A laser rifle scope is a scope that attaches to the barrel or stock of a rifle, and generally performs both rangefinding and scoping functions. Its purpose is to improve aim and accuracy for hunting and target shooting. There are a variety of characteristics that separate a good scope from the best, including weight, battery consumption, and the visibility and range of the laser. Depending on the type of application, one particular laser rifle scope may be a better option than another, so when choosing between scopes it is important to keep in mind the intended use in order to make an educated decision.
An advanced laser rifle scope works by taking into account the type of ammunition being used and calculating a series of variables including windage, range, and bullet weight. It then projects a dot or a series of dots for different ranges in the scope. The best laser rifle scope typically works up to 500 yards (457 meters) in optimum conditions, and 350 yards (320 meters) is the maximum in normal conditions. In addition, high quality laser scopes are not caliber-specific, and instead can be programmed to accept any type of ammunition.
In general, a laser rifle scope clips or slides and locks over the barrel of the gun. For this reason, keeping the device as light as possible is essential to maintaining balance and maneuverability. The lightest laser rifle scopes weigh around 1.5 pounds (0.68 kilograms). Similar non-laser scopes are generally five to ten percent lighter.
Laser rifle scopes require at least one battery to function because they incorporate electronic components. These add more weight to the overall device, and so the fewer and smaller batteries required, the better. The best scopes can run for many hours on a single charge and have waterproof housings to resist short circuits and corrosion.
Other favorable characteristics to consider in a laser rifle scope include accurate optics, strong levels of magnification, and durable housing. The best models offer magnification levels upwards of 12x, and use coated lenses that offer high clarity and resist condensation. They also are fully sealed and encased with a magnesium or similar frame covered in non-reflective plastic.
Laser rifle scopes are not usually cheap. Even basic models are more expensive than traditional optical scopes with similar features. Expect to pay anywhere from $500 US Dollars (USD) and upwards, depending on the make and features. The best examples can easily exceed $1,000 USD at retail.