Best Rifle Scope For The Money of 2018 & Buying Guide
Buying a rifle scope is some tricky business because there’s a lot you need to consider – safety, the added features, reticles, adjustments, the list goes on. On top of all these different things is the one ultimatum – the price. You want to make sure you’re getting the best rifle scope for your money.
Sure, there’s a lot of high end rifle scopes out there, but chances are you’re not looking for one of these. You might not need the best sniper rifle scope – just one that’s worth the cash you’re going to put into it. Figuring this out would normally require a ton of research, but we’ve put together a little guide to help you know what makes a rifle a good value, and show you which ones are the best rifle scopes for your money.
What makes a rifle scope a good value?
A lot of things. The ideal rifle scope will be a perfect balance of function, form, and fashion (though the latter can be sacrificed if you’re on a budget.) The trouble with finding the best rifle scope is that there are so many different parts and adjustments that can affect the cost that it’s really hard to figure out what you can do without in order to save a few bucks.
A good rifle scope value ultimately depends on what you want out of your rifle experience. For example, a sniper will need a rifle scope with a long range and would consider a scope with a huge magnification a better value than a cheaper one with no range, whereas someone who doesn’t shoot far away wouldn’t consider paying more for a long-range scope.
Consider what you want to get out of your rifle scope, assess your shooting style, and choose a rifle based on the following:
The optical power of your rifle scope
The optical power is responsible for not just one thing but a huge amount of your rifle scope’s variety. First off, your optical power is basically your magnification level, and this determines how far you’ll be able to shoot.
Long range scopes aren’t always more expensive – some high-quality close-range rifle scopes are actually a lot more expensive than long-range ones.
Generally, though, you can assume long-range scopes (at least those that are significantly far-ranging) are going to be more expensive than a short-range one. If you’re a long-range shooter then this is something you’re going to need to consider to get good value.
You can also get a variable power scope. Variable scopes allow you to adjust the zoom rating, which is good for people who do long and close-range shooting. Again, this will be a financial setback, but if you need to do both, then you’re not losing any value.
The reticles you’ll be using
Some scopes come with a single reticle, some can use many. Reticles vary in price, with duplex reticles generally being the cheapest and also the least effective.
Duplex reticles display a simple crosshair – two intersecting lines, one vertical and one horizontal, with lines that are thin in the middle and thick toward the edge.
Mildot reticles are a bit more expensive than duplex reticles and have the same basic crosshair formation, but they have dots at set angles throughout the crosshair that indicate the distance your target is at.
There are other reticles available for speciality shooting and many scopes can use a lot of different reticles for different functions. If you need special reticles, you’re going to have to spend a bit more to get a good value rifle scope.
Parallax is an issue when the reticle appears to move in relation to your target, and can lead to missed shots and other irritating things.
Most low-end rifle scopes are parallax free at around 100 yards, which isn’t a very significant distance unless you’re just shooting at a range where your targets are a hundred yards away.
If you’re doing shorter or longer-range shooting at any point, the parallax could become an issue for you.
You can get rifle scopes with parallax correction adjustments, but they’re going to cost a bit more. Parallax isn’t a huge problem if you’re shooting less than a hundred yards because your target will likely be big enough for it not to matter, but if you’re doing any long distance shooting you should consider parallax adjustment.
Durability is another important factor when considering the price of a rifle scope. A lot of different things can affect the durability, including the materials used, the number of parts involved, and the shock reduction. Many materials are used to make scopes, including titanium and aluminum.
Aluminum is a popular choice because it’s very durable but it’s also a bit heavier; titanium is much less heavy, way cheaper, and also less durable.
Weight is also an important factor here – if you’re using a smaller rifle then having a heavy scope will offset your balance and your accuracy.
Shock reduction and rebound protection are typically included on higher end scopes. If you’re using a rifle that shoots heavier rounds then you’re going to want to make sure you have proper rebound protection for both your safety and the longevity of your scope.
Night vision and light
Night vision rifle scopes aren’t necessary unless you’re going to be hunting in the dead of the night. In terms of getting good value for your money, don’t get a night vision scope unless you absolutely have to because they’re really expensive.
If you’re going to be hunting at dawn and dusk, then consider just getting a wider objective lens. The objective lens, depending on its size and the materials it’s made of, lets in different amounts of light. The admission of light can compensate for the low light at different times of day or during overcast weather.
