The Best Scopes for Deer Hunting in 2020

Deer hunting has become a popular game in the US and also a favorite challenge among hunters. Deer are exceptionally smart, always guarded and impressively fast. The slightest movement and the hunter’s smallest mistakes are enough to cause them to sprint out at extraordinary speed.

best deer hunting scope

As a hunter, you have to make sure that you have nothing but the best scope for deer hunting. It will make the hunting experience better for you but it will also unleash a superb performance that will yield results, well in this case, the results will be abundance of hearty, fresh deer meat. Check out the following for help.

Quick Answer: The 10 Best Deer Hunting Scopes for 2020

  1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×44 SFP Riflescope
  2. Vortex Optics Diamondback 3.5-10×50 SFP Riflescope
  3. Nikon Buckmasters II 4-12x40mm Riflescope
  4. Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 Black Matte Riflescope
  5. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope
  6. Simmons Truplex 3-9×40 Riflescope
  7. Leupold Rifleman 4-12x40mm Riflescope
  8. Trijicon TR22 AccuPoint 2.5-10x56mm Riflescope
  9. Athlon Optics Talos 4-16×40 SFP Riflescope
  10. Nightforce Optics 4-14×56 SHV Riflescope

First, let’s take a look at the top-rated deer hunting scopes, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right one for you in our buying guide below.

Best Scope for Deer Hunting Reviews of 2020

#1 Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×44 SFP Riflescope

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12x44 SFP RiflescopeYou don’t have to search high and low if you are after a quality rifle scope that can cover all the basics that a good deer hunting scopes can accomplish. All you need is to get your hands on the Vortex Crossfire II 4-12×44 SFP and you are all set.

It is the best rifle scope for whitetail deer hunting that takes pride on its functionality. It doesn’t believe in the flair when what comes along with it more money and the stress of complicated usage. It is a scope that wants simplicity and 100% quality.

This scope comes with a fully multi-coated optics that has multiple layers of anti-reflective coatings with it. This will help keep the glare down while making sure that optimal light transmission happens.

The Crossfire also has the zero-reset turret whether not in used and just stored or it is to be out and used in the most unforgiving environment, it is capped for protection. With the mention of environment, it is also fully fog proof and waterproof for coverage against those unavoidable accidents during hunt. These accidents can be from a sudden drop from a tree or a quick submerge to mud and puddles. Overall, with the dead-hold BDC reticle, this is a smart buy.

What’s a little downer for this particular brand though is the image quality becomes poor beyond 9x magnification which is a little surprising for Crossfire thus makes it most likely a defective unit.
  • Наrd-аnоdіzеd fіnіѕh fоr low glare, аntі-rеflесtіvе advantage in the hunt
  • Fast focus eye piece
  • Сарреd rеѕеt turret for wеаthеr рrоtесtіоn
  • 1-ріесе tubе fоr ѕсоре integrity and adjustment precision
  • Defective unit due to poor image quality beyond 9x magnification
The verdict is this is still one of the best low light rifle scope for deer hunting. It’s worth the price and with its noteworthy features, is a good buy with superb performance.

#2 Vortex Optics Diamondback 3.5-10×50 SFP Riflescope

Vortex Optics Diamondback 3.5-10x50 SFP RiflescopeBuilt to endure, perform, and outclass, the top end Vortex Optics Diamondback has an impressive 50mm lens that allows the light to pass through with more ease while at the same time give you that comfortable view of your target with low or minimum light.

It has extended magnification of up to 3.5-10x perfect for medium range games but also for short ranges. It is one of the best scopes for running deer on the market. The Diamondback series boasts a lens of multi-coated with anti-reflective, high quality lens that provides higher light transmission while keeping the image clear with ample light.

Coupled with its fast focus eyepiece, it will allow you to concentrate on your targets fast. Another feature that is best is the reticle being set at SFP which means that the appearance will always be perfect at any level of magnification.

With its single piece center tube design made from 6061-T6 aluminum fitted with an accuracy adjustment mechanism that will allow you to make the necessary corrections as needed. With a solid built, this one is made to last and be used for a good number of hunting years.

Its anodizing is made in matte finish to help you transit easier to stealth mode. Multi-coated to prevent cuts, scratches, stains and fingerprints with a coating that can repel grease and water, this watertight and sealed scope is really designed to outlast the harsh environment plus the usual use and abuse.

On the downside, this scope has a short eye relief, which can be an issue for some people.
  • Anodizing Matte finish
  • 6061-T6 aluminum single piece tube design
  • Reticle set to SFP
  • Impressive 50 mm lens
  • Eye relief and the shortage of it
In a nutshell, the Vortex Optics Diamondback is a highly recommended deer hunting rifle scope because of its lens, clarity and performance but without having to put a whole on the budget.

