Best Rifle Scopes: Top 10 Hunting Rifle Scopes On Your Budget – Reviews

If you’ve just bought a rifle, or are upgrading one you already have, you’ve probably wondered what are the best rifle scopes, and what contributes to deciding what makes one scope better than another. 

Well, the answer is rather complex and depends on a number of factors, including the type of gun you are shooting, your budget, the primary use you have for the scope, under what conditions you are using it for, and really just what feels best to you. 

The top rifle scopes for somebody who only shoots at tin cans in nice weather with a .22 will be radically different from a scope for a person hunting big game in Alaska. 

So let’s take a look at a few of the best rifle scope brands on the market right now!

In This Page:

Best Value Rifle Scopes Reviews


Yes, its a thing to be worried, how to find out the correct scope for a rifle that fits all of our needs within a budget.   


In this review, our experts team pull out top ten most popular scopes from the current market that fits the budget and the requirements. Let's read the explanation of the top picked scopes..

1. Vortex Viper PST GEN II - 5-25x50 FFP

Vortex Viper PST GEN II

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The Vortex Viper PST Gen II is a very impressive scope. While the price tag might be offputting for some, we think the Vortex Viper justifies it with the many features. 


While no scope is perfect, we find that the basic second focal plane construction allows for a higher grade scope at a lower price compared to other competitors.  


Getting a first focal plane scope for this price is already a pretty good deal, and when you add in the advanced target turrets, side parallax adjustment, and other high end features, the Viper looks pretty darn good. 


We really liked the attention to manufacturing detail with things like O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged construction, along with superior quality multi coated optics, and the incredible long range potential that comes from a 5-25x50 scope.


There are of course some downsides. Big scopes are not always best for all situations. This isn’t something you’d want to stick on your M4 style AR-15 for instance, and it’s a bit overkill for common hunting tasks. 


It certainly excels as a long range target scope, but that also makes it a superior choice for a long range hunter, especially where distance shots are the rule, rather than the exception. 


The Vortex Viper may also be at home on certain kinds of tactical or precision rifles. 


Law enforcement agencies would be well advised to consider it on a sniper rifle, while private citizens who live in rural areas will appreciate the wide field of view and long range abilities when dealing with predatory animals or violent criminals.


All in all, despite a price tag around that of a halfway decent target or hunting rifle, there is an awful lot to love about this scope, and very little to dislike.

2. Vortex Razor HD GEN II Review - 4.5-27x56 FFP MOA

Vortex Razor HD GEN II Review

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Perhaps one of the all time best rifle scopes made, the Vortex Razor HD is an extreme high end, long range tactical and hunting scope. We loved basically everything about it.


The illuminated reticle, first focal plane design, high density optics, a glass etched reticle, high quality construction for use even with heavy recoiling cartridges, easy to use and understand controls, including illumination and side parallax controls, lockable target turrets, and so much more


Much like the Vortex Viper we looked at a moment ago, the Vortex Razor HD is built to last, and to stand up to regular, hard use.


One big drawback of this scope is the oversized 56mm objective lens. At this size, finding scope rings can be difficult, and your selection will be somewhat limited. 


We also have to come to grips with the fact this is a scope that costs more than even a high end precision rifle. In other words, this isn’t an optic you buy just to go deer hunting with on nice fall days. 


This is a professional grade scope for people who fling lead at very long distances into little tiny groups for a living, or who have mastered the art of long range precision shooting.


Or are working very hard to master that art. Suitable for long range tactical or sport shooting, and hunting in extreme conditions at great distances, the Vortex Razor HD is a fine scope- for those who can afford it and make use of its many advanced features. 

3. Leupold VXR 4-12x50mm Review

Leupold VXR 4-12x50mm Review

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Leupold has been building fine rifle scopes for generations, and the VXR line of optics, represents some of the best rifle scope for the money that you can get anywhere. 


These American made scopes are built to serve the needs of discerning hunters and target shooters. 


