15 Best Rifle Scopes for Hunting in 2022

After reviewing dozens of scopes from many different companies ranging in price from $50 to well over $2,000, I am finally ready to write a completely unbiased review of my favorite scopes on the market for hunting in 2022.

If you don’t want to read this whole post, here is what I’d tell a friend to buy at each major price point.

  • Under $200 – Burris Fullfield E1 4.5-14×42 (link to Amazon) or (link to Optics Planet)
    • What I Like: Lightweight, easy to use, parallax adjustment, decent glass
  • Under $400 – Vortex Diamondback Tactical 4-16×44 (link to Amazon) or (link to Optics Planet)
    • What I Like: Perfect tracking accuracy, first focal plane, very rugged construction, warranty
  • Under $500 – Burris Signature HD 3-15×44 E3 Illum. (link to Amazon) or (link to Optics Planet)
    • What I Like: Good glass for the price, accurate tracking, pop-to-lock turret
  • Under $800 – Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14×40 (link to Amazon) or (link to Optics Planet)
    • What I Like: Crazy light, unbeatable turret design with button lock, one simple rev of elevation
  • Under $1,500 – Vortex Razor HD LHT 4.5-22×50 FFP (link to Amazon) or (link to Optics Planet)
    • What I Like: Push-button illumination, huge focal range, lightweight, warranty, FFP

Why You Can Trust This Review

  • I tested over 40 different scopes from 11 different brands
  • I spent over 150 hours testing and reviewing the scopes
  • No company has paid to have their product recommended in this review
  • Because of my Youtube channel on guns, I have a reputation to uphold. I have to be sure I’m bringing you the best, unbiased content.

If You Want a Simple, Inexpensive, Capped-Turret Scope

I’ll be frank. Some scope companies try to pass off some horrible scopes in their capped-turret category. Because tracking isn’t as important, and because many of the capped-turret scopes are inexpensive, some of the trashiest scope designs I’ve seen are on capped-turret scopes.

Notice the THICK scope shadow on the Sig Whiskey 3. In my opinion, it just ruins the experience of looking through the scope.

First, a few scopes that I do NOT think you should buy in this category. The Sig Whiskey 3 has very thick shadowing around the edges of the image that make it feel like you’re looking through PVC pipe. The (relatively expensive) Bushnell Nitro drops the distance from your eye to the scope too much as you zoom in. The Leupold VX-Freedom is a good scope, but I had issues with the reticle going out of focus and a loose rear focus piece. The Vortex Crossfire II had poor sharpness and a picky eye box.

In my opinion, there are two stand-out options for scopes in this category. The Burris Fullfield E1, and the Mavin CRS2 4-16×44 SFP.

The cheaper of the two options is the Burris Fullfield E1 (link to Amazon). At less than $300, it’s a very capable scope for the price. They make versions with different options, but I’d recommend getting one with a parallax adjustment. Parallax is basically a focus knob, but it also controls the alignment of the reticle to your eye. You’ll shoot more accurately and have a better optical experience with a parallax adjustment.

The Mavin CRS2 4-16×44 SFP is an amazing scope. It probably has the best glass quality of anything I’ve tried in the capped turret category. It’s very well built, is lightweight, and functions perfectly. Plus, I really like the look and styling of the turrets on the Mavin scopes. If you’ll be hunting from a ground blind or treestand, you may prefer the superior Mavin RS.1 2.5-15×44 scope, which would give you an extremely useful focal range for close shots on game, but it’s more expensive.

My Favorite Exposed-Turret Scopes for Hunting

When I’m buying a scope just for me and not for review, I always get an exposed turret. In my opinion, it makes the gun much more useful for a wide range of target and hunting opportunities. I’ll break this part of the blog post into sections based on price.

Here’s What I’d Get If You Have < $500 to Spend

I actually wrote an entire blog post on the best scopes under $500, and did a video on it too.

Frankly, I wouldn’t buy an exposed-turret scope under $300. Why? Because the purpose of an exposed turret is to allow you to dial for elevation, and I haven’t personally found a scope in the very cheap category that has reliable tracking and solid enough optics to recommend it. If you’re under $300, I’d get a capped-turret scope.

I tested several exposed-turret first-focal-plane scopes under $500 recently. Here are some of their specs.

ModelFocal PlaneWeight (Ounces)Tube SizeIlluminationWhere It’s Made
Vortex Diamondback Tactical 4-16×44First22.8530mmNoChina
Athlon Talos BTR 4-14x44mmFirst24.1530mmYesChina
Primary Arms SLx 3-18x50mmFirst26.230mmYesChina
Blackhound Genesis 4-14×44 FFP MOAFirst24.7530mmNoChina
Arken 4-16×50 SH4 Gen2 FFPFirst37.234mmYesChina

Arken – Weeding through the list, the Arken is far too heavy for a hunting application. It’s a really cool scope for target shooting and I use one on my kid’s competition 22lr rig, but it’s just not a hunting scope. Also, I dumped all of the scopes into my pool to test water intrusion. Every scope EXCEPT the Arken passed the test. Arken called me afterward and said they are changing their gaskets in future versions of the scope to address the issue, and replaced mine.

Blackhound – I like Blackhound as a company, but I just haven’t seen any of their scopes yet that I feel beat out the competition for any specific price point. Their products lack innovation. It’s the typical scopes coming out of the same factories from Japan and China as many other manufacturers, but with no effort put into industrial design, clever turret capabilities, etc. It’s decent stuff as I highlighted in this video, but when I compare it to similarly-priced competition, I just don’t see a reason to choose the Blackhound.

