There are scopes that provide a good combination of dependable performance and affordability. These devices are great choices for advanced beginners in the art of hunting, tactical shooting, and plinking.
Such gadgets are also ideal for seasoned shooters who want to expand on their array of trustworthy scopes. These scopes can also be good choices for replacing damaged or broken devices.
Whatever the reason is, you would want to bring home only the best rifle scope under $200 to complement and enhance the shooting characteristics of your rifle. Choosing the right one is not always easy. Our list of the ten best sub-$200 scopes should be a good start.
Quick Answer: The 10 Best Rifle Scopes Under $200 for 2020
- Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×44 SFP Riflescope
- UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
- Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 Riflescope
- Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope
- Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope
- Monstrum G2 6-24×50 FFP Rifle Scope
- Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16x44mm SFP Rifle Scope
- Simmons 6-24×50 Whitetail Classic Riflescope
- Athlon Optics Neos 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope
First, let’s take a look at the top-rated rifle scopes under $200, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right one for you in our buying guide below.
Best Rifle Scope Under $200 Reviews of 2020
#1 Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope
The Diamondback is one of the best rifle scopes under $200. It combines exceptional clarity of images with a robust scope body construction to give you a riflescope that is perfect for any shooting scenario.
This high-quality deer hunting scope under $200 is one of the most versatile we have seen. We mounted the Diamondback on different firearms, including a slug shotgun and a muzzleloader. The versatile design of the scope is surprising, especially if you consider that the Diamondback is available for less than $200.
The quick focus eyepiece is also worth noting. We find it very useful in acquiring fast-moving targets. The glass of the Diamondback is as clear as any other Vortex Optics product, although we find the quality of the image to be somewhat reduced at 12x. The clarity of the image is still very acceptable, though.
The glass is bright, too. It allows for more precise aiming, especially if you are out varmint hunting. Predators in the wild will never be a match for the Diamondback. This scope does not know how or when to quit, even if the terrain gets too tough or the weather gets out of hand.
#2 Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×44 SFP Riflescope
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II is an exceptional scope for hunters, plinkers, and tactical shooters. It has the same level of workmanship as any other VO product, while giving you a retail price that many would consider a steal. The Crossfire II has all the right qualities of a high-quality value rifle scope under $200.
A Vortex attribute that never fails to impress us is its glass quality. Targets look very clear, regardless of their distance from the shooter. We hit varmints from 300 yards with ease. Placing shots this accurate has always been an issue for us using scopes at this price range.
The eye relief of the Crossfire II is more than sufficient to ensure better safety without sacrificing accuracy. The brightness levels of the Crossfire II were also spot on. We never complained about glare hitting our eyes and taking the fun out of the hunt.
The MOA fingertip windage adjustment dial as well as the elevation dial all work with precision. They offer better feedback than Vortex Optics’ Diamondback series. The turrets come with caps, making adjustments a lot easier.
#3 UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
Some people like a stylish and high performance scope for their rifles without costing them a fortune. If you are one of them, then UTG’s 3-12×44 Compact Scope is for you. This top rated scope has all the right pluses at a price that is friendlier than most.
One very striking characteristic of the UTG scope is its sexy silhouette. We find its design to be one of the coolest straight from the shelves of a gun supplies store. It gives the impression of a tactical scope, with an all-around performance of a hunter’s device to boot.
The reticle design of the UTG is remarkable. You would be surprised at how crisp the lines of its reticle can be, whether you zoom out to 3x or zoom in to 12x. The UTG is a high-quality mil-dot scope under $200 that delivers unparalleled precision and speed in the acquisition of targets.
As the best hunting rifle scope under $200, you can expect the UTG scope to perform beyond the capabilities of a traditional scope. The tube is solid and the addition of a lens hood is admirable.
#4 Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 Riflescope
The professional DSLRs of Nikon are not for the practical-minded photographer. As such, many people often think that Nikon is not a brand that produces budget rifle scope units. Seasoned hunters will tell you otherwise. This is a brand that is as dependable as any other trustworthy manufacturer of good quality scopes.
The Buckmasters II is an excellent choice for people who know and appreciate Nikon’s penchant for high performance glasses. After all, many well-established American scope brands source their lenses from the Japanese brand. That is why many target shooters choose the Buckmasters II because of the unquestionable superiority of its glass.
The adjustment dials are both spot-on and crisp. The size of its pupil is also large and it complements the large diameter of its lens. This makes the Buckmasters II a good device for hunting when the sun is about to set.
The scope’s overall construction can guarantee many decades of use. And if you are not convinced, then Nikon’s quality should dispel your worries and make you cast your doubts.
#5 Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope
The Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18x40mm is great for anyone who is looking for a hunting rifle scope for the 223 Remington. The glass has Bushnell’s signature quality and its build is perfect for hunting in a variety of conditions.
