Aiming for the Best Rifle Scope
It’s a question we ask when holding a new rifle after hunting or range shooting for the first time: what’s the best scope? If you’re seeking the best, here are six worth checking out.
Today’s best rifle scopes have really kept up with technology. Even less expensive scopes have highly refined optics designed to give a wide field of view, long range sighting, greater magnification range and crystal clear reticles. Beyond these new, heightened basics, there are high end scopes with personalized features. Here is a comparison of a six long range rifle scopes from among those with the best rifle scope reviews.
- UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
- ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
- Vortex Optics Copperhead
- CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope 6-24x50 AOE Red and Green Illuminated Gun Scope with Free Mount
- Pinty 3-9X40 Red Green Rangefinder Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope
- Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3.3-Inch Eye Relief, 3-9X 40mm
- Frequently asked questions
UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
This advanced scope is mid-priced. Built on a True Strength platform, the 30-millimeter 3-12X44 scope is sealed and filled with nitrogen to make it fog proof, rain-proof and shockproof. UTG has gone out of the way to make the scope rugged with circuitry and a housing design intended to provide uninterrupted illumination for scopes even with heavy recoil from shooting. This scope has zero locking-resetting turrets to maintain precision optics and is protected by a lifetime warranty.
In order to achieve maximum light transmission and clarity during magnification, UTG uses best in class multi-Emerald coated lenses for optics. The EZ-TAP illumination enhancing system has 36 multi-colors to accommodate any weather or light condition, the best color option among those reviewed. The scope’s memory immediately returns to previous close or long range magnification. The sighting adjustments are precise with 1/4 MOA click per windage/elevation adjustment. The UTG’s side wheel adjustable turret gives an optics focal range from 10 yards to infinity. It features a TactEdge angled integral sunshade, one of the best available. Make sure to check out the scope’s 36 mil-dot reticle, a tactical range estimating reticle that gives the hunter 21 possible aiming points, which is essential for the best rifle accuracy and one of the best optics developments in scope technology.
By way of specifications, the UTG has a 3-12X magnification range, with a 30 millimeter tube diameter and a 44 millimeter objective diameter, giving a 32’-10’ field of view at 100 yards. The eye relief is 3.4”-3” and the exit pupil is 13 millimeters-3.9 millimeters. The click value at 100 yards is 1/4” length. The rifle scope is 264 millimeters long (10.4 inches) and requires 2 CR2032 batteries.
The UTG compact rifle scope is well-reviewed, with over 70% of reviewers giving it 5 stars. It ranks #4 in Air Soft Gun Scopes and is #11 overall in Rifle Scopes.
- It’s seen as a great value for the price.
- The scope has been called extremely rugged.
- Especially with the Parallax adjustments and the wide rings, the scope is easy to site in and extremely accurate.
- Some reviewers reported trouble adjusting the zoom.
- The scope was heavier than it appeared.
- Some problems making adjustments despite the locking system.
ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Rifle Scope
If you’re looking for the best rifle scope at the high end of price range in the market, this outstanding ATN scope may be the one that’s best. It features ultra-high-def optics, a recoil activated video recorder that keeps the scope steady during magnification and shooting, a ballistic calculator, rangefinder, built-in WIFI, digital compass and barometer as well as the best available apps. Don’t worry about energy drain during use of the scope in low light. The batteries are rated for 18 continuous hours.
The best scopes’ optics are only as good as the shooting they enable. For this ATN has utilized the Obsidian 4 Dual Core Processor to power the scope. In particular, this rifle scope has a ballistic calculator designed to deliver the payload to the target with each shot, taking all potential factors into account. Of special note, the ATN has enhanced night vision.
Because of its unique operating system, specifications for the ATN are listed differently. The rifle scope has 5-20X smooth zoom magnification, a 64G removable SD card and 2 CR123A batteries. It weighs 2.2 pounds and is 14.9 inches long.
Of more that 1000 reviewers, 68% gave the ATN 5 stars. The scope ranks #4 in Hunting Night Vision and #22 in Gun Scopes.