Athlon – Athlon’s Talos is a very odd-looking scope because the side turrets don’t line up (similar to the Blackhound), but it’s an impressive scope nonetheless. It’s built well, but the optical quality and fit-and-finish doesn’t match the Vortex in my opinion.

Primary Arms – The Primary Arms offering is $100 more than the Vortex, but 1/3 lbs heavier and the corner sharpness didn’t match up. It’s probably the second best option in this price point in my opinion.

If You Want Made In the USA – Notice that all of the above offerings are made in China. Your only option for USA made is the Leupold VX Freedom 4-12×50 (link to Amazon). It has an exposed turret, nicely design image with little scope shadown, and decent brightness. However, my rear focus dial came loose over time and caused the reticle to go in and out of focus. I can’t recommend gear that fails on me in testing, but I’m sure my experience was rare. Overall, it’s a good choice.

The Best Option Under $500 – The first scope in the exposed-turret world that I’d recommend is the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 4-16×44 (link to Amazon). I spent a tremendous amount of time testing this scope and it tracks perfectly (at least more accurately than I was able to test). Tall target, box test, it passed every test I threw at it.

Here’s What I’d Get If You Have < $1,000 to Spend

I’ll be direct, if you can make the budget work, just get the Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14×40 (link to Amazon). Seriously. The VX-3HD really destroys everything else in this price range. Seriously, it’s not even worth discussing other options (though I tested a dozen scopes in this category). The others have good glass, quality tracking, and that’s really it. The Leupold has those two characteristics, but also an amazingly good turret design. In a hunting situation, this scope will flat-out make you a better shooter than you really are.

The scope is impossibly light at just 16 ounces, but still gives you a great focal range of 4.5-14x. I’ve written before about the best scope magnifications for hunting. At 4.5mm when zoomed out, you can still shoot a big game animal at 20 yards and see enough of the animal to place a shot. At the long end, you can see a single bullet hole at 100 yards for sighting in. Perfect.

But it’s the top turret design of the Leupold VX-3HD that makes this scope so useful. Like Leupold’s higher-end scopes, it has a button on the turret to make it impossible to accidentally spin the turret without pressing the button. In that regard, it makes the scope as good as a capped-turret scope for making sure the turret doesn’t get bumped. But with a push of a button, you can take full control.

I also love that this scope only allows for one revolution of rotation so you can’t accidentally be “one rev up” and shoot way over the back of an animal. The dial stops at zero, and 15 MOA. So for hunting, it gives you the power of dialing for distance, but the “idiot-proofness” of simplicity. With 15 MOA of adjustment in the dial, it allows most cartridges like a 6.5 Creedmoor to shoot out to about 600 yards. Plenty for 99.9% of hunters.

The only issues I have with the VX-3HD are: (1) I got a little ding in the front bell of the scope that was easily banged back out but I think it should be reinforced there, and (2) I wish they offered the scope in more reticles other than just basic duplex and windplex.

Some people skip the VX-3HD 4.5-14×40 because of the relatively small objective bell (40mm). This doesn’t allow the scope to gather as much light, but also makes the design far more lightweight and packable. In my testing, I found that a 50mm objective on a scope will really only provide for an additional 3 minutes of hunting light, but if you’ll be hunting in dark timbered areas from a stand, this may be important to you.

Here’s What I’d Get If You Have > $1,000 to Spend

With a budget starting at $1,200, you can get a world-class hunting scope. In this category, it’s harder to declare a single winner because the options are all so good. However, there are about 4 stand-out scopes in this category from which you’ll likely want to choose.

If you forced me to pick the best hunting scope at any price point, I’d probably go with the Leupold Mark 5HD 3.6-18X44 M5C3 FFP TMR; HOWEVER, it’s 5 oz heavier than the Vortex Razor LHT, so I picked the Vortex for my lightweight hunting rifle, and put the Leupold on a heavier caliber rifle. The Leupold is a very convenient focal range for hunting, it’s first focal-plane, provides superior glass quality, great reticle options, and of course that Leupold CDS turret system that I just feel is several steps ahead of the competition. The turret allows for a positive button lock to maintain zero, and a custom dial you can order for free. There are, however, two problems with the Leupold. It’s heavy at 26oz and it uses an odd-ball 35mm tube size that makes getting rings difficult.

In the end, I went with the Vortex Razor HD LHT 4.5-22×50 FFP (link to see price on Amazon) for my lightweight mountain rifle. It has equally good glass as the Leupold. It has great reticle options like the Leupold. Personally, I prefer the focal range of 4.5-22x compared to the Leupold’s 3.6-18x. Having 22x power is sometimes really useful when at the range to see a group on paper, or to closely inspect a buck before squeezing the trigger. For the style of hunting I usually do, rarely are shots within 50 yards, so I don’t mind the bottom magnification of 4.5x.

The Vortex Razor HD LHT beats out the Leupold in one critical area–weight. The Vortex weighs just 21.7oz compared to 26.5 on the Leupold. It doesn’t sound like much, but the Leupold feels like a CHUNK when you hold it compared to the Vortex. Also, the Vortex uses a more common 30mm tube size, so it’ll be easier to get good rings. The Vortex, however, has a magnification ring that is way too tight and requires me to come out of the scope in order to force it to where I want it to go.

