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Education / Training Scope dope — I hope! Part 5

Scope dope — I hope! Part 5

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This is an ongoing series about scope questions and issues. Blog reader David Enoch asked for it originally, but many other readers have jumped in since it began. Today, I’m going to give you some scope tips I’ve learned over the years.

Tom’s scope tips
1. Get good glass!
You can’t hit what you can’t see! The quality of the glass in the lenses; the coatings on the glass; and the perfection with which the optics were ground, finished and handled during production are all more important than superfluous features like illuminated reticles and mil dots.

I look for clarity in a scope long before I consider anything else. I’ve been known to select a 4x scope over a 4-16x just for this reason.

If you have a chance to test a scope before buying, test it by trying to focus at close range and read fine print. Look out at the edges of the image. Are they as sharp? Point the scope into a dark area and see if it highlights what’s there or just muddies the image.

2. Don’t shop for a scope by the brand name.
Brand names mean nothing these days. Even Leupold, which does make some superior optics such as the Vari-X III models, also makes mediocre scopes…like the Vari-X II line. The same holds true for Leapers, Hawke and most others. I’ve seen Nikon, Burris and even Nightforce scopes that weren’t very clear. The fact that a scope company can make superior scopes has no bearing on what they put into your scope.

Shop for scopes by the model and look only at reports for that exact model. You may get a sense that some makers put a lot of quality in certain scopes, and if you do, use that information. For example, I’ve told you several times that the Hawke 4.5-14X42 Tactical Sidewinder is a super scope. It stands head and shoulders above many other models and brands in the same price range. I know it’s not cheap, but it’s worth the price.

I have also touted several Leapers scopes in my reports. Leapers has been working to improve their scopes for the past 15 years, and it really shows. The top line of Leapers scopes is the Accushot Premium series, branded as UTG Accushot scopes. The UTG 8-32X56 Accushot rifle scope is an example of a scope that delivers about twice as much value as the price indicates. Yes, it’s also not cheap, but it has all the desirable features.

What should you look for? Look for glass lenses. Look for etched-glass reticles that will automatically have the fine (but visible) crosshairs you need. Look for single coatings of magnesium fluorite or emerald on the lenses. Both will enhance light transmission, where multi-coated optics are always a compromise. Look for 30mm scope tubes whose lenses are larger and also transmit more light. And look for lockable reticle adjustments that don’t need tools to adjust.

3. Don’t adjust any scope above 3/4 elevation or more than 3/4 to the right.
This has become my mantra because I see it crop up every time there’s a problem with “scope shift.” Scope shift seems to be almost non-existent, except when shooters adjust the scope too far up or too far to the right that the erector tube return-spring is relaxed. No scope in the world can hold its zero at that point.

The problem is universal, and the diagnosis is simple. Simply adjust the scope knobs down and to the left a lot, then shoot a group at least 25 yards away (farther is better). Sure, it won’t be in the right place; but if it’s tight and you can shoot repeatedly without any wandering, you know the problem is not with the scope. It’s with the mount. You need to align the scope’s axis with the barrel axis, and the problem will be solved. Either shim the scope or use an adjustable mount…you can stop criticizing the scope and get on with the fix.

4. Pick the power carefully.
Just like you don’t buy scopes by their brands, don’t buy them by their power, either. An excellent 4x scope can often outshoot a mediocre 16x scope. And it’s certainly easier on your eyes.

This is one reason I have so many vintage scopes. They don’t have the power of the modern scopes, but their optics are so clear that it doesn’t matter. This goes back to my first tip: Get good glass!

5. Consider a sidewheel objective adjustment.
It takes only a few minutes shooting field target to make this lesson clear. Instead of reaching out an arm’s length to turn an objective bell that’s probably very stiff to turn, a sidewheel objective adjustment puts the controls at your fingertips. I’d say that it’s the difference between power brakes and manual brakes on a car, but very few who are under 40 know what manual brakes are anymore. You young guys will just have to trust me on this.

6. Think about where the scope will be going.
If you don’t consider where the scope has to be mounted, it may not even fit on the gun you have or are about to buy. The same holds for scope mounts. Will they fit on the gun? Where’s the scope stop located, if you need one?

The biggest mistake shooters make on this account is that they try to mount a short scope on a rifle whose scope stop puts the eyepiece too far from the eye when the rifle is held naturally. This happens a lot with UTG Bug Buster scopes on springers like Gamos and Hatsans. You’re better off mounting a scope with a long eye relief, such as the CenterPoint Power Class 1TL 3-9×42 AO scope, on rifles like this, unless the scope tube is long enough to reach back.

7. Consider target turrets.
This may put some shooters off, but a scope with target turrets is so much easier to work with than one that cannot show you how much elevation and right adjustment has been applied. Target turrets usually cost more because they’re found on better scopes, but they pay you back when you’re setting up a gun or swapping the scope to a different gun.

Scope turrets
Which adjustment gives the most information about the scope’s current state? The coin-operated knob on the right or the target turret on the left?

8. Get adjustable parallax!
Parallax does matter to airgunners because we always shoot so close to the target. Parallax changes dramatically between 25 and 50 yards, but almost not at all between 100 and 150 yards. Firearm scope users seldom need parallax correction (what some call focusing) like airgunners do.

Yes, you can change the distance for which a scope is adjusted when it has fixed parallax; but after you do, it’s still fixed. It’s only good (focused) at that distance.

9. Shop for a good dealer
The dealer is the bottom line. One dealer will stand behind everything he sells and another will not. I will pay a premium to do business with good dealers. Yes, I’m talking about Pyramyd AIR, but it doesn’t stop with them. There are many good dealers out there, and I make it my business to find out who they are before doing business with them.

