Avid hunters and shooters know the importance of owning a reliable rifle scope. The right scope can help improve your vision while shooting as well as your accuracy in hitting your target.
Whether you are a crossbow hunter looking to get into rifle hunting, a total novice, or an experienced shooter, purchasing a new rifle scope can be overwhelming.
Even so, you won’t find many firearm enthusiasts who don’t use some kind of optical sighting device, or scope, on their guns. So, you want to find the best rifle scope for your individual needs, especially if you want to consistently hit your mark.
Finding a great scope is important for a number of reasons, but primarily because it can really simplify your shooting and even improve your accuracy. If you aim through a scope, you’ve eliminated a third of the difficulty of lining up iron sights. By using a scope, you just line up your crosshairs, or reticle, with your target and go.
- Factors To Consider
- Best Rifle Scopes 2020
- 1. ATN X Sight 4K Pro Smart Ultra HD Day/Night Rifle – Most Technologically Advanced
- 2. Simmons Truplex Rifle Scope – Best For Entry Level
- 3. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Rifle Scope – Most Unique Scope
- 4. XOPin Hunting Rifle Scope Combo – The Combo
- 5. CVLIFE Tactical 3-9×40 Air Sniper Rifle Scope – Budget Friendly
- 6. Monstrum Tactical G2 6-24×50 First Focal Plane Rifle Scope – Long Distance Friendly
- 7. Nikon Buckmasters II Rifle Scope – Best For Hunting
- 8. Pinty 2.5- 10×40 Red Green Illuminated Mil-dot Rifle Scope – Ideal For Close Range
- 9. Feyachi Reflex Sight – Biggest Bang For Your Buck
- 10. Tacticon Armament Predator V1 Red Dot Sight – Guaranteed Scope
- 11. Barska AC11876 4×32 IR Contour Rifle Scope – Quality Built In
- 12. Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3×42 Night Vision Rifle Scope – Best For Night Shooting
- 13. UTG 3-9×32 1” BugBuster Scope – Airsoft Assault Scope
- 14. Nightforce Optics 5.5 22×56 NXS Rifle Scope – Best High End Scope
- 15. Burris Fullfield E1 4.5- 14×42 Rifle Scope – For the Enthusiast
- Buying Guide
Scopes aren’t reserved for just being used with rifles but are often also used with shotguns and even handguns. Given how simple using a scope can make your shooting, you likely want one but might have trouble choosing the right one, especially given how many are available on the market. While there are so many scope options on the market, they all seem to offer similar features but at very different price points.
And for those that aren’t within the standard pricing range, what makes them different? How can you be confident in your purchase? How do you know that you’re making the best choice for your particular needs?
If you are a long-range shooter, you might be wondering what is the best long range scope on the market? Similarly, if you shoot only close range, you might want to know the best overall rifle scope available.
You’ve come to the right place. Here, you will find everything you need to know about buying a durable, useful, and accurate scope that will satisfy all your shooting and hunting needs
We will help you identify the features that you really should not have to go without while highlighting what unique features might be useful for you, depending on your individual needs. And then, finally, we will discuss how some features might be nice to have but truly aren’t necessary for your average everyday hunting and shooting.
Within each of our of extensive reviews, we identify the key features of the product as well as any drawbacks. We highlight which scopes are best for short-, mid-, and long-range shooting, so you can identify which scope is most suitable for your needs. And of course, we will highlight which are most budget friendly.
Factors To Consider
So, we know that using a scope can make shooting much simpler. Just line up your reticle with your target, and you are on your way. Even better, if you are a new shooter, learning to shoot can be easier with a scope than with iron sights, since the majority of rifle scopes also magnify.
The magnification means your target appears closer and becomes easier to shoot. If you need practice or are just beginning with shooting, this magnification can make quite the difference in hitting your targets and building confidence as a shooter..
The use of a scope will only make your shooting easier, however, if you find one that provides all of the features you need and expect. If you end up with the wrong type of scope, or you get one that doesn’t meet your needs or wants, you aren’t likely to enjoy using it. That said, choose the right one, and you’ll likely be doing even more shooting, because it will just be that much more fun and satisfying.
