Looking for the best rifle scope for hunting, but don’t want to break the bank? Well, you’re in luck! In this article, we will be discussing the top 5 rifle scopes for hunting under $500. These scopes offer incredible performance and value, allowing you to optimize your hunting experience without emptying your wallet. We will be diving into each scope’s key features, such as magnification, lens diameter, and reticle type, so you can make an informed decision. Created by Outdoor Zone, a group of passionate outdoor enthusiasts, this article is a must-read for anyone in search of an affordable and high-quality rifle scope for their hunting adventures.
Rifle scopes are an essential tool for any hunter, and finding the right one can make all the difference in your hunting experience. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, these top 5 rifle scopes under $500 will suit your needs perfectly. From the Athlon Optics Argos BTR with its beginner-friendly features to the Vortex Optics DIAMONDBACK Tactical with its precision and value, we’ve got you covered. Outdoor Zone has thoroughly tested and reviewed these scopes, ensuring that you get the best bang for your buck. So, get ready to take your hunting game to the next level with these amazing rifle scopes!
Table of Contents
1. Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50
The Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50 rifle scope offers a versatile magnification range of 6x to 24x. This allows you to zoom in on distant targets with ease, making it ideal for long-range shooting or hunting. The higher magnification settings provide a clear and detailed view of your target, ensuring you can make precise shots even at long distances.
1.2 Lens Diameter
The lens diameter of the Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50 rifle scope is 50mm. A larger lens diameter allows more light to enter the scope, resulting in a brighter and clearer image. This is especially beneficial in low-light conditions, as it helps you see your target more clearly. With the 50mm lens diameter, you can count on excellent image quality and visibility, even in challenging lighting situations.
1.3 Reticle Type
The Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50 rifle scope features an illuminated reticle. This means that the reticle is equipped with LED illumination, which can be adjusted in brightness according to your preference. The illuminated reticle enhances visibility, especially in low-light environments, making it easier to acquire and track your target. The reticle design itself is also important, as it helps with aiming and provides reference points for holdover or windage adjustments. The Argos BTR 6-24×50 offers a variety of reticle options, catering to different shooting preferences and scenarios.
2. Hawke VANTAGE IR 3-9×40
The Hawke VANTAGE IR 3-9×40 rifle scope offers a magnification range of 3x to 9x. This range provides versatility, allowing you to adjust the magnification level based on your shooting needs. The lower magnification settings are suitable for close-range shooting or hunting, while the higher settings are ideal for targets at longer distances. Whether you’re hunting in dense woods or shooting at targets on an open field, the VANTAGE IR 3-9×40 offers the flexibility to adapt to different scenarios.
2.2 Lens Diameter
The lens diameter of the Hawke VANTAGE IR 3-9×40 rifle scope is 40mm. While not as large as some other scopes, the 40mm lens still allows a sufficient amount of light to enter the scope, resulting in a clear and bright image. The multi-coated lenses further enhance light transmission, ensuring optimal image quality. With the 40mm lens diameter, the VANTAGE IR 3-9×40 strikes a balance between portability and performance, making it a reliable choice for various hunting situations.
2.3 Reticle Type
The Hawke VANTAGE IR 3-9×40 rifle scope comes with an illuminated reticle. This feature provides increased visibility in low-light conditions, allowing you to acquire and track your target with ease. The reticle itself is designed to aid in accuracy, with options such as a duplex reticle or an MOA reticle. Whether you prefer a simple reticle for quick target acquisition or a reticle with additional holdover points for long-range shooting, the VANTAGE IR 3-9×40 offers a variety of choices to suit your shooting style.
3. Burris Fullfield II Riflescope 3-9x40mm
The Burris Fullfield II Riflescope 3-9x40mm offers a magnification range of 3x to 9x. This range is well-suited for a variety of hunting scenarios, whether you’re shooting at close range or engaging targets at longer distances. The versatile magnification allows you to zoom in and out to find the perfect balance between situational awareness and target precision.
3.2 Lens Diameter
The lens diameter of the Burris Fullfield II Riflescope 3-9x40mm is 40mm. This size strikes a good balance between light transmission and overall size. The larger lens diameter helps gather more light, resulting in a bright and clear image. This is especially beneficial during low-light conditions when animals are more active. With the 40mm lens, you can expect excellent image quality and visibility to make accurate shots in various lighting conditions.
3.3 Reticle Type
The Burris Fullfield II Riflescope 3-9x40mm features a variety of reticle options, including ballistic plex reticles. These reticles provide reference points for holdover and windage adjustments, enhancing accuracy. The reticles are placed on the second focal plane, meaning they remain the same size regardless of magnification. This ensures that the reticle remains consistent even when zooming in or out. With the Fullfield II’s reticle options, you can choose one that best suits your shooting style and preferences.
4. Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40
The Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40 rifle scope offers a magnification range of 4x to 12x. This range is ideal for medium to long-range shooting, allowing you to engage targets at various distances. The higher magnification settings provide clear and detailed views of your target, making it easier to make precise shots. Whether you’re hunting in open fields or shooting at targets on a range, the VX-Freedom 4-12×40 offers the versatility to adapt to different shooting scenarios.