#3 Nikon Buckmasters II 4-12x40mm Riflescope

Nikon Buckmasters II 4-12x40mm RiflescopeSpecifically designed for deer hunting, the Nikon Buckmasters II is one of the most accurate scopes. Expecting nothing less from Nikon, this best deer hunting scope brag s its fully multi-coated optical system which is composed of several layers of anti-reflective composites in each of the layer of glass to provide you with the finest light transmission as time transitions to dawn and dusk. It will only be the time and the light conditions that will change and not the clarity and brightness of the view.

From the original Buckmasters, the light transmission improved from 92 percent to 98 percent. This helps with the overall light transmission. Another improvement from the previous version is also the additional resettable turrets.

Deer hunting can cause strain and fatigue on the eyes and the Buckmasters won’t give you that. Instead, it provides with a consistent and generous 3.6 inches eye relief even with the heavyweight recoiling of shooting.

Aside from the high quality of lens output, what makes the Buckmasters II be the coolest scope is its ability to provide two magnifications of 3-9×40 and 4-12×40 with a non-slip grip making the adjustments easy.

Additionally, with Nikon being the most expensive company for optics, this scope’s price range is impressively affordable. With a friendly budget, this Nikon scope is a good choice for you.

However, mounting can be a challenge if you are new to it.
  • Price is affordable
  • Includes Nikon’s original BDC reticle
  • Optics are fully multi-coated
  • Nitrogen purged with O-ring seals to ensure fog proof reliability
  • Versatile magnification choice
  • Initial mounting can be complicated
It is no wonder that Nikon has reached its pinnacle of success because it produces top notch optics and this model is no different. Built to last and designed to perform with outstanding results, your arsenal collection wouldn’t be complete without this scope.

#4 Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 Black Matte Riflescope

Nikon ProStaff 3-9x40 Black Matte RiflescopeAnother huge applause for Nikon for creating yet another high quality scopes that will make hunting easier than it normally is. Hunters equip their guns with nothing but the best and the ProStaff is the best deer rifle scope for the money.

The Prostaff takes pride on its objective lens and magnification. Its 40mm lens gives you wide magnification from a far distance while retaining that bright and clear image. You are not just limited to a deer hunting scope because it is versatile to work with heavy timber to open grasslands.

Despite being one of the budget friendliest scopes, expect it to deliver impressive performance thanks to its multicolored lenses that is capable of increasing light transmission to up to 98 percent. This will ensure maximum brightness all day and all night long.

It makes your hunting experience simple and uncomplicated because Nikon designed it in a way that you can just rotate in to your zero and just re-engage when the need arises. Field adjustments are easily done because all that is required from you is to turn the knob to the setting that you want.

Another reason and possibly the greatest feature of the Nikon ProStaff is it gives you the freedom to adjust the bullet drop of up to a distance of 600 yards. It also lets you to hold “dead-on” at different ranges. This is yet another reason why it is pegged as the best scope for mule deer hunting thanks to its see-through ballistic circles.

However, there are no mounting rings included.
  • It is ideal for 50 to 200 yards for precise long-range shooting
  • Its eye comfort delivers 3.6 inches of eye relief
  • Great hunting scope at an affordable price
  • Ergonomic controls that allows easy adjustments
  • Magnification of 3x to 9x
  • The mounting ring is not included and needs to purchased separately
As a final conclusion, the Nikon ProsStaff is the best cheap rifle scope for deer hunting without the drama and the budget dent that most quality scopes come with.

#5 Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle RiflescopeAs a hunter, you would want that once you have spotted your target then you can easily just pull the trigger and take it down in a single shot. It gets frustrating having to miss the target or having to figure out just how many shots will you be needing to become successful. This is where the Bushnell Banner best scope for running deer comes to the rescue.

Bushnell Banner has already established itself since 1947 as a decent name in producing high quality scopes. This series is highly recommended when it comes to low-light settings. As the name suggests, dusk or dawn will never be a challenge for this scope.“Dusk to Dawn” is essentially the treatment they expose the glass to up-skill its visibility during sub optimal settings.

If you’re looking for the best deer hunting scope under $200, you might want to check this item. The scope is long lasting with it being nitrogen filled to add clarity. Water-proof, fog-proof, and shockproof, it also has a fast-focus eyepiece that adds to its reliability. Again, you don’t want to miss that critical shot because of the too many adjustments that you’d have to make. This will never happen with the Bushnell’s signature multi x reticle.

