Best rifle scope under $500 (Year 2018)

Getting the best rifle scope doesn’t mean you should pay above your budget. Depending on your budget, there are usually a lot of options to choose from so you can expect to see some excellent rifle scopes which are under 500 bucks.

Truthfully, the budget is considerate and therefore options you should expect to find are going to be worth every penny (although you would also find some over-priced optics in your search).

We have decided to help you make things easier by assisting you to get the best information you that you require before deciding on your next rifle scope. We are doing this by providing an in-depth buying guide which would detail all there’s to know about snagging the best rifle scope under $500 and also reviewing our top favorite rifle scopes under $500 in the market.

Riflescopes are very useful when we prefer to shoot at long range. Buying a scope is a great investment, and it is important to do careful research before buying. There is usually a perfect rifle scope that meets your needs, depending on the shooting you are doing. Sometimes choosing the best rifle scope under $500 which meets your need could get tricky. Fortunately, we have some questions and answers down at our buyer’s guide section which will help you in selecting the best scope for your rifle under your budget.







Bushnell Optics 1-4x 24mm FFP Illuminated BTR



Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Rapid Action Turret



Sightmark Photon XT Digital Night



Leupold 113769 VX-R Illuminated


Buyers guide:

Our buyer’s guide is aimed at assisting you to answer a few important questions about choosing the best rifle scope under 500 bucks. These questions should help you with making an informed decision about your choice of a riflescope.

Where will it be used?

Each riflescope has its usage application, so deciding on where you plan to use them can go far in assisting you to decide the right scope

Hunting: The most common scopes are the hunting scopes, but choosing one with conveniently light weight is advisable. Do not buy a complicated scope which requires much adjustment. It is recommended to buy a scope with fixed power. With this, a hunter will hardly miss his target.

Tactical: This type works under these applications: military firing and law implementation. Their regulating turrets help to obtain better focus. It is valued more for its strength, than to its weight.

Bench rest or long range: A fixed or variable power can be used for this scope. There is the need for more details for the target turrets. Because of the high-grade glass quality, it is considered quite expensive. When trying to shoot at a distance of 1,000 meters or more, this type of scope avoids mirage.

What scope, fixed or variable power?

A scope with fixed power is good when the magnification amount you have got is permanent. Its lenses are immovable with limited magnification.

A scope with variable power needs adjustments and can also be magnified at various levels. It can be zoomed in to view the target in bigger and better details. However, it is more expensive than fixed power scope.

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What is the ideal magnification I would get with a $500 budget?

It is useless buying a fixed power scope if magnifying your target at least 300 meters away is not possible. Thus with a 500 bucks budget, you can get pretty much any scope but a close consideration should be placed on the activity you plan to use it on. Once you’ve decided to purchase a riflescope for any of activities listed, you can learn the magnification procedure, adjusting the scope for a better view and magnification capacity before shooting.

  • Fixed Power for hunting: 5-10 times more
  • Variable Power for hunting: 5-20 times more
  • Fixed Power for tactical: 1-12 times more
  • Variable Power for tactical: 10-18 times more
  • Fixed Power for bench rest: 4-25 times more
  • Variable Power for bench rest: 10-40 times more

What’s your budget?

If you have a subtle budget, the fixed power scope is okay. Its permanent power is better than every other scope. So in spite of your low budget, don’t buy a scope that is too cheap. It is better to buy a quality scope for shooting correctness. This is the need of every shooter. Considering this, a budget of $500 should get you a quality scope with high-quality glasses. We’ll be listing some of the best rifle scopes under 500 shortly.

On a final note, take this small advice when acquiring the best scope. Scopes are easy to get, and they are available always. Only you need to observe other scopes available, including the features and the price. Remember always that the best decision is to acquire a scope with benefits and long-term use.

Products Reviews

1. Sightmark Photon XT Digital Night Riflescope

This Sightmark Photon Digital Night Riflescope is designed to offer precision placement to users shooting from medium range. This digital riflescope is built to be a powerful night vision riflescope, delivering longer battery life of up 33% more than other night vision riflescopes.

The Sightmark XT 4.6X42 also is about 30% lighter than most night vision rifle scopes of its caliber making it a comfortable carry around for your nighttime hunting or shooting. It also boasts a higher magnification power which is needed for medium and long range shooting.

This Sightmark night vision riflescope has six green/white/red digital reticle options which allow users the opportunity of using for several activities. The reticle options include; two duplex reticles specially designed for varmint and hog hunting, two crossbow reticles made for crossbows with 320, 350, 370 and 400 FPS, a German-style reticle and a mil-dot reticle designed for holdovers and range finding.

With the Sightmark Photon night vision riflescope’s 42mm objective lens, it’s 4.6x magnification range and the resolution of 640×480, this riflescope captures clear, vivid images at up to 120 yards away.

There’s a video output which is designed to allow users to capture/record everything in the line of fire both day and night. You can also attach more accessories to the integrated weaver rail of the scope.

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6X 42 digital night riflescope uses a digital elevation and wind age system to ensure precision while maintaining a streamlined outlook.

Features Roundup

  • The Sightmark Photon riflescope works well both night and day
  • Uses replaceable 2 AA batteries
  • The scope is easy to operate with simple enough functions that are easy to learn
  • Well built with strong quality control
  • The IR illuminator of the scope is bright enough and doesn’t require extra or additional illuminator.
  • The scope has six digital reticle options including; crossbow reticles, German-style reticle, duplex reticle and a mil-dot reticle.
  • It produces clear images and allows for video recording with a video output
  • The multiple reticle color options allow for use during different light conditions from Day to Night.
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Overall, the Sightmark Photon XT makes an incredible choice option for shooters looking for a great riflescope. The night vision capabilities ensure you are not limited to daytime use.