Optics can have problems from the factory. More than other items, they’re products that do need to be returned sometimes. Having a dealer support you when that happens means a lot.

If you were to talk to me in person about scopes, these are some of the things I would tell you. And I would jump up and down about the third tip. That’s the one that hits me every time I’m called in to solve a scope problem. If the scope has target turrets, I can spot this problem from 10 feet away. I can also do it just by listening to the shooter converse with his buddy on the range…”I need more elevation, but I’ve got the scope dialed up as far as it will go!” That’s a problem just waiting to be discovered.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

140 thoughts on “Scope dope — I hope! Part 5”

  1. BB-I hope that you will do a test of adjustable scope mounts. I used one on my Diana 52, about 12 years ago. I think that it was a B square mount (RWS scope.) It did not hold its adjustments. I have never used my favorite , Burris signature rings and mounts , on air rifles. They work fine on my firearms. Like John in an earlier blog, I have no connection with the Burris company. I value your opinion, and I would like to see how they compare to other mounts and rings on air rifles. ED

    • zimbabwaeed,

      I have done several tests of adjustable scope mount already. I found the American-made B-Square mounts to work fine, though a lot of people did not know how to install them correctly. Apparently the Chinese B-Square mounts were garbage.

      I have also tested several other brands like AirForce, Sportsmatch etc.


  2. “Parallax does matter to airguners because we always shoot so close to the scope.” …should be “shoot so close to the target.”

    Also, in the summary I think you meant to say that you would jump up and down about the third tip, not the first.

    Feel free to delete this comment after making any corrections.

    • Kevin,

      I’m sorry to hear that. I wish you’d emailed me that this was happening. We have one other person who’s been emailing me about the same issue. If anyone ever gets an error while posting a message, please email me.

      Can you tell me how long this has been happening? If it’s been within the past couple months, then I think I know why it’s happening.


      • Happens to me all the time, but I think it’s my browser timing out and not a site issue.
        Before you hit the ‘submit’ button, copy your text! (highlight, right click, copy) This way if the page crashes you can come back, right click “paste” in the box and submit as usual.

          • /Dave,

            Does this usually happen at night or during the day? Can you give me an approximate time of day when it tends to happen?

            Also, I’m getting the sense that these issues may be limited to tablets & smart phones, although I know that J-F has mentioned using an iPhone and has not said he’s had any posting problems.


            • I’ve posted using an iphone before but I since made the switch to an android phone and I don’t have any problems with it either.
              When I’m posting from my computer (most of the time) I use Chrome and never had a problem.
              I’m also logged in, I registered (in the top right corner) it makes thing much easier, nothing to enter, I just enter my text and click submit and I’m done. No error message, no math question.


    • Yeah, that sucks. I’ve lost a number of comments here although I’ve only seen 404 a few times. I’ve learned from prior hard experience to save anything lengthy by pasting it into a back-up document. That way if your comment gets eaten you haven’t wasted your time and can resubmit. No reason to leave because of a 404.


  3. I’t looks like I have to re-read this whole “scope” blog over again! I seem to have short term memory. Today I was mounting the scope for my Umarex Fusion that came in box. I noticed the mounts had no scope stop, but it’s probably not needed for this Co2? It has an 11mm dovetail on the gun according to the specs on Pyramyd AIR. The fixed side of the mount seems to fit into the dovetail nicely, but the adjustable part that you tighten to the dovetail seems to be fatter and the bevel of the cut seems to be off? When the mounts are tighnted there seems to be a completely unnatural tilt of the mounts to the left. I have the screw heads for the mounts on the side of the cocking bolt. I would assume that if I reversed the mounts (which I haven’t ) that I would just reverse the problem? So I mounted the scope as is and shot five round groups and they all grouped in a sweet little spot but I was about about 6″ low and about 3″ to the left from the bull! So after adjustments to the very extremes exactely as rule #3 says not to do it’s almost perfect. I hate to say this but I’m only able to shoot at 15 feet right now so that may be part of it? I couldn’t even get a clear focus on the scope from that short of a distance but the crosshairs were on a blurred bull. I maxed the limits out to full up and full right but it held a real nice group using Crosman bulk wad cutters. I know that I have a severe mounting problem and that I need to shoot farther distances, but any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! I know the Fusion is in a current blog rotation and I’d love to talk about my current thoughts,good and bad but I’ll keep them hush until I hear Tom finish his review.

    • Greg

      You are correct that a scope stop is not needed for a CO2 rifle. The very minimal recoil of CO2 rifles have no chance of budging properly fastened scope mounts. You are also correct that you need to stretch out your shooting range. Red Ryders are accurate at 15 feet. Even 30 feet is a bit short to show major shortcomings in accuracy.

      First off I would recommend reversing the mounts as you theorized. Assuming that the POI would change to high and to the right, your necessary scope adjustments would put more tension on the turret springs, which is not a problem.

      Another thing I would try is to flip the adjustable part of the scope mount, perhaps it will fit the groove of the dovetail better. I have done this with success myself.

      Once you are able to find longer distances at which to shoot, I would also invest in different pellets. It might be that your gun shoots the bulk Crosman wadcutters exceptionally well. But I wouldn’t bet on it. When you are able to stretch out your range these cheaper pellets will likely limit your accuracy potential.