A friend of ours was kind enough to lend us his Bushnell scope. It allowed us to run the scope through several tests. The magnification range of the scope is admirable. The scope feels at home in shooting targets from long range. While it was ambitious for us to try the scope to hit a point some 1000 yards away, we find its sweet spot to be anywhere between 400 and 600 yards. The parallax adjustment allowed us to make very accurate shots at 500 yards.
The other turrets also displayed exceptional feedback and crisp turns. The precision you get when aiming at a target is phenomenal.
This scope also performs well, regardless of weather conditions. The weather-sealing and fog proofing of the scope ensure all-weather, all-terrain performance. Take the scope anywhere and it will perform splendidly.
#6 Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope
The VX-Freedom effectively replaces Leupold’s dependable duo of scopes – the VX1 and VX2. This scope offers similar reliable target acquisition performance at a cost that will never give you a headache. It is perfect for .308 rifles. The scope can perform well with other rifle types, too.
The Freedom’s aircraft aluminum construction is the kind of stuff that will never make you want to drag your feet. This optical device can handle any insult that Mother Nature can have up her sleeve.
The duplex reticle is also a classic. It is both crisp and very clear. Newbies will have an easy time centering the target in the crosshairs. We also know of pros who prefer to make the shot without relying on compensation markers.
We like how Leupold improved on its lenses. The glass on the Freedom will never be subject to scratches. You get to retain the quality of the optics, allowing you to enjoy hunting and shooting for many decades. It works well in different light conditions, too.
#7 Monstrum G2 6-24×50 FFP Rifle Scope
Monstrum creates rifle hardware and accessories that even seasoned shooters and hunters now appreciate. Take the brand’s G2 6-24×50 FFP, for instance. At this price, it is almost impossible to get a scope with a first focal plane. Yet, Monstrum defied the odds and brought to us a decent mid- to long- range rifle that can give premium long distance scopes a run for their money.
One major advantage of an FFP scope is that you get to retain the proportion of the reticle size to the size of the zoomed target. it makes for ranging a lot easier. And speaking of range estimation, the G2’s rangefinder reticle comes with very simple range-related information for better estimation. It also helps that Monstrum decided to include a button-activated mechanism for controlling the reticle illumination.
The G2’s lens diameter is so large that we cannot help asking ourselves if this is indeed a scope that costs less than 200 dollars. It is good that Monstrum also included lens covers in the design of the scope. The size of its lens is sure to attract more particles than a scope with a smaller-sized lens. Keeping the glass clean is also easy with Monstrum’s own lens cloth.
#8 Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16x44mm SFP Rifle Scope
The crisp MOA windage and elevation dials of the Classic Series are perfect for setting your sights on a target some 500 to 800 yards away. The glass both in front and at the rear of the scope offer a clear view of any target.
The scope comes with a Mil-dot reticle. You can change its illumination up to 12 different settings. This is an added bonus when hunting wild animals at dusk or under an overcast sky. Keep in mind, however, that the scope only uses a standard CR2032 battery. The battery life may not be as good as scopes that utilize other power systems.
The Classic Series’ tube construction is solid. Primary Arms even included lens caps to help protect the glass. Taking this scope to the mountains or through the jungle is never a problem.
The Primary Arms provide peace of mind for its products for its long-lasting use. This scope is made of premium scope materials that offer more satisfaction to its users.
#9 Simmons 6-24×50 Whitetail Classic Riflescope
The Simmons Whitetail Classic is one of the rifle scopes priced below $200 that you can rely on for medium-range to long-range shooting adventures. It is a remarkable scope, fully capable of giving you a shooting experience very few inexpensive scopes can.
Being a subsidiary of Bushnell gives Simmons a competitive advantage in terms of optical quality. There is no questioning the image clarity of the Whitetail as it delivers bright and crisp images across its remarkable magnification power. While we did observe some level of distortion near the maximum 24x magnification of the scope, it was still clearer than the images that other brands can provide.
The tube diameter is not the best in its class. However, it is enough to ensure brighter and clearer target images than what other scopes can provide. The Whitetail also guarantees solid weatherproofing and fog proofing for better all-around scope performance. It does not matter where you decide to take the scope. It will perform as expected.
Adjusting the scope’s turrets is also straightforward. It gives that audible click that serious hunters need. The reticle has a very simple design that people will love.
#10 Athlon Optics Neos 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope
One of the Neos’ best attributes is its advanced FMC lens technology. The images you get are as clear as that of an expensive optical device. The light transmission is excellent. We never had any problems where the target we were aiming at was dim and blurry. Aiding the aiming precision of the Neos is the Center X reticle. It is the brand’s way of calling the duplex crosshairs.
