The Best Rifle Scopes Under $100 in 2020

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.

best scope under 100

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

  1. UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope
  2. Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope
  3. Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope
  4. Bushnell Optics 3-9×40 Drop Zone BDC Reticle Riflescope
  5. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle AO Riflescope
  6. UUQ 4-16×50 Tactical Rifle Scope
  7. Monstrum 1-4×20 Rifle Scope
  8. Monstrum 3-9×32 Rifle Scope
  9. BARSKA 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Riflescope
  10. CVLIFE 6-24×50 Hunting Rifle Scope
  11. Hammers 3-9x32AO Air Rifle Scope
  12. 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

UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster ScopeThe 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.

What upset us a bit about the BugBuster is its inconsistency in holding its zero. It retains the zero most of the time. However, there are occasions when the scope loses its zero after only a few rounds.
  • Very clear and bight glass
  • Crisp, resettable, and lockable turrets
  • Reliable range estimation reticle
  • Awesome look
  • Good weatherproofing of scope body
  • Very inconsistent in holding zero
We still feel the UTG BugBuster deserves to be called the best rifle scope under 100 dollars. It has many of the good qualities of an expensive unit without making you bankrupt.

#2 Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black Riflescope

Simmons 3-9x32mm .22 Mag(R) Matte Black RiflescopeSimmons 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.

The only negative attribute of the Simmons .22 Mag is the inconsistency of its turrets. It feels spongy or less snappy than other platforms. Sometimes it locks well into place, while it behaves in an erratic manner at other times.
  • Crisp and clear lenses
  • Bright and good quality images
  • Accurate magnification with very little image distortion
  • Reliable parallax adjustment
  • Good, solid, and weatherproof construction
  • Spongy and sometimes unreliable turret adjustments
We consider the Simmons .22 Mag as one of the best cheap scope products today. The quality of the images that it provides is more than enough to make your hunting or plinking experience more enjoyable.

#3 Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope 

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.

While Simmons says that the 8-Point is recoil-proof, we found this to be less than accurate. We broke the scope after only a few rounds when mounted on the .460 Weatherby.
  • Large objective lens diameter
  • Good lens coating
  • Reliable turret adjustments
  • Holds zero very well
  • Excellent weatherproofing
  • Cannot stand powerful rifle recoil
We overdid our tests on the Simmons 8-Point by mounting it on a rifle with a butt-kicking recoil. The average hunter or shooter will not be using such a rifle. Having said that, we can say that the 8-Point passed our test with flying colors. It is a great scope for people who only have a hundred dollars to spare.

#4 Bushnell Optics 3-9×40 Drop Zone BDC Reticle Riflescope

Bushnell Optics 3-9x40 Drop Zone BDC Reticle RiflescopeBushnell 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.

What intrigued us about the Drop Zone is the inconsistency of its image quality. There are times when the image is as clear as the bright sky. At other times, the image is as hazy as smoke. This poses some questions about quality control issues.
  • Good for different applications
  • Comes with dependable turret adjustments
  • Simple and clear reticle
  • Fast-focusing and reliable ocular
  • Durable and lightweight construction
  • Inconsistent image quality
Despite having inconsistent image quality, the Bushnell Drop Zone remains a favorite among hunters. We also believe that the device is a good choice if you do not have enough money to buy a more expensive Bushnell. The Drop Zone gets the job done, nonetheless.

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

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle AO RiflescopePeople 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.

We did have some issues with the scope’s turret adjustments. They sure are easy to adjust. Unfortunately, they behave erratically. Sometimes the turrets are as crisp as those in premium scopes. At other times, the turrets are so difficult to set. And when they do, do not expect the scope to hold its zero either.
  • Clear and bright glass
  • Great for shooting in low light situations
  • Finger-adjustable shot compensation
  • Ample relief for the eyes
  • Good weather-, fog-, and shock- proofing
  • Some issues with the turret adjustments
Regardless of this issue, the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn is still a good quality rifle scope. It comes with a friendly price and good performance for novice hunters.

#6 UUQ 4-16×50 Tactical Rifle Scope

UUQ 4-16x50 Tactical Rifle ScopeTactical 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.

One issue that we find disturbing with the UUQ is its mediocre battery life. The battery in our test unit died on us after only several hours of putting the scope in its highest brightness setting.
  • Good FOV values for a tactical scope
  • Laser dots come in different sizes for greater accuracy
  • Turrets are very responsive and easy to adjust
  • Mountable on various platforms
  • Sophisticated and powerful design
  • Battery drains quite fast
This negative attribute of the UUQ has a very minimal impact on the overall rating of the scope. We consider the scope to be an excellent tool for tactical shooters, given its wide range of magnification and versatility. This is one of those inexpensive rifle scopes that can be the perfect all-around optics for different rifles.

