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Top 18 Best Rifle Scopes For Hunting Reviews in 2021

Best Rifle Scopes For Hunting

When selecting a rifle scope as a general purpose hunting model the first thing that should be understood is that in most cases shots even out in the open country of the American west will be at or under 400 yards. In most cases, shots taken are well inside 200 yards being most hunters do not train for long range shooting and even those that do understand a bullets flight so well and taking a shot beyond the effective range of the bullet, or the ability of the shooter is asking for a wounded animal and no hunter worth his or her salt ever wants to see that happen.

The following are a group of scopes that fit the needs of the hunter across all types of terrain and weather conditions in the field.

Author original photo: Basic hunting scope setup Model 70 Winchester Leopold glass illustrated.

1. Leupold VX-Freedom 450

Here we have a scope that is almost doing double duty as a long range and closer in a game hunting scope. Hunters in the western states that are putting the sneak on an elk in a deep valley, or a sheep on a high mountain ridge line have the options of using the cross hairs installed in the scope or going to full blown adjustments of the sub MOA elevation settings on the exposed knob system on the scopes turret housing.

This scope is aircraft grade in terms of its main tube construction. The 40mm bell will pill light and make for a good early morning or late evening setup in terms of game animal hunting. In term of the power setting of 3-9, this is almost a world standard in most hunting scopes. The low power is correct for close, or running shots, and the high range setting is good to about 400 yards on anything that is a warm target.

The elevation and windage settings are set up in ¼ MOA increments, and the scope is built and designed to meet the stiff restrictions set up by Leupold in terms of offering a quality product.

2. Leupold VX-3 3.5-10X40

This scope is set up more for wide open shooting as in long range mountain mule deer or goat hunting on wide open prairie settings. The 10 x says this to be fact and it is a signature when observing this style of rifle glass.

This Leupold is different from the first in that it makes use of capped turrets and the high power settings. The scope is much like the 3-4X40 previously reviewed, in that it is using the light gathering glass designed by Leupold, made of aircraft grade aluminum, coated with the manufactures own brand of glass protection called DiamondCoat2, and is a nice size for standard bolt action hunting rifles.

This scope is also like the previous model in that it is designed from the main tube up to handle heavy recoil sent out by large caliber rifles.

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 with its one inch main tube and chopped forward bell is very short, light weight and 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 in the field. Short receivers and short barrels need a correct scope for smaller cartridge and weapons selections, 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. (mine by example )

While not for everyone as it is a specialized glass sight there is a pile of rifles and calibers that match the power and size built into this hunting scope.

4. Bushnell Trophy Shotgun Scope with Doa 200 Reticle, 3-9 x 40mm, Matte Black

Moving to a budget scope but one that has a long history of sending the mail accurately Bushnell offers the simple and effective Trophy Multi-X reticle system rifle scope. This scope is fully coated, has the rain guard HD protection on the glass, will pull 91% of available light in any weather or time of day, runs with a one inch main aluminum tube, and has a 3-9x magnification level.

The turrets use the MOA settings for elevation and windage and ar set up at ¼ MOA per click.

Here at BR&D my test agency I use several of these scopes as they are tough, return good results and can be hauled around for almost ever being field time on game, or testing advanced ammunition provided by the industry for review. In this case, this scope is a pile of bang for the buck if you don’t want a bunch of extras hanging on the tube, and are looking for a straight forward deer hunters field tool when applied to normal range situations.

5. Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle

With a sight move upward, but still in the normal range of the average deer hunter Bushnell offers the 3-9X40 DZ.23 reticle.

This scope is set up for the ever popular .223 Rem, and is operated with open turrets with MOA settings. This 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 and can be adjusted for a zeroed shot very quickly to 600 yards. This setup is designed for the smaller cartridge and to be used on game appropriate to the round and sighting system.

For those that are considering Bushnell as some low end outfit think again. I shoot a Bushnell in the best scope they build 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.

Author Photo: Hunting medium range fuel deer with up to date Bushnell Hunting Scope

6. Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223 Lunette de visée avec tourelles, 1-4 x 24 mm

Now to a light weight short tube system built by Bushnell called the Drop Zone. This scope is built with the chopped bell housing, Target turrets, but set up for carbines, short lever action rifles, and other related short receiver sized weapons. The Winchester Model 94 30-30 by example is a good fit for this scope on a light 30 caliber weapon, or for use on the AR series rifles being AR 15 .556 NATO, or other variants of the rifle.

The scope so 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 as they are so effective 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.

7. Nikon Prostaff

Nikon is a company that has moves off the centerline regarding production engineering and also price point and now offers 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 with the same scope I will start with here in terms of a review.

This scope is a 2-7X32 and designed for the big game hunter. The scope 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. Zero stop system is employed after making the correct base zero, and the eye piece is a quick focus system as well. The scope is user friendly in that 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.

8. Nikon Monarch

This scope by Nikon is for open country hunting with a major league cartridge chambered rifle. The scope retains the larger 30mm tube body which means larger internals and heavy general components as well, the scope I made of aircraft grade aluminum, and hard anodizing has been applied to make this a tough field use glass sight.

