If you are looking for a rifle scope that will be excellent in performance but worth a steal of a deal, keep reading. We’ll be taking a look at the best rifle scopes under $300. While most rifle scopes don’t come cheap, it’s possible to find one at a price that you can afford.
No matter what type of rifle you use, you’re bound to find one that will be of good use to you. Before we unveil our handpicked list of three top rifle scopes under $300, we’ll provide you with a buyer’s guide that will help you make the best choice. No one should randomly snag a scope off the shelf or online without knowing the features and benefits first.
Plus, you don’t want to grab a scope by mistake and end up with a bad case of buyer’s remorse. With that said, let’s go over the buyer’s guide.
How To Choose? What To Consider?
This buyer’s guide will make the selection process a lot easier. First, we’ll be listing out the features that you’ll need to look at. They will vary from scope to scope and will have an effect on its overall performance.
However, your personal needs and preferences will play a role in your final decision process. That’s where the factors to take into consideration will likely come into play. With that in mind, here are the following important features you’ll need to look for:
Objective: The objective will allow you to see what’s in front of you. And it will gather in light to enhance the image quality. The larger the objective, the more light it will gather in. Likewise, it will also allow you to see more in front of you.
Magnification: The magnification power will help you make every shot as accurate and precise as possible. However, you’ll want to choose between fixed or variable magnification. Fixed magnification is a set level (i.e – 4x) while variable provides you with a different range (i.e. — 1x to 4x). This will allow you to get a closer look at your target without having to move closer to it (especially when it’s a game target).
Turrets: The turrets or knobs are used for adjusting the windage, elevation, and parallax. You want a scope that will shoot straight and dead on. If the shot appears to be off, then you can make the necessary adjustments with a turn of the knob. You want turrets that are easy to operate. They can make audible click noises or be smooth and quiet. Either way, you’ll get precise MOA adjustments to ensure your reticle is lined up straight.
Reticle: Best known as the crosshair, the reticle allows you to focus on your shot so it lands exactly where you want it. Depending on the scope, the reticle will be a different shape or size. Some reticles are illuminated so it can help you see better in low light conditions. And, it can be helpful in making sure you are aiming exactly where you want the shot to go.
Eye relief: The eye relief is where you can be able to see the image picture with your eye being as far away as possible from the eyepiece. This is designed to prevent any kind of eye injuries from occurring due to recoil (or kickback). If you have a rifle that has plenty of recoil, then you may want to consider the idea of finding a scope that will give you a generous amount of eye relief.
Tube body: The tube body will vary in diameter (like 1 inch). Not only that, you want something that is made from high-quality materials like aluminum. The key here is to find a scope that is durable enough to handle the shock from recoil. Not to mention, you want something that will be waterproof and fogproof. Durability will matter a lot and the tube body will play a role in making sure that it’s tough enough to handle shock, abuse, and whatever nature tends to unleash while you are out in the field or at the range.
Things To Consider
With the list of features laid out, we’ll now take a look at what other factors you’ll need to consider. These will be based on personal needs and preferences. But you’ll want to think these over before making a final decision.
Here’s what you need to consider:
What kind of rifle am I using?
Not every rifle scope will be compatible with any rifle. One of the reasons is that a scope might not be durable enough to handle heavy shock from recoil (like Springfield M1A rifles). Also, your rifle may also have a lot of kickback, which means you’ll need to find a scope with plenty of eye relief.
It’s important to know your rifle to a T. Find the right kind of scope that is durable enough to handle shock and have the ability to hold zero after hundreds of shots.
What will I be using my rifle for?
Are you a hunter? Do you target shoot at the range regularly? Are you a competitive shooter?
There are users who will use their rifles for one application or another. Some will use it for just about anything. The application will play a role in your scope selection.
If you are a hunter, you’ll want something that will perform in low-light settings. You also want easy turret adjustments that will quickly straighten out the reticle at a moment’s notice. Because you don’t want to miss out on a big game target you’ve been eyeing for awhile.
What kind of scope mount will I need?
While you may be purchasing them separately, you may need to purchase a scope mount that will fit your scope. You can choose between a flat mount or scope rings. Either way, they will help give your scope the support it needs to stay straight and perfect your aim.
Like scopes themselves, you’ll want to consider such factors as ease of installation and durability as your two top items to consider when looking for a scope mount.
Best Scopes Under $300: My Top Three Picks
Below is a list of the three best picks for scopes under $300. We’ll be taking a look at the best overall, runner-up, and best for the money options. While all of these are within a certain price range, it’s possible to find the best one you can afford.
With that in mind, let’s get started with our “best overall” choice:
Nikon Prostaff P3 Predator Hunter BDC Rifle Scope – Best Overall
The first scope on our list is the best overall choice for scopes under $300. The Nikon Prostaff P3 Rifle Scope deserves this title for so many reasons. For one, the image quality on this scope is amazing.
