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The Best Rifle Scopes Under $400 in 2020

With so many choices and brands each claiming to be a nice rifle scope, making choices can be tough. Limiting your options can help you decide which is really the best rifle scope under $400.

Nowadays, being a smart and a practical shopper is a must. Gone are the days where the overall performance and quality of a scope is being dictated by the brand and prize.

best rifle scope under 400

Getting a rifle scopes is a sound idea to help you magnify your vision and to have a clear view of your target without having the need to be physically on the actual spot. It can be used for recreational purposes like hunting and target shooting but are also beneficial accessories for tactical situations.

Quick Answer: The 8 Best Rifle Scopes Under $400 for 2020

  1. Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP Riflescope
  2. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 3-18×44 SFP Riflescope
  3. Leupold VX-3i 3.5x10x40mm Riflescope
  4. Nikon M-Tactical .223 4-16X42SF Matte BDC600 Riflescope
  5. Athlon Optics Argos BTR 8-34×56 FFP Riflescope
  6. Bushnell Engage 4-16x44mm Riflescope
  7. Burris Optics Fullfield E1 4.5-14x42mm Riflescope
  8. Sightmark Citadel 3-18×50 LR2 Riflescope

First, let’s take a look at the top-rated rifle scopes under $400, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right one for you in our buying guide below.

Best Rifle Scope Under $400 Reviews of 2020

#1 Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP Riflescope

Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP RiflescopeHaving earned the reputation as the best long range rifle scope under $400 is no joke and the Vortex Optics Diamondback really deserves this commendation. It boasts an impressive performance while still being friendly to the budget.

Its first focal plane reticle uses the impressive information-packed EBR-2C reticle that is usually being used for optics priced in 4-figures. This is usually the best choice for ranging, windage and in any corrections on magnification power.

Housed in a durable, single piece aluminum tube is a 4x hunting scope that can provide you with excellent clarity and a resolution that is crisp sharp. The elevation and turrets are also exposed but just enough to keep out of the way when you are already packing.

With the design of the best scope under $400, it provides that quickness, precision, and ease of dialing when making shots at a distance. Finally, it comes with a totally modifiable parallax that can provide the needed confidence by users where errors can be zeroed out from 10 yards and beyond.

Perfect for gun enthusiasts who enjoys long-distance shooting, you will find this gratifying as it is designed with extra-low dispersion or XD glass that helps increase resolution and the color fidelity ensuring that the images are displayed with high quality. In addition, it also sports a fully multi-coated lens which is anti-reflective on all air-to-glass area that can improve and heighten light transmission for a better picture.

Created with the same grade as aircraft aluminum with a hard-anodized matte finish, so expect it to be strong and durable and one that can withstand all the usual use and even abuse of shooting. It also has an accurate force spring system that ensures all-out repeatability and ease of modification.

Anything Vortex is a great deal and this one is surely a high-quality value rifle scope under $400. It has impressive output that can keep up with you in locking in those targets and is very user friendly. What’s best is you also have the peace of mind thanks to its built for lifetime use.

A minor comment though is a little improvement on the visibility if the great rifle scope is zoomed out.
Pros
  • Information-packed EBR-2C reticle
  • Extra low dispersion (XD) glass
  • Precision-force spring system
  • Made with aircraft grade aluminum
  • Built to last a lifetime
Cons
  • A few visibility issues when set to high magnification
Overall, despite some concerns when it comes to the visibility when pegged at a higher magnification, this is still a great purchase. The pros of this riflescope are an easy and an affordable compromise.

#2 Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 3-18×44 SFP Riflescope

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 3-18x44 SFP RiflescopeOne of the top choices when it comes to finding the best target scope under $400 is the Strike Eagle 3 from established company Vortex Optics. Boasting an objective lens diameter of 44mm, you are sure that enough light is passing through that lens for that optimum mage clarity. Its MOA windage and elevation is pegged at 120 MOA perfect for target shooters who enjoy short to long range shots and even for technical and tactical use.

