A few helpful points when choosing a telescopic sight
It was not until the late 1950’s that the use of telescopic sights on airgun’s gained in popularity. This was in part due to the high cost of scopes but primarily the fault of the airgun manufacturers who were slow to supply guns with fixing rails. Initial attempts by both Webley and B.S.A. were not very satisfactory with Webley’s opting for a plate, spot welded onto the air chamber (this broke free if the mounts were over tightened) whilst B.S.A. chose to punch four indentations into the air reservoir using a width measurement that few scopes other than their own would fit. Telescopic sights of this era employed a system whereby the actual crosshairs moved horizontally and vertically when zeroing with the consequence that often the aiming point would coincide at the edge of a shooters field of view. Today’s scopes are image moving with the result that the aiming point is always in the centre of the field of view. Few gun dealers in those days would attempt to fit and zero in a telescopic sight when selling an air rifle as it was considered “not worth the bother” This frequently resulted in the purchaser returning his outfit claiming that the sight had to be faulty as he could not hit anything with it! Common fitting faults such as sights being the wrong way round, incorrect alignment on the air chamber and recoil induced scope creep all contributed to customer dissatisfaction and eventually the more caring gun shops offered a free fitting service. We would hope that nowadays every telescopic sight retailer would invest twenty minutes ensuring that outfits are put together with the correct mounts etc. to ensure complete customer satisfaction
We are frequently asked what advantages there are to paying more for a telescopic sight. Most sights look clear in good light conditions but the cheaper scopes are definitely inferior when the light is not so good. The benefits of better quality optics will quickly be realized when looking through a scope at dawn, dusk or on grey wintry days where the quality of the glass and coating on the lenses will instantly become apparent. A better quality sight will have multi-coated optics on all the lenses in the sight as opposed to the economy sights that will have a coating on just the two external lenses.
The degree to that which a scope is waterproof, fog proof and shock proof is important, the latter being particularly so when the scope is fitted to a spring gun or firearm. A better quality scope will also generally provide a wider field of view (20% on the Hawk Panorama EV’s), a particularly useful feature when the quarry will not stand still. Fast focus on the ocular housing saves many seconds adjusting for clarity (as opposed to having the trouble of turning the housing around “umpteen” times), whilst the refinement of finger adjustable turrets saves searching for the elusive coin that will fit perfectly into a slotted screw.
Many telescopic sights these days feature illuminated reticules and the cost of such a refinement has dramatically reduced from twenty five years ago when a minimum of £220-00 would have had to be paid. Often a choice of red green or even blue may be selected, particularly beneficial to those suffering from colour blindness, (red being the predominant problem colour for a significant part of the population).
Finally a quick word on “parallax.” This is the distortion that occurs when ground lenses are placed in sequence. It can be overcome during the manufacture of the lenses however it will only be perfectly correct at say 30 metres or 100 metres etc. By fitting a parallax adjusting system to the sight absolute perfection can be achieved at the distance one is shooting. Traditionally adjustment has been effected by rotating the adjusting ring on the objective lens however the better scopes now have a side focusing system that allows for adjustment to be made by the thumb. This obviates the need for the shooter to transfer his vision from looking through the scope to having to read the small distance numbers situated on the front ring.
Woody’s team are available to help you make the correct choice when purchasing from us. Regardless of whether you are buying a completely new outfit or simply replacing an existing sight Woody’s will fit and approximately zero in the scope to your rifle. Please remember the choice of a telescopic sight should always be made on an individual basis and not necessarily on the recommendation of another!
For those who require indepth technical information we have provided links to two excellent websites relating to the Hawk range of sights and those by M.T.C. We have also provided a link to the ballistic chart compiled by Hawk, a system designed to take the guesswork out of zeroing one’s telescopic sight.
Telescopic Sight Mounts
When fitting a telescopic sight to your airgun it is important to ensure that you use the correct mount for the job. Woody’s keep a huge selection in stock to suit both 25mm and 30mm scope bodies. We have two piece mounts in low, medium and high sizes in either single screw or double screw fittings, plus one piece mounts, reach back, droop compensating, adjustable double mounts, see through and BKL centering mounts. Many patterns are available to suit either 9mm-11mm or “Weaver” rails.
We also have arrester blocks, pro blocks and a variety of spirit levels, used to ensure that you do not “cant” the gun. In short we can generally supply the right mount for the job.
If you are purchasing either an outfit or just the sight then Woody’s will fit the outfit together and approximately zero in the scope to the gun. If you are having a problem getting your outfit to shoot straight then just bring it along and we will endeavour to solve the problem.
The perfect reticle setup is simple…
…use the FREE Hawke® Ballistic Reticle Calculator
New Sportsmatch ‘which scope mount do I need’ guide