I still give the edge to the Leupold scope because of that impressive turret design, and better magnification ring. The Vortex’s top turret is a pop-up-to-spin style which does prevent accidental bumping of the turret, but it’s not as positive of a lock as the Leupold’s button in my opinion.

As I write this, I’m torn between these two scopes. They are both so excellent that it’s difficult to pick between them. The Leupold just feels higher quality with a great turret, the Vortex is lighter with a great focal range. I can’t decide.

There are, however, still other fantastic options to choose from. Kahles makes some exceptional scopes, but all of them seem to be a few ounces heavier than the competition in my experience. The Swarovski 3.5-18×44 P BT is an awesome looking scope, but I don’t have much personal experience with it. Zeiss has a great V8 line of scopes, but none of them quite match the zoom or weight numbers I’d like to see for hunting. Zeiss’s Conquest V6 line is great.

One excellent option is the Maven RS.5 4-24×50 SFP. The glass quality is as good as anything I’ve tested, but honestly it’s difficult for me to even tell the difference between glass quality when discussing all of these top-notch scopes. At this point, the glass quality difference becomes very subtle between brands. The styling and durability on this scope are absolutely top notch. The SHR-W reticle is probably my favorite I’ve ever seen (thank you for giving space around the center dot!

The only two things that hold it back from being my favorite all-around scope are: (1) I generally prefer a FFP design, and (2) there is no lock to keep the scope from being bumped like Leupold’s button, or the pop-up design Vortex used on their scope.

If you prefer a second focal plane scope, the Leupold VX-6HD 3-18×50 scope with the Firedot Duplex reticle (link to check the current price on Amazon) is beyond awesome. It requires a little explanation if you are used to shooting first focal plane on higher-end scopes. The #1 problem with second focal-plane scopes is the hashmarks on the reticle are wrong unless you’re at a certain spot in the zoom range.

The Leupold VX-6HD is a second focal plane, but you can simply get a Duplex reticle so there are no hashmarks, and it has a great illuminated center “Firedot.” You’ll have to dial for windage as well as elevation, but it’s a really nice setup. I bought one for my Fierce Edge and really enjoyed the scope more than I thought I would, but in the end I decided I just prefer to dial for elevation, and hold for wind, so I decided to switch to a FFP scope.

Leupold VX-6HD

Before You Buy, Make A Few Crucial Decisions

Capped or exposed turrets?

The turrets are the dials on the top and side of the scope that allow you to adjust the scope for elevation and windage. If you will never shoot past 200 yards, there is no point in having exposed turrets. Just zero your scope, put a cap on it so it won’t get bumped, and be done.

However, many people like being able to go hunting with their rifle, and then also use the same gun to shoot long-distance at the range. An exposed turret is a huge benefit for hunting past 200 yards so you can precisely adjust the scope elevation to match the distance from your rangefinder–without first needing to remove a cap covering the turret.

The only drawback to an exposed turret is that it could get accidentally spun while hunting, which would cause you to miss. Fortunately, many scopes have turret locks, or you can simply check the scope to make sure it’s on zero before shooting. Personally, I always choose the versatility of an exposed turret, but pick what works for your needs.

First Focal Plane, or Second Focal Plane?

In a first focal plane scope, the reticle (crosshairs) gets bigger and smaller as you zoom. This makes the distance hash marks accurate no matter what you zoom to. A second focal plane scope has a fixed reticle that doesn’t grow or shrink depending on your magnification, which always makes the reticle the perfect size.

Do not get hung up on first vs second focal plane. I have a general preference for first focal plane scopes, but I own and enjoy scopes of both types. The one thing I don’t like is a second focal plane optic with a complicated reticle, because the markings will be completely off unless I keep my magnification fixed.

Animal in scope at 33 yards with a 5x magnification. You can see that if the animal came in close to 20 yards, you wouldn’t be able to see where you were aiming on the animal. But please don’t shoot my neighbor’s horse 🙂

What Magnification Is Best?

I have a whole blog post on selecting the right magnification (zoom) of a scope, but I’ll give you the shortened version here.

For hunting, I like to have a wide end of less than 5x zoom. At 5x it, can be tough to see enough of the animal in the scope to know where you’re aiming at if the animal is within 30 yards. You just see hair. But even 4.5x (just 0.5x less zoom) is acceptable for me. So I like a 3, 4, or 4.5x zoom for the bottom end. 5 is too high for a versatile hunting scope in my opinion.

On the high end, I like more magnification than some other hunters who are happy with a max of 9x. Personally, I train better when I can easily see a bullet hole in paper at 100 yards. It makes sighting in and grouping MUCH easier. You can see a bullet hole at 100 yards with about 11x magnification, but it becomes comfortable at 14x.

Keep in mind, though, that unless an animal is very far away, you probably won’t need that much magnification when hunting. If you zoom in too tight on the animal, you won’t be able to see your bullet impact because of the recoil, and you may not see what happens to the animal after the shot.

What Brands of Scopes I Like, and Which I Would Avoid

I’m gonna take some serious heat in the comments for the following list, but it would have been helpful for me when I was newer to at least get a very general idea of some of the brands in the industry. Don’t put too much into this, because some models in the “good” category make a couple “fantastic” specific models even if there are other models they make that I’m less excited about.

