Most people think of standard rifle scopes as being built to handle heavy-duty recoil. And they are. But not all recoil is the same! That’s right, there is a difference in the recoil of air rifles and regular rifles.
Air rifle scopes are specifically designed for the recoil of air guns & should not be switched for a regular rifle scope. In this post, we’ll break down the main differences & teach you why you should NOT swap your rifle and air rifle scopes!
Regular Scope on Air Rifle – Should You Do It?
Even non-shooters understand that a traditional rifle has significantly more recoil than an air rifle. However, this does NOT mean you can swap your fixed air rifle scope with a traditional rifle scope. Air rifles themselves are powered by 3 main sources:
- Spring Pistons
- Pneumatic Power
- CO2 Powered
The main difference is that air rifles, especially break barrel pellet guns, have bi-directional recoil. In other words, they have a double recoil.
Traditional rifle scopes are designed to handle the tremendous recoil forces resulting from firing standard ammunition. However, they are only designed to handle large recoil forces to the rear.
Using a coyote night hunting scope or other rifle scopes on an air rifle is a BAD idea! You are destined to damage your scope and run into issues.
Why Put A Scope On Your Air Rifle?
Putting a scope on your air rifle can help you to improve your accuracy and aim. A scope can also help you to identify your target more quickly and accurately, and can even help you to spot and identify targets at greater distances. For air rifle shooting competitions, the best air rifle scopes can also help you to get a better score.
As you can tell, adding fixed air rifle scopes to your gun can take your performance to the next level!
However, not all scopes are the same. In fact, there are two main types of air rifle scopes that we will discuss.
Types of Air Rifle Scopes
1) Fixed Scopes
Fixed air rifle scopes are scopes that are designed specifically for air rifles and feature fixed magnification. For example, you might see a 4×16 or 4×32 fixed air rifle scope for sale. Be sure to check out our guide on how to read scope numbers if you’re new!
These scopes are usually lightweight and are designed to be durable and shockproof so that they can stand up to the high recoil of an air rifle.
They typically feature a small objective lens and offer a limited range of magnification. Their simple design and lack of moving parts make them ideal for air rifles, which are often used in backyard plinking or target shooting.
2) Variable Scopes
Variable air rifle scopes are the most popular air rifle scopes on the market today.
They feature variable zoom capabilities and adjustable reticles that allow for precision accuracy and repeatable shots. These scopes are highly recommended for serious air rifle shooters who want to get the most out of their shooting experience.
For example, you might see a scope that is labeled 4-16×50. This means that the scope has 4-16x zoom range, and a 50 mm objective lens.
Types of Regular Rifle Scopes
1) FFP Scopes
There are first focal plane and second focal plane rifle scopes. In an FFP scope, the reticle is placed toward the front of the scope closer to the eyepiece.
These scopes are very popular amongst hunters and snipers because the reticle changes size with the zoom. This means the reticle will shrink as you zoom in to prevent target obstruction. This is also very helpful for long-range target shooting.
2) SFP Scopes
On the other hand, second focal plane scopes have their reticle behind the magnification lens. Many of the best long distance scopes for under $300 are SFP scopes. These scopes are less popular because the reticle size remains constant regardless of the zoom.
There are also different types of units on scopes, MOA and MRAD scopes. MRAD scopes have a MIL dot reticle in metric units & MOA is in standard US units.
3) Hunting Scopes
There are also hunting scopes that are specially designed to handle the rugged conditions of a hunt. We have personally tested the best elk hunting gun scopes and best Vortex deer scopes that you can use.
Most rifle scopes are designed with high-strength materials and are highly durable. Even the best air rifle scopes are made to be extremely durable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will a regular rifle scope work on a pellet gun?
What is the difference between a air rifle scope and a rifle scope?
What is the range of a Daisy BB gun?
The Bottom Line
Now you understand that you should not swap your air gun scope for a traditional gun scope. They are designed to handle very different recoil patterns! If you are in the market for the best air rifle scope, be sure to consider the different types of scopes they have available today. For most people, I would recommend variable air rifle scopes to get the best performance!