Small Game Hunting

This hunting environment typically has varied terrain. Hunters usually use lightweight, walking rifles and spot game at ranges up to about 100 yds. They often take aim quickly, acquiring the target when the animal is moving. Animals are first sighted with the naked eye, so optical resolution is not the primary issue. Shooting positions are usually free hand. Having a rifle scope with low-medium magnification, a wide field of view, large exit pupil and a forgiving eye relief is the highest priority. Rimfire and small centerfire (i.e., 22 Hornet) calibers are commonly used to minimize damage to meat and fur pelts.

Select a scope with a magnification range or 2.5-6X to 3-10X range. Large field of view and large eye box are important features. Don’t be overly concerned about optical performance. A simple crosshair reticle, zeroed at 50 yds, has a point blank range out to about 70-100 yds with a rimfire cartridge, like .22LR or .22 WMR.

There is a lot of competition in the market for “rimfire” scopes. This application doesn’t require top of the line optics. A scope in the ~$150+ MAP range can work. That’s the minimum price point that will be likely to have good seals and low return rate. Higher prices scopes are warranted for a wider field of view and a larger objective, which helps with target acquisition.