After reviewing the best binoculars for target shooting and long-range shooting, I have got so many queries on why not recommend a rifle scope for target shooting. Should they stop using rifle scopes and shift to binoculars or not? However, it can’t be answered in one line. That’s why I am here to clear all of your confusion by breaking down which one is better: rifle scope vs binoculars. Before that, we must know what rifle scope and binoculars are.
What is a Rifle Scope?
A rifle scope is a device that is attached to a rifle and is used to assist the shooter in aiming. The most common type of rifle scope is the optical scope, which uses a lens to magnify the image of the target. Other types of rifle scope include electronic, holographic, and laser sights.
What are Binoculars?
Binoculars are a type of optical instrument that allows the user to see distant objects with greater detail than the naked eye. Binoculars typically consist of two separate telescopes that are mounted side-by-side and aligned so that the user can look through both lenses at the same time. The purposes of using binoculars can vary from leisure activities such as birdwatching and sightseeing to more practical applications such as hunting, boating, and astronomy.
Rifle Scope vs Binoculars
By their definition, you can understand that both devices are used for magnifying distance objects. But there are so many core differences among them. Now I am going to depict some of the key properties that distinguish the rifle scope and binoculars from each other. Keep reading –
The most common types of rifle scope are 4x to 6x. Higher magnification scopes are available greater than 10x but are less commonly used because they are more difficult to use and are less versatile.
They are varied based on their purposes. For instance, if you need to cover under 200 yards, you should choose the 1x to 4x rifle scope. For more coverage, you can go for 6x.
On the other hand, binoculars are available in many ranges from 3x,4x to 7x-12x, even greater than 50x also. Based on purposes, they are selected for various activities. For example, for birding, and sports, 8x-10x binoculars are best. Again, for wildlife viewing, long-range shooting, highly powerful like 20x, 50x, or 60x binoculars are preferable.
Note: You can find several zoom binoculars which are easier to focus also. Like if the binocular is designed with 10-30x magnification, that means you can magnify the distance objects from 10 times to 30 times closer using the adjustable knob or wheel. This property is absent in the rifle scope.
In terms of lenses, rifle scopes are designed with 8 lenses typically where 2 lenses are considered obvious. The image quality is mostly dependent on these lenses.
However, binoculars have 2 types of lenses. One is the objective lens and the other is the ocular lens. The objective lens is indicated with magnification power like 10×42, 12×50 where 10x, 12x are the magnification power and 42mm and 50mm are the diameter of the objective lens. The objective lens mainly collects lights to produce bright and clear images of the magnified images. In that case, the ocular lens plays a role to transmit the collated lights to our eyes to make the object visible.
The most general types of rifle scope and binoculars are different. For rifle scopes, you will find the following categories mostly.
1. Optical Scope: The Optical Scope is the most common type of Rifle Scope. It uses a lens to magnify the image of the target. The advantage of using an Optical Scope is that it allows the shooter to see the target more clearly.
2. Electronic Scope: That uses an electronic display to show the image of the target. The benefit of using an Electronic Scope is that it can be used in low light conditions.
3. Holographic Scope: This type uses a hologram to project the image of the target as it is very accurate.
4. Laser Scope: The Laser Scope is a Rifle Scope that uses a laser to project the image of the target.
Similarly, there are several different types of binoculars, each designed for a specific purpose. For instance, Astronomical binoculars are designed for viewing distant objects, such as stars and planets. They have a large field of view and high light-gathering power.
- Birdwatching binoculars have a smaller field of view but higher magnification. This allows you to see small details, such as the feathers on a bird.
- Field glasses are binoculars that are small enough to fit in your pocket. They are usually less powerful than other types of binoculars, but they are convenient to carry with you.
- Image-stabilized binoculars have electronic sensors that detect hand motion and compensate for it. This allows you to see a steadier image, even if your hands are shaking.
- Night-vision binoculars use infrared light to amplify the light from the stars and moon. This allows you to see in the dark.