The Strike Eagle is a solid and trim package perfect for shoppers who needs to stick to a low price but with competitive advantages. Like most Vortex Optics scopes, this also carries the extra-low dispersion (XD) glass that impressively increases the resolution and color of the images making the images sharper. The lens coating is fully multi-coated that increases the light transmission with several anti-reflective coatings on all its air to glass surfaces.

If has an illuminated reticle for low light conditions and utilizes an EVR-4 MOA that is suitable for long distance shots as this reticle can be used to determine the ranges, windage corrections, and holdovers effectively. The scope and the adjustments in general are also very easy to use.

If the positive pros of this scope are not enough, you will be further delighted knowing that it also comes with removable lens covers, lens cloth, sunshade, CR2032 battery, and a 3mm hex wrench.

The only reason why some will re-consider the Strike Eagle 3 is it is quite a challenge to maintain perfect and consistent eye relief.
Pros
  • Extra low dispersion (XD) glass
  • Fully multi-coated with anti-reflective layers
  • EVR-4 MOA
  • Premium material construction
  • Accessories included
Cons
  • Hard to maintain eye relief
Let the Eagle 3 strike you because it is worth your money. It has the same level as those scopes that costs hundred more so adding it to your collection will just be a steal!

#3 Leupold VX-3i 3.5x10x40mm Riflescope

Leupold VX-3i 3.5x10x40mm RiflescopePegged as the best .308 rifle scope under $400, the Leupold has done it again in ensuring that hunters and shooting enthusiasts have access to a riflescope with no quality control issues at all because everything about the Leupold VX-3i is American. It is designed, manufactured and assembled in the USA so you are guaranteed to be getting high-quality low light scope under $400.

The VX-3i is completely durable as it is shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof. You can take it with you without having to give it that extra TLC when it is raining or foggy. It also a DiamondCoat 2 coating which is an ion-assist lens for better light transmission and the best abrasion resistance.

It is also designed with ¼ precise MOA fingertip windage and elevation that provides 100% repeatability and steadiness over the expected use and abuse that the scope will be subjected to. Built to last, it is made with 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum that can withstand a lifetime of recoil.

The greatest asset of the Leupold VX-3i 3.5x10x40mm though is its Twilight Max Light Management System that gives you additional 20 extra minutes of shooting light. This is also responsible in reducing the glare for that noteworthy image quality.

The scope is lightweight but has been proven to survive Punisher, Leupold’s very own recoil simulation machine which means that it is built to survive a minimum of 5,000 impacts with each impact powered with a force 3x the recoil of a .308 rifle.

A little downer for this product though is the turret design needs improvement.
Pros
  • Solely USA made
  • Twilight Max Light Management System
  • Shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof
  • DiamondCoat 2 coating
  • Made with 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum
Cons
  • Turret design
With all the advantages and features, the turret can be overlooked and can just be improved on the next models but this one is a scope that you need. It is value for the money and works excellently.

#4 Nikon M-Tactical .223 4-16X42SF Matte BDC600 Riflescope

Nikon M-Tactical .223 4-16X42SF Matte BDC600 RiflescopeWithout a bat of an eye, Nikon has firmly rooted itself as the best and coolest makers of lens and even scopes and you might in for a deal as you just have the chance of getting the best tactical rifle scope under $400 with Nikon’s M-Tactical .223 4-16X42SF Matte BDC600 Riflescope.

This one has a fully multi-coated optical system that uses the M-Tactical optics that highlights high contrast images. Complemented by a 4x zoom power, generous eye relief, and a quick focus eyepiece, you will always have the advantage of changeability and functionality.

Developed exclusively for the trail of the .223 Rem 5.56 with a 55-grain and polymer tip bullet, this scope uses the innovative BDC 600 reticle that provides the target shooter distinct open circle target points and hash marks from 100 up to 600 yards.

Nikon also ensures that users will find this scope to be user friendly. The turrets and zooms rings have knurling for a better grip. It also provides quick adjustments courtesy of its directional indicators. It is nitrogen purged so expect that you won’t have any issues with moisture and you are confident that it can withstand any possible thermal shocks and even hard recoil because it is also waterproof. Nothing can compare to its amazing optical design and its glass quality.

