There are people who prefer a cheap rifle scope over expensive ones. Most of them are new to the world of hunting or shooting that they are not yet ready to make a big commitment. There are also those who believe that there are good scopes that will not cost them a fortune.
In either case, it is important to choose wisely. You do not want to end up with a scope that you will only use several times. The best rifle scope under $100 should have as many of the good qualities of a premium scope as possible. Here are twelve scopes that are best for budget-conscious people.
Quick Answer: The 12 Best Rifle Scopes Under $100 for 2020
- UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope
- Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope
- Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope
- Bushnell Optics 3-9×40 Drop Zone BDC Reticle Riflescope
- Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle AO Riflescope
- UUQ 4-16×50 Tactical Rifle Scope
- Monstrum 1-4×20 Rifle Scope
- Monstrum 3-9×32 Rifle Scope
- BARSKA 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Riflescope
- CVLIFE 6-24×50 Hunting Rifle Scope
- Hammers 3-9x32AO Air Rifle Scope
- Pinty 4-16X40 Rifle Scope
First, let’s take a look at the top-rated rifle scopes under $100, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right one for you in our buying guide below.
Best Cheap Scope Under $100 Reviews of 2020
#1 UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope
The BugBuster Scope has got to be one of the coolest scopes you can ever mount on a rifle. It has a very powerful look that complements its remarkable aiming properties. This is a product that we can guarantee to be one of the best cheap rifle scopes anyone can ever get his hands on.
UTG’s scope design excellence is imprinted all over the BugBuster. From the quality of its optics to the use of an RGB Mil-dot reticle, it is as if the BugBuster costs more than a hundred dollars.
Assessing the quality of its optics has been a joy. Peering through the eye piece is like looking through some expensive glass. The glass retains its clarity whether it is at its lowest 3x magnification or at the highest power of 9x. It gives you the feeling that what you have on your rifle is a premium-quality optic.
The turrets are such a pleasure to reset and lock. We were glad to find that our test unit came with very responsive turrets. They lock into place and the turrets gave us the nice feedback we have been yearning for in a good scope.
The weatherproofing is also excellent. This is one device that will never fail you even in harsh weather.
#2 Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope
Simmons relies on its association with Bushnell to give rifle owners optical products that are not only inexpensive. They have good quality, too. Take the .22 Mag® Matte Black, for example. This is a good rifle for plinking or for target practice. While it is specific for rifles that chamber the .22 cartridge, the 22 Mag can be an excellent choice for other rifles as well.
The Simmons .22 Mag is perfect for gun enthusiasts. The images that the device delivers are clear enough for an accurate shot. The magnification is noteworthy as there is very minimal distortion in the image quality across the range. Whether you are shooting a target from 50 yards or 200 yards, you still get a good view.
The scope body of the .22 Mag is also remarkable enough, given its price. It looks and feels solid. There was never an instance in our tests when condensation formed in the glass. The seals are both air- and water- tight.
It also surprised us that Simmons included a parallax compensation mechanism in the scope. Moreover, the brand already preset it to 50 yards.
#3 Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope
If you want the best rifle scope under $100 that can offer you excellent aiming performance, then the Simmons 8-Point scope is for you. It has many of the good qualities of an expensive scope at a fraction of the price.
The 8-Point’s main draw is its large lens diameter. Such a feature gives you a more efficient transmission of light so you get to see your target a lot better. The coating of the lens also guarantees brighter and clearer images as you do not have to worry about glares and reflections.
We liked the inclusion of a true zero adjustment in the 8-Point. Retaining your zero is easy. Adjusting for gravity and windage is also not a problem with this scope. The turrets may be small. However, they do provide repeatable characteristics that we seldom see in inexpensive rifle optics.
We love the fact that the exit pupil of the 8-Point is also large. You will get a good view of your target even if you set the magnification to 9x. The quick focus eyepiece also guarantees faster acquisition of targets. The scope’s construction is also commendable.
#4 Bushnell Optics 3-9×40 Drop Zone BDC Reticle Riflescope
Bushnell offers its 3-9×40 Drop Zone BDC Reticle scope as the best scope under $100. Many hunters and rifle owners seem to agree. We are also inclined to agree with the assessment of many rifle owners regarding the Drop Zone’s performance in the field.