The scope is a low profile design in terms of the turrets, and the corrections are capped for positive water seal in tough field conditions ( mountains )  The scope makes use of ¼ MOA clicks for positive and accurate zeroing down range Waterproof and shock proof this is a hunters scope to be sure.

9. Vortex Optics Crossfire II

The is a SFF scope and mounts a one inch main tube. The scope 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 on ring sealed from water or fog, and the eye relief is extended for use with heavy recoiling rifles.

Vortex is a newer brand but a solid product and a good positive 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.

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 and even total dark shooting with 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 there for take care in what you want to order of 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 for new ammunition evaluation.

11. TruGlo Tru-Brite Xtremem

This scope retains the illuminated reticle and is designed for short actin rifles, This include AR style platforms as well, The scope maintains an ultra high contrast resolution optical design, full color lighted crosshairs in red or green, and built for fast target alignment against fast moving targets or shooting in low light game situations when times to set up the short is very short.

The reticle can be also used in the black without any use of the illuminated features,

Sub tensions are designed for most centerfire cartridges and set up for 600 yard shooting. Currently, this very scope is being installed on a rock river AR carbine for use on light and fast moving coyote calling runs here in the Dakotas.

With an aluminum tube built as a one piece aircraft aluminum standard and turrets capped and o ring sealed this scope is a solid field unit for the serious varmint or game hunter working at normal shooting ranges.

12. Burris Ballistic Plex Hunting Riflescope, 2X-7X-32mm

Burris Ballistic Plex is a scope that is a 2X-7X-32mm main tube objective.

This scope is built for carbine and light lever rifles that don’t have a whole lot of extra receiver room for adding a scope rail or bases. This scope is a good choice to be used 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 field rifles that are in use up in timber country, or for the saddle scabbard in western states.

I can say that I use Burris on some ultra nasty high recoiling rifles and have one as an installed that took place almost 20 years ago, That scope is still doing the deed and has never required any maintenance save for cleaning the lens glass every now and again.

13. Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4X28

Here we have a scope designed for light field work on again a short actin rifle, This scope uses the special Leupold light management system, retains ¼ MOA adjustment clicks for windage and elevation, and retains scratch resistant lens glass. The scope uses aircraft grade 6061 aluminum on its one piece bue construction, and is sealed against water, fog, and dust for a lifetime of service.

The scope is designed, machined and assembled in the USA.

14. Crimson Trace Optics Sport Riflescope

The 6-24X56 scope has been included here because t is new, retains state of the art design, and is the off shoot of the laser line sight systems this company started out building years ago.  Built in the first focal plane FFP, the scope is a long range optics system, but designed for use by sheep hunters, trophy mule deer hunters, and anyone in open country that needs to cover a water hole. Ridge line of rocks, or treeline on a fence some 400 or 500 yard distant.

Turrets are open style with quick access adjustable clicks for fast elevation adjust,ents on the spot. The sub tensions are lighted an easy to use re through the lense elevation corrections. This scope retains a full lifetime warranty.

15. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7X32 Scout. SFF.

This scope is designed for use of long eye relief scout rifle style weapons or carbines, The scope is just like the large models in terms of quality but cut down in size to fit the smaller receivers used on carbines and lite rifles like the now well known Scout rifle offered by several manufactures.

The scope retain 9.45 inches of eye relief, the V Plex reticle for fast pickup on moving targets, and a anti reflective fully multicoated glass lens. The turrets on this scope are the capped style for additional rugged service applications on that model 94 Winchester, or Mossberg Scout rifle.

16. TRACT 3-9X40 Rimfire scope.

TRACT is a new company that has only been around a few years now. This outfit is a good scope for the money and as such I use them for both test, general hunting, and special long range work in terms of their large size optical systems.

This scope is a rimfire scope and I have included it because many hunters take on small game almost year round and in fact more targets are sighting in the small game area than big game when you total up all the shot sent down range in the sporting markets.

This scope is built like the “big rifle” models using full one inch tube, large objective lens systems for maximum light control, and I can say for a fat that TRACT is making use of good optical glass on all of their line of scopes.

The scope has the T Plex reticle allowing a clan field of view on small game, and also allows for fast target acquisition against moving targets.

One piece aluminum construction and a nice almost power coated gray exterior. This is a good looking scope, and also performs very well on game and on targets. I shoot a model of TRACT on both the 300 Win Mag chassis rifle and custom Dead Wood South Dakota Satterlee Arms built mini Mauser MARK X, that rifle is chambered in .224 Valkyrie. At one-half mile in terms of target shooting the glass is clear, sharp, and lacks any distortion what so ever.

17. Tract TORIC 2-10×42

This scope is larger than the previous model and will be classed here as a mountain hunter’s scope or at least western United states type optical system. This scope uses the T-Plex sub tensions designed for hunters and is quite flexible in that it is usable as a target scope during the off season and also a solid hunting field model sight as well.

Eye relief is set a 4 inches for use on heavy magnums during recoil, and mounts a  low profile capped zero stop turret for ease of handling and totally protection regarding elevation and windage adjustments.  This scope retains a lifetime warranty which is transferable if sold,

18. Zeiss Conquest V4 3-12X56

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