Best Rifle Scopes 2020 – Buying Guide From Basic to Advanced

If you’ve finally decided to up your hunting game or shooting with the best rifle scope, then you’ve come to the right place. Hunting or shooting long range requires the best rifle scopes. However, if you’ve never purchased a rifle scope before, then choosing the best might be challenging.

There are many options in the market with a wide array of features. You need to consider several features before choosing one that best suits your needs. Precision shooting at long ranges cannot be accomplished without a quality rifle scope.  This is the case especially in hunting when you need a single shot to make a kill.

Our complete buyer’s guide below will help you choose the leading rifle scope brands in the industry. These are top-rated rifle scopes with excellent features for easy use.

How Rifle Scopes Work

Scopes are designed to magnify images at the range and bring them closer. In addition, the scopes feature reticles that indicate the exact spot where the bullet will hit. They look like a small telescope and feature a single magnifying lens. Available scopes in the market usually come in varying magnifications ranging from 1-50. It is worth noting the bigger the magnification does not equal to being an accurate shooter. This is why you need to practice with your scope and grow your skills as a shooter or hunter.

The rifle scope works in the same manner as the binoculars. But, they make the details finer and bigger. However, unlike telescopes, riflescopes feature a reticle or crosshair that shows the aiming point where to shoot. You can basically consider a riflescope and a telescopic arm of the rifle that enhances your shooting. It features lens like most optical devices to magnify the image and make it appear bigger at a close distance.

How To Choose a Rifle Scope

Riflescopes might seem complicated but turn out to be pretty simple once you understand how they work. You don’t have to be intimidated by the difficult terms people use to describe various scope features. However, if new to scope, there are several factors and features one needs to consider.

Below, we will discuss some of the crucial features and factors one must consider. This is the only way to select the best rifle scope possible. The following are the main features to consider:

Magnification

Rifle Scope Magnification

This is probably the primary factor to consider when buying any type of scope. It is a crucial factor that makes a good starting point. Magnification is what makes the target appear closer to the eye while maintaining the object size.

There are usually two types of magnifications. These are the variable and fixed magnifications. Fixed magnifications usually read like 9X40 while variable magnification read like 3-9X40. These are just examples of fixed and variable magnifications. For the fixed one, it means the scope makes objects appear 9 times closer while the variable one allows for adjustments from 3-9.

Fixed scopes tend to be more durable since they have less moving parts. However, they are less versatile when it comes to playing with the magnification. Variable scopes on the other hands have more moving parts but are quite versatile. They are able to focus from close range to high ranges of 1000 yards.

The Objective Lens

The size of the objective lens is another important factor to consider. This is the number that appears after the X in our magnification. For example, 9X40 where 40 is the objective lens in millimeters. These are the lens opposite to where you place your eyes when focusing on the scope. The objective lens has no role in magnification. However, when magnification is increased, more light is taken in. This is where the lenses come in to bring in more light and keep the field of view clear and bright.

Basically, objective lenses gather light that forms the image. This simply means a large objective lens will gather more light hence brighter images. In the end, the user gets a larger field of view making it easy to track your game. This seems pretty simple, but there are further issues when the objective lens is way too large. A big objective lens might affect the balance of your rifle making it bulky and heavier.

Lens Coating

 Looking at the magnifications and objective lens are not the only factors to consider. You also need to look at the lens coating as they affect the light transmission to the scope. Lens coating filters the light passing through the lenses. This is another crucial factor that helps improve transmission. There are four different levels of lens coatings. These include:

Coated: This is a single chemical coating on the lens that reduces glare.

Fully coated: Each lens features a single coating under this category. However, the coating will be different on each lens.

Multi-coated: The multi-coated lenses feature multiple coatings on a single lens. This usually helps improve various light transmissions and make objects brighter and clearer.

Fully multi-coated: Finally, we have the fully multi-coated where lens features a variety of coatings that work to improve various aspects of the scope.

Generally, coatings play a major role in the scopes reducing fogging, glare and making the lens scratch-resistant. Make sure you consider the various lens coating and choose the most appropriate ones. 

Reticle Options

Rifle Scope Reticle

There are also several reticle options in different scopes making it quite difficult to select the best. A reticle is basically the crosshair or the symbol inside the scope that you can see when aiming. It helps pinpoint the exact shooting spot on the target. You also need to consider the reticle if you’re going to find the best rifle scope possible.

You probably know of the standard hair reticle which is common in most movies and TV Series. It is usually a simple cross of thin lines. Crosshair reticles are perfect for shooters and hunters looking for something simple and easy to use.

We also have the duplex reticles which are usually thicker lines at the edges and thinner toward the center. Duplex reticles are quite easy to see in low light conditions due to the thicker lines at the edges. Other reticle options include dots, chevron, and circles. These ones are perfect when shooting at short distances where you don’t need a lot of focus. The optical with dots, circles, and chevrons are used in low powered rifles. They are commonly used for home defense and short distance hunting.

Field of View

Rifle Scope Field of View

You also need to consider the field of view which is the area that one can see through the scope. The field of view area if measured in millimeter diameters covering the entire area from left to right where one can see. In most cases, the field of view can be determined by the eye field area. The field of view looks to cover a wide area as opposed to a single point.

