­la­tors, ham­sters, butt pads and cheek ris­ers, and as I was putting it to pa­per, I was think­ing, ‘guns are easy; scopes, on the other hand, are a whole dif­fer­ent mat­ter. So, with this in mind, here is a pot­ted ex­pla­na­tion of the world of tele­scopic sights and be­lieve me, by the end, you will be just as con­fused as I am right now.

OK, let’s start with size. This might be con­tro­ver­sial – big­ger is not al­ways bet­ter. When you go into a gun shop, there will be a vast ar­ray of scopes on dis­play and if, like me, you are at­tracted to big and shiny things in dis­play cab­i­nets, you might be tempted by a leviathan of a scope, but th­ese are only any good if you in­tend to shoot field tar­get, and we will come back to that in a minute.


1. The ob­jec­tive lens – the lens at the front. 2. The oc­u­lar lens – the lens at the back. 3. The body tube – the bit that con­nects them and holds the in­ter­nal lenses.

4. The el­e­va­tion and windage tur­rets – the bits that let you ad­just the scope.

5. The par­al­lax ad­juster – the item you use to focus the scope and set it up for the dis­tance at which you’re shoot­ing.

6. The diop­tre ad­juster – the focus ring that lets you get the ret­i­cle in focus.

7. The mag­ni­fi­ca­tion ad­juster – a ro­tat­ing col­lar that al­lows you to ad­just the mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of the scope.

8. The ret­i­cle – the ri­fle’s crosshairs, used to aim the gun.


Be­fore we go any fur­ther, we’ll get the easy ones out of the way – the windage and el­e­va­tion ad­justers.

If you shoot a tar­get for the first time and your pel­let hits to the right, you will need to ro­tate the windage tur­ret, found on the right side of the scope, to the left. Windage means right and left. The ad­juster tur­rets can some­time be found under scre­won caps, or they might be the com­pe­ti­tion type, which are ex­posed. Th­ese click in and out and then ro­tate. Each click of the tur­ret will move the scope’s cross hairs a set dis­tance, and with re­peated shots, you can dial the scope in so that the pel­let lands where the cross hairs are look­ing.

Then there is the el­e­va­tion, or ‘up and down’. Be­fore you set this, you need to de­cide at what dis­tance you want your cross hairs to be set. If you are go­ing to shoot in the gar­den and the max­i­mum range you have is 20 yards, then set out a tar­get with a back­stop and shoot the tar­gets. If your pel­let hits low, then give it a few clicks up, and if it’s high try a few clicks down. We will come back to this and I’ll write a piece about set­ting up a scope to­gether with a few tricks and tips that will help you to max­imise its po­ten­tial.

The next easy one is the mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. Un­less you are go­ing to shoot field tar­get (FT), then 12x is all you re­ally need, and most shoot­ers use 10x or below. The rea­son for this is twofold; as you in­crease the mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of a scope, it shows you every wob­ble and tremor you have, which peo­ple find off-putting. When you look through a scope at 20x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion it can feel like you are all over the place.

The sec­ond is us­abil­ity. If you have a high mag’ scope set on 40x, as an FT shooter would, you’ll only be able to see tar­gets with clar­ity at a very spe­cific dis­tance. You

“Hawke have al­ways man­aged to pro­duce stun­ning clar­ity and keep the prices down”

will need to read­just the scope’s par­al­lax set­ting to focus the scope for each new tar­get, and this is how FT shoot­ers use their scopes to range find a tar­get.

For ex­am­ple, with a scope set on 10x you will be able to see every tar­get be­tween 17 and 45 yards with a fair amount of clar­ity. If you have a scope set on 40 times, you will only be able to see a tar­get from say 38 to 40 yards, un­less you ad­just the scope’s par­al­lax ring for the spe­cific dis­tance at which you want to shoot. Also, scopes with high mag’ are ei­ther very ex­pen­sive or lower qual­ity and this is be­cause the lenses for a high mag’ scopes are in­sanely ex­pen­sive.


This brings me to lenses. Now, a good rule of thumb is, the big­ger the lens the more ex­pen­sive the scope is go­ing to be. In the shoot­ing world, lenses and scopes are of­ten re­ferred to as ‘glass’ and you get what you pay for. Com­pa­nies like March and Leopold have scopes that start from £1000 up­wards, but luck­ily, you don’t need to pay this sort of money for sub-12 ft.lbs. air ri­fle shoot­ing. Scopes like the Hawke Van­tage SF 4-16 x 50 will give you clar­ity for a much smaller bud­get, and with their high- end coat­ings that re­duce glare and mist­ing up, you can get a high- end prod­uct for low- end money.

The ob­jec­tive lens on this Hawke is 50mm, and for back- gar­den shoot­ing, hunt­ing or HFT shoot­ing, this scope’s ob­jec­tive is on the large size. How­ever, Hawke have al­ways man­aged to pro­duce stun­ning clar­ity and keep the prices down, and this scope con­tin­ues the proud

tra­di­tion. A large ob­jec­tive will help the scope to draw in light and make the tar­get look bright and clear. If you buy a very cheap scope with a big ob­jec­tive and high mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, though, you can of­ten strug­gle to get the clar­ity you need. A good tip is go to a gun shop and look through as many scopes as pos­si­ble; al­ways set them to 10x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion and go just be­fore dusk, if you can, so you can look in poor light.

The oc­u­lar lens is the one you look through, and will of­ten have a fast-focus ring at­tached. Es­sen­tially, this is a fo­cus­ing ring that will al­low you to set the im­age you see of the ret­i­cle cor­rectly for your eyes. I wear glasses, but I have been able to set up my scope so that I can shoot with­out them. Take the time to get your ret­i­cle in per­fect focus and then leave it alone.


The body tube will come in one of two sizes, 25mm or 30mm, and to be hon­est, I have never found a huge dif­fer­ence be­tween the two.

In the­ory, a 30mm tube will al­low more light to pass through the scope, but if you have a scope with a 25mm tube and it’s light and bright and you are happy with the qual­ity, then go with it. Also, it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that mounts for 30mm scopes can be quite a bit more ex­pen­sive.

I have not even scratched the sur­face on set­ting up a scope and how to get the best from your ret­i­cle and par­al­lax set­ting, so this is some­thing that we are go­ing to delve into a bit deeper at a later date. If there is some­thing you specif­i­cally want me to an­swer, drop me a line at garychilling­worth36@gmail.com

Zero eye re­lief is an un­usual fea­ture of the MTC Con­nect, along with the small ob­jec­tive lens

I’ve al­ways found that Hawke scopes of­fer great value for money

Note the screw- on cov­ers for the ad­juster drums

The par­al­lax ad­juster on this scope is on the left side of the cen­tral ‘ sad­dle’

This tar­get- ori­ented scope has ex­posed ad­juster drums

Here we see the fast-focus ad­juster - in and out

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