      • Thanks Slining Lead for your response, I did end up turning the mounts 180 out to reverse the problem but oddly enough with the sights still maxed out, it was still centered but shot about half an inch lower. I did some rearranging for my indoor range and I did a temp setup at about 25 feet and all of a sudden it was shooting high and the cheap scope was Chrystal clear. So it looks looks like my main problem is that I was trying to shoot too close. As far as bulk crosman wad cutters I get the 500 pack in plastic and they shoot very well for breaking in stuff. But I do have a multitude of other pellets from other manufactures and the premiums in the cardboard box. I never really got to shooting them though because I was shooting so close. Also thanks for the advice on turning the adjustable end of the bottom of the mount over. In this case it wouldn’t work but I’ve used it in the past and it’s worked great.

    • Also, sometimes you can remove the moving part of the clamp from the mount and turn it over to get a different profile for the part that grips the dovetail, and that will allow the mount to sit more level when tightened up. Or maybe that is what you meant by reversed?

      3/8″ and 11mm seem like simple standards, but they are neither simple nor standards :).

      • Thank you B.B. ! I may have been slightly premature on my scope assessment. I’ve been shooting very short distances for about a year. And rarely even hook a scope up because of the short distance. Unless it comes without sights, then i’ll use a scope. I’ve got tons of air rifles and pistols so eventually in the near future I’m going to expand my indoor range.

    • As with PCPs, CO2s have minimal recoil — and likely the recoil is “firearm” style… That is: as the pellet is pushed forward, the gun is pushed to the rear and a loose scope would “stay behind” (sliding off the front of the gun).

      Spring guns, OTOH, have a reverse recoil when the piston slams into the front of the chamber. This jarring motion is what causes scopes to slide to the rear and also damages scopes that are not designed for spring guns — the internal erector tube with the reticle is commonly braced on the front end, so firearm recoil pushes the tube against the bracing; the other end may be floating or have a spring pushing the tube to the front. On a spring gun, the forward jump can result in the erector tube sliding to the rear, away from the bracing. OH, and the torsional twist of an unwinding spring might be sharp enough to cause the erector tube to rotate — leaving the cross hairs mis-aligned with the adjustment knobs.

    • Gunfun1,

      You lost your bet :-\

      The new airgun catalog is due to hit homes the first 2 weeks of November. We had so many articles and products that we had to omit one of the longer articles, which Tom promptly turned into a blog several weeks ago.


  4. Another rule of thumb is if your air rifle comes with a scope and mounts, you need to buy another scope and mounts. Do you really think they are going to give you good quality optics on that hundred dollar sproinger package?

    I am trying to hold out for a Bug Buster with a side focus. Any chance they will come out with one soon?

  5. B.B.

    To look at the pic of the two different scope adjustments, I would say that the left one is adjusted about all the way up, and the right one is adjusted about all the way down.


  6. I agree with most of what you say, although optical clarity is below mechanical reliability for me. As long as I can see the intended target adequately under all conditions, I’d rather the manufacturer spend more time and money on the mechanical aspects than the optics. I can live with some distortions at the edge of field, and other minor defects (e.g. barrel or pincushion) that I would not accept on an astronomical scope, if the adjustments are precise and repeatable over a useful range. I had a couple of Simmons riflescopes with stunning optics that failed in a short time with little use, while a cheap Bushnell and a better Tasco with merely acceptable image quality (actually the Tasco is “good” though not great optically) are still ticking even after being on punishing mounts. I guess the good news is that pretty spectacular optical quality is relatively cheap nowadays, and completely trashy image quality is hard to find, except maybe with the extreme ranges of magnifications on smaller scopes.

  7. B.B.,

    Any word on when the Turbo Aire Hand Pump might be available? First it was spring 2013, then it was summer 2013. Yesterday it snowed here, so I have concluded Crosman won’t get it out by summer of 2013, LOL. Crosman has had “This item is COMING SOON!” for it on their website, but “soon” is a subjective modifier.

    Will this be yet another Crosman/Benjamin product that ends up existing only in press releases, like the MAV 77, a copy of the BAM B40? ;^) (I believe Crosman has had “This item is COMING SOON!” for that on their website since sometime in late 2011.)

    Jus’ wondering.


  8. B.B
    Thanks for this series on scopes. A wealth of info and the actual recommendations by product name and model are worth their weight in gold.
    The “down and to the left” comment in point number 3 is something I had wondered about. So I assume that compresses the adjustment springs?
    A question that you might have already answered. I have progressive lenses in my eyeglasses and find that my groups tighten up substantially when I take my glasses off. But I need the glasses for safety and to see the pellets for loading and inspection. Maybe a dumb question but it seems like I need shooting glasses that maybe have a close-up bifocal in the bottom? My distance vision is fairly decent so the top of the lenses could be plain. BTW, I have not mastered the art of shooting with both eyes open.
    Thanks very much,

    • Do an online search for bifocal shooting glasses. They are out there. You are not the only guy with this type problem. PS I had to stop using fine duplex reticles, because they would just wash out in bright light. Getting old is a ……….

    • Lloyd,

      For best results, shoot without prescription glasses and use safety glasses. And use scopes with adequate eye adjustment (diopter correction in the eyepiece) like Leapers makes.

      Otho my shooting partner has horrible eyes, but Leapers scopes always adjust for him perfectly.


      • Thanks everyone for the suggestions, I will definitely pursue this and buy something suitable. The way I am doing it now is not very satisfactory and takes out some of the fun.
        Yes Bub, getting old is an experience for sure. How about night driving in unfamiliar territory, no thank you!

      • For me, that suggestion would not work at all…

        I’ve got 6 diopter prisms, along with a nasty astigmatism, and heavy near-sightedness (like: without glasses I can make out stuff between 4 and 6 inches away).

