The best sniper scope is a subject hunters have debated for some years, and the debate gets renewed with each generation of mass marketed, more advanced optical systems. An optical system that was wide spread two decades ago is now almost an antique, fit mostly for inexperienced hunters or hunters who have been in the field for so long that they find it difficult to adjust their ways. Sometimes budget is a concern for hunters as well, particularly hunters on a budget. While some hunters can easily afford (or at least justify stretching their budgets for various reasons) top grade scopes, most hunters find that either they do not have the money for a truly high end scope or do not use their rifles enough to justify going for the top scope they can get.
However, some scopes do stand above the others, even at the lower range of the price spectrum. Many of these scopes are quite well regarded by those who use them with any sort of regularity, be it periodic practice on the range or frequent use in the field. A few of the best rifle scopes intended for hunting deer are listed below, each of which may or may not be the best choice for your deer hunting needs.
Top 5 Sniper Scope Reviews
1. Diamondback 4-12×40
This rugged rifle scope is constructed out of aircraft-grade aluminum. While regular outdoors enthusiasts may not be impressed by this, this is simply because the material is perfect for a long journey. It is light weight and quite durable on top of that, as well as being modified to withstand sizable abuse from the elements, be they a sandstorm or heavy rains. The scope itself includes a one piece tube of 1 inch that weights a little over 14 ounces, a relatively low weight for such a powerful scope. Still, this is a high grade scope intended to improve the user’s magnification greatly, as well as being able to survive the trip out to any location where a hunter may want to pursue their quarry.
Most customers who have taken this scope into the field or on to the shooting range feel the Vortex Diamondback is an adaptable scope, capable of handling some very useful manipulations of its optical systems no matter what they’re shooting at. Almost all customers admit that there are better scopes on the market, but at the price the Vortex Diamond back is selling for, it is a tremendous value for the money that is quite functional and loses little compared to all but the most advanced scopes. Some customers feel that the sun glare, even when not pointed at the sun, is a bit much and even at low power, there is very little eye relief. Still, it stacks up fairly favorably, even when compared to higher end optical systems.
2. UTG 3-12X44
This offering from UTG is another economical scope option built to handle a wide range of sporting situations. A 30 millimeter scope, it is advertised as having a range suitable for SWAT tactics is a relatively low price. The patented TSP system from UTG is a nitrogen filled construction of the scoping, which promises that the scope is ready for action. Plus, it promises to be completely resistant to shock, fog, and rain. The lenses are intended to provide reduce sun glare with a self stated best in class multi emerald coating on the lens. The system also contains a specialized circuit and casing designed to keep the scope illuminated, even when being used on a weapon with heavy recoil, a definite plus for hunters with a powerful weapon intended for long range and large game.
Most customer reviews find this scope to be a good value for the money. It is particularly popular with airsoft enthusiasts interested in a serious scope without a serious price. However, it is a fairly large scope and some feel that it is best suited for rifles built to handle heavier scopes, usually around the range of .308 caliber or larger. Some customers have reported amazing results with taking this scope on the shooting range, though other customers claim to have gotten scopes that just plain didn’t work, with problems ranging from scratches on the glass coming out of the factory to serious problems with adjusting the scope for long range shooting, with some even claiming the scope’s defects actually hindered their shooting.
3. Prostaff 3-9×40
A trusted name in all kinds of optics, Nikon also produces rifle scopes. The Prostaff 3-9×40 is a compact scope offering 3x to 9x magnification at a size of 12.4 inches across. It does this through a 40 millimeter objective lens that is specially and completely multicoated in order to transmit upwards of 98 percent of visible light, though this is the higher range of such things. The housing of the scope is nitrogen filled and o-ring sealed, intended to provide solid performance that is both water proof and fog proof. The BDC reticle offers a quick focus eye piece device with a turret intended to require no resetting between shots. Weighing in at only one pound this device is by and large intended for sport hunting and hobbyist shooters looking to up their game.
Another scope intended to be a good value for the money, the Prostaff 3-9×40 is intended for the recreational hobbyist market rather than the professional grade market. Most buyers feel like they more than get their money’s worth out of this scope, citing improved performance with the guns they attach it to. Some shooters point out that the scope can get blurry at maximum range, but even at 300 yards, most users find that the scope is a very useful device to have on their rifle. It is a larger scope that some users prefer, but that is mostly because it is built to take a beating. While serious shooters do admit that there are even better scopes out there on the market, even Nikon’s lower end products are seen as a good deal.
