Whether you’re into hunting, running drills, or practicing your shot, a top-notch rifle deserves a scope that matches its power. Check out this review of the best rifle scopes for any price point.
Anyone with a rifle that’s serious about hunting or tactical drills will know just how critical a high-quality riflescope is for preparedness. These folks recognize that shooting is a mix of both art and science and that precise calculations are necessary to land the perfect shot. Luckily, rifle scopes take the guesswork out of target acquisition and provide invaluable data for improvement. If you don’t have a trusted rifle scope yet, you’re going to want to take a closer look at these durable and deadly accurate options.
Most optical tools in my pack come from Vortex Optics. This company understands what hunters and sharpshooters value most in their gear. They push the limits on what’s possible for the features you want the most, and strip away the unnecessary bells and whistles. I also love that they’re based in the USA and veteran-owned, giving them a ton of credibility for making high-end optics that are up for a challenge.
The company also makes riflescopes that cater to a variety of needs and budgets. Today, I’m bringing you my Vortex scope reviews of their best options that you can always depend on to have your back.
Best For Close Range Hunters
Vortex’s Strike Eagle riflescope is a winner that any close-range hunter will love. What makes this scope incredible is its low magnification range of 1-6x. Expert hunters know that when it comes to magnification, sometimes less is more. Most hunters typically operate in the 100 – 300-yard range, which makes a super high-powered magnification unnecessary. With the option for 1x magnification, you can stealthily approach your prey for a guaranteed hit, and possibly dinner.
Not only is high magnification unnecessary for some hunters, but there’s also a couple of tradeoffs that come with higher magnification models. As you increase magnification, you’re decreasing your field of view. For those hunting whitetails, you’ll benefit from a wider field of view since you’ll always be aware of your prey’s location. Similarly, high magnification can produce shakier, dimmer, and less clear images. With the Vortex Strike Eagle, you can expect an incredible field of view of 116 feet to 19.2 feet, depending on your zoom, at 100 yards.
The optics on this scope are equally worthy. You’ll have bright and clear images due to the 24mm objective lens for optimal light-gathering capacity. The color-rich views are also thanks to the extra-low dispersion glass, which will help correct color-fringing. The fully, multi-coated lenses work together for high light transmission so that all your images are sharp and detailed.
I’m also a fan of Vortex’s illuminated BDC3 reticle. Their BDC technology is a huge advantage to account for bullet drop at a longer distance or in high wind conditions. Illumination also makes accuracy possible even in low-light conditions so that nothing gets in the way of the perfect shot. As a word of warning, be sure to check if your state allows battery-operated hunting equipment.
This model is a second focal plane scope (SFP), which will work well for most hunters. Both designs have their purposes, but the down and dirty is that the reticle on an SFP won’t magnify in proportion to your image. You’ll only want to do any holdovers on this model at the highest magnification setting. I’ll also add that you can swiftly switch between magnifications with the clutch throw lever. The lever allows you to zoom away without ever having to leave the comfort of your eyepiece.
You’ll have total control of your windage and elevation so that you never have to back down from a shot. The max adjustment for both knobs is 140 MOA. For some shooters, this is too broad a range and means a ½” MOA click, which is less precise than a ¼.”
- Illuminated BDC reticle
- ED glass
- Magnification throw lever
- ½” MOA adjustments
- Price tag
Best Lightweight Scope
The scope with the lightest weight on our list goes to the Vortex Optics Crossfire II. I never cease to be amazed how compact this scope is and for such a reasonable price. This scope weighs in at only 14 ounces, making it the perfect addition to your hunting or travel pack. While a few ounces difference might not seem like much as you compare dimensions online but, imagine what it will feel like after you’ve mounted it on your rifle and run several drills at top-speed. Folks who practice preparedness know it’s always important to shed weight where possible so that you’re never slowed down by life.
Aside from being lightweight, this scope also has two options of reticle patterns to suit your preferences. There are the classic Dead-hold BDC reticle and the V-plex reticle, which are available in illuminated or non-illuminated options. Vortex recommends the BDC reticle for those who are shooting longer distances or with high-powered rifles. The V-plex is your basic crosshair layout that will serve most folks just fine.
This model is more budget-friendly than the last, but will still give you unbelievable views. The magnification range is 2-7x with a 32mm objective lens for improved details and even further distances. The lenses are fully multi-coated, so you’re guaranteed excellent light transmission. And, just like the Vortex Eagle Strike, this is a second focal plane design.
While you’ll save some cash with the Crossfire II, you will miss the quality of the glass elements. The optics in the Crossfire II don’t feature extra-low dispersion glass, so there might be some color-fringing with your images. Typically this shows up as a green or red halo around the subject you’re sighting and occurs at higher magnifications.
This scope also has a comfortable eye relief of 3.9mm to prevent any mishaps from your rifle’s recoil. Your scope will not only have to endure the recoil of your rounds but all the wear and tear from your travels and hikes. The Crossfire II might be in the lightweight division, but don’t count it out in a fight. This compact riflescope is still 100% waterproof and fog proof. The body is a single-piece tube constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, so trust me, it can withstand a little rough and tumble.
