Riflescope Basics

Spent a very interesting day in the classroom at Gunsite learning about riflescopes. Most importantly, I got to ask a scope savvy smart guy questions and got answers. Learned things like why a scope with a 50mm objective might not transmit as mush light as a scope with a 40mm objective, how the term relative brightness (RD) is as useless as the term sectional density (SD) and how two scopes that are rated at the same amount of light transmission can appear very different to the eye depending on the wavelength they are optimized for.

All this would be great info for a feature article…wondering…how many folks would like to read it?

Also got to pull the trigger on some fineshooting Weatherby TRRC Vanguard rifles but more on that tomorrow.



About gunwriter

Born and raised in the West Virginia hills, Richard literally grew up in the woods. He has chased coon hounds until daylight, waited out whitetails perched high in an oak, canoed the New River and hunted from the Montana Mountains to the Green Hills of Africa. During service in the Army and later as a municipal police officer and Special Agent with the railroad police, Richard obtained numerous certifications in small arms instruction. He has trained military personnel, law enforcement officers and civilians in the application of firearms for defensive, competitive and recreational use. Richard won the West Virginia Governor’s Twenty Award for law enforcement, the West Virginia National Guard State Pistol Competition and earned his Distinguished Medal with pistol. Badge turned in, Richard is now a contributing editor for several magazines. He was the compiling author of the book, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter and conceptualized and contributed to Selecting and Ordering a Custom Hunting Rifle. Richard also contributed a chapter to the John Velke book, The True Story of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Richard has patents on a riflescope reticle and a revolutionary bullet testing media. A hillbilly at heart, Richard lives on Shadowland - his shooting range in West Virginia - with the most understanding wife in the world, their three kids and a very protective ridgeback hound.
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16 Responses to Riflescope Basics

  1. Danno says:

    I’d be interested in such an article on rifle scopes. That’s one area (of many) I don’t know much about.

  2. rambowmikeoutdoors says:

    Me too, would be very interested in learning more about scopes. I haven’t a clue on what makes one scope $100.00 and another $3,000 dollars.

  3. Scott Schoemann says:

    Sadly you would have to write a book to convey the info you gained in a much shorter hands on session. the explanations without hands on examples would not be as easy as it sounds, because you will have to go into the physics of light to cover spectrum transmission, why some glass is better than others, why lens design is so important, what coatings work better, why the scope that works great mid day will suck in early am and later pm, and hazy days screw everything up and why scope mfgs refuse to make lens filters to compensate for spectral differences such as haze, and time of day light conditions, when we have had them for close to 100 years for cameras… (the reason is it would make most of their expensive lens coatings obsolete). and then you also will need to cover proper mounting, cross hair squaring, proper screw torque and more.

  4. mike wodjensku says:

    I’d read it.

  5. mike wodjensku says:

    That could even be a book idea.

  6. jonp says:

    Most certainly would. You read a lot of articles on scopes but not many explain the differences that are of practicle use in the field and stuff that would help you make a decision when laying out hard earned dollars in the store for one.

  7. P says:

    Would really love to get some expert info – particularly if it ties in with a Weatherby rifle!

  8. Matt says:

    It would be an interesting article if it wasn’t too loaded down with technical data.

  9. gary says:

    I would be interested in an article on riflescopes.

  10. rocu says:

    Write it.

  11. Pingback: Riflescope Basics | Gunsite Academy

  12. Doc B says:

    I think Barsness already wrote the book on this topic, though an update would be nice. Clear explanations of some of the things you mention above are always appreciated since most of us don’t have a Ph. D. in physics. (Mine’s in sports medicine…doesn’t help me with shooting a bit.)

  13. Rifleslinger says:

    I’d be interested to learn what you have to impart. Ready like sponge!

  14. RG says:

    I’d read it.

  15. Terry says:

    I would certainly read it!

  16. thew says:

    I would definitely be interested in reading an article, or book, on this subject. I’ve never used anything more than iron sights, but I’m hoping to go hunting for my first time, and I am pretty sure having the proper scope would be the difference between getting skunked or having a full freezer. I’ve been surfing the web all day today looking to learn as much as possible, but living up to the stereotypical web, there are thousands of contradictory and ill informed sources.

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