So, you want a rifle scope as a general-purpose hunting model? Then the first thing to understand is that in most cases shots in the open country of the American west will be at or under 400 yards. Often, shots taken are well inside 200 yards. Most hunters do not even train for long-range shooting. Taking a shot beyond the effective range of the bullet, or the ability of the shooter, is asking for a wounded animal. No hunter worth his or her salt ever wants to see that happen.
The following are my picks for the best rifle scopes for many purpose. They will fit the needs of the hunter in all types of terrain and weather conditions.
- Rifle Scope for Hunting
- 1. Leupold VX-Freedom 450
- 2. Leupold VX-3 3.5-10X40
- 3. Leupold FX-II Ultralight 2.5X20mm Rifle Scope.
- 4. Bushnell Trophy Shotgun Scope with Doa 200 Reticle, 3-9 x 40mm, Matte Black
- 5. Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle
- 6. Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223 Lunette de visée avec tourelles, 1-4 x 24 mm
- 7. Nikon Prostaff
- 8. Nikon Monarch
- 9. Vortex Optics Crossfire II
- 10. TRUGLO Intercept Illuminated Reticle Hunting Rifle Scope
- 11. TruGlo Tru-Brite Xtremem
- 12. Burris Ballistic Plex Hunting Riflescope, 2X-7X-32mm
- 13. Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4X28
- 14. Crimson Trace Optics Sport Riflescope
- 15. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7X32 Scout. SFF.
- 16. TRACT 3-9X40 Rimfire scope.
- 17. Tract TORIC 2-10×42
- 18. Zeiss Conquest V4 3-12X56
- Long Range Rifle Scopes
- Scout Scopes
- AR-15 Scope
- .308 scope
- Handgun scope
- Rimfire glass sights a couple of quick examples.
- Glass sights for home defense weapons?
- Tactical Optics
- Night Vision
- Red Dot Sight
- Holographic Sights.
Rifle Scope for Hunting
1. Leupold VX-Freedom 450
Here we have a scope that does double-duty as a long-range and closer-in hunting scope. Western hunters putting the sneak on elk in a deep valley or sheep on a high mountain ridgeline have many options. They can use the crosshairs installed in the scope. They can also choose the full-blown adjustments of the sub MOA elevation settings on the exposed knob system in the turret housing.
This scope has an aircraft-grade main tube construction. The 40mm bell will pill light and make for a good early morning or late evening setup. The power setting of 3-9 is almost a world standard in most hunting scopes. The low power is correct for close or running shots. Finally, the high range setting is good to about 400 yards on any warm target.
The elevation and windage settings are set up in ¼ MOA increments. The scope is built and designed to meet the stiff quality standards set up by Leupold.
- It’s affordable.
- It’s made well with high-quality materials.
- It has a clear vision quality.
- It has an excellent reticle.
- Sharp eye relief is use-friendly.
- A few users could perhaps find the reticle relatively too small
2. Leupold VX-3 3.5-10X40
This scope is best for wide-open shooting. Think long-range mountain mule deer or goat hunting on wide-open prairies. The 10x in its name says it all. It is a signature of this style of rifle glass.
This Leupold product is different from the first in that it makes use of capped turrets and high-power settings. It is much like the 3-4X40 previously reviewed. It does use the light-gathering glass designed by Leupold. It is also made of aircraft-grade aluminum, coated with the manufacturer’s own brand of glass protection called DiamondCoat2, and is a nice size for standard bolt action hunting rifles.
Like the previous model, the VX-3 is designed from the main tube up. It can handle the heavy recoil of large caliber rifles.
- It has a clear optic quality when in the dark.
- It is easy to carry and small
- It’s very durable
- It has a good guarantee
- Turrets don’t have a zero stop and can’t be set back to zero.
- The turret knob is difficult to set.
3. Leupold FX-II Ultralight 2.5X20mm Rifle Scope.
Here is a scope designed for the carbine or light rifle versus the heavy long-barreled large caliber weapons. This scope has a one-inch main tube. The chopped forward bell is very short and lightweight. It has a nice balance for a 30-30 carbine, 45-70 lever gun, or an AR-style rifle that will shoot 300 Blackout or .223 Remington. Short receivers and short barrels need a correct scope for their smaller cartridges. This Leupold will do the deed for the short-range shooter, or even the unique hunter that shoots a turkey rifle in states that allow its use.
The FX-II is not for everyone. It is a specialized glass sight. But there are a pile of rifles and calibers that match the power and size built into this hunting scope.
- It’s not heavy at all.
- It has a zero-stop option.
- It is easy to understand and use.
- It has a small bell diameter, letting shallow rings be put on it. This makes it very easy to hit with a bolt gun while holding it in one hand.
- Its eye relief works well.
- The quality of the light is not as good as it could have been, and it gets worse as the power is turned up. It can be used to test with magnification in full daylight
4. Bushnell Trophy Shotgun Scope with Doa 200 Reticle, 3-9 x 40mm, Matte Black
If you want a budget scope that has a long history of sending the mail accurately, try the Bushnell Trophy Multi-X reticle system rifle scope . This scope is fully coated. It has the rain guard HD protection on the glass. It will pull 91% of available light in any weather or time of day. It runs with a one-inch main aluminum tube. And, it has a 3-9x magnification level.