Last update on 2020-10-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Similar to most consumer products, there are a number of standard features you should expect from your rifle scope. These are the features that you want to ensure your scope has before purchasing. In a nutshell, rifle scopes are all about optics and magnification. Some of the standard features you should look for include:
- Magnification to suit your shooting needs, whether short, middle, or long range
- Great eye relief
- Reliable clarity
- Well-lit, large lens
While most scopes on the market will offer these standard features, keep in mind that they won’t all be at the same level of quality. Also bear in mind that the features you need will differ vastly depending on the type of shooting you do. Long-range shooting, for example, can require very different scope features than close-range shooting.
In addition to the standard features you should always be looking for, you’ll find that there are also unique features that help a scope stand out from the rest. These are the features that are far less prevalent and really make the difference when shooting or hunting. Some of the more unique features you will find in some of the products below are as follows:
- Night vision
- Video recording
- Dusk and dawn brightness coating
On our list, you will find that most scopes include nearly all of the standard features you should expect. However, you will also find rifle scopes that offer a wide range of unique features that set them apart from the others.
You may realize that you don’t need any of those unique features. If that’s the case for you, just stick with high-quality, tried-and-true standard features. However, if you are looking for a scope that offers more bells and whistles, we have listed some of those, too, and you’ll learn if those less traditional features are really worth the investment.
Keep in mind that additional features usually comes a heavier price tag. For the enthusiast, that often does not matter much. However, for the beginner, the price tag may be one of your top considerations.
One good rule of thumb when it comes to purchasing a rifle scope is that you should spend at least half of what you paid for your gun. You are essentially adding on to your existing investment. And you don’t want to be using an expensive gun with a mediocre, lackluster scope. They should be aligned in terms of quality.
One other factor to keep in mind when making your purchase is whether or not a warranty is included when you buy your scope. If there is a warranty, there is a bit less pressure on purchasing. And, for reasons similar to why you want a warranty, you may want to choose a manufacturer who provides excellent customer service. This will save you headaches in the future if you find that you have questions, concerns, or feedback related to your purchase.
Once you are clear on the features you need for the kind of shooting you’ll be doing and which features you want to help improve your skill or level of fun, you’ll be better equipped to find the right scope for you. Below, we’ve reviewed 15 of the top rifle scopes on the market. Within this list, you’ll surely find the features you both want and need.
Best Rifle Scopes 2020
1. ATN X Sight 4K Pro Smart Ultra HD Day/Night Rife
2. Simmons Truplex Rifle Scope
3. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Rifle Scope
4. XOPin Hunting Rifle Scope Combo
5. CVLIFE Tactical 3-9×40 Air Sniper Rifle Scope
6. Monstrum Tactical G2 6-24×50 First Focal Plane Rifle Scope
7. Nikon Buckmasters II Rifle Scope
8. Pinty 2.5- 10×40 Red Green Illuminated Mil-dot Rifle Scope
9. Feyachi Reflex Sight
10. Tacticon Armament Predator V1 Red Dot Sight
11. Barska AC11876 4×32 IR Contour Rifle Scope
12. Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3×42 Night Vision Rifle Scope
13. UTG 3-9×32 1” BugBuster Scope
14. Nightforce Optics 5.5 22×56 NXS Rifle Scope
15. Burris Fullfield E1 4.5- 14×42 Rifle Scope
1. ATN X Sight 4K Pro Smart Ultra HD Day/Night Rifle – Most Technologically Advanced
This scope is unlike any other and incorporates technology in a way that most other scopes simply don’t. It essentially blends what you come to expect of a traditional scope with the latest technology to build a very unique product. It is powered by a Dual Core processor with a low-light 4K sensor.
The unique features that come with this scope are quite extensive.
In addition, you have dual-stream video recording. You can stream videos straight to your mobile device in HD resolution, and you’re able to simultaneously record to the SD card.
- HD sensor: The HD sensor allows for more vibrant colors, making it easier to hit your targets.
- Night vision mode: Night vision comes standard with this scope. You never have to let the darkness slow down your shooting again.
