Most rifles come with cheap scopes that don’t do justice to the marksman skills. I’m not saying all cheap scopes are shitty but to be honest, most of them usually are. And those things can make even the best shot look like amateurs while don’t get me started about the newcomers. So, what’s the solution? Simple, invest for a better aim in the form of the best rifle scope under $500.
Yes, the budget might be little steep for some of you but what comes with the higher end scopes is some serious precision and range. And every rifle enthusiast will agree, you can’t put a price tag on those things. Plus, if you already own a state of the art rifle, it deserves to partner up with the best possible scope money can buy. And we all know money can buy some damn good scopes, but not everyone will be willing to spend that kind of money for a hobby. Even not the avid hunter might agree with such lavish spending spree.
So, the best way to upgrade is to find a middle ground, and that’s what I’ve done here. Took my time, did my research and finally narrowed down the 5 best hunting scope under 500.If you have a higher budget you might want to take a look at our round-up of the best rifle scope under 1000.
Table of Contents
- Why spend between $400 to $500 on a rifle scope?
- Top 5 Best Rifle Scope Under $500 in 2018
- Best Rifle Scopes under $500 Reviewed
- 1) Yukon Nvrs Tactical 2.5X50 with Night Vision
- 2) Millet Tactical 6-25x56mm
- 3) Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 Riflescope
- 4) Leupold 115390 Mark AR MOD 1 Riflescope:
- 5) Nikon MONARCH 3 BDC Riflescope
- Things to Remember When Buying a Scope under $500
- Who Should Buy These Scopes?
- Final Recommendation- Best Optics Under $500
Why spend between $400 to $500 on a rifle scope?
It is a valid question to ask. Why spend 500 bucks on a rifle scope? There are ones that come within 100 bucks. So, why not get one of those? The answer is quite straightforward, those things aren’t made to last and aiming through them can be a tall order. Now, there is the other side of the page, why not go for something more expensive? If you can afford then go for it, but looking for scopes within 400-500 bucks has it perks as there are some exceptional bargains out there. The optics that come within this budget are bright and offers some serious clarity. So, whether you’re looking to take down the prey from a distance or get on with the target practice, you can rely on them. As some of them can perform on the same level as any thousand dollar scope.
Top 5 Best Rifle Scope Under $500 in 2018
Picking up the best long range rifle scope under 500 turned out a bit tricky then I thought. The market has some great options as it seems, but at the end of the day, the ones that I’ve picked offer the best possible deals.
- Yukon Nvrs Tactical 2.5X50 with Night Vision
- Millet Tactical 6-25x56mm
- Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 Riflescope
- Leupold 115390 Mark AR MOD 1 Riflescope
- Nikon MONARCH 3 BDC Riflescope
There are some obvious choices that many of you thought would make the cut. And honestly speaking I’ve also contemplated about some of the choices like the Vortex Optics and many others. However, they didn’t make the top 5 because they lacked the grit. Also, to be fair, you’re looking to find the best rifle scope that money can buy and not just go for the most popular one.
Best Rifle Scopes under $500 Reviewed
I’ve already revealed my top 5 picks. Now, it is time to get to know about them individually. Like their strengths, weaknesses and how they perform when they are in action. And this is simply to help you out making the right choice. So, if you’re ready then let’s get this thing started.
1) Yukon Nvrs Tactical 2.5X50 with Night Vision
Right out of the box the Yukon Nvrs Tactical 2.5X50 with Night Vision feels like a legit rifle scope. That’s because this durable rifle equipment boasts of titanium build. So, not only it can withstand any harsh environment, it can even outlast the rifle itself.
But the real game changer is its night vision feature. Those who love to hunt in the night will get some use out of it even from long distances. As this 50-millimeter lens provides enough focusing power to size up targets up to 220 yards. While the optics offer 2.5X magnification makes the target big and clear enough to hit even in dark situations.
