Whether you’re looking for an affordable scope that will satisfy all of your hunting needs or you need a quality, high-end optic, there are plenty of choices out there. But with so many options, how do you know which are the best?
Choosing the Right Hunting Scope
As we’ve covered in our guides to spotting scopes and bird-watching optics, there are several important factors to consider before making a purchase. These include features, price, warranty, and overall design.
First-Focal Plane Reticles
There are several different types of reticles that you can choose from, but the most common are first-focal plane (FFP) and second-focal plane (SFP). These reticles change their size as you zoom in, which allows for easy reticle adjustment at any magnification level.
These reticles offer a lot of flexibility, and are often used by long-range hunters who want to be able to adjust for wind at longer ranges. FFP reticles are also easy to read in low-light conditions, which is important for nighttime hunting.
A scope’s glass is one of the most important components that make it work well, and it’s important to choose the highest-quality glass possible. Ideally, the optic’s glass is fully multicoated for maximum light transmission and is protected by an armor-clad tube to prevent damage from moisture, dust, and other contaminants.
If you’re in the market for a new scope, it’s a good idea to look for an optic that has a long warranty. These warranties are usually transferable and provide coverage if you sell your optic or if you buy it secondhand.
Getting the Best Value
A great deal of thought and research should go into your selection. A rifle scope is a big investment and you’ll want to make sure it’s worth it. This means picking the best optic for your budget, while still offering plenty of features and performance that will help you on the battlefield.
Optics that have been around for a while are always a good bet, as they’ve had more time to perfect their construction and reticles. These older scopes typically have excellent glass and good mechanics, but aren’t necessarily as clear or distortion-free as more modern offerings.
Those who aren’t looking to spend a fortune should consider buying an entry-level scope, as these typically offer more features at a lower price point. These scopes may not be as clear and offer a more limited range of functions, but they’ll generally last longer and are less likely to need repairs down the road.
For example, a budget-friendly scope like the Athlon Optics BTR offers red-illuminated radicals, powered by a standard watch battery. This helps you get a clear, unobstructed view at any magnification level, but the BTR isn’t as sharp or bright as some of its more expensive peers.
Rifle Scopes Follow Trends
When a new technology is introduced, the gun industry quickly follows the lead and cranks out rifle scopes that are designed to suit that tech. For instance, the 3-9×42 scope was the go-to scope for years until ARs began becoming popular and a burgeoning market of long-range precision shooters pushed the scope industry to create larger 5-25×56 rifle scopes with first-plane milling reticles.
Leupold is one of the most reputable manufacturers in the world, and they are known for their durable, well-engineered optics. With some of the best engineers in the industry, they are able to produce innovative optics that provide the ultimate in quality and performance.
The Leupold VX-2 3-9×40 rifle scope is a popular choice for shooters and hunters alike, with its exceptional features, superb performance and rugged design. It’s equipped with the Quantum Optical System, index-matched lenses and DiamondCoat protective lens coatings to boost light transmission. It’s also waterproof, fogproof and purged with second generation argon and krypton gas.
This model is a good option for anyone looking to spend under $300 and get a quality scope with a first-class image. It features an easy-to-read reticle that makes shooting simple and accurate.
It’s a great entry level scope that is easy to use and comes with a lifetime warranty!
This is a great option for those who want to spend under $300 and get a quality rifle scope that can withstand some rough treatment. It features a duplex reticle that’s simple to read and eliminates parallax.
It’s also easy to adjust. It has 1/4 MOA clicks for elevation adjustment and a capped windage adjustment turret that keeps the size of your adjustments safe from unintentional changes. It also has a side focus parallax adjustment knob that’s easy to use as well.
There are a few premium features that you can add to your scope from Leupold, including their Motion Sensor Technology that will shut off illumination automatically when there is no movement for 5 minutes. This will save you on battery replacements and can even help you avoid glare while you’re hunting.
You can also upgrade your scope to have a light-up reticle. This is a very popular feature for hunters and will save you money in the long run.