- Ballistic calculator: The ballistic calculator helps you determine exact ballistics to aid in more accurate long-range shooting. This is a helpful feature if you want to ensure you hit your target every time. It enables you to hunt responsibly and takes into account the angle to target, humidity, temperature, wind, and range.
- Dual-stream video recording: This is a very unique feature that allows you to stream videos to your mobile device at HD resolution straight from your rifle scope.
This scope brings new technology to the age-old practice of hunting. With that said, all of these unique features are essentially driven by software. If there is ever an issue with the software, you are left with a scope that doesn’t provide any of these features. In terms of standard scope features, this one provides top-notch vision.
2. Simmons Truplex Rifle Scope – Best For Entry Level
This is a great entry-level option rifle scope. You just use a mounting base and rings to easily attach the scope to a firearm. It is an 8-Point 3-9×50 scope, which features a large 50mm objective along with a 1.0” tube and Truplex reticle.
As to be expected, it is shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof and has fully-coated lenses. You’ll find a Truplex reticle with four posts and fine crosshairs, allowing more accurate shots. And there is a TrueZero flex erector system for increased and repeatable accuracy.
Surfaces are tactile rubberized Sure Grip, so you can make adjustments easily. And the Quick Target Acquisition (QTE) eyepiece allows for quickly acquiring your target by keeping your shot placements accurate.
- Sure Grip surfaces: This feature simplifies adjustments so they’re easier to make.
- Quick Target Acquisition eyepiece: This eyepiece helps with shot placement and allows for viewing your target quickly. This makes for easier, more rapid firing.
And even with the smaller price tag, it also offers some unique features like the Sure Grip surfaces.
3. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Rifle Scope – Most Unique Scope
This scope is multi-use and is great for rifles as well as shotguns and muzzleloaders. Due to the Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) coating, which is proprietary to Bushnell, you can make great use of this scope even in the very early morning hours as well as at dusk.. This design is perfect for hunters as animal activity is highest during dawn and dusk, yet many scopes don’t offer the clarity you’ll find with this scope.
It is a one-piece tube with multi-coated optics and offers a ¼” fingertip windage and elevation adjustment.
- Easy to zero: This scope is very easy to zero. It has directional arrows etched with contrasting paint. This means you won’t waste time trying to zero the scope, and it holds zero really well so no need to keep readjusting.
- Dusk and Dawn Brightness Coating: This is a great feature for shooting in the early morning or late evening hours. You’ll find that the amount of light let in, especially during dusk and dawn, is quite impressive.
The design of this scope is attractive, and its durability means it will last for quite some time. The eyepiece is quick to focus and measures 12 inches long. The clarity and optics are high quality, making for easier shooting, especially during the most desirable of times of day, dusk and dawn.
4. XOPin Hunting Rifle Scope Combo – The Combo
This scope is ideal for wide range shooting with its wide magnification range of 4x to 16x, along with the ¼ fingertip resettable windage and elevation adjustments. It has red and green reticles with five levels.
This scope is 100% waterproof, as well as fog proof and shockproof given the dry nitrogen filling. The red laser uses the standard 22mm mount rail and offers a laser distance of 100-200mm. The green laser offers a laser distance of 400-500 mm.
You’ll find that the laser is on as soon as you take it out of the box, and it’s very easy to zero. The scope will also zero very easily for you, but it can be difficult to keep this zeroed.
- Combo: This scope offers both red dot and laser features. This can make for quick target acquisition up close and tracking of quick moving targets.
- Easy to zero: You’ll find that the laser is on right out of the box, and it is very easy to zero the scope. This means you can get to shooting much quicker and with much less effort.
Along with the scope, you’ll receive a holographic sight, three Allen keys for rail mounting and sight adjustment, a cleaning cloth, a lens cap, three AG13 batteries, two CR2032 batteries, and a compact red laser sight.
5. CVLIFE Tactical 3-9×40 Air Sniper Rifle Scope – Budget Friendly
For a budget rifle scope, this is a very durable product constructed of aircraft aluminum alloy. This scope is fog and rain proof, as its 100% nitrogen filled and totally sealed. You can use it anywhere and in virtually any weather condition without sacrificing accuracy. All of this, plus more, make it the best scope for the money.
