Weight is one of the most common metrics that hunters use. It determines how far we are able to go, how quickly we can get there, and how long we can stay. When going on a long-distance backpack hunt, you typically won’t load up your pack with everything you need, get it feeling good, and then strap a bowling ball on top. The argument could be made that you might need it... There is a small chance that there will be a bowling alley on the way and some money on the line for a quick game. However, that is unlikely. The same principle applies to riflescopes. You may think that you need that 5-32x56 to give you the best chance at a clean shot, but in 99% of normal hunting situations, you don’t.
This seems like common sense, but it is not uncommon for someone to spend thousands of dollars on a custom, lightweight mountain rifle only to drop a long-range scope on it. The idea of a mountain rifle is portability. If portability is among your concerns, chances are you’re physically capable and can get a little closer to your target.
Referring to our article on magnification, a good size scope will generally match the size/capability of the rifle. A small-caliber rifle will typically work best with an LPVO, an all-around rifle with an MPVO, and a long-range beast with an HPVO. If you haven’t gotten to that section yet, here is a quick breakdown.
- LPVO - Low power variable optic (1-8x, 2-12x, etc.)
- MPVO- Mid power variable optic (3-15x, 3-18x, etc.)
- HPVO- High power variable optic (5-25x, 6-30x, etc.)
The bottom line is this:
Cutting weight from a rifle is very expensive, cutting weight from a riflescope generally reduces the price. The money saved on magnification can usually be put towards higher-quality glass.
Defining how and where you will use your rifle will be the most important step towards choosing the right optic.