        I also do NOT do bifocals — I carry three pairs of glasses: sun (both eyes set for “infinity”), work (right eye “infinity”, left eye focus about 20″ for computer monitor), reading (both eyes set for about 12″ — as my common reading mode is laying on a couch with a dinner plate wedged between collar bone and write of hand holding the book).

        With the “work” set right eye on infinity, it should be a close match for “nominal” reticle focus of a scope [scopes and binoculars normally are targeted to produce an “infinity” light ray — that is rays are parallel, not diverging or converging — for regular viewers].

        Technically, I have a fourth pair — an old set of Gargoyles shooting glasses with a prescription insert [clear lenses rather than sunglass tint, but both eyes set for infinity; I should really have a few sets of inserts: infinity for scopes, 30″ for pistol front sight, and something longer for rifle open sights]

        ***** Just got a 403 Forbidden error


        You don’t have permission to access /blog/wp-comments-post.php on this server.

    • Lloyd..

      I wear trifocals . Tried those continuous lenses once, but about made me sick. They tell me that once you use one kind, you can’t switch .
      Used to use trifocals before cataract surgery anyway. Had some astigmatism in the first place and still do. My distance vision is a bit off because of astigmatism in both eyes about 90 degrees off from each other. Needed trifocals for different distances anyway. My vision if strictly fixed focus without glasses because I have plastic lenses in both eyes.

      My wife had a new set of computer glasses made up the way she needed them. The Doc can have them cut about any way you want, but the more complex, the more it costs.


    • My eye doc was pushing progressives right after both cataracts removed. He did some slices in my corneas which alleviated much of my astigmatism, which wasn’t really bad in the first place. I suspect progressives are a high-profit item for him. I also got the impression he and his staff assume I don’t want to be seen wearing bl- or trifocals in public (as if progressives were going to fool anyone).

      Progressives sounded like a great idea, but it was not made clear to me up front that, with progressives, only a narrow vertical column of your horizontal range of vision is corrected. This means that when reading/typing, you have to move your head back and forth (left and right) to keep a few central words in focus…gets very old very fast. Panning your eyes left and right without having to move your head doesn’t work any more with progressives because the view thru the off-center areas of the progressive lenses is blurred and uncorrected.

      I exchanged them the very next day for trifocals. I’m surprised that the technology has come only that far. Wear ’em if ya like ’em but, imo, progressives are a rip off. If your near vision has only just begun to deteriorate (yes, i’m sure it’s a rude awakening for many who like me took young supple lenses for granted all those years), such that you only need help occasionally, then get the inexpensive reading glasses from the drug store. Me, i been corrected for near sightedness since 3rd grade so am long since used to, and very happy with, contacts, bi-, or trifocals. I don’t feel a need to remove my glasses to shoot.

      Ok, I’m removing my smock now and dismissing my medical team for the day. 😉
      (who’s legal team has so far been unable to confirm his awesome Burris mounts violate anyone’s patent rights)

  9. Wow…I could have written this word for word, with one caveat (more later).
    Over the years I’ve had a number of cheap Bushnell’s (Bushnell is a conundrum IMO…they make some of the best…and worst scopes on the market.) and an RWS scope that came kitted with an early Chinese springer that was horrendous. It’s optics were terrible and what really didn’t help was the fact that it had a crossbow reticle. I’ll never buy a gun/scope kit again.
    But finally last year I settled on what has been a great scope…the Hawke 6-20×42 Tactical Sidewinder. As B.B. states, they aren’t cheap (actually I’d say they are an entry level ‘good’ scope…check out Scmidt & Bender or NightForce), but the optics are superb and the mechanics are precise enough that I can zero at 100m, figure my clicks to 200m and then when I go turn back to 100m the rounds are landing exactly where expected.
    As well I have the Leapers 4-16×50 AO scope on each of the boys Marlins.
    Optics…not quite as clear or bright as the Hawke (even with a bigger objective…shows how important coating are) and the construction doesn’t feel quite as good…but they hold their adjustments and after a year of weekly shooting they are holding up great. I’d call them a good quality ‘cheap’ scope.
    The only thing I’d add is to definitely purchase a one piece scope mount. Inexpensive two piece mounts just have (again IMO) too many issues. I’ve had cheap two piece mounts that had gaps and were not true…to tighten them to get rid of the gaps you end up putting a lot of pressure on the scope tube which isn’t at all good.
    Also…as an aside, in all my years of posting here (about 5 years now I think). I’ve never had a problem posting or losing posts, so I think that is a browser issue more than a site issue.
    Oh…and one other thing.
    Yesterday got an invitation to head out to the range with my clients on the tac team. The invitation is for myself and my two boys and the agenda is that we all get to shoot:
    Suppressed .308 Rem sniper rifles
    Suppressed MP5
    M4 carbines
    Sig P226
    Happy, happy!!

    • Thanks for reminding me I need to do a product endorsement. On any air rifle or .22 (esp. autoloader) with dovetail, I would plan on throwing away any rings included with the scope and buy a Leapers Accushot one-piece mount. They aren’t expensive, but they are well designed and built.

    • You got invited AGAIN!?!
      Wanna adopt a 3rd kid? I’m potty trained and well educated. I swear I’ll be a good example to my little brothers (most of the time) and I’ll mow the lawn and help mom in the kitchen!


  10. Everyone,

    Please respond to this thread if you’ve had error messages when posting a comment or your comment just never appears.

    I’ve already gotten important info from Kevin Lentz via email.

    Dangerdongle–either email the info I request below or post a comment here.

    I want to hear from anyone who’s having problems posting comments.

    Pyramyd Air’s IT department has just made a significant change to the blog comments to avoid error messages. If you’ve had issues before, please tell me the following:

    Type of OS
    Is it a computer, tablet (list type) or other smart phone (list type)?
    Type & version of browser
    When did it start happening: Within the past 2 months? Always?
    If it’s happened always, has it been worse within the past 2 months?