A wider field of view is recommended when your major aim is scanning a large for a specific target. This is the case, especially when searching for a target through the scopes before taking the shot. The field of view is not a major consideration that can affect your choice of the scope. However, it is worth knowing about it and choosing a field of view that best works for you.

Eye Relief

Rifle Scope Eye Relief

This is the distance between the eye and the scope. How far does your eye need to be from the scope to get a proper alignment? You need a proper eye relief for added accuracy. This is the case especially for persons that wear glasses.

Firearms with significant recoil will also require a long eye relief. This helps keep your eyes safe when shooting due to the gun recoil. Another crucial factor that determines eye relief is the type of gun. Short guns tend to have the scope mounting far too forward than most standard guns. In the end, you need a scope with 2-10 inches of eye relief for accurate shooting.

Adjustments

Rifle Scope Adjustments

You also need to consider the adjustments of the scope for customization. You obviously need a scope that adjusts for elevation and wind. We also have scopes with turrets that adjust for windage and elevation at the same time.

Budget and Price

Lastly, you need to consider the scope price and match your budget needs. It goes without saying that some of the best rifle scopes are costly. However, you don’t need an expensive scope if you don’t need one. Make sure you consider your needs carefully and choose one that best matches your needs.

How Much Should I Spend On a Scope?

Expert hunters and shooters will advise you on one thing: Spend more on your scope than you would your rifle. Most people find it difficult to spend more money on something that simply attaches to their rifles. However, that is not the case because you will not shoot accurately even with the best rifles without a scope. A scope is a crucial addition to any rifle for accurate and precise shots.

This leads us to the big question. How much do I need to spend on a scope? Well, there is no clear and straightforward answer to this question. Below are three ways in which gun experts’ advice on how much to spend on a rifle scope:

  • Spend at least $250 on a rifle scope
  • Spend at least half of what you’ve spent on the weapon
  • Invest the same rifle price on the scope

As you can see, there is no clear answer. These are more like opinions and the ideal price comes down to the exact needs and use of the scope. Below, we will discuss some of the basic considerations to make when deciding on the scope price:

Weapon Use

The main use of the weapon is the main consideration to decide the ideal price. The main use of the weapon goes a long way in deciding the price of the scope. For example, deer hunting at 70 yards will cost much less as compared to a bench rest shooting at 100 yards a or more. In some instances, you will need a more specific scope. However, in most cases, people look for multi-functional scopes that work in a wide range of fields.

The Specific Features You Want

You also want to look at the specific features you want in a scope. This is a tricky consideration that comes down needs versus wants. A good example is cases where you need a higher magnification which translates to higher prices. However, in cases where you need a small magnification, then the price drops drastically.

Make sure your needs are well-covered in the scope before looking at extra features. Scopes with a magnification of 3X9 are among the most sold scopes suitable for a variety of uses. You can consider scopes with an objective lens that focuses below 50 yards or more depending on your needs. However, remember the more wants you to add to the list of features, the more the price.

At the end of the day, both the weapon and scope will cost you money and will be yours. However, be willing to spend more on a rifle scope if you can. Take into consideration your needs above and carefully choose a scope that perfectly fits your needs. In the end, set a good budget for your scope and spend wisely. After all, the scope is yours and will serve you well. You can spend from as low as $100 to as high as $1000 on a rifle scope.

The Main Type of Rifle Scopes

Hunting Scope

A hunting scope is one of the most common in the market. When hunting; time is crucial as the game might just disappear anytime. You need to focus fast and take your shot pretty quick. This is why hunting scopes need to be quick above all scopes. They should be easy to operate and use without any complications. You need a pretty good hunting scope that is robust and lightweight. However, you don’t need to invest heavily.

Generally, the ideal hunting scope needs to deliver a magnification level of around 10X. This is enough to take shots from short to long ranges. When hunting, the weather can change pretty quickly. Because of this, you need a scope that is waterproof and fog proof. In addition, you need a scope capable of withstanding heavier loads. You also need a duplex reticle or a standard crosshair.

Gun Scope

Handgun scope usually comes down to what best works for you. You can choose a low power scope or powerful scope depending on what best works for your gun. A good example is a scope for the .22 which works well with scopes of lower power or those with capped adjustments. You basically don’t need very powerful scopes for such guns because of the small recoil amount.

If you decide on powerful scopes, then consider one with excellent turret adjustment. Scopes with a magnification of less than 10X are perfect for most handguns.

Modern Sporting Rifle

Modern sporting riflescopes are among the best picks in the market to consider buying. Such scopes can withstand the harshest conditions and still maintain a zero. The term was coined to describe semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15. They are very common guns in the USA used for hunting, competitions, and self-defense. Modern sporting rifles are very common but widely misunderstood.

In fact, most of the modern sporting rifles are cosmetically coated to appear just like automatic rifles. The AR-15 which stands for Automatic Rifle is by far the most common modern sporting rifle in the United States. The AR-15 is fun to shoot and one owned by millions of Americans. However, it is not more powerful than most hunting rifles as most people think. The controversy surrounding modern sporting rifles is more political with most people calling these rifles Assault Rifles instead of Automatic Rifles. It is just the cosmetic appearance of this rifle that makes it appear dangerous.

Pistol Caliber Carbines

Pistol Caliber Carbines lie between pistols and rifles. They are neither not true pistols nor are they true rifles. For most people, pistol caliber carbines are rifles wannabes. However, these are robust and versatile devices for fun, competition, and self-defense. Since these firearms lie between rifles and pistols, people always ask why not choose either a pistol or go with an AK47?