However, this unit is a bit bulky and heavy, though.
  • Clarity is preserved even with the presence of fog
  • Price is friendly
  • Specialized in low-light conditions
  • Hassle free adjustments
  • Heavier and bulkier than most so it can be hassle to always have it with you.
Overall, this is a smart buy and a great additional to your arsenal. For its price, this deer rifle scope provides you with the advantage when hunting during the night and early morning where fog can be a challenge.

#6 Simmons Truplex 3-9×40 Riflescope

Simmons Truplex 3-9x40 RiflescopeFairly lightweight at only 10.8 ounces, the Simmons scope is compatible on almost all firearms with the standard 1-inch rings. It has a scope magnification range of 3x to 9x all the while maintaining the clarity, contrast, and resolution while in zoom.

This optics is fully coated providing you with that anti-reflective and anti-glare advantage. When there is rain, the coating will cause the droplets to simply bead and roll to the lens’ side so you can simply keep on with your activity. It has a 40mm objective lens with a Truplex reticle. The light transmission of the Truplex is between the range of 90-93%.

It also offers a field view of 31.4’ with a zoom capability of 3x which is considered generous and won’t let you lose your target even if there are slight movements from the target or movement caused by the uncontrollable factors like the weather.

Without any fuss, the mounting process is simple and with the rubber coated tube, it also means that the best fit is always achieved.

The rifle scope is also designed to be durable and reliable. It is made of one machined aircraft grade aluminum with a coated rubber armor that adds a layer of protection from all he bumps and drops. It is fully water-proofed and fog-proofed and can withstand all the shocks and withdrawals of the various rifles and shotguns with simplicity.

However, this unit lacks illumination that can be an issue in a low lighting condition.
  • Quick Target Acquisition technology
  • Outstanding contrast and clarity of the target
  • Equipped with the Simmon’s Precision optical glass
  • Budget friendly
  • Illumination is lacking with very small eye relief
In summary, the Simmons 8-Point Truplex is a good pick. It meets the basic expectations of a rifle scope for deer through hunting. It is economically friendly and is a good start for hunters that would like to improve their skills in hunting.

#7 Leupold Rifleman 4-12x40mm Riflescope

Leupold Rifleman 4-12x40mm RiflescopeIf you would want to have a little zoom for a few more yards, then the ever practical and user friendly Leupold Rifleman 4-12x40mm Riflescope is for you. This is one of the very nice scopes among the Leupold name that won the hearts of many hunters because of its solid turret system, rugged built and glass all designed and performed with utmost simplicity.

Just like the Leupold collection, this is no different with its ability to endure all-out recoil thanks to the punishing shock proof tests that it has went through. It has also successfully completed an impact test successfully where the scope was made to subsist a type of ringer that has a .375 H&H Magnum for up to 5000 points of impact.

Once you lock in on your zero, expect it to hold and stay put whatever happens. Accidental bumping or clicking of the turret is foreign to the Leupold Rifleman so you know that no matter what so long as you have your zero then you are all set. With its 40mm objective lens, enough light is being transmitted to help you get a clearer and brighter image.

One of the features that you will appreciate as well is its eye relief of almost 4.9 inches. With a full view and no embarrassing eye circles, you can just focus in locking in your targets.

The only downside I can find are some blurry image issues at a higher magnification.
  • 100% wаtеrрrооf, rесоіl-рrооf, аnd fоg-рrооf
  • 4-12Х zооm fоr shooting long range
  • Eye relief of almost 4.9 inches
  • Impact test and shock proof test survivor
  • At a high magnification, there can be a slight problem with blurred image from time to time.
The final verdict for the Rifleman is it qualifies as a great rifle scope with a low price. It is solid and performance is above average. It is a good investment and one that you can enjoy for a very long time. Surely, it is an excellent scope for hunting.

#8 Trijicon TR22 AccuPoint 2.5-10x56mm Riflescope

Trijicon TR22 AccuPoint 2.5-10x56mm RiflescopeIf you want the best light gathering capability then the Trijicon TR22 AccuPoint is the best bet for you. The high end scope has a 56mm objective lens with multiple coatings and top of the line glass that gives you the maximum light transmission possible. Even if the light conditions are not in its best, it will deliver you with images that are clear and sharp. It is also illuminated through tritium and fiber optics allowing a vibrant aiming target less the batteries. This double illumination system automatically regulates aiming-point brightness to the current light circumstance.

Ideal for all light settings and the harshest conditions, this scope gives you the freedom to control the light output of the optics during the day time. The Accupoint also has aircraft quality with hard-anodized aluminum built to ensure that it can tolerate the toughest elements during hunting. It is also nitrogen filled and water resistant to avert deterioration and eradicate fogging.