The coating is also resistant to scratching, so you aren’t likely to get scratches on the exterior, and you won’t collect oil or dirt either. This means the image quality should last.
- Multi-coated glass: This scope is both rain and fog proof and will get you over 90% light transmission. This means clear images for a clear shot.
- Special inner and outer structure: There is a special inner and outer structure used to control the interaction between the outer and inner tubes. This means increased reliability and ensures that the reticle won’t rotate on you when you’re adjusting. This allows for increased adjustments for windage and elevation.
This scope is easy to maneuver, as it’s very lightweight and weighs in at just 0.76 pounds. It has a smooth 3-9x magnification adjustment ring and also easily adjusts for elevation and windage. Along with your scope purchase, you’ll receive a lens cover, Allen key, and two scope mounts for a 20mm rail. Mounts are for a proper rifle, so you’ll need different ones if you want to use this for an air rifle.
6. Monstrum Tactical G2 6-24×50 First Focal Plane Rifle Scope – Long Distance Friendly
If you are looking for a high precision rifle scope, this might be your best option. It could easily be considered the best long range scope. It has a magnification range of 6-24x and a 50mm objective lens. It also boasts precision capability of mid to long range with distances over 1000 yards.
The glass is clear on all magnification. All you have to do is adjust the side focus for different ranges. You’ll find good eye relief with this scope, and you should be able to see even on the highest magnification. You’ll also be able to zero in pretty effortlessly.
There are a number of scope adjustments with this product. You’ll get range estimation, precision target focus, and elimination of parallax. And you’ll have control by a side focus dial. You can also adjust for windage and elevation through dials.
- Clear glass: You can simply adjust the side focus to keep it clear on all magnifications. This enables you to have a good view of all magnifications, so you’re able to get the best shot.
- Good eye relief: Your eyes will thank you for this scope. You’re going to get a good view even when using high magnification. So, even on the highest setting, you’re going to get a clear shot.
Along with the scope you purchase, you’ll receive a set of high profile Picatinny scope rings, a set of spring-loaded flip-up lens covers, a detachable honeycomb filter sunshade, a cleaning cloth, a drawstring carrying bag, and a CR2032 3V battery.
This is easily considered the best long range rifle scope for the money and would be a wise investment for any long-range shooter or hunter.
7. Nikon Buckmasters II Rifle Scope – Best For Hunting
This could easily be considered the best hunting scope you’ll find. You’ll find a good number of unique features with this scope including unparalleled eye relief, Nikon’s BDC reticle, and generous brightness and clarity.
This hunting scope is quite unique, given its reliability in both short-distance and long-range shooting. You’ll find that you get great eye relief with this scope, despite it being so lightweight. And you’ll great some great shooting in, even in the worst of weather conditions since it’s waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof.
You’ll also get zeroed in very quickly with this scope. It offers precise hand-turn ¼ inch at 100 yards click adjustments. So, even with heavy recoil, you’ll keep your setting.
- Bright sight: This sight offers an incredibly bright picture. This means even in the darkest of conditions, you can still get a great shot. You’ll find that you get high-resolution images even when the elements are working against you.
- Multi-coated lens: You’ll find strong light transmission all the way from dusk to dawn brightness. Conditions don’t have to be perfect to get a great shot, at both short and long distance. A multi-coated lens is truly the highest level of coating you can find in rifle scopes.
You’ll hold zero and maintain your settings, even with heavy recoil. This is a great, high-quality scope that any deer hunter would love to use. And it functions as one of the best long range hunting scopes while being reliable for short-range shooting as well.
8. Pinty 2.5- 10×40 Red Green Illuminated Mil-dot Rifle Scope – Ideal For Close Range
This Pinty scope is ideal for close-range shooting and gives you a solid range of sight, with a laser range up to 100 yards. And that laser enables you to quickly see your targets.
Precision is the name of the game when it comes to windage and elevation adjustment, and you don’t need to worry about image distortion with the built-in dioptric adjustment lens.