- Outstanding night vision, comparable to much more expensive night scopes.
- Can readily be moved from one rifle to another.
- Greatly improves shooting accuracy.
- Need to update the firmware before using the scope.
- Scope is heavy.
- Reviewer reported sluggish response of app.
Vortex Optics Copperhead
Like the UTG, the Vortex Optics is a traditional-looking, mid-priced rifle scope that pays close attention to the needs hunting scopes. With a longer eye relief, locking diopter and multi-coated, anti-reflective lenses in the optics, the rifle scope is intended for the best reliable performance. Constructed from aircraft grade aluminum, the tube is nitrogen purged and sealed with O-rings to make Vortex Optics scopes completely waterproof.
The Vortex has focused on holdover shooting at various ranges, resulting in the development of the Deadhold-BDC MOA Reticle, focal plane optics designed to achieve smooth magnification and compensate accurately for windage and holdover. Deadhold is among the best recent optic developments. With the Deadhold-BDC reticle design, second focal planes don’t change in size when magnification is adjusted, best for swiftly changing focus while keeping the reticle on a target.
A listing of the specs for the Vortex includes 4-12X magnification, a 44 millimeter objective lens, 4” eye relief, a 24.7’-8.4’ field of vision at 100 yards, a 1” tube size, capped turrets, 1/4 MOA adjustment, 15 MOA travel per rotation, 60 MOA maximum elevation adjustment, 60 MOA maximum windage adjustment and 100 yards parallax setting.
The Vortex has been reviewed more than 75 times with 67% 5 star rating. It’s ranked #5 in Airsoft Gun Scopes and #17 in Rifle Scopes.
- Multiple reports of high accuracy at various ranges.
- Great scope for the money.
- Excellent optics
- Some blurring at higher magnification.
- Optics not tinted green.
CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope 6-24x50 AOE Red and Green Illuminated Gun Scope with Free Mount
For a quality rifle scope in an affordable price range, the CVLIFE scope may be the best choice. Despite its traditional design, the CVLIFE has some advanced features, including longer eye relief length, a 50 millimeter objective lens diameter and 1/8” click value through the reticle to achieve maximum accuracy. The rifle scope also features a reticle illuminated with red and green optics, as featured in the best scopes.
CVLIFE scopes have a reputation for ease of use and durability. The simple design of the rifle scope makes it best for accessibility. Unlike some scopes, this one comes with free rifle mounts.
Checking the specs for this scope, you’ll find that CVLIFE has a 6-24X, 50 millimeter objective lens, eye relief of 3.52”, exit pupil 5.1-16.9 millimeters, illuminated levels of 5 intensity red and 5 intensity green, a 1” tube diameter, 40 centimeters (15.75 inches), 1.4 pounds and uses 1 CR2032 battery.
With almost 2700 reviews, the CVLIFE has received 5 stars 66% of the time. It ranks #6 in Rifle Scopes, best among those reviewed
- Best value for the money.
- Focuses well at quite shorter distances.
- Solidly built.
- Zoom magnification may not actually be 24X.
- Need to refocus at each distance.
- Manual not included with the scope.
Pinty 3-9X40 Red Green Rangefinder Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope
Basic, convenient, clear and quick are the qualities that best describe the affordable Pinty rifle scope. For hunters seeking an easily accessible range finder with a nice field of view, crystal clear optics that are waterproof and won’t distort the reticle, the Pinty may be the best.
Included are two 1” complimentary rings that fit Picatinny or Weaver rail mounts. The Rangefinder reticle offers quick aiming points. This scope is ready out of the box. The Pinty is best known for maintaining its accuracy over time and on different rifles.
Specs on the Pinty are a 3-9X scope with a 40 millimeter objective lens, a Rangefinder type reticle, Red 5 and Green 5 level brightness control, 25’ -14’ field of view at 100 years, eye relief of 3.3’-2.7”, 13.3-4.4 millimeter exit pupil, 1/4 windage and 1/4 elevation values at 100 yards.