The only minimal disadvantage is it is slightly heavier compared to the other Nikon scopes.
Pros
  • M-tactical optics
  • Built for lifetime use
  • Made with 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum
  • Knurling in the turrets and zoom rings
  • BDC 600 reticle
Cons
  • Weight
With premium construction and elegant, a scope that can hold on to the true zero perfectly, and Nikon producing this, enough said. Nikon alone is an adequate selling point. Carrying the additional weight is not a big deal!

#5 Athlon Optics Argos BTR 8-34×56 FFP Riflescope

Athlon Optics Argos BTR 8-34x56 FFP RiflescopeAnother top rated and valuable rifle scope is Athlon Optics Argos. Known for its passion to design and quality, hunters over the years have relied to products from this company and this scope is another reliable addition to your collection.

One of the best features of this scope is it can deliver maximum brightness levels with real colors through the light spectrum. It is also equipped with an advance and fully multi-coated lens that can improve image quality to the highest level.

Another unique feature is the reticle is etched on the glass thus can provide additional support when it comes to recoil resistance. The reticle is also illuminated. It is made with 6061T6 aircraft grade aluminum for that heavy-duty performance that you can always depend on giving you a shooting experience that will always be pleasant and one you know you have advantage of. Never worry about having to handle it with too much care as this scope is 100% solid and can deal with the unique and tough conditions and will have the same performance if you are going deer hunting or for tactical purposes.

With its thermal stability and waterproof design, and a price tag that is budget friendly, you got yourself a smart investment here. It can withstand the harshest weather conditions and even the accidental underwater submerging. Shockproof, it has a solid and tough mechanical system that can provide maximum recoil resistance.

One thing that needs to be improved though is its adjustments. It needs to be friendlier for ease of access.
Pros
  • Reticle Illumination
  • Fully multi-coated lens and XPL lenses
  • Shockproof and waterproof
  • Etched glass reticle
  • 6061 T6 Aluminum built
Cons
  • Adjustments are not that user friendly
At the end of the day, this is still an excellent choice for a high-quality deer rifle scope under $400. With you being able to use it without thought about the weather with good light transmission each time is a great deal. You will get the hang of doing adjustments over time.

#6 Bushnell Engage 4-16x44mm Riflescope

Bushnell Engage 4-16x44mm RiflescopeFor less than $400, shooters and hunters who would like to up their performance should get Bushnell’s Engage 4-16×44 riflescope. It is packed with solid features boasting an optics that is ideal for hunting and shooting. It has turret features that includes tool-less zero reset and exposed locking turrets that can accommodate any shooting environment and distance. It also has an easy parallax adjustment with a side mounted dial adding in to user convenience.

The weather is beyond anyone’s control so to help protect your rifle scopes, Bushnell improved the RAINGUARD HD and developed the new EXO Barrier. This feature is a kind of coating that molecularly ties to the lens and fills the glass with microscopic pores. This results to an ultra-slick coating capable of repelling fog, oil, dust, debris and most importantly, water. Snow, rain, fingerprints are a complete no-no and won’t stick at all.

With a tube diameter of 30mm, magnification range of 4-16x, and objective lens of 42mm, you can bring this along with you even when there is fog or rain as it is completely waterproof. It is compatible with several calibers and with its thin reticle, you are sure to have clear shot of your target.

It is also designed to help with various lighting conditions as it comes with layers of anti-reflective coating so you are guaranteed with high-contrast, clear, and bright images.

At below $400, this scope comes with eye piece covers and a flip open objective for protection. This is packed with a hunter’s dream.

However, it would make it even better is if it can provide reticle options and not just the Deploy MOA.
Pros
  • Tool-less zero reset
  • Locking turrets
  • Exclusive EXO Barrier Shield
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Fully Multi Coated
Cons
  • The lack of reticle options
This still gets a thumbs up because if you are the type of shooter that will settle for a fine MIA reticle hash mark then you’re basically good to go. It is affordable, it works as expected and even goes beyond expectation so this is surely a great deal.