Well, this is because pistol caliber carbines are more versatile and easy to maneuver. For example, an AK47 is good for home defense when outdoors. However, it becomes difficult to maneuver it indoors. This is where pistol caliber carbines come in to breach the gap between pistols and rifles. You can simply say that you don’t want a small shotgun that might not be effective for self-defense or a bulky rifle which is difficult to carry around.

Bolt Action Rifles

Bolt action rifles are unique rifles that handle cartridges in and out of the rifle manually. The rifles feature a spring, an extractor, and a firing pin all in the same locking breech lock. The spring will slide back and forth pushing the cartridge into the chamber. These arms were crucial in the development of the repeating rifle.

However, there are a few variations that come from handguns and shotguns. Most bolt action rifles will rotate when locking but some lock without rotating.

Tube Sights

Tube sights feature multiple lenses hence excellent filtration of light. The tube sights help reduce reflection. They are pretty big and feature a manipulating reticle. You can easily adjust the reticle and zero it to get the most precise shots.

Generally, tube sights are pretty strong and rarely affected by weather elements. They are waterproof and can withstand rain giving you excellent value for money.

 Rimfires

Rimfire scopes simply bolt action scopes that work perfectly for short .17 and .22 caliber rifles. When choosing rimfire scopes for guns, you can either go for the long-range ones or short ranges. The short version scopes work best around 10X magnification while the long-range versions work from 20X magnifications.

The ideal rimfire scope comes down to what best works for your rifle. Make sure you consider your rifle and choose a rimfire that best works for you.

 Sniper

You’ve probably seen sniper rifles and scopes on most TV series and movies. As you can see, a sniper scope is the second most important piece of equipment after the rifle itself. Sniper scopes are basically specialized telescopes. However, the feature additional details in the form of crosshairs that creates the perfect aim at the target.

Unlike most scopes, sniper scopes are precise and quite accurate. When snipers are sighting a target, they are basically the point of aim to the point of target. Where the sniper aims is not the exact point where the bullet will hit. There are several factors that come into play affecting the projectile of the bullet. This is why most expert snipers have a partner with them with a rangefinder to determine the bullet trajectory. For snipers, all they need is the point of aim and point of impact. They can then calculate the exact spot the bullet will hit by looking at windage, range heat and much more.

Sniper scopes come with different powers and adjustment features to suit different user needs. However, most sniper scopes are used by the military.

These are the most common types of scopes in the market. However, there are also a few small categories which include the following:

Home Defense Scopes

When it comes to home defense, you need a scope with a wide field of view and pretty good visibility. Such scopes are used to scan the home area from vintage points to ensure there are no intruders or unwanted activities. You can choose a simple scope but one that works well and is accurate. Don’t go for something complicated.

Make sure you choose scopes with 4X on the max and 7X on the lower end. The scope should also feature low power and very quick reticle adjustments. When guarding at close ranges, a scope with 1X magnification is pretty good. To maintain the point of aim, make sure you choose a scope with capped adjustment. It should also feature excellent illumination and one with a duplex or shaped reticle.

Action Shooting Scopes

Action hunting scopes need to be even faster than hunting scopes. Depending on the type of action shooting you’re doing, something about 7X magnification or less is recommended. Under action shooting, you need low power scopes. You can even choose lower magnifications as long as the scope is if good quality.

In addition, such scopes require capped turrets for faster fine adjustments. Remember you probably don’t have the time to fiddle with adjustments. When it comes to reticles, you can choose something capped or duplex since they are both faster.

 Long-range Shooting Scopes

Long-range shooting scopes focus on the furthest distance. True long-range scopes can magnify targets as far as 1000 yards. Power above anything else is all that you need when it comes to long-range shooting. You need a scope capable of dialing inaccurately and still maintaining consistency.

Most long-range shooting scopes are usually operated from a stationary position like a bench or tree-stand.  This means they don’t have to be as durable as you will not be walking around with them in most cases. The ideal magnification still depends on the exact range but something around 20X is just perfect. You also need to choose one with turret adjustment and probably a BDC reticle.

The scope can be waterproof and fog proof but not a must. This is because you will be operating the scope from a stationary place that is probably covered from bad weather elements.

 Target Shooting Scopes

When it comes to target shooting, you need to hit a specific target precisely. You need a scope that presents you with a crisp clear image. These scopes are defined by crisper images with more contrast. There should be no optical aberrations or colored lines. Most people tend to assume that all sniper scopes are target scopes. While most sniper scopes can work for target shooting, they are not all suited for target shooting. You need to know the kind of target shooting you’re doing and choose a matching scope.

A sniper scope used by a military officer in Afghanistan might not be the best choice for a friendly target shooting at a local club. Target scopes need to have a magnification of 8 or less to prevent shaking when aiming. Unlike what most people think, higher magnification does not always mean clear and bright images. Stronger magnification also tends to consume a lot of light and spread it over a bigger field as opposed to the target.

Generally, target shooting at 2-300 yards requires a magnification of 4-6. This requires a scope of 3,5X to get a clear shot at the target.

Night Vision Scopes

Some vision scopes can work at dawn and dusk when the light is dimmer. However, they will not work in total darkness as they need some light to pass through the lens. In such cases, what you need are the best night vision scopes. We have the true night vision and digital night vision scopes.

