Hunting is a sport that requires patience and skill. If you are looking to improve your game, it’s essential to purchase the best hunting scope for your rifle. When choosing the right one, there are several things, including magnification level, reticle design, and lens coating. Before shopping, it’s essential to research to ensure that you get what you need to shoot accurately during your next hunt.
- Factors To Consider When Buying A Hunting Scope
- Best Hunting Scopes
Factors To Consider When Buying A Hunting Scope
You need to know the required magnification for your desired use.
For instance, if you are hunting for a medium-sized game, you should choose a magnification of 1.5-5x or 2-7x. You will need a little higher (3-9x or 4-12x) for Antelopes and all-round hunting. In contrast, long range hunting for varmint will require a magnification of 4-16x and above.
Note: Higher magnifications result in lower clarity, less light transmission, and a mirage effect on hot summer days.
Objective Lens Diameter
The objective lens and magnification power determine the exit pupil size.
A small exit pupil size can cause a poor sight picture through the lens. At the same time, a wide pupil size will also cause some light to be lost as it doesn’t enter your eyes. So, the best is to choose your objective lens based on your magnification range. High magnification goes with a larger objective lens and vice-versa.
Glass and Lens Coating
Good glass and lens coating are essential for any quality scope. This is particularly true for high magnification scopes that offer a wide zoom range. These are key factors in image quality and light transmission. The waterproofing and scratch resistance coatings can also improve durability. If you have the funds, you can choose ED glass (Extra Low Dispersion Glass), HD (High Density) Glass, and Fully Multi-Coated lenses.
Note: Choose quality over aesthetics. A hunting scope with high-quality coated lenses is your best option for quality.
Any scope must be able to hold zero lenses and body durability. The scope must also endure harsh field conditions such as extreme temperatures, submersion in water, and a healthy amount of force.
A reliable manufacturer’s warranty is a great way to make sure that a scope works well.
Eye Relief and Eyebox
Eye Relief refers to the distance between your aiming eyes and the scope to achieve the best sight image.
A larger eye relief generally means that your eyes are protected from recoil. However, too much eye relief can cause discomfort in the eyes and head. For rifle scopes, the standard eye relief is between 3″ and 4″.
Eyebox is the amount of room you have to aim your eyes.
A small scope in the eye box can be less than half an inch for optimal eye placement.
There are three main types of reticle patterns
- Simple – Duplex, NikoPlex, V-Plex, Dot, etc.
- Mil-Dot, MOA Crosshairs
- BDC – Bullet Drop Compensation
Your reticle choice is a personal preference but take note that simple reticles don’t work well for long range shots.
It would help if you opted for a larger tube size which offers greater durability and a wider range of adjustments for the internal turrets. In addition, a bigger tube usually comes with a larger objective lens which improves light transmission.
Hunting-style turrets have a low profile and are protected from accidental adjustments while out hunting. It is nice to have finger-adjustable turrets. This makes it easier to use the scope. The turrets should also be simple enough to zero.
You don’t want heavy equipment when you hunt in high-altitude environments or on hikes. You should make sure that the scope is lightweight and does not affect the rifle’s balance. This will also increase your accuracy.
Best Hunting Scopes
Sig Sauer SIERRA6BDX 3-18x44mm
Simplicity in a single piece is another name of this gadget. Furthermore, hunters and shooters that want something versatile during field operation should choose this rifle scope. It has electro-optic features that make standard rifle scope excellent for range targets.
Sig Sauer also contains a suitable rangefinder with a mobile phone app. For those with zero experience on using a rifle, a brief tutorial is enough to get you familiarized with the basics of the device and its capabilities as a new generation device.
The duplex reticle, a vertical stadia, has numerous illuminated dots that provide lighting for a holdover that the BDX-compatible rangefinder indicates. In other words, it enables users to identify the target range with a SIG rangefinder eliminating any guesstimation as you can hold a specific distance.
The app presence makes it easy to load the rifle’s specific ballistics and ensure the aim point fits the bullet and caliber the hunter wants to shoot. After various testing, the SIERRA6 wins many awards because it stands unique among other optics. The device is available in 5-20×56 & 2-12×40 configurations. Among other low-light tests, SIG ranks third as the 44mm objective is as effective as 50mm scopes.
