Best Rifle Scope: Our Review Includes Long Range Scopes, Tactical Scopes & More
One can only dream of having plenty of time, money, and guns to test out every rifle scope until you’ve found the perfect one or two.. or ten! So, if the local shooting hub has gotten sick of you hanging around or if your mates’ inventory is just as sad as yours, then we sure have the review for you.
From affordable and low budget to second mortgage-worthy, we will tell you if there’s a Leupold, NightForce, Bushnell, or a Nikon up our sleeves. Our comprehensive reviews will leave you with the top rifle scopes you can buy.
NightForce NXS Tactical Scope - 5.5-22x56mm w/ Free S&H
SWAROVSKI Z5 3.5-18x44 Ballistic Turret Riflescope with 4W Reticle
Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II First Focal Plane Riflescopes
Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Riflescope
Athlon Optics , Argos BTR , Riflescope , 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated ATMR MOA Reticle
Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12x40mm Rifle Scope
Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescopes
Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm Riflescope
Best Under $2000
Best Under $1000
Best Under $500
Best Under $400
Best Under $300
Best Under $200
Best Tactical Rifle Scope
How to Choose a Rifle Scope in 2020
Whether this is your first-time hunting for the perfect rifle scope, or your fifth, with so many options available choosing the ideal optic might seem like a daunting task. To make the process easier there are a few things you can consider.
Firstly, what is your budget? Whether you have $100, $200, $300, $500, $1000, or even more to spend there is a rifle scope that will fit your budget and your needs.
Secondly, what are your shooting activities? Do require a rifle scope for long-range shooting, deer hunting or varmint control? What type of firearm are you going to mount your scope to and what type of reticle or objective do you need? Is the scope going to be a gift for someone else?
We hope to help you answer these questions and more with our reviews and gear guides so you can walk away confident with your choice.
But if you still don’t know where to start, keep cruising on down this page. We have highlighted the top rifle scopes in 2019 & 2020 from a variety of the best brands and in a range of price categories, and there is truly something here for everyone!
LONG EYE RELIEF
16 of the best AR-15 scopes
7 of the best deer hunting scopes
8 of the best FFP scopes
8 OF THE best long eye relief scopes
11 of the best long range scopes
7 of the best low light scopes
14 of the best night vision scopes
7 of the best tactical scopes
9 of the best thermal scopes
7 of the best varmint hunting scopes
The Best Rifle Scope for the Money
Shopping smart means getting the best of what you can afford, no matter what your budget is. And since we know everyone’s ideal price range is different, we have compiled lists of the top-rated rifle scopes in a range of the most common budget categories.
From low-budget beauties to some of the best rifle scopes in the world, there is something for every hunter in the categories below.
Best Hunting Rifle Scope Brands
Whether you are looking for a low budget brand, or want to go straight to the top shelf, there is an optics company ready to deliver. Check out an A-Z of the best brands and the rifle scopes they have on offer.
This is a brand that dabbles in both the tactical and hunting industry, and they’re known for their unbeatable, low budget prices. In our Barska line-up you won’t spend more than $100, even for an illuminated reticle and an AO parallax adjustment!
This budget brand doesn’t believe low prices should keep you from having high end features. If you’re strapped for cash and need an affordable scope today for under $100, Barska is our top recommendation.
8 Things to Consider Before Buying a Rifle Scope
1. Your Budget & Needs
This is perhaps the first and foremost factor to consider when buying a rifle scope. Your budget sets the limits of what features to look for, the quality of the glass, and the overall usability of the product.
It will also narrow down the options for you by naturally weeding out the optics that won’t apply to your hunting needs and your financial limits. Our section on How to Choose the Right Optics in this article is a great place to start.
2. Reticle Options
This is another factor to consider since it will greatly help you to determine what range you want to be shopping in.
Are you extreme long range shooting where a ballistic turret would be more appropriate? Maybe you’re varmint hunting out to 300 yards where a BDC reticle will be invaluable?
Most of the time for average hunters, a duplex reticle will get the job done effectively and efficiently. You should also be aware that the fancier your reticle gets, the more you might need to increase your budget.
Check out this article to help you identify which set of cross hairs is going to help you maximize your hunting potential.