The Drop Zone is a hunter’s favorite. It has a very simple reticle that Bushnell has adjusted for different loads and grains. This hunting rifle scope is good enough for other applications, too. We tried it at the shooting range and the scope performed well beyond our expectations.
The reticle is simple enough for newbies and people who do not like seeing a lot of markings in their sights. The ocular focuses very fast, too. This is ideal when shooting multiple moving targets. Such an attribute can guarantee a more engaging hunting trip.
The turrets have a nice feel to them that makes shot compensation a lot easier. The turrets click into position and they can ensure better retention of the zero. Bushnell even included parallax compensation on the side of the scope so you will not disturb the dialed-in settings of the turrets.
#5 Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle AO Riflescope
People who hunt at dusk know how difficult it can be to spot an animal in the bush. This is not the case if you use the Banner Dusk & Dawn scope from Bushnell. Many people consider this as a great rifle scope for hunting varmints that often prowl in the early evening and at dawn.
The Banner scope does not come with night vision capabilities. However, you have got to commend Bushnell for designing a scope that has excellent brightness levels to help you see your target in the dark. While the scope can never compete with devices that use infrared or thermal imaging technologies, the Banner Dusk & Dawn can perform an excellent job at hunting animals in the dark.
We like the inclusion of MOA fingertip windage and elevationadjustment knobs. We did not have to set the rifle down to set the correct compensation. The construction is solid and is good enough for hunting on the harshest terrain or in rough weather. The distance between the ocular and the eyes is also ample. We never had issues with scope eye.
#6 UUQ 4-16×50 Tactical Rifle Scope
Tactical shooters are a very different breed. They require both speed and precision from their optics. And if you are setting your sights on becoming a good tactician, then the UUQ 4-16×50 Tactical scope is for you.
We like the digital reticle system of the UUQ. We were able to choose the right size of the red dot to allow us a better picture of where we are aiming. We also tested the green laser sight that is very easy to mount and detach from the body of the scope. Hitting a target is easy, whether it is stationary or fast-moving.
We also liked the UUQ’s versatility. We mounted the device on different rifle platforms with relative ease. The turrets have an audible feedback in them that makes shot compensation more fulfilling.
Looking through the ocular of the UUQ is looking through the glass of a premium scope. The lens is large and it offers a very clear view of the target. It does not form condensation nor is vulnerable to the ingress of particles.
#7 Monstrum 1-4×20 Rifle Scope
The Monstrum 1-4×20 scope is a great choice for people who want to shoot short range. Whether it is for tactical purposes or for small game hunting, the Monstrum can be a very dependable optic for your rifle.
What we find so remarkable about this affordable scope is that it comes with a solid construction. Monstrum utilized aircraft aluminum in the construction of the scope to give it lightweight characteristics. It does not feel flimsy, unlike other cheap scopes that come with mediocre-quality build. Adding to the quality of its construction is the scope’s excellent weatherproofing.
The rangefinder reticle is also surprising. We did not expect to see such a feature in this kind of scope and at this price. We find such a feature to be helpful in making on-the-fly estimation of target range. It will allow you to acquire your targets a lot faster.
While the diameter of the scope is small, it compensates for it in terms of quality. The clarity of the glass is almost like that of an expensive scope.
#8 Monstrum 3-9×32 Rifle Scope
One look at the stylish Monstrum 3-9×32 and you immediately have that sense of awesome power. This is a device that can make it super easy to shoot close or medium-range targets without spending a fortune.
The design of the Monstrum 3-9×32 conjures images of a premium-quality Trijicon or some other tactical scope brand. It looks as dashing and masculine as any other tactical scope out there, especially if you mount the Monstrum onto an equally powerful rifle. It is good that the company already included mounting rings in the package, although we would have been happier if it also included some lens caps.
For its sub-$100 price, the sight picture that the 3-9×32 provides is almost similar to that of a $500 scope. It is clear enough to provide you with an excellent view of the target. The reticle also has the range-finding feature that many high endunits have. We also found the turrets to be surprisingly crisp. They lock right into place and they were able to retain the zero with ease.