4.2 Lens Diameter
The lens diameter of the Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40 rifle scope is 40mm. This size is suitable for a wide range of hunting applications, providing a good balance between light transmission and overall size. The multi-coated lenses enhance light transmission, ensuring a bright and clear sight picture. The 40mm lens diameter allows for ample light gathering, making the VX-Freedom 4-12×40 a reliable scope even in low-light conditions.
4.3 Reticle Type
The Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40 rifle scope offers a variety of reticle options, including duplex, tri-moa, and ultimate slam reticles. Each reticle type is designed to enhance accuracy and provide quick target acquisition. The reticles are placed on the second focal plane, meaning they remain the same size regardless of magnification. This ensures that the reticle stays consistent and provides precise aiming points. With the VX-Freedom’s reticle options, you can choose the one that suits your shooting needs and preferences.
5. Vortex Optics DIAMONDBACK Tactical 6-24X50 FFP
The Vortex Optics DIAMONDBACK Tactical 6-24×50 FFP rifle scope offers a wide magnification range of 6x to 24x. This range is ideal for long-range shooting and precision targeting. With the ability to zoom in on distant targets, you can engage them with confidence and accuracy. Whether you’re hunting or shooting at the range, the high magnification capabilities of the DIAMONDBACK Tactical ensure a clear and detailed view of your target.
5.2 Lens Diameter
The lens diameter of the Vortex Optics DIAMONDBACK Tactical 6-24×50 FFP rifle scope is 50mm. With a larger lens diameter, this scope allows for superior light transmission, resulting in a bright and clear sight picture. The multi-coated lenses further enhance image quality, ensuring optimal visibility even in challenging lighting conditions. The 50mm lens diameter is particularly advantageous during low-light situations, allowing you to spot your target with ease.
5.3 Reticle Type
The Vortex Optics DIAMONDBACK Tactical 6-24×50 FFP rifle scope features a first focal plane (FFP) reticle. This means that the reticle is located at the front focal plane, allowing it to maintain its size and proportions as you change the magnification. This ensures accurate holdover and windage corrections at any magnification level. The DIAMONDBACK Tactical offers a range of FFP reticle options, including EBR-2C MOA and EBR-2C MRAD reticles. These reticles provide precise aiming points and reference marks, assisting in long-range shooting and quick target acquisition.
6. The Importance of Rifle Scopes for Hunting
As a hunter, having a reliable and high-quality rifle scope is essential for a successful and enjoyable hunting experience. Here are some key reasons why rifle scopes are important for hunting:
6.1 Clear and Sharp Optics
One of the primary benefits of using a rifle scope is the improved optics it provides. A good rifle scope enhances your vision, allowing you to see your target with clarity and detail. A clear and sharp sight picture is crucial for accurately identifying your target and making precise shots. With the magnification power and quality lenses of a rifle scope, you can have a better view of your surroundings and spot game more effectively.
6.2 Accuracy and Precision
Accuracy and precision are crucial when it comes to hunting. A rifle scope helps you achieve both by providing a clear and magnified view of your target. With a properly sighted-in rifle scope, you can align your reticle with your target, ensuring a precise shot placement. The ability to zoom in on your target allows you to make accurate shots even at longer distances. A rifle scope also helps compensate for factors like bullet drop and windage, giving you a more accurate shooting experience.
6.3 Low-Light Performance
Many hunting activities take place during dawn or dusk when lighting conditions are less optimal. A high-quality rifle scope can greatly improve your visibility in low-light situations. Scopes with larger objective lenses and multi-coated optics allow more light to enter the scope, resulting in brighter and clearer images. This allows you to see your target more clearly, even in low-light conditions. Improved low-light performance can be especially beneficial for hunting during dawn or dusk when game animals are most active.
7. Key Considerations When Choosing a Rifle Scope
When choosing a rifle scope for hunting, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. Here are some factors to consider before making a purchase:
Setting a budget is an important first step in choosing a rifle scope. Decide how much you’re willing to spend and look for options within that range. It’s worth noting that higher-priced scopes often offer more features and better performance, but there are also excellent options available at lower price points. Determine your budget based on your needs and requirements, and be sure to prioritize quality and reliability within that budget range.
7.2 Magnification Range
Consider the magnification range you need for your hunting activities. If you primarily hunt in dense woods or engage in close-range shooting, a scope with lower magnification may be sufficient. On the other hand, if you frequently hunt in open fields or need to shoot at longer distances, a scope with a higher magnification range may be more suitable. Choose a scope that offers the right balance of magnification for your specific hunting needs.
7.3 Lens Diameter
The lens diameter of a rifle scope affects the amount of light that enters the scope, which in turn impacts image brightness and clarity. Larger lens diameters allow more light to enter, resulting in brighter images. This can be particularly beneficial during low-light conditions when visibility is reduced. However, larger lenses also mean a larger and potentially heavier scope. Consider the trade-off between size, weight, and light-gathering capabilities when selecting a rifle scope.