The turrets use the MOA settings for elevation and windage and are set up at ¼ MOA per click.
Here at BR&D, my test agency, I use several of these scopes. They are tough, return good results, and can be hauled around for almost anywhere for anything. In my opinion, this scope gives you a lot of bang for the buck, especially if you don’t want a bunch of extras. Those who are looking for a straightforward deer hunter’s field tool in normal range situations will love this setup.
- It’s affordable
- It has numerous reticles.
- It’s weather and shockproof
- It uses a multi-coated lens.
- It faces problems with quality control.
5. Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle
For a scope that is still affordable, but slightly more expensive, try the Bushnell 3-9X40 DZ.23 reticle.
This scope is set up for the ever-popular .223 Rem . It is operated with open turrets with MOA settings. The scope uses the one-inch main tube, is waterproof, fog-proof, and built to take a beating in the field.
The reticle retains the ballistics compensated hash marks for the .223 Rem. It can be adjusted for a zeroed shot very quickly to 600 yards. This setup is designed for the smaller cartridge and can be used on game appropriate to the round and sighting system.
For those who think Bushnell is some low-end outfit, think again. I shoot a Bushnell scope to one mile on steel targets as per my .338 Lapua Magnum. Try that with a pile of other products and see what you get for results.
- It’s well made and has an excellent design.
- It’s fog-, shock-, and water-resistant
- It’s great for places with little light.
- It is affordable and regarded as one of the best rifle scopes.
- The lens cover that is given is bulky.
- Visible Image can’t see long-distance prey at about 200 yards as it is not a multi-coated lens
6. Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223 Lunette de visée avec tourelles, 1-4 x 24 mm
Now to a lightweight short tube system built by Bushnell called the Drop Zone. This scope is built with the chopped bell housing, Target turrets. It is still set up for carbines, short lever-action rifles, and other related short receiver-sized weapons. The Winchester Model 94 30-30, for example, is a good fit for this scope on a light 30 caliber weapon. You can also use it on the AR series rifles being AR 15 .556 NATO or other variants of the rifle.
The scope is a 1-4X24mm setup and built for closer range work out to about 250 yards. Current military production is now fitting combat units with these types of scopes, they are that effective. It will even work when targets range just beyond the effectiveness of the standard ACOG red dot sighting system.
This scope retains coated optics, a one-inch main tube, adjustable open turret settings, .223 BDC ranging reticle, and 0.1 mil click value for dead-on accuracy.
- Great picture quality.
- A fine display in low-light transmission.
- It allows the movement from the lever to the zoom ring.
- It’s durable.
- It’s mainly made for the AR-15 platform.
- No reticle brightness.
7. Nikon Prostaff
Nikon is a company that has moves away from the center regarding production engineering. They now offer a great deal of scope for the price. I shoot this scope on my 303 British Courteney high wall African “Stalking Rifle” and have taken deer to 300 yards.
This scope is a 2-7X32 and designed for the big game hunter. It retains coated optics, anti-reflective lens surfaces, long eye relief for big rifle use, and turret set up for both windage and elevation adjustments on the fly. The zero stop system is employed after making the correct base zero. The eyepiece is a quick focus system as well. The scope is very user-friendly. I just used mine on a whitetail deer when adjusting for a 300-yard shot via the 303 British round while not taking my eyes off the target.
- It’s quite affordable
- It uses a high refresh speed.
- Zero refresh turret.
- Finger ergonomic design turrets.
- No depth of field control
8. Nikon Monarch
This scope by Nikon is for open country hunting with a major league cartridge chambered rifle. The scope retains the large 30mm tube body. That means larger internals and heavy general components as well. Nikon makes this scope of aircraft-grade aluminum. Hard anodizing has also been applied to make this a tough field using glass sight.
The scope has a low profile design in terms of the turrets. The corrections are capped for positive water seals in tough field conditions (like mountains). You get ¼ MOA clicks for positive and accurate zeroing downrange. It is waterproof and shockproof. This is a hunter’s scope to be sure.
- It has a side focus knob that is easy to reach even when looking through the scope.
- Its reticle makes the target look clearer.
- It’s perfect for seeing long-distance prey.
- It has zero-reset turrets
- To work right, it requires a specific power setting.
- It appears to take a while for a novice to get the hang of it
9. Vortex Optics Crossfire II
This is an SFF scope. It mounts a one-inch main tube. The Crossfire II makes use of capped dentures, 4-12X40 power, and objective measurements. Sighting adjustments use MOA settings at ¼ MOA clicks.
The main tube is one piece and constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum. The scope is ring-sealed from water or fog. The eye relief is extended for use with heavy recoiling rifles.
Vortex is a newer brand. But they make a solid product. They are a good choice when selecting a rifle scope for field use. Like some others, we use several Vortex brand scopes here at our test and review operation in South Dakota.
- Low-cost option
- Zero positionable turrets
- Extended-term tradeable warranty for Vortex
- Not good at light transmission, especially when it’s dark.
- The turrets don’t move well.
10. TRUGLO Intercept Illuminated Reticle Hunting Rifle Scope
This 3-9X42 scope model is built for hunting. The sub-tensions are illuminated for low-light hunting. You can even shoot in total darkness with the additional support lighting. The scope is a one-inch tube system with ample objective lens bell size to bring in available light to the shooter.