    If you try to post to this comment & can’t get it to show up, email your comment: edith@pyramydair.com


    • I had the 404 message the other day for the first time. I submitted the comment unsuccessfully a few times then tried reopening the blog page and even the whole browser. But then I finally got through. This was Firefox on a windows machine. I’m not sure what version of the operating system.


    • Edith

      I got the ‘Internal Server Error 404’ several times a couple weeks ago. I pressed the back button on my browser and my comment was still there but had not posted. I noticed that I had entered the wrong answer to the math problem (stop snickering) but after fixing the answer, it still would not accept the post. I right clicked and copied my post, then opened up the blog in a new window and pasted my comment into the reply box. The comment posted, no problem.

      A few months ago I got the same error message, but after pressing the back button on the browser I noticed that the comment had posted. Other than these two instances I rarely get error messages.

      Windows Vista on a laptop
      Firefox browser

    • While I’ve had a few odd messages when I miskey the answer to the math problem, I did (as mentioned elsewhere in one of these threads) just get a

      403 Forbidden

      error posting with what I know was the correct response. Full error message:


      You don’t have permission to access /blog/wp-comments-post.php on this server.

      Using the “back button” on my mouse got me back to the data entry form with all my text, and I could resubmit it.

      Dell XPS 8500
      Win7-pro 64-bit service pack 1
      Intel core i7 3770 (quad core, hyperthreaded) 3.4GHz
      12GB RAM
      11TB of disk (depending on which externals I power up — a 4TB is just used for backups so is normally turned off)
      Mozilla Firefox v24

    • That’s a bummer.
      I have the lower priced ShoeBox and it works great.
      Although the latest and greatest ShoeBox has some neat features and fills up your equipment in a quicker time period.
      And do I need to endorse everytime when I make a comment that I’m not affiliated with that product.
      Sounds like a bit technical to me. But anyway I’m glad I got my ShoeBox.

  11. B.B.

    This is totally off subject, but while shopping at PA last night I ran across the C96. I certainly hope you intend on reviewing it when you can get your hands on one. That looks like one that could tempt me back into CO2.

  12. BB,

    Nice report! You mention magnesium fluoride coatings, which should be magnesium fluorite (MgF2- with a “t”).

    For anyone that cares… MgF2 is an anti-reflective coating that increases light transmission through the lens, thereby reducing scattered light that muddies up and washes out the final image. “Fully” multi-coated lens designation will mean that all air to glass surfaces have this coating and will have better image contrast and clarity than just multi-coated designated scopes which typically have only the front and back glass coated. Same holds true for binoculars, spotting scopes, camera lenses and astronomical telescopes.


    I occasionally have trouble as I mentioned in a reply above. Mostly while using my Android phone. I experienced this problem at about the same frequency as always since the inception of the captcha question with the exception of a period a few months ago when it happened every time. Seems like you had that problem worked out though, so I’ve just been attributing my ongoing trouble to operator error…


    • I’m sure someone will jump in and correct me if I’m wrong. But my understanding is and from what I can gather, fluoride is used as part of the recipe in making extra-low color dispersion glass which is used for the lens. Fluorite is a soft crystal used frequently in the AR coating, which is then overcoated with silica (quartz) to protect it from scratches. Fluorite is a very expensive crystal that can be used in a highly color corrected lens, but useful for coating because the coating is only about 1/4 л thick. Emerald and ruby coatings can do the same anti-reflective function, but not as well. They also tend to add in unwanted green and red to the spectrum, much like using an additive filter.

      So…. All that is to say that companies use the fluoride description kind of generically both because they don’t understand the difference, or choose not to confuse the customers with it…


    • BB,

      I’m sure someone will jump in and correct me if I’m wrong. But my understanding is and from what I can gather, fluoride is used as part of the recipe in making extra-low color dispersion glass which is used for the lens. Fluorite is a soft crystal used frequently in the AR coating, which is then overcoated with silica (quartz) to protect it from scratches. Fluorite is a very expensive crystal that can be used in a highly color corrected lens, but useful for coating because the coating is only about 1/4 л thick. Emerald and ruby coatings can do the same anti-reflective function, but not as well. They also tend to add in unwanted green and red to the spectrum, much like using an additive filter.

      So…. All that is to say that companies use the fluoride description kind of generically both because they don’t understand the difference, or choose not to confuse the customers with it…


  13. Edith,

    This is what I was trying to post….


    I’m sure someone will jump in and correct me if I’m wrong. But my understanding is and from what I can gather, fluoride is used as part of the recipe in making extra-low color dispersion glass which is used for the lens. Fluorite is a soft crystal used frequently in the AR coating, which is then overcoated with silica (quartz) to protect it from scratches. Fluorite is a very expensive crystal that can be used in a highly color corrected lens, but useful for coating because the coating is only about 1/4 л thick. Emerald and ruby coatings can do the same anti-reflective function, but not as well. They also tend to add in unwanted green and red to the spectrum, much like using an additive filter.

    So…. All that is to say that companies use the fluoride description kind of generically both because they don’t understand the difference, or choose not to confuse the customers with it…


    • Great blog on scopes,
      DOPE. = Data on Previous Engagements (Military Term)

      Maybe BB is headed this way at the end of this blog.
      Since field target is shooting at unknown distances, this is the ultimate knowledge a shooter can have.
      The shooter knows his rifle, his scope, his ammo and shoots enough at all ranges / distances that he can figure out the adjustments needed to hit his target at any distance, with a little margin of error.

