Maybe you are all set for a weekend of hunting at the cabin. Or maybe you enjoy competitive shooting. You could possibly be looking to keep pesky turkeys off of your property. No matter what your reason, you most likely have a shotgun. It is a fact that shotguns are ideal for hunting birds and smaller game. Some people enjoy using a best shotgun scope for clay shooting.
Once you have your shotgun, you may be wondering if it is possible to add optics to it. After all, adding optics to your gun or rifle should enhance it and enable you to fire with more accuracy and land more shots. But can the same be said for adding a scope to a shotgun? Shotguns are intended to be used for short range shooting so what are the options? It is possible to add a shotgun scope to your gun.
It is possible to add a scope to your shotgun that will enhance your accuracy. Since a shotgun is used for shorter distances, there are some factors to take into consideration when purchasing one. Shotguns are different from rifles in several ways. The main difference is that shotguns are used for hunting moving targets, usually in the air. Rifles are used for more stationary targets on the ground. The barrel of a shotgun is longer than a rifle and the walls are usually thinner. It is also important to realize that the posture needed for shooting a moving target in the air is vastly different than the posture needed for shooting a target on land. These factors do affect the way a scope is used on a shotgun and how you should choose the best one. This article takes a look at how to choose a good scope and what should you consider when buying one.
- What is a shotgun scope?
- How do you choose a shotgun scope?
- Factors of a scope
- Best 5 Shotgun Scopes On The Market 2020
- Best 5 Shotgun Scopes Reviews 2020
- How to install a shotgun on a scope
- How to zero a shotgun scope
What is a shotgun scope?
Shotguns are a pretty versatile gun. Depending on the type of ammo and barrel it is possible to use your shotgun for more than just bird hunting. It is very possible to use a shotgun to hunt larger game. And many people use a shotgun for protecting their home and property.
When you are looking to add a scope to your shotgun, you want to pick the one that will work best for your shooting situation. Most shotgun shooting is done at a closer range. It is important that you get the right magnification levels, since this will be a big factor in adding a scope.
How do you choose a shotgun scope?
If you looking for the best shotgun scope for deer hunting, you want to make sure you consider all the important factors of a scope. Some shotgun scopes also have rangefinders, which can be helpful.Here are some important factors to consider when you are shopping for a scope for your shotgun.
Any shotgun scope that you consider, should be designed to be durable. It should be constructed with high quality materials. It is important to remember that a shotgun makes a lot of kinetic energy and you will feel that recoil both in your gun and in your arm and shoulder. It is crucial that you purchase a good quality scope that can stand up to the rigors it will be put through in the field.
Even though shotgun shooting is done at closer range, accuracy is still a key factor. The scope you choose should work seamlessly with your gun and the ammo you are using. Of course, the best way to increase accuracy is by practicing, but having the best possible optics and tools helps greatly. In addition to optics, another helpful tool in increasing accuracy is the BDC, Bullet Drop Compensator, that is often included in scopes. The BDC reticle system is beneficial for hunters to use. Using the BDC helps users to figure out exactly where the ammo will go, taking into account bullet drop at different distances.
You will find a wide range of price points when looking to purchase a scope. It is helpful if you have a budget in mind before you go shopping. You should remember that more features on a scope usually mean a higher price tag.
Since most hunters consider their guns to be an investment, the same should be said for scopes. Work within your budget to buy the best possible scope with the features you will use the most often.
Factors of a scope
Once you have decided to purchase a scope, you need to figure out how exactly you will be using your shotgun. Since there is a big difference between bird hunting and deer hunting, it is helpful to know so that you can select the scope with the right features.
1.What type of ammo will you be using?
The type of ammo you use depends on the type of hunting you are doing. This affects your choice of scope. A magnified optic works better with slugs, but not necessarily for buck or birdshot unless it has a 1x setting on it. When you use slugs, you are using the shotgun more like a rifle. When rifle shooting, magnification is very important. When shooting at closer ranges, a scope can actually hold you back from getting a round off quickly. Some scopes that use red dots or holographic sights could be used with any type of ammo.
2. Eye Relief
Eye relief is the distance you need to have your eye in relation to the scope in order to use it most effectively. It is how close your eye needs to be in order to see down the scope. The eye relief of a shotgun scope is usually longer than the eye relief of a rifle scope.
The main reason for the difference in distance between the two types of scopes has to do with the recoil. A shotgun has a lot of recoil when it is fired. You need to use a shotgun scope to protect your eye. A rifle scope generally has a shorter eye relief. If you use a rifle scope with a shotgun, you run the risk of hurting your eye.