The dials feel nice. The knobs for windage and elevation do not have markings on them. Only the side focus knob that adjusts for the parallax has markings to ensure effortless zeroing. The Neos retains its zero splendidly, too.
Athlon’s experience in making very nice scopes is imprinted on the Neos. The scope body is as solid as a rock without the cumbersome weight of metal. The Neos can take Mother Nature’s beating without ever flinching. It is fog proof and shock proof, too.
- What to Expect from the Rifle Scope Under $200
- How to Choose the Best Rifle Scope Under $200
What to Expect from the Rifle Scope Under $200
Reputable manufacturers of rifle scopes will always find a way to put more emphasis on the performance of their optical devices. A good budget scope can never have all of the remarkable qualities of very expensive devices for rifles. However, one can always feel confident about the quality of the target image that the device will provide.
The lens of an inexpensive rifle scope is always of good quality. These scopes can never compete with the optical quality of $1000 scopes. However, they can guarantee a much better view of objects than sub-$100 devices can.
The build quality should be right between an inexpensive and a high end unit. It has good protection against the elements as well as against shocks and vibrations. It should not break easily, especially if you mount the scope on a butt-kicking, high-recoil rifle.
The scope should also give you a field of view that is great enough to have a better appreciation and understanding of the target area. Keep in mind that the FOV of a scope often decreases with magnification. The same is true with the device’s exit pupil.
An inexpensive and high quality scope should have adjustable objectives that are ideal for your activities. For example, if you are into target shooting, then it would be ideal to get a scope that can zoom up to the maximum distance of the target in the field.
The adjust ability of the sighting mechanism is also important. You need a device that is easy to set when it comes to acquiring a target.
How to Choose the Best Rifle Scope Under $200
It is quite easy to determine the best rifle scope under 200 dollars. You can always ask seasoned hunters and professional riflemen. You can also read customer reviews. If these do not help, then you can always set out on your own search of the ‘ideal’ scope at your preferred price point. Here are some things you can do to pick the right budget riflescope for you.
Always Assess the Characteristics of the Scope’s Optics
A 200 dollar scope may have a lens that looks exactly the same as that of a 1000-dollar unit. This is where your creativity comes in. Checking the lens for quality control issues is always a must when shopping for a scope. You can perform a side-by-side assessment of actual scopes. You can check the experiences of customers. Check for lens coating. The type of coating on the lens can give you an idea of how well the scope will perform in the field.
Assess the Objective Lens Size
This depends on the lighting conditions that you will be shooting in. If you prefer going on a hunting trip at dusk, then you will need a bigger lens size. Hunters in broad daylight should always pick a scope with a smaller objective lens to help prevent flooding the scope chamber with too much light. This is not an issue if that device comes with variable brightness settings.
Consider the Right Magnification of the Rifle Device
A hunting scope will often require a magnification of 3-9x. This is sufficient for effective deer hunting. However, if you are hunting wild boars and other varmints, you will need a scope with a higher magnification of about 4.5-14x. The point here is to pick a magnification scope that can give you the best possible image of your intended target. Additionally, it is wise to remember that image quality can suffer at higher magnification.
Choose between a First and a Second Focal Plane
Long-range shooters will always want their scopes to have a first focal plane. This allows them to make more accurate adjustments because the reticle maintains its proportion relative to the sight picture. Unfortunately, many FFP rifles on the market are expensive. So, if you see an FFP scope at a low price, you’d better grab it.
Check the Reticle
Most gun enthusiasts will want a simple reticle, although scopes with MOA or Mil-dot reticles are fine. There are also those who prefer a laser sight system than the traditional. Tactical shooters prefer a red dot sight for more rapid and more precise aiming.
Assess the Turrets
A seasoned target shooter will always want repeatable shot compensation dials. These dials should provide you with enough feedback to help eliminate taking your sights off of your target. The scope should also be easy to set in its true zero and retain it until such time that you are ready for a different shooting scenario. You should be able to pick a number of options that can offer you very responsive turrets at this price limit.
Check the Construction of the Scope
A scope that you can get at below $200 should always have a reliable construction. The outer edge of the eye piece should have ample distance from the eyes of the shooter. Good quality scopes will always have dependable weather-sealing and protection against shocks and fogging. The price tag of the scope should never spell the quality of its construction.
A good and inexpensive scope for rifles has as many of the much sought-after attributes of expensive scopes. While it is understandable that some aspects of the scope will have a slightly lower quality, the device should always come with good target viewing characteristics. When picking the best rifle scope under $200, it is ideal to perform a very thorough assessment of several scopes.
From the lens quality and scope body construction to the performance of the turrets, these scopes should give you good value for your money. You would want to depend on the scope to give you a memorable experience with your rifle.