This scope is built in a non-illuminated model as well. You can easily find that one to purchase over-the-counter.
Lens are coated and scratch-resistant for tough field applications. Currently, I am shooting three different TruGlo sights with good results as both hunting and range test systems.
- Its goals are obvious, and seen as one of the best rifle scopes.
- It has a long-distance viewing area and is easily adjustable.
- It has little BDC faceoff dots, making it hard to read
11. TruGlo Tru-Brite Xtremem
This scope retains the illuminated reticle and is designed for short-action rifles, including AR-style platforms as well. The scope maintains an ultra-high contrast resolution optical design and full color lighted crosshairs in red or green. It is built for fast target alignment. You can use it against fast-moving targets or shooting in low light situations.
The reticle can be also used in the black without any of the illuminated features.
Sub-tensions are designed for most centerfire cartridges and set up for 600-yard shooting. Currently, this best rifle scope is being installed on a rock river AR carbine. It will be used on light and fast-moving coyote calling runs here in the Dakotas.
It has an aluminum tube built as a one-piece aircraft aluminum standard, turrets capped, and o-ring sealed. Therefore, this scope is a solid field unit for the serious varmint or game hunter.
- It lasted a long time and is a primary arms tool.
- It changes to help find targets faster when there isn’t much light transmission.
- It can’t get wet, can’t be broken, and is as firm as Nitrogen.
- It makes the vision very clear.
- Because the scope mount is so big, it’s hard to get a good eye-lin
12. Burris Ballistic Plex Hunting Riflescope, 2X-7X-32mm
Burris Ballistic Plex is a scope that has a 2X-7X-32mm main tube objective.
This scope is built for carbine and light lever rifles. If you don’t have a whole lot of extra receiver room for adding a scope rail or bases, purchase this product. It is a good choice as a forward-mounted system, like those used on Scout rifles and top ejection lever rifles.
Built at 9.7 inches in length, this is a great fit for those hard-working timber country field rifles.
I can say that I use Burris on some extremely nasty high-recoiling rifles. I have had one installed for almost 20 years. That scope is still doing the deed and has never required any maintenance save for cleaning the lens glass every now and again.
- Its prices are not too high.
- It’s completely waterproof
- It uses a high-velocity reticle
- There are no lens caps
13. Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4X28
Here we have a scope designed for light fieldwork on a short action rifle. This scope uses the special Leupold light management system and retains ¼ MOA adjustment clicks for windage and elevation. It also has a scratch-resistant lens. The scope uses aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum on its one-piece BUE construction. It is sealed against water, fog, and dust for a lifetime of service. The scope is designed, machined, and assembled in the USA.
- When aiming at a target, it is very reliable and correct.
- It will last longer.
- It helps the eyes a lot.
- It doesn’t get wet or foggy.
- It has an entire reticle that lets you see far away.
- From a 7X magnification range, the quality of the image is terrible.
14. Crimson Trace Optics Sport Riflescope
The 6-24X56 scope has been included here because of its new, state-of-the-art design. It is the off-shoot of the laser line sight systems that made this company famous. Built in the first focal plane FFP, the scope is a long-range optics system . However, it is designed for use by sheep hunters, trophy mule deer hunters, and anyone in the open country. Ridge line of rocks or treeline on a fence some 400 or 500 yards distant? Either will be easy to cover with this scope.
Turrets are open style with quick access adjustable clicks for fast elevation adjustments. The sub-tensions are lighted and easy to use through the lens elevation corrections. This scope retains a full lifetime warranty.
- It’s made of solid materials.
- Level lines for scope mounting that are free of charge.
- It has a first plane of focus or object view.
- It doesn’t use zero stop.
- It only came with one reticle, which was fully lit. Most shooters like reticles that have a second focal plane
15. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7X32 Scout. SFF.
This scope is designed for use on long eye relief scout rifle-style weapons or carbines. It is just like the large models in quality but cut down in size to fit the smaller receivers. You can use it on carbines and light rifles like the well-known Scout rifle.
The scope retains 9.45 inches of eye relief. The V Plex reticle picks up moving targets fast. The anti-reflective fully multicoated glass lens is also great. The turrets on this scope are the capped style for additional rugged service applications.
- It has a decent price tag and a scout scope that can be changed.
- The reticle is easy to see.
- It has the proper eye relief distance.
- It produces a low amount of light.
16. TRACT 3-9X40 Rimfire scope.
TRACT is a new company that has only been around a few years. This outfit is a good scope for the money. As such, I use them for both testing, general hunting, and special long-range work in terms.
This is a rimfire scope . I have included it in my top eighteen because many hunters take on small game almost year-round. In fact, more targets are from the small game category than the big game category.
This scope is built like the “big rifle” models using the full one-inch tube and large objective lens systems for maximum light control. I can say for a fact that TRACT makes use of good optical glass on all of their scopes.
The product has the T Plex reticle allowing a clan field of view on small game. The reticle also allows for fast target acquisition.
There is a one-piece aluminum construction and a nice powder-coated gray exterior. This is a good-looking scope. It also performs very well on game and targets. I shoot a model of TRACT on both the .300 Win Mag chassis rifle and a custom Dead Wood South Dakota Satterlee Arms-built mini Mauser MARK X. That rifle is chambered in .224 Valkyrie. At one-half miles, the glass is clear, sharp, and lacks any distortion whatsoever.