An eye relief of 3 ½ to 4 inches is ideal on a shotgun scope that be used with full power. This distance also allows for a little extra space for shooters to aim upwards without having to compromise on their eye relief.
You need to purchase the best quality shotgun scope that is possible for your budget. It is important that the scope is designed with high quality materials and workmanship. You need to remember that shotguns are powerful guns with heavy recoil.
It is possible for a shotgun to break a cheaply made scope. The damage will usually be internal, so you may not notice right away. This damage can take the form of electronic parts breaking down, reticles that slip as well as glass cracking. Once the glass cracks, your scope may no longer be fog proof or water proof as the nitrogen purging has been affected.
4. Range and magnification
You need to know the effective range of the scope you intend to use with your shotgun. This means you need to know the range that you can shoot accurately.
If you are using your shotgun to shoot slugs, the effective range is about 75 yards. If you are using a rifle, you can have a range that is further out.
A shotgun scope is designed to work most accurately within 100 yards, while rifle scopes can be used 300 yards or farther.
Because of these differences, the required magnification changes between a rifle scope and a shotgun scope. Rifle scopes have greater magnification levels since they are used a greater distance.
Best 5 Shotgun Scopes On The Market 2020
Up to 7x
Best 5 Shotgun Scopes Reviews 2020
1 Nikon Prostaff P3 Shotgun BDC Riflescope 2-7x
Nikon is well known for their well-made scopes and this one if one of their more popular ones for shotguns. The Prostaff 3 is designed with multicoated lenses and is intended for shotgun use only.
Since the scope will be used at closer ranges, the magnification level maxes out at 7x and the objective lens is 32mm. This combination means that the scope is able to gather plenty of light and the magnification is ample enough for the outer reaches of the shotguns effective range. This is shotgun scope with BDC integrated in that has been specifically designed for use with all types of ammo. This allows you to maximize the type of hunting you can do. You will also notice that Nikon designed this scope to have target turrets. This feature aids you in taking follow up shots when necessary.
Since Nikon is well known in the optics industry, you can be assured that the Prostaff 3 is a high quality and durable scope that will last.
2 Simmons 517993
Simmons generally makes optics that are on the lower end from a price point. However, this scope is one of their best and it has been widely used. This scope is specialized for shotgun use that has a lot of the same technology that that higher end rifle scopes use. This scope is best known for its pro-diamond BDC reticle. You will have a very clear picture of your target. Simmons designs their BDC to be easy and intuitive and you should have no trouble adapting to it quickly.
This scope is constructed to have multicoated lens, fixed magnification and good light gathering ability. Be aware that the scope is on the heavy side and a bit bulky, but it can stand up to heavy recoil.
This is a decent scope at a great price. The Simmons 517993 is a solid quality scope that will go the distance.
3 Nikon Prostaff P3 Shotgun BDC 200 Riflescope 3-9x
We go back to Nikon for another great scope option. This one is perfect for using in your rifled shotgun. The scope is designed with a big objective bell and it has fully multicoated lenses in order to effectively gather light. There is also a BDC reticle that will help you hone in on your target.
The body of the scope is well made and features nitrogen purged O-ring sealed construction so that the scope will be fog proof. This construction also adds a layer of protection for the lenses so that they will not be damaged with the recoil and it will maintain your zero.
This is an ideal scope if you want to use a rifled shotgun. With the Nikon name and quality construction behind it, you won’t go wrong if you choose this one.
4 Truglo Compact Strut N Rut
This scope by Truglo is on the lower end, but it has features to recommend it. In fact, this scope is designed specifically for shotguns and it has proven itself in the field over time.
If you are on a budget, this scope will give you the basics needed to get the job done. The magnification is a fixed 4x, which is plenty for closer range shooting. And the 32mm objective lens allows for plenty of light. This scope is perfect for a newer hunter to use. It will allow enough light in to give you a clear view of your target. Although it may not be enough in darker light conditions.
The Truglo scope is equipped with a rubber eye guard to protect your eye during recoil. You will find a mount is included and it is ready to be screwed on right out of the box. This is a great first scope or a scope that you come to rely on to get the job done.
5 Bushnell Trophy Red Dot
Bushnell is a well-known manufacturer of optics; they make scope for the military, law enforcement and hunters. Their products also have a wide price range, so it is possible to find a scope to fit your needs and that is in your budget.