Top-Tier Brands

  • Eotech
  • Huskemaw
  • Kahles
  • Leupold (high-end models)
  • Nightforce
  • Schmidt and Bender
  • Steiner
  • Swarovski
  • Vortex (high-end models)
  • Zeiss

Good Brands

  • Arken
  • Athlon
  • Burris
  • Hawke
  • Mavin
  • Primary Arms
  • Sig Sauer
  • Trijicon

Brands I Wouldn’t Prefer

  • Blackhound
  • Bushnell
  • Monstrum
  • Simmons
  • Tasco
  • Anything that has “Sniper” in the brand or model name

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  1. Lance Bosma says:

    I would like to put a scope on my Remington 1100. All of what you show is for riffles. Is there really a difference between a riffles and shotguns when it comes to scopes? I haven’t used a scope for hunting but I think it may help in some cases.

    Thank you, Lance

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      Well in fairness, the article IS titled best RIFLE scopes…. but I’d go with a Burris Fullfield E1

  2. I’m curious about the Maven rs.5 you mentioned in your article. You said it had good glass and you seemed to like it but rated in the good category rather than the great. Could you explain your reasoning for doing that? Just trying to get more thoughts on it as there isn’t much out there on it yet.

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      I really like that scope a lot. The only thing I think they’re missing is turret design. There is no ability to lock the turret from accidentally spinning, no rev indicator, etc.

  3. Hey from CDA, ID. Where does RITON fit into your evaluations? After watching your content, Cyclops and random YouTube’s I decided to go with Riton’s


    For my new elk rifle (browning 300 prc) (was open to bergara, tikka, CA.. still stuck with Browning) Next one is 6.5 PRC Reaper. Anyway, absolutely Love the reticle and my 220yd elk shot this year was my furthest ever

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      I don’t have a ton of experience with Riton. I’ve only handled Riton scopes at shows, but never shot one.

  4. Ryan Fisher says:

    Jim I would like to start off saying great Youtube channel and one of the few that offer unbiased reviews! Thank you for this review on rifle scopes. I agree with almost all of your rankings on these scopes expect for the Top-Tier, Good, and Brands I would avoid. The best indicator of the quality of a scope prior to even looking at it is where it is made. I encourage you to do a quick Google search of “Light Optical Works” in Japan. Nightforce, Trijicon, Vortex (Razor line)and other Top-Tier brands come out of this factory. In my OPINION Leupold is no where the quality of most scopes coming out of the Light Optical Works factory. Also a test that should be included in your scope reviews is a tracking and return to zero test. Even if you’re not a “Long Range Guy”, but planing on using a turret for dialing the most important feature of a scope is the ability to track accurately, return to zero, and hold zero no matter how many rounds the scope is exposed too. The latest scope I have purchased and put on my 28 Nosler is a Trijicon Credo HX 2.5-15×44. I can not say enough good things about this scope and encourage you to do a review on it. The Trijicon Credo and Tenmile line up are truly Top-Tier scopes that overlooked by many Sportsman. Thank you again for your channel!

    1. I concur jim and couldnt disagree more the with above post. I use a leupold mark 5hd in mils and love this scope. The turret design is the best. The glass is excellent so i am not sure what is not the level of the scopes coming out of that factory. They are great scopes but dont equal the mark 5hd and i realize much of this is subjective but they certainly arent better. In light of the above post, i went to my ranch and fired one bullseye at 100, dialed in a 1000 and got my hits, went to 500, back to a thousand, back to 750, back to a thousand, then back to zero…..bullseye. This scope has rested on a 308 that had enough rounds through it to need to be rebarreled and now 1000 on a 300 win mag. None with a brake. Seems like a good scope. I have seven of them.

    2. Agreed, I have a tract toric that is also made at the LOW factory. It is by far the best glass I have ever seen, turrets are extremely crisp, locking elevation, FFP, illumination, tracks great.

  5. Anthony Ball says:

    Great reviews! Love to see and hear your take on the Meopta Optika 6 models!

    Looking at the 3-18-50 Dichro reticle or 4C reticle.

    Again, great work!

  6. Tyler Kessler says:

    Hi Jim, I have been a subscriber on your YouTube for a while and love the content. I keep hoping to see a scope get added onto the reviews however I haven’t seen it yet. But that would be the crimson trace hardline pro series scopes. Although the glass quality is not top notch they are very light and I feel they deserve a spot here to get a review. I will say- the asking price on Amazon or retail price would not be worth it as it seems the retail is quite high, however sportsman warehouse did run a sale on them last month with nearly 50% off and a 900 scope was going for closer to 500. I have one of these scopes and although it’s not quite top notch quality or glass, I think it would be an excellent contender to add to your list of scopes!

  7. Wolf Lahti says:

    I\’d like to see reviews/discussion of electronic scopes, with built-in range finders, et al.