True night visions are used by the military while digital night vision works in home security systems. True night visions are quite expensive and use ambient lights. The lights are usually magnified to form the image of the target. Digital night visions, on the other hand, require infrared lights to work. However, they are pretty versatile and can be used during the day.

Thermal Scopes

Lastly, we have thermal scopes that work by detecting heat as opposed to forming an image using light.  These scopes usually feature sensors that detect thermal energy and create an image of the image detected. It is worth noting that all warm objects including persons and animal emit some form of heat energy. It is these heat radiations that thermal scopes pick to create an image.

The type of images usually varies depending on the amount of heat radiations emitted and the target shape. These types of scopes are used by the military and work without any heat source. However, they are quite expensive due to the technologies involved in the development.

Best Rifle Scope Reviews

Now that you understand how rifle scopes work and how to choose best, we can now review the leading rifle scopes in the industry. Our reviews narrow down your search to only 15 top picks in the industry. These are the top-rated and recommended rifle scopes with excellent features and reviews. Go right ahead and check them out before choosing one that best suits your needs and desires.

Choosing the best rifle scope is never easy and one must select what best suits their needs. Remember what best works for somebody else might not work for you. Determine your needs and carefully choose a scope that works for you.

  15   Steiner 5112 T5Xi 3-15x50mm Tactical Rifle Scope

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This is by far the best tactical rifle scope in the industry to consider buying. The Steiner riflescope is a quality scope from one of the leading brands in the industry. Besides, the scope features a sturdy and durable one-piece construction. This is a long-lasting scope that can withstand rugged conditions and movement. In addition, the scope features an oversized tube measuring 34mm for added reliability and strength. The Steiner is a precision rifle scope to use in competitions. The scope provided an extended illumination area holdover lines and windage.

Overall, this is a perfect tactical scope with 1/10-mil ranging bracket for added precision. The scope also features a THROW lever that allows for easy and quick magnification. It is a well-designed scope with a lens cover that protects the lenses from moisture and dust. There is a further second rotation indicator to prevent the shooter from getting lost when dialing. You also get a lifetime warranty so that you can order with confidence.

  14   Leupold VX-5HD3-15x44mm Rifle Scope

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This is another perfect riflescope and a great choice for hunting. The scope is 100% waterproof, shockproof and fog proof. It can withstand the harsh weather elements out there without damage. Besides, the scope features an illuminated Fire Dot Duplex CDC reticle for precise shooting. You can be sure of shooting your ideal game at the dead center. Moreover, the scope features a lock a custom dial system thus simplifying longer shots. It is a great choice scope and one that ranks among the best class in glare reduction. The scope reticle is also illuminated making it perfect for low-light conditions.

The Leupold riflescope works perfectly when hunting at dawn or dusk. Overall, this is an advanced riflescope with motion sensor technology. The scope turns on automatically it senses motion. It also shuts off automatically after 5 minutes of inactivity. Parallax adjustment is also fast and easy from any shooting position. It is a premium quality scope designed, machined and assembled in the USA to the highest quality standards.


  13   Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope

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The Vortex scope is a much faster scope with faster target acquisition. The scope makes a perfect choice for action shooting competition. In addition, the scope is pretty versatile and can adjust to six powers to shoot at different targets. The scope also features a fast focus dial on the eyepiece. This ensures the reticle remains sharp giving you a precise shot. The scope also features an illuminated reticle feature. There are 11 different illumination settings to match the changing light conditions. This is a decent quality riflescope to order with confidence today. Moreover, you can store an extra battery in the windage cap.

The scope is also waterproof, shockproof and fog proof to withstand harsh weather elements out there. Overall, this is a great design scope with a 2-inch offset to provide mount positions on the scope and create enough eye relief.

  12   NightforceOptics 5-25x56 ATACRZeroStop Riflescope

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The Nightforce is by far one of the best true long-range scopes on the market to consider buying. It is a powerful and strong scope that can shoot accurately up to 100 yards. It is a pretty decent scope with a variable magnification of 5-25X56. You can easily magnify your target all the way from 5X to 25X to suit your needs. In addition, the scope features a larger tube diameter of 34mm for excellent light distribution. This is a top-quality scope to consider buying today. It also offers a safe eye-relief of 3.54 inches. This further helps protect your eyes from the firearm recoil. The scope is quite easy to operate and features a side parallax adjustment and a power throw lever.

Since the scope features variable magnifications, it is not very durable. However, this is no big deal as you’re more likely to shoot from a bench or a rest. Overall, this is a premium quality riflescope with everything you need for long-range shooting. The scope features a digllum illuminated MOAR reticle. The exterior also features a black matte finish.

  11   Trijicon RS24 AccuPower 1-4x24 Riflescope

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This is a simple home defense riflescope and one to seriously consider buying.  The scope features superior quality lenses for clear and bright images. The lenses gather light with ease and have zero image distortion. In addition, the scope features an illuminated reticle powered by a built-in battery. You don’t need something complicated when it comes to home defense scopes. All that you need is a clear and quick scope with lower power and a quick reticle. Our Trijicon scope above fits the bills with pretty low power and a very quick reticle. In addition, this scope features adjustable brightness settings. You can change the brightness settings to match your specific needs.

