Choosing Airgun Scopes

Fit a good scope to your air rifle and your shooting accuracy will automatically improve. It’s true!

Unfortunately the scopes that are bundled with most new air rifles are generally of poor quality.  Good airgun scopes (telescopic sight) allow you to see the target so much more clearly and makes air rifle shooting much more successful for most people.

So what should you look for in airgun scopes?

HAM recommends airgun scopes with AO – that’s an Adjustable Objective – that allows focusing down to 10 yards or less. Otherwise it may be difficult to see the target sharply at close ranges. Scopes designed for use with firearms typically are set to focus at 100 yards, which is too far for pellet gun use.

Be sure to choose an Airgun Rated scope. These scopes are suitable for the sharp backward and forward recoil of spring/piston or gas ram air rifles. Scopes designed for firearms will be destroyed by the forward recoil of spring-powered pellet guns. If in doubt, don’t use a scope on your air rifle if you’re not sure it’s designed for pellet guns.

Most of us don’t need huge and heavy high-magnification scopes. Indeed such scopes may actually make it more difficult to shoot well as very high magnifications show every shake and tremor the shooter makes. A 3-9 x 40AO scope is fine for general use for most people.


If you buy an airgun scope separately for your pellet gun, make sure that you choose the best rings or mounts to attach the scope to your pellet gun.

Basically, there are two types. Rings come in two separate pieces and so give more flexibility in fitting, while mounts are two rings joined together at the base – they are less flexible but stronger. Mounts are generally recommended for use on spring-powered pellet rifles.

Make sure to buy rings or mounts of the correct fitting. Most scopes use either a 1-inch or 30mm diameter tube and so the scope mounts need to correspond to your scope choice. If you are fitting a scope with an objective (front) lens 40mm or more in diameter, you should use “High” mounts or rings to give sufficient clearance.

Most air rifles include “airgun rails” on which the scope mounts fit. But a few use a different type of mounting system, like Weaver rails.

It’s not hard to mount a scope on a pellet gun and “sight it in” on target. Just see these instructional videos on YouTube at:
The Easy Way to Sight In An Air Rifle Scope
The Easy Way To Mount An Air Rifle Scope