  8. Dave Jones says:

    I’m having problems with my scope (Vortex Crossfire II 3x9x40) holding it’s zero. I have been waiting 3-5 minutes between shots (increased wait time ) to let the barrel cool down. I have bought better scope mounts. Ensured the proper torque cal on the scope mounts. Have shot from bags, bench rest and tripod. I’m looking at buying the Arken 4x16x50, hoping to improve my shot group. Tried various ammo from Federal to Hornady with the same results. I have done this using inexpensive rifles and calibers of rounds ( 5.56 nato, 30-06, 270,243, 308 ). My shotguns give me the best shot group. lol I like the Arken 4x16x50.I know that the Arken do well in the pool, even though I was a USN diver on a submarine… I don’t think I will doing any SEAL ops ha ha. I hunt on our 35 acres so I won’t lost them on the recoil, and I just want a clean shot with a better scope. I need to stay under $ 500.00.Follow your videos, you get to the point without a blah, blah like others do. Maybe I should just invest in a M-163 so that I can ensure a good kill ( won’t be able to eat any of it) when you see what an M-163 is you’ll understand. I served in both Army ADA 16P Chaparrel, and USN TM2 (SS,DV). Don’t thank me for my service I had a blast in both. Preferred Army over Navy though.

    Thanks for you time.
    Be Well during these times
    Dave Jones

  9. Jim, thanks for the great content on your channel and website. I have Sig Cross and I am mounting a Vortex HD LHT 3-15×42. Current Seekins rings ( LOW .82’’) are too small. Do you have a recommended ring height for this setup? Thank you.

  10. Rob Elizondo says:

    So, as a beginner hunter I’ve been pouring over articles and videos for reviews and testing for just about everything before I start dropping money: caliber; action; rifle; philosophy; optics; field dressing; butchering; etc. I’m pretty solid on a bolt action rifle and narrowing down the brand/model as well as caliber (your videos on current supply and cost were great). The optics are something I’m really trying to narrow down.

    One thing I would like to see is after you zero in your rifle, how do you hit your target in the field? I.e. you are in an unfamiliar environment and you need to range and adjust for wind. Are you using a range finder or using the subtensions? Also, I know you are a fan of the duplex reticle, but the ACSS reticle intrigues me with wind hold, ranging, and bullet drop compensation on the reticle. Love to hear your thoughts.

  11. Been looking for a scope for a LR308 (AR10 variant) to do long range shooting (1000+ yards), and have been considering the Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25X56 but have heard some bad things about Vortex’s lower tier scopes always needing repair. So as a result I have been looking at the Arken EP5 5-25X56 as it seems comparable and at a better price point.

    I’ve seen many good reviews for the EP5 but there is a long wait for it and it is only sold online direct from Arken which makes me cringe a bit since I cannot see, touch and feel before buying.

    Question: Have you had any experience with the Strike Eagle at all that you could share with me? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  12. Thiago Queiroz says:

    Hey, Nice review article, I just missed the Stealth Vision Scopes. I saw that they have anti-cant green light technology to keep precise from long-range shooting. They have a multi-function side as well. Maybe you can make a review for them too: stealthvision.com

  13. Michael battin says:

    You Mentioned a night vision scope under $500 I didn’t understand the name I replayed a few times could you share that thank you

  14. It would be great to see a scope review for the upper end PCP rifles. Fx impact- rti prophet etc This is a hard field to pick a scope. The same gun can hunt and be a target gun at long range so there’s a few variables that make it hard for us to decide.

  15. What would be your choice between a Burris Eliminator lll and an Arken EP5?

  16. I notice you didn’t review Optika 6 by Meopta? Are they one of those shady companies? I recently made a stupid good buy on a Tikka t3xtact and want to put a good scope on it. I don’t want to go out and spend $3K on a scope just because I can. I see lots of great scopes under 1k everywhere. Or am I too stupid about scopes to know what I’m talking about?😎
    I bought this rifle so I could start shooting precision rifle matches.

  17. Sergio Castano says:

    Hello Jim hope is well. First and foremost I would like to thank you for all the great data and research you have provided. As a new hunter I love watching all your YouTube videos. I will not waste your time so I will make this short and sweet. I recently purchased my first hunting rifles( a Ruger American Hunter in a .308) and now I need to purchase a scope. I will be hunting in south Texas in a blind and my targets will not be more than 200 to 250 yards. I was thinking about getting the vortex crossfire 2 6-24x50mm. But now after seeing your videos about the 6 times zoom being to much I think I may need to go a different route. I like the 1st focal point and the moa as you stated. So my question to you is what scope would you recommend for my rifle and hunting style ? Thanks in advance can’t wait to hear from you buddy!

  18. H Mark Macha says:

    Thanks for the excellent comments which come at the right time for me. I’m looking to replace a few older Burris Signature models with something which can rival my two Nightforce ATACR models. Price? Yep, that’s relevant. In your list both Maven and Trijicon fall in your tier #2 with Eotech tier #1. Why? Have you performed any tracking tests on Maven RS.4, Trijicon HX and Eotech Vudu models? Again, thanks for the comments.

  19. I’m torn between the Diamondback Tactical, VX3-HD, US Optics TS-25X, and the Nightforce SHV 4-14×50. I plan to buy one of these four scopes for my Bergara B14 Wilderness Ridge in 300win-mag to use elk hunting. Which would you choose for a backpack elk hunt in Idaho and why?

  20. Any thoughts on the Sig Sauer BDX series and pairing them to a range finder? New hunter & long range shooter. It seems really appealing, but would love your opinion on it!

    Keep up the awesome videos, I sincerely appreciate your content. It’s great to hear someones opinion and breakdowns in an interesting and digestible manner!