Overall, this is a sturdy and durable riflescope with high-quality aircraft-grade aluminum housing. The scope can withstand falls and harsh weather elements. This is a rugged scope capable of withstanding the toughest elements. It also features a second focal plane reticle that ensures the reticle size remains the same even with increased magnification.

  10    Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16X50 AO Riflescope

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The Vortex II Crossfire scope is one of those unique picks for persons on a budget.  It is a very affordable riflescope but one with excellent features to rival top-range scopes. This is an adjustable riflescope ideal for hunting and shooting at varying ranges. The scope features an adjustable objective for easy parallax removal. It is a decent quality scope with fully-coated lenses. The scope provides clear and bright images for accurate and precise shooting. In addition, this scope features long eye relief getting you a clear sight of the target. The long eye relief also adds to your safety keeping your eyes safe from recoils.

Overall, this is a decent quality scope with capped reset turrets. The turrets are easily adjustable with easy finger clicks. It also allows for faster zero resets after sighting. Moreover, the scope features a single-tube construction hence extremely durable. The scope features sealed O-rings hence waterproof and shockproof. This is a great choice scope to order with confidence today.

  9   Schmidt Bender 5-25x56 PM II LP Riflescope

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This is a truly exceptional riflescope and one of the best picks in the industry. It is a leading long-range scope with excellent features. Besides, the scope features high-quality components. This is an extremely durable riflescope that will serve you for long. The scope features a variable 5-25X magnification with a 56mm objective lens diameter. In addition, the scope features multi-coated optics delivering a wide field of view even at 100 yards. Moreover, the scope comes with an illuminated and modified low-profile duplex ranging reticle. The operation of the scope is quite easy since it comes with More Tactile Clicks. Shooters can easily count the clicks when making adjustments for a precise shot.

Overall, this is a strong and durable one-piece aluminum scope to buy with confidence. It is extremely durable and long-lasting. The scope main tube is also wide measuring 34mm in diameter. In addition, the main tube exterior features anodized black matte finish hence rust and corrosion-resistant. The scope is nitrogen filled, waterproof and fog proof.

  8   Nightforce the Beast 5-25x56mm F1 Riflescope

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Just as the name suggests, this is a true BEAST when it comes to excellent clarity at long ranges. This is a top-rated scope and one of the best picks in the industry. It is a leading brand scope with a top of the line multi-coat. The multi-coated lens greatly improves brightness and contrast. Besides, this is a strong and durable scope with rugged construction. It can withstand falls and other tough elements. The scope also features an eye relief of 3.54mm thus keeping your eyes safe from recoils.

Overall, this is a strong and durable one-piece aluminum scope to buy with confidence. It is extremely durable and long-lasting. The scope main tube is also wide measuring 34mm in diameter. In addition, the main tube exterior features anodized black matte finish hence rust and corrosion-resistant. The scope is nitrogen filled, waterproof and fog proof.

  7   Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25X56MM Riflescope

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The Leupold Mark 5HD is one of the few scopes with mil-spec optics. It is a top-range riflescope suitable for long-range shooting. This is an optically amazing riflescope with very excellent features. The scope comes with an illuminated reticle for bright and clear images. The scope also features a black matte finish to resist rust and corrosion. It is a strong and durable scope that comes with a lifetime warranty. This scope is 100% waterproof, fog proof and shockproof. It can work in all weather conditions making it a pretty decent buy. In addition, the scope features a second focal plane. This allows for easy range estimation at different magnification settings.

Overall, this riflescope is highly rated and comes with a Twilight Max Light management system. It adds up to 30 minutes of the shooting light while also reducing glare. The scope delivers edge to edge clarity making it rank among the best in the industry for long-range shooting. This is a lightweight design scope with excellent recoil impact distribution. The scope also features scratch-resistant lenses hence extremely durable. It is worth noting that the scope is designed and machined in the USA to the highest quality standards.

  6   Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II Riflescope

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This is a versatile design riflescope capable of meeting various needs. It is a rich feature scope with advanced precision. This makes the scope a suitable choice for tactical shooting and precision shooting. In addition, the scope features a glass etched reticle with 11 different illumination intensities. This ensures sub tensions remain accurate and precise. The scope is built for precision shooting at long ranges. Moreover, this scope comes with the L-TECH Turret system with a locking mechanism. This is a decent feature that prevents accidental elevation of the reticle. Shooters can easily the revolutions of the turret because of the visual rotation indicator.

Overall, this is a 6X zoom scope with easy side parallax adjustments. The scope also supports fast reticle focus and adjustment. In addition, the scope features illumination adjustments that are integrated into the knob. This allows for streamlined performances. In general, this is an APO optical system with stunning image quality. In addition, the scope lenses are fully-coated thus increasing the light transmission. The scope is also waterproof and fog proof thus capable of withstanding harsh weather elements. It is a single-piece aircraft-grade aluminum tube for long-lasting use.

  5   Burris Optics XTR II Riflescope

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This is one of the few high-end Burris riflescopes in the market. It is a rare pick since more Burris optics are budget-friendly.  This is by far the best riflescope the Burris brands have produced for a long time. It is a powerful design scope with a maximum magnification of up to 40X. This makes the scope a perfect choice for long-ranging shooting. The scope is outstanding and one of the best picks that will ensure accurate long-range shooting. In addition, the scope is pretty easy to operate with zero click-stop adjustments. The scope also features a front focal plane to maintain the reticle in the same position even with increased magnification.