With the solid and back matte finish of the high-quality scope for 6.5 Creedmoor, you don’t need to worry about the risk of light reflection and glare which can spook your target deer and make you lose it. Clarity earns this scope 5 stars and the green dot is perfect during the late evening hours and can be adjusted as needed. The green mil is balanced and does not overpower the overall view.

However, the scope can be a bit pricey.
  • 6061-T6 aluminum waterproof tube to up to 10’
  • Equipped with fiber optics and tritium illumination
  • Nitrogen filled and water resistant
  • ¼ MOA elevation and windage modifications
  • Requires no batteries to light the reticle
  • It is rather steep on the budget
Will the Trijicon be a good investment? It is of great value and is pretty impressive when it comes to capacity and size. So yes, it is a sound investment and a great addition to your collection.

#9 Athlon Optics Talos 4-16×40 SFP Riflescope

Athlon Optics Talos 4-16×40 SFP RiflescopeAny hunter will tell you that hunting in low-light conditions is one of the most challenging phases of hunting. With that being said, Athlon high-quality scope for Remington 870 deer hunting came up with the Talos 4-16×40 SFP which is designed to performing the wee hours of the morning and during the late hours of light without having the need and re-adjust scopes.

This series is proud to be equipped with the brand’s advanced multi coated lenses to ensure clarity and illumination during conditions when the light is low. With a magnification range of 4x, you have the versatility to hunt in different environments from wide open ranges to pine forests. The Talos also comes with a collection of specialty scopes for different targets.

The Talon is also made to last thanks to its aircraft grade aluminum that gives that added strength and resilience to withstand the toughest of terrains in whatever weather conditions you are in. Nitrogen purged, fog proof, shockproof and completely waterproof, this great deer hunting scope under $500 will see you through years and years of enjoyable hunting experience and be guaranteed with a performance from day one.

One other thing that makes this enjoyable is its ability to range from the reticle less the adjustments on the turret. The mildot used for this model is perfectly sized and with its fast focus eye piece, you will always have clear and crisp images.

However, some users might find it a bit larger than other scopes are.
  • Lenses are fully multi-coated
  • Made with Aircraft grade aluminum tube
  • Glass etched reticle
  • Nitrogen purged, waterproof, and fog-proof
  • It is larger compared to the average scope
In conclusion, this is a one of the highly recommended scopes for deer hunting and twilight hunting. It supplies you with that quality performance early and at the later part of the day. It is versatile and built to last.

#10 Nightforce Optics 4-14×56 SHV Riflescope

Nightforce Optics 4-14x56 SHV RiflescopeWhether you want the best deer hunting scope under $500, you can consider this item. The NIghtforce Shooter-Hunter-Varminter is a pretty new player when it comes to scopes but has definitely broadens the possibilities when it comes to hunting with its optical fine-tuning. Note though that this scope is a meant for a real rifleman’s scope so it needs to be paired correctly to achieve maximum results.

With an objective lens massive than usual at 56mm, you get to have the best light transmission. Its magnification is between the ranges of 4xto 14x so as a shooter, you get to have a widespread power range for shooting of varying fields and environment. At 100 yards with 4x, your field of view is at 24.9 feet which is very amazing.

Additionally, this model has a reticle that is illuminated and shown as a red plus sign directly in the middle of the cross hairs. This adds definition and precision of locking in your target. Alternately, a non-illuminated model is also available.

The Nightforce’s optics is something to really be happy about. The glass will 100% deliver clear, sharp, and bright images without the distractions to gear away from the target with easy adjustments that is always spot on with definite and firm clicks helpful for any hunter. Its 5×20 magnification is also an added cherry on top.

Mounting this stylish scope is easy and straightforward but with the compatible rings and mount that you have to purchase separately.

However, some users find issues with the turret not being waterproof, but these are isolated reports.
  • Pronounced ¼ MOA, 10 MOA per adjustment
  • Available with illuminated and non-illuminated reticle
  • 5×20 magnification power
  • Parallax knobs ad illumination is easy to use
  • Turret covers needs to be on for the scope to be water resistant
Is the Nightforce a good buy? Definitely, the high-quality scope for AR-15 deer hunting is and although it costs more than usual, it packs with it the hunter’s dream features. It is also guaranteed to overtake in performance compared to other scopes within the same price range.

Buying Guide

What Makes a Great Deer Hunting Scope?

best scope for deer and elk hunting

A great rifle scope for deer hunting should boost your confidence when it comes to aiming and locking in your target. Due to this, you should have a set of prerequisites when shopping for scopes. You also have to consider the characteristics of your target to be successful. Below is a suggested checklist to make sure that you equip yourself with an investment scope.