You’ll enjoy five brightness levels so you can always adjust given your surroundings, and if you are looking for precise sharp shooting, you can make use of the red or green reticle.
- Field of view: You can accurately use this scope up to a full 100 yards. This means you can get really accurate close-range shots.
- Five brightness levels: You can make use of this scope pretty reliably in most lighting situations given the five different brightness levels.
- Waterproof and fog proof: Both of these features allow for clear shooting regardless of the weather conditions.
9. Feyachi Reflex Sight – Biggest Bang For Your Buck
This scope doesn’t come with a lot of unique features, but it is very easy to use and to get started with. You’ll find that you get a lot of bang for your buck with this purchase. It’s incredibly easy to sight in, and it holds its adjustments reliably.
You’ll hit your target with the 33 mm lens. With solid construction, it is a sturdy sight and very durable given its secure rail mounting system.
There are four different reticle settings on this scope: Circle/Dot, Dot, Crosshair/Dot, and Crosshair/Circle/Dot. Not only will you get all of these just within this one sight, you’ll also get five different intensity levels with both red and green.
Other comfort features include it being lightweight, shockproof, and waterproof. In addition, you’ll find a wide range of view, meaning you’ll have constant situational awareness.
- Very lightweight: This sight is very comfortable given its light weight, so you won’t get tired lugging it around with you, and it won’t inhibit your shooting.
- Four sights: This product is essentially like getting four different sights in one, which means you get more value for your money.
- Battery life: This scope has great battery life, so you really don’t have to worry about it dying on you at the worst possible time.
There is also a bit left out of the instructions that come with this scope, so those could be improved to be made a bit clearer. Overall, this scope gives you a lot of value and could easily be considered the best scope for the money.
10. Tacticon Armament Predator V1 Red Dot Sight – Guaranteed Scope
This sight is built to last with durable construction. It is made of high-quality aluminum alloy and is both waterproof and fog proof. This means, not only is it long lasting, but you never have to worry about water or fog ruining your shooting. Get a clean shot every time, even if the elements aren’t perfect. It can also be adjusted to several different brightness settings. This means you can always find one to fit your current shooting setting. In addition, there are five unique brightness adjustments for both green and red color.
You can purchase this sight with complete confidence, given that it is fully refundable. In addition, there is a lifetime warranty that comes standard with your purchase. So, you really don’t have to be hesitant about buying at all. If there is anything ever wrong with the product, you will be covered under the warranty.
So, if you are looking for a sight that will be compatible with your current equipment, this is a great option. You don’t have to upgrade anything else that you already own in order to use this sight.
Not only is there flexibility in this product’s compatibility, but the sight itself is very flexible. Both the elevation and windage are fully adjustable. This is great for accurate shooting, as you can very easily and quickly get zeroed in.
- Warranty: The warranty on this product is really unparalleled, so you don’t have to be nervous about losing your investment.
- Compatibility: This sight can be used with any hunting rifle as well as any platform. This is great for saving you money on additional purchases.
- Various settings: You get various brightness settings along with five unique brightness adjustments. This means getting clear shots even in less-than-ideal elements.
Given the high quality of this product, along with its warranty and compatibility, you really can’t go wrong with purchasing this scope. It will not only last a long time, given its durability, but if anything ever goes wrong, you can simply cash in on the warranty. In addition, it will work with all of your current equipment, which means you don’t’ have to make any additional purchases to use this product.
11. Barska AC11876 4×32 IR Contour Rifle Scope – Quality Built In
You’ll find an illuminated mil-dot reticle with this scope, along with 4x magnification.
The magnification allows for hitting targets at various depths, and the reticle allows you to adapt the crosshairs to suit nearly any lighting environment. You are able to adjust the brightness to suit your needs.
This scope comes with fully coated optics, the highest coating you’ll find in any scope. The coating allows for increased color, contrast, and clarity, so you’ll always be able to clearly make out your targets.
So you can adjust the impact point very quickly and without the need to remove any turret caps. To adjust the zero setting, you simply loosen the turret and move the zero back to the starting location.