- It has a good eyes relief
- It has an additional MOA turret.
- It can be used for shooting from about 200 yards away.
- The reticle isn’t excellent
17. Tract TORIC 2-10×42
This scope is larger than the previous model. It will be classed here as a mountain hunter’s scope or at least a western type optical system. It uses the T-Plex sub-tensions designed for hunters. It is also quite flexible in that it is usable as a target scope during the off season. You can even used it as a solid hunting field model sight as well.
Eye relief is set 4 inches for use on heavy magnums during recoil. It mounts a low-profile capped zero stop turret for ease of handling and total protection regarding elevation and windage adjustments. This scope has a lifetime warranty, which is transferable if sold.
- It is nice and sharp, with minimal blurring around the edges.
- It feels like a turret and fits right in.
- It goes back to nothing
- It has no throw lever.
- It’s a bit heavy
18. Zeiss Conquest V4 3-12X56
I shoot this scope on a .308 Winchester bolt action and also on a 6.5 Creedmoor light rifle. The Zeiss is so good, I rely on it to give me super clean and edge-sharp target images well out to 800 yards. These are high-end hunting scopes. Zeiss has been in the business of building high-quality German glass sights for a very long time.
The Conquest makes use of MOA turret settings. In this case, the turret is capped for protection in adverse conditions. The scope is offered in the SFF Second focal plane. That is the hunter’s
- It is a long-range scope with adjustment features.
- It works with a dot size.
- It’s elementary to set the turret to zero.
- It’s too big and costs a lot.
- The edges of the picture aren’t sharp.
preference much of the time in sub-tension viewing and magnification systems.
Long Range Rifle Scopes
When selecting a rifle scope for long range shooting there are several variables that need to be addressed . First of all the obvious element to be noted here is the cost of the product. The best is ever a bargain basement special. Good glass and materials with a sold brand name tacked on will run you the price of a middle grade motorcycle new in the box.
Therefore, price in this case is not an element worry about. If you need the best you will need to step up with an open wallet.
Secondly when the subject is long range and a quality glass sight you’re going to want the option of using an open turret system versus the capped style design. Why do you ask? Because when you get into long range you get into turret adjustments both for elevation and windage. The shooters need to be able to make quick accurate changes in bullet drift and drop on the fly. The open turret is the answer to this part of the selection process.
When selecting a long rang scope the scopes turret system needs to be able to return a very high number of turret click to allow the shooter to get enough elevation for the turret setting for a very long shot. Run out of elevation travel and you’re dead in the sand because you have no place to turn to for help when that turret head hits the high point on its revolution cycle.
It goes without saying that the third element here is glass quality. Much of the scope glass used today comes from only a few sources, but when we hit the big time on long range scopes that source group starts to tighten up a great deal. Japanese glass and German glass are among the best in the world, and almost always that will be the glass used in the top end long range scopes.
When glass is the subject the sub-tensions installed in that glass are number four in my list of high standard requirements. Here the long range shooter is not concerned about a whole lot of junk in the viewing window. That ” junk” as it is called at times is the stuff the knowledgeable shooter uses to make corrections for the shot. Long Range shooting is never about flat shooting point at the target from the zero setting on the rifle. This craft is about some basic math, knowledge regarding MOA or MRAD settings etched into a top end piece of glass, and then using all that knowledge to hit something the size of a man at 1000 yards or more.
In terms of additional elements that need to be included here, I will press them forward as I get into the disruption of the two scopes I have selected for review at this time.
1. NightForce C507 5.55-22X56
This is a long range scope and by ay of the 250 MOA graduations on the open turret the shooters command the elevation requirements of a long range glass sight when sending bullet 1000 yard and beyond. Using the Moa graduations and adding the sub tension based on the Moar-T reticle the scope is workable to one mile and beyond. When we talk about long range why stop at the 600 yard targets when the real deal can push that range options to the next zip code when required.
While some shooters like the MOA cranking adjustments on turrets I selected this scope to fit the needs of this brand of long range thinking. The scope is massive and belongs on a real chassis, or conventions full size long range rifle, as matched to a real cartridge designed for the same. This scope will handle 408, and 375 Chey, 338 Lapua, and even the anti aircraft, anti vehicle rifle in the 50 BMG when the going gets real tough.
Power level on this scope is 5.5-22X56/ The 56 mm objective allows for massive amounts of light to bring in and go to work for the shooter. The large 30mm primary tube holds large springs and turret parts that will hold up over the long haul. Any long range scope is going to be cranked on in terms of changing MOA or MRAD settings. Time on task will take a major amount of ware on low grade parts and assemblies.
This scope makes use of the zero stop settings. This is critical to find the return zero after you have been spinning turrets up and down during a competition on a range, or when directly applying the sight to a warm target down range.
The scope requires batteries therefor it is an illuminated reticle system, and the parallax correction is by way of the side focus knob on the left side of the turret housing.
