Guide to choosing a scope / understanding scopes

Before talking specifically about the types of rifle scope availiable please take a look Larry Potterfields excelent video that covers the basics (and much more) by clicking on the image below.


Choosing an HFT Scope

Once any sport or activity becomes popular, specialized, dedicated equipment soon follows.

With the steady rise in popularity of Hunter Field Target (HFT) shooting; where the competitor is required to walk a course of knock-down targets, placed in an outdoor setting, to simulate a variety of hunting scenarios, the standard hunting scope is slowly being replaced by scopes that have been designed to give the HFT shooter a better tool.

Being able to tackle targets that may appear at ranges anywhere between 8 and 45yards, without adjusting the scope in any way (a key ruling in HFT) relies upon the glassware having a more general specification. High magnification (30x for example) FT-style scopes are redundant here, and typical magnification is x8-10, which normally allows for an acceptable level of focus, even at the extreme near and far targets.

Below are three HFT scopes that we rate as being amongst the best available - call us to arrange a visit and get our latest prices:

Hawke airmax 30 

The new Airmax 30 models are a real step up for the company, in that they are just that bit sleeker where presentation is concerned, more subtle in design and construction, and easier on the eye.  ‘30’ denotes the larger 30mm body tube.

A fully multi-coated optical system means great clarity and light transmission are a given. New high quality lenses, combined with that super fine reticle offer admirable edge to edge clarity, and with no notable aberrations, the image on offer is a cut above many other scopes in this price bracket. On test, clarity through the airgun target distances was simply spot-on, and the floating nature of the glass etched reticle means the overall picture remains fairly uncluttered.



The Connect, takes a radical approach over more conventional designs. A slim 24mm objective keeps things compact, but incredibly short eye relief is the main selling point here. In practise, this means that where the rear ocular lens of a normal scope would be held a few inches from the eye, in order to achieve a full sight picture, when using the Connect, the rear lens effectively sits on the nose which rules it out for use on Springer's !

Using this set-up has a unique feel to it, and whether it feels right will be down to personal choice, it really is a marmite scope.

The logic is simple: the longer the required eye relief, then the more chance for incorrect head position (eye/scope alignment), and therefore parallax error. The Connect in theory minimizes this by dramatically shortening the eye relief, giving greater depth of field as a result. Reticule-wise, the AMD (advanced Mil dot) design is super fine and refined in use.

In the right hands this scope can deliver top scores.


One glance through this 10x42 and it becomes clear that this is a cut above the average. Although retailing at around £560, the quality is reflected in the price. Image integrity is stunning, and certainly one of the brightest and sharpest that we have encountered in a long while. Edge to edge clarity is also spot on, and unusually, parallax adjustment is made via a collar at the rear. Turrets are particularly well marked, with clear increments picked out in gold, along with tracking lines to keep a check on how many revolutions have been made.

MMD (Modified Mil-Dot) relates to the half Mil-Dots marked along the reticule that give a reassuring sight picture. When viewed at 30yds a 15mm target kill area its within half a Mil, whilst a 25mm kill area its within the centre zone. In addition, a standard 40mm kill fits within any four markers. All useful and with the sheer crispness of the reticule itself, functionality is on the whole excellent.


For great advice on setting up a scope for HFT - click here:


Choosing an FT Scope

FT is very different in its scope requirements for a number of reasons.

What this boils down to is that the ideal FT scope needs to cover the following points if it is to become an effective range finding tool.

As with many types of optics, high magnification causes a number of challenges to scope makers. Low cost, high magnification scopes will suffer from a number of light throughput and aberration and clarity issues, in the end, you get what you pay for and sadly with high end optics small incremental improvements tend to push the price up.

Four key scope attributes you need to keep in mind when selecting a scope for FT:

1. The magnification

High magnification is important  in an FT scope as it helps you determine the range to the target. FT shooters need to know the exact range to a target so their pellets don’t touch the top or bottom of the kill zone as they pass through. The trajectory of a pellet that starts out at 900 f.p.s. is enough of a curve for this to be a problem, especially at 55 yard ranges.

2. Range finding ability

FT shooters determine range by using the parallax adjustment to focus the scope on the target. When the target comes into sharp focus, they read the range on the scale of the parallax wheel. They will have set up the scale on their scope by sighting at a range of targets at known distances and will want to differentiate distances in one-yard increments from 10 yards all the way out to 55 yards.

To see the targets well enough when they come into sharp focus at the farther distances requires a lot of magnification…and 30x will get you out to about 40 yards if your eyes are very sharp. To get out to 55 yards takes over 40x or some compromsises.

3. Clarity at high magnification - being able to see the kill-zone

High magnifying power is also needed because the shooter wants to see and be able to clearly define the kill-zone before taking the shot. A freshly painted target usually presents no problem, but after 40 shots have turned the paddle and the area around the kill-zone to a large gray spot with no definition, you’ll be wondering exactly where to shoot. A scope with greater magnification helps you pick out the boundary of the actual kill-zone a little better. However, powerful scopes are not always clear at their highest power. They may work well at full power on a sunlit target range, but in the gloom of a field target course they may turn dark and cloudy.

Some scopes up to 30x may be pretty clear; beyond that, many become so dark that you can’t see definition–and in some cases can’t even find the target. In fact, whenever testing a possible FT scope, try to range on a blade of grass out around 50 yards. If you can do that with accuracy, the scope is a good one.

4. Sensitivity to head placement

In top-quality scopes that run at high magnification the exit pupil becomes extremely narrow. That means if your shooting eye isn’t in the exact right position, the scope will turn black.

With your eye in the right position, the scope is suddenly bright. This is a good thing, because it helps eliminate parallax from sloppy eye placement. But if you aren’t used to it, a scope like this can be difficult to use, especially if your rifle doesn’t fit as well as it should. 

Below, our pick of great FT Scopes - come and talk to us to get latest prices and arrange a visit

Falcon T50

Ultra high power sporting scope, designed for precision target competition at <100yards range. Not suitable for competition beyond 100yards. Optical design engineered to give accurate range-finding capabilities to within 1.5yards at 50yards range. 

Nikko Stirling sportsman 10-50x60

This extremely popular target rifle scope is now new and improved! The Nikko Stirling Diamond 10-50×60 has huge improvements in clarity and resolution to give a top quality image. The Nikko Stirling Diamond Sportsman 10-50×60 utilises the very best Japanese camera quality lenses which have then been precision ground and honed to give the very best image stability. An extra lens and top quality multi coatings have been added to all the Japanese top grade lenses to enhance light transmission and to reduce any reflections to near none that may cause the rifle scopes to be dull in low light conditions. With this all in mind the result is a rifle scope with the highest possible clarity!

The Nikko Stirling Diamond 10-50×60 features a 30mm tube body which provides both massive strength aswell as improved clarity and light gathering ability. New changes also include critical elevation adjustment which has been increased by 25% allowing competitors faster shots without adjustment to the point of impact via the target turrets. 

Sightron SIII series

The SIIISS 1050x60 Field Target riflescope has a 30mm one-piece body tube made from high quality aircraft aluminum. Tube thickness is more than twice as thick as one inch scopes to provide maximum rigidity. All models are fogproof, shockproof and waterproof.

The new Field Target scopes are available in either MOA or Mil-hash configurations. Both reticle styles have an illuminated centre dot and offered in the second focal plane. The riflescopes have a 9 yard minimum parallax setting from the factory and will only focus out to 55 yards maximum.




Falcon T50

Nikko Stirling sportsman 10-50x60

Sightron SIII series


We are to help answer any questions about scope choice - come and talk to the experts.

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