For any hunter, a rifle scope is a worthwhile investment, enhancing accuracy, extending the firearm’s shooting range as well as greatly improving the chances of landing a successful kill. Unsurprisingly, over the years, rifle scopes have rapidly risen in popularity, and nowadays, you will find on the market, optics of every size, shape, and budget.
But it is exactly this wide range of choices available that makes it tough to identify exactly the right hunting scope for your budget and needs. And, it doesn’t help either that most hunting scope buying guides you will find on the internet never even tried themselves the recommendations they put forward.
So, based on extensive research as well as real hands-on experience, we compiled together here a list of the best scopes for hunting rifles.
Best Overall: Burris Fellfield II 3-9x40mm
Putting a mention here was difficult – after all, given that hunting is such a broad category. A hunting scope that is optimal for hunting groundhogs in the open prairies may not work well for hunting deer in the thick woodlands.
With some of you may differ, we found the Burris Fellfield II to be the best all-hunting rifle scope, versatile enough to be useful in any hunting scenario, from waterfowls to hogs.
The Burris Fellfield II brings the performance of more premium hunting scopes at a fraction of their costs. Its multi-coated 40mm lens minimizes glare and provides a bright and crystal-clear view of the magnified target. Try looking through its optics yourself, and we guarantee you’ll be quite impressed with the image results.
The integrated eye-piece is adjustable, and the scope has one of the most generous eye relief range of any other in the market of the same price range.
The scope is also super durable. You can feel that in your hand and can confirm it while on the field. It features a high-grade single-piece body construction and is completely water, fog, and shockproof. In facts, its own manufacturer is so confident in its toughness that they offer a ‘forever’ warranty with the purchase of their scope.
Surprisingly, the scope doesn’t feature a lens cover, so you might have to purchase one separately. But that is just a minor quirk in an otherwise flawless hunting scope.
- Great value for money
- Highly durable
- Lifetime warranty
- No lens covers
The Final Verdict
Are there better all-around hunting scopes out there? Absolutely, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that offers so much value at such an affordable price.
Best for Long Range: Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25×56mm
At extreme distances, even the most minor of mis-adjustments can significantly impact accuracy. You need a scope specifically designed for such ranges, and the one that is our recommendation is the Schmidt & Bender PMII.
You will find the PMII to really be the gold standard when it comes to long-range hunting and competitive shooting. In terms of optic quality and mechanical reliability, there are few, if any, better long-range scope options on the commercial market. Its terms of clarity and sharpness, the images produced are superior to any we’ve so far seen of any scopes. Because of its remarkable color fidelity, even a well-camouflaged game can be easily recognized.
It features an incredibly wide range of adjustment settings, helping you ensure that no matter what the distance, the reticle remains sharp and on target as well as issues such as parallax and depth of view remain addressed.
The turrets dial with a very tactile click and, quite frankly, are fun to mess around with. The scope holds its zeros flawlessly, and the turret settings lock in place, protecting from any unintentional or unwanted changes. In regards to the top turret, it doubles as a second revolution indicator, popping up once it has done a complete 360. This can be helpful for you to remember your adjustment position, even in a dark environment.
The scope is offered in a number of different reticle options, of both first and second focal range. All options are illuminated with a total of 11 brightness settings, allowing for optimal reticle and target visibility in any outdoor setting.
- Exceptional optics
- Super reliable
- Incredible long-range performance
- Really expensive
The Final Verdict
There is a good reason why this scope remains highly popular in the military and police forces, and it’s that the scope’s quality is virtually unmatched. Provided you can afford it, you will be more than satisfied with its performance.
Best on a Budget: Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm
Just because you are on a shoestring budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise too much on quality or performance when it comes to choosing a hunting scope. At under $100, the Bushnell Benner is an incredible scope that offers many of the same functions and performance of its far pricier counterparts.
The multi-coated lenses allow for excellent clarity and brightness, perfect for an aging eye or for hunting in low-lit conditions. While the depth of field does fall off at the upper extreme of its zoom, at the rest of the range, it is exceptional, nearly equally that of much more premium hunting rifle optics.
The scope’s body is a very durable single-piece construction and is water, fog, and shockproof. Clicks are audible and very easy to turn. The ‘multi-X’ reticle is a bit basic, and you may find it difficult to target with the scope past twilight, but it is versatile for use in a variety of hunting styles and holds its zero almost perfectly.