For accuracy, the Yukon Nvrs Tactical got red on green reticle on the scope. And it is adjustable to give the user the comfort he needs while using it. Yukon made a lot of tweaks like this to ensure the ergonomic feel to it. Like the lens covers for both the reticles and the optics to protect them. Then there is the internal pulse IR illuminator that can give clear view within 100 yards at night without an ambient light source.
Also, compatibility of this scope is something that really wins over many rifle enthusiast. As you can simply mount it on almost any rifle in the world without any trouble. Overall, the Yukon Nvrs Tactical has going everything on its way to becoming your next rifle scope.
Yukon Nvrs Tactical Key Features
- The rifle scope uses titanium as its material.
- It has high-frequency contrast characteristics thanks to its multi-coated optics.
- The 2.5x magnification ensures perfect detail on target from distance.
- The rifle scope is waterproof.
- It comes with its own carry case.
- The built-in IR illuminator offers better battery life than expected.
2) Millet Tactical 6-25x56mm
For a clear shot, Millet Tactical 6-25X56mm is the perfect rifle scope out there in the market. This 22-inch scope with its 56mm objective lens provides crystal clear clarity and brightness to acquire your shots like you’re standing right in front of it.
Now, that is mighty impressive but that’s just the beginning. As the Millet Tactical 6-25X56mm can give enough distance between you and the target. That’s because this rifle scope has a 1000 yard range. Typically, scopes with such range don’t provide the same accuracy as they do in short ranges. But with this one, you can achieve the same accuracy as you’re shooting from 50 yards out.
If that wasn’t enough, the 25X magnification power makes even the harshest critics ecstatic. Plus, the illuminated scope gives it more edge as the mil dots work in dark conditions. So, all in all, the Millet Tactical 6-25X56mm is a state of the art rifle scope that is worth to make the top 5. Yes, it’s slightly larger than others and being battery powered, it weighs more too but that’s very little price to pay for the high precision you get from 1000 yard range.
Millet Tactical 6-25x56mm Key Features
- The 55mm objective provides a wide and bright view.
- The 35mm tube is sturdy.
- The illuminated reticle helps to aim in night conditions.
- The 25X magnification power gives a clear view.
- It offers 1000 yard range with pinpoint accuracy every single time.
- It has 1/4 MOA click adjustments for elevation and windage.
- The scope comes with a sunshade.
3) Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 Riflescope
From the moment you get your hand on the Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 Riflescope, you already know it drips of quality. The heavy duty aircraft grade aluminum to build this 30mm tube gives it an indestructible feel.
But the riflescope shines the most when it comes to precision. Unlike other optics, it isn’t foggy. This thing has some high-quality lenses and the XD glass to give the hunter a clear view of the target. The lenses obviously clear the view but it gets better thanks to the inclusion of the XD glass. As it enhances the color and resolution of the target, providing the marksman with a clear sight of the target even from long range.
Besides all that, the Vortex Viper PST 1-4X24 riflescope has its own patented multi-coated XR lens that ensures a clear light transmission. Plus, this scope model is also fog, shock and waterproof making it perfect for taking out in any condition. And unlike other scopes, you don’t have to worry about the optics getting foggy as the manufacturers filled it with argon to prevent fogging. So, if you’re looking for the best 308 scope under 500 then this is a great place to start.
Vortex Viper PST 1-4×24 Key Features
- To prevent dust and moisture, the scope has an O seal on it.
- It’s built from one single piece of aircraft grade aluminum to provide greater durability.
- For better color reproduction and sharper image, the scope has extra low dispersion glass.
- The TMCQ MOA reticle of the riflescope provides clear view in low lighting conditions.
- It is waterproof, dustproof and fogproof.
4) Leupold 115390 Mark AR MOD 1 Riflescope:
Leupold is a brand that you can put your trust on when it comes to finding the perfect riflescope. Since its inception in 1907, the brand has produced some of the best scopes in the business. So, it’s obvious that they got a particular gear that deserves to be in this Best Rifle Scope Under $500 list. It is there Leupold 115390 Mark AR MOD 1 Riflescope.