2. Bushnell Optics 1-4x 24mm FFP Illuminated BTR Riflescope

Bushnell has been creating great optics and rifle scopes for shooters years now. This 1-4x24mm FFP illuminated riflescope from Bushnell is a key example. This riflescope is made of an extremely durable aluminum alloy that’s anodized finish and sealed to ensure the innards are well protected from the elements. It has a calibrated Reticle which is optimized to be used with 5.56 rounds.

There’s a throw down PCL lever which lets the shooter make power changes lightening quick, and able to keep your eye on the sight while aiming up to 600 meters away with the BDC thanks to the accuracy of its range.

The Caliber-specific reticle sees this riflescope deliver precise accuracy of every round. With fully multi-coated optics, this riflescope delivers ultra-clear images, while the fast focus eyepiece helps you maintain reliability and utmost accuracy.

The riflescope is Nitrogen-purged to rid it of any internal moisture while O-ring sealed prevents moisture and dust from gaining entry into the riflescope.

This Bushnell optics has a magnification of 1-4X which would make it a low range riflescope.

Features Roundup

  • The riflescope has fully multi-coated lenses
  • Has magnification of 1-4X
  • It’s made of highly durable aluminum alloy
  • It offers incredible brightness and crisp image thanks to the fully multi-coated optics
  • Performs well in low-light, thanks to the BTR-1 illuminated FFP reticle, allowing accurate holdovers reaching 500 yards
  • Quick power changes with the exclusive throw down Power Change Lever (PCL)
  • Target turrets allows pinpoint-precise adjustments (1 Mil click value)

Overall, this Bushnell optics illuminated riflescope delivers excellent light transmission, and a magnification of 1-4X makes it good to take out targets within 500yards radius. The riflescope is also waterproof, scratchproof, rustproof and fog-proof. It’s worth checking out with its price.

3. Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Rapid Action Turret Riflescope

The Nikon P-223 BDC 600 riflescope is designed to make shooting at longer ranges a little more effective. This riflescope has a magnification range of 4-12X which would let shooters take on targets several hundreds of yards away with precise accuracy.

The riflescope offers a crisp display with its fully multi coated lenses, and its beautiful looks give it’s a premium look and feel with the matte black finish.

Offering two bullet-drop compensation methods, the Nikon P-223 Riflescope lets shooters choose between BDC 600 Reticle featuring hash marks ranging from 100 and reaching 600 and an open circle aiming point and Nikon’s (RAT) Rapid Action Turret system which lets users dial-in their distances while holding steady the BDC reticle’s horizontal crosshairs aimed at the target.

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The Nikon P-223 has an easy installation procedure, and the best part is the pricing of this riflescope is just great considering the high-quality glass resulting in a very sharp view of targets at all zoom ranges. The eye relief is also worth mentioning as the magnification doesn’t distort.

The riflescope works with different bullet types, and you can make use of the Nikon’s Spot On app to find out the most compatible bullet types especially for long range targeting.

Features Roundup

  • Made of high-quality aluminum with matte black finish
  • The riflescope scope is optimized to be used with Nikon Spot On app
  • Uses Nikon’s fully multicoated lenses which deliver crisp display thanks to superb light transmission and maximum brightness
  • Spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets make adjustments easy
  • Weighs 1.1 pounds

Overall Nikon P-223 offers mid-range and long-range shooters a consistent, easy to adjust, multicoated optics which produces crisp visuals of targets at distances of up to 600 yards away. The riflescope is also compatible with several bullet types which you can check using the Nikon Spot On app.

4. Leupold 113769 VX-R Illuminated Riflescope with Motion Sensor Technology

Leupold 113769 is a line of rifle scopes produced by the family-owned Leupold & Stevens, Inc. The company has been building (a trio of designing, machining, and assembling) high-quality optical instruments for over a 100 years now.

The Leupold VX-R Patrol FireDot illuminated riflescope is a durable and dependable Riflescope which uses a combination of a premium illumination system and the FireDot Special Purpose Reticle to enable versatility of use.

The illumination turns on automatically when the riflescope is moved and turns off while resting thanks to the motion sensor added.

It has an actual magnification range of 1.3X to 4X and offers eye relief for shooters. It’s built on a strong 30mm tube. It has illumination controls which are adjustable and thus makes it good for use in any light condition. The FireDot reticle lets it shine brightly in the low light.

The 113769 VX-R exterior is coated with the Leupold Diamond Coat which helps to give the riflescope a better light transmission and also better abrasion resistance.

Features Roundup

  • It’s great for shooting within a short range
  • The FireDot makes shooting in low light better
  • It has DiamondCoat exterior lenses which give you best light transmission and abrasion resistance
  • Has motion sensor which turns on when moved and turns off when kept ideal
  • Crisp and clear illuminated dot

Overall this Leupold illuminated riflescope offers a good range of features including motion sensor technology. It’s wrapped good budget making it a decent option for shooters looking for the best riflescope.

Final Thoughts

Every shooter has their ideal budget for a riflescope. While some shooters have budgets of under $100, others have more serious budgets reaching $2000. Our focus on this article is the best rifle scope under $500 which would satisfy major shooting needs from close range hunting to shooting targets at a distance. This list would show you some of the best rifle scopes you can purchase with your budget of $500