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rifle scope reviews

How do you improve your hunting accuracy without spending hours at the range? A rifle scope might be the answer.

In our reviews below we reveal the best rifle scopes for the money. Not to mention, we help you avoid the cheap duds you’ll find at most hunting shops.

A high quality rifle scope is designed to magnify your target and more importantly, improve your shooting accuracy.

However, they are not to be confused with spotting scopes, holographic scopes or rangefinders. Each of these tools serves a very specific purpose to help you identify and hunt wildlife. To help you find the best rifle scope, we asked a few hunting experts for their recommendations.


Vote for your favorite brand or leave your own review below.

Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600

nikon p223 mate bdc 600Want increased target visibility without spending a fortune? The Nikon P-223 (check price) is one of our top picks due to affordable pricing and usability right out of the box. And, we’re not the only ones that think so.

With over 400 reviews on Amazon, this scope delivers incredible accuracy for the price. According to one reviewer, after purchasing this scope they could spot a “flea on a squirrels ass from a 100 yards.” Who knows, maybe that could become Nikon’s new marketing slogan.

The scope has magnification from 3-9 times and an objective lens size of 40mm. While most lenses are available with only a 32mm field of view, this offers greater visibility over other top brands.

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Leupold VX-I Rifle Scope 3-9×50

leupold vxi rifle scopeThis review can be summed up in one word: Leupold. However, my editor would probably be angry, so I’ll elaborate. Leupold and Stevens Inc. was founded in 1907 and is a family owned and operated company. Every year they manufacture high quality rifle scopes that outperform the competition.

If you think for even a second that all scopes are identical, let me stop you right there.

The Leupold VX-I (check price) was one of the first high quality rifle scopes I purchased. In the past I have gone through several Tasco or Bushnell scopes that cost less than $50. I instantly noticed a big difference in clarity after installing my Leupold, and I don’t think I will ever go back to a discount scope.

According to many of my hunting buddies, anything other than Leupold is junk.

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UTG 3-9×32 Compact CQB Bug Buster AO RGB Scope

utg compact cqb bug buster ao rgb scopeWe chose the UTG Bug Buster (check price) due to it’s small size and high quality for the price. This scope is Nitrogen filled and boasts that it is shockproof, fogproof and rain proof.

If you hop over to Amazon to read the reviews don’t get distracted by concerns over the reticle. During 2012 and 2013 there was a defect that caused the reticle to unlevel. It appears this issue was resolved as there have been no recent complaints.

In the event that you do have a problem with this scope, have no fear. Amazon’s customer service will be sure to take care of you.

Overall the turrets are of very high quality and provide accurate settings every time.

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Vortex Optics DBK-10019 Diamondback HP 4-16×42 Riflescope

vortex optics dbk 10019 diamondback hpIf glass clarity is important to you, then you don’t want to miss the Vortex Optics Diamondback (check price). It offers magnification up to 16x and an extra large 42mm objective lens.

This is the only scope we found to get mostly positive reviews from customers online. Unlike other popular scopes that get a wide range of negative reviews, the Diamondback delivers exactly what it promises.

In fact, for the price it has superior clarity compared to other scopes such as the Nikon Prostaff or Zeiss Terra.

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Why You Need a Rifle Scope

For the avid hunter, the benefits of a rifle scope far outweigh the potential cost. If you want to make the most of the limited hunting season each year, the simplest way is to improve your accuracy. When you get that perfect shot, you’ll need make sure you don’t miss.

Whether you are a young buck or an old pro, improved vision with a scope can help elevate your hunting skills to the next level. One of the benefits many hunters overlook is that a scope can help you hunt later in the day.

Having a hard time seeing during the last few minutes of legal hunting hours?

The light gathering benefits of a scope can help you make the most of daylight even 30 minutes after sunset. Now you can continue to chase that trophy buck while everyone else is packing up for the day.

What Do The Numbers on a Rifle Scope Mean?

When comparing rifle scopes, you’ll notice that each scope has a numbered code in their description. For example, 3-9×32, 4×32 or 4-16×42. What do these numbers mean and why are they important?

Scope Magnification Explained

Let’s break down what the numbers on a rifle scope mean using the 3-9×32 example. The “3-9” describes the magnification of the scope. That is, this scope will magnify the target from 3 to 9 times. The further the target, the more magnification you’ll need.

Finally, the last part of the number – “32” – is the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters. The objective lens is the lens nearest the front of your gun. The size of the objective lens will determine how much of the target you can see through the scope – also called “field of view.

The smaller the lens, the less you can see. On the other hand, the larger the lens the more light your eye can gather, the brighter your target will be.

You may also encounter fixed power scopes on your journey to find the best rifle scope on the market. These are described using just two numbers. For instance, 4×32 or 6×42. Unlike adjustable scopes, these have fixed magnification.

If you find yourself hunting out in the open at predictable distances, then a traditional fixed power scope may be a good option for you.

While a huge lens and extreme magnification may help you hit your target easier, you will still have to keep in mind the overall size of your scope.