So what are the best rifle scopes for the money?
The best rifle scopes with the most value will have a ton of features packed in, disproportionate to the price – for the better. You’ll feel like you’re getting more than you paid for. With that in mind, not every scope we’re listing here is for people with a small budget – they’re simply great for the money you pay and you’ll feel like you’re getting a great deal when you make the purchase.
Top 4 Best Rifle Scope For The Money
1.Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope Review
Alright, wow. This rifle scope is under fifty dollars before tax and manages to include a lot of features that you sometimes only see on high-end scopes. To start things off, it’s a huge scope, suitable for larger sniper rifles, with a 50mm objective lens – already, we’re looking at a value of more than fifty bucks.
On top of that it’s got an adjustable range of magnification between 3x and 9x. While the scope is big with it’s large lens, it’s not heavy, only weighing in at just under a pound. It’s waterproof, fogproof and recoil proof – all features you’d expect from a high end scope. Speaking of recoil – it’s got almost 4 inches of eye relief to keep your peepers safe.
The optics are coated and let in an impressive amount of light for those late-night or early-morning shooters. The whole thing is made out of durable metal and is guaranteed to last you a long time, backed by a lifelong warranty – so you really can’t go wrong with this.
2. Bushnell Banner Illuminated Crossfire 500 Reticle Riflescope Review
This is a great option that fits medium to large rifles without putting a dent in your wallet. It’s not too big, but it is a bit long, coming in at 14 inches long with a 40mm objective lens.
The magnification range is quite wide for a cheaper scope, going from 4x to 16x. The eye relief is only 3.5 inches which isn’t huge but it’s probably going to be satisfactory if you’re not using a massive rifle with heavy shots, which this scope isn’t meant for anyways.
The optics are multi coated which allows them to take in a large amount of light, as well as providing a crisp clear picture. This is one of the advertised perks of this gun – ability to see at dawn and dusk The inner tube is coated with nitrogen which makes this scope a good fighter against the fog.
The reticle is illuminated with red and green and is adjustable to suit the condition of the environment. There’s no auto off switch for the battery so it’s easy to run out of battery if you’re not cautious.
The whole thing’s made out of aircraft grade aluminum and can survive some pretty harsh falls and hits, as well as maintaining itself when you’re shooting round after round.
3. Leupold VX-2 4-12x40mm Rifle Scope Review
Leupold is generally associated with high-end rifles that you can’t afford on a budget. This one’s definitely more budgetable than their other options, but it shares a lot of the sought after quality that Leupold is known for.
Leupold uses their own Long Range Duplex reticle for this scope and it’s more than capable of helping you deliver accurate shots beyond 600 meters. The optics are made of very clear glass that let in quite a bit of light and maintain good durability.
The eyebox is one of the most important parts of this scope. It allows long range shooters to have a lot of versatility without the risk of getting hit by the rebound. Adjustments can be made via finger turrets, which are sturdy and don’t run the risk of changing settings once you make an adjustment.
This isn’t the biggest range of magnification available on Leupold scopes by a long shot, but it’s certainly a great range for the price. If you`re looking for a good bang for your buck, this is a good option.
4.Nikon MONARCH 3 NP Riflescope Review
If you’re like me, you might be a bit surprised to see Nikon making rifle scopes instead of cameras. It’s easy enough to understand why they would move to this market, though – Nikon has excelled at making optics for decades, so they’re naturally going to be great at making rifle scopes.
A lot of Nikon’s scopes are pretty expensive, but this one’s only going to run you a few hundred bucks. For that price, you’re getting a lot of value.
- There’s 4 inches of eye relief using specific Monarch Eyebox technology.
- There are spring loaded turrets for easy adjustments
- The reticle is easily focused by using a special eyepiece
- There’s 95% light transmission through the optic
These things combined for the low price make this one of the best competitors available.
So which one’s the best?
In pure terms of getting good value for the money, the first entry – the Simmons 8-point rifle scope – is the best bang for your buck. It’ll hardly set you back any money at all, and the scope comes in with a good zoom range and enough features to be a good competitor against some of the higher end scopes.
If you’re on a budget, or simply want to try out a new scope without putting yourself at financial risk, this is the option for you.