The single piece anodized aluminum tube gives a sturdy construction. It is strong and it can hold better on the heavy shocks of recoil, unlike other scopes. But that’s just the icing on the cake as it got so many layers to it. For instance, the 40mm lens hunters a wide view of the target. And to make things even better, it got magnification setting from 3-9 which gives the user enough tweaking to get the perfect view from distances.
Now, the Leupold 115390 Mark AR MOD 1 Riflescope gives you the scoping capabilities to get both long and close range shots. However, many scopes can do the same, yet it trumps the others due to its special 4 layer coating. It enables sharper and brighter image quality compared to other scopes that render blurry sights. So, as you can imagine, the precision it provides is on the same level with some higher end scopes in the market.
Leupold 115390 Mark AR MOD 1 Key Features
- It got argon and krypton gas blend to prevent water and thermal shock.
- The multi-dot enhances accuracy over long distances.
- It has a wide objective lens of 40mm.
- Adjustable magnification settings from 3X to 9X for bigger and clear view.
- It has an anodized aluminum built that presents with a rigid body structure.
- It got 4 layer multi-coating for less reflection.
5) Nikon MONARCH 3 BDC Riflescope
The last best hunting scope under 500 comes from Nikon. It is from their most successful line of scopes, the MONARCH. And the one that I’ve picked is the Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 2.5-10×42.
The Nikon Monarch 3 BDC is the type of riflescope that you want to own as it offers the perfect blend. It packs the power while offers you the comfortability to use it. A deadly combination that can’t be ignored. But besides being the biggest riflescope of the brand, the Monarch had some other exceptional features. Like its several magnification settings. This particular model can go from 2.5 to 10X zooming and still not lose a single bit of detail on the target.
The 42mm objective lens covers a wide enough area to give you the edge while hunting. Now, that is quite impressive but not as impressive as Nikon’s Eye Box Technology. Combined with the eye relief, this system offers the marksmen enough comfort while aiming through the peephole. This truly plays a part in enhancing the accuracy of the scope. And while we’re on the subject of precision, the quick focus eyepiece instance focus of the reticle.
The Nikon Monarch 3 BDC got a bunch of other features to cater the shooter. But the last thing that needs mentioning is its Spot On Ballistic March Technology. This system combined with the Ultra ClearCoat Optical ensures the highest possible light transmission through the scope. And this is why you get such sharp image of the target even from 100 of yards out.
Nikon MONARCH 3 BDC Key Features
- The eye box technology offers eye relief.
- The zero-reset turrets are spring loaded for quick adjustments.
- This got quick focus eyepiece let you focus on the reticle instantaneously.
- The Monarch 3 is waterproof, fog proof and shockproof.
- It is made from durable material.
- It gives 95% light transmission thanks to its ultra-clear coat optical system.
Things to Remember When Buying a Scope under $500
I had to go through a lot of aspects while coming up with this best long range scope under 500. And its actually surprising that there are so many factors that buyers need to pay attention to find the best scope in this budget.
Durability: While target shooting the durability factor isn’t tested that much, but in real life hunting scenarios, the scope proves its true worth. Because in real life, you will take the scope out with you even if the weather isn’t in your favor. So, pick out a scope that can withstand any kind of condition and come up on top without any issues. It doesn’t matter if its raining or it’s super foggy out there, the scope shouldn’t be compromised by its surrounding.
Plus, when equipped with powerful weapons, it requires absorbing the recoil with ease. So, it needs to take the shock and perform the same way shot after shot. You don’t want to fix the settings after taking a shot every single time. Also, the durable construction is important because sometimes accident happens. One can accidentally drop the scope and that can ruin the gear. But if it’s made with resilient materials, the scope might come out without a scratch.
Ease of use: The second box that needs to be ticked is the practicality one. By that I mean, the scope needs to be easy to use. You don’t want to look up just to adjust the windage or elevation. Instead, you want to do things naturally without looking out of the scope. But for some reason, if you need to look to tweak things then it’s not a good sign. Why?