#7 Burris Optics Fullfield E1 4.5-14x42mm Riflescope

Burris Optics Fullfield E1 4.5-14x42mm RiflescopeThere are two models for the Burris Optics E1 4.5-15x44mm. One is with a Ballistic Plex E1 reticle and other one is with a MOA reticle for long range both with a retail price of under $400.

The Fullfield E1 is designed to have a magnification over 3-9x while still retaining a low 4.5 magnification. It can offer a broad field of view versus 6.5-20 times can.

Stylish and sleek, this scope has elevation dots and cascading windage to help with long-range shots of 500 yards without any challenges. You can also expect superb performance even during windy days.

The lenses of the Fullfield is exceptional and precision defined. Multi-coated for maximum glare resistance, this quality rifle scope can provide you optimum efficiency even during low-light conditions. It doesn’t matter if you are just using it for target practice or you are out in a varmint hunting, you will always have top performance.

With an exit pupil diameter of 9-3 millimeters and eye relief of 3.8-3.1 inches, you can go on hours and hours of hunting and target shooting. The scope can keep up with you too because it is made of a durable and solid tube that can withstand the vibration and shocks of the frequent and heavy recoiling calibers. It is also nitrogen filled so you won’t have any problems with internal fogging should it get exposed to fog, rain, and cold.

A good buy not just because of the price but also with its features and product information, this is very handy during tactical exercises or just for recreation. One downer for this is just its reticle is not illuminated.
Pros
  • 2 models to choose from
  • Burris quality
  • Eye relief of 3.8-3.1 inches
  • Solid and durable built
  • Nitrogen filled
Cons
  • Reticle Illumination
In a nutshell, this qualifies among the very nice scopes we currently have on the market. This is a smart choice for a buyer and with its possible positive effects to performance, the lack of reticle illumination is just a small and forgivable settlement.

#8 Sightmark Citadel 3-18×50 LR2 Riflescope

Sightmark Citadel 3-18x50 LR2 RiflescopeYou will get more for your money with Sightmark’s Citadel 3 and if you are in the hunt for a high-quality 50mm rifle scope under $400 then your quest is done as you can already lock in with this optics.

Weighing 2.6 pounds, it has an illuminated reticle on the FFP. Its turrets are both exposed and lockable so you can make the adjustments easily by just dialing; either for windage or elevation. Note that the side focus and the illumination are just located in one turret so adjusting is very simple and quick. It also comes with a sun shade that protects the objective lens from the direct sunlight. This is a good addition because it will help sustain sharp and clear image quality.

It also had a side focus dial to remove parallax and will let you just focus on the target. Its eyepiece is designed in a way where it can be rotated so it can adjust accordingly for diopter to always maintain sharp and clear images.

It also takes pride to its 30mm one-piece tube made with aircraft quality 6061-T6 aluminum with red-illuminated, fine etched reticles. It is guaranteed reliable as it is IP67 waterproof, fog proof, dust proof, and shock proof.

You get all this for a price point of less than $400. You also get a scope that can hold zero on even the heaviest recoil. It also has heightened magnification so targets of farther distance can be locked in with ease.

Just a little disadvantage is it is on the bigger side when compared to other scopes in the market. Since it is quite large, it weighs a little more too.
Pros
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Simple adjustments
  • Comes with a sun shade
  • Enhanced magnification
  • Built to last
Cons
  • Size and weight
Still, even if it is bigger and heavier, it is still a great buy and worth every penny. It is a nice scope and is very promising when used in your next hunting expedition.

Buying Guide

What to Expect from the Rifle Scope Under $400

best deer rifle scope under $400

Currently, there are a lot of quality scopes on the market that can provide impressive results. Established scope manufacturers known to be experts in producing high quality scopes usually becomes successful because they can find the perfect balance to entice the shoppers into buying.

With a budget that is decent, you must be willing to compromise and settle for not really having the best of the best features but a scope that is mid to high end and will still improve your visuals in locking targets.