Featuring an illuminated reticle, a modest 4-14 magnification with a 50mm objective lens, “one turn” fast focus, special nitrogen/argon gas filled tube, and much more.


What we liked was the overall simple design, which made this generalist scope suitable for people who do more than just one task with their gun. 


The VXR really is capable of serving as a target scope, hunting scope, or a high powered tactical scope where such application is called for. Of course, as with any generalist design, it may be good at a great many things, but does not master any one of them. 


This is ok though, as few shooters are so specialized as to require a one trick pony optic. In reality, Leupold built this to be an outstanding hunting scope, and an excellent all purpose scope. While the price is a bit high, you get what you pay for. 


A Leupold scope is a lifetime investment that you can pass on to your children or grandchildren. The 4-14 magnification won’t give you serious reach out and touch something, but for the ranges most people shoot most guns at, it is all the scope you’ll ever need in this lifetime. 

4. Nightforce SHV 5-20x56 Review

Nightforce SHV 5-20x56 Review

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This delightful, and high grade scopei s probably the best rifle scope for the money, as long as you don’t mind dropping the bucks to get a premium grade scope. 


NightForce is known for making high end optics that are designed for use in low light conditions and well, at night. 


Originally designed to serve the needs of hunters who hunt at night, NightForce has evolved into a brand that serves the needs of tactical, sport, hunting and target shooters, all with the same no compromise scopes. 


We really liked the 5-20 magnification which serves well for any purpose other than the most extreme long range shooting. 


The zero resetable target turrets are to be expected on a scope of this quality, and this non illuminated reticle model is intended for daytime shooters, which is something of a change of pace from NightForce’s usual products.


We noticed the 56mm objective lens will require buying larger than normal scope rings which could be a problem on some guns, but it really isn’t an insurmountable obstacle. This scope will be perfect for hunting, target shooting, or long range tactical rifles. 


You might not want to take it through really heavy brush in case the exposed target turrets get knocked out of zero, but this scope is really at home at the range above all else. 


Reasonably priced for how feature rich it is, the NightForce SHV will provide years of good service for most any shooting task you might have in mind.

5. Athlon Argos BTR 6-24x50 FFP

Athlon Argos BTR 6-24x50 FFP

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The Athlon Argos is among the best rifle scopes for a budget. Extremely affordable and loaded with high dollar features, we were pleased with the illuminated, glass etched reticle, fast focus knob, parallax adjustment, side focus and more. 


The Argos is an example of how to build an affordable scope that is packed with advanced features normally found on scopes costing three times as much. 


We can see a careful attention to detail in all aspects of this scope, and are convinced it is an equal to comparable “big name” scopes.


The question then is what can you do with the Argos? Its a pretty good all around scope, and a rare case of being very good at a lot of things. 


As suitable for hunting as it is for long range target shooting or tactical work, the only real drawbacks shooters might find is the large 50mm objective lens can be a bit awkward in the woods, but that isn’t even really enough to notice. 


We would favor this scope the most when engaged in precision shooting, as it is optimized for the kind of scope adjustments long range target shooters engage in, and with that in mind, we’d consider it as much at home on a police sniper rifle as on a match quality benchrest rifle. 


Regardless of your final end use, you’d be hard pressed to find any real shortcomings with the Athlon Argos, and should be quite happy with it on any rifle you mount it.

6. Bushnell Elite Tactical Review - 6-24x50

Bushnell Elite Tactical Review

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We like the Bushnell elite for a number of reasons. Bushnell is one of the best rifle scope brands on the market today, and their quality and performance is readily apparent when examining the Bushnell Elite.


This particular model is billed as a tactical scope, although these days it’s pretty easy to slap that label on most any piece of gear. 


More like a 6-24x50 scope much like similar optics on the market with an illuminated reticle, the Bushnell Elite is about as tactical as it is target, or hunting. It certainly can serve any of those roles, and really any task you might have for it. 


Taking the tactical moniker into consideration, we can see that the target turrets are more rugged in construction than scopes made for bench shooting.