I have shot NightForce as a band in the Beat model and round it to provide good results. This is I reference to the glass quality being it will all come from the same well regardless of the model design. I did see some target fade at 1400 yards when shooting the scope as applied to my Montana 1999,338 Lapua, but on the other hand, military set up targets in a gun position made of cardboard all died. ( Ref Amazon books L.P.Brezny Book of Long Range Shooting. Gun Digest Book of Long Range shooting second edition. )
2. NightForce Beast.
This second scope is the NightForce B.E.A.S.T. in the 5-25X56mm objective lens
This is the crown product of NightForce.
Normally I would pass on using one brand for my examples of best in long range. While there are others for use in this category, these two scopes represent a prime example f what to look for in any scope brand. Let’s just say that the Beast is a scope with the bell and whistles that make a good long range glass sighting system. If your interested in Leupold, Swarovsky, Schmidt and Bender, or Steiner by example all of these brands carry some of what I will cover here in terms of advanced scope design.
The Term B.E.A.S.T. makes reference to the scopes ” Best example of advanced scope technology. The glass in this scope was developed by a joint effort between German and American engineers. The scope requirements were set up regarding a need to allow snipers to ID targets as good guy or bad guy quickly without making any costly errors.
I have run this scope as per the 6.5 Creedmoor to 1400 yards on my home range in South Dakota (western half ,) and used it for both weapons testing re-writing projects, and also ammunition load development and factory cartridge reviews. The end results of all that were that I hated to see it go back to the manufacture with the reference test rifle.
This glass is much like the Leupold MARK IV, in that it is military based being professional contractors, or US Army snipers. When interviewing snipers for two of my three long range books I was informed that the MARK IV was the gold standard among US Army Ranger snipers. Why, because it works, and it will do that so well that it is off limits to civilian sales currently.
The NightForec product is available to you, and when you do buy the scope you will be getting the flexible high magnification levels, massive objective light gathering ability, and large easy to use MOA turrets that will retain more than enough click rotations for any task at hand when sending a bullet down range to a distance of ½ or more miles.
Sub tensions are set to match the moa settings on turret gained by clicks. And that means when your out of turret clicks you can tack on the hash marks viewed through the lens, ( sub tensions .) for additional bullet drop and increased sighting elevation.
Selection for other setting types is available on this scope. The shooter that wants military ( US Marine Corps ) MRADs in number 1 or 2 types versus MOA click settings can get them with the B.E.A.S.T. as standard equipment. Personally I like the MRADS because there are far less clicks per inch when your stacking up elevation rotation on the long 1400 through one miles or more shots nowadays. I have used MRADS on all of my one mile scored hits. (One miles elevation setting 19.3 MRADS off zero versus 60+ MOA click settings.
I must add however that in all of my searching and checking out rifle scopes I have never seen the MRAD sub tensions or turret settings available over the counter in a sporting good store or big box operation regarding this or any other NightForce. The scope will retain 35 MRADS elevation and 23 clicks MRADS windage correction. If used in MOA graduation the scope will retain 120 clicks in elevation, and 80 clicks in windage. For additional information contact NightForce directly.
Other elements of note with the scope are as follows, The scope is offered in the FFP First focal plane, built into a main tube of 34mm in diameter. The Weight is 40.0 oz, with an overall length of 15.4 inches. Eye relief measures 3.5 inches, and elevation setting use the zero stop.
Illuminated system will change in brightness, and always return to the previous setting when turned back on after previous use.
In the area of scout rifles the scope selection comes down to a scope that is short in length, set up in a workable power range, and retains a very good eye relief ratio. In general scout rifles are designed as short high power rifles much like others chambered in the 308 Winchester , 243 Winchester , or the new 6.5 Creedmoor . The scout rifle retains a muzzle flash hinder, compact stock design, and a full or half weaver style rail so as to fit add on sights or tools.
When selecting a scout rifle scope , the first consideration is not to go as deep into the required engineer features as those found when taking on scopes like those long range model above. With that in mind here are a pair of rifle scopes that fit the requirements of the modern American originated scout rifle.
1. Leupold VX Freedom 1.5-4×20
Here is a scope that is making use of the chopped off bell housing a low power level, and a smaller 20mm objective lens. The scope uses capped turrets with ¼ Moa windage and elevation adjustment clicks. Built from 6061 T-6 aluminum the main tube is tough and will withstand hard field use. All glass surfaces are coated and carry better grade glass know as a standard among Leupold rifle scopes.
The ” Twilight Light Management System” pull all the value possible from low light targets. Designed as a short bell scope it is ideal as applied to the carbine length scout rifle. Cross hairs are the Leupold Duplex system, and the tube retains an exterior matt finish.
2. Athlon Optics Helos Rifle Scope.
This short bell scope retains external elevation and windage adjustment knobs like sniper rifles for the most part, Military look and feel with possible applicants on scout rifle in police use. The scope also retains a zero stop system that brings the correct zero back even with several turns of the turret as in elevation adjustment. The scope retains an illuminated reticle for low light shooting or even night shooting with the aid of a red or bright white light.
The reticle is etched glass allowing for some rough field applications on that saddle scabbard scout rifle, Coated and engineered lens surfaces that reflects light and allows for shooting under low light conditions even without the use of the illuminated reticle if require. Athlon offers the shooter four different variants of this scope design. All of them are well suited to be mounted on a scout style rifle.