- Illuminated reticle option
- Great eye relief
- Lower quality glass elements
Best Budget Buy
The Crossfire II will already get you a ton of bang for your buck, but I have one even cheaper for those looking to save some cents. The Vortex Optics Copperhead 4-12×44 is the best budget buy that you’ll want to add to your gear. This scope is excellent for everyday shooting and gives you higher magnification power if you wish to explore longer distances.
The Copper head has a decent range of 4-12x, giving you the option for short, mid, and long-distance ranges. The 44mm objective lens will provide plenty of light transmission for sharper images that you can act on with precision. The lenses are fully multi-coated with anti-reflective layers, but again, you’ll miss out on the extra-low dispersion glass reserved for Vortex’s pricier models. At this price point, you can expect lower quality glass elements, but most buyers are satisfied with the clarity at even 500 yards.
Some issues that folks have with this riflescope is blurriness at the higher end of its magnification settings. This is a tradeoff for increasing your magnification but still keeping with the budget price range. It is also problematic because, as a second focal plane design, the reticle’s crosshairs are only proportionate at the highest magnification setting. If extreme, long distances are a necessity for your hunting or shooting goals, I recommend saving up and going for the next riflescope on our list, the Vortex Optics Diamondback.
Another great feature on this riflescope is the locking diopter, which helps you get the perfect focus each time. Once you find the sweet spot at your given magnification, you can secure the eyepiece so that you’re free to continue zeroing in on your target without worrying about adjustments. The Crossfire II also has the best eye relief on this list at 4 mm.
The Crossfire II is also a second focal plane design and comes with Vortex’s signature Dead-Hold BDC reticle pattern. As you aim for distant targets, you’ll appreciate the BDC design for on-the-go holdovers to account for your environment and shooting. The windage and elevation feature ¼” MOA knobs with click technology, so you are confident with each adjustment.
Vortex Optics never fails to back up their products with a tough exterior that can brave any environment. Even at this price, the Crossfire II is still constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum. The O-ring seal around the optics and nitrogen gas purging protects your optical tool from water and fog so that you can depend on your scope, rain or shine.
- Dead-Hold BDC reticle
- High magnification setting can be blurry
Best For Long Distance Shooters
I’m ending this list with one of the pricier but more coveted riflescopes in the Vortex Optics line. The Vortex Optics Diamondback will catch your eye as being one of the best scopes for long-distance sharpshooters. Whether you’re stalking prey in the canyons or practicing your marksmanship, you’ll enjoy the high magnification and clarity in this riflescope. The Diamondback has a 4-16x and a large, 44mm objective lens to help you achieve faster and more precise shots at even smaller targets.
With the powerful Diamondback scope, you’ll be able to range over 1,000 yards, which should satiate even the most competent distance shooter. This scope lives up to its fearsome reptile namesake because it’s deadly quick and silent. The internal erector system glides so smoothly that users can change magnifications in the blink of an eye and with incredible ease. At such high magnifications, the fast eye focus is a significant benefit for spotting small and swift game. You’ll experience vibrant colors with little distortions thanks to the extra-low dispersion glass lens.
The Diamondback is also the only first focal plane (FFP) scope on my list. Most FFP designs are more expensive than second focal plane (SFP) models. In an FFP scope, the reticle is placed closer to the objective lens and before the magnifying mechanism. A key advantage of this is that the reticle pattern is magnified at the same rate as the target you’re sighting. With an FFP scope, you can always use the crosshairs and hash marks on your reticle for any adjustments before taking your shot.
The reticle on this scope is Vortex Optics’ exclusive EBR-2C MOA reticle. This design is meant solely for long-distance shooters and works great for moving targets. The ranging reticle design includes fine hash marks vertically and horizontally so that you’re ready in any position. You can also choose between MOA and MIL reticle measurements depending on which you feel most comfortable using for calculation.
Of course, you can expect the Diamondback to be waterproof, fog proof, shockproof like the rest of the collection on this list. I find it reassuring that Vortex Optics takes pride in the durability of its products. Unlike some of the other riflescopes featured, this one packs quite a bit more weight. The larger objective lens and magnification likely contribute to the extra 23 ounces you’ll experience with this scope mounted on your rifle. Perhaps for those who’ve been waiting for a superior, long-distance scope, it’ll be worth the weight.
- High magnification with gliding erector system
- EBR-2C MOA reticle
- ED glass
- Price tag
My Advice - Go Vortex or Go Home
Vortex Optics is one of the premier American-based companies and is dedicated to bringing superior products to the buyer for the best prices. I respect that commitment and find their products reflect their sentiment. While this list only highlights a few of their riflescope models, the scopes featured all have something that any hunter or shooter can enjoy.
As you review my top picks from Vortex, remember to keep in mind how you plan to use your scope and your budget. You don’t want to break the bank for a riflescope that has more magnification than you need, and alternatively, you’ll want to save up if the Diamondback is your dream hunting companion. Either way, if you go Vortex Optics, I can guarantee you’ll find top-notch quality at a fair price.