Besides this, there are other great features that Leupold has added to their products over the years. Some of the more impressive features include their patented Variable Power System, which allows you to change magnification on the fly depending on how far away your target is.
The company also has a wide range of accessories that will make your shooting experience a lot easier and safer. Some of the options that Leupold offers include flip up lens covers for the eyepiece and objective lenses, sunshades, a lens cleaning cloth, and a hex key for turret adjustment.
Other great features are a 10-year warranty and a rugged design that is made to withstand the harshest conditions. These features will help you make the most of your shooting experience and have peace of mind that your rifle scope is going to be there when you need it.
The price of a Leupold rifle scope depends on several factors, such as the type of reticle and any additional features that you want to add. The basic models are below EUR3000, but you can expect to pay at least a couple of hundred euros more for advanced designs.
Founded in 1981 by a South African immigrant, Glyn Bindon, Trijicon is one of America’s most innovative optic manufacturers. They produce night sights, a variety of specialized rifle scopes and even reflex sights designed for close-quarter engagement. Their products resonate with armed citizens, military personnel, police, hunters, long-range shooters, archers and hobbyists alike.
For the last several years, Trijicon has been leading the field in the development of tritium powered optics. This type of lighting system is used to illuminate a reticle in low-light, no-light and daylight situations without the need for batteries or any additional equipment. The tritium light source is designed to last for 12 years or more, if properly stored and maintained.
Night Vision Scopes
Trijicon is also a world leader in the development of night vision scopes. These units allow users to see through smoke, dust and other obscurants, which can help to locate a target or a threat in the dark.
They also come with a high-quality, wide-angle lens and offer an adjustable reticle to help increase the precision of your shooting. Despite their advanced capabilities, they are still affordable and easy to use for all types of shooters.
Originally engineered and produced for the M16 / M4 platform, Trijicon’s ACOG scope optic was quickly included in the U.S. Army’s Advanced Combat Rifle program and soon became the standard for Special Forces, Marines and law enforcement.
The Trijicon ACOG has been on the market for over 30 years and is considered a staple of the tactical community. It is also one of the most durable and well-built optics on the market today.
If you’re looking for a high-end, American made night vision scope, the Trijicon ACOG is a great choice. It is tested and manufactured to MIL-STD-810G standards, so you can be confident that your investment will stand up to a test of time.
It’s also easy to change the battery, which is located within the body of the scope and is protected by a retaining cord. The battery is easily accessed and replaced using clear markings with an arrow to indicate the direction of adjustment (1/2 MOA).
Like many other Trijicon optics, the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) has a user-friendly turret design that allows for quick and easy adjustments. It features a range of 11 brightness settings to ensure that your sight picture is always crystal clear.
The reticle also features dual illumination, with a red fiber optic on top of the sight that changes in brightness depending on the available outside light conditions. In addition, a red insert within the reticle keeps it illuminated in dark and low-light conditions.
The ACOG’s reticle is easily readable at all distances and is an excellent alternative to night vision optics, especially for close-range hunting and target shooting. In addition, the reticle is easy to adjust and comes with a stowable aiming point that can be moved to the left or right. The reticle is also waterproof down to 30 meters and offers 3 different mounting options.
SIG Sauer optics
The brand has a long history of manufacturing rifles and guns, but recently it has begun to add optics to its arsenal. Their line of Sig Sauer optics is known for its quality and versatility. The company has a variety of options, from red dot sights to long range scopes.
Sig Sauer Optics is a line of riflescopes, sighting devices, spotting scopes and laser rangefinders designed for all types of shooters and environments. Its products are made to meet the needs of hunters, competition competitors and law enforcement professionals.
Tango Rifle Scopes
The TANGO line of tactical riflescopes features a LockDown Zero System that allows you to quickly return to zero, spectracoat lens coatings that reduce surface reflections and offer superior light transmission, motion-sensor technology that extends battery life and more. In addition, most TANGO models feature the SIG Ballistic Turret (SBT), which is a custom-calibrated elevation turret that matches your load.