Scopes for 3 gun
When shooting 3 gun competition the rifle segment on the course requires a scope that is best suited to the AR-15 . As such the scope needs to be balanced as the shooting game is fast and sweeping in terms of the style of fire applied to it. That being the case here we want a scope that retains good eye relief and the ability to get the cross hairs on target fast and accurately.
1. Sig Sauer SOT41112 Tango4.
This sig rifle scope is short and balanced for the Ar-15 platform. The scope is illuminated for low light conditions, retains advanced quality glass, and is designed for military style and tactical events. 3 gun fits the use pattern when it comes to the Sig Tango4.
Offered in the FFP this scope is military designed to some degree. Turrets are capped and the shooter works from a pre-sent zero. Three gun is close range shooting as compared to some other events and the 4X24mm glass will get the job done. The main tube on this scope is well built on the larger 30mm tube, and mounting the scope is easy with 30mm rings and weaver bases against the scout rifles weaver style extended rail.
2. Vortex Strike Eagle SFP
Here we have a 3 gun scope that was designed for the shooting game if there ever was one. 1-8X24 work surface and power settings, fast handling and good short receiver balance, threaded in throw lever for fast magnification changes, and sub tension adjustments on the fly through the lens out to 600 yards. What’s not to like about this scope?
Built of high grade aluminum and on a large 30″ tube that retains all the heavy duty core materials that make the turret work. Reticle BDC3, weight 17.6 ounces.
Scoping the AR 15 is not difficult in terms of finding the correct glass for the rifle in hand. Carbine models like the military M4 and AR-15 copies tend to be better fit using the shorter glass sights. Large longer barreled AR’s can be fitting with larger glass sights that will still balance well and stretch range a good deal depending on the magnification level that has been selected.
Here are two examples of AR scopes the first for the short receiver carbine models and the second for the long barrel designs.
1. Steiner T5Xi Tactical Rifle Scope. ( Military Grade )
This is a spot on carbine size rifle scope. Steiner builds German military models and also covers the general shooting and hunting market as well. This is a classic AR-15 scope and many like it by different manufactures will also fit the needs of the shooter well.
This scope is very high grade carries outstanding German made and installed glass, and is available in four different models depending on the shooters needs.
Remington 5.56 NATO shooters would want the SCR 34mm setup versus thew sTR calibrated for the 7.62 NATO round.
2. Steiner T5Xi Compact Riflescope for hunting.
In this second scope, we again have a German Steiner and it was like the designer was reading my mind in terms of what we end up seeing here. This scope is a bit larger than the previous scope, but not by very much. It like the first scope retains four different models and in this case the power level goes up from 1-5X50mm, to 5-25X56mm. When the AR -15 is a rifle with a longer barrel and in some cases, even a suppressor attached the longer more powerful scopes can indeed have a place. Here are Ballistics Research & Development we shoot several AR’s that are not .223 Remington based , but much larger and faster cartridges ( .224 Valkyrie,) Here we want an increase in magnification power greater than the first scopes under consideration as offered by Steiner.
This model scope retains open external turrets for advancing power and windage settings quickly, a CRA MOA reticle that aids in very fast elevation changes through the objective lens, and like the previous scopes built of high grade aluminum for a long lasting glass sight system.
1. Tract Toric 3-15X50
Depending on the rifle style which can range from the AR-10 to the heavy chassis long range rifles, shooting the 308 Winchester round with some selected glass can require some solid judgements when gaining the most from both rifle and scope in the field.
Selecting a coupe of option in this category of rifle scopes I have turned to Tract and their Toric model 3-15×50. This is a hunting based rifle scope, but it retains enough features so as to allow it to move into other functions as well.
SCOTT HT glass is one element of the Tract that sets it apart from some others. I shoot two of these on test rifles currently with one being the very new Ruger Precision performance center build for ultra accurate target shooting to 1000 or more yards, and the second a new Savage turn bolt just released for market sales. The Tract scopes have been selected because they work and cause me no loss of time and effort during the review process with both the rifles and varied loads.
This scope retains an etched reticle being of the Horus Vision development model, a large 4″ eye relief for heavy recoil on light rifles, MOA turret kit with zero stop that is also in the high profile design, and a lifetime warranty offered the first or an additional buyer down the line.
Ample sub tension control for the distance shooting that the 308 Winchester can provide,
and the ability to produce a clear sharp target image even out to 1000 yards.
2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18×44
As an additional option in 308 Winchester scopes the Vortex line that includes several different options close to this example are a solid choice when selecting a scope that will be a good as applied against the 308 round.
This scope is 6-18×44 and carries far more magnification than is required for the 8700 yards (seal level) effectiveness of the cartridge under consideration in this case. Using the dead hold BDC (MOA) reticle elevation adjustments can be required quickly through the lens,
The scope uses capped turrets, but fully adjustable for elevation and windage, a one piece aluminum aircraft grade tube housing, and special coated glass also make this a field ready system for hunting big game.
When reviewing handgun glass the major element to be considered here is quality of product, and the pessary eye relief necessary due to the weapon being so far removed from the eye itself. Get this whole balance straight end out and you into the general use handgun glass sight.
1. Hammers Long Eye relief Pistol Scout Scope.
This 2-7X32 handgun scope is set up for the use of the same system on pistols and revolvers. The long eye relief is the key here as well as a four plex reticle that can allow do some elevation adjustments, and is based on the weaver rail mounting system.