Overall, this is a top-quality riflescope with an F-class MOA reticle illumination. The scope is highly rated and a great selection for persons that aim to shoot at 100 yards or 200 yards and more. The scope is also sturdy and durable serving you for long. It is a great value for money scope with a black matte exterior finish. This is an all-round scope that will suit a wide array of shooting needs at both short and long ranges.

  4   Swarovski Riflescope Z5 5-25x52 BT

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This is another design riflescope on the list and a pretty decent choice to consider buying. It is a premium-quality scope with a compact and rugged design. The scope features a lightweight design hence pretty easy to carry and use everywhere. The compact and rugged construction makes it easier to carry wherever you go. In addition, this scope features 3.74 inches of eye relief. This ensures your eyes are at a safe distance when taking shots. The recoil from the gun will not reach your eyes. Besides, the compact and lightweight design allow for even distribution of the riflescope weight. The scope will deliver a higher magnification and give users a wide area of view.

Overall, this is by far the best and standard quality scope that will serve a wide array of needs. It is a better scope with great power to focus at long ranges. In addition, the scope is solid durable and capable of withstanding harsh elements outdoors. The scope features splitting hairs making it by far one of the most accurate scopes in the industry. If accuracy is your biggest concern, then this is a perfect riflescope to consider buying today. It is also pretty easy to adjust and operate.

  3    Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44 SFP Riflescope

[xn_amz asin="B00DHG3C72"]

This is another versatile riflescope and one of the best choices to handle multiple configurations. It is a much versatile riflescope suitable for a wide array of optical functions. The scope works perfectly for tactical shooting and hunting. In addition, it features the VMR-1 reticle which is ideal extended ranges and accurate holds. This is a premium quality scope that incorporates fully multi-coated lenses. The lenses disperse low light bringing in excellent fidelity and resolution. In addition, these lenses provide enhanced light gathering. There is a further Armotek coating that protects the lenses from moisture, dust, and scratches.

Overall, this is a quality long-range scope with exposed turrets for repeated and precise finger adjustments. Furthermore, the scope features a CRS zero stop thus allowing for easy return to zero after dialing. The scope features a 4x magnification and side focus parallax adjustment giving users optimal image focus. It is a leading riflescope with fast eye focus. Shooters are able to adjust the eye focus to the reticle and take shots pretty quickly. In general, this is a strong one-piece scope with O-sealed rings making it waterproof and fog proof.

  2   Sig Sauer Sierra 3bdx Rifle Scope

[xn_amz asin="B07JWJ48K2"]

This is another new design riflescope that works better as a hunting scope than a tactical scope. It is an advanced scope and one of the best with Bluetooth connection technology. The scope is capable of collecting data from your rangefinder to create the perfect estimation where the shot will hit. The scope provides hunters with an illuminated holdover dot on targets. It couples with rangefinders making it by far the most advanced riflescope. Besides, the ballistic holdover dot features OLED illumination for clear ad bright images. This scope also features motion-activated illumination powering up whenever it detects motions. In addition, the scope powers off when some minutes pass without any activity or motion.

The scope also features an enhanced battery life for extended use periods. It is an optimal operational safe scope to use without any worries. Overall, this is a highly efficient scope with spectra-coat and anti-reflective lenses. The coatings help reduce surface reflections making images clear. The scope is a decent buy with a regular and smart technology for improved efficiency and accuracy.

  1   Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope

[xn_amz asin="B0756PK4NH"]

The Athlon Optics riflescope is another decent scope with fully multi-coated lenses. The coatings greatly reduce glare while increasing the transmission of light. In the end, this scope gives you brighter images than a single-coated lens. In addition, the scope features a first focal plane reticle thus staying valid at all power settings. This is a great feature that allows users to focus on their target whether the reticle grows or shrinks. Moreover, the scope features a durable construction withstanding harsh weather elements.

Overall, this is a special design scope with a unique reticle. The scope features the premium quality aluminum aircraft-grade tube construction. It features special strength withstanding heavy use and falls. The scope features strong mechanical strengths making it a perfect choice for outdoor use. This is an all-around good scope with good optics to serve you in various uses. It can magnify images to a maximum of 34X giving you desired results.

How To Use a Rifle Scope

Now that you’ve decided on the best rifle scope that meets your needs, it is time to know how to use it.

Getting a rifle scope is just the first step towards accurate and precise shooting. However, you still need to learn how to mount, adjust and sight a riflescope. You need some technical understanding before you can use your riflescope with ease. In addition, regular practices are a must if you want to be an expert and take the shortest time possible at sighting. This is crucial especially in a hunt or tactical scenario where time is limited.

How To Adjust a Rifle Scope

There are usually three things involved when adjusting a riflescope. These are basically the things that you need to adjust for a precise shot. All riflescopes are adjusted for parallax, windage, and elevation. Let’s have a look at what each individual adjustment means:

Windage

Windage is usually measured in inches and expresses as MOA; Minute of Angles. The windage turret turns left or light in what we call the Minute of Angles. These angles are expressed in inches to the left or right. A ¼ MOA simply means the scope moves ¼ inches in 100 yards. 1MOA also means the scope moves 1-inch in 400 yards.

The process is pretty simple with all scopes coming with a detailed process of adjusting windage. You will easily understand what a ½ turn does to the left or right.