This Pinty rifle scope has been reviewed over 800 times with 5 stars in 66% of its reviews. Standing #7 in Rifle Scope ratings, it’s just behind the CVLIFE.
- Rated best for the money by reviewers.
- Elevation and windage adjustments are simple and accurate.
- Solidly built.
- Reports of blurry focusing at lower magnification.
- Not sufficient eye relief for high-power rifles.
- Red and green brightness control difficult to use in sunlight.
Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3.3-Inch Eye Relief, 3-9X 40mm
For a reasonable price range scope, the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn stakes out its own territory: hunting scopes optics for low light early morning and dusk conditions. This scope distinguishes itself with multi-coated lenses intended to best amplify light transmission, keeping the reticle clearly visible. Uniquely, the scope can be mounted on a number of different firearms. This scope, with its fast focus eyepiece, is a hunter’s delight.
The Bushnell lays claim to being a rugged scope, nitrogen filled to achieve100% water and fog proofing. This scope offers 3.3” of eye relief. The optics use high definition to achieve the best reticle clarity. Fingertip windage and elevation adjustments are 1/4” MOA.
Make sure you note that this scope can boast of receiving 75% 5 star ratings out of more than 550 reviews, the best rifle scope review percentage. It ranks #25 in Rifle Scopes.
- Compares well against Leupold, Nikon and Vortex.
- Overall clarity excellent, lowlight clarity is quite good.
- Holds well with constant use.
- May not fit some bolt actions rifles.
- Needs more eye relief.
- Doesn’t come with mounting hardware.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best brand of rifle scopes?
The best scope for you depends on several factors, including your budget, your rifle caliber, whether you’re hunting or long range shooting, distances involved and even weather conditions. If you have a healthy budget and want to shoot and video in low light, the ATN X-Sight 4K is best for you. For low light hunting with quick focus target tracking, the Bushnell is your best bet. Budget may be key in your decision. If so, you have two outstanding choices. The CVLIFE Rifle Scope is durable, easy to use and has a 50 millimeter objective lens. Then there is the Pinty Rangefinder Illuminated Scope, the least expensive of the reviewed scopes, ranking just behind CVLIFE in Rifle Scope ratings.
What is the best hunting scope for the money?
Again, the answer depends on the game you hunt and especially on the rifle you’re shooting. While many reviewers say larger caliber weapons require high end, more refined rifle scopes, many boast about using less expensive scopes and achieving great results, even at long range. They post comments like, “The proof is in the freezer.” Such is written about the Vortex Optical Copperhead, the Bushnell Banner and the Pinty Rangefinder.
Are expensive rifle scopes worth the money?
The answer depends on what you consider expensive. An irony about the most high end scope reviewed, the ATN X-Sight 4K, is that many who rated it said they found it equal or superior to far more expensive computerized scopes. At the other end of the spectrum, many who reviewed the least expensive scopes rated said they had results equal or better than what they achieved with high end scopes. Perhaps the best answer is, you don’t have to spend lots of money to get the best rifle scope for your purposes, even if means you need an illuminated reticle, clarity at long range or the best length for eye relief.
What’s the toughest rifle scope?
For sheer ruggedness, the UTG Compact Scope and the Vortex Optics Copperhead are both excellent mid-price choices. The UTG scope offers 21 possible aiming points, while the Vortex Optics scope sports a second focal plane through its BDC reticle that holds size through magnification changes. It’s worth noting that Vortex Optics specifically designed its scope with accidental impacts in mind. The slightly less expensive Bushnell’s Banner also has a reputation for toughness.
Each shooter, from the camouflaged deer hunter in a stand to the long range target shooter, must weigh a number of factors to determine the best rifle scope. While personally testing each scope is prohibitive, fortunately there is abundant information available to help make a decision. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of this review is that it brings to light so many possibilities and relevant information about scopes related to the shooter’s individual needs. Make sure you imagine yourself in that perfect moment, gazing through a lens at your distant target, then ask: Where am I? What rifle am I holding? What sort of scope will I need for this shot? Then you’ll know the best rifle scope for you.