- Super affordable
- Exceptional value for money
The Final Verdict
A second level scope packing a first level performance – for the price, you would hardly find a better product anywhere on the market. If anything, its price is a steal, given the overall quality.
Best Premium Scope: Steiner 5112 T5Xi 3-15x50mm
What makes the T5Xi really stand out from other premium rifle scopes is that the precision and versatility it brings are simply on the next level.
The SCR reticle is etched and illuminated, allowing better range estimation as well as targeting in low light conditions. Furthermore, since the reticle is located in the first focal plane, to adds to shooting versatility. As with any premium hunting scope, its high-end lenses are fully multi-coated, reducing glare and enhancing brightness.
On many scopes, at higher magnifications, reticle parallax can become a major concern, harming shooting accuracy. On the T5Xi, however, the issue is greatly diminished thanks to adjustable side focus.
Another concern typically associated with high magnification scopes is the lack of enough eye relief, which can be especially problematic if the hunting rifle it is mounted to produces significant recoil. Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to be an issue found on the T5Xi.
The three sets of turrets are rapidly adjustable and produce a nice audible click. A special feature the scope includes is a resettable, second rotation indicator, which is helpful to avoid getting lost on the dial if your focus was elsewhere.
The overside scope is super rugged. You can abuse it in the harshest of environments, and it hardly makes an impact on its function and performance. In fact, this is definitely one of those scopes that can withstand a lifetime of use and keep working almost as if brand new.
The product comes with a lifetime ‘heritage’ warranty, which is fully transferable to future owners. Repairs and replacements covered free of cost with no warranty card or receipt needed.
- Super durable
- Super accurate
- Superior glass quality
- Lifetime warranty
The Final Verdict
While super expensive, the performance and features that the T5Xi brings certainly justifies the price tag. It has one of the clearest and best-illuminated optics, period as well as overall is a highly versatile scope, just as useful in competition shooting as for hunting.
Best Night Vision Scope: ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart 3-14x
A lot of game animals and varmints tend to nocturnal, and to hunt them, you need a reliable, high-performing night vision scope. The price of night vision has fallen over the years, all the while their features and performance have been enhanced.
If you are after a good night vision scope, we recommend the Pro Smart. What particularly is a stand-out feature its hybrid day/night optics, allowing for a seamless transition between daylight and nighttime shooting. Another plus point we would give to the scope is its design. It looks and feels just like a traditional optic
It features a 4K true UHD sensor, allowing for sharp, clear images, even at night, and at maximum magnification. The sensor also has the ability to stream and record videos at 120 fps via your smartphone. What’s more, video recording can be set to recoil activated, automatically starting to record before and after you take a shot – quite a useful function when hunting.
Another notable one of its features is the excellent ballistic calculator, allowing you to land more accurate shots over longer distances. Not a lot of scopes offer this, but they definitely should be. Another plus point we would give to the scope is its design. It looks and feels just like a traditional optic
A persistent issue with night vision scopes has been their lack of durability. However, this isn’t much of a concern with the Pro Smart, which can withstand some really harsh outdoor conditions and temperatures as low as -20 F to as high as +120 F. With that said, being electronic, don’t expect it to carry the same degree of toughness and lasting power as a traditional scope.
The night vision scope is incredibly energy efficient – on a single charge, you can expect it to last some 15-18 hours, which is more than enough for a single day’s hunting session. You can extend the hours further to more than double the standard range with an ATN battery pack.
When first released, the scope did have some issues with its software, but with a firmware update that was rolled out last year, the glitches have been taken care of. Additional important information to know about this scope is that it features no turrets and depends entirely on its digital functions to make adjustments, which does take a while to get used to.
- Excellent high-tech features
- Seamless day/night transition
- True UHD imagery
- Also available in 4-20x
- No turrets
The Final Verdict
This is a high-functioning, very versatile scope with little drawbacks and offered at a relatively affordable price range. Save for more premium, competitive night vision scopes, you won’t get better value in almost any other.
Over to You
Disagree with any of our recommendations in this guide? Have any other opinions on this article? Write them down in the comments below. While you are still here, don’t forget to check out our store and restock on your hunting ammo supply.