Scopes

What Is Field Of View In A Rifle Scope & How To Calculate

Field of view for a rifle scope refers to the observable area through the scope. The larger a rifle scope’s field of view, the more environment the shooter can see. FOV directly affects your ability to locate, track, and engage targets from a variety of distances.

Shooters can calculate the field of view of their rifle scope by measuring the horizontal distance they can see when aiming at a target from 100 yards.

In this post, we’ll explain the meaning of field of view for rifle scopes and all the factors that affect it. We’ll also discuss how field of view affects gun optics for hunters and range shooters.


rifle scope FOV meaning


What Is Field Of View (FOV)?

Field of View (FOV) is the area or how much of a target a shooter can see through a rifle scope. It represents the vertical and horizontal area of a target that can be seen when looking through the gun scope. The larger the FOV, the more of a target a shooter can see.

A scope’s magnification range & objective lens size are the main factors that influence a rifle scope’s field of view. Magnification is directly linked to a scope’s FOV. A higher magnification level will narrow the field of view. A lower magnification level will increase the scope’s FOV. The objective lens size also plays a role in determining the FOV. A scope with a larger objective lens diameter (wide angle lens) will have a wider FOV.

Many types of equipment have a field of view including binoculars, spotting scopes, and cameras with interchangeable lenses.


What Is Field Of View For A Rifle Scope?

Field of view is the amount of a target that can be seen when a shooter takes aim with their eye aligned behind their rifle scope. FOV can change depending on the type of rifle scope being used.

A fixed power scope has a fixed field of view that a shooter cannot change. This is because shooters can’t modify the magnification range on fixed scopes that have a fixed focal length lens.

A variable power scope allows shooters to modify their field of view. This is because variable power scopes provide the ability to adjust magnification power.

FOV is also correlated to the focal length of a scope’s eyepiece. Fixed focal length lenses will have a fixed FOV. Variable focal length lenses will have a variable FOV. A shorter focal length will provide a shooter with ability to see much more of the target.


Which Scope Has The Largest FOV

The Primary Arms SLX 1-6×24 scope has the largest FOV of all the scopes I’ve used. It makes a great AR-15 scope & has superior precision long range shooting ability.


Why Do Hunters Prefer A Wide Field Of View?

Hunters prefer a wider FOV on their rifle scopes and spotting scopes because it improves their ability to spot animals. They want the ability to acquire deer, elk, hogs, or other animals from longer distances.

For people that hunt hogs at night, they will always want a thermal monocular with a wider field of view to spot their game from long range.

Animals are fast and always on the move. A wider field of view gives hunters the ability to follow the animal’s path without constantly readjusting their scope.


How Do You Calculate FOV?

Field of view for a scope is calculated by measured horizontally in feet. For spotting scopes, binocular, and rangefinder FOV is calculated from a distance of 1000 yards away. A spotting scope that has a FOV of 500 yards means you can see 500 yards of horizontal distance when aiming from 1000 yards away.

Step Description
1 Identify Scope Specifications: Gather information on the scope’s magnification power and the objective lens diameter.
2 Determine the Scope’s Magnification: Note the magnification setting used during observation or shooting.
3 Calculate the Exit Pupil Diameter: Divide the objective lens diameter by the magnification setting (Exit Pupil = Objective Lens Diameter / Magnification).
4 Convert Exit Pupil to Degrees: Use the formula FOV (in degrees) = (Exit Pupil Diameter / 7.5) for a rough estimation of the field of view.
5 Calculate Actual FOV: Adjust the FOV based on the specific optics system and manufacturer specifications, if available.
6 Consider Eye Relief: Take into account the eye relief of the scope, as it affects the effective field of view for the user.
7 Check Manufacturer’s Specifications: Refer to the scope’s user manual or contact the manufacturer for precise field of view measurements.
8 Field Test: Perform practical tests by aiming the scope at known distances to gauge the actual field of view in real-world scenarios.

How Do You Calculate FOV For A Rifle Scope?

FOV for a rifle scope is calculated the same way but from 100 yards away. If your rifle scope has a FOV of 200 yards, it means you can see 200 yards horizontally from left to right.

Remember, there are two key parameters that impact FOV, the magnification power of the scope and the objective lens diameter. If you change either of these factors you will need to re-calculate your field of view appropriately.


How Does Magnification Affect Scope FOV?

Magnification directly affects the field of view (FOV) of a scope. As the magnification power increases, the target appears to be larger & the FOV decreases. And just as we saw in our recent Athlon Scope Review, as the magnification power decreases, the target appears to be smaller & the FOV increases.

Rifle scope magnification FOV


What Is The Ideal Field Of View For A Rifle Scope?

Most hunters use a maximum magnification of 2.5x when they aim at an animal from up 150 yards. The best hunter’s scopes have a very wide field of view (FOV) that lets them see their target more clearly.

The best field of view will depend on the type of game that is being hunted. Big game hunters will need a wider field of view. Small game hunters will be shooting from shorter distances and do not require as much FOV.


What Other Types Of Optics Have A Field Of View?

Here is a list of optics that also have a field of view.

  • Rifle Scopes
  • Binoculars
  • Spotting Scopes
  • Camera Lens
  • Microscopes

Do Red Dot Sights Have A FOV?

Red dot sights do not specify field of view because they have an unlimited FOV. Red dot sights work by superimposing an LED generated dot on a target. The best red dot sights are not magnified optics like rifle scopes are.


Do Spotting Scopes Have a FOV?

Yes, spotting scopes have a field of view (FOV). They are used to observe and identify targets from long distances away. The best spotting spotting scopes generally have a large FOV. It is typically measured in degrees or as a linear measurement at a certain distance, such as feet or meters.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does the field of view in a rifle scope affect the clarity of the target?

Field of view does not directly affect the clarity of a target when looking through a rifle scope. However, the further you are from a target the worse the target clarity normally is.

Is a wider field of view always better in a rifle scope?

No, a wider FOV is not always better for a rifle scope. When hunting small game from short distances, a very wide FOV will not be necessary.

Can the field of view in a rifle scope be adjusted?

There is no field of view adjustment turret on a rifle scope. However, FOV can be changed by adjusting the magnification power of your scope.

The Bottom Line

By now you should be an expert on the concept of field of view and how it pertains to rifle scopes. For hunters and range shooters, a wide FOV provides a variety of benefits such as target acquisition speed and situational awareness. The optimal FOV will depend on your specific firearm and intended use case. Always be sure to consider the field of view of a scope before making a purchase!

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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