This certainly is a positive, as it makes it unlikely to lose your zero when lugging your rifle through brush or over rough terrain. 


This might make it tactical, but we think it makes it practical for any shooter who wants benchrest levels of adjustment on their scope, but actually takes their rifle out into the real world. 

Somewhat modestly priced, this is one of the best all around rifle scopes we’ve seen, and there are certainly worse choices you can make. 

There are better choices you can make too, but if you need a happy medium between entry level and high end, we think you’ll enjoy the Bushnell Elite for hunting, target shooting, or yes, even for tactical uses. 

7. Burris Veracity Scope Review

Burris Veracity Scope Review

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The Burris Veracity competes with the Bushnell Elite in terms of price range, features and quality.  In fact on the surface the two scopes are largely identical. However, there are a few differences that are noticeable in the Burris.


Instead of 6-24 magnification, the Burris Veracity offers either a 5-20 or 5-25 power magnification with a 50mm objective lens. The differences are largely trivial, but there are some features that Burris offers that do allow it to stand out from the competition.


The tall target turrets and side parallax adjustment knob are ruggedized, making them suitable for non bench rest shooting, and the scope ships with a nice sunshade.


Some think the optical coating and overall construction are a bit higher quality than similar scopes, which certainly matters when shooting under demanding conditions. 


We couldn’t find much wrong with this scope, or much to get excited over. It is another scope with decent magnification, and built to combine the best features of target and hunting scopes.


Unfortunately, the market is full of similar scopes at similar prices, and the best we can say about this sort of scope is that it clearly works very well for there to be so many nearly identical competing products.


If you are loyal to the Burris brand, or just happen to like it looks, or feels, then this is going to be the best rifle scope for you. Either way, it is worth taking a close look at, even if you move on to other scopes. 

8. Nikon Monarch 3 Review: 6-24x50 BDC Scope

Nikon Monarch 3 Review 6-24x50 BDC Scope

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The Nikon Monarch offers a lot of the performance of a dedicated bench rest scope, like 6-24 magnification, and a generous 50mm objective lens. 


However, it lacks some of the hyper precise external controls that typify the dedicated match target scope. 


This is a good thing in this case, because what we are looking at here is really one of the best scopes for hunting. Fine adjustable target turrets and side parallax adjustment are great things when you are trying to make one hole groups. 


However, it is a fact of life that a hunter or even a sniper really isn’t concerned with that extreme level of precision. 


Of course these extreme specialization comes at a cost. What is optimized for one thing may not work as well for another. 


This is because there are multiple inches wide targets on an animal that will result in a quick death. There is simply no reason to care about extreme accuracy when your target is six inches wide.


We like the reasonable price for the high quality construction, but it is high enough to pause over. 

Given the price point this optic sells at, your really have to be a dedicated, long range hunter and have a rifle to match. Otherwise, you are investing in more optic than you really need. 

That said, hunters who are looking for the ultimate hunting rifle scope would do well to pay close attention to the Nikon Monarch. 

It should also work nicely for tactical shooters who need a rugged, no nonsense scope with some real reach out and touch something ability.

9. Swarovski Z8i Review - 2.3-18x56

Swarovski Z8i Review - 2.3-18x56

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One of the highest end rifle scopes sold today, the Swarvoski Z8i represents the pinnacle of rifle scope optics and manufacturing. 


Certainly one of the best scopes ever made, the Z8i has an enormous 56mm objective lens, illuminated reticle and amazingly crystal clear optics.


While you might think this is a pointless feature, remember, hunting accidents do happen, and wouldn’t it be nice if your scope kept working after falling into a river or stream, and not just your rifle? 


2.3-18 power magnification ensures sufficient magnification at most hunting and target distances for precise, accurate shooting. 


Ruggedly built, and featuring a fast focus knob, this luxury grade rifle scope is without a peer on the market.


Which is also the main problem with it. Just what do you do with a scope that costs as much as a used car? 


While it is true this is an amazingly high end optic, there are other scopes that can do exactly what it does and at a more approachable price point.