4. Prostaff 4-12x
The Prostaff 4-12×40 scope is a device quite similar to the Prostaff 3-9×40, except it is a higher grade, more powerful device at a subsequently higher price. It transmits upwards of 98 percent of all available light, intended for contrast and low light hunting situations, though it is not a night vision scope, nor does it claim to be. The BDC reticle is intended for game hunters to hold on to a target in a “dead on” way at ranges that were previously only available to professional grade rifle scopes. Constructed for long range shooting, this scope is also intended to handle bright sunlight, as well as heavy rains and dusty conditions, with wide ranging hunters in mind from the beginning.
Most hunters do feel that this is an improvement over the Prostaff 3-9×40 and most users are quite happy with the power this scope provides, citing accuracy at higher ranges than the lower end models. For customers who can manage to pay upwards of 30 USD to 50 USD more than the lower end model, most find that this device is an almost ideal rifle scope barring the truly professional grade scopes on the market. The clarity of the magnification is a bit better at maximum range and users report doing some fairly impressive shots even in the rain. A few customers have received defective models of this device and it is advisable to get a higher end mount for a scope of this size in order to make sure it stays on the rifle.
5. Crossfire II
At the height of the best scopes for deer hunting is the Crossfire II, built with the iconic AR 15 in mind. Fully multi coated, this device is built with the intent of bringing maximum light to the shooters visibility, with all glass that touches the air coated as such to max this possible. The center dot of the scope is fully illuminated to provide a perfect aiming point for hunters. A 30 millimeter tube, this device promises to improve accuracy and shooting performance. Constructed out of aircraft grade aluminum, this scope is built to handle a beating in the field, which most hunters in the wilderness can quite easily appreciate after the first time they find themselves in a harsh environment.
Customers of this device find that it is a very good companion to an AR 15 rifle. Though it is not the highest grade rifle scope built for the AR 15, most customers find that with such a serious weapon, a serious scope for it can get quite expensive, and most customers feel that they have gotten improved performance out of an economical scope like the Crossfire 22. Though intended for shots between 50 and 150 yards, the shooting dot doesn’t get hazy even in a bright light situation. However, the device does little beyond 150 yards as it only has a 4x magnification. On top of that, a few customers have reported receiving damaged models like specks of dirt that found their way on to the glass out of the factory, which most feel is unacceptable for a scope costing over 200 USD.
Choosing the Best Scope
The best deer hunting scope out of this models is something of a matter of conjecture, limited heavily by the buyers’ needs and budget. Sometimes, when budget is a concern, a lower grade scope simply will have to do. Scopes are not free or even cheap, and even a low grade scope can cost upwards of 100 USD and beyond for the truly impressive hunting scopes. Research into the scope you’re considering can help, particularly to discern which budget scopes are worth the money with a minimally degraded performance and which scopes are cheaper for a good reason. Luckily most websites offer the option for buyers to read reviews of customers to see how well other people have done with the scope they’re considering buying. It can get tedious, but good research always helps determine the best product in the modern age of the internet.
The type of shooting you do can also make an impact on the type of scope you need. Some scopes perform great at 150 yards but going any further makes the scope useless. Some can go up to 300 yards with no problems, and the best type of deer hunting scope can go beyond even that, though they come with an attendant price tag. Exactly how close you get to your quarry is an important question, particularly if one needs the best deer hunting scope for long range hunts such as elk and caribou that hunters are well advised to keep some distance from. Other hunters may simply want maximum range for the challenge of a far shot, be it a matter of hitting a target on range or a prey animal in the field. The right scope can make all the difference in some shots.
Some rifle scopes are intended for specific rifles. The AR 15 comes to mind is a popular rifle that many people feel needs a scope tailored to its design. Other scopes such as those from Nikon are intended to fit well over any rifles, sometimes even being capable of being fitted on to air soft weapons rather than real guns. Some rifles are even so unusual that they can’t do without a custom fitted scope.
Knowing what you need really does determine the best deer hunting scope for you. Sitting down and thinking long and hard about the scope you feel you need is important to get the right one. However, for truly long range shooting, a scope is a vital necessity, and getting one that works for you makes all the difference between being blind at 50 yards and making shots of upwards of 300 yards. Any experienced hunter will tell you as much and will absolutely be telling the truth. But, with a little patience and a little research, even a hunter on a budget can get an amazing scope that perfectly fits their needs.