Rimfire vs. Centerfire: What is the Difference Between the Two Scopes
What is the difference between a Rimfire and Centerfire Scope? That is a question that many rifle owners have when they are browsing a selection of scopes. Whether they are in a sports optics catalog, or an online website, Rimfire and Centerfire scopes tend to be placed in separate categories. This has many people wondering what the difference is between these two popular types of scopes.
Rimfire vs. Centerfire – How Are These Two Types of Scopes Different?
Ask any two rifle owners about the difference between Rimfire and Centerfire scopes and you could end up with two completely different answers. Some have stated that there is a difference in eye relief between the two. While others have said that one was designed to withstand a heavier recoil than the other. There are also many other assumptions behind the Rimfire Vs. Centerfire scope debate.
While there may be multiple differences between the two, the primary difference between a Rimfire and a Centerfire scope is the parallax setting.
What is a Parallax?
In Sports Optics, a parallax is basically an optical illusion that is used to help the shooter hit their target over long distances. A parallax presents itself as the apparent movement of the reticle. This occurs any time that your eye moves off the center of the sight picture, also known as exit pupil. In more extreme cases, the parallax may appear as an image which is out of focus.
In the book Optics for the Hunter by John Barsness, the definition of a parallax is put in simpler terms.
“Form a circle with your thumb and forefinger and extend your arm. Close one eye and aim that circle at an object. Hold your hand steady and move your head back and forth. The object will move inside the circle. That is parallax.”
Parallax is not the same as focus. When you adjust the parallax settings on your scope, it doesn’t have an effect on your focus settings for the reticle or for the image itself. Adjusting the parallax simply moves the planes where the two objects are in focus, allowing them to share the same plane, and removing the optical illusion in front of you.
Parallax Settings for Rimfire and Centerfire Scopes
The main difference between Rimfire and Centerfire scopes is the parallax setting. The majority of Centerfire scopes are set to 150 yards while Rimfire scopes are often set at 75 yards. However, the exact settings can differ for both types depending on the brand of scope.
Rimfire vs. Centerfire Scopes and the Adjustable Objective Lens
There are also differences with the Adjustable Objective lenses, often referred to as A/O. The A/O is a setting that helps you adjust your view and completely remove the parallax at any range that you wish to shoot. These days, there are more rifle scopes being made with a Side Focus setting which accomplishes the same task in a different manner. You can often find a Side Focus setting on newer scope models or those that include a ton of extra features. Older or basic scope models will likely have the A/O setting instead.
When it comes to which scopes offer the best features, you will find more centerfire scopes that include modernized, high-tech extras. These will also cost much more, usually above $125. There are some rimfire scopes that have updated features as well, but the majority of these scopes are more affordable and either have the A/O setting, or no such setting at all.
Price vs. Quality
Because “expensive” doesn’t always equal “better quality” when it comes to either brand, it’s important to learn what makes a scope good quality and what features make them practically useless. Pay attention to those budget-friendly Rimfire scopes and the material their optics are made from. You want a scope made from pure glass. While that may run up the price of the scope, it will help to reduce eye fatigue and the occurrence of issues such as radial distortion after trying to look through a poor quality scope for too long.
Which Scope is Better?
Deciding which scope is better in the Rimfire vs. Centerfire debate can be difficult. It really comes down to what type of scope you prefer and what you plan to use it for. There are more negative reviews for cheaper Rimfire scopes than Centerfire. But that could be because there are very few low-cost Centerfire scopes out there.
In terms of price and brand quality, Centerfire scopes are generally more expensive because they are made by top-rated brands. But, there are also plenty of great quality Rimfire scopes out there that you shouldn’t pass on.
In fact, hunting and shooting experts will tell you that you shouldn’t scrimp on a Rimfire Riflescope because it is likely the one you will end up using the most. Rimfire scopes are great for shooting at smaller targets, and precise shooting justifies reliable optics.
Using Rimfire and Centerfire Scopes with Different Guns
It is possible to use either a rimfire or centerfire scope with different rifles, but you will need to use caution while doing so. While some scopes are interchangeable and safe to use with other guns, others can be dangerous and lead to serious accidents if they are used incorrectly.
Will a Rimfire Scope Work with a Centerfire Rifle?
No. While it might be possible to use a Rimfire scope on a Centerfire rifle, it is not recommended. The reason is because the scope can’t handle the harsh recoil. The same goes for using a Rimfire scope with an Airgun. Doing this could actually be fatal since airguns recoil in the opposite direction.
Will a Centerfire Scope work with Other Rifles?
It’s possible to use a centerfire scope on a rimfire gun. Centerfire scopes will also work on other types of guns such as a .22LR.
The main thing you need to be concerned about when using a centerfire scope on a different type of rifle is the parallax settings. That’s because most centerfire scopes are set at a parallax of 100 yards. Therefore, if you are shooting 25 yards, your point of aim may change with your eye’s location.