      True DOPE also takes in all environmental factors, for long range firearm shooting.
      Air Rifle DOPE no different than rifle DOPE. I have access to a indoor / enclosed horse barn, so I start inside testing my rifle,scope , ammo at various distance for best combination and record my data. Then I go outside and let the wind be my opponent on my 10 acres, so non windy days outside is not my preferred shooting environment. The DOPE is also recorded outside shooting so when similar environmental conditions exist, I have a starting point for that day shooting.

      have not seen comment concerning the alignment of the barrel to the grooves on the action or alignment of the scope rings to the barrel. Will go reread the earlier blag on dope.

      Due to my comments, yes I am a precision shooter.

  14. I’ve always wondered what those numbers on the turrets mean like the ones in the left picture of the pair at the bottom of the post. I just count clicks when I’m adjusting. Do the numbers correspond to the clicks (which seems redundant) or does it refer to how much movement in point of aim at some distance? I see that my reproduction Russian WWII scope has numbers but no clicks to the turret, so maybe the numbers can help.

    /Dave, thanks for the info about the powder burn rate. So far from ending my reloading career, maybe now is the time to start in earnest!

    KansasHeat, congratulations on your TX200. You’re way ahead of me now as that is one of my fantasies. So, how did your shooting go?


    • /Dave,

      To avoid being caught in the spam filter, you need to sign in with an email address when you want to comment. Then, I can take your email address & whitelist it. It’s not foolproof cause even some of my own comments have been put in the spam folder! For the most part, though, it prevents listing you as a spammer if you sign in to your account before making a comment.


  15. This is off subject but about airguns and well scopes too.

    One of my friends stopped by and showed me a gun he got. And of course we shot it.

    And BB I wish he would of showed me it sooner and I would of posted it over the weekend on the blog about accurate guns since we were talking about different guns.

    It is a FX Monsoon with the synthetic stock in .22 cal. (semi automatic) No electronics for the trigger. It recycles the air to work the action. It was pretty fun to shoot.
    And the company (I wont list the company’s name where he got it) but they have a special if you buy the gun you get a free Hawke 3-12×50 IR 1/2 mil dot scope which is about a 400 and something dollar scope.

    I wanted to post about it also because of the type of barrel he said it has. Its called a smooth twist barrel. The bore of the barrel has only like the last 2″ or something of the barrel rifled at the muzzle end.
    We only shot the one magazine and I was just plinking with it so I don’t know how accurate the gun is.

    But the question that comes to my mind and the main reason I wanted to post about the gun is; Wouldn’t the pellet get tore up when it hit the rifling at the end of the barrel after accelerating through the smooth part of the barrel?

    And Edith I thought I would throw this in. I’m using a laptop and I think when I have the problem of posting. May be it is when I’m leaving a longer post. Maybe browser timing out also. But yes it is a PA error page. And with out me trying it right now to find out. I think it is the same page as if you do a product search and it isn’t available.

  16. All good advice I’ll file away for future use. I’m starting a brand new airgun build soon. It’s going to need some top quality optics to get every bit of performance out of it. This gun will be a beautiful heirloom quality gun and I want all the very best on it.

  17. This is totally unrelated to today’s blog topic, but I just noticed a pretty cool way to check for consistent barrel lockup on a break-barrel rifle. I recently picked up a Crosman Vantage NP and have been nothing but impressed with the way it shoots, especially for ~$100. I’m not sure there is anything in it’s price range that can compete if you need a full-power rifle and the gas ram really performs well. Anyway, I was shooting it on my backyard range a little while ago and decided to mount my peep sight on the receiver to see if (my) accuracy was much improved. I left the rear sight in place so I could just align the peep with the stock sights. What I noticed was that after each shot, the barrel would slightly droop, and the front sight would drop lower between the rear notch. After cocking and snapping the barrel shut each time it would resume (pretty much) it’s original sight picture when looking through the peep. I did manage to give the barrel a little nudge and get the droop to show again without breaking the action open. So, now I know that I would probably get vertical stringing from this rifle if I scoped it unless I was very methodical about how I closed the action just the same way each time. I don’t think it would stay zeroed if I cocked it and then went into the woods unless I re-snapped the barrel shot before taking a shot. That would definitely scare off any game. Anyway, I thought this might prove to be a helpful way to test a break-barrel rifle that has barrel mounted factory sights before mounting a scope on the rifle anf having vertical stringing issues. That said, I bought my Vantage to shoot with open sights, and after finding it has some droop, I’m definitely going to leave her optic-free.

      • I assume he is talking about the fact that many scope manufacturers still mix a mil-dot reticle with MOA adjustments on the turrets.
        Can be confusing.
        There are some scopes that are mil/mil…if you make a 1 click adjustment on your turret it adjusts one ‘hashmark’ on your reticle, making it very easy to read how much holdover you need (say 3 mils/hashmarks) and then adjusting that many clicks to get your reticle back on target.

  18. Unrelated question. What do you folks think about the Benjamin Trail NP XL Air Rifle(.22) vs the RWS 34(.22). I prefer German made airguns, but the Trail NP has a lot of decent reviews. Also there was a link to a review of the Trail NP, but the link didnt work. Does anyone have the link to that review?


    • I would Go With The Rws 34. They Have Choked Barrels For Better Accuracy. I have The Pro Compact In .17I And Have Been Very Happy With It. BTW, On The Pro Compact, The Muzzle Brake Has 2 Possible Positions And Can Be extendEd Out Past The Muzzle, Greatly Reducing The Cocking Force.

      Edith – I Am Using A Motorola Droid Bionic SmartphoneWith OS 4.1 And As You Can See The Blog Software Change Is Capitalizing EveryWord. Strange.