- Full coated optics: This is the highest level of coating in rifle scopes and can truly help to enhance what you see while shooting.
- Mil-dot reticle: You can switch between red and green options, as well as make adjustments on brightness. This makes for easier, cleaner shots even in imperfect weather conditions.
- Angled sunshade: An angled sunshade comes standard with this scope, which helps to minimize glare on the objective lens. This can also help to reduce and eliminate scope glint during sunny conditions.
This scope is one inch in diameter and comes with two flip-up scope caps. The caps work to prevent any moisture or dust from gathering on the lens either during transport or storage. They flip up easily for quick removal.
12. Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3×42 Night Vision Rifle Scope – Best For Night Shooting
This Firefield rifle scope is built to last, made with a durable, yet lightweight, titanium body. Battery life is long, lasting up to 20 hours with the built-in IR and up to 50 hours without IR.
It is a great option for medium- to long-range target shooting. And could easily be considered one of the best long-range rifle scopes.
You’ll enjoy incremental reticle brightness adjustment to help with shooting in all lighting.
You’ll be protected from harsh weather as well as impact, given the flip-up lens covers and the durable construction.
- Clear reticle: This scope offers a very clear reticle, so you’ll have a great shot every time.
- Adjustable reticle brightness intensity: You can adjust the brightness intensity pretty easily and accurately. This means seeing your target well even in less-than-ideal lighting.
There are a good number of common sense features that come standard with this scope. To start, adjustments are placed where you’d assume they would be, meaning you’ll likely naturally gravitate toward the adjustments without much thought. In addition, it is easy to replace the AA batteries.
13. UTG 3-9×32 1” BugBuster Scope – Airsoft Assault Scope
You’ll find lockable and resettable turrets with ¼ MOA per click adjustment in this 1-inch tube with Emerald coating. Maximum light makes for more accurate, clearer shooting.
With this scope, you’ll enjoy optimal aiming and shooting, given the range estimated mil-dot reticle. You’ll also get quite a large field of view and red/green illumination for various applications.
- Very clear optics: This scope boasts very clear optics, meaning you’re in a better position to find and hit your target every time.
- Lockable and resettable turrets: This scope’s turrets allow for precise windage and elevation adjustments. And you can lock and reset them to allow for proper zeroing.
14. Nightforce Optics 5.5 22×56 NXS Rifle Scope – Best High End Scope
This is perhaps the best high-end rifle scope available for purchase, and overall, is one of the top rated rifle scopes. You will never want for a clearer shot, even at the longest ranges.
You can read the reticle very easily in all light settings, and this scope is built to be incredibly durable, made of 6061 – T6 Aircraft Grade Aluminum. And with the 56 mm objective lens, the clarity and resolution really can’t be beat, no matter what magnification you’re using.
Despite this being an incredible long-range scope, you’ll enjoy similar clarity and precision at shorter distances as well.
- Very clear: This scope offers a clarity that is truly unparalleled. You can expect to enjoy clear shots, even at the longest possible ranges.
- Precision: You’ll enjoy precise shots at very long ranges, given the wide magnification factor, but you’ll also maintain that effectiveness at close ranges. This means you aren’t held to making good shots only at long or short distance but can enjoy both with the same scope.
You can even expect to have accurate shooting in low light, given the 56mm objective lens and the illuminated reticle.
15. Burris Fullfield E1 4.5- 14×42 Rifle Scope – For the Enthusiast
This Burris rifle scope offers incredible magnification for solid and accurate long-range shooting. The ballistic Plax E1 reticle is simple, quick, and accurate for clear shooting.
This is a great scope for any enthusiasts who are looking for both simplicity and sophistication in their accuracy and shooting. There is technology included that compensates for trajectory and provides cascading dots to help compensate for any wind drift. This allows you a clear, accurate shot even on windy days.
- High magnification: Allows for expertly precise long-range shooting. This means even from very far distances, you can expect a great, clear shot.
- Trajectory-compensating technology: Enjoy cascading dots to compensate for wind drift. This means even on windy days, you can expect a good shot with the help of this technology.