Your rifle scope should be large so more light can go through so the images will always be clear. It should also provide you with a superb hunting experience that will allow you to give excellent performance regardless if it is dusk or dawn and even the light conditions shouldn’t interfere with the goal of locking in your targets accurately.

A great riflescope should be easy to mount, convenient to carry and user friendly. During hunting games, every second counts and you have to be ready every time to aim and lock the target. It should also be friendly to your eyes and provide you eye relief each and every time.

Lastly, it should withstand the use and abuse together with the effects of the harsh environments. A great riflescope should not just perform but prove to be a great investment for a good number of years. It should be built to excel and last.

What Magnification Do You Need?

best scope magnification for deer hunting

Since deer are always wary and extremely fast, having a very clear sight and locking in your target precisely can be made easier and achieved if you know and equipped with the best scope magnification for deer hunting. Each target will have its recommended magnification so hunters can easily do their hunt.

The magnification range is definitely the most critical feature and the setting of where you’ll hunt also plays a big factor. For closer range and daylight shots, a 3-9×40 scope should be good enough for deer but in a country set up where you’re not expected to get those easy shots under 200 and 100 yards, it is best to get those long-range rifle scopes. A 6-18×50 deer hunting scope will give you that powerful zoom without compromising on the clarity of the target image.

Overall, do not settle for anything less than 9x magnification and you should be on top of our game with locked target on your deer. Couple with an equally powerful rifle, you can achieve a quality hunting performance based on accuracy and clarity.

Another advise is if the distance is longer than usual, it will be best to also have a parallax adjuster which can take out the parallax at long distances.

Factors to Consider when Buying a Deer Hunting Scope

best scope for deer hunting

Purchasing the best scope for deer hunting can be pretty daunting especially if it is your first buy. Taking the time to learn more about this scope and what makes it a good one should help you be more confident when you are ready to ring in that buy. Here are some factors that should guide you when looking out to buy your deer hunting scope. Just a friendly advice is to stick to your budget. Nowadays, there are a lot of budget friendly scopes that deliver high quality performance.

Objective lens

For deer hunting, it is always best to go for larger lens. The larger it is, the more light can come through causing images to be clearer and bigger. The only drawback here is the larger the objective lens is the heavier it weighs.


Deer are naturally wary and get run away quicker than you blink an eye. Ensure that your deer hunting scope won’t go lesser than 9x for magnification. It would also be best when even with maximum zoom, the image’s clarity and brightness is not compromised.

Multi-coated lenses

A great rifle scope not necessarily just for deer hunting is a scope that can perform from dawn to dusk. You should not stop your hunt when the sun goes down so you need one that will always provide you with crisp and clear images regardless of the light conditions.

Eye relief

Always make sure that your eyes are protected with the recoil from the bullets, a great eye scope should provide generous eye relief of at least 3.5 inches.


Regardless of the price, this is still money out of the pocket so you your rifle scope to last for a very long time. You have to consider the material that’s used and the lenses are best if they are nitrogen purged so they are dust and fog proof, waterproof and even shock resistant.


For long range shooting, your scope should compensate for the bullet drop over the extended distances. It will help if you have holdover positions and even bullet trajectory prediction systems. It will also be an advantage if the target turrets are resettable to zero and lockable. A reticle that is illuminated score big brownie points especially when used in the dark.

Ease of access

You need a scope that will be easy to use and where mounting can be done in seconds. In a nutshell, you need a plug and play scope that will automatically perform as needed without too much fuss and complicated adjustments.

Price and Warranty

It doesn’t matter if it is the most expensive scope in the market or one that falls mid-range. Price right now is not much in dictating the quality of scope. Be open with your options but as mentioned, stick to your budget.

For different manufacturers and different distributors, your scope will be taken with different repairing and replacing program. Some of these warranties are from 2 year to life-time, while some are from limited to unconditional. These choices are all great if you can peace in mind whenever your scope is broken somehow. I suggest you to read carefully about product warranty. It will be better if you contact directly to manufacturer and have detail information.

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In conclusion, to rate it as the best scope for deer hunting, there are a lot of checklists that needs to be closed. Each scope will work uniquely for every user and each scope will each have its own pros and cons.

With so many options to choose from and conveniently available in the market, you have to think the purchase wisely and find one that will suitably meet your needs and even wants. Take the time to go through reviews and recommendations. It would also be nice to consult more seasoned hunters who have their fair share of trying different deer hunting scopes because again, experience will always be the best teacher.

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