#7 Monstrum 1-4×20 Rifle Scope

Monstrum 1-4x20 Rifle ScopeThe 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.

We only wish that Monstrum will improve on the quality of its reticle. While it is excellent in low light, the quality of the reticle image suffers immensely in broad daylight. It is as if you do not see any reticle at all.
  • Very clear glass for its price
  • Good scope build quality
  • Adjustment dials feel solid and responsive
  • Holds zero well
  • Delivers bright and clear images
  • Illuminated reticle loses clarity in bright light
Some people may find the design flaw of the Monstrum 1-4×20 to be unforgivable. We think that this is still a good magnification scope for short range shooting. You can get the scope quality of a Leapers or even a Leupold for under 100 bucks.

#8 Monstrum 3-9×32 Rifle Scope

Monstrum 3-9x32 Rifle ScopeOne 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.

Our only concern about the Monstrum 3-9×32 is the number of customers who are complaining about the durability of the scope. While it looks ‘formidable’ and solid, its performance in the real world may be less than what the company claims.
  • Good quality glass for its price
  • Adequate magnification for various applications
  • Bright and clear reticle
  • Already comes with mounting rings
  • Repeatable and resettable turrets
  • Some issues about durability
The questions about the scope’s durability are all valid. After all, you do not want a scope that will only last you several uses. However, we believe that the Monstrum 3-9×32 deserves a spot on this list because of its noteworthy aiming performance. You will have to be extra careful in your handling of the scope.

#9 BARSKA 3-9×32 Plinker-22 Riflescope

BARSKA 3-9x32 Plinker-22 RiflescopeBARSKA 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.

We did feel that the Plinker 22’s turret adjustments need some improvement. Sighting the scope can be very tricky. We have tried manipulating the dials and we still ended several yards off our target. The scope does not hold its zero that well.
  • Perfect for plinking and hunting
  • Good shockproofing, fogproofing, and weatherproofing
  • Large scope diameter for better transmission of light
  • Comes with accessories for ease of mounting
  • Nice build for its price
  • Can be tricky to zero
The BARSKA Plinker 22 is one of the best inexpensive rifle optics you can ever buy. Its performance is perfect for shooting targets down the range or in the field. Overall,you can count on its quality and all-season build.

#10 CVLIFE 6-24×50 Hunting Rifle Scope 

CVLIFE 6-24x50 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.

We did find the CVLIFE 6-24×50 to be heavier and bulkier than we imagined. Most people will not have qualms about it, though. However, it can be a real pain if you mount it on an equally-hefty rifle.
  • Excellent FOV for a wider view of the field
  • Powerful magnification for long range shots
  • Clear and bright reticles
  • Easily adjustable turret dials
  • Does not cause scope eye
  • Big and hefty scope
It did not surprise us one bit why the CVLIFE is a top ratedscope despite its being heavy and hefty. Its price alone is enough reason to get the scope. Add to this its good construction and remarkable performance and you have a great scope for your rifle.

#11 Hammers 3-9x32AO Air Rifle Scope

Hammers 3-9x32AO Air Rifle ScopeSome 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.

We do appreciate Hammers’ inclusion of a one-piece mount. Unfortunately, this can limit its use only on certain air rifles. We found a solution to this. We removed the mounting rings and replaced it with a pair of third-party accessories. This allowed us to mount the Hammers AO on almost any air rifle.
  • Good choice for owners of air rifles
  • Good lens that delivers bright and clear images
  • Wide range of magnification for versatility
  • Clear and precise reticle
  • Crisp turret dials
  • May not fit certain air rifles
The Hammers 3-9×32 AO scope is a great tool for ensuring the best possible air rifle shooting experience. It performs very nicely, more than its price suggests.

#12 Pinty 4-16X40 Rifle Scope

Pinty 4-16X40 Rifle ScopeYou 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.

One issue we have about the Pinty is that the quality of the image tends to decrease as you move up the zoom range. As soon as we dialed in the zoom to about 8x, we began to notice blurring of the image. The distortion is highest at 16x. However, this is never an issue if you have excellent vision.
  • Excellent range of objective magnification
  • Robust scope construction
  • Clear and reliable reticle
  • Resettable, lockable, and repeatable turret adjustment
  • Comes with a long lens shade
  • Image quality reduces with magnification
If you can forgive the low image quality of the Pinty 4-16x AO at higher magnification, then this is the best rifle scope under $50 you can get. It has reliable craftsmanship and its performance is at par with more expensive devices.

Buying Guide

Who Are Cheap Rifle Scopes Under $100 Best Suited For?

best cheap rifle scope

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

best budget rifle scope

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

best rifle 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.

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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.

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