  19. Edith,

    I went through a short time period where I also received the 404 error message and then was re-directed to a different page on the PA website. It only happened two or three times and I believe at work (Windows XP, Explorer 7 (yes, way behind but that’s my company). Haven’t been bothered lately.

    Jim, the RWS 34 is an excellent rifle that does not require any tinkering to get tight groups. The Benji Trail has benefited from re-crowning and fitting after-market trigger mechanisms to wring the most accuracy out of them possible. If you don’t mind tinkering, you can search this blog for different fixes including the TKO22 trigger fix and how to re-crown the barrel. Not hard if you are mechanically competent.

    Fred DPRoNJ

  20. Once again perfect timing bb. I just asked you about scope mounts the other day, cause I just ordered a maurader, and wanted advice on what to use. I just found out my rifle will be here tomorrow, so I am very excited! I am trying to decide on a scope for it, and am glad for the advice in this report. I do have another question for anyone with a maurader though. I ordered an extra magazine and the single shot tray along with the mounts I decided on from Pyramyd. Just got them today when I got home. When I opened them up for inspection, I noticed on the back of the mag. there was a small crack at each hole! Has anyone else had this happen? It looks like the magazine will still do its job, but it is cracked for sure. I just really dont want to go through the hassle of shipping it back, especially since its a 16 dollar item. Just wanted to see if this was a problem that was typical or not. Here is a link to a pic I took of the mag.
    By the way BB, I decided to go with adjustable rings, I notice you used them, and I want to keep the scope near its optical center. I got the sports match rings, they are high rings, so I hope they will work out with my eye position. We will see I guess, if not I can use them on my Titan, I had to shim the rings on that rifle due to droop. Thanks again

  21. B.B.

    I completely agree with you regarding buying from a good dealer. And yes, Pyramyd AIR is definitely
    one of the best. I will also pay a premium to buy from the best; however, with the 10% discount code there rarely seems to be a premium with P.A.

    The piece of mind I get knowing my purchase is completely backed up probably takes about 1/4″ off my groups at 25 yards (LOL).

    By the way, this is an unsolicited endorsement.


  22. Hello B.B. and Fellow AirGun Addicts
    These blogs on scope dope, are the reason I am a loyal reader of this blog. The info contained within is just not available anywhere else. I also get a lot of food for thought from the various contributors who write about the blog topic. It’s like an on-line university.
    Ciao Titus

  23. For Me, Mildots Are A Must For Shooting At DistanceOther Than TheZero Point. IStick Custom Range Tables On Each Gun Listing TheHold In Mildots At Various Ranges. I Standardize On A Zoom Of 10X For All Guns Which I Find To Be The Best All Around Magnification.

    • Feinwerk
      Everytime I read one of your post it relates to the way I set my guns up.

      And at home from work finally. So this post is on the home laptop. Definitely better results posting on the laptop then the phone.

      Technology is cool. But in some way’s it s–cks. What would happen if the power went out. Almost got to have a generator now days in case the electric goes out.

  24. BB
    You remember me talking about the little competition that I have going on with my shootn’ buddy’s.

    Each pick a springer (or nitro piston) find the best pellet we can for our gun, and put whatever scope we want on it as long as the eye piece can be adjusted for focus.

    And the last thing. We will shoot each others gun. I think that will be the kicker.
    Everybody uses a different eye relief. (relating to scope location as far as mounting goes and they know how to hold their gun).

    I’m going to go into this little challenge unprepared this time. Going with a little lighter .25 cal. pellet but ain’t going to get a chance to practice. I sighted the gun but that’s about it. I haven’t had the time to test at different ranges.

    And next we are going to pick out what types of targets we will shoot at. We are all hunters so shooting position is going to be up to the individual.

    I think its going to be some fun gun stuff.

  25. I have 4 bsa essential scopes and im happy with them, clear optics, easy to set, nice well marked turrets that show just gow much you have adjusted it. my first 1 was bought for my Diana 54 and its the first scope to survive on that gun very long. I would say its had about 4000 shots and hasn’t broke yet. I bought 3 more after seeing its holding up well. my local gun store got my first 1 in and so I got the rest from him.but a low priced scope is just that.

  26. dear John, I just read your Oct. 23 message. I tried progressive lenses 4 years ago and had the same experience that you had. I returned to bi-focals one week later. Like you, I never heard of a Burris signature ring patent infringement. However, Burris and Leupold both use bases and regular rings identical and interchangeable with Redfield Jr. bases. There may have been an infringement issue over the bases and the non adjustable rings. I read some of BB’s blogs re adjustable mounts, but I could not find one on the Burris signature system. I hope that he will do a side by side test of all the adjustable mounts, some day, because I value his opinion . Regards, Ed

  27. Hi B.B.
    I just started getting a little more serious about shooting.I recently bought a RWS 350 Magnum, In two weekends of shooting I killed two scopes.I started doing research on both my 350 and scopes I called the people who sold me the gun for insight,Well they told me that my magnum is hard on scopes. I asked for their recommendations they told me Hawke sidewinders and RWS lockdown mounts,I wasn’t sure I could
    afford that scope plus shipping to Hawaii I asked about Hawke Eclipse 4-16-50 and was told no problem!
    It died in a day 60 shots, scope was three days old!! called them back, they said I mounted it so no refund,
    when I tried to explain what happen they said,1) I bent the barrel,2) I dry fired the gun,3)didn’t tighten scope ring mounts (scope walking).and I need to deal with hawke on my own needless to say I’m livid!! so anyway now I’m not sure how many issues I have,gun,mount, and scope?
    Just read your report on scope dope.helped me figure out my issues.
    any chance you could e-mail me

    • Stan,

      I also own an RWS 350 in .177. I’ve used Leapers/UTG scopes without any problem. Must be over 1,000 pelllets. The 350 is a vicious recoiling rifle but I don’t think that the rifle beat the Hawke to death so soon. Can you tell us what the scope is doing that makes you believe it’s died? Perhaps there is another issue involved here. Also, I encourage you to post on the current blog as most of us don’t monitor these older ones. Even though this blog is only a week and a half old – barely, you’ll get some 10,000 or more readers of the blog who will definitely see your post on the daily blog (published 5 days per week) and be most anxious to help you out.