For a scope with a price limit of 400 dollars, you can expect at the very least that the lens is multi-coated and that the material used is high grade aluminum alloy for durability and longevity. Surely though, scopes that fall under this budget limit can already provide you with accuracy, precision, and stability and are commonly compatible to most hinting rifles in the market.

Scopes within the 400 dollars budget can also be expected to have some features related to magnification but of course, the quality of the image upon zooming in and out will really be dependent on the model and brand.

Rifle scopes within this price range are also designed to be waterproof and fog proof with some the extra feature of being shock proof. But these scopes can handle the elements of nature and the human abuse and frequent use. These budget friendly scopes are also easy to set up and requires very minimal to zero maintenance.

Although very limited, you might also find scopes with added laser sight or pointer, one with a reliable long-distance focus, and anti-reflective coating. Also, some will come with additional features and add-ons like a red dot sight, a duplex reticle or a mil-dot reticle, lens caps or even better customer service coming from the manufacturer that can be contacted for a layer of security and peace of mind.

How to Choose the Best Rifle Scope Under $400

best scope under 400

Choosing the best rifle scope under 400 dollars is quite a challenge but a feasible one. Will you end up getting one that can up your game and help you lock in those targets? Yes. But you must set some guidelines so you can end up choosing a good one and still within your price range. Here are some of the factors that you must consider:

Range

You must know exactly what kind of shooting are you normally involved in. If you are into mid-range shooting, you must specifically look for scope options that is compatible with mid-range shooting. For long-distance shooting, you will entirely need a different scope with additional features for that. Mid-range shooters will prioritize speed and movement while long-range shooters will make sure that their precision is 100% and their magnification scope is very high. Know your preferred range.

Precision Power

Regardless if you are shooting mid or long-range, you must choose a scope that can give you optimum precision. This should complement your skill so you can enhance your overall locking target efficiency. The precision power will be a combination of your magnification and the clarity of your lens.

Material

Choose a scope that is made with aluminum alloy. You’d want a scope that will last for a good number of years so opt for one that is built with high quality and guaranteed durable. A tube construction made of aluminum alloy last longer. Scopes made of steel should be found at the very bottom of your list.

Magnification

This is where a little compromise happens on your part as a buyer. You must ensure that your focus is on the zooming in and out and that if your options allow you magnification, the image’s quality is still acceptable. You also must choose a scope where the transitions of view are smooth because if the zoom in and out is not even, you will lose the accuracy of your shot and target acquisition will be very unstable.

Objective Lens

One of the most critical factors you must consider since this is where the clarity of your image comes from. Regardless of light conditions, a bigger lens is always the smart choice because the bigger it is, more light can come in and when there is light, the image clarity gets better. Always choose a scope with a bigger objective lens but as a word of precaution, the bigger your lens are, the heavier it is as well.

Compatibility

Where are you going to mount your scope? Will it be a good match and will complement each other? This might be a common miss when shopping but consider your existing rifle or weapon. During your hunting trip, your weapon and scope should be able to work as one when it comes to locking in the target accurately and making that shot. Also, your choice of scope should also be strong enough to withstand the frequent recoil from your weapon. Its battery life should also be long enough to continue working with you and your rifle.

Lens coating

You only must choose one for this and it should be multi-coated at the very least. This helps with the sight picture of your target. Usually it also comes with anti-glaring features so regardless of the light conditions and intensities, you retain a consistent view of your target. You can also consider the brightness settings that the scope can offer.

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Conclusion

A budget of $400 coupled with the right information can land you with a hunting rifle scope that can suit your needs and even tick off some features off your wish list. You don’t have to settle for anything less if you feel like the scope can’t cater to your basic expectations. Finding the best rifle scope under $400 is doable and it is a reasonable budget too in the first place.

However, if your requirements and expectations are a little steep and more extreme like having an unobstructed vision of the target or perhaps intense magnification, then it would be best to loosen your purse strings and be willing to add in in a few more hundreds on your budget.

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