Whiskey3 Rifle Scopes
The Whiskey3 line of riflescopes from Sig Sauer is comprised of six different models, which come in both illuminated and non-illuminated models. Each model features a Hellfire fiber-optic illuminated reticle, battery terminal and brightness-adjustment turret on the left side.
Each Whiskey3 scope also comes with a free SIG Ballistic Turret, which is calibrated to your load and will provide corrected bullet drop compensation at any range. In addition, the Whiskey3 scopes all qualify for the Sig Sauer lifetime warranty.
SIG Ballistic Turret
A patented feature found on Sig Sauer riflescopes, the SIG Ballistic Turret is designed to provide correction for bullet drop at any range. It is based on inputs that include bullet specifications, ballistic coefficient, muzzle velocity and environmental factors. Upon purchase of a riflescope with the SIG Ballistic Turret, you simply send the data to SIG Sauer for calibration and your scope will automatically have a dial-up turret that matches your firearm and load.
BDX Wireless Rangefinding Systems
Sig Sauer has brought game-changing technology to the hunting market with their BDX wireless rangefinder and riflescope. These systems allow you to wirelessly program a holdover dot with Bluetooth that illuminates when you are within range of a target.
These BDX systems can range deer up to 800 yards with a single shot. They are available on the KILO1400 and KILO2400 BDX scopes, as well as the KILO10x BDX binocular. The BDX app is free and can be used to program the system to match your gun, bullets and even your surroundings.
These BDX riflescopes aren’t the first to offer electronic aiming points, but they are the most elegant and easily operated. They are also more affordable than other electronic aiming solutions. In fact, the Sig Sauer Sierra6 BDX 3-18x44mm that we tested for this article costs about $200 less than a similar competitor’s product.
Vortex Optics is a manufacturer of binoculars, riflescopes and other optics for hunting, bird watching, wildlife watching and outdoor recreational sports. They are based in Barneveld, Wisconsin and specialize in developing high-quality optics that deliver excellent performance at an affordable price.
Vortex manufactures a wide range of spotting scopes, binoculars and riflescopes for the military, law enforcement and sporting enthusiasts. Their products are designed to be rugged, durable and provide superior image quality. They are available at a variety of price points and can be purchased at many different online retailers including Scopelist.
They are an American-owned, veteran-owned and family-owned business whose mission is to build an optics company dedicated to superior customer service, product innovation, and manufacturing quality. Founded in 2003 by Dan and Margie Hamilton, the business began with a vision to put customers at the center of all they do.
Their goal was to make sure that customers had the best experience possible every time they bought a Vortex optic. So when they had feedback, or problems, they would address them and find solutions to improve their products.
After years of tinkering, learning, and growing, Vortex has become one of the most popular sports optics companies in the world. Their customers are celebrities, professional shooters and even people who just want a good pair of binoculars or a new spotting scope to take with them on their next vacation.
They are committed to their customers and offer an unconditional, transferable lifetime VIP warranty. This is something that many companies simply can’t offer.
The Vortex Optics line-up includes everything from their top of the line Razors riflescopes to the Viper riflescopes, Diamondback 4-12×40, and Strike Eagle scopes. The majority of Vortex’s riflescopes are manufactured in China, but with Japanese engineers overseeing the production process and ensuring that they are built to a certain standard.
Their line-up also features a number of different options in terms of reticle designs, including etched reticle options, as well as the ability to switch to red dot mode from 1x-8x. All of the reticle options are made using the same patented XM157 optic that is used on all Vortex binoculars.
Another key difference between the Viper line and the Razors line is that the Razors use glass from Japan, a country known for their quality, while the Viper riflescopes feature glass from China. It is this focus on high-quality glass that makes them stand out in a crowded market place.
As with all optics, the best results are achieved when the elements of a laser are positioned perfectly aligned and located precisely in the plane of the nominal working distance (WD). This means that the input beam must be a collimated single mode beam with zero central light intensity and a low divergence angle.
This is important because if the beam is too large, it will introduce a lot of radial and axial distortions into the output. It is also very important to have a mirror that has a high flatness specification and is aligned correctly in order to achieve the best result.