Rimfire and Centerfire Scope Reviews
Now that you are familiar with some of the main differences between Rimfire and Centerfire scopes, its time to compare two of the most popular models. By learning more about the common features that are associated with Rimfire and Centerfire scopes, you can determine which type would better suit your hunting needs.
Leupold VX-1 Rimfire 2 7x 28mm
Leupold & Stevens Inc. is a family owned company that is well-known for their innovative rifle scopes. They are the brand behind the first nitrogen-charged and sealed waterproof scope, as well as the Duplex reticle, and the compact riflescope like the VX-1 Rimfire 2 7X 28mm.
There are two versions of 2-7X28, one is designed for use while big game hunting and is adjusted to be parallax free at 150 yards. The VX-1 Rimfire Special is adjusted to be parallax free at 60 years and comes with a Duplex reticle. Aside from these differences, the two versions of the 2 7x 28mm are identical.
The Duplex reticle was invented by Leupold and is capable of transforming from a heavy crosshair to a fine crosshair when it is near the center of the field. This type of reticle is one of the finest that you can use for general hunting.
The 2-7 Rimfire scope was designed to be more compact than the 2-7X 33mm power scope. It features a smaller front objective bell and is more lightweight than the standard 2-7 scope. You have the option to mount the scope low on most rifles without affecting the balance and handling as much as you would a conventional scope. These are all important benefits that many shooters look for with a compact scope. Plus, it is also good to have a light scope to accommodate today’s lightweight short-action rifles.
This scope features a glossy black finish that will pair well with any firearm it is placed on. It is 9.9” in length and weighs just 8.2 oz. It is one of the lightest 2-7x scopes currently on the market. Eye relief is at 3.0-3.8” and the 100 yard field of view for this scope is 41.7 feet at 2x and 16.5 feet at 7x. The adjustment range for this Rimfire Leupold Rimfire scope is at 80 MOA for both elevation and windage.
If you are looking for a scope that offers good contrast and definition, the compact 2-7 is a great choice. It provides you with a sharp and crystal-clear view from center to edge. The lens flare is suppressed as well, making this a solid, high-quality hunting scope.
Customers agree that the Leupold 2-7 scope is a high-quality product. It has become the go-to scope for many users who were surprised at how often they ended up using it. The optics are clear and brilliant, and the fine reticle doesn’t obstruct your view of the target.
Customers have also praised the customer support and warranty that Leupold offers. While this may be one of the more expensive Rimfire scopes on the market, many users agree that it is well worth the investment.
Overall the Leupold 2-7X28mm Compact Rifle Scope is among the very best of its kind. For a Rimfire scope, it retails a little higher than most, but it is considered a great investment for serious hunters.
BSA Optics 4 12×40 Special Series Centerfire Rifle Scope
BSA Optics is an industry leader when it comes to manufacturing high-powered, high-quality rifle scopes, rings, mounts and accessories. Anyone looking for a reliable hunting scope should consider this brand.
All their scopes include a Limited Lifetime Warranty and when you order from their website you get Free Shipping on orders over $49.
This company is a great place to purchase a centerfire scope because you can buy all the necessary accessories from the same manufacturer. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about the scope not fitting on the mount or base that you own.
BSA Optics offers a broad range of mounts and scopes that are specifically designed for deer hunting, winter hunting, turkey hunting and more. They also offer a wide assortment of shotgun scopes and spotting scopes.
The BSA Optics 4 12×40 Special Series Centerfire Rifle Scope is a top-rated product thanks to the many positive reviews left by happy customers. It is a strong and durable scope that is part of the brand’s Special Series. This scope includes scope rings and is suitable for use with all types of centerfire rifle applications.
The features on this BSA Optics Special Series Centerfire Scope include fully coated optics, 1/4 MOA W/E Adjustments, and a lifetime limited warranty.
Specifications for the BSA Optics Special Series Centerfire Rifle Scope
- 4-12x Magnification
- Objective Lens Diameter: 40mm
- Exit Pupil Range @ 100 yards: 25-10.5
- Parallax Setting: 100
- Optimum Eye Relief: 3.0”
- Click Adjustment Value: 1/4 MOA
- Adjustment Range: 30-30
- Weight: 12.80 oz.
This BSA Optics scope features fully multi-coated optics, comfortable eye relief and easy-to-use windage and elevation adjustments. It is a great option for expert hunters as well as those who wish to use the scope for target shooting.
Rimfire vs. Centerfire Scopes – Which is the Best for You?
There are several factors to consider when choosing between a Rimfire and Centerfire Rifle Scope. You have to think about how you will be using the scope, what type of hunting you plan to do, what type of gun you are going to use the scope on, and what price range you can afford.
Centerfire scopes tend to be more expensive than Rimfire scopes due to the brand that manufactures them and their features.
There are some cheaper models of Rimfire scopes that you may want to avoid because they aren’t as durable as others. But overall, you can find good quality, durable, and reliable hunting scopes that are either Rimfire or Centerfire.
So, in the Rimfire vs. Centerfire debate, which type will you choose?