      By the way, welcome to the blog.

      Fred DPRoNJ

      • Fred,
        My magnum is also .177 after zeroing in I started testing different pellets and weights all of a sudden it stop holding zero check scope and found it creeping in rings retightend,rezeroed and continued shooting after a shot the scope went blurry turn down the power focus kinda came back took another shot scope went blurry again could not refocus no matter the distance. After checking out my scope I notice my elevation was bottomed out so I have this feeling that my 350 does’t have barrel droop because at the end the gun was still shooting high.And how do you get to the current blog

        • Now, your rws/Diana 350 may indeed not be a drooper. Check out what Pyramyd air has to say here

          Try testing the scope adjustments to the middle of their range. Then readjust the eyepiece so that the reticle is in sharp focus. Now see how things look through the scope at 15 yards, at least. Let us know what the results are.

          Fred DPRoNJ

          • will not focus at any distance just one big blurr I sent the scope back to hawke.I’m upgrading to Hawke sidewinder tactical 4.5-14-42 the one tom recomendes in the artical I do know I have to resolve the mount issue first I have an idea, but thats why I tried reaching out to tom first, or trash can this project and go back fishing.The people I bought this gear fromis not intrested in helping me fix my problem with out spending more money, I’m over a grand in this venture with no light at the end yet $$$ !!!

            • One more question. Did you buy the rifle used? You should not be having this much trouble.

              If the scope won’t focus at all then I agree with you contacting Hawke and sending the scope back to them. Like UTG, they have the reputation of standing behind their products but that scope shouldn’t have died. Definitely not that soon.

              Good luck.

              Fred DPRoNJ

                • H & N Baracuda – 10.65 gr. The rifle fired them at an average 866 fps and that combination delivered 17.74 ft. lbs of energy at the muzzle.

                  HE – don’t be reluctant to post on the current blog. We do welcome off-topic questions and as BB has said in the past, you will get the most exposure to your questions/comments and in addition to BB or Tom Gaylord (his real persona), we have some outstanding experts in the airgun field (and I’m not including myself in this statement).

                  Fred DPRoNJ

  28. Stan,

    Okay, that is a broken scope. Please stop using that RWS mount and get a UTG scope base without droop compensation:


    Then you can use 2-piece UTG scope mounts that can be positioned anywhere.

    DO NOT over-tighten the scope cap screws! That will ruin any scope tube. The cap screws don’t have to be that tight to hold the scope.

    A scope’s quality isn’t what makes it strong — it’s how well it is mounted on the gun.

    You are making a lot of expensive decisions, and I understand your frustration, but let’s slow down. You have open sights on your rifle, so let’s go back to using them while we figure out your next move.


  29. B.B.
    I’m pretty sure that the gun is fine,But the gun does shoot high I have the rear sight cranked down all the way,With H&N barracuda 10.65gr @ 25yds the gun shoots dead on 10 shot groups @ 1.5″Anything lighter than 10gr will shoot high without the ability to re zero.
    To answer your first question,The first scope came from my Winchester 1000 the wire reticle broke in two places,The 2nd a Nikon Pro Staff sounded like a baby rattler(not airgun rated)my fault.
    After reading your article on scopes about 10 times!, I’m trying to understand where I went wrong. The first and biggest mistake is #9 in part 5. ie gun,mounts(2),scopes!
    and the other seems like mount issues witch probably caused the Hawke’s early demise.

      • B.B.
        Just wondering, The BKL adjustable mount does it start from -0- to 2 degrees or does it already have an angle to it. Because couldn’t I flip it around and use the adjustment to keep the scope close to center of adjustment?

        • Stan.

          The BKL adjustable mount goes from level up, so it should have worked. Do you perhaps have a bent barrel? Have you ever had the barrel slam shut suddenly?

          And yes, we can carry this conversation on the current blog. That would be better.


          • B.B.
            I didn’t buy the BKL mount I was just wondering in the event that I might need to turn it around to keep the scope as close to optical center as possible. I bought two mounts for my gun so far both were RWS lockdowns 1 in and 30 mm, And all my scopes had to be adjusted way down.
            On my last day of shooting, close to the end of the day yes the barrel slipped out of my hand about half way down my focus was gone because the scope already started acting up.
            I’m pretty sure I have major mount issues. Just not sure which way to go, Adapt over to weaver rail w\ rings, 2 piece, 1piece, adjustable? I just don’t know!
            The gun still shoots 2″ groups @ 40yds with open sights, I’m still learning how to shoot springer rifles, so for me I think that’s pretty good?

    • This is the RWS 350, we speak of?

      What type of /front/ sight does it have — as I recall, the front sight of my (T01 era) RWS/Diana m54 has the post on a sliding ramp, which may have enough adjustment itself to lower the POI to match the rear sight.

      {Looking at PA listings, the 350 appears to come with NO sights, a fiber optic that is not adjustable, or a Globe style which has no adjustments; the m54 still has the adjustable ramp blade}

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