40mm or 50mm: Which Riflescope Should You Choose?

When it comes to choosing a riflescope, the first thing you notice upon examination is the size of the objective lens. 40mm and 50mm riflescope diameter are the two sizes most commonly available in the mainstream market, with other sizes either between this range, slightly higher, or slightly lower. But when making a choice, there are some significant differences between the 40mm and 50mm scopes so it’s best to narrow it down between these two.

In this article, we help you go over the differences between both classes of riflescopes so you can make an informed decision on the equipment for your next hunting adventure. Some of these differences are technical, while some depend on the scope’s purpose.

1. Intended Use

It’s important to have a clear idea in mind what kind of shooting you’ll be using your riflescope for, as this will quickly eliminate most choices that don’t fit. Think about how much low light hunting you’ll be doing, such as deer hunting; for these situations, a scope with a larger objective lens that lets more light in would be the obvious choice. If, however, you’re hunting during the day where light is unproblematic and allows you to move faster between targets, you’re best off with a scope with a smaller lens. This also applies to hunts in difficult terrain, such as hiking in the mountains or backcountry conditions; the 40mm riflescope is better for wide open areas, with lesser parallax and greater field depth.

A 50mm riflescope, such as the Trace Advanced range of ZeroTech riflescopes, gives you a greater exit pupil size, allowing for greater flexibility in head movement so you can reach the target without the scope shadow interfering. The brightness of the target viewed by your eye depends on the exit pupil size at that magnification level.

If, however, you still prefer to use a 40mm riflescope even in low light conditions, go for one with a high quality glass lens coating, such as the Thrive and Vengeance ranges of ZeroTech riflescopes, all equipped with 92% light transmission weathershield lens coating. They can transmit light to the shooter’s eye better than even a 50mm riflescope without a good lens coating.

2. Weight Considerations

This is related to the intended use of the riflescope when it comes to shooting in difficult conditions – risky terrain or weather, and hunts that require large amounts of hiking and climbing. In such situations, shooters would not want to carry around a rifle that is too heavy.

Naturally, a wider objective lens comes with increased weight, a trade-off that you need to make for its increased performance and light transmission. The large diameter of the tapered objective lens might also make mounting a 50mm riflescope more difficult, as some rifle platforms require an elevated mount for better scope clearance so the barrel harmonics don’t come into contact with the scope during recoil, and this adds to the overall weight of your pack.

Ultimately, it comes down to the hunter’s decision and how much weight they are willing to lug around for long distances to get the best shot. Generally, experienced hunters know the right magnification level they need for the perfect shot, so a good quality 40mm riflescope will serve them just as well as a scope with a bigger objective lens..

  • The center feature: This can take a variety of shapes; the most common are a cross, open circle, or dot. This is very important to consider since it tells you the exact location of your bullet strike. So when testing it out, you need to make sure it will not obscure your kill zone or interfere with your field of vision. Some reticles allow the center feature to increase or decrease with magnification; this is personal preference.

3. Long Range Precision and Quality

There are some disciplines, such as competitive shooting and ballistics shooting, that prioritize precision and accuracy over weight, especially since the weight of the rifles used negates any increase in the weight of the scope. When you are doing a lot of fixed position long range hunting, it’s essential for your riflescope to have superior optical performance and accuracy. Along with extra light transmission and visibility, the 50mm riflescopes also reduce the time taken between isolating targets and offer you increased overall hunting hours.

But the larger objective lens size does not guarantee you a perfect hunt. When choosing between riflescopes in the 50mm range, always look out for the following factors:

  • Lens coating: As covered earlier, a better quality lens coating, such as the high quality optics used in the Trace Advanced and Trace 50mm range of ZeroTech riflescopes, allows more light to pass through the lens and reduces the chance of internal reflection.
  • Scope glass quality: The quality and resolution of the glass ultimately determines the quality of the scope. When testing out the scope, look into its clarity, brightness, and color: generally, a scope with no glass tint is preferred. All our ZeroTech riflescopes are precision engineered with high quality, American made optics you can trust.

Conclusion

The choice between a 40mm and a 50mm riflescope lies solely in the hands of the shooter and what his or her purpose and eye comfort will be. Factors to consider are the type of hunt and the environment you will be taking on. But while making your decision, always test between both types of scopes and check for its quality first and foremost; sometimes, a high quality 40mm riflescope wins out over a mid tier 50mm riflescope and saves you an extra buck.

The choice between a 40mm and a 50mm riflescope lies solely in the hands of the shooter and what his or her purpose and eye comfort will be. Factors to consider are the type of hunt and the environment you will be taking on. But while making your decision, always test between both types of scopes and check for its quality first and foremost; sometimes, a high quality 40mm riflescope wins out over a mid tier 50mm riflescope and saves you an extra buck.