Let me explain. In target shooting, you got all the time in the world. There is no pressure to make the shot count, but with moving targets, there is very little room for making mistakes. Take your eyes off the target and it’s gone. So, make sure to find yourself a scope that can be adjusted with ease. Always remember, efficiency is the key. Moreover, the scope mounting process needs to be straightforward.
Precision: It’s all about the precision. No one buys a rifle scope for the sake of it, they buy it to acquire the target quickly and effectively from any range. Now, the models I’ve picked do this job seamlessly. But if you’re considering to find a model all by yourself, then there are a variety of things to look out for. Starting with the built-in aiming points. The mil dots on the scope helps to acquire the target with pinpoint accuracy. However, not all scopes have them illuminated. It isn’t something to worry about unless if you like to hunt in dark conditions like at the night.
Like the aiming points, the quick eye focus piece is something that can take a marksman skill to a whole new level. You can adjust to nimble targets with more ease if you got this feature with the scope. Besides these, there are some other advanced technologies that a 500 buck piece got to offer. Such as the superior light transmission, premium zero locking, high magnification and many more.
Clarity: There are some scopes that don’t show clear sights. So, make sure to buy scopes that have bright optics that show the object clearly. If the light transmission through the optics is better that means the brighter the image of the object will be.
Also, the clarity depends on the construction material of the scope. This is something I’ve mentioned earlier. But if you’ve missed it then note it down. Get a scope that is water and fog proof. If it isn’t then obviously the scopes inside will get foggy which is never a good sight for the shooter. Buy argon filled scopes as they protect it from getting murky.
Versatility: It’s important to get more use out of your scope. The best rifle scopes are the one that can be used for both target practicing and hunting. Now, this can be achieved with most scopes. But with some, the performance differs a bit.
Usually, the scopes good for hunting work as well for the target hitting. But not every scope for target practice does the same for hunting. The variables change and so do the surroundings cause the performance to decline. So, while looking for the best rifle scope, make sure it can perform the same level in both fields.
Budget: The last piece of the puzzle is the budget itself. While looking for a scope, there will be times when some 100 and 200 dollars scope will come up with some similar features. Now, it would sway your decision for sure because why should anyone spend more? The same features are available in a cheaper model so no doubt that would get your attention. But that’s where you, the buyer needs to be firm.
You had a budget in mind while looking for the rifle gear. So, why end up with a substandard rifle scope with features that won’t be on par with a more expensive model. The cheap ones might have similar features but the quality wouldn’t be the same. The vision wouldn’t be clear and the magnification won’t give a clear view of the target from distances. There is no reason to make yourself go through all that mediocrity.
Who Should Buy These Scopes?
As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, the 500 dollar budget isn’t that cheap when comes to a rifle scope. Yes, there are more expensive models, but in this budget, there are some top-notch gears for the rifle. Now, the big question is who should consider buying scopes within such budget.
For me, a real rifle fanatic can think of spending money to buy such gear. But the parameter of buyers doesn’t need to be narrowed down. I think newbies with money to burn can also get behind this. That’s because most of the times rookies quit hunting as a hobby due to the lack of precision from the cheap devices. But if they start with something reliable like a 500 dollar scope, they can really hit their stride early and fall in love with it.
Plus, such investment makes a lot of sense as these rifle scopes can last a lifetime with proper maintenance. So, the market is wide open for anyone with some real intention of hitting the bullseye.
Final Recommendation- Best Optics Under $500
There are a lot of scopes that could have gotten into the Best Rifle Scope Under $500 list. However, I’ve picked the best ones to make your decision a little bit easier.
Still, some of you might be hesitating with the decision. And that’s normal as each of the scopes above have some outstanding qualities. But the Millet Tactical 6-25x56mm is the one that I personally prefer the most. First, the deal is great but most importantly the features are somewhat more exciting than its competitors. The 25X magnification and the 1000 yard range gives it an upper hand on the rest.
Now, the one from the Nikon or Vortex isn’t far behind. To be honest, all of them are at the same level when it comes to precision and durability. And all of them mount nicely to any rifle in the world. So, you can pick any of them and start hitting the target hard. Just take the leap and make the commitment. You won’t be let down that’s for sure.