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What is Field of View in a Rifle Scope?

  • 5 min reading time
What is Field of View in a Rifle Scope?

Thanks to the advancements in scope technology, most firearm enthusiasts and hunters prefer to use an optical sighting device for their rifles, shotguns, and even their handguns. The reason for this is simple. Nowadays, rifle scopes provide a level of accuracy that’s unmatched with the traditional metal scopes or using no scope at all. One of the most asked questions by beginner firearm enthusiasts is, “What is the field of view in a rifle scope?” In the following lines, we’re going to take a closer look at what the field of view is in a rifle scope, along with answering some other questions that are common amongst beginner firearm enthusiasts.

What does Field of View Mean for a Rifle Scope?

The Field of View (or FOV) is basically the measurement of a target in feet at 100 yards. In other words, this is what the shooter is able to see through the rifle scope from right to left while looking at a distance. It is important to note that as the magnification is increased, the field of view will decrease accordingly. For instance, at 6x magnification, you will be able to see everything surrounding the target, while at 24x magnification, your field of view will be comparatively lowered since you will be focused more on the target.

When choosing a rifle scope, you will need to be sure that the scope does not give an effect known as “tunneling.” So, what is tunneling? This is when looking through the scope feels like you’re looking through a tunnel as you increase the magnification of the scope. This can be bad for your aim and will not allow you to get a clear shot at the target. This is why you should do your research to find a scope that does not give that tunneling effect while zooming in on a target.

Is Field of View Always Measured at 100 Yards?

As mentioned above, the field of view refers to the area that is visible when looking through the scope at 100 yards away.

This field of view depends on the level of magnification of the scope setting. The higher the scope magnification, the smaller the field of view is going to be. There are a few things that can affect the field of view of a scope. For instance, you could have two similar scopes that give a completely different field of view. This is mostly due to the contours and shape of the glass that is inside the scope.

When choosing a rifle scope, you want to go with a make and model that has a higher FOV even at a higher magnification.

Along with that, you will also want your rifle scope to have a constant field of view that’s in proportion to the level of magnification of the scope. For example, if the FOV is 120 feet at 1x magnification, then you should expect it to be at 1/4thof that at 30 feet or4x magnification. If you find that it’s more than 30 feet at 4x magnification, then you will be losing a 1x field of view.


Do You Need a Large or Small FOV?

It is recommended that users should shoot game at ranges that fall between 50 to 150 yards.

This means that a higher level of magnification is not required while aiming most of the time.

But, what is required while aiming is a wider field of view along with a long eye relief when aiming, and for good reason. A wider field of view allows you to aim more accurately at the target, which is why the minimum of 1x magnification and a maximum of 2.5x magnification is recommended for a rifle scope while aiming at a dangerous game at ranges of up to 150 yards.

What Determines FOV in a Scope?

The field of view in a scope can generally be determined by the amount of magnification of the scope combined with the focal length of the eyepiece and target.

Because of the varying level of magnification of different rifle scopes, the field of view also typically varies depending on the manufacturer of the scope.

When choosing a rifle scope, it is important to note that the diameter of the objective lens should not be considered as a determining factor when it comes to finding the field of view. For instance, a large field of view is going to require a more sophisticated lens system in the scope to generate a crisp and clear image of the target.


Is FOV Impacted by Magnification?

Magnification is basically how close you can view the target from a distance as compared to what is visible to the naked eye. For instance, looking straight down at a target range would be hard to see without a scope. However, when you do look at the target down the range through a rifle scope, the target becomes far clearer.

Needless to say, when it comes to rifle scopes, magnification is an important factor to consider since it helps you aim at targets that are farther away. That being said, it is also important for beginners to note that while magnification can help you get a closer look at the target, not using the right amount of magnification with your rifle scope can have the opposite effect. In other words, more magnification alone does not determine a higher level of accuracy. So, how does one find the perfect magnification for their rifle scope depending on their situation?

For those who are going to be using a rifle scope for the first time, it is important to remember that as the magnification of the scope increases, the FOV will decrease, and when the magnification is decreased, the FOV will go up. A good example of this is the 3x variable scope, which is the most commonly found configuration.

The 3x variable scope can have a FOV of slightly over 30 feet at the 100-yard mark, while at 9x of magnification, the FOV could be around just 14 feet.

It should also be noted that even a larger objective lens diameter is not going to make a difference in these numbers.


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