When the first rifle without iron sights was introduced in the 1950s, it was hard to imagine that using a rifle scope would ever become standard. At the time, they were pretty inaccurate, and generally regarded with suspicion. My, how times have changed. Today it can be difficult to find a rifle that still uses dual metal sights without some type of scope included.

These days hunters and sport shooters alike have come to expect optics companies to stay on top of the latest technology. This has resulted in a flood of new rifle scope models to choose from each year. Finding the best scope to suit your needs can be overwhelming when faced with the sheer number of models to choose from. Let’s try to answer the question of what is the best rifle scope of 2017 in this article.

1. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope 1 x 25mm

Best Rifle Scope Reviews

Bushnell is a well-known optics company that is respected for providing high quality, versatile rifle scopes at a price that most shooters can afford. The first scope on our list is their Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight scope. It has a lot of great features, including:

  • 1 x 25mm magnification
  • Red dot reticle
  • 3 MOA adjustment
  • Red dot LED light source

The Breakdown of the Features

This 1 x 25mm magnification scope is an excellent choice for game hunting. The red dot reticle makes for easier target acquisition. The red LED light source is secured inside the scope, which keeps it from being seen by the game that you’re hunting. The 3 MOA adjustment helps to ensure an accurate shot each time.

The Advantages of the Product

This sight can be used with both eyes. When combined with the parallax free design, this makes target acquisition faster and easier than with many scopes. The amber tinted optics make this an excellent sight for low light use. The internally secured LED won’t move around or lose its zero even after numerous shots with a high-powered rifle. One of the best things about this product is that the magnification is appropriate whether you’re using this on a traditional rifle at the range, or on an air rifle while small game hunting in the woods.

The Disadvantages of the Product

It’s difficult to think of any disadvantages to this excellent rifle scope. If you’re not used to a red dot sight, it can take some getting used to. If you’ve set the dot intensity too high for the surrounding light levels, the dot will appear blurry or distorted. It can take some time to learn to quickly adjust the sight intensity to the correct level.

Click here to read the full review of the Bushneell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope

2. UTG 3-9X32 1” BugBuster Scope AO

Best Rifle Scope Reviews

The UTG 3-9X32 1” BugBuster Scope is well known for it’s quality and durability. In addition to these, it has a number of excellent features, including:

  • Range estimating mildot reticle
  • Completely sealed, 100% nitrogen filled
  • Included sunshade, lens caps, and quick-detachable rings
  • Dual illumination in red and green

The Breakdown of the Features

This completely sealed, 100% nitrogen filled scope is shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof for maximum reliability in any weather conditions. The red and green dual illumination offers a further advantage in a wide range of weather conditions, making this scope ideal for hunting or target shooting. The 1” scope size makes it ideal for both traditional rifles and air rifles.

The Advantages of the Product

The emerald coating in this scope’s one inch tube offers maximum light transmission for excellent clarity. The included two-inch sunshade, lens caps, and rings are excellent accessories that would normally have to be purchased separately. The range estimating mildot reticle makes for an accurate shot over longer distances in varying conditions. Now, let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages.

The Disadvantages of the Product

The lack of a parallax can make this scope more difficult to use at distances over 100 yards. Additionally, users who are newer to using a scope may need to practice zeroing this scope in until they get a feel for it. The scope also needs to be carefully mounted in order to avoid any sighting issues. Regardless, we still think the performance of the aforementioned should be noted as worthy!

3. CVLIFE Optics Hunting Rifle Scope 2.5-10x40e 

Best Rifle Scope Reviews

The CVLIFE Optics Hunting Rifle Scope has a two in one design that is both useful and attractive. In addition, this rifle scope has a number of interesting features including:

  • Red and green reticle illumination
  • Laser reaches 100 yards
  • 5’ field of view at 2.5x for 100 yards
  • 5-10x magnification

The Breakdown of the Features

The side laser on this rifle scope reaches 100 yards, making it ideal for accurate close shooting. The variable scope magnification can be adjusted from 2.5-10x, making it ideal for hunting a variety of game. The red and green reticle illumination also make it easier to ensure you acquire said game, and the 32.5 field of view with the said magnification ensures that you’re going to be able to see properly and with ease.

The Advantages of the Product

The eyepiece offers a wide field of vision that helps to keep the image clear. This rifle scope features a dioptric adjustment lens that allows both farsighted and nearsighted users to have a clear image even without the use of their glasses. The included 20mm and 11mm rail mounts allows you to mount this scope on a number of different rifles, making it incredibly versatile.

The Disadvantages of the Product

While the laser is excellent for shorter distances up to 50ft, over longer distances up to 100 feet the laser becomes more indistinct. The variable magnification can provide a challenge to more inexperienced users, and the range of vision becomes smaller at higher magnifications. Some users have also stated that the eye relief isn’t as good as with other scopes.

4. CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope 6-24×50 AOE

Best Rifle Scope Reviews

CVLIFE is a well-respected optics manufacturer known for producing quality rifle scopes for an affordable price. This hunting rifle scope comes with a number of attractive features, including:

  • 6-24x variable magnification
  • 50mm objective lens diameter
  • 28ft field of view at 100 yards
  • Red and green illumination

The Breakdown of the Features

This scope offers a wide field of view at 100 yards, and the variable magnification is excellent for most hunting applications. The red and green illuminated crosshairs makes this scope ideal for use in both bright and low level light conditions. The 28 feet field of view at 100 yards is quite a good feature for the price, and the variable magnification ensures control and ease of use while providing a successful experience.

The Advantages of the Product

This rifle scope is completely sealed and filled with nitrogen, which makes it fog-proof, shockproof, and waterproof. The optics are coated to prevent scratching and keep the view crystal clear. This coating also acts as a barrier against oil and dirt. The dioptric adjustment means that both nearsighted and farsighted users can use this rifle scope even without their glasses. This scope also offers a parallax free view from 15ft to infinity.

The Disadvantages of the Product

Many people have found that finding the balance when adjusting the zoom and focus can be tricky, resulting in a somewhat blurry view at first. It will take newer users some practice to get the focus just right. It can also take some practice to zero in this scope. If you’re hunting game, you’ll want to spend some time at the range to get the feel for this scope.

5. Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600

Best Rifle Scope Reviews

Nikon is as well-known in the optics community as they are in the photography world. This BDC scope has a number of attractive features including:

  • ¼ MOA tactical style hand-turn zero-reset turrets with positive click reticle adjustments
  • Consistent and generous eye relief
  • 100 yard parallax setting
  • BDC 600 reticle offers both hashed marks and open circle aiming points from 100 to 600 yards

The Breakdown of the Features

The ¼ MOA tactical style hand-turn zero-reset turrets are ideal for use on higher powered rifles. Competitive shooters will be pleased with the generous and consistent eye relief, even over longer periods of time and with lighter weight weapons.  With aiming points provided thanks to the BDC 600 reticle, you’re able to acquire your game with ease. There is also a parallax setting for those who don’t want their sights messed up due to a number of reasons. For those who need eye relief, the aforementioned has a quite consistent and generous relief design.

The Advantages of the Product

Nikon developed this BDC 600 reticle specifically for use with the .223 Rem/5.56 NATO cartridge, making this scope ideal for use with the AR 15 style rifle. The 100-yard parallax setting completely eliminates parallax for a more precise shot. This is an ideal scope for competitive and recreational shooting at the range.

The Disadvantages of the Product

This scope was designed to be used with rifles shooting combat-worthy rounds, and it shows. Although the scope is crisp and accurate even at odd shooting angles, the lack of illumination means that it may be more difficult to use in lower light conditions. Additionally, this scope is probably too much for most hunting rifles; it’s designed to be used at the range, not in the woods.

The Final Verdict

If you’ve made it this far – congratulations! We know that this has been a big list to digest. It’s finally time to reveal our pick for the best rifle scope available today.

When you consider all of the above options, one scope stands out as being both accurate and versatile. The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Rifle Scope clearly offers everything the average hunter or range shooter needs. The tinted optics make for excellent clarity, even in low light conditions. The secured red LED allows for quick target acquisition, an important feature in both game hunting and recreational shooting. Most importantly, the magnification level is just right for sighting through trees or down range. The lack of any serious disadvantages makes this the best of the five rifle scopes that we’ve reviewed today.

The Benefits of Buying a Rifle Scope

Whether you’re a sportsman shooting at targets or a hunter shooting at live game, accuracy is the name of the game. When it comes to shooting over a longer distance, in many cases it’s impossible for the human eye to even see the target correctly, much less hit it accurately. This is where a scope comes in.

Even if the rifle that you’ve purchased comes with a scope, you’ll probably want to purchase a better one. Unfortunately, most of the scopes included with the purchase of a weapon are lower quality. The scope is included to make the rifle more attractive than its competition, but including a high quality scope would likely raise the cost of the rifle above what is considered appropriate.

While it’s possible to hunt game without a scope, it is very difficult. Without a scope, an accurate shot will require you getting closer to the game, increasing the chances that the animal might hear, see, or smell you and run away. The addition of a high-quality scope can mean the difference between putting dinner on the table and coming home empty handed.

Now that you know why buying a rifle scope is important, let’s take a look at what to look for when shopping for one.

Factors to Look for When Purchasing a Rifle Scope

When it comes to choosing a rifle scope, there are a lot of factors to consider. If you’re a beginner, these can be a bit overwhelming, so we’ll break them down individually.