7.4 Reticle Type
Different reticle types offer various benefits and functionalities. Consider the reticle type that best suits your shooting style and preferences. Simple reticles, such as duplex or German #4 reticles, are great for quick target acquisition and close-range shooting. Reticles with additional holdover or windage marks, such as bullet drop compensating (BDC) reticles, are beneficial for long-range shooting. Choose a reticle type that aligns with your shooting needs and allows for accurate aiming.
Hunting can be a rugged and demanding activity, so it’s important to choose a rifle scope that can withstand the elements. Look for scopes that are built with durability in mind, such as those made with high-quality materials like aircraft-grade aluminum. Additionally, consider scopes that are water, fog, and shockproof to ensure they can withstand various weather conditions and handling in the field. A durable scope will provide reliability throughout your hunting adventures.
7.6 Weight and Size
The weight and size of a rifle scope can impact your overall shooting experience, especially if you’re carrying the rifle for extended periods or navigating through difficult terrain. Consider the weight and size of the scope and how it will affect your mobility and comfort in the field. Balance your need for performance with portability to ensure an enjoyable hunting experience.
8. Comparison of the 5 Best Rifle Scopes for Hunting Under $500
Now that we have discussed the key features of each rifle scope, let’s compare them based on performance, features, value for money, user reviews, and ratings. Here’s a comprehensive comparison of the 5 best rifle scopes for hunting under $500:
8.1 Performance and Features
- Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50: This scope offers a versatile magnification range and a large lens diameter, making it suitable for long-range shooting. It features multiple reticle options and has a robust mechanical design.
- Hawke VANTAGE IR 3-9×40: This scope offers a lower magnification range, making it ideal for close-range hunting. It has a fast-focus eyeball and multi-coated lenses for enhanced image quality. The illuminated reticle improves visibility in low-light conditions.
- Burris Fullfield II Riflescope 3-9x40mm: This budget-friendly scope provides good optical performance with its high-grade lenses and multi-coated optics. It has a simple ballistic plex reticle for quick target acquisition.
- Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40: This scope features Leupold’s advanced lens technology for excellent light transmission. It has a durable construction and offers precise adjustments for windage and elevation accuracy.
- Vortex Optics DIAMONDBACK Tactical 6-24X50 FFP: This scope stands out with its first focal plane reticle and exposed turrets. It offers a wide magnification range and excellent low-light performance.
8.2 Value for Money
Considering the features, performance, and durability of each scope, the Vortex Optics DIAMONDBACK Tactical 6-24X50 FFP offers great value for money. It combines advanced features, high-quality optics, and a reasonable price point, making it a top pick for hunters on a budget.
8.3 User Reviews and Ratings
When it comes to user reviews and ratings, all five scopes have received positive feedback from hunters who have used them in various situations. The Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50 stands out for its optical performance and beginner-friendly design. The Hawke VANTAGE IR 3-9×40 is praised for its build quality and reticle options. The Burris Fullfield II Riflescope 3-9x40mm is highly rated for its affordability and performance. The Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40 is lauded for its durability and accuracy. The Vortex Optics DIAMONDBACK Tactical 6-24X50 FFP excels in its versatility and low-light performance.
9. Pros and Cons of Each Rifle Scope
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each rifle scope:
9.1 Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50
- Versatile magnification range
- Clear and sharp optics
- Beginner-friendly design
- Robust mechanical construction
- Multiple reticle options
- Some users may find the higher magnification settings less useful in certain hunting scenarios
9.2 Hawke VANTAGE IR 3-9×40
- Good build quality
- Fast-focus eyeball for quick target acquisition
- Illuminated reticle for better visibility in low-light conditions
- Multiple reticle options
- Limited magnification range compared to other scopes on the list
9.3 Burris Fullfield II Riflescope 3-9x40mm
- Affordable price
- Good optical performance
- Simple ballistic plex reticle
- Nitrogen-filled tubes for fog resistance
- Limited features compared to higher-end scopes
9.4 Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40
- High-quality optics with excellent light transmission
- Durable construction
- Precise windage and elevation adjustments
- Scratch-resistant lens coating
- Higher price compared to some other options on the list
9.5 Vortex Optics DIAMONDBACK Tactical 6-24X50 FFP
- Wide magnification range for versatile shooting scenarios
- First focal plane reticle for accurate holdover and windage adjustments
- Excellent low-light performance
- Exposed turrets for easy adjustments
- Higher price compared to other scopes on the list
Choosing the right rifle scope for hunting is crucial for accuracy, precision, and an overall enjoyable hunting experience. The Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50, Hawke VANTAGE IR 3-9×40, Burris Fullfield II Riflescope 3-9x40mm, Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12×40, and Vortex Optics DIAMONDBACK Tactical 6-24X50 FFP are all excellent options under $500. Each scope offers its own unique features, performance, and value for money. Consider your specific hunting needs, preferences, and budget to choose the rifle scope that best suits you. Happy hunting!