  21. Well you made my decision. I really wanted to pick up a Sig BDX due to simplicity with range and windage. Wanted to stick it on my 300 win mag and hunt nilgai in south Texas. You just convinced me to get the American made Leopold. Seems I’ll get a FFP as well. I don’t want to calculate. Unless it was something ez like 500 yards (mid zoom) 1 hash is 1 mil and 1000 yards (max zoom) 1 hash was .5 mil.

    Anyway, that’s something for me to figure out. Thanks for helping me figure out the brand. I like to out money in other Americans pockets too. So I’m biased.


    1. Jim Harmer says:

      Sorry, haven’t tried Valdada scopes yet.

  23. Patrick Mulholland says:

    I’d love to hear your take on the primary arms glx 4-16×50 illuminated mil dot. In the <$1000 category, I find it hard to beat. I put it on my 6.5 cm sig cross with a 16.5 carbonsix sendero barrel and a tbac ultra 7 suppressor, and in my opinion it’s equal to my vortex razor HD LHT I have on my bergara for half the price and 2 oz more weight. It’s got locking exposed turrets, FFP, forgiving eye relief, and excellent reticle design with a .1 mil dot floating in the center. I think the GLX line from PA is WAY underpriced for what you get.

  24. @ProducerBenFord says:

    Hey! I live your videos. I want to get into PRS/Hunting (more PRS than Hunting) with the same rifle. I purchased a Savage Axis II Precision in 6.5 Creedoor. I’ve been torn between all these scopes. I would like to reach the far ends of the 6.5 range. What are you recommendations for 600 and below. I will purchase higher prices lenses once I robe successfully in PRS competitions next year.

  25. Gary Hawkins says:

    Really enjoy you’re YouTube channel and new subscriber.

    I’m a huge Tikka and Swarovski fan !

    Please review the Swarovski Z3


  26. Papa Romes Outdoors youtube says:

    Thanks Jim appreciate your time and effort spent here. Difficult learning which scope to purchase for a first time long range 500-800 ya distance. I heard some bad stuff about Vortex and saw a guy with a brand new high end one break at the range internal issues. Was not sure which to go with anymore. Any recommendations appreciated

  27. Luke Steem says:

    Hi. Great work, I trust your reviews. Do you have any thoughts on the burris eliminater vs the vortex razor lht?

  28. TigerShark06 says:

    Burris offers a 6.5 Creedmoor reticle with there Signature HD, do you recommend this reticle with a Bergara B-14 HMR 6.5 Creedmoor ?

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      I personally prefer more precision than a bdc reticle offers, but some people love them.

    2. Nate Pacanowski says:

      Stuck on if the illumination is needed (for the extra $500) on the Leupold Mark V 3-18×44. Any thoughts?

      Going on top a Springfield Waypoint in 6.5PRC, which will be primarily used for spot and stalk mule deer and bear in Idaho.

      Other two options I’m looking at is the VX6 or Nightforce NXS 2.5-10. I LOVE the MK5 after seeing in person, just have never used FFP and a little worried about low light, low power situation, although that is not a common scenario for the style hunting I’m doing. Most engagements will be 3-400 yards.

      Thanks for all you do! Love the informative videos.

  29. “Brands I Wouldn’t Prefer- Anything that has “Sniper” in the brand or model name.”

    I recently purchased a SWFA SS fixed 12 for $199 new shipped to my door. The glass is very good, tracks perfectly and the company stands behind their product.

    To belittle a product based on a name is not credible or unbiased reporting of the product. It is simply a feeling on your part. Not even an opinion.

    The above aside, I do enjoy your videos and appreciate the time and effort that must go into each and every one.

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      Apparently I’ve hurt your scope’s very tender feelings 🙂 It was obviously a joke, right?

      1. Sorry, I missed the joke.

  30. Hi Jim,
    What are your thoughts on the quality of the Bushnell ELITE 4500 4-16X50 RIFLESCOPE MULTI-X?

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      I haven’t tried that specific model, but I am yet to try a Bushnell optic that wasn’t beat by another brand at the same price point.

  31. Bruce Spurgeon says:

    Bought a Tract scope and it has great glass, perfect tracking and a great price. I was looking for a scope with a 1 inch tube as that is what my Ruger 77 came with (many years ago). Both the Toric 3 to 15 and 2 to 10 (and other brands) were considered. Both are in the $700 – 800 range and seem much better than the competition. I have hunted and guided in the western US and seen/used brands like Zeiss, Swaro, Leupold and others

  32. Great info as always. Question on the VX-3HD 4.5-14×40. Is it worth the extra $150 for the one with parallax or is that more of a nice to have vs a need? As of my writing, sportsman’s sells it for 599 w/o and 749 with

  33. Mike Hoezee says:

    The link for Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14×40 shows the side focus version only. Do you have links for the non side focus, std duplex which is a much better price point.

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      I don’t have a link for that one, but you can just buy after clicking the link and it’ll count it. I much prefer the version with the parallax adjustment.

  34. Dylan Vickers says:

    Have you had any experience with Meopta scopes?

  35. Nick Daniele says:

    HI Jim …love your posts..I was wondering what you thought of the night force scopes..trying to out fit my AR 10 with occasional shot to 1000yrd….not hunting with it just clicking at targets for fun…thx Nick

  36. David Civelli says:

    I noticed you left out Bushnell ELITE-TACTICAL scopes. These scopes are made in Japan and have excellent glass. You place Bushnell in the low tier class, but make some fantastic optics. I own many Leopold scopes, but have been switching to Vortex due to the (what I feel is a better eyebox).