Coated in bright chrome (brushed ) finish the 2-7X32 retains enough power for long range shots and also tight in shooting as in hogs in heavy cover.
2. Leupold VX-3 2.5-8X32 handgun scope.
Here is an upper end glass sight that carries all the pedigrees of the big scope Leupold line. This scope is set up in 1.4 MOA turret adjustments, ” Twilight Max Light Management System”, and is ultra light weight with a one inch main housing tube.
The scope is all American built
Rimfire glass sights a couple of quick examples.
1. Leupold VX Freedom 2-7X33mm rimfire MOA reticle.
This example of a rimfire scope is based on the big guys and a good choice for small game hunting , or general use around the barn etc. This is a ¼ MOA adjustable turret system for elevation and windage, built from 6061-T6 aluminum ( aircraft grade or better ,) and retains the special Leupold light management system that is designed and well known to pull extra light early in the day and late in the evening, just when those big gray and fox squirrels are on the move. Capped turrets, easy power adjustment and more than enough of it, with a one inch easy to mount main tube and 33mm objective lens.
2. Sightmark Core SX 4X43 22 LR Rimfire scope.
The basic hunting scope that I used one much like it to feed the family with through many of the early years of my life. Straight 4x power that got the job done in a squirrel woods, or on snow packed rabbit trails in the willow swamps of northern Minnesota. This is a basic glass sight, but it will bring home the meat for the table.
32mm objective ens makes for adequate light transmission, and the turrets and sub tension are set up expressly for the 22 LR. Main tube 6061-T6 aluminum.
Glass sights for home defense weapons?
Here is a subject that retains questions and few answers because home defense is a relative term, and can carry many different meaning. Cutting to the short form here drop the scope and pickup the red dot systems for fast target acquisition. Close range, dark room, a step into a garage, or deck area and a narrow field of fire through a glass sight makes the scope not the tool of the trade at all.
First of all best weapon for home defense is a shotgun. End of that story no other comments need to be stated here in print. This is taken from my 26 years as a police officer, and in general 50 year gun writer. As such I will direct all attention toward the red dot HUD heads up display sight for one very critical reason. Defensive situations in close quarters demands that the defender is able to retain a high level of peripheral vision. Side to side viewing is now as critical as what is directly in from of the shotgun muzzle.
That stated I will proceed to the first example of a solid sight for room to room or close quarters gun fighting.
1. Feyachi RS-30 REFLEX SIGHT.
Here we have a heads up display system that uses multiple reticle systems in red dot sighting points.
This sight allows the shooter to stay with the target even if moving and also command the area around the target as well, ( Second target subject engaged. The sight carries a selection of 4 different reticle brightness levels, unlimited eye relief, and where ever the sighting dot goes so will the payload of buckshot, or steel darts etc. Nasty critter but effective.
2. TruGlo TRU-TEC Micro red dot.
This sight is a sight I have in house for general closer range hunting. The sight is a good option for a shotgun in the home as well being it is like the first example as it allows for a full fight field of view in the event it was ever required.
3 MOA red dot , 23mm objective, and unlimited eye relief.
This sigh will mount quickly as part of the Weaver rail system on any firearm that retains a weaver rail.
Well made, strong glass viewing screen, this is a good example of a working combat style close range sight.
For the next review tactical optics gets the call.
Tactical means police military generated sighting designs and development. In this case the shooter wants a scope set up jus for this task and not intended for the general back yard plinker or even advanced hunter.
1. Sig Sauer TANGO6T 1-6X32
Designed by Sig as a true tactical glass sight the T6 is a 30mm FFP illuminated reticle 0.2 MRAD military combat sight designed for AR’s and related weapons platforms.
Lockdown zero system, light control diode for through the lens control, hyper scan and advanced internals for better target acquisition, and built military field tough.
The illuminated “Hell Fire” reticle makes ranging judgement fast and accurate. This is a professional grade optical system hands down.
2. Leupold VX Freedom
This is a 1.5-4X20mm rifle scope with a Duplex reticle, carries a matt tough finish in the gold ring classic look, and is built for police applications in a urban tactical scope sight first and foremost. This scope is using ¼ MOA click adjustments, and the sealed turrets ( capped )and set into a one piece 6061-T6 aluminum tube.
Leupold designed light control systems make this a low light target gathering system as well as a solid daylight target searching systems as well.
Best platform AR-15 or other short receiver model firearms.
With a quick turn to the high end style glass sights the choices are getting narrower, and for the most part follow the money and your going to get to some examples quickly. Worlds best glass, best construction materials, and most features make these stand out systems in rifle scopes.
1. Leupold VX-6 7-42x56mm Long Range Rifle Scope
This is a scope designed for shooting into the next zip code, and with the power rating, light control features, and other related elements the scope is world class as a distance. target shooters tool.
Just this past month Leupold (Apr. 2022) was selected by the US Army to build the MARK 5 MRAD scopes as applied to the new Barrett sniper rifle design coming forth by the military. Why Leupold? Because these guys deliver a ultra high quality product, and this VX-6 is a good example of that level of design performance. Turret clicks at 1/8 MOA setting up very fine adjustments for long range target applications.