The capped turret features 60MOA internal adjustment when tuned to .25 MOA click as the illumination module precisely has double dark vision settings and eight daylight settings.
Identifying the correct mount is similar to choosing the best rifle scope. SIG comes with a lifetime warranty and ensures the mount and rings are durable.
Bushnell is perfect for covering the distance. This brand is a big name in good rifle scope as they are significant producers of varieties of crossbows, rifles, shotguns, and muzzleloaders effective across different locations.
The best thing about Bushnell is its affordable price and value for money; aside from its reinvented banner, the scopes have in-built 1-inch steel rings. As a result, the Bushnell is a pick for the Great Buy award for combining a range of features at a giveaway price.
Bushnell has a ballistic reticle with standard hold-over reference in duplex design. The mobile app allows users to turn the reticle to their suitable load and customize holds at magnification. Another advantage is the Ironclad Warranty which is transferable and ensures the longevity of the scope.
The 6-18×50 configuration can match any firearm as the objective lens(40mm) is perfect for low-profile mounting. In addition, the scope has six-step red illumination that allows hold-over points.
Another feature hunters will find familiar in Banner 2 is the unique set of useful features. Maybe it’s because the scope is not complicated and has rich features that you can find in every gun collection.
Thanks to the 13 ounces low weight, the mounting process is seamless. Depending on an individual’s preference, you can use rail or ring mounting systems and how you want the scope to operate. In addition, the low magnification settings make it easy to swap between rifles to change between range or hunting trips.
The ring is approximately 26mm, which is pleasing and efficient for the scope. Similarly, you can use any preferred rail system if you want the above ring size. Ultimately, the scope’s low weight allows users to virtually mount the scope on any weapon platform since the weight balances with weapon performance.
Maven RS.5 4-24×50
Maven is an excellent and functional model you should try soon. Currently, it is a stylish rifle scope that can target any object within a considerable distance. At 4x magnification, users can hold for 30 mils elevation, but at 24x, the vertical stadia allows holdover of only five mils which implies that you should compute hold with the magnification. However, with enough practice and commitment, you can ideally add the embellishment and hold.
The scope glass is appropriate for excellent resolution and low-light brightness as the elevation control has 100 MOA for travel adjustment, and the windage turret has 20.3 MIL travel. Furthermore, the 6x magnification is appropriate for a variety of targets.
Mounting material is lightweight modeled plastic as the throw lever provides zoom adjustment and matches Maven RS rifle scopes. The lever mounts the adjustment ring with no struggle and fits all RS.1, RS.3, and RS.5 rifle scopes.
Sightmark Citadel 3-18×50
Rimfire matches are the most popular for shooting games, whether under the supervision of the NRL22 league, Rimfire Challenge, or other governing bodies. Many precision and versatile scopes have features that make them similar to .22 matches, including adjustable parallax down to 25 yards, internal reticle adjustment for changing aim from close to a way-far target, wide magnification range, different reticle wind, and elevation references.
Sightmark’s Citadel is excellent because it has a reticle, MOA first plane dot, modest magnification range, indistinct turrets, etc. However, some testers prefer the tight parallax that focuses from 20 yards and above with 11 red illumination settings.
The disadvantage is that the glass quality shows peripheral distortion and the magnification range that obstructs the reticle from seeing below 7x.
Mounting the Sightmark Citadel rifle scope will require 30mm rings. A cantilever mount is recommended for AR platforms. Mount the scope rings according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After you have checked the alignment of your reticle and eye relief, do not tighten the scope rings. You should be able to move the rifle scope fore, aft, and rotate.
Lucid L5 6-24×50
There is lots of versatility in this 30mm tube. The 4-16×44 iteration is suitable for hunting or shooting its pick object as close as 15yardss, making it a perfect candidate for rimfire work. A veteran expressed that the rubber inserts well from the turrets to the power-changing dial noting that it turns with zero or minimal resistance.
But because L5 lacks a lot of performance, you might rate it a low score compared to others in a similar category. However, the turret travel is 80 percent which is consistent and precise. Still, at the upper end of the windage and elevation travel, the aim point is off by 2 MOA, which shows erector system imprecision.