#9 BARSKA 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Riflescope
BARSKA is an American brand that is known for creating easy-to-use and high-performance scopes for rifles. Its Plinker 22 is one of a kind in that the brand designed it for the modern target shooter. This device feels at home down the range as it does in the hunting grounds.
The Plinker 22 is the best friend of novice shooters who are sharpening their skills down the range. It works best with rifles that chamber rimfire cartridges. This will give you an idea about its construction.
The glass of the Plinker 22 is as clear as any other scope we have assessed. The clarity of the image is acceptable enough that it is easy to see the bullseye 100 yards down the range.
We like the overall construction of the Plinker 22’s scope body. It has a solid feel to it that can make people think you have an expensive unit on your rifle. We also appreciate the other inclusions in the package, such as a lens cloth, mounting rings, and lens covers.
#10 CVLIFE 6-24×50 Hunting Rifle Scope
It is almost impossible to think that the CVLIFE 6-24×50 scope is the best scope under $50. Yet, it is. This scope happens to be one of the cheapest scopes you can buy without sacrificing many of the good qualities of a more expensive product.
For starters, the wide range of magnification power of the CVLIFE already suggests that this scope should have a $400 to $600 price tag. We brought the scope down the range, mounted onto a modified rifle. We dialed the scope to its highest magnification of 24x and we were still able to see a good view of the object some 800 yards away.
The FOV is remarkable in that you still get an excellent view of the farthest object the scope can possibly see. The scope’s tube diameter helps a lot in giving you a superb target view.
The reticles are also excellent as they come with adjustable illumination. They are repeatable and lockable, too. The distance of the scope to the eyes is enough to never cause you scope eyes.
#11 Hammers 3-9x32AO Air Rifle Scope
Some of us prefer to hunt using air rifles. They make less noise that can otherwise spook small and medium game. They can be as powerful and accurate as any rifle, too. However, the room for error is often smaller than that of a true rifle. That is why you need one of the best budget scopes for an air rifle.
The Hammers is a scope that is perfect for air rifles. It is one of the brand’s high quality scopes designed for a special group of hunters. It comes with a lens system that guarantees exceptional performance in different lighting. The scope also performs well on almost any terrain. The seals are solid and intact. We found no traces of fogging when we brought the scope one humid afternoon.
For its retail price, the qualities of the Hammers scope can surpass that of a $600 scope. The range of objective power is like any standard hunter’s scope. Dialing the turrets gives you a pleasurable feedback that is almost unheard of in scopes with this price.
#12 Pinty 4-16X40 Rifle Scope
You will not believe how amazing the Pinty 4-16×40 scope is. You get a cheap riflescope with many of the features of a $1000 scope. It gives you the scope performance that is often unthinkable at this price limit.
What surprised us the most about the Pinty is its high range of objective power. Most of the scopes that have this range will often be expensive. The quality of the Pinty glass may not be as high as expensive brands. However, it does give you enough clarity to hit a target with precision and ease.
The reticle is also impressive. It has a Mil-dot reticle that is unheard of in scopes that cost less than 50 dollars. The dials feel very nice to the touch. And when you turn them, the experience gets more fascinating. We like the Pinty’s locking mechanism that allows the scope to retain its settings for longer periods of time.
We also commend Pinty for integrating a lens shade into the scope. It helps augment the reflection-reducing capabilities of the scope’s multicoated lens.
- Who Are Cheap Rifle Scopes Under $100 Best Suited For?
- What to Expect from the Rifle Scope Under $100
- How to Choose the Best Rifle Scope Under $100
Who Are Cheap Rifle Scopes Under $100 Best Suited For?
A rifle scope that costs less than a hundred dollars is for those who want a reliable device they can fit into their rifle without spending a fortune. Because of the low price tag of these scopes, you can expect that they may not have all of the remarkable qualities of high-end scopes. For example, the quality of their lens may not be as top notch as a thousand-dollar scope. The build can also suffer. However, there are always brands that strive to strike a balance between affordability and quality.
These copes are perfect for everyone. Whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro, there is bound to be an inexpensive scope for you. There are those devices for tactical shooters, allowing for precise and quick acquisition of targets. Some cheap rifle scopes are perfect for hunters and plinkers. These good cheap scopes can provide you with enough range of power to enjoy what you do. What is important in these devices is that they can assure reliability and good overall performance.