  • Optical Power
  • Lens Size
  • Reticles
  • Adjustment

Optical Power:  When it comes to optical power, it can be easy to fall for the misconception that more powerful is better. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Just as you wouldn’t use a sledgehammer to hammer in finishing nails, you don’t necessarily need the most powerful scope on the market when hunting whitetail deer. In general, a good rule of thumb is to look for scopes of lower than 10x resolution if you’re planning on shooting offhand or at distances of less than 500 yards. Look for higher resolution scopes for shooting from a supported position. Of course, there are variable power scopes as well, but these can be expensive and less rugged than their counterparts.

Lens Size:  Lens size is important because the size of the lens determines how much light enters the scope and is transmitted to your eye. The more light, the clearer and sharper the image that you see. While this again seems to lend itself to the “bigger is better” philosophy, larger objective lenses aren’t without their problems. Larger lenses require a higher mount, which can affect your cheek weld. While there are adjustments that can be made to correct this, it’s best to choose a lens size that’s appropriate. If you’re using a lower resolution scope, a smaller lens is usually fine.

Reticles:  While you can find dozens of reticle patterns available in scopes today, there are four main types of reticles to choose from:

  • Dot – A dot reticle is exactly what you would expect – a single point, as you might get from a laser sight. Some scopes will offer a combination of dot or laser sight alongside another reticle such as a duplex crosshair. The dot reticle is excellent for quick target acquisition, but can be more difficult to use on its own over longer distances.
  • Duplex – this is the most common type, with a thin crosshair at the center that becomes thicker as it moves toward the outer edge of the scope. This type is well-suited for hunting.
  • Mildot – this is very similar to the duplex reticle, but the thinner area of the crosshairs is lined with small dots that correspond to certain shooting angles (which are measured in milradians). The dots allow you to determine a target’s range, as long as you know the target’s size. This type of reticle is preferred for military and police use, or for shooting at more than 300 yards.
  • BDC – BDC is short for “bullet drop compensator”. The traditional crosshair in this reticle features several crosshatches below the center point, which help you to adjust your shot across various distances without having to adjust the scope’s elevation setting. BDC scopes are only available for certain cartridges, and are most commonly used for AR15 style rifles.

Adjustment:  Once you’ve decided on the magnification, lens size, and reticle type that you want, it’s time to look at how you’d prefer to adjust your scope. There are two scope adjustment types available today: MOA and MRAD.

MOA stands for “Minute of Angle,” and is the most common type of scope adjustment available today. In general, one MOA closely corresponds to a single inch over a distance of 100 yards. As you might guess, MOA allows for very precise adjustments, but calculating these adjustments can get complicated over longer distances. In general, MOAs are used with duplex or BDC reticles and are preferred by hunters.

MRAD stands for milradian, and just like in the milradian scope corresponds to certain shooting angles. In general, one milradian is equivalent to 3.6 inches at a distance of 100 yards. While this may seem like a more complicated adjustment at first, it actually ends up being simpler in the long run. When it comes to competition and target shooting, many sportsmen prefer MRAD adjustment scopes.

Tips to Keep In Mind When Purchasing a Rifle Scope

Now that you know the basic criteria to look for when choosing your scope, there are a few more things that you may encounter when shopping for a rifle scope. For most modern scopes you’ll need to consider the focal plane, as well as the parallax.

Many modern scopes will allow you to adjust the position of the reticle within the scope between two different positions – the first focal plane (FFP) and second focal plane (SFP). With FFP reticles, the size of the reticles will scale up or down as you adjust the magnification of the scope. This is particularly helpful if you’re using a BDC or mildot scope. However, most scopes today are SFP, which means that the reticles stay the same, even as the magnification is adjusted. This has the advantage of presenting a clear and consistent view, but makes it more difficult to use mildot and BDC scopes unless they’re at maximum magnification.

The parallax option in rifle scopes means that the reticles will appear to change positions at various head positions. This option isn’t available on most lower powered scopes, as the shift at lower magnifications is generally too small to notice. At higher magnifications (12x or greater) a parallax adjustment is a virtual necessity for an accurate shot.

Another important factor that you’ll want to consider is the eye relief. A rifle scope with poor eye relief will leave you with a black eye if your rifle has a heavy recoil, or if your weapon is lighter. Additionally, you don’t want to come home with a sore brow after a long day of looking for game through the scope. Comfort is an important part of enjoying the hunting and shooting experience, and a scope with good eye relief can make a huge difference.

The final thing you’ll want to consider is versatility. A good scope can be pricey, so you’ll want to find one that can be mounted on a variety of rifles, and that will work well in a variety of applications. It doesn’t make much sense to spend a few hundred dollars on a scope that will only work under a certain set of weather conditions, or one that’s good for the practice range but not when you’re out hunting game.

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