So, how important is the tube diameter of your scope when it comes to your target or hunting application? It’s a subject that many hunters and long-range shooters debate, and they often spend far more money than they need. Hopefully the information below helps identify ‘what’s what’.
Popular scope tube sizes will be compared in the article below, as well as benefits and restrictions of each.
A larger diameter scope tube does enable a marginal increase in field of view however it does not affect image quality positively or negatively.
So with the above mentioned in mind how does a shooter sift through the BS that has been drilled into the market through clever marketing strategies? Read on, because Huntinginaustralia has done some of the research for you.
Table of Contents
Frequently Asked Questions
Higher Magnification Means You Can Shoot Further?
No, long range shots can be made with any scope, or; without one! Skilled marksman can consistently hit their mark at 350m+ with 1x magnification.
Many “Long Range Scopes” Are Made From Thick, Heavy Materials Which Should Be Better For Stability, Dependability, And Make For Better Performance And Consistency Down Range.
Wrong, due to the kinetic energy that travels through your boom stick into the scope rings and subsequently the scope, lighter materials will disperse the energy more efficiently, thus affecting your optic less over shot repetition.
Hunters of today are caught up in light transmission. To a point they would be correct. The more light that is transitioned to your eye the more you can see, so surely if you increase the tube diameter from 25mm to 30mm you are going to let in more light?
Nope! Many shooters are led to believe that a larger tube allows more light in, this is simply not true. The amount of light that reaches the eye through the ocular lens is unaffected by tube diameter. Light converges at the front of the scope through the objective lens before colliding towards the tube’s center, this is how light enters the scope and subsequently your eye. The benefit of an increased Tube Diameter is restricted to more elevation and windage adjustment thanks to increased travel within the erector assembly. However, a large erector assembly can effect light transmission through the tube which can impact on image quality.
So, what tube size is best? The best scope size for a hunter is dependent on price, shooting distance, adjustment range and low light performance.
Into the nitty gritty then:
It would be remiss to think that larger scope tubes have significantly larger exit pupils.
Limitations of the human eye unfortunately mean that we cannot take advantage of this diameter.
Find our article dedicated to the Exit Pupil here:
25.4mm Scope Tube (1" Tube)
Due to the lower production costs 25.4mm tubed scopes are the most common in the Aussie market.
Long-distance shooters would use a positive Minute of Angle (+MOA) rail system because you tend to run out of elevation adjustment with this smaller tube at longer distances.
It is important to understand MOA and how these canted bases affect your accuracy and elevation with your scope of choice.
Read more about Minute of Angle (MOA) here:
What is a +MOA base? A +MOA base lowers the objective lens down toward the barrel. With any setup, you lose nearly half of the elevation adjustment to the UP side. A canted MOA base gives the shooter back that lost elevation.
Note: One minute of angle = 1/60th of a degree
30mm Scope Tube
The enhanced adjustment range of a 30 mm scope tube over a one-inch tube is a noticeable advantage. The erector assembly has greater room to move thanks to the 30mm tube.
Many 30mm scopes share the same lens size as those with a one-inch tube. The more MOA adjustability a shooter has, the longer clear distance achievable.
30mm or 25mm?
Which scope should you choose? The answer to this question is the same as it is for the majority of your other gear: What are you hunting for and under what conditions? There are so many variants on the market to suit all budgets and purposes.
Swarovski Optic (Hunting in Australia believe Swaro’s are market leaders when it comes to glass) is adamant that the 30mm is simply superior, bigger, and brighter, but only by a small margin.
Advantages of a 30mm tube over a 1′′ tube for most hunters are insignificant. The 30mm tube, as previously stated, offers a broader elevation adjustment range, allowing for more efficient long-range targeting. A second factor is the tube’s construction, which will have a thicker wall and be more trustworthy.