One should never look down on scopes that cost less than 100 dollars. There are good ones on the market that can rival the performance of a $500 scope.
What to Expect from the Rifle Scope Under $100
The best affordable scope for any rifle should not only comes with a very friendly price. It should also come with an optical quality that is good enough for its intended purpose. For example, if you want a hunting scope, then it should offer you precision in acquiring your target game. The image quality should not suffer immensely as you zoom in or out of the scope’s power range. It should also allow you the ability to adjust the scope’s brightness settings. This will help enable you to see your target even in low light conditions.
An affordable rifle scope for target shooting should also have the same qualities as an expensive device. It should guarantee precision, regardless of how far down in the range you are aiming at. You will also not want it to be very heavy to make aiming a lot easier.
A budget scope should also have good turret dynamics. You can adjust your aim by factoring the effects of both wind direction and velocity and gravity. The scope should also be able to hold its zero, regardless of how many rounds you fire. On that note, ample eye relief is ideal. You will never grow tired of looking through the scope.
The reticle of the scope should also be clear. It should not lose its clarity as you adjust the scope’s magnification. Some of the best inexpensive optical devices also come with reticle illumination. This helps guarantee that you will have a better aim at your target.
How to Choose the Best Scope Under $100
You need to perform an exhaustive research if you want to determine the budget rifle scope that is perfect for your firearm. It will help if you will adhere to the following steps.
Determine the Purpose of Your Scope
Shopping for a scope starts with a determination of the scope’s primary purpose. If you are into deer hunting, then it is imperative that you pick a scope that is ideal for such an activity. Target shooters may also benefit from the same kind of scope as those used by hunters. Tactical shooters will often require a red dot sight instead of a conventional scope. Determining the purpose of your scope will help you narrow down your selection of very nice scopes that can help you achieve your purpose.
Check the Quality of the Scope’s Glass
A budget optical device should never come with mediocre quality glass. The scope’s field of view is one aspect that you should also check. The reputation of the scope manufacturer can help determine quality scopes at this price range. There are brands that will always put emphasis on optical quality, despite their scope having a low price. We recommend visiting your local gun store and checking the lens quality of different scopes yourself. Check the scope’s lens coating as it can also promote better views.
Determine the Power of the Objectives
This depends on the intended purpose of your scope. A good budget hunting scope should have a magnification range of 3x to 9x, depending on what you are hunting. Long range shooters may require a scope with higher magnification. Tactical shooters may not require variable power at all. Keep in mind that there should be no dramatic change in image clarity as you move up and down the power range.
Check the Size of the Lens
The diameter of the objective lens has an impact in light transmission. Large diameter objective lens promotes more light to enter. This brightens the view of the target and make target acquisition a lot easier. This is especially the case in situations where the lighting conditions are below average.
Check the Reticle of the Scope
Not all optical devices for rifles come with reticles. There are also those that utilize red dot sights. You can see these in tactical scopes. For those that have reticles, getting one with a duplex reticle is perfect as it is very easy to use. You can also go for more sophisticated reticles.
Assess the Dynamics of the Turrets
Parallax adjustment is only one of the things you need to check in a scope for rifles. You also need to assess the device’s windage and elevation adjustability. Make sure that the turret’s measurements are the same as those in the reticle. So, if you have MOA windage and elevation measurements, your reticle should also have MOA and not Mils. Check the crispness of the turrets.
Assess the Scope’s Weatherproofing
You want a scope that performs well in different weather conditions. The scope’s tube construction should have good weather-sealing. The glass should also be fog proof and the tube resistant to moisture, dust, and other particles.
Read Customer Reviews
Make it a habit to read reviews. The scope can be an excellent choice with regards to its fine characteristics. But, if the brand has poor customer service, then you may find yourself with more frequent bouts of headache than you can imagine.
A cheap rifle scope should never renege on the quality of its optics nor on the durability of its construction. Its price point should never be a direct gauge of what it can do in the field. It should always provide good magnification and ensure the crispness of its turrets. You should also be able to use it regardless of the weather or terrain.
A good scope should give you the confidence in your shooting skills. Whether it is for varmint hunting, game hunting, plinking, or tactical shooting, the best rifle scope under $100 should always give you more pleasant memories to cherish for the rest of your life.