Deciphering Scope lingo

Discussion in 'Optics & Mounts' started by falseharmonix, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member


    I'm looking around at scopes and I realize that I know next to nothing about them. So I thought I'd ask a newb question about what the descriptions of the scopes (more importantly, the numbers) mean.

    **the scopes below are picked out at random, and I'm not in the market for any scope at this time, just using them as examples**

    Bushnell Banner 6-18x50 Rifle Scope Matte Multi-X 716185 Riflescope

    What does " 6-18x50 " mean?

    Leupold VX-3 4.5-14x50mm Long Range Riflescope

    What does " 4.5-14x50mm" mean?

    Im guessing the first number is the power of the scope? (1 being the lowest, and in the Bushnell, the 6 is the highest)? Or am I totally off base here?

    Thanks for helping me out, I've always been totally befuddled by these things! :confused:

  2. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    you are looking at variable power scopes. This means you can adjust the power settings.

    On the banner 6-18x is the power the low setting magnify's the image 6 time the top 18 times. 50mm is the dia of the objective lens (Front lens furthest away from your face).


  3. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    6 to 18 is the power magnification. 50 is in mm, so it's a 50mm Objective Lens.

    4.5 x 14 is 4.5 power magnification ( times what the naked eye can see ) to a max of 14 power magnification.

    50mm is the size of the Objective Lens.

    Depending on the application, the higher the power doesn't necessarily translate to the better scope.
  4. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    Just a note along the lines of JD's last line.

    Many of your lower quality scopes will not be a true 4.5 or 6x ot 14 or 18 on the top end. Many times they will be close like 4.5x will be 4x true mag and the 18 may be 17.8x. Not a big deal but it happens.

    Scopes are just like burgers there are a ton out there and you can have it just about the way you want it. Scope power needs to be taylored to your shooting.

    You are not going to put a 6-24x50mm Nikon Monarch on a easter Deer gun. Nor would you slap a 3-9x40mm on a Western Priaire Dog gun either.

    I look at scopes like this.
    Low end Scopes that cost under $200 ($199<)
    Midrange $200 to $500
    Highrange $500 to $1000
    Your nukin futs scopes $1000+

    Yes of course a $1500 Nightforce is going to out perform a $50 Simmons. But will that simmons kill a deer just as dead as a nightforce? I am sure it will because more deer have been killed by rifles packing a simmons than a nightforce.

    I have 2 nikons, 1 Bushnell 4200, 1 Weaver, 1BAS, 1 simmons and 1 tasco.

    The Nikons are on my AR and my Remmy 700VLS the bushnell is on my 308 target rifle. My weaver is on my 513T target rimfire the BSA is on my 511x The simmons is on my deer rifle and the tasco is on another rimfire.

    Would I put a BSA on my 223 HELL NO nor would i put on on my 308. I tried one on my 223 once it was a 36x40mm Platinum Target scope groups went from .411" to .8" It doubled my group size.

    My ar and remmy 700 VLS are both varmint rifles so they get high power AR 6-24 700 6.5-20 my 308 is going to be my F-class shooter so it got a 6-24 as well. My deer rifle got a 3-9x just because that is all i need for shooting VA deer last year all my shots were 100 yards or under.
  5. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    and just for what it is worth- a designation like 4x15 is a dirt cheap .22 scope. Fixed 4 power, and a 15mm front lens.

    You will also see reference to 1 inch rings, and 30mm rings. Refers to the diameter of the scope body- 30mm being larger.

    There is a LOT of difference other than magnification- how much distortion at the edges, how bright the scope- lens coatings, gook used to join lens to lens inside the scope, etc. Like most things, you get what you pay for. However, I have picked up some DAYUM good bargains in USED scopes from time to time. Shop carefully, be able to return if it does not work right, etc.
  6. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

    thank you all for your input. I think i've got a much better understanding now, hooray!

    I'm going deer hunting for the first time this fall, and I wanted to have an understanding of what all those numbers meant before I got in the woods :cool: