Best Long Range Rifle Scopes for Every Price Range

Best Long Range Rifle Scopes

In this review, we will scan through 14 different scopes, from several different manufacturers, with a price range of under $50 to over $1000. We’ll present this information in a tabular form. From there, if something catches your eye, you can go to the detailed review of that particular scope, or just read through the entire review.

Our Personal Best Choice

Best Rifle Scopes Under $200

Best Overall Model
Best Value Model

FSI Sniper Scope

Best Rifle Scopes Under $300

Best Overall Model

Vortex Optics Crossfire II

Best Value Model

KONUSpro M30

Best Rifle Scopes Under $500

Best Overall Model
Best Value Model

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC

Best Rifle Scopes Under $1000

Best Overall Model

Leupold VX-2

Best Value Model

Nikon Black FX1000

The next step, however, is to take a high-level overview of fourteen different long-range rifle scopes, ranging from very basic, budget-priced scopes all the way up to expensive scopes marketed for the professional hunter, military, or law enforcement personnel.

Comparison Table

In this section, you’ll get a brief introduction to each of the scopes, outlining their best features, magnification capability, objective lens size, and customer ratings.

Learn more on how we came up with the table

After that, we’ll move to a more detailed review of each scope, outlining our general impressions, key features and specifications, and the pros and cons of that particular scope. We’ll then close out the review with some of our “best of” choices from the scopes reviewed.

The ratings shown in the table below come from the Amazon web site and are based on a scale of one to five. With one exception, which we will highlight, these scopes have a significant number of customer reviews, so the results will not be skewed by one or too overly high or low ratings. Within each price range section, we’ll sort by rating, highest to lowest. If more than one rating is the same, we will list the scope with the lower price first.

Product Best Features Magnifi-
cation
Objective Lens Diameter Rating (No. of Reviews) Price Range View on
Amazon

Best Rifle Scopes Uunder $200:

CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope

CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope

  • weighs about 1.5 pounds,
  • overall length 17”,
  • red and green scope illumination,
  • waver rail mount,
  • 1” tube diameter

6-24x

50mm

4.2 out of 5
(2101)

$

Check Price

UUQ Tactical Rifle Scope

UUQ Tactical Rifle Scope

  • red and green laser,
  • self-contained flashlight,
  • adjustable objective lens,
  • universal mount for Picatinny or Weaver rail,
  • 100% fog and waterproof,

4-16x

50mm

4.2 out of 5
(239)

$

Check Price

SNIPER Scope

SNIPER Scope

  • Aircraft-grade aluminum body,
  • coated optics,
  • red, blue, and green illumination,
  • 2.4 pounds,
  • 17” long

4-16x

50mm

4.0 out of 5
(226)

$

Check Price

FSI Sniper Scope

FSI Sniper Scope

  • red, blue, green mil-dot reticle
  • ball-bearing adjustment for windage and elevation,
  • aircraft-grade aluminum body,
  • 2.5 pounds

6-24x

50mm

4.0 out of 5
(424)

$

Check Price

Best Rifle Scopes Uunder $300:

Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescopes

Vortex Optics Crossfire II

  • made from aircraft-grade aluminum,,
  • sealed for waterproof and fog-proof performance,
  • 20-ounce weight,
  • 13.5 inches long

6-18x

44mm

4.6 out of 5
(1478)

$$

Check Price

Mueller Target Rifle Scope

Mueller Target Rifle Scope

  • 30 mm tube size,
  • approximately 2.5 pounds,
  • 16 inches long,
  • up to 40-inch windage and elevation adjustment at 100 yards

8-32x

44mm

4.6 out of 5
(103)

$$

Check Price

KONUSpro M30

KONUSpro M30

  • 1.8 pounds,
  • 16.5 inches long,
  • waterproof, shockproof, fog-proof, coated optics
  • illuminated reticle

6.5-25x

44mm

4.2 out of 5
(11)

$$

Check Price

Best Rifle Scopes Uunder $500:

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC Riflescope

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC

  • clear coat optical system for improved light transmission,
  • spring-loaded,
  • zero-reset adjustments,
  • 30mm tube,
  • parallax adjustment

3-12x

42mm

4 out of 5
(17)

$$$

Check Price

Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x40mm Riflescope

Leupold VX-3i

  • Waterproof, fog-proof, shockproof, coated optics,
  • light management system for low light hunting,
  • 1-inch tube, 13 ounces, 12.6 inches

4.5-14x

40mm

4.3 out of 5
(37)

$$$

Check Price

Best Rifle Scopes Uunder $1000:

Nikon Black FX1000

Nikon Black FX1000

  • Ten illumination settings,
  • ranging reticle for estimating range, elevation, windage, target size,
  • match-grade optics,
  • parallax adjustment

6-24x

50mm

4.6 out of 5
(36)

$$$

Check Price

Leupold VX-2 4-12x40mm Compact Waterproof Fogproof Riflescope,

Leupold VX-2

  • Parallax adjustable,
  • waterproof,
  • fog-proof,
  • aircraft-grade aluminum,
  • 30mm tube,
  • lightweight at 13 ounces,
  • lifetime warranty

4-12x

40mm

4.6 out of 5
(78)

$$$

Check Price

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T

  • 15-inch barrel length,waterproof,
  • coated optics with low dispersion lens,
  • parallax adjustment,
  • shockproof and fog-proof,
  • aircraft-grade aluminum construction

6-24x

50mm

4.6 out of 5
(252)

$$$

Check Price

Bushnell Elite Tactical G2DMR FFP Reticle Riflescope

Bushnell Elite Tactical G2DMR

  • multi-coated optics with anti-fog technology,
  • adjustable power,
  • parallax adjustment,
  • limited lifetime warranty,
  • 1.7 pounds

6-24x

50mm

4.3 out of 5
(57)

$$$

Check Price

Burris 200116 Eliminator 4-16 x 50 x 96 Scope, Black

Burris 200116 Eliminator

  • laser range finder with 1200-yard capability,
  • built-in inclinometer for hill shooting,
  • 1.6 pounds,
  • 19 inches long
  • aluminum body

4-16x

50mm

4.3 out of 5
(57)

$$$

Check Price

A Brief History of Rifle Scopes

Galileo is credited with the invention of the telescope in 1608. The first modern-style rifle, the musket, traces its development into the 1600s, with further refinements continuing from there to evolve into today’s automatic firearms. However, the marriage of the two technologies – optical magnification and firearms – did not occur until a couple of centuries later, in the middle 1800s.

The reasons for this were quite simple. Until the introduction of the Springfield rifle in the 1860s, the early muzzle-loading muskets did not have the firing range to require any additional spotting devices. Their range was under one hundred yards, easily within eyesight range of the shooter.

Springfield Model 1860

The development of the breech-loading Springfield rifle, with it’s standardized, higher-quality ammunition and machined barrel, increased the effective firing range to almost three hundred yards.

Springfield Model 1903

While there were some early reports of homemade rifle scopes being used, the large-scale applications were still not feasible. They were not rugged or durable enough to withstand the recoil of the rifles and lost their center after just a few shots.

The first practical rifle optics were developed by John Chapman, working for the manufacturer Morgan James, in Utica, NY. Although they were fairly rudimentary by today’s standards, these early scopes were usable and rugged enough to stay true to their centering even after several shots.

first rifle Scope

As rifle range increased, and Springfield Manufacturing introduced repeating rifles, the need for improvements in telescopic sights also increased. More and more US manufacturers began to produce sights, but Morgan continued to lead in technology improvements.

Looking to the telescope as a model, William Malcome produced the first achromatic scope lens in 1855, which did not break light down into its individual color spectrums. This provided shooters a clearer vision of the target.

Malcolm Series Sniper Riflescope

At the same time, these new scopes introduced windage and elevation adjustments, which are still standard features on most scopes today. The magnification of these early scopes was believed to be between 3X and 20X, although few examples are remaining to prove this theory.

These scopes became the standard, particularly for the northern armies, during the US Civil War. They continued to be used in several military conflicts, particularly the Indian Wars and the Spanish-American War. As the world began to ramp up ramifications prior to World War I, the technical development of scopes kept pace.

Refractor lenses, which had been developed in the 1880s but never able to be successfully melded with firearms, now became small and rugged enough for hunting and military applications. Their ability to pass light directly to the eye of the shooter improved the low-light vision of the shooter, providing improvements in fighting capability in the dusk and other low-light situations.

refractor lanse

The German army used an estimated 25,000 rifles with scopes in World War I, as they established a large force of snipers. The Americans caught up quickly, by matching a 6X scope to their then-standard 1903 Springfield rifle. As rifles moved to smaller caliber ammunition, thereby increasing range, scope capabilities continued to increase, led by the introduction of a 10X magnification scope from Unertl.

Vintage Unertl 10X

Night vision scopes began their development late in World War II, again led by Germany, but they came too late in the campaign to affect the war’s outcome.

While not used extensively in the Korean conflict, the sniper came back to vogue in military circles during the war in Vietnam. Specially trained snipers were using the large-caliber M2 rifle, increasing not only the range but power. Carlos Hathcock has been credited with a kill at 2286 meters using this combination.

Carlos Hathcock rifle

The 10X magnification scope used by highly trained snipers during the war is now common equipment on today’s hunting rifles. The light transmission of these scopes has also improved, triggered by advances in lens technology. Variable magnification scopes became more widely available on civilian firearms starting in the 1990s, allowing the hunter to use a single scope for both long- and short-range shooting without changing out the equipment.

Red dot laser sighting also became available to help hunters with their sighting, allowing them to see exactly where the rifle is aimed. Lasers have also been incorporated as part of the range-finding capabilities of rifle scopes. Even with this stage of development, further technical innovations are expected, most likely incorporating digital capability into scopes.

How Rifle Scopes Works?

Before we move to the next section of our article, let’s take a look at the science behind how a magnifying rifle scope works. Here’s an example of a typical rifle scope:

Longe range scope scheme

Let’s start at the business end of the scope, the objective lens. This lens captures and transmits light back to the ocular lens, at the other end of the scope, closest to your eye. The scope works with the same functions as a telescope. The light coming through the objective lens focuses on a point inside the scope through a magnifying lens (if using magnification power), and the ocular lens magnifies the light, so when you look through the scope, the image you see is that light. You will also see some type of reticle or crosshair, which assists in aiming the rifle and showing the shooter where the shot should go. This image has several variations but is usually in the shape of “+”. Some scopes give you the ability to change to different levels of magnification, for example, a range from 3X to 9X (we’ll explain this in more detail later). This adjustment is accomplished by turning the power ring.

The other two common adjustments on a rifle scope are the elevation adjustment and the windage adjustment. These are the two knobs on the side and the top of the scope tube. A bullet’s flight will be affected by wind, gravity, and friction, and these effects are more pronounced over greater distances.

Wind will typically move the bullet horizontally or left to right or right to left. The windage bell captures this velocity, and the windage adjuster helps the shooter compensate for that movement, and change his aim to allow for it. Gravity and friction will affect the flight of the bullet from top to bottom, or high to low. The elevation adjustment will compensate for this drop, by proposing a shot higher than normal, so that the drop will then reach the critical point of the target, rather than being below it, as without the adjustment.

The last parts of the system are the eyepiece and exit pupil. The ocular lens is contained in the eyepiece portion of the tube, and the exit pupil is the final part of the scope system, where the shooter will see the image and adjust his aim as necessary based on the magnification, windage, and elevation. Within this final section, the shooter can adjust the focus of the scope to match up properly with his eyesight capabilities.

Buying Guide

The purpose of this section of the review is to provide you more detailed information about several key specifications, features, and terminology relative to rifle scopes. Even for the same specification, for example, magnification, you will see a wide range of variation. The goal here is to determine which range is right for your use and application of the scope.

Consider this information from three perspectives. The first is “must-have”. If you hunt in inclement weather, a waterproof scope is most likely a must-have feature. Parallax adjustment (more on this later in this section) could be a “nice to have” feature vs. preset parallax – not required, but something you might use if available to you. And finally, consider “bells and whistles” features – nice stuff but not needed for your use. An example might be a 1000-yard laser range finder. If you are typically a woods hunter, with a visibility of just a couple of hundred yards, you will not get any use out of this feature.

We won’t go into a huge amount of detail in this section, but hopefully, it will be enough to help you make a more informed choice. If you feel more detail is needed, you can always access the manufacturer’s web site or other informational sites such as Wikipedia.

Magnification

Magnification

Magnification refers to the size amplification of an object; in this case, an object viewed through the rifle scope. The power of the magnification is usually expressed in the format of a multiplier, such as 5X. In the case of these particular scopes, the magnification is expressed in a range, such as 4-16X. In the simple case, 5X, it means that an object 50 yards away will appear to be 10 yards away when viewed through a 5X scope (50 divided by 5 equals 10).

At 100 yards away, the same object would appear to be 20 yards away. The scopes with a range have an adjustable setting to increase the magnification from 4X to 16X in the example above. The increments of the adjustments may vary from scope to scope, with one going from 4 to 8 to 12 to 16, and another possibly from 4 to 10 to 16, just as an example.

Objective Lens

Objective Lens

As we discussed earlier, the objective lens is at the far end of the scope and captures and transmits light back to the ocular lens at the front of the scope. The size of the objective lens is expressed by the diameter of the lens in millimeters. The objective lens sizes in this review all measure between 40mm and 50mm. Does size matter when it comes to the objective lens? In general, yes, as the larger the lens, the more light it can capture.

In reality, however, the relationship between the lens and the magnification power is more relevant than the lens size. You really only need the largest lenses if you are hunting at a very long range, with magnification levels from 14X to 36X. In most cases, a 40mm objective lens will be sufficient. If you typically hunt at 100 yards distance, 7X or 8X magnification with a 40mm lens should be sufficient. At 200 yards, you might need 12X magnification with the same lens size.

Field of View

Field of View

The field of view will express the area you are able to see from side to side through a scope based on the distance and the level of magnification. As you increase magnification, the area you are able to see will decrease. The field of view is typically expressed as the number of feet of the lateral distance you can see at 100 yards. You may also see it expressed as two different numbers, with the first being the lateral field of view and the second vertical. As an example, 15’ – 5.3’ would tell you that you can see 15 feet laterally and 5.3 feet vertically at 100 yards at a specific magnification level.

Parallax Error/Adjustment

Parallax Error/Adjustment

Some of these rifle scopes have a fixed parallax setting, while others have an adjustable setting for parallax error. Parallax error occurs when you switch magnification settings. The easiest way to explain parallax error is to think about driving a car. If you are in the driver’s seat, looking at the speedometer needle, you will see a speed. Someone in the passenger’s seat, at the same time, will see a different reading on the speedometer due to the angle they are looking at it.

Parallax adjustments are the equivalent of moving to the driver’s seat to get the same head-on look at the speed. It offsets the effect of the different angle. However, just to clarify things, parallax error is normally not an issue unless you are using higher levels of magnification.

Materials of Construction

Materials of Construction

Riflescopes need to be relative lightweight, but also need a high level of durability due to the adverse climate conditions encountered during a hunt. Typical materials of construction will range from engineered thermoplastics for budget-priced scopes, advancing to aircraft-grade aluminum for mid- to high-range scopes.

Weight

Weight

As noted above, the overall weight of the scope is a consideration, as the cumulative weight of the rifle, scope, ammunition, and other accessories can become a burden carrying it through adverse and difficult hunting conditions. Some of these scopes are under one pound; most are between one and two pounds.

Eye Relief

Eye Relief

Eye relief (also referred to as exit relief) refers to the distance between your eyes and the rear lens of the scope, where you can see the entire field of view that the scope captures. If the viewer’s eye is outside this distance, he will have a reduced field of view. For adjustable magnification scopes such as these, eye relief will typically be expressed as a distance at maximum magnification level, expressed in inches. If eye relief is too short, the recoil from the shot may cause damage to the shooter’s eye from the impact generated. Eye relief is especially important for hunter’s wearing glasses.

Tube Diameter

Tube Diameter

This refers to the diameter of the scope tube, which contains all the optics. It is relevant as it will impact how the scope is mounted to the rifle and the type of mounts required to do so. Scopes are typically either 30mm (about 1.2 inches) or one-inch diameter.

Scope Lenght

Scope Lenght

The length of the scope is determined by the combination of the lens used, and the curvature of that lens. Based on that, a certain length of the tube will be required to attain the focus at the ocular lens. It’s simply a matter of mathematics, and a longer or shorter scope will not affect performance if the lens and lens curvature is correctly matched to the length. In this case, size only matters as far as weight.

Rail Type

Rail Type

railThe rail is the mechanism that allows the scope or other accessories to be mounted to the rifle. The two most common types of rail systems are Picatinny and Weaver. Picatinny rails are derived from the military and have standard, specific spacing. A Picatinny rail is below left; Weaver on the right. The primary difference is in the groove specifications and the variation in the grooves. In reality, it is enough to know that scopes that fit Weaver rails will generally fit on a Picatinny rail; the reverse is not normally true. The manufacturer’s web site should be able to provide specifics on mounting requirements.

Reticle

Reticle

reticleThe reticle is the crosshair configuration the shooter sees through the rifle scope. The cross in the center of the reticle is then aimed and centered on the target. The reticle itself may be illuminated for better contrast against the target, or just plain lines. Note that an illuminated reticle will always require a secondary battery, and typically will also involve a knob for adjustments to the level of illumination. Both these additions will add some additional weight to the scope. Below is an example of the difference between a standard and an illuminated reticle.

Illumination Type and Level

Illumination Type and Level

If the reticle is illuminated, the illumination is normally provided by a light-emitting diode or LED light. Most commonly, red LEDs are used, but green LEDs are also available. In some higher-end scopes, lasers can be used for sighting, range finding, etc. Some scopes will also have the adjustable intensity for the illumination of the reticle.

Reticle Type

Reticle Type

reticle type

In addition to the example shown above, there are several different reticle display types. While they all serve the same person, a user preference may drive your decision. Mil-dot reticles, based on military specifications, are very common, and most other designs are variations of them. See the example below. The dots of the center point represent a sighting adjustment equivalent to 3.6 inches per 100 yards, or 36 inches at 1000 yards.

Windage and Elevation Adjustments

Windage and Elevation Adjustments

In the opening section of this review, we talked a bit about the adjustments required due to wind and elevation. Many of these scopes have an adjustment know to help the shooter compensate for these required adjustments. These adjustment knobs have what is known as a “click value”. This value is the amount of adjustment made by moving the knob one click to the left or right.

Typically, each click moves the shot by a one-quarter minute of angle, which you will normally see written as 1/4 MOA. Which leads to the next question – What is a minute of angle? MOA is a ratio that remains constant over varying distances. One minute of angle at 100 yards is almost exactly one inch; one minute of angle at 200 yards is almost exactly two inches. Since one click is ¼ MOA, if you move the adjustment four clicks to the left, your shot will move one inch to the left at 100 yards, two inches at two hundred yards, and so on.

Battery/Power Requirements

Battery/Power Requirements

Most of these scopes, because of their illumination capability, will require some type of battery or power source. You should make sure that the battery requirements are for commonly available varieties. In reviewing specifications, most do not talk about battery life, so that could be something in the manufacturer’s FAQ section. Note some units have an automatic shut-off feature.

Laser Sights

Laser Sights

Some of the higher end scopes have incorporated laser technology. This is used primarily for range finding, elevation changes, and improved sighting. Your need for a laser sight will be determined principally by your hunting application. If you are hunting or in target competition on flat ground over long distances, a laser sight may be useful.

As an example, the Burris scope reviewed here has a laser range of 1200 yards with a reflective target. For close-in work in heavily treed areas, the distance capabilities of a laser sight will not bring you much benefit. Laser sights may also have restrictions related to the operating temperatures; check the manufacturer’s website for any temperature restrictions.

Durability

Durability

Hunting rifle scopes may be subjected to adverse climate conditions, and need some level of durability for their continued use. This is typically related to their level of shockproof, waterproof, and fog-proof protection. While there are measurement systems related to this durability (most notably the IP system for waterproof), we don’t typically see a specific rating applied to the scopes.

Warranty

Warranty

As expected, as the price of the scope climbs, the warranty covering them improves. Warranties may range from a few months to limited lifetime, to complete lifetime warranties. Most warranty information is available on the Amazon site; if not, please consult the manufacturer’s site.

Price

Price

Last, and certainly not the least of these considerations, is the price of these scopes. We’ve presented these rifle scopes grouped by price range, to make it easier to pair a particular scope with your budget range. We do recommend, however, that you look more at the overall value of the scopes you are considering, and not just the price. Value is defined here as being the right blend of features and costs to bring you exactly what you want.

Best Rifle Scopes Uunder $200 Review

CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope

This rifle scope starts our review with an extremely affordable $40 price tag, lowest of this category. It’s a top ten seller among rifle scopes on Amazon. It has a wide range of magnification and features both red and green color options in the reticle. The kit contains a cleaning cloth, lens cover, Weaver rail mounting kit, tools, and battery.

CVLIFE Hunting

Rifle Scope

Features and specifications:

- field of vision is 28 feet laterally at 100-yard distance

- click value is 1/8” at 100-yard distance

- one-inch diameter tube, about 1-1/2 pounds

Check Price!

Pros

Pros
  • Rating of 4.2 is comparable to other, more highly-priced scopes in this category
  • Good ratings for low light use and mounting system
  • Price

Cons

Cons
  • Customer complaints that magnification specifications are overstated
  • Difficulty in sighting in, and maintaining sighting after firing

UUQ Tactical Rifle Scope

With this UUQ scope, we move from the lowest price in this category to the highest, at $130. It also carries a solid 4.2 rating and brings in several additional features to compensate for the higher selling price. Rated for a 1000G shock test, it is also waterproof and fog-proof and constructed from an aluminum alloy.

UUQ Tactical Rifle Scope

Features and specifications:

- comes with a built-in flashlight for additional night hunting capability

- red and green LEDs, with five-level intensity adjustment

- has a standard green laser sight, with 300-meter capability

- adapts to either Picatinny or Weaver rail systems

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Pros

Pros
  • Standard ¼-inch click adjustment for consistency
  • Four reticle patterns available
  • High rating (4.5) for low light capability

Cons

Cons
  • Complaints about reticles breaking off inside the scope
  • Difficulty in centering, and maintaining center after firing
  • Lots of features, but not great quality features

SNIPER Scope

Weighing in at a rather hefty 2.4 pounds, this rifle scope comes with a limited lifetime warranty and satisfaction guarantee. It features red, green, and blue LED capability and comes packaged with lens covers, a heavy-duty mounting system, and a sunshade. A parallax adjustment is also included, with multi-coated optic lenses.

SNIPER Scope

Features and specifications:

- 4X – 16X adjustable magnification in combination with a 50mm objective lens

- standard mil-dot reticle

- ball-bearing windage and elevation adjustment for improved shock resistance

- field of view is 22 feet at 100 yards

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Pros

Pros
  • Full-featured, mid-range price
  • Adjustable parallax settings from ten yards up, rough range finding capability
  • Positive comments about long-range capabilities

Cons

Cons
  • Complaints about maintaining sighting with larger caliber ammunition (shock resistance)

FSI Sniper Scope – Best Value, Best Overall

This is the last of our under $200 rifle scopes. It has a 4.0 customer rating, and costs just over $90. Featuring a red, blue, or greet mil-dot reticle, it has ball bearing adjustments for elevation and windage, improving shock sensitivity. Users rate it five stars for value and shooting accuracy.

FSI Sniper Scope

Features and specifications:

- limited lifetime warranty for the original purchaser

- adjustable parallax setting from fifteen yards and up

- coated lenses for high clarity with limited light distortion

- heavy-duty Weaver mounting system

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Pros

Pros
  • Customer reviews cite excellent accuracy at distances of 750 yards
  • Users cite good clarity at 20X, somewhat fuzzy at 24X
  • Good ratings for reticle LED brightness (4.5)

Cons

Cons
  • Field of view only 15 feet at 100 yards
  • Some comments about durability of scope

To summarize this price group, while we normally end up with two different awards for Best Overall and Best Value, in this case, they both go to the same rifle scope, the FSI Sniper Scope. While the #3 Sniper Scope warranted serious consideration for one of the awards, this #4 scope had a very similar price, identical overall rating, but garnered 5.0-star ratings for value and accuracy. Given that you buy a scope to improve accuracy, and you get recognized value by its purchasers, giving this scope both awards was not a tough decision.

Best Overall Model
Best Value Model

FSI Sniper Scope

Best Rifle Scopes Uunder $300 Review

Vortex Optics Crossfire II – Best Overall

A 44mm adjustable, multi-coated objective lens will provide excellent focus and clarity. This is a one-inch tube, made from aircraft-grade aluminum for strength and shockproof performance. At just under twenty ounces, it’s durable yet lightweight. This is the number two seller in Amazon rifle scopes, and carriers a solid 4.6 overall rating.

Vortex Optics

Crossfire II

Features and specifications:

- ¼” MOA click adjustment, with maximum adjustment 50 MOA for windage and elevation

- parallax adjustable from ten yards up

- field of view is just over fifteen feet at 100 yards

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Pros

Pros
  • 5.0 user rating for material quality, 4.7 rating for brightness and accuracy
  • Praise for customer service and warranty
  • Good reviews for ease of zeroing in sights

Cons

Cons
  • Complaints about higher magnification optics clarity seemingly fixed with adjustable objective lens, however

Mueller Target Rifle Scope

Tied with the Vortex scope with a 4.6 overall rating, this one is priced just a little bit higher. It’s a 30mm tube, with a standard mil-dot reticle. The lens runs all the way up to 32X magnification, the highest of any of the scopes reviewed here. A side-focus parallax adjustment rounds out the features.

Mueller Target

Rifle Scope

Features and specifications:

- scope weighs in a 1.6 pounds

- 44mm objective lens focuses quickly, with full edge-to-edge clarity

- windage and elevation adjustments max out at 40 inches at 100 yards

- click adjustment is 1/8”

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Pros

Pros
  • Good overall rating; almost 90% of ratings 4- or 5-star
  • Highly praised for value

Cons

Cons
  • Difficulty holding centering with higher caliber ammunition
  • Parallax adjustment moves based on multiple reviews

KONUSpro M30 – Best Value

This scope has a couple of nice options, with flip-up lens covers, locking, fast focus optic adjustments, and a four-inch sunshade. Weight is just under two pounds, and this 30mm tube is waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof. It’s the lowest price of the three in this group, but the differences are not very significant.

KONUSpro M30

Features and specifications:

- field of view is 17 feet at 100 yards

- 1/8” click adjustments, parallax adjustments capable from ten yards up

- offset illuminator switch with five intensities of blue and red LEDs

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Pros

Pros
  • All reviews are three-star and above, but only eleven reviews total
  • 60 MOA range adjustment
  • Decent longer-range capability cited (>600 yards)

Cons

Cons
  • Not a lot of experience with this scope. Under 20 reviews on OpticsPlanet.com also (but also mostly positive)

In summary, I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these under $300 rifle scopes. I got scared off a little bit by the Mueller, as some of the critical reviews were fairly harsh, but to be honest, there were not a lot of them. The lack of customer experience on the Konus made me a little nervous, but I got past it and marked this one best value. With a high overall rating, high ratings on several sub-categories, and a number two seller by volume at Amazon, naming the Vortex the best overall for this group was a pretty easy call.

Best Overall Model

Vortex Optics Crossfire II

Best Value Model

KONUSpro M30

Best Rifle Scopes Uunder $500 Review

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC – Best Value, Best Overall

The Monarch 3 line from Nikon offers a variety of different magnification and reticle packages. The BDC package offers a three-time zoom range, with a reticle optimized for long-range hunting. Fairly light at only 1.2 pounds, it’s waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof. It has a one-inch tube, with a quick focus eye adjustment and coated lenses.

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC

Features and specifications:

- spring-loaded turrets for positive feel elevation and windage adjustments

- 4, 8, 12 and 16X magnification settings, 42mm objective lens

- clear-coat lenses for clarity and 95% light transmission

- picatinny mounts required for rifle

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Pros

Pros
  • As you’d expect from Nikon, high-quality lenses
  • Locking parallax adjustment knob to stay zeroed once set

Cons

Cons
  • Low number of reviews, which might be expected as prices go up
  • One comment by user not able to lock down elevation settings

Leupold VX-3i

Like the Nikon above, this scope comes in a variety of lens and reticle combinations. The 3i model features a 4.5 – 14X adjustment range with a 40mm objective lens and the Duplex reticle. The lens has a special coating for scratch-resistance and higher light transmission. It’s fairly light at 1.3 pounds, and is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum.

Leupold VX-3i

Features and specifications:

- allows for clear targets in lower light situations, thereby extending hunting time

- large field of vision at 19.9 feet at 100 yards, vertical FOV at 7.4 feet

- waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof

- MOA clicks set at ¼”

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Pros

Pros
  • Extreme climate exposure, works in ranges from -40oF to 160oF
  • Tested on high impact firing machine for durability
  • Full lifetime warranty, transferable

Cons

Cons
  • Based on specs and literature, no parallax adjustment

While there were only two rifle scopes in the under $500 category, the Nikon is the stronger of the two and gets both best value and best overall ratings. There is nothing technically wrong with the Leupold scope, and user comments are positive. Pricing is almost the same for the two, but the big differentiator for me was the lack of parallax adjustment on the Leupold. If you’re going to drop $500 on a rifle scope, it should have this capability.

Best Overall Model
Best Value Model

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC

Best Rifle Scopes Uunder $1000 Review

Nikon Black FX1000 – Best Value

This combination of reticle and magnification presents an MOA style reticle, preferred for moving target leads and windage adjustments at extended ranges. The coated lenses allow for enhanced light gathering in darker conditions and are low dispersion to provide solid resolution. The barrel is about 15 inches long, and clocks in at a hefty 23 ounces.

Nikon Black FX1000

Features and specifications:

- field of view is 17.8 feet horizontal, 5.1 feet vertical at 100 yards

- has a second focal plane reticle, which will not change when magnification settings are adjusted

- parallax setting valid from 50 yards out

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Pros

Pros
  • Number 37 in scope sales at Amazon, despite the price tag
  • High ratings overall, and for value and quality (both 4.7) and accuracy (4.8)
  • 92% of reviews are 4- or 5-star

Cons

Cons
  • Comments about clarity of view at higher magnification settings

Leupold VX-2 – Best Overall

This is another variation of the VX line from Leupold, similar to the model reviewed above in the under $500 range. It comes with the same full lifetime warranty and is waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof. The fine Duplex reticle offers a clearer target view with less image obstruction.