2. Leupold MARK 8 CQBSS 3.5-25X56MM
As a second example I am staying with Leupold because this scope is pushing up against the new military variant coming out soon to a trained sniper near you.
This scope is set up on high mounted turrets and controlled with MRAD clicks, and as such can push up elevation very fast when the targets are one mile away or even more.
M5C2 turrets auto lock for zero return, set up in FFP, and ranging for as far as the chambered round will shoot. Light control for a clear image and low to no target fade at very long distances.
On the subject of night vision the is a land rush in place covering thee low or no light shooting sights today. Night vision is a big deal , and with pig hunting becoming the current target of the day, all of the usage regarding night shooting is up front and center as a way to get in your gunning time in now a days.
1. Night VisionHD 1080p by Sniper.
This is an example of a day/night color digital scope that also retains video recording in HD.
This scope has a full day / night mode. Color viewing for day use and black and white night use. The scope has a 300m night vision range, multi coated glass, and 3x digital zoom. On terms of cost his is a lower end scope just below $600.00 . If your thinking that is to much money your not into night vision at all with that thinking.
Built with aluminum body the package include an attached flash light, 2xAv video cable, USB cable 1x8GB TF card 1x powder adapter with two complete sets of batteries and charger.
2. Pulsar Digisight Ultra N455 LRF Night Vision Riflescope.
The night scope can be zeroed for up to 10 zero impact points down range. Effective range 600 yards, built in recording system, and wide angle eye piece. Can produce You Tube streaming using a Smart phone. Retains a unique B Pack power system.
All digital function in terms of operational systems.
Also in the night vision area a move to the thermal option ups the game in considerable in terms regarding effective shooting in total darkness. Thermal traces heat given off by the subject is the new tool in town. Warm targets can’t escape the detection system in the night scope and it is deadly to some very long range limits.
1. OpticGuru Thor LT Thermal Rifle Scope.
This is an affordable thermal scope that uses state of the art thermal sensors to locate a warm target in total blackness. Advanced heat detection systems make this scope effective, and the 30mm main tube offers strength for use in ugh conditions during the dead of night.
The scope retains 10 hours of function on one battery charging. It is not designed as a photo toy, but as a down to earth night shooting system for professionals
Red Dot Sight
Where as not in the area of home defense, but back into the red dot sight as an options for shooting games. Targets, or what ever, there are a couple of examples that fit the needs in this case.
1. Bushnell red Dot
This is a simple sight that I have run on crossbows and shotguns for years. The power lasts for years with on off use as needed, the system is field dirt simple and require no extra attention to special care, and the unit is very small and light weight. Waterproof and gas filled I have sat in tree sands for days in rough mountain weather here in the Dakotas, and never have seen an issue with this tough little red dot scopes.
Dot reticle is a 3 MOA which is a good size for general field applications at close range.
Easy on off by ay of the Weaver rail system, and money back guarantee for one full year after purchase.
2. Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight
Here is a red dot military style or police. This AimPoint PRO series red dot reflex sight is set at 2 MOA for a bit finer sighting on longer range shots. The body is super tough and designed for military applications as well as sporting use.
The system retains four night and six daylight settings for brightness. The scope will function for up to three years on a single battery install.
Better grade product for professional applications.
As I cal this final group of sight the HUD display sight in that the window is open lacking a round tube housing. The screen is right up front and easy to access even at very high speed regarding sighting, and the use factor is very simple
1. Truglo TG8100B Red-Dot Sight
My first choice in this sight is again a sight I use myself on handguns, carbine AR-15 platforms, and shotguns. It is the TRUGLO TRU-TEC Micro red Dot. This glass sight is very small, super light weight, but gives the shooter a nice open HUD style window to shoot through.
Unlimited eye relief as HUD sights are known for, sealed against the weather, and an auto on off feature that saves batter power when in the field. Weaver rail mount is fast and solid.
2. Holosun HS510C 2 MOA .
Here we have a HUD display sight that offers the signal 2 MOA dot or the larger 65 MOA ring for shooting. Depending on the targets and field applications involved the shooter has a clear choice in sub tension viewing through this open window glass sight.
The window on this sight is set into a tough outer housing, the sighting system is holography based as the image is clear and adjustable wth elevation and windage controls.
At a weight of 8.3 ounces it is very workable on short receiver weapons, including crossbows. The unit uses solar power supplied energy as well as a battery. The system will run 50.000 hours on a single Cr2032 battery.
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L.P Brezny has been writing and reviewing product as well as how to projects for the past 50 years. He has authored four books on shooting with three on long range, and one covering shotgunning. With 26 years on a metro police department as a street officer and the rank of SGT / training L.P. has covered all the bases regarding weapons and street survival.
During the early years in non-toxic shotshell ammunition development L.P. designed the first successful measurement system for recording the speed of shot shell payloads down range. He was responsible for getting actual shotshell velocities printed on factory load boxes. Over the years he has developed and markets MetroGun System TM, and sells his designed ammunition for subsonic sound suppressed shotgun shooting.
Current L.P. resides in the South Dakota Black Hills and spends a good deal of time working through many types of ammunition both in the field on warm targets. With ultra long range being a current specialty L.P. shots for test and accuracy at ranges as great as one or more miles on the wide open Dakota grasslands.