- Opera glasses are small binoculars that are designed for use in theaters. They have a wide field of view so you can see the stage and the audience.
- Sports binoculars are designed for use at sporting events. They have a wide field of view and high magnification, so you can see the action from a distance.
Day/night time use
Rifle scopes work best in bright conditions, while binoculars can be used day or in low-light conditions. This is because binoculars gather more light than rifle scopes, which makes them better for use in dim or dark conditions. Also, there are low light vision and night vision binoculars. By which, you can see your targeted objects even in complete darkness.
If precision shooting at long range is the goal, then a rifle scope is the better choice. If observing distant objects is the goal, then binoculars are the better choice.
Field of view
The field of view of a rifle scope is much narrower than that of binoculars. This is because the rifle scope is designed to allow the user to see a target at a long distance, while binoculars are designed for general observation.
Eye Relief and Eye Pupil
Rifle scopes generally have less eye relief than binoculars, meaning that the user’s eye must be positioned closer to the eyepiece to see the full field of view. This can be a problem for users with glasses, as they may not be able to get close enough to the eyepiece to see the full view. Again, binoculars typically have a larger eye pupil, which allows more light to enter the eye and results in a brighter image.
Weight and size
The weight and size are also comparing factors between rifle scope and binoculars. You will get more compact to bulky size binoculars. Mostly, they are 5-10 inches and those weights are between below half a pound to 3-4 pounds maximum.
On the other hand, most hunting rifle scopes are 14 inches and weight may vary from 11 oz. to 17 oz.
So, for long hikes or day-long target shooting, a rifle scope is more convenient if you don’t have compact binoculars.
Rifle scopes are typically used for long-range shooting purposes and hunting. But binoculars are much more versatile. They can be used for any type of outdoor activities from concerts, spying, wildlife viewing, long-distance shooting, target shooting, hunting, hiking, sports, and many more.
Finally, the cost of the device should be considered. Rifle scopes can be quite expensive, while binoculars are typically budget-friendly. Also, binoculars are typically mass-produced, while rifle scopes are often custom-made.
Again, in a sense, binoculars are available at a wide range of prices, from a few dollars to several thousand dollars.
Advantages of a Rifle Scope over Binoculars
There are several advantages of a rifle scope over binoculars, including:
- Rifle scopes provide a much more ideal for long-range shooting.
- They are designed to be mounted on a rifle, which provides a much more stable platform for shooting than using binoculars.
- Rifle scopes can be fitted with a variety of reticles (crosshairs) which can be used to compensate for wind and elevation. As a result, they will be much more accurate than binoculars.
- They are more specialized than binoculars.
Disadvantages of Rifle Scope
You won’t get a full view of the one-eye operating system in the rifle scope.
Advantages of Binoculars over Rifle Scope
There are various advantages of using binoculars over a rifle scope, including:
- Binoculars provide a wider field of view than rifle scopes, making them better for tracking and finding games.
- Binoculars are easier to use than rifle scopes, especially for beginners.
- Most of the bino pairs are less expensive than rifle scopes.
- Binoculars are more durable than rifle scopes and can withstand more abuse.
- They are lighter and more portable than rifle scopes, making them ideal for backpacking and hunting trips.
Disadvantages of Binoculars
Binoculars are more difficult to keep steady when hand-held.
So, Which One is Better: Rifle Scope vs Binoculars?
So, which one is better: rifle scope vs binoculars? The answer is varied based on the situation, purposes, and preferences.
In summary, when it comes to long-range shooting, a rifle scope is a better option than binoculars. A scope allows you to see your target more clearly and make more precise shots. Binoculars can be used for long-range shooting, but they are not as accurate as a scope.
Again, some extra features you will get like a flashlight in the rifle scope, similarly, some binoculars come with an in-built rangefinder.
So, in conclusion, it is important to consider the purpose for which the device will be used before deciding whether a rifle scope vs binoculars is the better choice. If you aim to shoot precisely from a long distance, a rifle scope will be great for you. If your goal is to observe distant objects using multipurpose devices, binoculars can be your faithful partner.