Leupold VX-2

Features and specifications:

- ¼ MOA click adjustments

- easy parallax changes with an adjustable objective lens

- custom dial system to quickly change elevation settings

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Pros

Pros
  • Overall 4.6 rating, with 94% of reviews 4- or 5-star
  • Lightweight at only 13 ounces, made from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy
  • Excellent lens and image quality

Cons

Cons
  • Several complaints that scope pictured and described did not match scope delivered

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T

This triple use hunting, shooting, and tactical scope features a 4X zoom between 6x and 24x, with a coated lens for increased protection and light-gathering capability. It’s over 15” long, weighing almost 23 ounces. The MOA reticle is effective for moving target leads and works in a wide range of shooting applications.

Vortex Optics

Viper HS-T

Features and specifications:

- field of vision is 17.8 feet horizontally, 5.1 feet vertically

- second focal plane reticle, which stays constant while magnification settings are changed

- up to 65 MOA adjustment for windage and elevation

- parallax setting is 50 yards to infinity

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Pros

Pros
  • 4.6 overall rating, with higher ratings for quality and value (4.7) and accuracy (4.8)
  • Transferable lifetime warranty
  • Excellent optical clarity up to 20X

Cons

Cons
  • Hard to distinguish reticle in first and last light
  • Fuzzy optics at highest magnification setting

Bushnell Elite Tactical G2DMR

This is the priciest of the four scopes in this section, and the lowest rated, although still a solid 4.4 on 57 reviews. It’s marketed as a tactical scope, with design input provided by law enforcement and military experts. The aluminum, 30mm body checks in at about 18 inches long, and 1.7 pounds, and has a limited lifetime warranty.

Bushnell Elite

Tactical G2DMR

Features and specifications:

- designated Marksman Reticle, military-style hash-marked reticle specifically designed for windage adjustment and ranging

- multi-coated optics for image clarity and improved light amplification

- rain-Guard anti-fogging technology

- fifty-yard to infinity parallax adjustment

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Pros

Pros
  • Designed for long-range accuracy with .1 mil click value
  • 94% 4- and 5-star reviews out of 57 total

Cons

Cons
  • Descriptions indicated the scope was illuminated, while it is not illuminated

Burris 200116 Eliminator

If you are looking for exceptional range and accuracy in a rifle scope (and have a big budget), the Eliminator could be the one for you. This high-tech rifle scope has laser sighting and range finding, elevation and trajectory compensation, and windage capabilities. The highly detailed reticle gives you “through the scope” information to help line up your shot, including a push-button red-dot aiming point.

Burris 200116

Eliminator

Features and specifications:

- wide 26-foot field of vision at 100 yards

- adjustable parallax from 50 yards to infinity

- laser range finder, with up to 1200-yard capability for reflective targets

- built-in inclinometer, adjustable to 45o

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Pros

Pros
  • Takes virtually all guesswork out of aiming your shot
  • Long-range laser capabilities
  • X96 reticle has red dot hold-over capability for exact aiming coordinates

Cons

Cons
  • A surprising number of 3-star or fewer reviews for a scope costing this much

One of the performance specifications that you expect from a rifle scope is a tight grouping, and that’s what we have here. Three of the four scopes have a 4.6 rating; the fourth is 4.4. Prices range from a low of $597 to $630 for the first three, with the fourth, the Bushnell Elite, costing $722. Performance and specs are pretty much the same top to bottom.

Given all this, we’ve selected the Nikon as the best value scope. This was influenced by user ratings for value, the high number of reviews, and the overall ranking by sales numbers. The Leupold scope garnered the best overall title, primarily on the strength of the easy adjustments for parallax and elevation, complimented by the transferable lifetime warranty.

One warning for the consumer to consider all four of these scopes. They all are part of a line of scopes with multiple variations, features, and specifications, and all expressed in ads with a lot of commonality from one scope to another. This has led to confusion on what was ordered versus what was delivered in several user reviews. We strongly suggest some deeper research, especially on manufacturer’s websites, to make sure you get what you are expecting.

Best Overall Model

Leupold VX-2

Best Value Model

Nikon Black FX1000

Conclusion

In summary, since this is the only rifle scope in this range, it doesn’t make a lot of sense picking the “best of” categories. This scope is obviously geared to the serious hunter or marksman, and their personal review would be the driving factor for the purchase of this or any similarly priced scope. It does have a slightly higher overall 4.6 rating at OpticsPlanet.com, but there are still several negative reviews on their site.

And that wraps up this review of rifle scopes. We’ve given you a wide range of prices, from budget-priced all the way to top of the line, and hopefully enough information and background to make the right choice for your wants and needs. Happy hunting!

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