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You are watching: What does 3 9x40 mean for a rifle scope

I invest a far-ranging part of my day task talking about scopes and answering questions about scopes. While some of the questions are distinct or different, a an excellent many that those inquiries are asked repeatedly. I try to make note of the much more commonly inquiry questions, in an initiative to put the answer (at least my interpretation of the answer) under on paper.

By far the most usual questions i hear in person and also am request via email off this net site are concentrated on rifle limit magnification and how to review scope numbers. One the I regularly asked about rifle scope number is this one: what walk 4 12×50 average on a scope?


Once you understand the style of rifle border numbers, you deserve to decipher the numbers for any type of rifle scope.


Here are some other frequently asked inquiries that i see and hear about rifle scope numbers:

How execute I phone call what power a limit is if it doesn’t come with the initial box?

Ah a an excellent question. To determine the magnification range, look at the noting on the magnification ring. The lowest number on the ring will certainly be the very first number in the format and also the largest number significant on the ring will be the second number in the format.

The target is usually significant in millimeters what either external or inside the objective. If the not, you’ll have to either measure up the circumference of the objective and also then transform that number come millimeters, or simply estimate the size.

When i say estimate the size, ns talking about comparing the size of the unknown target up versus the dimension of a known objective. Goals usually part in common sizes such as:


By comparing a known objective to the unknown, you have the right to narrow under the approximate target size.

Exactly what does 4×32 scope mean?

A 4×32 border is a addressed powered border (as in the magnification is addressed at 4 power) v a 32mm objective. The target is the end of the scope opposite from the end you watch through.

The 4×32 configuration is most likely the most popular fixed power scope configuration ever invented. Once I to be a child and an initial got into shooting, a addressed 4×32 scope to be really one of the just scope choices on the sector if you didn’t desire to spend a fortune.

What walk 4 16×50 median on a scope because it doesn’t have actually the dash the I usually see?

Even though those numbers don’t have the dash that you usually see that configuration is still is variable powered scope through a magnification that starts at 4x and adjust all the means up come 16x. The final variety of 50 method that the objective on the limit is 50mm in size.

In regards to the dash the you generally see between the an initial and 2nd numbers the the magnification range: no every rifle limit brand uses a dash in in between those 2 numbers, therefore it’s important to know that through or there is no the dash, scope number in that specific format mean the same thing.

What walk 6 24×50 median on a scope?

With these rifle limit numbers, this is a variable it is provided scope with 6x together the shortest magnification setting. The magnification selection starts at 6x (as in 6 times what the nude eye sees) and can adjust all the method up to 24x (as in 24 time what the naked eye deserve to see). The last number in the series, i beg your pardon is 50, way that the scope objective is 50mm.

A scope favor this is also commonly provided as a 6-24×50 version as well.

On a 3 9×50 scope, what carry out the numbers mean?

The 3 9×50 numbers mean that the border is change power design with a power magnification variety that starts at 3x and can readjust all the means up to 9x. The last number in the series, which is 50, way that the scope has actually an objective that is 50mm around. The number on this limit are likewise commonly noted or shown as 3-9×50 as well, so don’t allow the lack of a dash in the number confuse you.

The 3-9 magnification is still among the most popular magnification ranges that are sold today, and also super famous for deer hunting.

What perform the numbers on a rifle scope represent?

The an initial two numbers associated with a rifle scope stand for the strength magnification range, and also the last number in the series represents the diameter that the limit objective. Normally, these numbers are noted in a collection of 3 numbers through the first two being separated through a dash and the last number gift proceeded by one x.

For example, 5-15×44, would certainly be a variable powered scope v a strength magnification variety that starts in ~ 5x and can change all the way up come 15x, with an objective that has actually a diameter the 44mm.

If i’m looking at a scope and also it only has actually two numbers, what does that mean?

If she looking at a rifle scope and also it only has actually two numbers provided on the box, like 8×40, or something along those lines, then you’re more than likely looking at a resolved power scope.

As the magnification is fixed, there’s just one number listed in the magnification section, i m sorry is why the scope is only showing 2 numbers matches the typically 3 number style you see on variable power rifle scopes.

If I purchase a variable powered scope that goes native 6-20, do I need to use the 20 strength as that’s method more power than I need?

With a variable powered scope, the shooter chooses the strength magnification setting that the or she wants to use.

So, to answer her question, no you would certainly not ever before have to usage the 20 strength unless you made decision that you want to.

I recognize plenty of shooters who prefer to have a variable powered scope v a higher magnification variety (say above 14 power), even though they end up taking most shots ~ above a lower magnification power. Heck, I’m one of those shooters.

I’d much rather have the greater magnification range available if I essential versus not having actually it.

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As ns come across an ext questions related to this topic, I’ll upgrade this page.