  37. Too bad Nikon stopped making rifle scopes. Years ago one of the more prominent outdoor writers said you\’ll never find a better quality scope for the money and I agree. Their glass is phenomenal, even on their <$300 scopes. I started with the base model Prostaff ($220) on my 30-06 and worked my way up to a Monarch 5 ($650) on my 6.5 creed and have never been disappointed. Good luckfinding one though. About two years ago the company decided to get out of the mounted optics market. If you can still find one online somewhere you should grab it. They go for well over original retail on ebay.

    P.S. Add Barska to your do not buy list. Absolute garbage…

  38. Did you ever try a Tract scope?
    Would be nice to get your opinion.

  39. Eric F Ralston says:


  40. This was very helpful for me. Thank you very much.

  41. Jesse Gilmore says:

    Hello Jim,

    I am very interested in your thoughts on an excellent scope that you would use for close in hunting (3 – 100 yards). Note: I want to put this scope on a PCP air rifle to use for squirrel hunting and plinking. I looked at some but they seem to have very poor focus and clarity at ranges less than 30 yards.
    Thanks for your input.

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      I’d look at Element Optics.

  42. Gilbert B Black says:

    everybody is a sniper loved your remark about sniper brands

  43. Gilbert B Black says:

    USMC used a 12 power S and B in Iraq That says it all

  44. Bill Daniels says:

    I love your YouTube channel, I would like it if you could review a Riton scope, I’ve been using some of the brands you recommend in scopes and rifles with great success!

    I have a Riton scope, an X7 in first focal plane, would love your option on their line of scopes. Thank you!

  45. Brad Russell says:

    Going to Africa to hunt plains game. Have a Leupold VX-3i lrp 4.5-14x50mm first focal plane in Mil. Was going to put it on a .300 Wthby Mag. Would this be a good scope for hunting over there.

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      That’s a perfect combo

  46. Can you review Riton scopes?

  47. I had the complete opposite experience with my Vortex Diamondback Tactical. Didn’t track worth poo and even struggled holding zero. Had to return it. And my “Sniper”-named scope of fixed 10x has been solid as a rock, although not a great low-light scope at 44mm. I’m currently looking for a couple middle of the road 4x-14xish scopes for a couple more hunting rifles, but I’m staying away from China.

  48. Hey Jim I just picked up a Springfield waypoint (non-adjustable) and vortex LHT 4.5-22 after watching your reviews. Can you recommend a set of medium height rings?

  49. What are your thoughts on Tactical Armament scopes?

  50. Jim, love your channel. I’m about to pull the trigger (sorry) on my first rifle/scope and you have been very helpful. So…illuminated or not? Is it a worthy consideration or just a preference? Plan on hunting wild boar, deer. TIA

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      It’s nice to have, but I think there’s only been one time in my life where it actually helped me in a hunting situation.

  51. Hi Jim
    I appreciate all you do on Backfire keep it up. Question: Jim can you give me your opinion on this rifle scope Leupold VX-3HD CDS-ZL 4.5-14x 50mm Rifle Scope – Illum. FireDot Twilight Hunter. Putting it on my Ruger M77 300 win mag.

  52. Greg Abell says:

    I love my Nikons. I have several. I think Nikon stopped building rifle scopes several years ago, and then resumed. I hope they resume again. NightForce is my fav, however.

  53. Greg Abell says:

    Hi Jim! How about that new Arken EPL4 with the Japanese HD glass, windage turret cover, and light weight? I just ordered the 4-16×44 for my son’s Tikka 308. He currently has the SH4 which he shot a deer with last week, in really cold snowy weather. I don’t know if I would have shucked out the bucks for my NightForce, if this had been around then! But I do like my NightForce Nx8 2.5-20×50. The SH4 does not have the HD Japanese glass or windage turret cover, and is 12 oz heavier than the EPL4. The Arken Website spec sheet list the FOV as the same between the two (SH4 vs EPL4), but this must be a mistake because the SH4 has a 50 objective lens and a 34 inch tube whereas the EPL4 has a 44 and a 30. These scopes do seem to be pretty rugged as well. Arken says they have improved the waterproofing. And, before the improvement, the water never entered the scope tube. only the turrets and the turrets still worked fine. Also before Arken improved the waterproofing, there is a video where someone soaked the SH4 for hours and froze it outside overnight at 10 degrees. It did freeze lock the turrets, but when the ice was broken, they still worked fine. To me, the only scope that might be more appealing is the NightForce, but I don’t think it is enough of an improvement to justify the price, unless you are taking it into combat. My opinion, of course.

  54. Hi Jim
    Thanks for all your content.
    Looking for a scope for night use. Don’t want , can’t break the bank. I was looking at something like the Sightmark Wraith.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. It will be on a 22wmr and a 22/250


    1. Jim Harmer says:

      My Sightmark Wraith broke after one year of use.

  55. John Vinzant says:

    Really like all your reviews. Have you used any of the meopta scopes or have an opinion based on feedback from others. 308 win and 7mag…nothing more required to hunt successfully for white tail deer. Thank you

  56. Ricardo Banuelos says:

    Can you review some meopta scopes? Disregard if you have but my buddy has one that just spanks all my high end stuff out of the water with clarity and brightness during that “golden hour” dawn and dusk moments.

  57. Fantastic article, very well done. Obviously you spent a lot of time researching and working on this, excellent information!

