Target vs Hunting vs Tactical Riflescopes. What's the difference?

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If you’re a seasoned shooter who knows your way around weapons and how best to use them, you’re probably looking to diversify or specialize your game. There’s a shooting ground for everyone – whether it’s the harsh backcountry that beckons all thrill-seeking hunters, or the target range to give you a high speed, competitive edge. But picking out your rifle is just the start of assembling your gear. For the perfect shooting experience in your specialty, you need the perfect riflescope that’s made especially for your shooting preferences and style.

In our last article, we covered the key differences between fixed and variable riflescopes. Most specialized shooters, as you’d expect, use one of many categories of variable scopes, many of which you would’ve heard about and seriously considered; but before you make your final choice, we’re here to point you in the right direction. In this article, we’ll be covering target riflescopes, tactical riflescopes, and hunting riflescopes. The all-encompassing factor among these riflescopes is always: precision and accuracy.

How Do You Use a Target Riflescope?

If your style of shooting is high precision, high speed, fixed position often suited to competitive and ranked shooting, then you’re in the market for a target riflescope. In target shooting you usually know the distances you have to shoot at, with minimal adjustments made before rapid rounds of about 10 or 20 shots. So it’s important that target riflescopes have reticles with extremely fine graded hairs (up to ⅛ MOA) and are usually in the second focal plane (SFP). They also have extremely high magnification ranges to pair with these precise reticles, and some can reach up to 55x.

Because of their larger objective lens sizes, large uncapped turrets (for ease of adjustment) and fine crosshairs, target riflescopes are not recommended for hunting or outdoor settings as they can be very impractical both to carry around as well as pick out moving targets against busy backgrounds.

Tactical Riflescopes… for Hunting?

Like target riflescopes, tactical riflescopes also have uncapped or pop-up turrets to allow for ease of adjustment between fast targets. Unlike them however, the high precision reticles of tactical riflescopes are generally located in the first focal plane (FFP). This is because of FFP riflescopes’ ability to grow or shrink the reticle with magnification and this allows the shooter to estimate the target’s distance to a sufficient degree. The magnification ranges of tactical riflescopes are in the lower (3-9x) range though some military-grade scopes go up to 40x but the additional features like turrets still add extra weight.

Tactical riflescopes come in both fixed and variable types, and the former is more suited to the ‘tactical’ side of things, being very popular in military and infantry applications. The variable tactical riflescopes can be a great asset in hunting when used well, especially in open areas like fields or plains where you have minimal background interference and can adopt a more tactical approach. The Trace Advanced 4.5-27.50mm RMG from ZeroTech combines the best attributes of both hunting and target shooting riflescopes to give the shooter a precise, unmatched experience.

The Best Hunting Riflescopes

As you may have gathered, the hunting riflescopes are the most versatile category, with provisions to mount on rails and both FFP and SFP reticles available, with low to medium (5-25x) magnification ranges suitable for busy or wooded environments. Their turrets usually have caps to avoid slippage while zeroing the scope or rubbing on your clothing, and are smaller in diameter and less intrusive. Hunting riflescopes are thus lighter and more practical to carry around in rough terrain, while being more robust in construction to withstand those harsh weather conditions. With windage and elevation adjustments becoming common across categories, your choice between a tactical and hunting riflescope depends on the environment you’re hunting in.

The ZeroTech range of hunting riflescopes have been designed with expert engineering to weather the elements while providing maximum precision and accuracy, so you can have a successful hunt even in the challenging backcountry.

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