Furthermore, there is flaring at the upper magnification end as some testers like the brightness. Finally, in the aspect of the low-light test, it has one of the worst scores in reticle visibility. In summary, the turret is complex to understand because they are in 1/8 MOA adjustment instead of standard 1.4 MOA, but it makes the aiming solution precise.
The tube has about 2 inches of area to mount the rear scope ring. After that, the tube transitions into a raised shoulder for control knobs. There is 2.25 inches more tube in front of the scope to mount the forward rings. The tube runs up into the scope’s bell. Sunshades can be used with the scope’s bell, which is threaded. However, no sunshade is included in the scope.
Leica Amplus6 (2.5 – 15 x 50i)
The Amplus 6’s optic features an outstanding 10-step middle illumination that you can adjust to be hardly visible in dark situations or searingly bright in direct daylight enhances the low light efficiency further.
There was nothing we did not like about the seamless parallax zooming from twenty yards to beyond and the tool-free elevation turret resetting and zero stop.
The Amplus 6 reticle includes various features that enhance its accuracy and adaptability. For example, shooters can utilize the Leica Hunting Application, which can compute the trajectory of bullets of practically any caliber and weight.
Leica’s rangefinders may be connected through Bluetooth so that people can instantly and integrate absolute distances with trajectories to dial in targeting solutions fast and effortlessly.
The Leica Amplus6 has a 30 mm tube diameter with no rail mounting option. Also, the body is durable, shock-resistant, and top-quality aircraft-grade aluminum which makes the rifle scope easy to mount.
Tract Toric UltraHD 2-10×42
Tract Toric is the epitome of a cross-over scope: brilliant, accurate, and equipped with an MOA reticle in the fashion of a first-plane hash pattern. The optics are some of the best in their class, and the set-up is ideal for long range shooting.
It is easy to target with the reticle’s wide design, and it is entirely easy executing holdover and hold-off rounds at the big game in the West, thanks to its simplicity. It is also ideal for even a rimfire targeting game, as the parallax can concentrate as near as Ten yards away.
The Toric UltraHD has some flaws, but they are not insurmountable. For example, the uncovered elevation turret is adjusted with a hydraulic-feeling pull to open it .25 MOA clicking parameters.
The non-illuminated reticle may be seen at a magnification of 2.5X, but we found that it truly began to shine at 5X. We could suggest this as a 2-10×42 given its narrow magnifying range. Torics are already available in 4-20×50, supporting the 2.5-15 magnifying range for Tract’s Toric. There was no zero stop on the prototype Toric, but the maker says they will include it in the final product.
However, those are only minor quibbles. It is a huge undertaking in every sense of the word. Elegant is the graphite finish. The game’s controls are smooth and responsive. It is one of the most extraordinary reticle contrasts we have seen, and the monitoring was flawless and consistent.
Despite the 44mm focal lens’ structural restrictions, we found no optical aberrations and decent low light efficiency. The model also includes an MRAD sight, and turrets calibrated .1 MIL clicks.
Tract Toric UltraHD features a Weaver design. As a result, it is the strongest and most versatile of all mounting systems. It has a slim profile that gives your firearm a clean look. In addition to a full-width recoil slot.
Athlon Helos BTR Gen 2 2-12×42
Versatile Rifle Scopes are meant to handle a wide range of shooting circumstances, and this scope falls into that category perfectly.
Helos BTR Gen2 Gen2 from Athlon is among the earliest purpose-built optics for public defenders to meet this Goldilocks criterion. Athlon’s Helos BTR is developed to accommodate AR-10s‘ .308 or .300 BLACKOUT rounds. For both hold-over and dialing marksmen, the scope is offered both in MIL or MOA-oriented reticles.
To begin, let us discuss its features. In our survey seems to have 110 MOA elevation modifications as well as an 80 MOA windage modification. This six-step middle circle illumination can accommodate all kinds of lighting conditions. Because of this, targets can be focused within ten yards out to beyond, with the parallax effect.