  58. Thanks. Looking to try medium to long range shooting and honestly it’s tough just starting out researching scopes. A Trijicon 10 mile 6x24x56 was recommended & on sale. I baulked thinking it was to much scope. My thought was low end 4X? or so. My builder only does LR shooting. He’s suggesting the Trijicon & US scopes.

  59. I recently picked up a sig cross in 308. It’s mainly going to be used for target shooting but expect to use it for hunting more and more as time goes on. I’m in Minnesota where white tail hunting is king, but the shot distance rarely exceeds 200 yards. For target shooting I’d like to be able to do 500-1000+ yards. I don’t believe there’s currently a scope out there that can cover both situations well and I currently think 2 scopes is what I’ll need to cover these needs. With feed back I’ve received from friends and family an illuminated scope for local deer hunting is ideal, but not necessary for the long distance I want to do. I’m curious if you have any suggestions or if you think there’s 1 scope that can do it all. Right now my preference leans towards vortex or Athlon with their reputation and price but I’m curious if there’s options I haven’t discovered yet.

  60. Tom Swezey says:

    I’m in the market for 2 scopes. Both will be on 22-250 rifles used for Pdogs and precision shooting. One will go on a Browning Madalion with a BOSS and the other will go on my first ever savage prefit rebarrel with a carbon wrapped 22in and new MDT stock.

  61. What’s your thoughts and recommendations on Huskemaw scopes for hunting elk vs the razor

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      I’ve only played a little with Huskemaw scopes. Looked cool, but I can’t opine on comparing it to Vortex because I haven’t had much time with a Huskemaw.

  62. Robert valdes says:

    Hi! I’m Robert and I follow you from Mexico, and I really like your videos, I really like to shoot I do silhouette shooting and hunting, and right now I’m really into long range hunting, so I wanted to ask you if you have try MEOPTA OPTICS before? I want to hear what do you think about that brand.

  63. Tom Lipjanic says:

    If you had to pick between the leupold VX freedom 4-12-50 or the vortex diamond back tactical 4-14-44 which would you pick? ( going on a 6CM)

    1. Jim Harmer says:

      Probably the vortex

  64. David Underwood says:

    The older Bushnell/ Baush and Lomb 4200 elite series are super clear and bulletproof and will handle super magnum recoil, and are as good or better than all the good listed.. and as good as some of the top tier.

  65. Mack McNeely says:

    Jim just subscribed today. Re. your scope reviews and ranking of top, and good brands. Does your ranking of Sig branded scopes include the addition of their BDX? Would like to know your thoughts on it’s capabilities and if it would be a good purchase along with a Sig Cross?

  66. Dave deRoy says:

    Great article Jim! I recently purchased a Sig Sauer Sierra6bdx 3-18x44mm scope. Was wondering if you reviewed this scope because, honestly, the only going for it is their bdx and oled hold-over tech in the reticle. The optical clarity from 10x to 18x magnification is noticeably poor. Thoughts?

  67. J.C. Bradshaw says:

    You’re a breath of fresh air! Thanks for all the time you spend evaluating scopes and other things shooting. I appreciate it. I am a 73 year old hunter whose last 50 years have been spent with a lovely old .303 Lee-Enfield, a Carl Gustav M96 sniper rifle in 6.5×55 SE (hell of a time finding a scope for it) and a commercial FN M98 action re-barreled and chambered in .243 Winchester, maybe it’s time to buy some new stuff!

    All the best,
    J.C. Bradshaw
    ALberta, Canada

  68. Matt Dietrich says:

    I came across a black Friday deal at Cabelas, that so far I feel may warrant some consideration for this list. The scope is the cabelas brand intensity lr scope. I picked it up on sale for $200 typically $300. It’s 4-16 power with a decent hunting reticle. It has an exposed elevation zero stop turret with up to 24 moa in a revolution. It also has a parallax adjustment nob that goes from 10 yards to infinitity, 30mm tube, and is 25oz. I have not gotten to actually shoot the scope yet but it feels of decent quality just a bit heavy. I’m going to be buying a new rifle soon and I was wondering how this scope might compare to others on your list if you try it out.

  69. I enjoy your videos. They are well done and you are a good communicator.

    Not a hunter but it is something on my bucket list, so I have been watching your scope videos.

    Situation; deer hunting in Michigan, longest distance to shoot 200 yds., Marlin 336 .3030, and vision is not good. Irregular astigmatism (light refracts many ways), and at an age where I cannot see iron sights anymore.

    Wondering is if red dot sights would be an option. I don’t see any reviews. I have seen people boar hunting at fair distances on youtube but probably not over 100 yards.

  70. Im curious what your thoughts are on the new arken EPL4? I have a 4-16x 44mm coming and am hoping i didnt make a bad buy. Little info out there about it

  71. Chris Thompson says:

    Thanks for the information Jim,I have been trying to decide on a good hunting scope to put on my Begara wilderness hunter 308 and this was some very useful information .

  72. Conard Linton says:

    I’m needing something to put on a 17 HMR for crows out to 200 to 250 yards and squirrels at 100 to 125 ish. I can get a Athlon Talos 4-14×44 FFP ill mil model 215028 for $250 delivered to my door. I have a Vortex Viper HS 4-14×44 on it now but think the Athlon would be better for hold overs on crows at 200 yds. What’s your opinion