February 13th, 2012, 12:03 AM
Military sniper scopes aren't the best scopes in the world but they are a reasonable compromise. If you expect to shoot at people at 1000 yards then the old standard military 10x scopes will work reasonably well, but if you want to do precision shooting at long range (over 600 yards) then I would recommend picking something with a little more magnification and a slightly larger objective lens.
Too much magnification can be a detriment, not only will the image be magnified but the mirage will be magnified too and that can make precision hits hard to achieve. I like max magnifications of 15x - 20x. I also like a variable power scope, they are more complex and more prone to having problems (mechanically and optically) but when you find a high quality variable you can use it in ways that a fixed power can't be used;
- focusing to see the mirage for wind estimates and then refocusing to take your shot
- using higher power to be more precise while having the ability to use lower powers for a greater field of view
- changing the magnification to enhance the brightness of the image when the weather changes or as the sun sets
As for objective lens size, I would try to stay somewhere between 44mm and 50mm. 44 is a good all around utility lens size that works well in most situations and it helps keep the weight of the scope down. 50mm is a good low light scope and it helps bring in light if you choose a scope with more than 20x magnification on the high end.
One of my favorite scopes that give you really good quality without breaking the bank is the Vortex brand of scopes. Stay away from their bottom end scopes but the PST is a nice scope. I would compare their Razor series to just about any scope of equal or slightly higher price but it is expensive. The PST series has a nice 2.5-10x44mm scope and a 4-16x50mm model that is well worth the money.