Elevation

The elevation adjustment works just in the same manner as windage. The only difference is the elevation turret is moved up and down as opposed to left and right.

Parallax

In the past, a parallax adjustment was done in the factory to make it easier for gun users. However, some of the latest high-end scopes come with parallax adjustment features. Parallax simply means adjusting your riflescope. When perfectly adjusted, the reticle remains focused and will not around the target.

In the end, all adjustments are done to move the reticle in your scope the preferred hit spot. Remember the bullet and gun barrel are fixed.

How to Sight in a Rifle Scope

You need to have patience when and precision when sighting a riflescope. It is recommended that one starts as low as 100 yards before making any further adjustments. You need to sight at 100 yards before making any further adjustments. Bore the scope at 100 yards and have the bullet hit the dead center at 100 yards. The dead center is basically the point on the crosshairs at a specific distance.

Sighting in your riflescope starts by first installing your scope on the rifle. The good news is that most scopes come with mounting hardware ready for mounting. Make sure the scope fits properly and feels stable.

You can then set the eyepiece and have a clear and distance view of the image. Go ahead and fine-tune the scope to have a good eye relief. A safe distance between the eye and the eyepiece will keep you safe from recoil when shooting.

The next step is ensuring you’re in a stable position to achieve the desired results. You can use a mount and a bench to properly set your rifle. A stable rifle reduces recoil by up to 95%.

Once the rifle and scope are stably set, you need to align the reticles to have an accurate dead center point. This is where your adjustments come in terms of elevation, windage, and parallax.

How to Mount a Riflescope

Mounting your scope is by far the first step towards sighting your scope. You need to have the base and the rings on the scope ready for mounting. The scope base mount and rings need to be sturdy. In fact, the mounting process is quite simple but one needs high-quality rings and amount base. Depending on the mount base pattern, mount the base to the scope and tighten the screws. Make sure you screw them loosely, align and then tighten them.

You can then mount the scope to the rifle with the eyepiece in the correct direction. Use a small torpedo level to ensure the eyepiece is correctly set. You can have a trial and hit step to ensure the scope is well mounted. The next step is leveling the crosshairs to have them centered. The crosshair needs to be top and centered before tightening the screws.

How To Zero a Scope

Once the scope is well installed on the rifle, the next step is finding your groove. This is what we call zeroing in the target. You need to narrow everything down and have the target right within your crosshairs. Zeroing your target requires you to shoot at different ranges and positions. You need a small gun range and several shooting practices before becoming a pro at zeroing.

NB: Before starting your shooting practice, you need to learn about gun safety. Gun safety is something you might take lightly but one that can lead to death. You need to learn how to hold your gun probably, where it should point and much more safety measures.

Have a bulls-eye target for accurate zeroing. Go right ahead and measure while making adjustments to your scope. Get a steady gun rest and make sure all errors are eliminated. Load the gun at the shooting range and take some shots while making adjustments as you try to hit the bulls-eye.

A good starting point is to fire three-shot groups to see where the shots land. If you miss the target by a few inches, then make further adjustments and shoot again. Try this until having three consecutive shots hitting the dead center. Once you have this done, you can increase your range to 200 yards and much more. Repeat the same process with three shots until they have them hitting the same spot three times.

How To Zero a Riflescope at 50 Yards

 50 yards is considered a perfect range for most hunting adventures. This simply means being able to zero your scope at 50 yards gets you at an advantage. This is why we are going to show you how to zero a riflescope at 50 yards. Below are simple steps at zeroing your riflescope at 50 yards:

The first steps are installing and mounting the scope on the rifle. We’ve already covered these steps and can move straight to zero at 50 yards.

Go right ahead and get a target at the 50 yards range. You can use some whitepaper and have a marked spot on the paper center. The next step is then standing behind your firearm and bore sighting the target through the scope. Adjust the riflescope without moving the rifle. Make sure you adjust the riflescope by moving the reticle turrets left or right. You can also move it up and down to ensure the crosshairs meet your target at the dead center.

Once you’re ready, you will take three shots at the center and see where they hit. You can view the holes of the bullet via the scope. If they hit the desired spot, then you’re good to go. However, if they are a few inches from the dead center, then you need to make further adjustments before shooting again. Adjusting the scope requires you to measure the distance from where to bullets hit to the dead center. How far apart did you miss the target? Once you have the distance, you can make adjustments and cover for the missed distance.

Once you’ve hit the target three times consecutive, you can make a few more shots to ensure everything is precise and clear. The same process is used when zeroing at different ranges.

What Distance To Zero Air Rifle Scope

There are several factors that determine the distance at which to zero your air rifle scope. It is worth noting that the bullet starts to fall the moment it leaves the muzzle. A medium-range of 30 yards usually works perfectly for most hunters. However, for most indoor shooting, you can zero your riflescope from 25 to 30 yards.

You can also zero your rifle scope at 45-50 yards when doing the outdoor long-range shooting. However, these are just estimates. The rate at which the bullet starts to fall is the same as when it is dropped from the bore. Remember, the scope looks straight and leis just above the muzzle. The only way it can intersect the bullet trajectory as if it pointed downwards. This is how scopes are zeroed.