- Ergonomic side focus: you’ll get easy-to-reach and handle parallax adjustment starting at 50 yards.
There is a lot of information to take in when choosing your rifle scope, and much of it can be quite technical to a new shooter. If you are, in fact, new to shooting and hunting, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly. With that said, there are some very standard features that you should absolutely have in your scope, regardless of the price point. And then there are the nicer, more unique features that may be important to you depending on the kind of shooting you go for.
Your magnification needs depend greatly on your target. If you are hunting, you should think about what it is you are going to hunt and where. Some time ago it was true that a fixed 4x or variable 3-9x scope was fine for basic hunting. This low level of magnification worked just fine for up close, under 100 yards, shooting.
Today, an all-around good scope should still have the lower magnification levels but should also have a 4:1 zoom ratio, or 2.5-10x or larger. If you plan on shooting long distance, you need magnification that will get you 12-20x.
If you are planning to shoot long range, plan on purchasing a rifle scope with a lot of magnification power, which will help you feel like your target is right in front of you as this can greatly help to increase your accuracy.
If you aren’t planning for long-range shooting, incredible magnification might not be quite as important to you.
The lens of your scope has a huge impact on the lighting you can expect and lighting is key with any shooting. Basically, the bigger the lens, the more light you can expect to have and, subsequently, the clearer your vision and shots. All of this is key if you plan on shooting in low light conditions.
Lighting doesn’t become more or less important depending on your range of shooting. Overall, good quality lighting is key whether you are planning to shoot at a target 50 yards away or 1000+ yards away.
No matter the distance, you have to be able to see clearly, which means ensuring you have not just adequate, but good lighting and brightness.
Low light conditions can basically just mean dusk. If you are a hunter, you know dusk shooting is prime time. So, it doesn’t have to be pitch black for you to need a large lens and good lighting.
Objective lens sizes can range anywhere from 20mm to 72mm. One consideration to keep in mind is that using optics with a 50mm lens (or bigger) means you have to mount your rifle scope higher, which can impact your scope-to-eye alignment.
You also want to ensure that the lens you choose is protected. This can be done with some kind of hydrophilic coating or hydrophobic coating. You want a coating that is multiple layers deep and is on all air to glass surfaces. You saw several multi-coated lenses reviewed in our list. These are the highest level of coating in rifle scopes.
It is pretty standard to have some kind of coating on your lens. What will differentiate the higher quality scopes from the rest will be multi-coated lenses that can boast of extra protection and heightened visibility. Better quality scopes will always have a multi-coated lens as the standard.
Eye relief is very important when choosing your rifle scope. Higher eye relief is absolutely mandatory if you have a powerful rifle.
The higher eye relief will help you to avoid scope eye, which is when the scope hits you in the eye after the recoil.
Many new shooters and hunters don’t take eye relief seriously enough when purchasing a new scope, but the amount of eye relief available really can’t be overstated. The better the eye relief, the more protected you are while shooting, especially if you have a lot of recoil.
You will find that the most common eye relief is about four inches. That said, some lesser quality scopes will have only 3 to 3.5 inches. That shorter distance is actually quite short for rifles with a higher recoil, so keep that in mind when deciding on your purchase.
Reticle And Focal Plane
If this is your first time purchasing a rifle scope, you might want to try a standard “Duplex” reticle or a German No.4. These reticles are sufficient for most hunting arms, conditions, and ranges. That said, many competitive long-range shooters will require a finer crosshair.
There can be a good deal of personal preference that is taken into account when choosing a reticle you like. Some shooters like at thicker reticle while others just personally prefer a thinner one.
If you are looking for a scope to use for long-range tactical or target shooting, you can choose a more complex reticle which tends to offer interesting, less widely available features.
One other consideration when choosing a scope for its reticle is whether that reticle is in the first or second focal plane. If it is in the first focal plane, it will keep the same perspective with the target size throughout the full range of magnification. This is typically the choice of those who shoot long range.
If it is in in the second focal plane when you increase the zoom, your target will look bigger, yet the reticle will remain the same size.
