How to Choose a Riflescope for Deer Hunting

Hunting deer with a rifle can be a thrilling and rewarding experience. It requires skill, patience, and a thorough understanding of deer behavior.

When hunting with a rifle, it is important to choose the right caliber and type of bullet. Smaller caliber bullets may not have enough power to effectively kill a deer, while larger caliber bullets may cause excessive damage to the meat. It is also important to consider the distance at which you will be shooting, as well as the type of terrain you will be hunting in.

Proper shot placement is crucial for a quick and humane kill, and it is important to aim for the heart and lungs for the best chances of success. In addition to physical skills, it is also important to have a strong mental game when hunting deer with a rifle.

This means being able to control your emotions, staying focused, and making ethical decisions in the field. With the right knowledge and equipment, hunting deer with a rifle can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Here are the five things you need to consider when buying a riflescope for deer hunting:

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1. Magnification

Magnification is an important factor to consider when choosing a rifle scope for deer hunting. It determines how much the image of the target is enlarged, and it can range from low levels of magnification (around 4-6x) to high levels (around 12-20x).

Low magnification scopes are generally better for close range shooting, as they allow for a wider field of view and a more natural sight picture. This can be especially useful when hunting in thick brush or other areas where the deer may be close to the hunter.

High magnification scopes, on the other hand, are better for long range shooting, as they allow the hunter to see their target more clearly and accurately. This can be useful when hunting in open fields or other areas where the deer may be further away.

However, it is important to keep in mind that high magnification scopes can also have some drawbacks. They can be more difficult to use at close range, and they can also make it more challenging to shoot accurately when the deer is moving.

Overall, the best magnification for a deer hunting rifle scope will depend on the hunting environment, the range at which the hunter expects to be shooting, and the preferences of the individual hunter. Some hunters may prefer low magnification scopes for the wider field of view, while others may prefer high magnification scopes for the added accuracy at long range.

Ultimately, it is important to choose a magnification that works best for the specific hunting situation and the needs of the individual hunter.

Our Favorite: Vortex Optics Crossfire II ($129 – $169)

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2. Objective Lens Size

The objective lens size of a rifle scope is an important factor to consider when choosing a scope for deer hunting. The objective lens is the lens located at the front of the scope, and its size determines how much light is gathered. A larger objective lens allows for a brighter and clearer image, but it also adds weight to the scope.

A larger objective lens is generally better for low light situations, such as early morning or late evening hunts, as it allows more light to enter the scope and improve visibility. However, it is important to keep in mind that a larger objective lens can also cause the scope to be more front-heavy, which can affect the balance of the rifle and make it more difficult to hold steady.

On the other hand, a smaller objective lens can be a good choice for hunting in brighter conditions, as it is lighter and more compact. However, it may not provide as bright and clear of an image as a larger objective lens in low light situations.

The size of the objective lens should also be considered in relation to the magnification of the scope. A high magnification scope typically requires a larger objective lens in order to gather enough light to provide a clear image.

The best objective lens size for a deer hunting rifle scope will depend on the hunting environment, the time of day the hunter will be hunting, and the preferences of the individual hunter. It is important to choose an objective lens size that provides a clear and bright image while also considering the overall weight and balance of the rifle.

Our Favorite: Monstrum G3 4-16×50 First Focal Plane FFP Riflescope

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3. Reticle

The reticle, also known as the crosshairs, is the aiming point of a rifle scope. It is the thin lines or dots that intersect at the center of the scope and are used to aim at the target. There are many different types of reticles available, and it is important to choose one that works best for your hunting style and the type of rifle you are using.

One common type of reticle is the duplex reticle, which features a thicker crosshair at the center and thinner crosshairs towards the outer edges. This reticle is useful for a variety of hunting situations, as the thicker crosshairs can be used for quick acquisition of the target at close range, while the thinner crosshairs can be used for more precise aiming at longer ranges.

Another popular type of reticle is the mil-dot reticle, which features a series of dots spaced along the crosshairs. These dots can be used for ranging the distance to the target and adjusting the point of impact accordingly. This type of reticle is often used by long range shooters and requires a bit more training and practice to use effectively.

There are also reticles that feature holdover markings, which are horizontal and vertical lines that extend from the center of the crosshairs. These lines can be used to estimate the point of impact at various distances based on the trajectory of the bullet.

In addition to the type of reticle, it is also important to consider the size and thickness of the crosshairs. Thicker crosshairs can be easier to see in low light conditions, but they can also obscure the target at longer ranges. On the other hand, thinner crosshairs can be more precise, but they may be more difficult to see in poor lighting.

Typically, the best reticle for deer hunting will depend on the individual hunter’s preferences and the type of rifle and caliber they are using. It is important to choose a reticle that allows for quick and accurate aiming in a variety of hunting situations.

Our Favorite: Zeiss Conquest V4 6-24x50mm Riflescope with Illuminated Reticle

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4. Durability

Durability is an important factor to consider when choosing a rifle scope for deer hunting. A good rifle scope should be able to withstand the elements and rough handling, as it will be subjected to a variety of conditions while hunting. Look for a scope that is water, fog, and shock proof to ensure that it can withstand any weather or handling that it may encounter in the field.

One way to gauge the durability of a rifle scope is to look at its construction and materials. Scopes that are made of high-quality materials, such as aircraft-grade aluminum or other alloys, are generally more durable and resistant to wear and tear. Scopes with a single piece tube construction are also typically more durable, as they are less prone to leaks and other issues that can arise with multi-piece tubes.

It is also important to consider the reputation of the manufacturer when looking at the durability of a rifle scope. Look for brands that have a proven track record of producing reliable and durable scopes.

In addition to the materials and construction of the scope, it is also important to consider the warranty offered by the manufacturer. A good warranty can provide peace of mind and protection in the event that the scope experiences any issues or malfunctions.

Overall, it is important to choose a durable rifle scope for deer hunting in order to ensure that it can withstand the rigors of the hunt and provide reliable performance. Look for a scope that is made of high-quality materials, has a solid construction, and comes with a good warranty from a reputable manufacturer.

Our Favorite: Vortex Optics Venom 5-25×56 First Focal Plane Riflescope

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5. Price

Price is an important factor to consider when choosing a rifle scope for deer hunting. Rifle scopes can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the features and quality of the scope. It is important to set a budget and find a scope that fits your needs and budget.

One way to save money on a rifle scope is to look for a scope with basic features that meet your needs. Scopes with fewer bells and whistles tend to be less expensive, and they can still provide reliable performance for deer hunting.

Another way to save money is to look for a scope that is on sale or being offered at a discounted price. Many retailers offer sales and discounts throughout the year, so it can be worth checking for deals on rifle scopes.

It is also a good idea to shop around and compare prices from different retailers to find the best deal. Online retailers and auction sites such as eBay can be a good source of discounted rifle scopes, but it is important to do your research and make sure you are getting a quality product.

While it can be tempting to go for the cheapest option available, it is important to keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to rifle scopes. Higher quality scopes tend to be more expensive, but they often provide better performance, durability, and overall value in the long run.

Generally, the best rifle scope for deer hunting will depend on your budget and the specific needs and preferences of the individual hunter. It is important to find a scope that provides reliable performance at a price that fits your budget.

Our Favorite: Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x56mm Riflescope

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