This scope is one of the company’s newest optics. It uses a red dot sight. This is very useful since it is constructed for hunting and is perfect to use with your shotgun at close range. You will find that this scope is compact and lightweight which makes it ideal for using it for long time periods. Since there is a red dot, there is no need for magnification. You just place the red dot on your target and you are set. You also do not need to worry about light or field of view options since the red dot will put your eye right on the target.
You only need to be sure that you have extra batteries on hand in case they run out while you are in the field. This durable red dot scope is perfect for close range game hunting.
How to install a shotgun on a scope
There are several ways your scope could be mounted to your shotgun. The right shotgun scope and mount combination is key for your success. You need to figure out how you will be using your shotgun, what you target is, and what kind of scope you will be using. Some scopes are mounted with rails. You will need to be sure that you have a rail mount installed on your shotgun first. Other scopes are mounted with rings. It is also possible for some scopes to be screwed onto your shotgun. You need to look at your scope and get the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Some shotguns are now constructed with receivers. These have been drilled and attached to a rail. All you have to do is choose the correct rail for your scope and install it with a few screws. Then mount your optic. Easy.
Other scopes are attached using a traditional cantilever barrel. In this setup, the optic “rides” a rail that has already been welded to the barrel of the shotgun. This system is perfect for allowing you to change out the barrel of your shotgun depending on the type of shooting you will be doing. And since you are not removing the scope from the barrel, this saves you time in having to rezero it.
Other scopes use a straddle mount. The mount straddles the receiver, giving you a platform to mount your scope. There are existing holes you use to attach the receiver. The scope can be removed from the mount if you want, but you will need to rezero it when you place it back on again.
A newer type of mount is called the rib mount. This type of mount “pinch” the shotgun’s ribs, giving you a Picatinny or weaver type rail to install your scope on. It is also possible to clamp the scope onto the rib. You need to remember though, that the metal will be thin so make sure you have a lightweight optic that you are attaching.
How to zero a shotgun scope
You want to be sure that your scope will assist you in hunting. For example, if you are planning on using your shotgun scope for turkey hunting, you want to be sure you have it accurately zeroed. To zero your shotgun scope, you will need your gun, scope, some ammo and paper targets. Since you will be doing closer range shooting, it is ideal to zero out to 100 to 150 yards.
1.Start with your target at 50 yards. Aim at the bullseye and fire. Take a look and see how close or far your bullet is from the center.
2.Measure how far off you are and make adjustments. You should adjust the reticle, not the gun. Now aim and shoot again and you should be center.
3. Move back to 100 yards and repeat the process. If you want to zero out to 150 yards, move the target back again after zeroing successfully at 100 yards.
1.Can a shotgun scope be used on a rifle?
You can reasonably use your shotgun scope on a rifle. So yes, it is possible use your shotgun scope on an AR-15. Keep in mind though that the eye relief will probably be longer than one on a rifle scope and there may be a few other differences, but they will be minor and shouldn’t pose a problem.
2.Can you use a shotgun scope on a muzzleloader?
Yes, you can also use a shotgun scope on a muzzleloader with reasonable expectations.
3. Can you use a shotgun scope in dim light?
This depends on your scope. Most shotgun scopes have smaller objective lenses so they work best with brighter light conditions.
4.What is better- a red dot or holographic sight?
Red dots are generally easier to use, handle well under cooler temperatures and don’t use as much battery power as holographic sights. Red dots also use a low power LED light and holographic sights use a more powerful laser light. It can be cumbersome to use a shotgun scope with a laser, but some make it work.
5. Why don’t magnification scopes on shotguns work at long range?
Since shotguns are intended for short range shooting, they generally do not have higher levels of magnification. In fact, some will only have a fixed magnification. They are ideal for out to 10 yards. Long range shooting is anything over 200-300 yards.
6.When should I use magnification with my shotgun?
It might be to your advantage to use magnification on your shotgun when you need to stay back a distance from your target. This will allow you to have a better chance of making the shot since you will not scare your prey away.
Shotgun hunting has many options and is popular among bird hunters and smaller game hunters. It is possible to get a great shotgun scope for slug hunting. With the right gear, it can be a fun experience. Although you will not be shooting at the same longer distances as you would with a rifle, you can still add a scope to your shotgun. A scope on your shotgun will help you hide from your prey and make it easier for you to hit your target.
If you are not sure which scope is best for your shotgun, see your local gun shop owner. They will be happy to help you figure out the type of shooting you will be doing and the best scope for your shotgun.