AHMR2’s first-plane reticle is a masterpiece of adaptability and precision. At 700 yards, a typical rifle zeroed in at 100 yards will meet bullet-drop standards for that range. You can spot antlers up to 600 yards away using the lesser spanning reticle. In special forces applications, you could use the ranging reticles to estimate the range of moving targets.
So there you have it: the history of this scope’s development is complete. But, unfortunately, its performance in our test did not spark nominations for the category’s most prestigious prizes. For short ranges, the tracking is excellent; but, we found that at longer ranges, the impacts were by around 1.25 MOA, which made critical shots difficult.
However, since we expected the Helos’ 42mm focus to endure considerably longer in the darkness, efficiency was equal to Athlon’s 24mm scope.
As with any mechanical device that requires precise movement, the turret’s controls can be noisy to operate. In addition, the parallax feature, which directs targets from ten yards away to beyond, was criticized by evaluators for being a little too stiff.
Regardless of the criticisms, this is a highly adaptable and budget-friendly scope that can handle a wide range of roles on an AR and work well on a long gun.
This scope is a solid option for a rimfire game scope; however, those searching for a PRS scope could be frustrated by its windage characteristics. Instead, think of it as a top-notch mid-range portable scope that was built for the job.
Athlon Helos BTR Gen 2 is great for taking a long distance shot. It features a 34mm tube for mounting purposes.
Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18×40
With an AR scope, Bushnell aims to achieve a compelling, affordable, and all-in-one scope that can target any uppers among other AR collections. It accomplishes this goal through a series of elevation turrets that have been calibrated to standard bullet weight and chamberings. Furthermore, the 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 win has a turret as the .223 Rem, and .224 Valkyrie has knobs with another generic cap .1 click values.
The AR Optics has similarities with Bushnell’s Prime because of different interchangeable turrets from .22 long rifle to 450 Bushmaster with popular calibers in between. The features prove effective for previous cases, so it should do well in this platform, especially for its attractive price.
Just like others, it has deficiencies. Firstly, the windage turret doesn’t return to zero as the elevation tracks flawlessly. Furthermore, the power changing dial-adjustable throw lever may cause obstacles for the Remington 700 and similar guns.
But since the scope configures for ARs, then there should be no worries. In addition, you may notice peripheral blurring as the low-light is lackluster, but for the price, the image is fine as users might wish there were more reticle holdover references.
The device is not suitable for precision as the turret exchange is simple and durable. However, the platform is so efficient that testers ask if the turret could calibrate their pet loads, with a range of .22LR, .17 HMR, and .243 Win. Many AR trainers have fine rimfire, so the .22 turret is a good idea.
Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18×40 features an SPR (Special Purpose Rifle) Weaver 1 Inch Thumb-Nut mounts. It has a lightweight design to deliver optimal height, including a forward cantilever suitable for AR platform rifles. The mount makes it a perfect hunting scope you could try out today.
Tract Toric UltraHD 2-10×42
This scope is a versatile and sharp scope for a test. It perfectly suits ARs, but some testers suggest lever guns, ranch rifles, shotguns, and dangerous-game rifles. There are MOA references and second plane reticle in the 1-inch tube as the oversize capped turrets tune to .5 click values and have a 60 MOA adjustment range.
From the center-dot illumination to the turrets, the control turns excellent as a tester expressed that the tracking was spot-on. The glass brightness is top-notch with zero optical aberrations. Although the low-light limit by the 42mm objective lens is quite decent. The only disadvantage is that the tract is overpriced for the device, though it is versatile and efficient.
The Tract Toric UltraHD 1-8×24 features a popular Weaver design mount, making it ideal for hunting. It has a versatile mount and a low profile which gives your firearm a sleek look. With full recoil control keys, it allows you to achieve maximum bearing surface.
Identifying the best new rifle scope for hunting depends on individual preference, budget, and range of activities. However, you can always get a suitable device by perusing this content or doing more research.
With more than 50 years experience in the field and the testing lab, author L.P. Brezny is one of today’s most recognized shotgun experts and authors. He is a contributor to dozens of firearms publications, such as Wildfowl, Shotgun Sports, and Varmint Hunters, and he is a regular columnist in the Gun Digest annual as well as AmmoLand News.