How Does a Rifle Scope Work

A rifle scope is simply a miniature telescope with cross hairs, consisting of a tube that holds magnification lenses and a reticle for marking your bullet’s point of impact. The main tube can be constructed in one or two pieces. Tubes are often made of high-quality aluminum, also known as “aircraft aluminum,” but they have also been made of titanium and steel. Aluminum is usually the best option; titanium is heavier and more expensive, and steel requires more maintenance to avoid rust.

A rifle scope is also known as a rifle’s telescopic sight. A rifle scope is an optical sighting device based on a refracting telescope that magnifies the targeted item across a distance and aids in focusing on the stated target to hit your mark. The rifle scope’s optical elements are coated to prevent internal light loss and glare. This guarantees that light is distributed uniformly throughout the image, resulting in excellent image clarity, brightness, color integrity, and contrast.

You should not be confused: different scopes exist, and the scope you choose is determined on your target distance, target size, local climate, and a variety of other criteria. It would be a great fallacy to believe that the same scope adjustment applies to all rifles.

It’s fascinating to learn about the science underlying rifle sights. Understanding the many components will demonstrate its utility and how to master the art of using scopes, regardless of their various complexities. Consider how a telescope works; rifle scopes are similar.

The Objective and Ocular Lenses

Let’s start by discussing one of the most important – if not the most important – parts of a rifle scope: the lenses.

The objective lens, which is a big lens, is responsible for transmitting light to the ocular lens. When you look through it, the light amplifies the light, which helps you focus and tells the user where the bullet will go when the trigger is pressed. The viewing lens, or the lens closest to your eyes, is the ocular lens.

Magnification & Parallax Error

Magnifications in scopes differ as well; a scope may magnify an object at least 1x its regular size while allowing you to look through it. Magnification can be as high as 80x with various scopes.

Manufacturers have designed scopes that are adaptable to movement to avoid parallax mistakes.

So there’s no need to be concerned if you’re magnifying and then alter your posture. It’s also worth noting that most manufacturers set their focus at 100 meters, so the target is easily visible at that distance.

Scope Tube

The primary body of the rifle scope is normally a tube with two major diameter diameters. Knowing the diameter of your tube is crucial because it will assist you select the proper mounting ring for your scope rifle. 30 mm scopes are the most common on the market.

One-piece aluminum scope tubes are favored over two-piece aluminum scope tubes because they are more durable and better resist shocks.

Windage & Elevation

A rifle sight also includes many features that allow you to fine-tune your gun alignment. The windage adjustment, which controls the scope’s horizontal settings, and the elevation adjustment, which controls the vertical settings, are among the adjustment elements.

The Human Eye

A rifle scope’s benefits and drawbacks are dependent on how you use it, how it’s mounted, and how it compares to the notion of iron sight. The majority of shooters have trouble focusing on the front sight and aligning with the back flip-up sight.

This could cause target marking to become even more hazy. Another element to consider is your age. Presbyopia, a slow deterioration of the human eye caused by aging, reduces the ability to focus through a scope.


Understanding the operating science, components, and mechanics of a rifle scope will help you get the most out of it. Learn how to navigate through a scope’s hype and beauty to pick the perfect one. When you can comprehend how a rifle scope works, it allows you to only shop for and purchase one that is ideal for you and will withstand the test of time and continually stay stable and strong. 

The next time you’re out shopping for a rifle, make sure you acquire a good scope. Scopes will determine how far and how often you can strike your target to a significant extent.