Instead, the Z8i is an optic that is both a luxury good and an extreme hunting rifle scope. Because you can get a target turret add on, the Z8i is also a great benchrest scope for those who demand the absolute best of their scopes. 


The 56mm objective lens is going to be a bit hard to find a variety of rings for, but there are plenty of good ones on the market.


If you are building a high end custom fitted benchrest or hunting rifle, this is the scope for you. It certain could work for tactical use too, but there are better and cheaper scopes out there. Really, the Z8i is a lifestyle choice as much as it is a rifle scope.

10. Steiner T5XI Review - 3-15x50

Steiner T5XI Review - 3-15x50

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Another scope billed as "tactical" the Steiner T5Xi is a high end rifle scope that is perhaps best suited for target shooting over anything else. 


Featuring a proprietary “Special Competition Reticle” that allows for more accurate shots, the T5Xi also has an illuminated glass etched reticle, 3-15 power magnification, and is advertised as a high quality, medium range scope. 


One thing that stands out as problematic is the 34mm tube body. This off standard tube size will be difficult to source rings for, although they certain can be had. 


The oversized tube will improve light transmission, and make for a clearer, crisper image, which is made even better with the large 50mm objective lens. 


Steiner has built a scope that really is a good all around rifle scope. Suitable for benchrest shooting, hunting or even the much advertised “tactical” uses, you’d be hard pressed to find a better scope in this price and feature range. 


We really like the compact nature of this scope. Often target scopes are long and ungainly, but Steiner managed to make a nice, more compact match target rifle scope by going with the large 34mm tube. 


This probably is enough to justify the “tactical” moniker, and it certainly would be an excellent choice on a precision tactical rifle. 

Understanding Eye Relief 


To put it simply, the eye relief of a rifle scope is the maximum distance you can place your eye from the rear lens and still acquire a complete, full sight picture. Move it further back than that, and the picture grows smaller and distorted. 


Eye relief is important, because it dictates where on your rifle you mount your scope. Too far forward, or too far back and you can’t get a comfortable hold on the rifle while looking through the scope. This degrades accuracy and makes shooting more difficult. 


To get the most out of your scope, first determine where you place your cheek when you shoulder your rifle. Then check the eye relief of your scope, and install it so that it is compatible with how you hold your rifle. 


Of course some fine tuning may be needed, but that is to be expected. You’ll find that you can quickly shoulder your rifle, and get a quick, natural and easy sight picture each time. 

The Numbers on Scope: What Does It Mean?

You see it all the time; 3-9x40, or some other combination of numbers used when describing a scope. What those numbers refer to is the magnification range of the scope, and the size of the objective, or forward facing lens.  

Using that common 3-9x40 scope configuration, we can break it down and see what is going on. The 3 refers to magnifying an object three times larger than it appears without magnification. 

This is the lowest setting on the scope. You will always see an object magnified at least 3x with this optic. 

9 refers to the maximum magnification, which means the scope will show an object up to 9 times larger than an magnified image of your target. 

It also means that your scope is adjustable to any magnification between 3x and 9x. Sometimes magnification is referred to as “power”, and people will speak of a “3 to 9 power scope”.

The objective lens size is important to note, because it tells us how big of a sight picture we get, and how clear it will be. 

The larger the lens, the bigger the sight picture, and the more light that can be transmitted through it, which improves optical clarity. So as you can see, these numbers are very simple to understand once you break them down the first time.

Conclusion

There are a great many rifle scopes on the market, and we looked at some of the all time best rifle scopes available to the consumer at any price. 

These are rifle scopes suitable for budget consumers, as well as for shooters who have no worry about budget. We looked at some of the best target scopes, and some of the best premium tactical scopes for serious shooters.

Each scope was selected for proven quality, manufacturer reputation, and real world uses. All that is left is for you to decide which one is best for you!

Steve Coffman
 

Steve is a shooter and an excellent hunter. He spend most of the times of his life with firearms and hunting. He has very good knowledge in hunting Gears and Rifles.

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