Top 3 Best Shotgun Scopes: Recommendations from a Firearm Expert

If you are looking for the best shotgun scopes, you’re in the right place. You are probably thinking that it’s crazy to attach a scope on a shotgun? Believe it or not, scopes aren’t just for rifles.

Best Shotgun Scopes

You can still get a good amount of accuracy out of a shotgun so long as you have the right kind of scope attached. We’ll be taking a look at three of the best that have been hand-picked specifically for this review. Prior to unveiling the list of picks, we will also lay out a buyer’s guide that will help you choose a scope that works best for you.

If you hunt or target shoot with a shotgun, chances are you want to go the distance with one. No longer will you have to assume that it can be used for short distances. With that in mind, let’s get to the buyer’s guide:

Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose? What To Consider

A buyer’s guide will always come in handy when you are stuck with options. Especially when you want to choose the right kind of scope for your shotgun. Granted, not every scope will be the same.

But they all have the same features and purpose. At the end of the day, your final decision will eventually come down to personal preferences and needs. Here are some features that you need to look for:

Magnification: For one, magnification will play a role in making every shot count. If you want excellent accuracy, you want a scope that will give you enough magnification power to set up the shot. Using your reticle, you can line it up to exactly where you need the shot to go. Whether you are using slugs or regular shotgun shells, knowing where to shoot is important.

Reticle: The reticle or your crosshairs will help you pinpoint where your shot goes. They come in different shapes and sizes. But you can still aim it at the bullseye or a known kill shot area of a game target and be able to hit it on the mark. However, weather conditions can play a role in where the shot goes.

Objective: The objective of a scope will allow you to see plenty of ground in front of you when looking through it. The larger it is in size, the more you’ll see. The objective will also gather in light so you can see the image picture with more clarity. Again, a larger objective will bring in more light compared to something smaller in size. If low-light visibility is what you want, then a large objective will be sufficient enough.

Turrets: If you want to make easy adjustments for windage, elevation, and parallax then you’ll want a scope with turrets that will be easily adjustable. The adjustments will differ from one scope to the next. For example, one scope will adjust to ¼ MOA compared to others where the increments will be more or less.

Eye relief: It’s no secret that shotguns can pack a good amount of recoil. That’s why you really want to play close attention to the eye relief of a scope. Eye relief is where you are able to see through the scope and see what’s in front of you while your eye is as far away as possible from the eyepiece. The key here is to avoid eye injury that can occur due to kickback. If your eye is too close to the scope, then you may pay the price after you pull the trigger. Don’t let a serious eye injury put an end to your hunt or target shooting session too early.

Price: If you are on a budget, the price may be a concern. However, it’s all about what your budget is. After you have one in mind, that’s when you’ll need to find a scope that will be the best quality and performance possible. Never go for cheap since it may lead to finding a low-quality scope that could break in a short period of time.

What To Consider?

With some of the most important features mentioned, it’s time to discuss what you need to consider. Your scope should be something that is more fitting for your needs and preferences. Here’s what you need to mull over:

What will I be using my shotgun for?

Are you using it for hunting? Target practice? Both?

Shotguns can serve one or more purposes. Hunting scopes will likely be higher in quality and therefore long-lasting. Sometimes, the purpose and intent of your shotgun may determine the choice of your scope.

How much recoil does my shotgun have?

Recoil will determine how much eye relief you’ll need to look for in a scope. If it does kick back far enough, you’ll want a scope with plenty of eye relief (I.e – anywhere three inches or more will be sufficient). You can reduce some of the recoil with add-ons like recoil pads and other accessories if you choose to do so. However, a scope with a good amount of eye relief should always be a good idea.

How durable does it need to be?

Most of the scopes for shotguns will be durable enough to handle multiple shots. What we mean by this is because of the amount of recoil (and the shock produced by it) can throw off the zero settings of a scope that is not durable enough. Therefore, a solidly built scope will absorb shot and keep the zero settings intact after a hundred shots or more.

Best Shotgun Scopes: My Top 3 Picks

Now, we’re going to dive into the top 3 picks for shotgun scopes. While going through the list, you should note some features that will either be a deal maker or a deal breaker for you. Your preferences and needs will always weigh heavily on your decision (as will some of the pros you like, the cons you hate, etc.).

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the first scope on our list:

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope – Best Overall

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope

Our best overall choice is the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope. This is the perfect scope for shotguns, especially hunters who prefer using a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun. Simply put, this scope is perfect for those who prefer hunting at dawn or dusk.

That’s because you can still be able to see your targets in crystal clear definition even in low light conditions. With a multi-x reticle, you’ll be able to get a good accurate shot every time you pull the trigger. If you are hunting waterfowl, ruffed grouse, and other game then this scope may serve you well in the long run.

Users stated that the eye relief was good enough for shotguns. At just a little over three inches, it’s ideal for those who have a shotgun that packs a powerful punch. Other than that, it’s durable to where your zero settings remain the same no matter how much shock and abuse it can take on.