3. Magnification: Fixed or Variable?
If you’re set on a variable scope, it’s common sense that you’re going to pay a little bit more for higher powered optics. It’s also going to to determine how effectively you can use your BDC reticle, what distances you hunt in, the type of targets you’re hunting, and whether or not you’re going to need parallax adjustment.
For the sake of saving your wallet some stress and ensuring a productive hunt, put a little thought into what range of power you’re going to want. For more on magnification and how it’s going to affect your hunting prowess, our Parallax article might be of some help and this Reticles article can als0 give you some insight.
4. Parallax Adjustment
This high end feature can drive up the cost significantly unless you’ve found a low budget AO rifle scope that’ll serve you just fine in the field.
In determining whether or not you need to consider this as a factor in your shopping spree for the best scopes, you’ll need to take into account your hunting distances, types of targets, and magnification settings.
But, parallax is a tricky and widely misunderstood concept in the sporting world. To get up to date on what it is, how it will affect you, and how to get rid of it, our this article is your best resource.
5. Objective Lens Sizes
To save you some serious cash, you might want to avoid the hype and low light myths of huge objective lens sizes. Although they have a large role to play in how much exit pupil is available to you and having a larger field of view, you will need to weigh it up against a few factors to consider…
Whether or not you want to mount your scope high, how much more weight it’s going to tack on, quality of glass, and usable magnification ranges to get the most use out of your large objective lens.
While a large objective lens isn’t for everybody, there are definitely some of us who swear by them. To see how objective lens sizes will affect your buying decision, our Objective Lens Diameter: Does Size Matter? article will guide you through an in depth look at helping you to narrow down the options.
6. Your Scope & Firearm Combination
What are you mounting your scope to? Is it the appropriate optics for your firearm? Is it recoil rated for an air gun?
It is important to know about proper scope and firearm combinations – not just so you can make the best buy, but so you can protect your investment and possibly protect your physical well-being and your handsome face.
Whether you run an AR-10, AR-15 or hunting rifle, choosing the right scope for your firearm is just as important as knowing everything about your firearm, knowing your shooting limitations, and knowing vital information about your target.
In a time and age where telescopic sights have quickly dominated the sights market, you can’t afford to lose accuracy or money because you chose the wrong scope.
To make sure you don’t kick yourself in the rear end for incorrectly mounting the wrong scope to the wrong rifle, this article will give you some comprehensive insights on what to look for.
7. Turret Systems
If you’re not sure about what I mean by this, then take a moment to let me enlighten you.
You want a scope that’s easy to sight in and can hold its zero, period.
This is a fundamental feature that all optics users must be able to nail, and sometimes it’s not due to a lack of skill that can get in the way of these two things. A good, quality, and user-friendly turret system should enable you to get it sighted in fast and hold its zero, no matter what the amount of recoil is.
If you chose your scope correctly, the recoil shouldn’t be an issue.
Furthermore, ballistic turret systems are a high end and premium feature that’ll enable you long distance aficionados to push your skills to the limits and get dead on – Every. Single. Time.
Turrets are an important factor to consider and if you want to know how to use them effectively, our Turret Systems article is your number one source.
8. Know Your Stuff
This is perhaps the most essential factor to consider, even above budget.
How do you know what to look for if you have no idea what I’m going on about?
You could just pretend you know what parallax, turrets, FFP/SFP, LRHS, #60, and every other vocable, term, and acronym in the book is, but then again, the rest of us would get a kick out of seeing your eyes glaze over.
Now, that would a be good moment to give you a hard time. Instead of being the butt of our jokes, why don’t you get caught up on the terminology and join our little tête-à-tête – this isn’t a suggestion, it’s a direction… even if it is for your sake only.
So, here’s our Glossary to get you clued in and running your mouth like a pro!
The Best Hunting Rifle Scopes. Full Stop.
No matter how great each scope is, there must always be a winner. And, these optics will and should be touted as the top rifle scopes in the market – they deserve it.
It doesn’t matter what your budget is, if you’re new to the sport or a long-time zealot, there’s a scope that’s been made just for you.
There’s no need to waste money on an after-market product or a foreign and unheard-of brand. Any optic that’s worth mentioning has been thoroughly reviewed right here so that you can make the most out of your buck.