A sniper scope is a fixed-power, high-magnification telescopic sight used for accuracy at extreme ranges, often used by marksmen and sharpshooters. Special engravings in the lenses lay a targeting reticle over the target, allowing for increased accuracy and range-finding capability.
Sniper scopes are constructed in exactly the same way as other shooting scopes, being made out of two tubes, one mounted inside the other. The inner tube houses the scope’s lenses and acts as a refractor, bending and directing light into the eyepiece mounted at the rear of the tube. The second tube acts as a protective housing for the fragile components inside the first tube, and also acts as a mount for the various additional controls that allow the sniper to make minute adjustments The scope may also be fitted with adjustable magnifying lenses, and mechanisms for adjusting the aim point of the scope for use in differing weather conditions, and to compensate for wind and gravity.
Sniper scopes differ from regular scopes in that they are much more precise, and require intricate adjustments after every shot, dependent on conditions. When sighting a shot, a sniper tries to match the point of aim to the point of impact. The further a bullet has to travel, the more factors such as wind, gravity and heat come in to the equation, affecting the projectiles’ flight. A sniper scope needs the capacity to figure all these adjustments into the final targeting image, and this is what makes them such precise, specialized pieces of equipment. Many sniper scopes also incorporate a special dial known as the ballistic drop compensator, or BDC, which allows the sniper to alter the position of the point of aim without affecting the zeroed range of the weapon itself, making it easier to adjust the rifle in a hurry..
The sniper scope used by the United States Marine Corps, for example, is a classic-style Unertl 10x power scope. With the optics contained in a solid steel housing, the scope is rugged enough to withstand the rough-and-tumble military lifestyle, yet still precise enough to hit targets at distances over 1,000 meters. Weighing in at just over three lbs, and about ten inches in length, they are secured to the rifle using a specialized bracket, or ‘mount’. The scopes are fixed-power, providing a 10x magnification ratio, and features a type of reticle known as a mil-dot (as opposed to the standard crosshair immortalized in popular culture).
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