  • Excellent visibility in low-light settings
  • Very durable
  • Easy to sit in at 100 yards
  • Simple windage and elevation adjustments
  • Sturdy construction


  • Crosshairs may be a bit too thin
Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3.3-Inch Eye...
  • Quality optics with stunning HD clarity
  • 100 percentage quality materials used and tested extensively

Last update on 2021-10-16 at 02:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope – Runner-Up

UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope

Up next is our runner up, the UTG BugBuster Scope. One of the things that really made this scope stand out was the adjustable objective. If you have had an issue with focus in the past, then you won’t have to worry about that with a scope like this.

Another thing that really impressed us was the illuminated reticle. It can be lit up in either red or green. Regardless, it will allow you to see better even in low-light conditions.

To give you more maximum light, the lenses are multi-coated with emerald, which will also prevent all kinds of scratches. If you want high-definition, then you get exactly that with the Bugbusters scope.

If you hunt in any weather condition imaginable, then you might want to consider getting a scope like this. That’s because it’s waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. No rain, snow, or recoil will keep you from taking a shot and hitting your targets right on the mark.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install
  • Excellent durability
  • Perfect for hunting
  • Battery life is good for illumination


  • Crosshairs gets fuzzy when illumination is at high intensity
  • Eye relief could improve
  • Illumination can blink at times
UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings , Black
  • 1 Inch Tube with Emerald Coating for Maximum Light Transmission, Premium Zero Lockable & Resettable...
  • Range Estimating Mil-dot Reticle for Optimal Aiming and Shooting Performance, Adjustable Objective...

Last update on 2021-10-16 at 08:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

TASCO 3-9x40 AO Air Gun ScopeTRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Rimfire Shotgun Scope – Best For The Money

TASCO 3-9x40 AO Air Gun Scope

Our last shotgun scope will be taking a look at is the TRUGLO Compact Rimfire Shotgun Scope. This will be a budget option for those that may want the best quality, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg.

The rubber eyepiece on this scope makes it a bit more comfortable. It also makes the likelihood of getting your eye seriously injured less likely. If you are a deer or turkey hunter, you might find this scope to be quite useful.

Its lenses are multi-coated to ensure excellent quality and high-definition images. You’ll be looking through this scope and be amazed. At 32mm, the objective allows for a good amount of coverage for what’s in front of you.

If you want the best quality and performance that you can afford, the TRUGLO might be your cup of coffee.


  • Affordable for those on a budget
  • Rugged design
  • Easy to mount
  • Perfect for deer and turkey hunting
  • Eye relief is good enough


  • Adjustment knobs can get stripped
  • Rings may be hard to secure at times
  • Reticle may move around a bit more than it should
TRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Rimfire and Shotgun Scope Series, Diamond Reticle,...
  • Fully-coated lenses provide maximum brightness, clarity, and contrast
  • Rubber eye guard; Durable, scratch-resistant, non-reflective matte finish

Last update on 2021-10-16 at 05:53 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Open Questions About Shotgun Scopes

What’s the difference between a rifle and a shotgun scope?

The difference is range. A shotgun scope would be effective within 100 yards. Meanwhile, a rifle scope will likely be effective when targets are situated 300 yards or more away. Another difference is magnification. The shotgun scopes have significantly less magnification compared to rifle scopes.

Why would you put a scope on a shotgun?

Scopes on shotguns will be perfect if you intend on using slugs. If you use pellet, you’ll know that they will spread out when shot. If your shotgun is designed to choose at long range, a scope would be ideal here.

How far will a 12 gauge slug kill a deer?

A 12 gauge slug can travel as far as 150 yards in order to kill a deer in order to make the shot effective and accurate.

Should I put a red dot on my shotgun?

A red dot might be good for your shotgun, assuming if you are using it against small game or waterfowl. Like a scope, it can give you better aim and accuracy. Plus, you can still be able to keep your target on lock without losing sight of it in low-light settings.

At what distance should I zero in my shotgun?

An ideal distance for your shotgun will be 100 yards. Start by zeroing it in at 25 yards and then increasing it by 25 yard increments (I.e –50, 75, and 100). Only shoot it at distances where you know that you are guaranteed to hit it. A rifle may be an alternative option if you can’t hit 100 yards.


Of all the shotgun scopes that we’ve listed, there can only be one clear winner. The winner here is the Bushnell Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Riflescope. While it can work just great in low-light conditions, it has the ability to easily clear 100 yards and slightly beyond that. This scope is one of the most reliable on the market and a lot of users were more than happy with its features and abilities. It’s even affordable for a shotgun scope that is just south of $100 (which isn’t a bad deal).

Written by Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store (FFL approved) catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals. The store built their own AR platforms. Furthermore, Dennis was also an NRA instructor in both long gun and handgun as well as a certified range safety officer. Read his full interview here. Read more of Dennis's articles.