Turrets And Adjustments
Turrets adjust what are called windage (left and right) and elevation (up and down). In terms of your rifle scope purchase, you want to choose standard ballistic turrets with adjustments that are most related to the distance you’ll be firing, measured in yards.
Non-tactical rifle scopes typically have adjustments that are valued at 1/4 inches or 1/8 inches. You can find some scopes that have low-profile ballistic knobs that are capped off. This is to prevent you from making any adjustments accidentally.
And then you will find some open style turrets. These are meant for you to be able to make adjustments more precisely.
Once the standard expectations of the scope are met, you can start looking for those features that make the scope unique. Now if you know you are looking for something unique to begin with, you’ll obviously want to keep that in mind when doing your search. That said, there were a number of unique features highlighted within the above rifle scope reviews.
A Solid Guarantee
A warranty is clearly a good feature to have in any product. There can be some pressure in purchasing a rifle scope, and ensuring you have a warranty, even a limited one, can put some of your purchasing anxiety to rest.
As you found in the review list, some products are moving toward higher technological features being run primarily off of software. This seems to be the way most products are now moving, and rifle scopes don’t seem to be immune to that.
Given the nature of technology in consumer products, it can be even more important to have a warranty that covers your products. With so many things controlled by computers or software, there isn’t always an at-home, easy fix available if something goes wrong.
Good Customer Service
Good customer service can go hand in hand with a solid warranty. That said, you don’t have to be offered a warranty to expect good customer service. Good customer service is marked by timely responses and reasonable remedies to your questions and feedback.
And good customer service is not reserved for only the most well-known or respected manufacturers. Many of the newer manufacturers want to make a good impression by providing stellar customer service to their consumers.
Customer service is important with a rifle scope purchase for several reasons. To start, your scope is really quite useless if there is something fundamentally wrong with it, which would mean you’d hope for a replacement or repair.
For example, if your glass or lens is cracked or permanently smeared, you’d hope for a replacement. You cannot do much with cracked glass or a lens out of which you can’t adequately see. Similarly, if you find that you can’t keep your scope zeroed, you’d want a new one and a refund.
When you need to a request a repair, refund, or replacement, you have to hope they offer good customer service. And good customer service doesn’t only benefit you when looking for a replacement or fix. It can also benefit you if there is something unclear about your product.
You found in the above rifle scope reviews that a few products did not offer very clear instructions. That said, if you purchase one of those products and need clarity, your first stop would be customer service. Even if you knew that the instructions were unclear, but you had also learned that the customer service was stellar, you’d likely still consider purchasing that product knowing you could reach out with queries and get reliable help. That won’t be the case if the manufacturer does not offer good customer service.
One feature that is quite unique but that also proves to be incredibly useful is the night vision feature. While very few scopes offer this, it turns out to be really great to have if you want to hunt or shoot at night. With this feature, shooting at night can feel like and be as safe as shooting mid-day. While not a necessary feature, it might be nice to have at your disposal.
The parallax is really only available in high-power rifle scopes that are used over long distances when your line of sight isn’t perfectly aligned. It is basically an optical illusion that increases as your magnification increases. It gives you a larger margin of error and needs to be corrected. Rifle scopes that are more high-powered typically have an adjustment ring feature that can be found on the objective bell.
Many consumers looking for a rifle scope will often gravitate toward the most expensive or the scope that offers the most unique features. And while those features may seem attractive, they do not always live up to their promise. Sometimes buying the product that does everything pretty well is the best option, when compared to a product that offers unique, technologically advanced features that often fail.
For example, there are several products reviewed here that are not particularly expensive but offer sturdy, easy-to-use products for hunting.
This review list and buying guide should help you determine which features are most important to you, enabling you to narrow down your choices. Many features are standard and should not be sacrificed such as a scope that is waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof, but many features you can do without, especially if you aren’t looking to spend the extra money.
You may not need dual-stream video recording, for example. While it may be a nice feature, it may not be worth the price tag for you. Choosing the right scope is all about determining what you need from it, and then finding a product that offers most, if not all, of your most important features.
Last update on 2020-10-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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