It’s as if you are watching what’s in front of you in high definition. Whether it’s a clear day or a bit on the soggy side, you’ll get excellent image clarity every time you look through the scope. There are no smudges, scratches, or dust that will ruin these lenses.
If you are looking for a scope that is rugged and reliable, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything quite like this. The BDC reticle that is equipped with this will make sure that every shot counts every time you pull the trigger. Whether it’s a big game target at 300 yards or a paper target at the same distance, this reticle will make every shot as precise and accurate as possible.
- Excellent image quality
- Very durable
- Perfect for hitting targets 400 yards away
- Great for multiple purposes
- Fitting for most rifles and even shotguns
- Eye relief could be better
- Fully Multicoated Optical System
- BDC PREDATOR Reticle
Last update on 2022-05-21 at 18:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Vortex Optics Copperhead 4-12×44 Second Focal Plane Rifle Scope – Runner-Up
Next is the Vortex Optics Copperhead Rifle Scope. If Nikon is known for its superior image quality, Vortex is known for its durability. If you want a scope that is built like a tank, this could be the scope you want on your rifle.
At 44mm, the objective is large enough to provide you with plenty of real estate. You’ll see a lot compared to scopes with smaller objectives. Not to mention, you’ll gather in plenty of light in order to make the image picture a lot more enhanced.
If you have a rifle that has plenty of kick to it, this scope will have enough eye relief for you. If you own an M14 or a Springfield M1A, this could be the go-to option for you. Other than that, it’s made for a nice multi-purpose scope that will make every shot effective when the targets range from 100 to 600 yards.
- Excellent for heavy-hitter rifles
- Super durable
- Great for hunting small and big game
- Easy to adjust turrets
- Excellent in all kinds of weather conditions
- Can get blurry at higher magnification levels
- Specifically designed for hunters and shooters, the Copperhead riflescope offers the highest levels...
- The Dead-Hold BDC is good for hunting and shooting at varying ranges where estimating hold-over is a...
Last update on 2022-05-22 at 05:12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Leupold FX-I Rimfire 4×28 Fine Duplex Scope – Best For The Money
Our best for the money option is none other than the Leupold FX-I Rimfire Scope. You’re probably shocked that a Leupold scope is actually this affordable. Believe it or not, they do exist.
Like the rest of the scopes that carry the Leupold brand name, they are super durable. We dare say it gives the Vortex Optics a run for its money. But nevertheless, it’s 100 percent waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof.
The ultra-lightweight scope doesn’t add on any additional weight to your rifle. Just because it’s lightweight, doesn’t mean it’s weak by any stretch. Even with some decent amounts of recoil, it’s a scope that will never lose its zero after so many shots.
The scratch-resistant lenses further confirms that you might be dealing with one of the toughest rifle scopes in the business. If you want excellent reliability, quality, and accuracy at 100 yards then you might want to give this scope a closer look.
- Easy to zero in
- Excellent durability
- Affordable for most budgets
- Very clear glass
- Great for Ruger 10/22 rifles
- May not work well with lower scope rings
- Leopold's classic/standard fast focus eyepiece with a low profile lock ring makes reticle focus easy...
- Micro-friction dials are marked in 1/4-MOA increments for easy wind age and elevation adjustments
Last update on 2022-05-21 at 18:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Open Questions About Rifle Scopes Under $300
What’s a good distance for a 3-9×40?
It will depend on the scope you’re using along with the rifle that goes along with it. There are some scopes with 3 to 9 times the magnification power and a 40mm objective that can go as far as 900 yards.
What magnification do I need for 500 yards?
The best magnification level you’ll need in order to effectively hit a target at around 500 yards is 5x. Some will say that 10x might be an even better level.
Are Leupold scopes as good as Vortex scopes?
Leupold scopes do hold some advantages over the Vortex brand in terms of the build. However, both of them are very durable and can last a long time. Both scopes are shockproof, fogproof, and waterproof. However, Leupold scopes will be more expensive compared to their Vortex counterparts.
How far should your eye be far away from the scope?
Ideally, eye relief on a scope should be no less than 3 inches. The eye relief will vary from one scope to the next. The more recoil your rifle produces, the higher the eye relief should be on a scope.
The Nikon Prostaff P3 is our best option for a rifle scope that you can get for under $300. With its excellent image quality and reliability, there is no denying that this can serve you well in the long run. This is compatible with pretty much any rifle that is useful for hunting or target practice.
It is true that you can find a reliable rifle scope for under $300. The three listed above are excellent in quality and will do a great job making sure your shot lands exactly where you want it. Choose a scope that fits your rifle and try it out the next time you’re out in the field or at the range.