Riflescopes are adjusted to appear straight but down straight on the pellet trajectory. The bullet after a specific distance will arrive at the point where the downward-looking scope is pointed. This way, the bullet arrives at the zeroed crosshair distance

Getting the true picture of the bullet falling

People don’t want to imagine the bullet falling. They want to imagine the bullet/pellet traveling on a straight line.  This is why the barrel is elevated such that the bullet goes slightly up when it leaves the muzzle. While the barrel is slightly up, the scope features a downward mounting such that it intersects the pellet at some distance down the range.

So, what is the right distance to sight-in or zero-in a riflescope?

The scope needs to be zeroed at two distances. First, you need to understand the gun shooting speeds and sight accordingly. A good example is a gun that shoots at 800 F.P.S. You can sight such a gun at 20 yards and a second range of 30 yards. This way, the bullet will not raise much between the distances. Sighting in at 15 yards using the same gun create an intersection at 40 yards.

For guns with 850 and 900 FPS, the bullet drops about one inch below when you aim at 10 yards. You need to understand your gun, bullet and shooting range to understand the ideal zeroing distance. You can then adjust the distance between the bore and the scope’s centerline. Besides, you can aim higher or lower depending on the expected bullet trajectory. In general, you need to understand the pellet weight and the speed to know the path it will take. This is the only way you can calculate the perfect zero distance and have your shots intersect at the right spot.

How To Zero a Rifle Scope At 100 Yards

This is by far the best distance to start zeroing your riflescope. This is because most riflescopes are initially set at 100-yard settings. It is also worth noting that at 100 yards range, there is less environmental interference. A good example in the Minute of Angle is usually set at 100 yards click. The third reason is that most hunting takes place between 30-100 yards. So, if you can safely zero the scope at 100 yards, you can do most hunting without any issues.

Step 1: Get a good shooting range and measure 100 yards using a rangefinder. Have the gun safely set on the gun rest. Make sure all safety precautions are taken and get ready to shoot

Step 2: Aim your rifle and have the reticle set in the center of the bulls-eye. Once set, secure the rifle in that position before firing three shots. Did you hit the bulls-eye spot?

Step 3: This is where you need to make adjustments if you did not hit the center in the first three shots. Chances are you will not hit the crosshairs with the first three shots. Go right ahead and turn the turrets left or right. You can also adjust the elevation up or down depending on how far the bullet missed your crosshairs. This is a crosshair re-alignment to have a true dead center. You can also simply measure the distance in inches that you missed the dead center. Then calculate how many clicks to turn left or right to hit the dead center.

Step 4: This is where you need to re-position the rifle and aim again to the bulls-eye. You need to reposition your rifle pretty close to the place where you need to shoot your target.

Step 5: Here, you need to fire again to ensure everything is aligned and you’re hitting the dead center

How to Install a Rifle Scope

Getting the best quality riflescope will not help you shoot accurately if you cannot mount it properly. This is one area where people get it wrong. Even before sighting in, the scope needs to be well installed. The first step towards mounting a riflescope is getting everything you need. Get small and easy to use gun screws and screwdrivers. Once you have all the hardware and accessories ready, clean them by decreasing the screws, bases, rings and screw holes.

The scope needs to be mounted as low as possible. However, in fewer cases where the objective lenses are big, you might be forced to mount the scope a little higher. Below are simple steps on how to install a riflescope:

Secure the bases: The first step is aligning the bases with the mounting holes and the receiver. You also need to check the distance between the ring areas to ensure it fits the tube space on the tube. Once everything is aligned, you can tighten each screw individually. This ensures the screws clamp the base in a safe and secure manner. You can always replace short or long screws. In the end, you want to make sure the securing is firm and strong. However, do it carefully to prevent over-tightening the screws.

Mount the rings: In the next step, you need to mount the rings while centering them. There are always instructions on how to mount the rings. You need to make sure the windage screws are evenly turned before starting with the center ring. Both the Weaver-style and cross bolt must engage with the slot on the base.

Check the ring fit: You also need to check if the ring fits perfectly. In addition, you can check burrs left from the machining and if a possible file to have it smooth and safe. You can use the electrician tape on the inside of the rings to prevent scratches. The tape acts as cushioning to prevent scratches to the scope.

Check the alignment: The rings need to be precisely aligned such that the scope fits without any binding. A ring that is misaligned causes stress on the scope tube leading to damage. Make sure the ring edges run parallel with the main tube for maximum precision.

Position the scope: Next, you need to fit the scope into the rings and create a snug fit. However, make sure there is a small sleeve for adjusting eye relief. The small sleeve also allows for easy leveling of the reticles. Go ahead and check the scope position by closing your eyes, shouldering it and opening your eyes again. You need to have the reticle at a level and the field of view fully seen.

Boresight: You can finish your mounting by bore-sighting the scope on small targets in the range. You should be able to sight accurately at 50 yards at least.

FAQs

What does 4x32- riflescope mean?

What does 4 16x50 mean on a scope?

What do the 3 9x32 scopes mean?

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Final Verdict

In conclusion, these are the best rifle scopes in the market to consider buying this year. The scopes are highly rated and come with some of the best features in the industry. They are top-rated rifle scopes with pretty decent features. Make sure you analyze each scope above carefully and choose one that best suits your needs.

Remember what works for somebody else might not be the best scope for you. Understand your scope needs and choose accordingly.  Our reviews above present you with the best scopes in the industry so that you can order with confidence.