I want to be as brief as possible, since you’re probably scanning the internet on the toilet or riding somewhere.
I’ve heard a “Rule of Thumb” is; whatever you spent on the purchase of the rifle, that’s what you spend on your scope………There is no way I’m spending 1000-2000 dollars on a scope. Are you freaking kidding me? I would consider myself an expert shooter (Military Medals to prove it). I have been shooting perfectly fine (AR-15 w/16″ barrel) from 50-800 yards with Bushnell Optics (here) that cost less than $200. The grouping isn’t the best at max range, w/probably an avg of 5″ groupings.
Honestly…I tell people all the time, “You’re not a professional Sniper, don’t worry about anything past 400 yards. You will never hit someone at that range in real life. AND at that point, the worst has happened and you’re in a situation that only an experience professional is going to have a chance. Plus most likely there is another Real sniper looking for you”. For this reason, you don’t need to worry about high powered expensive scopes as a beginner. If you live in Alaska and you hunt for food, maybe you want an expensive scope, since your livelihood depends on your shooting. At this point, spending half the cost of your rifle is sufficient….but I have to say, this is for those of you that just want to mess around with firearms as a light hobby. If you’re like me, I have $1,000+ sights that I would use in dire situations. When your life depends on your equipment, do not go cheap.
Overall, get good with your iron sights first, they don’t (shouldn’t) lose your zero, ever.
Here is something to keep in-mind when shooting/zeroing with a scope: have someone (spotter) sitting with you (very close) to let you know where the rounds are hitting. They can actually see the bullet or effects of the round traveling to it’s target. Next pick a day with low to no wind speed. Click here for directions on zeroing your rifle.
FYI: I zero in my rifle at 100 yards every time I go shooting, then sight-in as I move…Sight-in? I’ll write another post about the difference 😉